Sunday, July 24, 2011

Try this original Veggie's Cube Appetizer ... fresh, sweet and cute !!

It is Summer and it is very very hot in Connecticut ... I can't even imagine turning the oven on !

I have friends coming at home tonight and want to do a fresh Appetizer before the dinner.

I just remember an interesting appetizer I saw recently in a magazine  : a Veggie's Cube with fresh white Cheese, Water Melon and Cucumber ... let's give it a try NOW !!

It is so easy !!!! All you need is a sharped knife and a little bit of precision when you cut the veggies to make sure they all have the same size (almost the same size) ... and that's it !
Et voila !!

The most important is the COLOR ! I wanted to use Cantaloupe but couldn't find a good one, so I used Watermelon, Cucumber, Feta & Mozzarella.

I cut the Cucumber in cubes ...

I cut the fresh Feta in cubes :

Now the Watermelon:

And finally the Mozzarella. I tossed the Mozza cubes in a mix of Herbs (Basil, Mint, Parsley) with Olive Oil :

To finish, I assembled all ingredients like a Rubisk's Cube .... and place your creation into the fridge !

Et voila, bon appetit!
Emilie, your French Chef

La recette de Veggie's Cube

Ingredients for 4 people :

- Watermelon
- Fresh Feta
- Mozzarella
- Cucumber

Cut all ingredients in small cubes.
Pour 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil on the Mozzarella cubes and toss each cube with Salt & Pepper, dried Herbes de Provence and fresh chopped Basil / Parsley.Assemble your Veggie's cube and keep in the fridge from 30mn to 1h before serving. Remove 10mn before serving.

Prepare a  Dressing with 1 spoon of Balsamic, 3 spoons of Olive Oil and 1 spoon of Honey, Salt & Pepper and dip your bubes in the Dressing.

Chef Emilie's Tip :
- You can use any combination of Cheese or Ham cubes if you prefer
- You can use your favorite ingredients such as Cantaloupe, Kiwi ...
- You can definitely do a dessert with Pineapple, Strawberry, Kiwi, Marshmallow, etc ... and prepare a chocolate sauce with one cup of semi-sweet chocolate melted with 3/4 cup of heavy cream ... your kids will love eating fuits !!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

French Vanilla Creme Brulee ... a piece of cake !!

Have you ever tried the French Creme Brulee in a French Restaurant ?
If you did, I bet your remember the crispy Caramel on the top with the cold and melted Vanilla Cream inside !

I still have in mind the "hhhhmmmmmm" I made the first time my dad made a Creme Brulee, a delicate taste of vanilla, with the crispy caramel on the top ...

Here is THE perfect recipe for the original Vanilla Creme Brulee ... and also THE Chocolate Creme Brulee if you are a chocolate lover !!

Although the ingredients are very simple (heavy cream, vanilla, sugar and egg yolks), there are some tips to make THE perfect Creme Brulee ... oooh la la !!

- First you need to have all your ingredients at room temperature (eggs and cream). Not to mention best quality of eggs, vanilla and cream give the best results ;-)

- Second the water in the pan needs to be very very hot (boiling) in the pan you will cook your Creme Brulee (see the recipe below)

- Third, the baking time is very very very VERY important : an undercooked creme brulee is to liquid # an overcooked creme brulee is to dry ... aie aie aie !!!

If you follow all the instructions in the recipe below ... you will get the perfection in your mouth :

Enjoy cooking et Bon Appetit !

La recette de French Vanilla Creme Brulee

Ingredients for 6-8 persons:

• 1 ½ cup heavy cream
• 2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
•1/2 cup granulated sugar
•8 large egg yolks
•6 teaspoons of brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream and vanilla extract  into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  

In a the bowl of your food processor, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add another teaspoon of vanilla extract if you like srong vanilla taste.  You can also add a teaspoonof dark Rhum.

Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually on low speed. Pour the liquid into (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan.

Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.  Do not overbake or your custard will be rubbery. So I recommend you to check in the oven after 40mn.

Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

NOTE : for chocolate crème brulee,  put only 1 teaspoon if vanilla extract and add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips when your cream is hot. Whisk until the chocolate is well melted and pour the chocolate cream into the eggs following the same instructions above

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar at the top of each custard.
Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

If you don't have a torch : Keep the cremes brulees in the fridge until the last minute.
Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar atop each custard. Place dishes on small baking sheet. Broil until sugar just starts to caramelize, rotating sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes.
Wait 5mn and serve !

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak ... Mouthfuls of Heaven

Fire up the grill  tonight ... your outdoors will get great with the flavors and the aromas of grilled Flank Steak !

