Monday, 25 February 2013

French-Week 7: Crêpes, très Française!

This week in class we practised making crêpes! To me, crêpe is probably one of the most stereotypical French food. When I think about the Eiffel Tower, I also picture the baguette, foie gras, escargot, crème brûlée, and crêpes. We made savoury crêpes that were stuffed with wild mushroom sauce, a.k.a., Crêpes Farci aux Champignons Sauvages

Crêpes batter:
3 large eggs
120 g of flour
240 ml of homo milk (just a bit less than 1 cup)
a pinch of nutmeg
oil, salt/pepper to taste

Mushroom stuffing:
mixed button, Shiitake and oyster mushrooms, cut
(Shiitake's stems have to be removed because of their high fibre content)
half onion, chopped
a shot of Brandy
30 mL of 35% cream
50 mL of demi glace
oil, salt/pepper to taste

1. mix everything for the crêpes batter first, and let it sit aside while you are preparing the mushroom stuffing
2. take a pan, add some oil and sweat the onion
3. add Brandy, evaporate off most of its liquid
4. add mushrooms to the pan to sweat
5. add in the cream and demi glace, bring to a simmer
6. adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

When you make the crêpes, make sure that you are using a seasoned pan. Dip some paper towel in the oil and lightly brush the pan with it. Make sure the pan is not too hot when you put in the batter, otherwise it will burn it quickly. The amount of batter prepared made 8 6-inch crêpes. 

* I served the mushroom-stuffed crêpes as a side to some pan seared salmon coated with Hoisin sauce.

Monday, 18 February 2013

French-Week 3, 4, and 5!

Happy Family Day everyone! I have been procrastinating for a while and fell behind on my French class recipes.  I figured that it would be a good time to catch up with my blogs during the long weekend.  

Week 3. Suprême de Volaille, Rossini (chicken breast stuffed with liver pate)

2 pieces of chicken breasts, supreme
2 shallots, chopped
goose liver pate
1.5 cups of demi glace
1 cup of red wine
salt/pepper, oil

 1. remove the bones in the chicken chest, prepare 2 chicken breasts, cut a pocket in each breast and stuff it with liver pate
2. add oil in pan, heat it up
3. sear the chicken breasts until light brown with hot oil (when lay chickens down in the pan, skin side down first)
4. transfer the browned chicken into a baking tray, bake at 400F for 25min
5. remove excess oil from the pan, and sweat the shallots 
6. add red wine to deglaze the pan
7. add demi glace, salt/pepper to adjust the seasoning

*the chicken was served with glazed carrots, using ginger ale as the source of sugar. 

Week 4. Paupiettes de Saumon St. James Mousseline (seafood stuffed-salmon rolls)

1 lb of salmon fillet
Mousse (the stuffing):
200 g bay scallops
100 g crab meat
1 shallot, chopped
1 leek stalk, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of 35% cream
2 sheets of nori (the seaweed for sushi), damped with water
salt/pepper, oil

1. cut salmon fillets into strips
2. to prepare the vegetable mixture, add oil in a pan and heat up, sweat the shallots, garlic, and leek
3. in a food processor, add scallops and cream to make it to a smooth paste
(scallops are high in protein, so the paste should be quite thick. In case the paste turns out to be too liquidy, you can always add an egg)
4. squeeze out all the juice in the crab meat and add it into the food processor
5. add the vegetable mixture to the seafood paste, add a pinch of salt/pepper, stir everything together
6. spoon the stuffing onto the salmon strips, and roll it up. To make it Asian-fusion, wrap the salmon rolls with the seaweed nori. Now the rolls look like giant sushi! 
7. bake the rolls at 425F for 30min

Week 5. Coq au Vin (braised chicken)

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 cup of button onions
2 packages of button mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
2 cups of red wine, dry
a shot of Brandy
1.5 cups of demi glace
salt/pepper, oil, parley for garnish

1. pre-heat oven to 400F
2. add oil to a pan and heat up, brown the chicken on both sides. Then transfer the chicken to a casserole baking dish
3. remove excess oil from the pan, then add the chopped bacon
4. once the bacon turns crispy, sweat the onions, and add mushrooms
5. add red wine into the pan to deglaze the bottom, add Brandy and demi glace. Bring the liquid to simmering, and adjust the seasoning with salt/pepper
6. pour everything from the pan to the casserole dish that has the chicken, then bake it at 400F for 40min

*it's better to marinate the chicken with red wine the night before, to make the meat more flavourful and tender

Thursday, 14 February 2013

French-Week 6: MMM, lamb!

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day to you all! It's not that I have anything against Valentine's day, I like things that are pink, red, cute, adorable and heart-shaped. But honestly, I am just too practical to find getting an overpriced dinner in a overly crowded restaurant on February 14th every year "romantic". Why designate only one day a year to celebrate the love of your life? With the right person, every day is Valentine's day! 
So if you are like me, who chose to cook at home today, here's a yummy lamb rack recipe for you! 

Cari d'Agneau Florentine
- roasted lamb rack with spinach stuffing. (Anything with Florentine in its name involves spinach)

I guess lamb is not as common as beef or pork or chicken in our daily diet. I have never been a lamb person in my entire life because of the lamb-y smell, which is too distinct and strong for me to tolerate. (By the way, what's the proper English word to describe the lamby smell?) When my mom used to make her lamb stew/soup, our entire place would be filled with the smell and I had to lock myself in my room for hours. So I was pretty reluctant to try the roasted lamb rack made by Chef Klaus during class. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of the smell in the meat! For once, I could finally focus on how tender the meat was, instead of being distracted by the smell! My guess is,  the smell would be less dominant if you prepare the meat by dry heat (i.e. roasting). If you never tried lamb or didn't like it before, give this easy, tasty recipe a try! 

2 lamb racks
half package of spinach
half onion
4 cloves of garlic
white wine
olive oil

1. Clean the lamb.  To make it presentable, you need to French it. 
2. Add olive oil in pan, sweat onion, garlic and spinach, let it cool down
3. make a pocket in the meat, stuff it with sweated spinach/onion
4. season the lamb with salt and pepper
5. add olive oil in pan, sear the racks until the meat turns light brown
6. roast the racks at 425F for 20min for medium rare, or 30min for medium 

*Let the meat sit for a bit before you cut it, to prevent losing the juice in the meat

*You can use some red wine to deglaze the pan that you used to sear the meat, thicken it and make it into a wine sauce. Or make a vinegar/mint sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. I got lazy, so I just drizzled some aged, 6-year old balsamic on top, which turned out to be great! 

The lamb was served on a bed of Port-Braised Du Puy Lentils, here's the recipe for the side dish:
8 oz Du Puy lentils (black)
3 cloves of garlic
1 shallots
1 piece of double-smoked bacon (about 3 oz)
Fresh thyme, parsley, 2 dried bay leaves
olive oil

1. sweat the bacon, shallots, garlic in the pan
2. put in dry lentils
3. add cold water that covers the lentils
4. add thyme, bay leaves, a splash of balsamic, Port, salt/pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a lid, and let the liquid simmer for 20min with the lid on. 
5. when the lentils are about 80% cooked, continue cooking with the lid off to evaporate off the remaining liquid. 

*The other side dish in the picture, Duchesse Potato, will be covered in another blog post. 

Andddddd, of course, no Valentine's day would be complete without chocolate and strawberries! Amaretto sour goes down really well with the chocolate fondue! Who would have known?!