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Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

100 g canned piquillo peppers  (Ferrer is a good brand)

100 ml chicken stock

Method

Place chicken stock and peppers in a sauce pan and heat through.  Puree in with a hand blender or food processor and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Return to heat and let thicken before serving.  Season to taste with salt and serve.  The flavours are bold so less is more!

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Lesson 22 Duck breast pommes annaThere are so many reasons to love duck, especially duck breast or magret du canard.  I love the slightly tangy flavor of the meat, the juiciness of a rose pink breast and the crunch of crispy cooked skin.   I am more apt to cook a duck breast or confit duck legs than roast a whole duck, perhaps for me the parts are better than the sum.

The duck breast is trimmed of excess fat and sinew and then the skin is scored with a harlequin pattern.  The breast is seasoned on both sides and placed fat side down in a cold pan onto the med heat.  The skin should be golden and crisp, which will take around 10 min, then the breast is flipped onto the meat side.  Continue to cook on the stove top until the internal temperature reaches 52-53C, then remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  So simple you will need to prepare all your other elements before you begin cooking the duck!

The duck is served with a puree of cumin spiced carrots, which was a surprise.  Usually carrots are only included as an aromatic in most of our recipes to heighten the flavor of sauces, so once their flavor is extracted they are tossed away.   For this preparation the carrots are simply cooked in salted water, pureed with a little cream and cumin.  Just delicious!  This is an easy accompaniment that could make any weeknight meal more special.

This recipe included a new potato preparation, Pommes Anna. Anna potatoes are a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter.   For our method we peeled the potatoes then used a metal form to cut them into even rounds.  The rounds were then sliced thinly using a mandolin.   To create small a galette, we used a bilini pan to make single serving size.  There are many sizes the galette can be made, the main decision is the size of the pan or form you decide to use.

The galette is cooked on the stove top until the bottom is crispy, then gently – very gently flipped over, to brown the presentation side.  If you try too soon or the top layer is not stuck together with enough butter it could fall apart, so don’t rush or skimp on the butter.  That’s so French – don’t you think?

Continue for Pommes Anna recipe

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First attempt - A tiny bit overdone on the edges so I promise to reattempt and post a better photo soon!.

First attempt – A tiny bit overdone on the edges so I will make another one soon.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium waxy potatoes

30 g clarified butter (or more ;))

salt and pepper

  1. Choose a pan of a dimension to suit you; Bilini pan, small frying pan or muffin tin.   Brush the pan(s) bottom with clarified butter and then line with piece parchment cut to the diameter of the pan.  Brush the parchment paper with clarified butter
  2. Peel the potatoes then cut into equal size tubes with a form.  About 3 cm to 4 cm max in diameter.  Do not rinse the potatoes in water or they will lose their starchy sticky quality.
  3. Lay the potatoes in the pan in a ring working towards the center until the center is closed then brushed with clarified butter and season with salt and pepper.   If you are making Pommes Anna in a muffin tin you will have less of a rose shape but rather a vertical layered effect with your potato.  You will need to brush butter on most layers if using a muffin tin to ensure the potatoes stick together properly.
  4. Form a second layer on top of the first and brush with loads more clarified butter.  This layer should be the most beautiful as it will be the presentation side.
  5. If you so desire, perhaps a few herbs to brighten up the color.
  6. Cook the galette on med heat on the stove top until the bottom is golden brown and crisp.  I Flip the galette over to brown the presentation side.  Once flipped, the galette goes into the oven at 180C to continue cooking for 5 or more minutes.  If you are using a muffing tin, place directly in the oven, you will not need to flip the Pommes Anna just watch the top to ensures it is not over browned.  Muffin tin version can be cooked for 15 min covered with foil and 15 to 20 min uncovered.
  7. Use a paring knife tip to test the doneness – you are seeking tender potatoes.
  8. If cooked, flip the galette out, presentation side up, onto paper towel to drain of excess butter.  Voila!  These are easy to make however take a little time and practice.

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Veal with morrelsVeal is meat for a very special occasion given its expense.   In this lesson we paired the veal with an equally expensive morel mushroom crust.   The morel crust couldn’t be simpler, the veal is seasoned and rolled in ground morels, nothing more, but the result is superb!   The flavors of the rich and earthy mushrooms bring sophistication and elegance for such an easy preparation.

