Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carrot & Blue Cheese Soup

Fresh carrots and creamy blue cheese team up to create a quick and easy winning flavor combo!
This recipe has a rather funny story behind it!  My friend Sandrine's father had a business that brought local products from Auvergne down the Alp Maritime area.  On one trip the roads were slippery and the truck went off the road and many of the boxes were damaged; not the products just the boxes but that meant the stores could not take delivery.  So Sandrine showed up at my house with an entire round of Blue de Augergne cheese which just happens to be the creamiest most wonderful blue cheese you will ever taste!  It being winter, my local farmer's fresh produce was rather limited and carrots were about all he had in abundance so I thought why not give carrots soup with some blue cheese a try. Well it was a huge hit with both my kids and my here it is for you to try; Carrot & Blue Cheese Soup

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Savory Lentil, Sweet Potato & Smoked Sausage Soup

The perfect winter soup; hearty, filling and delicious!
 Here's how it's made:

Shrimp Provencal

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare shrimp and it just happens to be the easiest of all! !  So few ingredients, so little time and SO MUCH FLAVOR makes this Shrimp Provencal extra special!
Watch and cook along with the video:


With origins dating back to the 1980's when the Savoie cheese makers created Tartiflette to promote their local products, this hearty cheese and potato dish is just the perfect foundation from which to build your own creation using LEFTOVERS!
Here's how to make Tartiflette:

Cuisse De Grenuille

This special recipes comes from the Valbonaise Restaurant in Valbonne France which is known for serving the best frogs legs in all of France.
Be brave and give frogs legs a try; you'll love them!  Here's how:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Quick & Easy, you'll have most ingredients right in your kitchen ready to go! This is a great soup to fill you up, keep you warm and is super easy on the budget!
Here is the quick how-to video:

Brunch Strata with Arugula & Pear Salad

Prepare ahead brunch strata served with an arugula & pear salad that will wow even your most picky guest! 

Quick and easy how-to video:

Baked Brunch Strata
Perfect for the holiday season; a make ahead brunch dish to wow even the most picky house guest!
4 eggs + 4 egg whites
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
4 cups cubed bread
1 large package spinach wilted (or I box frozen chopped spinach thawed)
1 cup peas
2 cups smoked ham cubed
1 ½ cups Swiss cheese grated
3 slices bacon cooked and crumbles
1 cup mozzarella shredded
Wilt the spinach by placing in microwave safe bowl; cover with cling film.  Poke two holes in the plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool drain by squeezing well.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard pepper and rosemary.  Add the ham and Swiss cheese then the cubed bread and combine well.
Place ½ of the bread mixture in a baking dish, top with spinach then peas.  Cover with remaining bread mixture and pat down with a spatula.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes in preheated 375 oven.  Uncover and top with bacon then mozzarella and return to the oven, uncovered for 20 minutes.  Let rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Blue d’Auvergne Cheese & Pear Salad
Serves 6 for Appetizer/Starter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices bacon
2 fresh pears
8 ounces arugula
4 ounces Ile De France Blue d’Auvergne cheese

Prepare a vinaigrette by mixing together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Set aside to let the flavors blend.
Set a large frying pan over medium heat.
Cut the bacon into 1 inch slices and put into the hot frying pan.
Sauté the bacon pieces until crisp.
Remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from frying pan.
Core the pears and then cut into ½ inch circular slices.
Sauté pears in remaining bacon grease over medium high heat turning once, until edges are slightly browned.
Remove from the pan let drain on paper towels.
Spread arugula over a large platter and drizzle with ½ of the vinaigrette dressing.
Layer the pear slices over the arugula.
Top with bacon pieces.
Crumble the Ile De France Blue d’Auvergne cheese over the salad.
Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.

Chicken & Sun Dried Tomato Meatballs with Warm Lentil Salad

Combining sun dried tomatoes with ground chicken is a total flavor treat! Serve them with a warm lentil salad and you have an easy to prepare family favorite!
How-to video:

Salmon en Papillote with Stuffed Mushrooms and Coconut Pears

The perfect menu to serve when friends are invited over for dinner.  Everything can be prepped ahead and the oven does the cooking without your having to be in attendance!  So go ahead, invite friends over for dinner and enjoy their company the whole evening!
Here is the how-to video for the entire meal:

