Vichyssoise Soup

Soupe Vichyssoise

Serves 2

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The origin of Vichyssoise is a subject of debate among the culinary elite, including beloved American chef, writer and television personality, Julia Child and Louis Diat, a world renowned French chef and culinary writer who cooked for nobility, prime ministers and ambassadors. But in keeping with our love of folklore and all things traditionally French, we’re going to go with the tale of King Louis XV of France. As the story goes, Louis was afraid of being poisoned and in response had so many servants taste-test the potato leek soup that by the time the soup finally reached him, it had turned cold. However surprisingly, the king rather enjoyed and ultimately preferred the coolness of Vichyssoise over the intended warmth in serving. This basic soup recipe not only invites varying serving temperatures, but also varying versions of ingredients that can include other vegetables or a dash or two of crème frâiche! 


INGREDIENTS

 1 1/2 quarts water

1 tsp salt

4 medium gold potatoes

3 tsp butter

1 medium sized leek

1/2 medium sweet onion

1 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove with skin

1/2 glass white wine (optional)

5 sprigs fresh chive

3 branches fresh parsley

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PREPARATION

•• Using a large sauce pan with a cover and over a medium high heat, bring 1 1/2 quarts of water and 1 tsp of salt to a brisk boil.  •• Reduce the heat to low to maintain a hot water temperature. •• Peel and dice 4 potatoes into very small-size cubes. •• Rinse and set aside in a bowl of cold water to prevent the potatoes from turning dark. •• Throughly cleanse the leek and remove all residual sand and dirt from between the leaves. •• Finely cut the leek into pieces of approximately 1/8”, including a desired portion of the green leaves as well. •• In a large bowl, rinse the leeks one more time and strain. •• Using a large sauté pan, melt 3 tsp butter over a medium low heat. •• Add the leeks and allow to sweat for approximately 5-6 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated. •• The leeks should appear soft and sweet to the taste, indicating readiness. •• Set the leeks aside in a separate bowl. ••

•• Peel and dice a half sweet onion into small cubes. •• Using the same sauté pan, combine the onions with 1 tbsp of butter and a crunched garlic clove with the skin intact. For approximately 7 minutes, allow the onions to sweat until soft and golden. •• Remove the skin of the garlic which will have naturally separated and discard. •• Add the potatoes and mouillér with a few tbsps of cold water or a 1/2 glass of white wine. •• Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the potatoes become soft. •• Add the leeks and cover with 1 1/2 quarts of the reserved hot water. •• Create a broth by cooking over a very low heat for another 10 minutes. •• Strain the broth into a large mixing bowl or use a ladle to separate the vegetables from the broth and place aside. •• Using a hand-held mixer, blend the potato and leek mixture into a creamy and smooth purée. •• Evenly mix the purée into the bowl of broth to create Vichyssoise, then transfer into the sauté pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. •• Optional is the addition of a little more butter or crème fraîche for added creaminess.  •• Either at room temperature or refrigerated, chill the soup to the desired temperature. •• Pour the Vichyssoise into a serving bowl and garnish with finely cut fresh chive. •• Serve with a homemade crusty French bread and butter! ••

•• Voilà! ••

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Summertime Potato Salad

Salade de Pommes de Terre

Serves 2

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With summertime settling in, I had a sudden craving for potato salad. Without having all the ingredients on-hand for a homemade mayonnaise, I made do with what was available and by chance, the salad turned out to be really delicious…even without the mayonnaise!

Bruno 


 

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sized red potatoes

3 hard boiled eggs

1 tsp tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

5 branches of fresh cilantro

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste

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PREPARATION

•• Clean and peel the potatoes, then cut into bitesize cubes of approximately 2”. •• Place the potatoes in a medium sauce pan and cover with water, approximately 2/3 high. •• Add salt to taste. •• Over a high heat, bring the potatoes up to to a hard boil, then reduce the heat to medium low for 10 minutes or until readiness. •• The potatoes should be cooked through but firm, to avoid mash potatoes, if overcooked. •• Strain the water from the potatoes and allow to cool. •• Using a small pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil and sauté the garlic clove with the skin intact.  •• Once golden, set aside and remove the skin when cooled. •• Prepare 3 hard boiled eggs by boiling for approximately 7 minutes. •• Submerge the eggs in cold water and allow to cool. •• Remove the shells by making a dent, then gently roll each egg across a clean kitchen towel, which will neatly crack the shell all around for a clean and easy removal. •• Cut the eggs into sections. •• In a medium size mixing bowl, mash the eggs in with the garlic clove by using a fork or a potato masher, to a fine consistency. •• De-stem 5 branches of fresh cilantro and ciseler cut the leaves. •• Add the cilantro in with the eggs, along with 4 tbsps of olive oil, 1 tsp of white vinegar and the juice of 1/2 fresh lemon.  •• Salt and pepper to taste and continue to mix until reaching a creamy paste. •• Gently fold in the potatoes. •• Arrange on a serving platter and Voila! ••


