Fish & Seafood, French, Savory

Scallops with Le Puy Lentils

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Ever since I had this dish at the Blue Heron Restaurant, I have been looking for a recipe to recreate it.  A few months ago a friend of mine, send me a link to the restaurant’s recipe and then I realized that the recipe was published in Bon Appetit magazine!  You can find the original recipe here, but this is how I adapted the recipe for home cooking.  I omitted the mascarpone cream and reduced the amount of butter in the recipe and it still turned out delicious!

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Ingredients:

For the Cider reduction
2 cups apple cider
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped shallots

For the Lentils
6 whole cloves
1 medium onion, peeled
6 cups of water
1 1/2 cups French green lentils (lentilles du Puy; about 12 ounces)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of salt
6 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

For the Scallops
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
10 sea scallops, patted dry

Method:  For the Cider Reduction

Place cider, vinegar, and shallots in a saucepan.

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Boil until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 15-25 minutes.

Strain; discard solids in strainer.

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Cider reduction can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate if you are not using immediately

Method:  For the Lentils

Press the thin end of cloves into peeled onion. Place onion in a large pot. Add 6 cups of water, lentils, and bay leaves.

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Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes.

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Drain lentils, discarding onion (with the cloves) and bay leaves.  I did this in the morning and left the lentils in the strainer, till I was ready to sautee them

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Cook bacon in large pot or skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.

 

Pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet. Add shallots to skillet and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes.

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Add reserved bacon, lentils, and thyme to shallots.  Continue to sautee and then add the cider reduction to the lentil.  Adjust for salt and pepper.  in the original recipe, the cider reduction is mixed with a lot of butter to make a finishing sauce.

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Note: I wanted to use all of the reduction and reduce the amount of butter used in the recipe.  The cider reduction is very tart and a little sweet, so instead of adding the entire reduction to lentils, add it a little at a time to see if you enjoy the flavor.  

Continue to cook until most of the cider reduction is absorbed by the lentils.

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Lentils can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring often.  There will be plenty of leftover lentils, but I wanted leftovers so followed the original recipe.

Method for the Scallops:

Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper.

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Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet/cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat.

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Add scallops and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side.

 

Spoon lentils onto a plate and arrange scallops on top. Serve hot and enjoy a restaurant-style meal, right at home!

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Breakfast, Brunch, French, Gluten-free

Gluten-free Dark Chocolate Crepes

  
Just in time for all the spring/summer celebrations ! I am thinking Mother’s day, Bridal/Baby shower brunches, graduation breakfast and so on.  AND–its gluten-free !

Ingredients:

1 oz dark chocolate ( I used 6 squares of cadbury dark chocolate)

1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup egg white

1/4 cup gluten-free flour

1 Tbsp of sugar

Method:

Heat milk and chocolate in the microwave for 1 min, mix and let the mixture cool.

  
Add the flour, egg-white and sugar to the cooled milk and chocolate mixture.

   
 Whisk thoroughly and make sure there are no lumps.

Heat butter or oil in skillet and add enough batter to form a thin coat on the bottom of the pan.

Use a spatula to loosen the edges and gently slide of the skillet once the batter is cooked through.

   
    Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve with fresh berries and cream or greek yogurt.

   
       

 

Classics, Comfort food, French, Meat, Stew

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

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This past weekend I wanted to inaugurate my new caste iron dutch oven and my very own copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”  I followed the recipe exactly so here is the link to it.  By far the best beef stew I have ever had or made !  Enjoy !

http://knopfdoubleday.com/marketing/cooking/BoeufBourguignon.pdf

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Towel dry the cubes of beef, otherwise they will never brown.

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sauté the vegetables.

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Add the wine and bay leaf and let is cook away in the oven !