Salmon en Papillote serves 3
1 fillet of salmon
1 lemon
1 lime
2 spring onions
3 sprigs fresh dill
Cut the salmon into 3 slices
Place the salmon slices side by side on a baking sheet lined with non stick aluminum foil
Thinly slice the lemon & limes
Chop the spring onion into 1 inch pieces
Top the salmon pieces with lemon slices, fresh dill, lime slices and then spring onions
Make a packet around the salmon using a second piece of foil, seal the edges together by folding toward the salmon.
Bake in pre heated 400F. Oven for 20 minutes
Stuffed Mushrooms serves 3
3 large fresh portabella mushrooms
8 ounces steamed and cooled purple or red potatoes
6 slices cooked crisp bacon
1 clove garlic
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Drizzle 3-4 tablespoon olive oil into a baking dish
Wipe the portabellas clean with a damp paper towel
Remove stems
Place mushrooms in baking dish
Slice potatoes and place inside mushrooms
Chop bacon and divide evenly between the three mushrooms
Mince the garlic
Chop the parsley
Combine the garlic and parsley and chop again together
Top the bacon with the parsley garlic mixture
Drizzle with remaining olive oil
Bake in preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes
Coconut Pears Serves 3
3 firm ripe pear
3 tablespoons Triple Sec
The juice of 1 tangerine or ½ orange
½ cup flour
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
1 cup sweetened coconut ½ cup oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 scoops chocolate ice cream
1/3 cup chocolate sauce
Slice pear from top to bottom into ¼ inch pieces
Mix together the triple sec and tangerine juice
Marinade the pears for 15 minutes
Beat the egg with the water
Dry the pears
Dredge the pears in the flour, and then dip into the beaten egg then into the coconut
Fry in hot oil mixed with the butter until browned on both sides
Serve with one scoop of chocolate ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup

Quick & Easy Cassoulet

Traditionally VERY time consuming this French Cassoulet has been transformed to fit our American fast paced lifestyles. 
 How-to Video:

Ingredients Serves 4
2 chicken breasts cut in half or 4 thighs
3 sausages
1 can white beans rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt & ½ teaspoon pepper
1 celery stock chopped
A carrot chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 T fresh oregano chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 ½ cup crushed tomatoes
4 slices bacon
2 cups panko
1 teaspoon porcini powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ cup melted butter
Brown sausages and set aside
Brown chicken and set aside
Drain fat from pan and then sauté onion, carrot, garlic, oregano and celery until onion is translucent
Add the chicken stock and reduce by 1/3
Add the tomatoes salt and pepper
Add the beans and then nestle the chicken and sausages into the sauce
Cover and bake for 50 minutes in preheated 425F oven
Cut bacon into matchstick size pieces and cook until crisp.
Drain and set aside
 In a medium bowl combine the panko, dried oregano, onion powder, bacon and melted butter
Raise oven temperature to 500
Spread topping over cassoulet
Bake uncovered for another 8-10 minutes

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Tomato Basil Sauce

Italy, the Italian Riviera to be exact is the inspiration for Bacon Wrapped Chicken with tomatoes & Basil.
Watch the short how-to video and see just how easy this is to make!

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 slices bacon
1 clove garlic
1 ½ pounds (about 3 cups) tomatoes  (1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes)
4 Tablespoons basil
Salt & pepper
4-5 tablespoons olive oil  (6 Tablespoons olive oil)
Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes
Place tomatoes in a  non stick sauce pan and cook over medium heat until softened and juice is reduced by half
Add basil, stir and remove from heat
Pour tomatoes into a baking dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper
Finely slice the garlic clove
Place one garlic slice into the center of each chicken thigh
Wrap chicken thighs with one slice of bacon each
Snuggle the chicken thighs into the tomato basil sauce
Drizzle with olive oil
Bake in preheated 400F oven for 55-60 minutes

Chicken & Artichokes with Parsley salad

You will absolutely love the flavors of the artichokes with the chicken and the parsley red onion salad is just bursting full of flavor as well.
How to video:

 Chicken & Artichokes
4 Chicken Thighs with bone and skin
1 Pound violet Artichokes cleaned and halved or 1 package frozen
1 Lemon cut into 8 wedges
3 Tablespoons fresh Rosemary fine chopped
Salt & Pepper
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil into an 8X8 baking dish
Arrange the chicken thighs and lemon wedges in pan
Top with chopped rosemary
Add the artichokes
Sprinkle with salt & pepper
Drizzle with remaining olive oil
Bake in pre heated 425F oven for 55 minutes
Italian Parsley & Red Onion Salad
2 Tablespoons each chopped fresh oregano & basil
1 red onion halved and thinly sliced
2 cups flat leaf Italian parsley chopped
2 tablespoons capers
¼ cup crumbled feta
The juice from ½ lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Combine oregano, basil, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, capers, lemon juice and feta
Set aside for 10 minutes
Drizzle with olive oil, toss and serve

