An Avocado Apéritif

Un apéritif à l’avocat

Serves 2


We recently had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Shemenski of Florida MicroGreens who introduced us to micro onions. Free of pesticides, additives and with no added nutrients, micro greens and micro onions are grown indoors, in hemp.  As a healthy alternative to traditionally grown onions, these delicious sprouts pack a wonderfully tempered flavor that blend perfectly with avocados in season.


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INGREDIENTS

2 ripened Hass avocados

olive oil

freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon or lime

salt and pepper to taste

a few sprigs of fresh basil, cilantro and parsley, finely chopped

sprigs of micro onions to garnish

slices of homemade French boule bread


Florida MicroGreens is an urban indoor hydroponic micro greens farm specializing in growing and selling top-grade living micro greens and micro greens systems for individuals, restaurants, kitchens and schools.  Check out their Facebook page to learn more about these healthy alternative approaches to growing your own.

www.facebook.com/FloridaMicrogreen


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PREPARATION

•• Begin by removing the skins and pits from the avocados. •• Slice the avocados in half and then lengthwise into 4 portions each. •• Arrange the avocado slices on a dish or serving platter. •• Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon or lime over the avocados. •• Salt and pepper to taste.  •• Roll together the desired number of fresh basil leaves, cilantro and parsley. •• Finely chop and sprinkle the herbs over the avocados. •• Garnish with micro onion sprouts over the top and sparingly drizzle with olive oil. •• Individually slice the French boule bread and serve. ••

•• Voilà! ••


 

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! ••


 

Penne with Goat Cheese and Mushrooms

Penne au Fromage de Chèvre et aux Champignons

Serves 4

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The Skinny on Spelt

For those who are gluten sensitive, could there be such a thing as “good gluten”? Apparently yes, and it’s found in the ancient species of wheat known as “spelt”. After overindulging every morning on croissants and baguette still warm from the oven of our favorite corner Boulanger in France, we soon began to experience symptoms of a sensitivity. At the top of our list of possible culprits, we suspected our digestive dilemma was most likely brought about by our self-inflicted gluten overload. As with determining any food allergy or sensitivity, we began by restriction and re-introduction of all gluten-containing products. In understanding the triggers, we learned that gluten in and of itself is not a villain. In fact, spelt is a type of wheat that contains gluten, but hasn’t changed since ancient times…therefore no hybridization or genetic modification, and no added or modified gluten content to make gluten-containing products more appealing. Spelt remains a fragile wheat that breaks down in the cooking and baking process, thus making it easier to digest. However, spelt is not safe for those who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.


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INGREDIENTS

5-7 oz spelt penne according to your appetite

1 cup frozen peas

1 cooked beetroot

1 tbsp olive oil

5 oz fresh button mushrooms

2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, unseparated

salt and pepper to taste

3 1/2 oz fresh goat cheese

2 pints almond cream

mixed salad greens

alt=“Sautéed mushrooms Homestyle Recipes French Cooking Terms French Food Blog Le Menu Maison Bruno Gaget”

PREPARATION

•• Fill a pasta pot with cold water and a dash of salt. •• Bring to a boil and add the frozen peas, cooking for 1-2 minutes. •• Using a slotted spoon, remove the peas from the boiling water and then add the penne, cooking the pasta al dente, according to directions. •• Rinse the penne in cold water, drain and set aside in the colander. •• Prepare the cooked beetroot by removing the outer skin with a peeler or with a small sharp knife, under running cold water. •• Since the beetroot has been cooked, the skin will fall away with ease. •• Clean, dry and arrange a bedding of mixed salad greens on a serving dish. •• Prepare the mushrooms, by snapping the stems off, using your fingers. •• Clean and pat dry using a clean kitchen cloth. •• Thinly slice the mushrooms and set aside. •• In a non stick frying pan, add one tbsp of olive oil over a medium-high heat. •• Once the olive oil begins to smoke, add the mushrooms and two garlic cloves, unpeeled and unseparated. •• Sauté the mushrooms over a medium high heat, stirring frequently. •• When the mushrooms take on a golden appearance, remove from the heat and discard the garlic cloves. •• Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside. •• In a saucepan over a low heat, crumble the goat cheese and gradually add 2 pints of almond cream, stirring lightly until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. •• Add the penne and moisturize over a low heat for a minute or two, gently folding in the peas. •• Place the penne over a bedding of mixed salad greens. •• Add the sautéed mushrooms then grate the beetroot over the top, to your preference. •• Enjoy this delicious dish with a glass of chilled Côtes de Provence Rosé and observe the beautiful color transformation as the creme sauce mixes with the shades of red from the beetroot. ••

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•• Super ••


 

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••


 

A French Breakfast

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Breaking the fast in France is typically fuss-free and minimal.  Great starts begin with fresh fruits in season and tartine, which is another name for your favorite crusty bread topped with butter and “confiture” (jam). Morning coffee is “café au lait” (coffee with milk) served in a small bowl which comes in handy when dipping your tartine.

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Warm up your January in the kitchen with homemade French thyme baguette! Slice into desired portion sizes fresh from the oven, then top with softened butter and your favorite confiture. Another perfect and healthy accompaniment to a French breakfast is a simple fruit salad in season with just a sprinkling of shaved organic chocolat!

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Bonne Journée.