Eggs Benedict Without Bacon

Œufs Bénédicte Sans Jambon

Serves 2

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Here is a recipe for Eggs Benedict without Bacon that is perfect for an Easter or anytime weekend brunch. While our version somewhat differs by holding the bacon and substituting homemade French boule bread in place of the customary English muffins, Eggs Benedict with or without Canadian bacon, goes along beautifully with simply steamed asparagus in season and a chilled bottle of Chardonnay wine.


INGREDIENTS

•• Hollandaise Sauce ••

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup cold water

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp butter

•• Poached Eggs ••

2 eggs  (1 per serving)

1 tsp white vinegar

salt pepper to taste

freshly chopped cilantro or parsley

OTHER RECOMMENDED INGREDIENTS

•• Boule Bread ••

•• Steamed Asparagus ••

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PREPARATION

•• Hollandaise Sauce ••

••  In a cold saucepan, combine 3 egg yolks, 1/3 cup cold water and 1 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice. •• Using a medium whisk, mix well until you observe a smooth sauce. •• Over a low heat, continue to whisk until the sauce thickens to a sabayon or near custard and frothy-like consistency.  •• Add 3 tbsp of butter and remove from the heat but continue to gently whisk as the butter softly melts. •• 

•• Poaching the Eggs ••

•• Crack and place each egg in a separate short drinking glass or custard bowl. •• In a medium sauce pan, add 1 tsp of white vinegar and bring to a medium boil. •• Gently introduce the egg into the water. •• As the egg white begins to detach and disperse from the yolk, use a spatula or slotted spoon to gather back the egg white, surrounding and encasing the yolk with the white for approximately 2 – 2 1/2 minutes. •• Another method to poaching multiple eggs at once, is the use of egg poaching cups•• Individually slice and lightly toast the boule bread in a warm oven. •• Arrange the toasted boule on serving plates. •• Place the poached eggs on top of the toasted boule and drizzle with generous spoonfuls of the velvety hollandaise sauce. •• Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. •• Serve with an accompaniment of freshly steamed asparagus in season and drizzle with more of the hollandaise sauce, if desired. •• Pair this delicious dish with a glass of chilled Chardonnay or a festive glass of champagne. ••

•• Happy Easter ••

•• Joyeuses Pâques ••


 

Homemade Boule Bread

Pain Boule Maison


Requiring a bit of an upper body workout, this homemade recipe for classic French boule bread is not for the culinary faint of heart. Although homemade boule is wonderfully worthy of the effort, we do recommend that if you’re pressed for time or not too keen on the idea of a kitchen strongman challenge, do be certain to have a dough kneading machine on hand for this bread making mission.

Boule or “ball” in English, is a rustic loaf of bread made either at home or at a French bakery, “boulangerie” by a baker known as a “boulanger”.  Aside from morning tartine, boule is also a perfect substitute for English muffins – the typical bread used in recipes for Eggs Benedict.

So grab your apron and prepare to take the challenge!

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INGREDIENTS

  2 cups organic white flour – all purpose unbleached

1 tsp salt

2 tsp active dry yeast 

 1/4 cup warm water

1 1/3 cup warm water


PREPARATION

First Round of Kneading

•• In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 tsp of salt with 2 cups of organic unbleached flour. •• Using your hand or a small whisk, throughly mix the salt into the flour. In order to maintain the effectiveness of the yeast, the thoroughness of this foundational mixture acts as a block to any direct contact of the salt with the yeast. •• Create a “well” or “reservoir” within the center of your flour mixture. This is where you will introduce the yeast and water to the flour mixture. •• Prepare the yeast by mixing 2 tsp of dry active yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water. •• Allow the yeast to sit for a few minutes. •• Once you have observed that the yeast has doubled in volume, introduce into the flour “well” along with 1 1/3 cup of warm water. •• Using your hand, gently blend the flour mixture with the liquid yeast, forming a gooey paste of dough. •• Intermittently lift up the dough with your hand (which will be rather sticky) from the bowl. •• This repeated motion will allow oxygen into the dough, thereby creating elasticity. •• Continue this motion for approximately 5-7 minutes. •• Place the dough in a lightly floured medium sized bowl and cover with a clean kitchen cloth, taking care not to make any contact with the dough, thereby creating a containment of air. •• Keep the dough in a warm room or outside (if you happen to live in a warm climate) of 75-80° temperature. •• Allow the dough to rest and rise for approximately 30 minutes or if you observe the dough triples in volume. ••

Second Round of Kneading

•• For the second round of kneading, lightly sprinkle flour across your countertop workspace. •• Continue to knead the dough, using one hand of preference. •• In a motion of folding the dough upon itself, increase your speed and intensity, whereby creating a loud slapping sound of the dough (this is the workout part we promised you!). •• Using a silicone scrapper, gather back the displaced flour into your dough, as needed. •• Observe how the dough becomes more elastic and less gooey. You will also begin to feel an energy and a strength that the dough takes on. •• Continue this motion for another 8-10 minutes. •• Place the dough in a lightly floured medium sized bowl and cover with a clean kitchen cloth, again, not making any contact with the dough. •• Keep the dough outside or in a warm room of 75-80°. •• Allow the dough to rest and rise in the bowl for one hour. ••

