Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Gratin de Pâtes Sauce Béchamel

Serves 4

Macaroni_Cheese_Baked_French_Food_Blog_Le_Menu_Maison_Healthy_Homestyle_Cooking_Bruno_Gaget


Comfort food and wintery weekends go together…just like macaroni and cheese. Here’s our latest culinary experiment using the French version with an American twist…gluten free penne pasta, sauce Béchamel, grated Monterey Jack and a wee bit of other healthy ingredients!


INGREDIENTS

1 box of gluten-free penne pasta

1 quart of whole milk or half & half

1 cup of grated Gruyère cheese or Monterey Jack

2 carrots

2 celery branches

1/2 sweet onion

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup of organic unbleached or spelt flour

1/2 cup of butter

1tsp of salt

pepper and nutmeg to taste


PREPARATION

•• In a large pan or pasta pot, bring your water to a full boil before adding salt to taste along with the pasta. •• Cook the pasta to “al dente” (cooked but firm). •• Réserver (put a side) a cup of the pasta water before straining and set aside the cooked pasta in the strainer. •• While the pasta is cooking, grate the cheese and begin preparing the vegetables. •• Peel and cut your carrots into small pieces of approximately 1/8 inch. •• Remove dirt from the celery branches and cut likewise into pieces of 1/8 inch. •• In a sauté pan combine the vegetables with one tbsp of olive oil and cook for 2 – 3 minutes over a medium to high heat. •• Réserver in a small dish. •• Cut one half of the sweet onion into finely small quarters.  •• Remove the skin from the garlic and cut into fine pieces, then crunch the garlic along with a small amount of salt, using the flat side of a chef knife. •• Using the same sauté pan, place a tsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of butter and combine the chopped onion and crunched garlic. •• Let the mixture sweat (cook until tender) for 8 minutes at a low to medium heat, with the lid on. •• Add the carrots and celery back into the same pan and réserver. •• Preheat your oven at 400 degrees. ••

Preparing the Béchamel

•• Using a sauce pan over a low heat, slowly the melt 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, which should not be overcooked or allowed to become brown. •• Remove the roux from the heat and then add 1 quart of milk into the roux, mix 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 the reserved pasta water for desired lightness. •• Your Béchamel is now ready…presenting as a beautiful smooth sauce without any lumps. •• Add to your Béchamel the vegetable mixture and 1/4 cup the grated cheese, mixing throughly. •• In a buttered baking dish, evenly arrange the pasta and cover with the Béchamel. •• Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. •• Place the dish on the upper rack of the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  •• Cook for approximately 25 minutes and until top is nicely golden and crisp. •• For extra crispiness, broil for a few minutes, but you must stay on it or the dish will burn quickly. •• Serve piping hot. ••

•• Ooh la la!!! ••


 

 

Mussels and French Fries

Moules Marinières et Frites

Serves 2

Mussels_Moules_ Marinières_Frites_Fries_Le_Menu_Maison_French_Food_Blog_Healthy_Homestyle_Recipes_Bruno_Gaget.jpeg


When shopping for mussels, take note of the origins and also of the smell. Good mussels should have the scent of the sea. Salt sparingly, if needed.


INGREDIENTS

2 liters or 8 cups of fresh mussels

2 green onions, chopped including the stalks or 2 shallots if preferred

1 tbsp olive oil

2-3 stalks of chopped fennel including the leaves

2-3 cloves of freshly crushed garlic

3 branches of fresh parsley

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp butter (optional)

1 medium glass of white or rosé wine

1 tbsp crème fraîche

herbed sea salt to taste

1/4 bouquet of freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Le_Menu_Maison_Cooking_Recipe_Technique_French_Food_Blog_Healthy_Homestyle_Bruno_Gaget


Remember that the choice and quality of your wine selection for cooking should always be equivalent to the quality of what you would also enjoy with your meal.