French, Italian, Salad

Nicoise goes Italian

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Recently I met up with a dear friend of mine who happens to be from Italy.  Of all the things that she gave me were  two cans of really good italian tuna packed in good olive oil.  I looked through my pantry and some ingredients called for a traditional French Nicoise salad, but then some of the others screamed Italian, so this is what I can up with.  Barely no cooking involved, just a combination of good ingredients and super healthy.  Should you choose to be a purist I am attaching a link to Julia Child’s Salade Nicoise recipe.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe/julia-childs-salade-nicoise-8255829

For my rendition you will need:

Hard boiled eggs

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Flash steamed green beans (I would go for fresh beans, even though I used canned beans)

Artichoke hearts

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Sundried tomatoes

Good Tuna packed in good Olive oil.  You could also get adventurous and poach tuna fillets in olive oil and then flake them.

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capers

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salt and pepper for seasoning.

Now assemble according to your taste.

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Dinner, Fish & Seafood, French

Pan-seared Cod in a Champagne Shallot Sauce

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Extremely elegant and ridiculously easy.  I suggest this as a speedy christmas eve dinner if your family has a tradition of dining on fish on the holiday.  If not, turn any night into a classy evening with just a few simple ingredients.  The only thing I insist on is fresh fish.

Ingredients:

1lb fresh cod fillets

salt, pepper and parsley to season the fish

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of chopped shallot

1 tsp of minced of garlic

1 tbsp flour

1/2 tbsp butter

1 cup of champagne

Method:

Heat half the oil in a skillet.

Season the fish with salt, pepper and parsley and sear til golden on both sides.  Remove and set aside.

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In the same pan heat the rest of the oil and saute the garlic and shallots till fragrant.

Add the flour and the butter the shallots and garlic and cook out the raw flavor of the flour ( till brownish in color)

De-galze the pan with champagne, whisking rapidly to prevent clumping of the flour.

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Once the sauce in smooth return the fish to the sauce and simmer for 3-5min.

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Plate the fish and drizzle the sauce over.  Serve hot with your favourite sides.

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Classics, Comfort food, French, Meat, Stew

Beef Daube Provencal

There are a lot of types of beef stew.  This is by far my favourite.  I love the richness of the wine and the heartiness from the beef and mushrooms.  This is another fall/winter staple in my kitchen, so when the temperature fell below 45F today, I decided that it was a good day to turn on the oven and make stew !

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

12 garlic cloves, crushed

1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 cup red wine

2 cups chopped carrot

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

8 oz mushrooms

1/2 cup less-sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Dash of ground cloves

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

Method:

Preheat oven to 300°.

Heat a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides.

Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add reserved garlic, beef, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mushrooms, carrot, and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaf), and bring to a boil.

Cover and bake at 300° for 3 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.

Serve with buttered egg noodles or crusty bread !

 

Classics, Comfort food, French

Ratatouille

A bowl of stew full of fresh summer veggies ! There really is nothing more to say about this recipe.  I guess if you make your kids watch the cartoon “Ratatouille” and serve them this stew–you might just be able to make them eat their veggies !

Ratatouille adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child.

Ingredients:

½ lb. eggplant

½ lb. zucchini and yellow squash

4 Tb. olive oil, more if needed

½ lb. (about 1 ½ cups) thinly sliced yellow onions

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers (I used red peppers–just because I had them in the fridge)

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes

3 Tb. minced parsley Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chop the eggplant and salt it and let it stand for a 20-30 minutes till all the water drains out.

Meanwhile chop the rest of the vegetables.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and fry the eggplant till soft, and set it aside.

Next heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and saute the squash and the zucchini till tender.

Next, heat the remaining oil and add the garlic, tomatoes, pepper and onions and saute till soft.

Now add back the other vegetables and let them stew together for about 30 mins till all the vegetables fall apart and marry into the stew.

Towards the very end, adjust salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Serve hot or warm or even at room temperature.  I sometimes add a fried egg on top to add some protein to my meal and make it a little more filling.

I am a huge fan of this recipe and I truly advocate in its power of converting vegetables haters to lovers.  Please try this and I encourage in using fresh vegetables since all the flavor comes from them.  Try it this French classic this weekend !