Friday, November 25, 2011

Spinach, Goat Cheese and smoked Salmon Feuillete ... a best off !!

Who doesn't like the association Goat Cheese & fresh Spinach & Salmon ??

This tempting meal is a really easy to do !
The flavors were really balanced, and this meal is no greasy, salty, or bland ... it is just a perfect marriage with delicate flavors ! 

As you know, I am a Puff pastry lover ... and what I like the best in this recipe is that you can adapt the ingredients to your tastes : add Zucchinis (like I did), tomatoes,  Cheese, sweet red Peppers, use Prosciutto/grilled Chicken/Tuna etc ... instead of the Salmon ...

Enjoy the Feuillete warm, right out of the oven  and with a glass of your favorite white Wine !!

I highly recommend a Spring Mix Salad on the side to bring a fresh and crunchy touch to your Feuillete !!
Et Voila !!!

A bientot et Bon Appetit,
Emilie your French Chef

La recette de Feuillete aux Epinard, Saumon fume et Chevre frais (fresh Spinach, smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese puffy Feuillete)

Ingredients for 4 persons:

- 1 sheet of frozen Puff Pastry (Pepperidge Farm recommended) - defrost 20mn at room temperature
- 1/2 Onion
- 1 bag of fresh baby Spinach
- 3 branches of Spring Onions
- 3 large slices of smoked Salmon
- 1 Zucchini (if you don't have enough Spinach ;-)
- 1 fresh Goat Cheese Log
- Sour Cream
- Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 ° F.

Roll out the sheet of puff pastry on a sheet of Parchment paper.

In a pan, add both onions with 1 tbspoon of Olive Oil and cook on medium until you get a caramelized color.
(Add the Zucchinis slices if you use some. Stir in the onions).
Add the Spinaches and add 1/3 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook on low heat until Spinaches are tender and water is evaporated.

Add Salt and Pepper (dont use to much Salt, Salmon is already salty).

Add the smoked Salmon previously sliced into strips - and stir in the Spinach. 
Add 3 tablespoons (or 2 large spoons) of  sour Cream. Stir for 2 minutes over low heat.
 Remove from heat. The mixture should be compact (if not, keep heating).

 Spread the mixture in the middle of the puff pastry (look at the picture above). Add pieces of Goat Cheese on top of the mixture and add Pepper.

Close the edges of the dough on the mixture (look at the picture above).

Bake 20 minutes in the oven or until the crust is puffy, and has a nice brown color.
Serve with a Salad on the side.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Parmesan & Pesto Twists ... bring the wine !!

One ingredient you should always have in your freezer : Puff Pastry !!!!

There are so many things you can do easily with Puff Pastry, and these "Feuilletes au Parmesan & Pesto" (bite-size puffy appetizers) are so deliciously warm and crunchy right out from the oven.

That's what I'm talking about !

One thing I highly recommend : The "Pepperidge Farm" Puff Pastry is the best value I've found so far !!!

Use your favorite ingredients to create your own recipe : Pesto, Cheese, Parmesan, Herbs, Mustard, Basil, Tomato Sauce, Spices (Curry, Paprika, Cumin, etc ...)

It is really quick & easy, your guests will love your small Feuilletes !!

A bientot & Bon Appetit!
Emilie, your French Chef

La recette de Feuilletes au Parmesan and Pesto (Parmesan & Pesto Puffy Twists)

Ingredients for 20 Feuilletes au Parmesan:

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted during 20mn at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence or dry thyme leaves
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out the sheet of puff pastry on a sheet of Parchment paper. 

Beat the egg and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle over the sheet evenly the Parmesan, Herbes de Provence. Add Salt and Pepper.

Cut crosswise into strips, about 1/3-inch wide with a pizza wheel. Twist each strip and lay on the parchment paper.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Serve warm right out from the oven.

Recipe for the Pesto Feuilletes :

Spread the pesto on your defrost sheet of puff Pastry. Sprinkle with Parmesan, Salt & Pepper.
Cut cross wide into 1 inch with a pizza wheel. Roll each strip like a snail and lay each piece on the side.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Serve warm right out from the oven.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lemon Meringue CupCake ... a zesty and cute Treat !

If you are a Lemon Meringue Tart Lover and a Cupcake Lover, you will love this Treat !

Ok, a Cupcake is not really a French specialty, but the Lemon Meringue Tart is ... so why not trying to have the taste of the Lemon Tart in a Cupcake.
That's what I wanted to do today, and I am really proud of my small desserts ;-)

"Lucky you" if you are gluten allergic, these Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are gluten free, not to mention the recipe is really easy !!!

There is no butter cream in this Cupcake, just a light and sweet Meringue, and the zesty taste of Lemon in the muffin.