The main challenge is ensuring you brown the crusted veal at a low temperature in the sauté pan to ensure you do not to burn the mushroom crust.  Also critical is ensuring the internal temperature is not above 55 C when served or the veal will be dry and overdone.

This is gorgeous recipe and will be gracing my New Year’s table this year.  So simple yet absolutely scrumptious!  Served with a puree of potato and caramelized apple, which complements the veal perfectly.

Pair with Bordeaux or bold Burgundy and raise a glass to the New Year and the good life!

Ingredients

1 Veal Tenderloin 500 to 600 g

20 g dried morel mushrooms

20 g fresh or reconstituted morel mushrooms

Salt and pepper

20 g peanut or canola oil

20 g butter

1 garlic clove, smashed with skin on

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Port Jus

Carrot 50 g, diced mirepoix

Onion 50 g, diced mirepoix

Celery 50 g, diced mirepoix

1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley stem wrapped in green leek leaves)

1 Garlic clove, smashed with skin on

50 ml Ruby port

250 g veal stock

Puree

250 g potatoes, peeled and diced large

70 g butter

100 ml cream

1 Royal Gala or sweet red apple, peeled and cut brunoise or small dice

Method

Veal

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Place the dried morel mushrooms in a blender or food processor.  Pulse until they are a powder.
  3. Trim the veal removing the connective tissue and fat; reserve trimmings for the sauce.
  4. Tie the veal with kitchen twine at portion size intervals.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the morel powder on a piece of parchment paper.  Roll the prepared veal tenderloin in the mushrooms.
  7. Heat the oil on medium heat; add the butter.
  8. When the butter is melted, add the veal to the pan and gently color on all sides.
  9. Place the garlic and thyme in the pan and put into the oven.  The veal will take approximately 12 to 17 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 52 C depending on the weight of the meat.
  10. At the 8-minute point, baste the veal with the pan juices.  Return to the oven.
  11. At 12 minutes test the internal temperature.  If it has reached 52 to 53 C remove from the oven.
  12. Place the veal on a wire rack set over a baking tray and cover with aluminum.  Rest the meat for 7 to 10 minutes before carving.  The temperature will rise as it rests.  If you like, test the temperature again to ensure it has reached 55 C before carving.
  13. Sauté the fresh morels in a little butter until warm for a garnish.
  14. Cut the veal into portion size pieces and remove the twine.

Port Jus

  1. Heat oil on med high heat.
  2. Add trimmings and brown well.
  3. Remove the trimmings from the pan into a sieve to drain off fat.  Clean the oil from the pan with a paper towel and return to the heat.
  4. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook for one minute.  Cover and take off the heat for 3 minutes.  The moisture from the vegetables will release the brown bits from the bottom of the pan
  5. Return to heat, remove the cover and stir to loosen the brown bits from the trimmings from the bottom of the pan.
  6. After a couple minutes deglaze with ruby port.
  7. When wine has evaporated return the trimmings to the pan.
  8. Add the veal stock and lower heat.
  9. Cook the sauce for 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by 1/3.
  10. Strain the jus from the vegetables and trimmings into a saucepan.  Discard vegetables and trimmings.
  11. Return the jus to the heat and continue to reduce while you cook the veal.

Potato and Apple Puree

  1. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water.
  2. Warm the cream on low heat.
  3. Drain the water and leave the potatoes to dry out for a few minutes in the sieve.
  4. Mill the potatoes through a food mill, ricer or tamis/drum sieve into a bowl containing 50 g of the butter.  Stir to combine with the butter.
  5. Incorporate the cream gradually, and then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Keep warm over a bain marie.
  7. Melt the remaining butter in a sauté pan.
  8. Add the apple pieces and cook until apples are soft and caramelized.
  9. Add the apples to the potato puree and continue to keep warm on the bain marie.

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In Superior Cuisine there are 3 Ateliers or workshops where we are given a list of ingredients, some we must use and others are optional, where we must cook an entrée and a main course.  The workshops are 6 hours in length and although that seems like a long time, we all seem to use it all.

In this atelier I choose to use the pigeon as the entrée and the salmon as the main.  Not a common choice but that pigeon was just not appealing and I wanted to spend as little time as possible with it.  When Chef Lesourd asked me why I said I didn’t like pigeon but I like salmon so prefer to focus on it.  He replied “me too”.  Goes to show not all French people eat all things French!