Third Round of Kneading

•• Prepare to work the dough again by lightly dusting your countertop workspace.  •• Begin again by releasing the gas from the dough, using your scraper to remove the dough from the bowl. •• If the dough still feels a bit gooey, sprinkle the dough with a little flour and also lightly dust your hands. •• Work the dough by gently stretching out and folding back, pulling in the displaced flour as needed. •• Repeat this motion just a few times and then form the dough into the shape of a boule or a half squashed ball. •• Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen cloth, this time making contact with the dough and eliminating any containment of air. •• Store the dough in the refrigerator overnight and allow to ferment, a common practice used with making traditional French baguette. ••

The Next Morning 

••  Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean countertop surface. •• Lightly dust your hands with flour and begin stretching and folding the dough just a few times, then re-create the shape of the boule. Observe that the dough should not appear dry.  •• Place the dough on a lightly floured baking pan and cover with a clean kitchen cloth, again, making contact with the dough. •• Allow the dough to rest and rise for approximately 20 minutes. ••

•• Preheat the oven to 470° and place a plan of water in the oven in order to create humidity. •• Using a pastry brush and water, humidify the dough by brushing the dough with a small amount of water. •• Using a sharp knife, cut a large hashtag symbol # into the top surface of the dough. These cuts will allow the bread to rise and expand without breaking, while bringing forth the desired golden color of the baked bread. •• Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 470°, checking frequently for size and color. •• Remove the boule from the oven and allow to rest and cool, observing a further but minimal expansion of the bread. •• Want to know if your boule is ready? Give it a hard knock on the bottom as if you are knocking on a door. If your boule sounds hollow, that means it’s ready! ••

•• And now onto Easter Eggs Benedict! ••

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Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris


Back in 2014 we experienced the magnificence of this treasured Cathedral. For those who will not be able to experience the same, here is our little story set against the majesty of beauty, artistry, faith and hope.


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The Vespers Service at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris 

When in Paris…sometimes not having a plan and just showing up can lead to a wonderful surprise. It was sunset when we passed by the main entrance to Cathédrale Notre-Dame, taking casual notice of the movement of people congregating toward the doors. Since it was the end of the day, we thought it was somewhat unusual, so we wandered in to see for ourselves. As we drew closer to the main altar we realized that a mass would soon begin and so we too settled in, all gazing and full of anticipation. We expected to participate in a traditional service but were rather treated to the vespers service, a sunset evening prayer. Vespers opens with the singing or chanting of the words (in French) and continues throughout the ceremony, interchanging between the priest and the choir. Understanding the French language is not necessary. Simply behold and listen. You won’t soon forget the spectacular beauty of this moving and very special celebration.
 
Today, the cathédrale is a sparkling crowned jewel, as well as a collective symbol of faith’s bright energy, hope never-ending and indomitable will. Badly damaged during the French Revolution, the cathédrale and many of it’s treasures were either destroyed or plundered. The statues of the biblical kings of Judah (erroneously thought to be the kings of France), located on the facade of the cathédrale, were beheaded. The great bells were broken and melted, sparing only the great bell Emmanuel. Sadly, the cathédrale came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food. In 1829, the great French poet and novelist, Victor Hugo began writing Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), largely in part to create public awareness about the invaluable importance of the cathédrale he so admired. His novel was published in 1831 and was met with enormous success, thus leading to the monument’s salvation and major restoration, undertaken in 1845 and lasting 20 years.
 
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Long considered an artistic masterpiece of Gothic architecture with stained-glass rosette windows, towers and gargoyles, the cathédrale is the most popular French monument visited by 13 million people each year. By ascending the 387 steps in the South Tower, you can enjoy a 360° panoramic view of Paris. Requiring less stamina, is a visit to the archaeological crypt which was built to protect the ruins and elements from successive buildings, discovered during the excavations in 1965. Access to the cathédrale is open and free of charge every day of the year, during opening hours. Visit their website for directions, opening hours, services, concerts and events.
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Chicken Tenderloins and Fresh Green Beans

Filets de Poulet et Haricots Verts Frais

Serves 2

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Welcome springtime and the return of the outdoor farmers’ markets where you can find fresh green beans (haricot verts) and beautiful bouquets of fresh herbs. Starting with the best ingredients and perfect for the work-week rush, try this simple chicken and vegetable recipe when you’re craving a healthy homestyle dinner with some snap and crunch! 


