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.


 

Mango Sorbet

Sorbet à la Mangue

Serves 2

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Whether you’re mixing up a French Sorbet, Italian Sorbetto or an American Sherbet this summer, these variations of frozen, low-cal desserts blend perfectly with fresh mangoes straight from the tree.  Packed full of vitamin C and folate, this juicy tropical stone fruit can also be savored in drinks, sauces and chutney or eaten in a raw state, anytime.


INGREDIENTS

1 generous sized ripened mango

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PREPARATION

•• To prepare the mango using a hedgehog cut, you must first remove the stone. •• Wide and flat, the stone rests on one of the two sides. •• In determining which side the stone is resting on, gently insert your knife until you can feel resistance from the center, then angle the knife slightly and cut into the mango and around the stone, dividing the mango in half. •• Remove the stone which is surprisingly large and well defined. •• Using the pointed tip of the knife, cut square cubes into the flesh of the mango, creating a hedgehog cut. •• Using a tablespoon, remove the small cubes from the skin and place into a medium sized mixing bowl. •• Blend the mango cubes using a hand-held blender until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. •• Place the mango sorbet in a container or dessert dishes of your choice and allow to freeze until hard, overnight.••

••Voila!••

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Hedgehog Cut

 

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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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! ••


 

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 ••