White Bordeaux Sangria

Sangria Bordeaux Blanc

With the waning days of summer, there is still time to grab your basket and gather up some fruit for a refreshing white Bordeaux sangria! Celebrate the end of summer by mixing up a white or red French Bordeaux wine with the best of fruits in season. For added sweetness, hold the sugar and sweeten with honey to taste. So spread out a blanket in the last lushness of sweet summer grass for an impromptu romantic apéritif for two.

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INGREDIENTS

1 bottle of mid-priced French white Bordeaux wine of your choice

red and white grapes

1 orange

2 early McIntosh apples

2 peaches

1 nectarine

1 lemon

1 lime

honey to taste – optional

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PREPARATION

•• Throughly wash and rinse all of the fruit, leaving the skins intact. •• Remove the cores from the apples and the pits from peaches and nectarine, then slice the fruit into small mouth-sized portions. •• Set aside the grapes, uncut. •• Place the fruit into a large pitcher and pour the full bottle of wine over the fruit. ••Add the desired amount of red and white grapes, in addition to honey to taste. •• Refrigerate the sangria for a minimum of 5 hours to overnight, allowing the fruit to ferment. •• To serve, spoon the fruit into large white wine glasses, then slowly pour the sangria over. ••

•• Santé to the Summer of 2019! ••

TIP •• What to do with the left over fruit from the white Bordeaux sangria?  Start another sangria by combining the deliciously fermented fruit with a red French Bordeaux! ••

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The perfect accompaniment to enjoying this sangria is homemade french bread topped with an olive purée from the Kontoulis Family Olive Grove in Messinia, Greece. Producers of high quality, extra virgin olive oil, this first cold press and all natural olive oil and purée can be found at the Westport Farmers’ Market in Westport, Connecticut or you can order it online @ kontoulisfamily.com.

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Eggplant Parmesan

A Classic Italian Dish

Eggplant Parmesan is the first recipe share from one of our fellow home cook contributors and French Culinary Institute graduate, Carole Lawrence. While on a recent trip to Italy, Carole spent much of her time sourcing the local farmers markets and cooking up a storm – experimenting with new dishes and replicating some of her favorites, like this classic Italian homestyle recipe which you can find on her page here @ Cooking with Carole.

We are looking forward to sharing more of Carole’s culinary delights in upcoming posts from Le Menu Maison so stay tuned.  Merci Beaucoup Carole!

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Eggplant or aubergine is an edible fruit which can be used as a substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes. Although low in nutrients, eggplant absorbs cooking fats and sauces, further enhancing the flavors of eggplant dishes. So spark your culinary imagination with eggplant which can be steamed, stir-fried, pan fried, deep fried, barbecued, roasted, stewed, curried, pickled or stuffed.


 

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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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!


 

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)

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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! ••