Cooking Up Colcannon

An Irish Recipe for Saint Patrick’s Day

Serves 2

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With just a week to go until Saint Patrick’s Day, we’ve been experimenting with two separate recipes for the traditional Irish dish, Colcannon…using red potatoes, Savoy cabbage and lots of creamy Irish butter! Serve this hearty classic alongside steamed carrots and homemade Irish soda bread to make for an authentically delicious and simply satisfying taste of Irish cuisine.


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INGREDIENTS

1/2 head of Savoy cabbage

3 large red potatoes

1 1/2 cup chopped leek 

1/2 large sweet onion 

1 clove garlic 

1 tbsp olive oil

4 ounces butter (preferably salted Kerrygold)

salt and pepper to taste

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Classic Colcannon is made with white-headed cannonball cabbage, which is quite popular in the United States. For this recipe we opted for the more aesthetic and lacy textured Savoy cabbage which is named after the Savoy Region in France. Another preference is that Savoy cabbage does not turn into mush when cooked. This varietal has the same flavor and appearance as regular cabbage when cooked, but retains a firm texture and crunchiness, which is desired for this recipe. 


PREPARATION

•• Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks of 2-1/2 inches. •• Place the potatoes into a bowl of cold water and rinse until the water runs clear, eliminating the starch. •• Strain and place the potatoes in a large pan with cold water and salt to taste. •• Over a medium heat bring the potatoes to a full boil for approximately 15-20 minutes. •• To test the readiness of the potatoes, take a small cutting knife and pierce random pieces then hold the knife upwards. •• When the potato falls from the knife back into the water, the potato is ready. •• Note that the potatoes should be cooked to softness and not mush, in preparation for a purée. •• To prepare the cabbage, cut in one half and reserve the other half for future use. •• Cut the cabbage into portions of approximately 1 inch thickness and then into smaller bite size portions. •• Place in a colander and rinse throughly, taking care to remove any excess sand. •• Prepare the leeks by removing the dark green leafy ends. •• Cut the leek vertically in half and then slice into ringlets. •• Peel half of the sweet onion and a garlic clove. •• Slice and dice into small pieces. •• Using the flat of your knife, crunch the garlic with a pinch of salt. •• In a pre-warmed sauté pan over a medium heat, combine 1 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tsp of butter. •• Once you have observed slight bubbling, add the onion, crunched garlic and leeks. •• Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to sweat, bringing forth the sweetness of the onions and the leeks. •• Cook the mixture slowly to avoid burning, stirring occasionally until you observe a golden hue. •• When the onion and leek mixture is ready, add the cabbage into the sauté pan along with 2 tbsps of butter and 3 tbsps of water. •• Let the mixture cook down slowly over a low heat for approximately 20 minutes to softness. •• Purée the potatoes, using a hand-held masher. •• Combine 5 tbsps of butter with the potatoes along with 3 tbsps of half and half. •• Salt and pepper to taste. •• Purée the potatoes to a chunky consistency, avoiding smoothness. •• Mix the potato purée into the sauté pan of cabbage and leeks, gently folding the potato purée into the mixture. •• Top with butter and serve piping hot.••

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••  très bon •• 


 

A Salad of Various Ingredients

Salad Variée

Serves 2

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INGREDIENTS

1 large red potato

A generous handful of fresh string beans (haricots verts)

1/2 large sweet onion

1 garlic clove

1/2 medium size zucchini

4 hard boiled eggs

1/4 fresh lime or lemon

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

salt and pepper to taste

dash of nutmeg (optional)


Translated into English, Salade Variée means “varied salad”.  So be a little daring and get creative with various combinations of healthy ingredients that blend well together in both taste and presentation!