 

Classic Cheese Soufflé

Soufflé au Fromage Classique

Serves 2

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The origins of the soufflé date back to the early eighteenth century with credit and acknowledgement to French master cook Vincent de la Chapelle. However, the development and popularization of the soufflé in the nineteenth century is attributed to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Served as an entrée or as a dessert, soufflés are typically prepared from two basic components: a Sauce Béchamel as the flavorful base, and the “puff” of the egg whites. Soufflés can be baked in individual ramekins or in a larger single soufflé dish. Ingredients commonly used to flavor are fresh herbs, cheese and vegetables. For dessert soufflés you can introduce the sweetness of jams, fruits, berries, chocolate, bananas and lemons. Soufflés can also be accompanied by a sauce, such as Suprême, Béarnaise or a Tomato Coulis.

Contrary to the myth that a bump or loud noise will cause the soufflé to fall, the inevitable collapse is indeed expected, once the soufflé begins to cool.


•• Sauce Béchamel ••

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

pepper and nutmeg to taste (optional)

1/2  cup of organic unbleached or Spelt flour

1 cup of whole milk or half and half

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PREPARATION

•• Using a sauce pan over a low heat, slowly melt the butter until you see the formation of small bubbles. •• Add salt, pepper and nutmeg (optional) to taste. •• Gradually introduce the flour by mixing slowly with a whisk to create a paste.  •• This is called a “roux”, that should not be overcooked or allowed to become brown. •• Remove the roux from the heat and add 1 cup of whole milk or half and half, blending until smooth and without the formation of any lumps. •• Place the sauce pan back over a low heat, mixing the roux slowly and until it becomes firm. •• If you observe that the roux is quickly becoming too firm, remove the pan from the heat, but continue to mix. •• If the roux is becoming too thick, add sparing amounts of milk for desired lightness. •• Your Sauce Béchamel is now ready and should present as a creamy smooth sauce, without any lumps and with the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes. •• Turn off the heat and set aside your saucepan on the cooktop. ••


 •• The Puff of the Egg Whites ••

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs

1 pat of butter

1 cup of grated Swiss cheese

juice of freshly squeezed lemon


PREPARATION

•• Preheat the oven to 430 degrees. •• Thoroughly butter each individual soufflé dish, including the bottoms and the sides. •• Then lightly flour each dish. •• Separate the eggs, whites from the yolks and place into separate bowls. ••

•• Over the cooktop and without any heat under your saucepan, add 4 egg yolks into the Sauce Béchamel, using a small teaspoon, one at a time. •• Then mix throughly. •• Note that the saucepan should be cooled. If it is still too warm, you will have scrambled eggs! •• Bring the mixture up to a very smooth texture and observe a bright mustardy yellow color. •• Again, without any heat, mix in 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese, all at once and stir until completely smoothed. •• Set your saucepan aside. ••

•• Using a large whisk which allows for the passage of lots of air, vigorously whip the egg whites until you observe a thickened and frothy consistency (remember to keep your elbows locked to avoid tendonitis!). •• As you keep whipping, you will soon begin to see the egg whites change from frothy to fluffy and then harden. •• Feel free to add a few drops of fresh lemon to accelerate the hardening process further. •• In with hardening, the egg whites have transformed into a whipped creme that is sturdy enough for your whisk to stand straight up in the creme, without assistance. •• Using no heat and the measurement of 1/3, add the first 1/3 of the whipped creme to the bright yellow Sauce Béchamel and mix it throughly. •• Repeat with the second and third introduction as to avoid creating a watery consistency. Be aware not to over-mix as this too can result in watering down the mixture. •• Fill two individual soufflé dishes a little more than halfway, allowing space for the soufflés to rise. •• Place the dishes in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. •• This is now a great time to prepare a quick and simple fennel and orange salad to accompany your soufflés. ••

•• After approximately 15 minutes into the bake time, you should begin to notice an aroma that fills your kitchen, akin to the heavenly scent of a brioche baking in your oven. •• Although you may be tempted, take care not to open the oven door to observe the rising, as you will lose the heat needed to maintain a consistent temperature for the puff.  Also, do not reduce the temperature in the oven, as this will also cause the soufflé to prematurely fall. •• To check for readiness, use an oven light or flashlight to peer through the glass door of the oven. •• If you observe the height and puff of lighter coloration with a darkened top, your soufflé is ready. •• Insert a sharp knife to further ensure the soufflé has been throughly cooked to the center. If the knife comes back out clean, your soufflé is ready to be served, right away. •• Within 5-10 minutes from the removal the oven, you will see the inevitable collapse of these sumptuous soufflés.••

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 The cake-like appearance with chocolate frosting atop, indicates the readiness of your soufflé. Prêt à mange!