Browned Butter Upside Down Peach Cobbler

A new French twist on an old American favorite! 
Here is the short how to video:

3 cups fresh peeled and sliced peaches
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup almonds
Grated nutmeg
¼ cup dark brown sugar
In a medium saucepan combine peaches, ½ cup sugar and lemon juice.
Bring to a simmer and remove from heat
In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium/high heat swirling until just lightly browned
Pour butter into an 8X8 baking dish
Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, salt, baking powder mixing well
Pour in the buttermilk and combine until all ingredients are moistened.  Do not over mix.
Pour the batter over the melted butter
Top with the peaches, almonds, brown sugar and nutmeg
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 50-55 minutes

Oatmeal Brownie Cake

Moist, dense, crunchy, chocolaty, delish and gluten free!  So easy to make, this is a great afterschool treat or lunch box dessert.  Combine with a scoop of ice-cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup and you are in dessert heaven!
Here's the how-to video!

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate
8 ounces butter
5 eggs
1 cup almond meal
½ teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
8 ounces powdered sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cups oatmeal
Heat the oven to 350F
Melt together your chocolate and butter
In a mixing bowl combine melted chocolate & butter with 5 eggs, one at a time
Add in the almond meal, baking powder and baking soda
Mix well on low
Add in the powdered sugar, nuts and oatmeal
Mix on medium low for 2-3 minutes
Pour into a non stick Bundt pan or coat the pan with non stick spray
Bake for 35-40 minutes
Cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan

Polpette Con Mozzarella

There are so many ways to serve these wonderful little meat balls with a surprise inside!  Cooked in a simple and light Italian red sauce they are perfect for hoagies, with spaghetti or polenta!
Watch the short how to video here:

1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup white wine ½ teaspoon salt & fresh ground black pepper
750 grams tomato puree
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 egg beaten
¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt & pepper
8 ounces mini fresh mozzarella balls
Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft and translucent
Add the oregano, salt, pepper, stock, wine and tomato puree
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes
Mix together the beef, pork, oregano, egg, bread crumbs salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder
Take a small scoop of the meat mixture and place a mozzarella ball in the center
Mold the meat around the cheese to seal.
Place the meatballs in the red sauce and simmer for 15-20 minutes
Serve the meatballs on toasted hoagie rolls, over spaghetti or polenta

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

A stuffed and rolled pork tenderloin may look difficult but it is really easy!  Also called butterfly, don’t be afraid to give it a try; not only is it a gorgeous way to serve tenderloin, it’s wonderfully delicious and healthy!
Watch the short how-to video and see just how easy it is to stuff a pork tenderloin!

1 pork tenderloin
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package fresh baby spinach
6 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices prosciutto
Sauté the onion until translucent and softened
Add the spinach and cook until tender
Set aside in strainer to drain
Make a ¼ inch deep slice lengthwise into the tenderloin
Continue making lengthwise slices so you are unrolling the tenderloin
Cover with parchment paper and tap until even in thickness
Layer on the Swiss cheese slices
Top with the drained spinach mixture
Place the prosciutto slices next
Roll the tenderloin lengthwise
Tie with kitchen string or wrap in parchment paper
Roast in preheated 425F oven until internal temperature reaches 160; about 35 minutes

Mini Tarts & Prosecco Citrusade

Served warm or room temperature these goat cheese filled mini tarts are the perfect pairing for light and refreshing Citrusade!
Here's the short how-to video!

5 ounces goat cheese
1 egg
3 sprigs each fresh oregano & thyme finely chopped
Pinch salt & pepper
½ sundried tomato minced
4 tablespoons cottage cheese
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 box mini filo tarts
Mix together the goat cheese, egg, herbs, salt, pepper, sundried tomato and cottage cheese
Lightly toast the bread crumbs in a medium sauté pan
Add the cheese mixture and warm, stirring constantly for 5 minutes
Fill the tarts and serve

Lemon Marinated Salmon Salad

Pairing citrus and salmon is always a great combination but when you marinate the salmon in lemon it turns into a great idea!  You’ll find this salad served throughout the south of France all summer long!
Watch the short video for directions!