PREPARATION

•• Begin by peeling the skin from the potato and slice into bite size cubes. •• Place the potato cubes in a large bowl and rinse until the bowl water runs clear, removing all excess of starch. •• Using a sauté pan, evenly situate the potato cubes, cover generously with water and bring to a boil over a high heat. •• Once at the full boiling point, immediately reduce to a medium/low heat and add one tsp of salt. •• Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes or until you have observed that the potatoes are cooked but firm. •• Drain into a colander and set aside. •• While the potatoes are cooking, prepare your green beans by snapping off and discarding the ends. •• Wash and steam the green beans in pan for 3 minutes then drain and set aside. •• Clean and dice your zucchini into bite sized pieces then set aside. •• Prepare the hard boiled eggs. •• Once cooked, set aside in a bowl filled with cold water. •• Peel half of the sweet onion and a garlic clove, then slice and dice into small pieces. •• Using the flat of your knife, crunch the garlic with a pinch of salt. •• In a sauté pan, combine the onion and garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil. •• Over a medium/low heat, allow the ingredients to sweat for approximately 4 minutes. •• Add the potatoes, zucchini along with a dash of nutmeg and sauté over a medium heat until golden brown, not burned. •• Add the green beans along with a tbsp of butter, gently mixing all the ingredients until the butter is fully melted. •• Remove the sauté pan from the heat and arrange the salad on a serving platter. •• Remove the shells from the cooled, hard boiled eggs. •• Slice the eggs into halves or quarters, as preferred and decorate the top of your Salade Variée. •• Drizzle a few drops of olive oil, freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and serve this dish, slightly warm.•• 

•• Voilà!•• 


 

Creamy Guacamole

Guacamole Crémeux

Serves 2

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Where Mexican and French cuisine meet…try this healthy and delicious guacamole recipe that’s always popular at home and across the globe (provided you can get your hands on the freshest ingredients)!  Soooooo good!!


INGREDIENTS

2 ripe Hass avocados

1/2 lime or lemon – freshly squeezed

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tsp water

5 branches of cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

3 large carrots 

2 celery branches

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PREPARATION

•• Begin by peeling the carrots and removing the leaves from the branches of celery. •• Throughly wash the carrots and celery, taking extra care to remove any sand from the bottom portions of the celery branches. •• Using a bâtonnets culinary cutting technique, cut the carrots and celery into small short sticks of approximately 4 inches in length. •• Gently roll each avocado between your hands or on a clean kitchen surface to soften the pulp. •• Using a mini Cuisinart food processor, blend the cilantro first. •• Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. •• Fold each section of the avocado in half and squeeze the pulp over the cilantro. •• Add salt, pepper, olive oil, water and freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice. •• Blend until you observe a nice creamy texture. •• Serve with carrots, celery and corn chips of course! •• 

•• Voilà•• 


 

Potato Purée & Salmon

Parmentier Marguerite

Serves 4

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Bruno created this special recipe in honor of a true renaissance woman…my beloved grandmother, Margaret Davey Richardson. Widowed at a young age with six children, Margaret was an accomplished woman ahead of her time; possessing extraordinary intellect, understated elegance and a flawless style. Committed to excellence in all that she did, Margaret was revered as a mother, grandmother, successful businesswoman, fine arts painter, fascinating story teller and a refined culinary creator of healthy homestyle French cuisine.  Although Bruno’s Parmentier Marguerite is not exact to “Nanny’s Fish Dish”…it’s just as wonderfully delicious in taste and memories!  ∼ Joanne ∼


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Margaret Davey Richardson

INGREDIENTS

3-4 fresh salmon filets without the skin

6-7 medium sized potatoes for purée •• mashed

5 fresh carrots sliced into bite sized pieces

2 pats of butter

fresh lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

light drizzle of dry white wine

2 green onions finely chopped

1/2 cup Gruyère cheese grated

2-3 sprigs parsley finely chopped

2-3 sprigs cilantro finely chopped

sea salt & pepper to taste

frisée salad greens

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PREPARATION

•• Prepare the salmon filets by rinsing and drying thoroughly with paper towels, absorbing any excess moisture. •• Cook the potatoes by boiling with the skins in tact. •• Boil the carrots until tender then set aside to cool. •• In a buttered casserole dish, layer the entire bottom with the salmon filets. •• Sprinkle with lemon zest, green onion, parsley, cilantro, sea salt and pepper. •• Very lightly drizzle with a dry white wine that is of the same quality that you would also drink. •• Create another layer by adding the carrots and grated Gruyère cheese, noting that each layer should be balanced and not dominate the other. •• Place the casserole dish into a preheated oven of 350° and partially bake for approximately 10 minutes, then remove. •• Once your potatoes are fully cooked, remove the skins and puree or mash with a manual hand-held masher. •• Layer the potato puree on top, return to the oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown, noting that most of the moisture has evaporated. •• Keep the dish in the oven but turned off to allow for further evaporation for another 20 minutes. •• Slice into portions and serve over a bed of frisée salad greens. ••

•• Délicieux ••

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Springtime Marguerites in the Fontainebleau Forest

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Gratin de Pâtes Sauce Béchamel

Serves 4

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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!!! ••