After 1mn under the broiler, you'll get get this light brown Meringue ...

Et voila, bon Appetit !!

La recette de Lemon Meringue Cupcakes:

Ingredients for 20 mini Cupcakes
- 20 mini muffin cups
- 6 large brown eggs
- 7 oz of granulated sugar (200gr)
- 4.6 oz of melted salted butter (130gr) a few more than a stick
- 8.8 oz of almond meal (250 gr)
- 7gr of dry yeast or 1 tablespoon
- Lemon Curd (Traders’ Joe is great !)

- 1/2 zest of Lemon

Preheat the oven to 365° F.
In a bowl, combine sugar, almond meal, 1 tablespoon of lemon curd, lemon zests and eggs. Mix 3mn with the food processor from low to high speed. Add the warmed butter, then the yeast.

Mix 1mn more and let the mixture rest for 15 mn.

Put your muffin cups into your muffin pan. Fill each cup to 2/3.
Add a small spoon of Lemon Curd on the top of the mixture (do not push the Lemon Curd in the mixture).

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until you get a brown color (use a toothpick to make sure they are cooked).
Remove the cups from the pan and let cool during at least 1h 1/2 (if you can resist)

Recipe for Meringue:

-2 egg whites (or 3 small)
-75 g sugar

Whisk on medium-high the egg whites until they become firm and make some picks, then add the sugar and whisk on high for one more minute.

Decorate the top of each cupcake with a pastry bag filled with the Meringue and start the broiler of the oven. 

Use a torch to brown the meringues or put the cupcakes under the broiler (on high) for 30 sec to 1mn – keep an eye on them, it takes ONLY ONE SECOND to burn the Meringue !!!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cheese & Ham Omelettes ... a warm Appetizer for a rainy Day !!

The Omelette : easy Ingredients offer tasty Results  ...

When you have friends coming home and you want to prepare a quick Appetizer for them, you might need some quick recipes !
Eh eh eh, I get the answer : your friends will die for this rolled Ham & Cheese Omelettes !!

You only need 3 simple ingredients for this recipe: Ham, Cheese and fresh Eggs.

If you have the chance to have fresh Eggs from your local Farm, your Omelette will be even better, but supra fresh organic Eggs are good too !!!

Before running in your kitchen, let me give you a first taste of this : imagine a thin Crepe (made with Omelette), filled with melted Cheese and Ham and just rolled ... hmmmm ...

Now you can run in your kitchen. In 20mn, you'll get a piece of paradise in your mouth !!!

A bientot et bon Appetit
Emilie, your French Chef

La recette de Omelettes Jambon & Fromage roulees (Ham & Cheese rolled Omelettes):

For 2 large Omelettes (around 12 pieces):
- 3 fresh Eggs
- 1 tablespoon of Sour Cream
- Salt and Pepper, Herbes de Provence if you like
- 3 slices of baked Ham
- 3/4 cup of Italian Mix Cheese or Swiss Cheese or Mozzarella ... 
- Unsalted Butter

Prepare a sheet of Parchment Paper on your table or counter top.

In a bowl, beat together the Eggs, Cream and Salt & Pepper.
Heat a 8" to 10" non stick pan and add the Butter. Keep the burner on medium heat until the Butter gets a light brown color (the Butter should not smoke or burn !! In that case, clean your pan and start again).

Pour half of the Egg mixture into the pan and move the pan to make sure you have some Omelette everywhere in your pan - no gaps !! - it's like if you wanted to make a thin Crepe.

Don't stir/touch/move the omelette, just look at it !

After 30-45 seconds, when the border is almost cooked, put half of the Cheese on the Omelette  and wait 30-45 seconds more.
As soon as you put the Cheese, slide a thin spatula under the edges of the Omelette to make sure it is not stuck on the pan.

(Look at the pictures below to see the different steps)

When you see a nice brown color under the Omelette, slide it (use the spatula to help you) over the parchment paper. 
Wait a few seconds and add put 1/2 slice of Ham over the Cheese.

Roll the omelette and slice it in small pieces. 

Do the same for the 2nd Omelette.
Serve warm. You can sprinkle some chopped chives or parsley on the top if you want some green color !

Note : if you prefer to make your omelette ahead of time, you can cook it 1h before and keep the all roll at room temperature. Just reheat in the microwave  and slice it. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple & Pear Season ... Let's bake Muffins !!

It is October and I'm truly in love with the Fall !!!
It is the season for Apples picking, and the Pears are so juicy at this time of the year.

As I am now done with my Confitures (Jam) for the next winter, I wanted today to use my fruits and treat myself with a yummy dessert.
The leaves are already turning in pink, orange & red color in Connecticut, same colors as the Pears & Apples I have in my fridge. Perfect ... let's bake something with them !!

