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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Classic Cheese Soufflé

Soufflé au Fromage Classique

Serves 2

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The origins of the soufflé date back to the early eighteenth century with credit and acknowledgement to French master cook Vincent de la Chapelle. However, the development and popularization of the soufflé in the nineteenth century is attributed to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Served as an entrée or as a dessert, soufflés are typically prepared from two basic components: a Sauce Béchamel as the flavorful base, and the “puff” of the egg whites. Soufflés can be baked in individual ramekins or in a larger single soufflé dish. Ingredients commonly used to flavor are fresh herbs, cheese and vegetables. For dessert soufflés you can introduce the sweetness of jams, fruits, berries, chocolate, bananas and lemons. Soufflés can also be accompanied by a sauce, such as Suprême, Béarnaise or a Tomato Coulis.

Contrary to the myth that a bump or loud noise will cause the soufflé to fall, the inevitable collapse is indeed expected, once the soufflé begins to cool.


•• Sauce Béchamel ••

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

pepper and nutmeg to taste (optional)

1/2  cup of organic unbleached or Spelt flour

1 cup of whole milk or half and half

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PREPARATION

•• Using a sauce pan over a low heat, slowly melt the 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”, that should not be overcooked or allowed to become brown. •• Remove the roux from the heat and add 1 cup of whole milk or half and half, blending 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 milk for desired lightness. •• Your Sauce Béchamel is now ready and should present as a creamy smooth sauce, without any lumps and with the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes. •• Turn off the heat and set aside your saucepan on the cooktop. ••


 •• The Puff of the Egg Whites ••

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs

1 pat of butter

1 cup of grated Swiss cheese

juice of freshly squeezed lemon


PREPARATION

•• Preheat the oven to 430 degrees. •• Thoroughly butter each individual soufflé dish, including the bottoms and the sides. •• Then lightly flour each dish. •• Separate the eggs, whites from the yolks and place into separate bowls. ••

•• Over the cooktop and without any heat under your saucepan, add 4 egg yolks into the Sauce Béchamel, using a small teaspoon, one at a time. •• Then mix throughly. •• Note that the saucepan should be cooled. If it is still too warm, you will have scrambled eggs! •• Bring the mixture up to a very smooth texture and observe a bright mustardy yellow color. •• Again, without any heat, mix in 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese, all at once and stir until completely smoothed. •• Set your saucepan aside. ••

•• Using a large whisk which allows for the passage of lots of air, vigorously whip the egg whites until you observe a thickened and frothy consistency (remember to keep your elbows locked to avoid tendonitis!). •• As you keep whipping, you will soon begin to see the egg whites change from frothy to fluffy and then harden. •• Feel free to add a few drops of fresh lemon to accelerate the hardening process further. •• In with hardening, the egg whites have transformed into a whipped creme that is sturdy enough for your whisk to stand straight up in the creme, without assistance. •• Using no heat and the measurement of 1/3, add the first 1/3 of the whipped creme to the bright yellow Sauce Béchamel and mix it throughly. •• Repeat with the second and third introduction as to avoid creating a watery consistency. Be aware not to over-mix as this too can result in watering down the mixture. •• Fill two individual soufflé dishes a little more than halfway, allowing space for the soufflés to rise. •• Place the dishes in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. •• This is now a great time to prepare a quick and simple fennel and orange salad to accompany your soufflés. ••

•• After approximately 15 minutes into the bake time, you should begin to notice an aroma that fills your kitchen, akin to the heavenly scent of a brioche baking in your oven. •• Although you may be tempted, take care not to open the oven door to observe the rising, as you will lose the heat needed to maintain a consistent temperature for the puff.  Also, do not reduce the temperature in the oven, as this will also cause the soufflé to prematurely fall. •• To check for readiness, use an oven light or flashlight to peer through the glass door of the oven. •• If you observe the height and puff of lighter coloration with a darkened top, your soufflé is ready. •• Insert a sharp knife to further ensure the soufflé has been throughly cooked to the center. If the knife comes back out clean, your soufflé is ready to be served, right away. •• Within 5-10 minutes from the removal the oven, you will see the inevitable collapse of these sumptuous soufflés.••

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 The cake-like appearance with chocolate frosting atop, indicates the readiness of your soufflé. Prêt à mange!


 

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! ••


 

Cooking Up Colcannon

An Irish Recipe for Saint Patrick’s Day

Serves 2

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With just a week to go until Saint Patrick’s Day, we’ve been experimenting with two separate recipes for the traditional Irish dish, Colcannon…using red potatoes, Savoy cabbage and lots of creamy Irish butter! Serve this hearty classic alongside steamed carrots and homemade Irish soda bread to make for an authentically delicious and simply satisfying taste of Irish cuisine.


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INGREDIENTS

1/2 head of Savoy cabbage

3 large red potatoes

1 1/2 cup chopped leek 

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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Classic Colcannon is made with white-headed cannonball cabbage, which is quite popular in the United States. For this recipe we opted for the more aesthetic and lacy textured Savoy cabbage which is named after the Savoy Region in France. Another preference is that Savoy cabbage does not turn into mush when cooked. This varietal has the same flavor and appearance as regular cabbage when cooked, but retains a firm texture and crunchiness, which is desired for this recipe. 


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. •• Prepare the leeks by removing the dark green leafy ends. •• Cut the leek vertically in half and then slice into ringlets. •• 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, crunched garlic and leeks. •• Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to sweat, bringing forth the sweetness of the onions and the leeks. •• Cook the mixture slowly to avoid burning, stirring occasionally until you observe a golden hue. •• When the onion and leek mixture is ready, add the cabbage into the sauté pan along with 2 tbsps of butter and 3 tbsps of water. •• Let the mixture cook down slowly over a low heat for approximately 20 minutes to softness. •• 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 and leeks, gently folding the potato purée into the mixture. •• Top with butter and serve piping hot.••

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••  très bon ••