French Onion Soup

Soupe à l’oignon

Serves 2

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No matter what the season, anytime is a good time for French Onion Soup! 


INGREDIENTS

1 large sweet onion

1 garlic clove

2 tbsp finely cut leek

1 tbsp butter

1tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp of unbleached flour or spelt flour

1 quart of vegetable stock or chicken stock substitute 

1/2 cup Marsala wine

8 slices of French baguette

1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

salt and pepper to taste

2 oven-safe soup bowls

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PREPARATION

•• Begin by peeling the sweet onion and garlic clove. •• Cut the onion into dice shapes of approximately 1/8”. •• Crunch the garlic clove with the flat side of your chef knife. •• Thoroughly wash the leek and remove the green leaves. •• Cut the leek stem vertically in half and then finely slice into half circle shapes of approximately 1/8”. •• In a heated sauté pan, combine 1 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tbsp butter over a low/medium heat. •• When the butter begins to bubble, add the onion, garlic and leeks. •• Cover and allow the mixture to sweat and caramelize. •• So as not to burn, stay on it and stir occasionally. •• When you observe a golden brown hue, taste test. •• The mixture of the ingredients should embody a sweet flavor which forms the basis for your onion soup. •• Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the flour of your choice into the onion mixture, folding gently until all of the flour has been well absorbed. •• Using a large ladle, gradually add 1 quart of vegetable stock, gently mixing in, using a wooden spoon. •• Once the texture of the soup appears smooth, gradually add more stock, repeating the same process until all of the liquid has been added.

•• Preheat your oven to 350°.•• 

•• Add 1/2 cup of Marsala wine to the soup and salt and pepper to taste. •• Cover and cook over a low/medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. •• During this time, cut the baguette into thick slices. •• In order to prevent the baguette from becoming soggy, lightly grill the slices, taking care not to burn. •• If desired, rub a garlic clove over the surfaces of the slices before grilling. •• Once the onion soup is ready, pour into individual, oven-safe soup bowls. •• Layer each bowl of onion soup with four slices of grilled baguette, covering the tops entirely. •• Generously sprinkle grated Gruyère cheese over the baguette, as desired. •• Place the soup bowls on a baking sheet and into your preheated oven of 350°. •• Cook the soups for approximately 15 minutes or until you observe the soup bubbling up from the surface of the golden and evenly melted Gruyère cheese. •• For a deeper grilled cheese effect, remove from the oven and place on a grill for a few minutes. •• Your onion soup will be bubbling hot, so take extra care when removing the baking sheet from the oven.•• 

•• Fantastique •• 


 

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 •• 


 

Mussels and French Fries

Moules Marinières et Frites

Serves 2

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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

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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 ••

 

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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

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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

Coquilles St. Jacques

Scallops Sauté

Serves 2

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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!


 

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 ••