I decided to cook my Apples and Pears in Butter and Sugar and bake Muffins with pieces of caramelised Apples & Pears inside - wouaouh, look at that !
Don't forget to sprinkle a few of Cinnamon on your fruits. It gives a delicious spicy taste to Apples.And it smells so good in your kitchen !!

You know, Muffins are really a "piece of cake" to do. And the good thing is that you can always use the same recipe for the dough and just add your favorite fruits !!!!!!!

I love these cute Muffin cups we can find everywhere each season.
20mn in the oven for mini Muffins and 25mn for large Muffins, and Voila !!

Merci et bon Appetit
Emilie, your French Chef

La recette pour 24 mini caramelized Apple & Pear Muffins (or 10 large Muffins):

Fruits mixture:

-2 Pears
-2 Apples
-1 tablespoon of Butter
-1 tablespoon of white granulated Sugar
- Cinnamon

Muffins dough:
-1 cup of Flour
-1/2 stick of unsalted Butter
-1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
-3 eggs
-3 drops of Vanilla
-1 teaspoon of baking Powder
-2 tablespoons of Almond Meal
-2 tablespoons of Heavy whipped Cream

Start with the Fruits Mixture : cut all fruits in small pieces.
Heat a pan with the butter. Add the fruits and sugar and cook 5mn on medium high heat until fruits are melted and start to get a brow color (try to not mash the fruits). Sprinkle a few Cinnamon.Preheat the oven at 365dF.

For the Muffin Dough: put all ingredients the bowl of your food processor and start mixing on low speed with the beater attachment. When all ingredients are incorporated, beat on high speed for 2mn.

   - For the mini Muffins : fill up each muffins cup and add one piece of fruit on the top of each muffin. Sprinkle some sugar and more cinnamon if you want.
Bake for 20mn without opening the oven during the baking time. Add 3 more minutes until brown color.

   - For the large Muffins : fill up 1/2 of each muffin cup and add pieces of fruits. Complete with dough until 3/4. Sprinkle some sugar and more cinnamon if you want.
Bake for 25mn without opening the oven door during the baking time. Add 3 more minutes until brown color

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wanna try a Sweet Red Pepper Cream Shot ???

 In France, Verrines and small Plates are a big hit. Imagine serving you favorite appetizers in small glasses or in small spoons.

Everyone loves the idea:
You are a picky or a small eater ?? you can just sample a couple of them.
You are a big hungry man ?? you can eat as many verrines as you want, without any guilt, the portions are small and irresistible !!!!

I love small portions & I absolutely love roasted Peppers so I wanted to share with you this Sweet Red Pepper Cream ...  oh man,  it was so miamm, so yummmy, so hmmmm !!!

The only "technical" part of this recipe is that you need to broil the Peppers in order to peel them easily (see the recipe below for directions).

Then you mix the Pepper meat with Mascarpone & Spices, add a hint of red Pimento (the secret Ingredient to spice up a little bit this creamy Soup), et voila, you're done in 3 minutes !!!

A bientot & bon Appetit !

Emilie your French Chef

La recette de Creme de Poivrons Rouges (Cold Sweet Red Pepper creamy Soup)

Ingredients for 8 Verrines (= small Glasses):

- 4 red sweet Peppers
- 8 o.z. Mascarpone

- Red Cayenne Pimento
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Black the Peppers in the broiler turning the peppers over halfway through (around 5mn each side or until they are black).

Remove them from the oven and put them in a plastic bag. Close the bag. They will steam in the bag and will start loosing their skins.

After 10mn, open the bag, and peel the pepper with a knife (it is very easy). Slice them and remove the seeds.

Put the Mascarpone, the Peppers meat, some Salt & Pepper and a hint of red Cayenne Pimento into a blender.

Mix everything. Taste and add more Salt or Pepper if necessary.

Serve warm for starter or cold in small glasses / cups for small appetizers.
Add 1 or 2 drops of Olive Oil on the top and sprinkle a few of red Cayenne Pimento (add a string of Chive for decoration if you want).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crispy Swiss Cheese Nuggets with "La Vache qui rit" ... the "Laughing Cow" !!

When kids think about Cheese, they think about Babybel, Mozzarella Stick, Cream Cheese and also ... the famous "Vache Qui Rit" (the Laughing Cow) ...

I bet the first time you tasted this piece of "triangle Cheese" you said : "Is that Cheese, really ??" - "It's not bad, it's not good, it tastes almost nothing !!" - "Why is this cow always laughing, does she make fun of me ???"

OK, you're right, the Laughing Cow is not the best cheese to spread on a crispy baguette BUT, it is a great ingredient for quick & funny recipes: use it in Croque Monsieur (mooo!), in a Cheese Sauce for Pasta (mooo!), in Gougeres (mooo!) ... or in a crispy Nuggets (mooo moooo!)

