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

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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 ••


 

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 •• 


 

Simply Colcannon

A Traditionally Irish Dish

Serves 2

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Similar to our earlier version of Colcannon with leeks, this recipe is steeped in Irish culinary tradition and saves time in the kitchen without sacrificing taste! 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!


INGREDIENTS

1/2 head of Savoy cabbage

3 large red potatoes

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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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. •• 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 and crunched garlic. •• Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to sweat, bringing forth the sweetness of the onions. •• Cook the mixture slowly to avoid burning, stirring occasionally until you observe a golden hue. •• When the onions are ready, add the cabbage into the sauté pan along with 2 tbsps of butter and 3 tbsps of water. •• Let the cabbage steam down slowly until tender, but not mushy. •• 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, gently folding the potato purée into the mixture. •• Top with butter and serve piping hot.••

•• Delicious! ••


 

Creamy Guacamole

Guacamole Crémeux

Serves 2

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Where Mexican and French cuisine meet…try this healthy and delicious guacamole recipe that’s always popular at home and across the globe (provided you can get your hands on the freshest ingredients)!  Soooooo good!!


INGREDIENTS

2 ripe Hass avocados

1/2 lime or lemon – freshly squeezed

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tsp water

5 branches of cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

3 large carrots 

2 celery branches

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PREPARATION

•• Begin by peeling the carrots and removing the leaves from the branches of celery. •• Throughly wash the carrots and celery, taking extra care to remove any sand from the bottom portions of the celery branches. •• Using a bâtonnets culinary cutting technique, cut the carrots and celery into small short sticks of approximately 4 inches in length. •• Gently roll each avocado between your hands or on a clean kitchen surface to soften the pulp. •• Using a mini Cuisinart food processor, blend the cilantro first. •• Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. •• Fold each section of the avocado in half and squeeze the pulp over the cilantro. •• Add salt, pepper, olive oil, water and freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice. •• Blend until you observe a nice creamy texture. •• Serve with carrots, celery and corn chips of course! •• 

•• 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!!! ••