Velvety Carrot Soup

Carrots Velouté

Serves 2

alt=“Carrot Soup Velouté Healthy Homestyle French Cooking and Recipes Le Menu Maison Food Blog Bruno Gaget”


This simple soup recipe is a French traditional family favorite that combines the nutritional value of carrots along with a subtle amount of the irresistible Indian spices of cumin or curry. Warming, healthy and délicieux!


INGREDIENTS

6 medium to large sized carrots

1 large red onion

1 garlic clove

4 tsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 branch of fresh fennel (anise)

1/2 tsp of curry or cumin

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup white wine

3 cups water

3 branches of thyme

salt and pepper to taste

alt=“Chopped Carrots for Velouté Soup Recipe Healthy Homestyle French Cooking Le Menu Maison Food Blog Bruno Gaget”

PREPARATION

•• Peel the skins from the carrots and throughly cleanse under clear water to remove any residue of dirt. •• Remove the ends and then cut the length of each carrot into thin slices, approximately 1/8-inch thick. ••

•• To prepare the onion, begin by chopping the top off, then cut the onion in half, leaving the root attached. •• Peel the skin away, discarding the brown layers until you are left with the white onion halves. •• Make 2 or 3 horizontal cuts into the first onion half, then cut down vertically, holding the onion together as you chop. •• Repeat with same cuts with the other half.••

•• Under running water, cleanse the fennel branch and remove some of the feathery leaves for presentation, then cut the branch lengthwise into thin slices.••

•• Using a large pan, heat the butter and olive oil over a medium low heat. •• When the butter begins to bubble, add the carrots first, followed by the onion, garlic, fennel, cumin and salt and pepper. •• Gently mix together, cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.  •• Add a 1/4 cup of water or white wine to déglacer and continue to cook and mix for another 2 minutes. •• Add the chicken stock, 3 cups of water and 3 branches of fresh thyme. •• Continue to cook for 30 minutes over a low heat until the carrots are throughly softened. ••

•• Remove the thyme branches and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. •• Using a hand-held blender, blend the mixture until it becomes a velvety smooth “velouté”. •• Transfer the velouté into a large serving bowl or individual bowls. •• Sprinkle a few fennel leaves for presentation and serve with a warm crusty French bread and butter.••

•• Voila! ••

alt=“Homemade French Bread Le Menu Maison Bruno Gaget Healthy Homestyle Cooking and Recipes Food Blog”


 

 

An Anytime Omelette

Omelette Rolled with Parsley

Omelette Roulée au Persil

Serving 2


Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, a luncheon for two or a light dinner for one, omelettes are a perfect centerpiece for other healthy and delicious accompaniments of your choice, anytime!


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INGREDIENTS

6 organic free range eggs

5 branches fresh parsley

2 tbsps butter

1/4 cup of half & half or whole milk

salt and pepper to taste

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PREPARATION

•• Prepare the fresh parsley by throughly washing and removing the leaves from the stems. •• Finely chop the leaves and set aside. •• In a mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup of half & half or whole milk along with salt and pepper to taste. •• Preheat a non stick frying pan over a low heat and set your serving plate next to the stove top. •• In the same mixing bowl, crack each egg and then add the parsley. •• Blend the ingredients using a fork, taking care not to aggressively over-mix. •• With the frying pan sufficiently heated, increase the temperature to medium/high and add 2 tbsps of butter. •• Allow the butter to melt evenly and maintained without any burning. •• Immediately pour in the egg mixture even if the butter is not completely melted. •• The eggs should then sit for a few seconds, but no longer. •• Using a spatula, slowly and consistently push the eggs from one side of the pan to the opposite side of the pan, creating wrinkles, of sorts. •• This is where a mild panic may set in…but don’t surrender! Continue on by pushing side to side until the eggs are no longer liquid, but still appear a little wet. •• Turn off the heat and tilt your frying pan in an angle when lifting it off the stove. •• This positioning allows for the omelette to roll and fold directly onto the serving plate. •• The technique of rolling and folding is why this dish is called “omelette roulée” which translates as “rolled omelette”. ••

Voilà!

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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!


 

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 ••

Asparagus_Eggs_Lemons_Bread_Ingredients_Eggs_Benedict_Recipe_Le_Menu_Maison_Food_Blog_Bruno_Gaget

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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