INGREDIENTS

3-4  boneless chicken tenderloins

1 lb fresh green beans (haricots verts)

2 large carrots

1 celery branch

1/2 sweet onion

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsps butter

1 tbsp unbleached flour

1 egg

1/2 fresh lemon or lime

1 small branch of fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp chicken or vegetable stock

2 tbsps Marsala wine

a few fresh sprigs of cilantro or parsley (optional)

Chicken_Tenderloins_Vegetables_Sauté_French_Food_Blog_Le_Menu_Maison_Homestyle_Healthy_Recipes_Bruno_Gaget

PREPARATION

•• Wash the chicken tenderloins under water and remove the center tendon, if desired and set aside. •• Snap off both ends of the green beans and wash thoroughly. •• Peel, wash and cut the carrots into bâtonnets. •• Cut one branch of celery and half of a sweet onion into small dices. •• Crunch one garlic clove using the flat surface of your chef’s knife. •• Finely chop the rosemary and set aside. •• In a medium mixing bowl combine 1 tbsp of flour, 1 egg, crunched garlic, finely chopped rosemary, the juice of a halved lemon or lime and salt and pepper to taste. •• Add the chicken tenderloins to the mixture and allow to soak and throughly coat. •• Prepare the green beans by steaming for 3 minutes, taking care not to overcook or diminish the vibrant shade of green. •• Set the green beans aside in a colander. •• In a large sauté pan, combine 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsps of butter along with the diced celery and sweet onion. •• Allow the celery and onions to sweat until lightly golden. •• Add the evenly coated tenderloins and separately arrange the carrots around the chicken, cooking for 3-5 minutes over a low to medium heat. •• Once the chicken appears golden, immediately flip each tenderloin to the other side, using a spatula. •• Reduce down the heat to low and mouiller with chicken or vegetable stock and 2 tbsps of Marsala wine. •• Continue to cook over a low heat for approximately 5-6 minutes. •• Strain the green beans through the colander then dress onto a serving plate, creating a square blanket of green beans. •• Arrange the tenderloins over the green beans but retain the sauce in the pan. •• Over a low heat, allow the sauce to reduce and thicken for approximately 2 minutes or until a desired consistency. •• Drizzle the sauce over the top of the chicken tenderloins and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and parsley. ••

•• Voilà! ••


 

Penne with Goat Cheese and Mushrooms

Penne au Fromage de Chèvre et aux Champignons

Serves 4

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The Skinny on Spelt

For those who are gluten sensitive, could there be such a thing as “good gluten”? Apparently yes, and it’s found in the ancient species of wheat known as “spelt”. After overindulging every morning on croissants and baguette still warm from the oven of our favorite corner Boulanger in France, we soon began to experience symptoms of a sensitivity. At the top of our list of possible culprits, we suspected our digestive dilemma was most likely brought about by our self-inflicted gluten overload. As with determining any food allergy or sensitivity, we began by restriction and re-introduction of all gluten-containing products. In understanding the triggers, we learned that gluten in and of itself is not a villain. In fact, spelt is a type of wheat that contains gluten, but hasn’t changed since ancient times…therefore no hybridization or genetic modification, and no added or modified gluten content to make gluten-containing products more appealing. Spelt remains a fragile wheat that breaks down in the cooking and baking process, thus making it easier to digest. However, spelt is not safe for those who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.


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INGREDIENTS

5-7 oz spelt penne according to your appetite

1 cup frozen peas

1 cooked beetroot

1 tbsp olive oil

5 oz fresh button mushrooms

2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, unseparated

salt and pepper to taste

3 1/2 oz fresh goat cheese

2 pints almond cream

mixed salad greens

alt=“Sautéed mushrooms Homestyle Recipes French Cooking Terms French Food Blog Le Menu Maison Bruno Gaget”

PREPARATION

•• Fill a pasta pot with cold water and a dash of salt. •• Bring to a boil and add the frozen peas, cooking for 1-2 minutes. •• Using a slotted spoon, remove the peas from the boiling water and then add the penne, cooking the pasta al dente, according to directions. •• Rinse the penne in cold water, drain and set aside in the colander. •• Prepare the cooked beetroot by removing the outer skin with a peeler or with a small sharp knife, under running cold water. •• Since the beetroot has been cooked, the skin will fall away with ease. •• Clean, dry and arrange a bedding of mixed salad greens on a serving dish. •• Prepare the mushrooms, by snapping the stems off, using your fingers. •• Clean and pat dry using a clean kitchen cloth. •• Thinly slice the mushrooms and set aside. •• In a non stick frying pan, add one tbsp of olive oil over a medium-high heat. •• Once the olive oil begins to smoke, add the mushrooms and two garlic cloves, unpeeled and unseparated. •• Sauté the mushrooms over a medium high heat, stirring frequently. •• When the mushrooms take on a golden appearance, remove from the heat and discard the garlic cloves. •• Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside. •• In a saucepan over a low heat, crumble the goat cheese and gradually add 2 pints of almond cream, stirring lightly until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. •• Add the penne and moisturize over a low heat for a minute or two, gently folding in the peas. •• Place the penne over a bedding of mixed salad greens. •• Add the sautéed mushrooms then grate the beetroot over the top, to your preference. •• Enjoy this delicious dish with a glass of chilled Côtes de Provence Rosé and observe the beautiful color transformation as the creme sauce mixes with the shades of red from the beetroot. ••

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•• Super ••