If you ask my hubby D. if he cooks, you can realize he is now a real French American guy, who says : "Of course I cook, I grill the Beef and the Ribs !!"

But what he always forgot to say is : "Emilie prepares the marinade, and I just put the meat on the grill, et voila !!!"

Whether you're cooking chicken, burgers, steak, fish on the grill, a tasty marinade gives taste and tenderness to every meat. You can use almost everything you have in your kitchen to make your own marinade : Balsamic, Mustard, Oils, Herbs, Lemon, Honey, Ketchup, Onions, Garlic, Mushrooms, BBQ Sauce, Wine ...

Today, I decided to buy a piece of Flank that I marinated with : Olive Oil, Garlic, Onions, Basil, Thyme, Parsley, dried Herbes de Provence, Barbecue Sauce and few drops of Tabasco.

I chopped and mixed all ingredients to get a marinade full of flavour, and I rubbed the meat with the marinade.

I put the meat in a freezer bag during at least 4 hours (it gives enough time to the ingredients to flavor and tenderize the meat).

After 4 hours, I asked hubby D. to start the grill and I let him think that he was the Chef tonight ;-)

Just listen to the "hmmm!!!" ... "miammm!!!" ... "yumm!!!" ... that everybody says around the table !!!!

Et voila, bon Appetit !!!
Emilie, your French Chef

La recette de Grilled Marinated Flank Steak :

Ingredients for 4 servings:

- 2 pounds Flank Steak
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 chopped onion (white or red)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup of chopped fresh Herbs : Parsley, Thyme, Basil ...
- 1/3 cup BBQ Sauce
- 3 drops of Tabasco
- Salt and Pepper

Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat.

30 minutes before grilling, remove the bag from the fridge, and let the bag at room temperature.

Preheat the grill to high temperature.

Remove the steak from the plastic and scrape to remove the steak from marinade as possible. Put the marinade in a small pan and bring to a boil.

Place the steak on the hot grill, about 4 to 6 mn each side (4mn is for medium rare).

When the steak is cooked, remove from the grill and let stand about 5 minutes before slicing. Slice meat into strips thin enough, diagonally against the grain of the meat.

Serve with the Sauce, Salad, or my favorite Gratin Dauphinois.
Bon Appetit !!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Gluten Free Financiers with Nutella ... in a Muffin Cup, wanna try ???

No Gluten, Gluten free, Gluten Allergy ... lot of my clients are talking about Gluten Allergies during my Cooking Classes.

"Hopefully" one of my best friend (Hello Maud !!) is gluten allergic.
When she came home a couple of weeks ago, she brought these delicious French Financiers (a French specialty, usually made with flour, eggs, sugar and almond meal/powder ... the taste of almond is so so so gooood).

I said "Maud, it is very nice of you for making these treats even if you are gluten allergic !!" and she said "There is no flour in my financiers ... my Financiers are Gluten Free !!!"

I tried a bite and .... wouaaaouh ... they were so GOOD !!!!

The Financiers are usually baked in a individual rectangular mold.
I live in the US, so I need to adapt :  I decided today to make gluten free Financiers, in muffin cups with a coeur au Nutella (a Nutella's heart) ....

Nutella reminds me the Crepes au Nutella (French Crepes with Nutella) that kids and adults love in France

Believe me or not, this recipe is really easy : bring the kids in the kitchen !!!!!!!

What you need is what everybody has (or should have in the kitchen) : eggs, sugar, almond meal and butter.
Simple ingredients huh ???

And what is even easier is that you only have to put everything (whatever the order) in the bowl of your food processor and hop, in the oven !
If you don't have a food processor ... you can beat all ingredients with your powerful arms, and it works perfectly !!!

And Voila, Bon Appetit ... et Merci Maud !!!
Emilie, your French Chef

La recette of Guten Free Financiers (de Maud) with Nutella (Nutella is an extra, not an obligation !!!) :

Ingredients for 10 mini Gluten free Financiers :

- 10 mini muffin cups
- 3 large brown eggs
- 3.5 oz of granulated sugar (100gr)
- 2.3 oz of melted salted butter (65gr)
- 4.4 oz of almond meal (125gr) (Trader Joe's brand is perfect !)
- Nutella

Preheat the oven to 365° F. In a bowl, combine sugar, almond meal, butter and eggs. Mix 3mn with the food processor from low to high speed.

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

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until brown color (use a toothpick to make sure they are cooked).

Remove the cups from the pan and let cool during at least 1,5h (if you can resist)