1 salmon fillet
2 lemons juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon baies roses
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot
¼ teaspoon salt & a grating of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces baby salad greens
Thinly slice the salmon on the diagonal and place side by side on a serving platter
Cover with lemon juice
Drizzle with olive oil
Top with baies roses
Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes
Finely mince the shallot and add to the vinegar
Let rest for 5-10 minutes
Add the salt and pepper, mix until salt is dissolved
Add the Dijon mustard and whisk together
Slowly whisk in the olive oil, taste and add another tablespoon olive oil if necessary
Dress the salad greens with half the dressing, adding more if necessary
Divide the greens between four plates and top with 3 slices of salmon

Individual S'More Cakes

A traditional children’s summer evening campfire dessert is transformed into an adult dessert worthy of finishing your finest meal! A rich, moist, deep chocolate cake is topped with a crunchy graham cracker crumble then finished with toasted marshmallows instantly transporting us back to childhood summers.
Watch the short video to find out just how easy these wonderful little care are to make!

Serves 6
1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1/3 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup white sugar
1 Egg
½  Cup whipping cream
½ Cup butter divided
1 Teaspoon vanilla
½ Cup boiling water
1/8 Cup Espresso
6 Graham Crackers
2 Tablespoons Dark brown Sugar
2 Cups Mini Marshmallows; regular or chocolate.
1.       Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.       Coat 6 five inch ramekins with non stick baking spray.
3.       In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.
4.       Add the eggs, whipping cream, espresso, vanilla and ¼ cup butter. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
5.       Slowly add the boiling water until well incorporated.  Batter will be quite thin.
6.       Divide the batter evenly between the 6 ramekins and bake for 20 minutes.
7.        While ramekins are baking crumble the 4 graham crackers into a small bowl.
8.       Mix in ¼ cup melted butter and 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar.
9.       Top the ramekins with the graham cracker crumble and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
10.   Top the cakes with 1/3 cup marshmallows each.
11.   Place under the broiler and toast the marshmallows until golden brown.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken Bouillabaisse

When we think of Bouillabaisse, we think fish soup!  But bouillabaisse's cooking method is also perfect for chicken. On any given Sunday in the hills around Nice France you are very likely to find Chicken Bouillabaisse on the menu!

Watch the short video and learn how to make this easy, healthy and delicious  soup!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quiche Lorraine for the American Kitchen

Quiche Lorraine made lighter and healthier but will all the flavor intact! This is a modern American version of the traditional French Classic!

Watch the short video to find out JUST how easy quiche is to make!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Soup au Pistou

Hearty vegetable soup with a drizzle of fresh pesto is just what you need on a cold winter's day! This soup is served all winter long in the south of France and every cook has their own special version. Here's mine; it is my family's favorite!

Watch the short video to find out just how easy it is to make Soup au Pistou!

Soup au Pistou

4 potatoes
2 leeks white and light green part only
8 oz. fresh green beans
1 onion
4 T. olive oil
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
4 zucchini
1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper
2 C. chopped canned tomatoes
4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
2 C. canned white beans drained and rinsed

Chop onions and leeks into small pieces of equal size
Warm olive oil in a large stock pot over medium low heat
Sweat the onions and leeks for 10 minutes until onions are translucent and leeks are tender
Chop zucchini, carrots and celery into quarter inch pieces, cut the green beans into pea sized pieces
Add to the onions along with salt and pepper
Cover and sweat down for 15 minutes
Add tomatoes and chicken stock; cover and simmer for 30 minutes
Add the white beans and simmer for 10 minutes
For the Pesto:
1 C. loose packed fresh basil leaves
½ C. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 T. pine nuts
¼ C. Parmesan cheese
Pulse blend the basil, garlic Parmesan, pine nuts and ¼ C. olive oil
Drizzle more olive oil as needed while pulse blending until you have a soft paste
Stir pesto into the soup and serve with extra grated Parmesan or put the pesto in a bowl and have everyone add their own.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Provencal Tomato Rice Soup

In the French Provence region this tomato soup is served all summer long.  It's quick and easy; perfect when you don't have a lot of time yet want a really flavorful treat!
Here's a quick video that shows you just how easy Provencal Tomato Rice Soup is!

Provencal Tomato Rice Soup
2 pounds fresh tomatoes
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
4 cloves garlic
1 T. orange zest
2 T. tomato paste
smidge of saffron
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T. oregano
2 T. tomato paste
2 t. sugar
1 ½ c. chicken stock
3 cups water
¼ cup rice
Thinly slice the onion
Mince the carrot, celery, garlic & oregano
Warm 3 T. olive oil in a large stock pot
Add the onions, carrot, celery, oregano, garlic and orange zest
Sweat covered for 15 minutes
Peel seed and rough chop the tomatoes
Add the tomatoes to the stock pot along with the tomato paste, sugar, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes
Blend and add the rice
Simmer for 15 minutes until rice is cooked
Serve hot