Summertime Potato Salad

Salade de Pommes de Terre

Serves 2

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With summertime settling in, I had a sudden craving for potato salad. Without having all the ingredients on-hand for a homemade mayonnaise, I made do with what was available and by chance, the salad turned out to be really delicious…even without the mayonnaise!

Bruno 


 

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sized red potatoes

3 hard boiled eggs

1 tsp tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

5 branches of fresh cilantro

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste

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PREPARATION

•• Clean and peel the potatoes, then cut into bitesize cubes of approximately 2”. •• Place the potatoes in a medium sauce pan and cover with water, approximately 2/3 high. •• Add salt to taste. •• Over a high heat, bring the potatoes up to to a hard boil, then reduce the heat to medium low for 10 minutes or until readiness. •• The potatoes should be cooked through but firm, to avoid mash potatoes, if overcooked. •• Strain the water from the potatoes and allow to cool. •• Using a small pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil and sauté the garlic clove with the skin intact.  •• Once golden, set aside and remove the skin when cooled. •• Prepare 3 hard boiled eggs by boiling for approximately 7 minutes. •• Submerge the eggs in cold water and allow to cool. •• Remove the shells by making a dent, then gently roll each egg across a clean kitchen towel, which will neatly crack the shell all around for a clean and easy removal. •• Cut the eggs into sections. •• In a medium size mixing bowl, mash the eggs in with the garlic clove by using a fork or a potato masher, to a fine consistency. •• De-stem 5 branches of fresh cilantro and ciseler cut the leaves. •• Add the cilantro in with the eggs, along with 4 tbsps of olive oil, 1 tsp of white vinegar and the juice of 1/2 fresh lemon.  •• Salt and pepper to taste and continue to mix until reaching a creamy paste. •• Gently fold in the potatoes. •• Arrange on a serving platter and Voila! ••


 

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! ••


 

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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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! ••


 

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 ••