PREPARATION

•• Soak the mussels in the sink for about 20 minutes. •• Using a small scrub brush or small sharpened knife to scrape, remove the algae and any debris. •• Check each one individually and discard any mussel that is opened, partially opened or cracked. •• To prepare the broth, slowly heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium to large cast iron pot. •• Add the green onions or shallots, garlic and fennel stirring slowly and occasionally over a low flame until the mixture is golden. •• Do not cover. •• Adding 2 tbsp of butter is optional. •• Add the fresh herbs and one glass of white or rosé wine. •• Simmer for approximately 10 minutes, being mindful that the mixture does not reduce down too far. •• Add the mussels and turn the flame to high, cooking for approximately 6-7 minutes. •• To mix the mussels, use a pair of heavy duty kitchen mitts and shake the covered pot of opened mussels over the sink. •• Once cooked to your preference, set the mussels aside in a serving dish, discarding any stray herb branches. •• Using the same pot, combine a liberal amount of the broth with 1 to 2 tbsp of crème fraîche. •• Let it reduce further and pour the broth over the mussels. •• Garnish with finely chopped parsley. •• Any remaining broth can be saved for future use in chowders, etc. •• Store the unused broth in a glass jar with a tight lid and freeze. ••

•• Bon Appétit ••

 

French_Fries_Frites_Salt_Herbs_Le_Menu_Maison_French_Food_Recipes_Healthy_Homestyle_Bruno_Gaget

Frites

French Fries

Serves 2


INGREDIENTS

6 medium sized potatoes

(Charlotte, New, Fingerlings or White Round varieties)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large clove of garlic

sea salt to taste

1/4 bouquet of freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Potatoes_French_Fries_Frites_Cooking_Healthy_Homestyle_Le_Menu_Maison_French_Recipes_Bruno_Gaget_Food_Blog

PREPARATION

•• Preheat your oven to 350°. •• Using a small scrub brush, rinse and scrub clean the potatoes, leaving the skins on (if they are fresh from the farm, organic or bio). •• Cut the potatoes thinly and vertically. •• Soak the potatoes in a large bowl of ice cold water for approximately 10 minutes then towel dry. •• Using the bottom portion of a broiling pan or a cookie sheet, arrange your potatoes in a thin layer, with each potato slice resting separately. •• Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and mix using your hand. •• Crush a large clove of garlic, retaining the skin and place it in the center of the baking sheet. •• Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the potatoes start to become gold and crispy. •• You can also flip the potato slices over, but doing so too early will yield overly softened slices. •• Optional is broiling the potatoes at the end for another five minutes. However, you must stay on it to avoid burning. •• Place the potatoes into a serving bowl lined with paper towels and sprinkle with course herbed sea salt and finely chopped fresh parsley. ••

•• Voila••


 

Cooking Up Coquilles St. Jacques

This recipe demands a bit of extra time and attention, but is well worth the effort. With the weekend upon us, you can dazzle your dinner guests or simply enjoy this sumptuous dish, just for two!

alt=“Recipe Coquilles St Jacques Scallops Sauté French Healthy Homestyle Le Menu Maison Bruno Gaget "

Coquilles St. Jacques

Scallops Sauté

Serves 2

 


 

INGREDIENTS

 8 large scallops rinsed and drained

 2 shallots finely chopped

 1 garlic clove crushed  

 1 tbsp butter 

  1 lemon divided in half   

 2-3 tbsp white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)

sea salt on hand

1 sprig of fresh rosemary 

1 bay leaf 

 few sprigs of finely chopped chive   

 1-2 tbsp crème fraîche 

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 bouquet of freshly chopped parsley to garnish 

  1 cup uncooked brown rice

2 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock

 4 boiled potatoes 

scallop shells from the poissonnière, fish monger or seafood merchant 

alt=“Glass of French white wine food photography Bruno Gaget”


The choice and quality of your wine selection for cooking should always be equivalent to the quality of what you would also enjoy with your meal.