Tonight I decided to make some "Croquettes croustillantes de Vache Qui Rit" ("crispy Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese Nuggets").
Imagine a crispy ball with a warm, melted Swiss Cream Cheese inside ... say moooo !!!

The ingredients are simple and your kids will love doing these small cheese balls by hand (OK, it is sticky, but it is funny ;-)
Believe me or not, from now on you will always have "Vache Qui Rit" in your fridge !!!

These small Croquettes (Nuggets) are great Appetizers to go with a glass of wine, and they are also perfect with a green Salad on weekdays  !!!

For other smart recipes with Vache Qui Rit, click here (sorry, the link is in French ... just ask me if you need some help ;-)

A bientot et bon Appetit
Emilie your French Chef

La recette de Croquettes Croustillantes de Vache qui Rit (crispy Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese Nuggets)

Ingredients for 4 people:
- 12 pieces of Vache Qui Rit
- 3 Eggs
- 1 cup of all purpose Flour
- 1 cup of homemade of  a mix of Panko & Breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons of Olive oil (use Hazelnut Oil for a delicious different taste)
- 1 tablespoon of Butter
- Salt & Pepper
 Remove the 12pieces of Vache Qui Rit pieces from the fridge and sprinkle them with Salt & Pepper.
By hand, make a 
ball with each piece (sticky !!) and a
rrange the 12 balls on a platter. Put them in the freezer 30 minutes.

In a bowl beat eggs, salt and pepper.

Roll the balls of Vache Qui Rit in flour, then in eggs and finally roll in breadcrumbs.

Once again, roll each ball in eggs and finally in breadcrumbs.

Heat the Oil and Butter in a frying pan (medium heat) and cook the balls 
on all sides until you get a brown color (around 5mn)
Place on Paper Towel to remove the excess of fat and 
serve warm with a salad or for appetizer with a toothpick.

Ideas :
- you can also sprinkle the balls with parmesan just before removing from the pan

- you can roll you balls in Herbes de Provence, or chopped Basil,  or Spices (Curry, Paprika, Cumin ...) before freezing the balls
- you can cook the balls in Truffle Oil
- ...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grilled Fish Fillet over grilled Veggies, my delicious P.V.R.M. (Post Vacation Recovery Meal)

After 8 days discovering and enjoying California (a week full of delicious food, yummy ice cream, great wine from the Napa Valley, etc ...) followed by a week at home with our family visiting us from France, it is necessary to enjoy a light dinner at home tonight (necessary is the really the good word, trust me ;-)

BUT I'm not a crazy girl, a light dinner doesn't mean eating only a baby carrot and a piece of apple tonight (I need to treat myself and also ... to keep my hubby happy ;-)

SO, light means a well-balanced meal with fresh Fish, a lot of tasty Veggies & Herbs and a splash of Olive Oil, et voila !!

I decided to buy fresh Cod Fillets, Tomatoes, Red & Yellow Peppers, Onions and Zucchinis. You can choose different kind of fish and veggies.

I like the Cod because it has a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky flesh.
It is also it is cheap fish, perfect for a weekday night ;-)

I chopped all the vegetables and arrange them in layers into an oven safe dish. I added herbs, olive oil, salt & pepper (OMG, it smells so good !).

After 30mn in the oven, the veggies start melting, simmering in their juice !!

I added the fish on the top, and15mn later, the fish is just perfectly grilled ...

I served on warm plates with the juice.
Awwww.... that is a no-guilty, easy & tasty recipe !!!

A bientot et Bon Appetit !
Emilie your French Chef

La recette de Grilled Cod Fillet over grilled Vegetables

Ingredients for 4 people:

4 Fillets of your favorite fresh Fish : Salmon, Cod, Sole, Monkfish, Flounder ...
6 Tomatoes cut into very thin slices
1 Red sweet Pepper cut into very thin strips
1 Yellow sweet Pepper cut into very thin strips
6 Zucchinis cut into very thin slices
1 Onion cut into very thin slices
Herbs : Thyme, Basil, Chive, etc ...
Herbes de Provence
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of a oven safe dish.
Arrange the vegetable slices in layers, starting with the tomatoes.
Drizzle a little of olive oil between the slices and sprinkle salt & pepper, garlic, and herbs between each layers. Add 1/2 cup of water and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Remove from the oven and add the fish fillet on the top. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the fish.
Season with salt and pepper, herbes de Provence, and fresh Herbs (you can also add Parmesan on top if you want).

Roast for 15 mn or until the fish is cooked and have a beautiful brown color.

Serve hot on warm plate, with a bed of veggies and the fish on the top.