Le Pigeon

Le Pigeon

For the pigeon I decided to portion it and serve the breasts and create little “Ballantine’s” with the legs.  The Ballantine idea was my way of avoiding serving the leg with the claw on as we did in the practical lesson.  It was very unappealing to see that burnt claw on the plate.

For the main, salmon, the theme was Mediterranean.  Salmon “tournedos“ with Red Pepper Sabayon and Tian of vegetables.   In fact, it wasn’t “tournedos” at the start but rather just a salmon filet.  After a “petit conseil” avec Chef Lesourd, I learned to create a lovely tournedos from one filet which really made the plating much lovelier.

Le Saumon

Le Saumon

Although the dish seemed rather simple, it required the making of a vegetable broth for the sauce then cook a red pepper in the completed stock,  sauté all the vegetables separately and assemble in a mold.   Finally, to finish the sauce the red pepper is pureed, and whisked together with egg yolks and cream to finish the sabayon.  The salmon was simply sautéed in vegetable oil in a non stick pan for 5 min then placed in the oven for finish.

The sauce is the star of this dish and comes from Michel Roux’s cookbook of Sauces, a treasured gift from friends.  A little work, but really not that much for the gorgeous combination with the salmon.   The first atelier was a little stressful; trying to figure out how to time an entrée and a main.  Not sure why – I do it at home all the time?  Hmm….perhaps I just need to channel being at home while I cook here.  That might take the edge off.

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SC Lesson 12In Europe, filet of beef on a menu is recognized as tournedos, and veal filet in France has a special name, Grenadin.  Not to be confused with the awful sugary liquid used to make Shirley Temples!

New techniques with this recipe included creating a gastrique for the sauce and working with poivrade artichokes.   A gastrique is made by blending a caramel with vinegar or sour element, in this case citrus juice.  The poivrade artichoke is a different varietal with purple leaves at the end.  It is much smaller and has less of a choke to worry about.

Poivrade artichoke

The sauce is fairly simple to make with ingredients that are readily available.

Veal Filet trimmed and tied with kitchen twine then cut into small steaks.  Save trimmings for the sauce.

To make the gastrique sauce:

Ingredients:

  • Brown veal trimmings in canola or peanut oil as olive is too strong; degrease
  • Prep the citrus – grate a lemon and lime & juice both
  • Caramel
    • Heat equal parts sugar and honey until blond about 30 g each.
    • Add lemon and lime juice, continue on heat
    • Now this is called a “gastrique”
    • Deglaze the pan with veal stock
    • Add the veal trimmings to the caramel
    • Add the fresh grated ginger, a little water and the zest (add gradually as it can be quite strong)
    • Skim the sauce of impurities while continuing to reduce and thicken
    • To finish; pass through a strainer and continue to reduce and skim

Sauté the veal steaks or grenadin in vegetable oil and butter to brown each side.  Place in a 200C oven until the internal temperature of the veal is 53C.  Take out and rest until temperature reaches 55C.

Serve with polenta, cooked, cooled, cut and pan fried; or simply with mashed potatoes if you don’t fancy all the work.  A lovely cabernet franc will do nicely here!

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The flavors of Provence sing through in this recipe with pesto crushed lamb and roasted vegetables.  The preparation is straightforward and the result is satisfying but not fussy.  A new ingredient for me was the “brick” pastry, which is actually an African pastry.  As Provence is quite close to Northern Africa, many of the tastes and food products have crossed the borders and melded.

The lamb fillet is browned and covered with a pesto of pine and pistachio nuts, garlic cloves, parsley, cilantro and basil blitzed in a Cuisinart with oil added to smooth and add flavor to the mixture.  The filet is wrapped snugly in 1 sheet of the “brick” pastry using water to seal the pastry edges together.  As I am gluten free, adding the pastry was not very appealing, but I did like how thin the sheets were and thought the presentation inside the baked crust was lovely.

We paired this with a “tian” of vegetables, which I would describe as a warm terrine of olive oil roasted vegetables, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and caramelized onions.  The tian is a preparation that is easily mastered and is great with roasted or grilled beef or lamb.   You will need a metal mold to prepare, but that is the extent of the equipment.  Looks impressive and tastes so as well!

As for a wine match, head to Provence for a red Bandol!  Or a Cote du Rhone – MF do you agree?

Continue for Vegetable Tian recipe

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