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 ••

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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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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!•• 


 

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!!! ••


 

 

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••