PREPARATION

•• Begin by preparing the rice, rinsing the scallops and setting aside. •• In a small-medium size sauté pan, add the shallots, garlic and butter. •• Cook over a low heat for approximately 15 minutes. •• Once golden brown, remove from the pan and set aside. •• Déglacer the same sauté pan with the juice squeezed from half of a fresh lemon, a pinch of sea salt and 2-3 tbsp of white wine. •• Let it reduce until it slightly thickens. •• Add a sprig of rosemary, bay leaf, chive and the onion and garlic mixture back into the sauté pan. •• Let it thicken but not to a paste consistency, leaving some liquid to be absorbed by the rice. •• Combine a tbsp or 2 of crème fraîche and a tsp of Dijon mustard. •• In a separate sauté pan, on high heat, sauté the scallops until slightly browned, while squeezing another half fresh lemon over the scallops as they cook. •• Add a tbsp of butter and some sea salt while slowly moving the pan about. •• Using tongs and a spurtle, gently flip the scallops once only. •• Remove from the heat and add the scallops to the sauce pan. •• Stir gently to coat. •• Serve over a bed of brown rice with boiled potatoes as an accompaniment. •• Garnish with freshly chopped parsley. ••

•• Bon Appétit ••


 

Save the Scraps for Vegetable Stock

alt=“Recipe for vegetable stock with leftover vegetable scraps by cook and shooter Bruno Gager"

Whether you’re whipping up a soup, stew, sauce or risotto, there is nothing that beats having your own homemade vegetable stock on hand. With a little advance planning and some up-cycling of unused portions of vegetables, you can create a nutrient-rich base for use in any stock. So instead of tossing away those carrot root ends or left over Brussels sprouts, save these veggie bits and pieces in a container or bag and store for future use in the freezer. This no-nonsense recipe is perfect for getting a jump on your upcoming entertaining and holiday gatherings!


INGREDIENTS

1 onion

3 carrots

4 celery stalks

1/2 fennel bulb

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 bouquet fresh parsley

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

2 tablespoons of olive oil

alt=“Fennel and zucchini in a dish at home ingredients for vegetable stock recipe and food photography by Bruno Gaget Le Menu Maison"

SUGGESTIONS FOR UP-CYCLED INGREDIENTS

leeks – particularly the green portions

Brussels sprouts – leaves and bulbs

fennel – including the feathery leaves

carrots – root ends and tips

yellow squash

zucchini

alt=“Fresh parsley at the French farmers market in Fontainebleau France food photography by Bruno Gaget"

PREPARATION

Thoroughly wash all of the fresh and up-cycled vegetables. Rough chop, as necessary.

••

Using a large enameled stockpot, mix the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Over a low heat, allow the vegetables to sweat (reduce) for approximately 10-15 minutes. This process softens the vegetables and also brings forth the flavors.

••

Add enough water to entirely cover the vegetables, noting that additional water levels will dilute the flavors. Lay the herbs on top of the water and cover with a lid. Bring the mixture up to a slow boil then reduce your heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Taste test for readiness.

••

Place the stockpot on a stable and heat resistant surface and remove all of the vegetables and herbs with a slotted spoon. Set your strainer (preferably a chinois strainer) over a large bowl and pour the liquid through.  For a clearer consistency, place a sheet of cheesecloth over the strainer and then pour the stock through.

••

Divide the stock into airtight storage containers and allow to completely cool before refrigerating or freezing. Store the stock in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to 3 months.

••

Lastly, leaving nothing to waste, the cooked vegetable mixture makes for a healthy and tasty treat for your canine companion!

 


 

Asparagus Tips

Asperges

Asparagus

 

alt=“Asparagus Asperges in a bouquet food photography Bruno Gaget”

Asparagus (asperges) was the favored vegetable of France’s King Louis XIV.  Also known as the Sun King, Louis even went as far as to declare asparagus, the “King of Vegetables”. When preparing this highly nutritive, flowering perennial plant, our first instinct usually finds us at the chopping block with a sharp knife in hand. But there’s a better way! From his kitchen on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, watch Professor of Cuisine, Jack Legras of Lenôtre demonstrate a simple preparation technique for asparagus.

•• French with English Subtitles ••