Roasted red pepper and goat cheese tartOne of my favorite pleasures when in Paris or other parts of France is the long lunch. After a busy morning, I stop at a restaurant to take stock of where I’ve been, the marvels I’ve seen and the delights that are to come. It is for me a perfect way to divide the day. Since I have a big meal for lunch, I like to stop at a small boulangere or traiteur and pick up something light for dinner. Often, that’s a great slice of quiche just like this one. Et voilà:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium leeks with 2″ of light green
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 medium red peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 1 cup cream
  • For the topping:
  • 4 oz. mild goat cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 partially baked 9-inch pie shell

PREPARATION:

Roast peppers. Clean and slice leeks. Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the leeks and water. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Reduce heat, cover and braise until the water has evaporated, about 8-10 minutes.

3. While the leeks are braising, put the peppers, eggs, egg yolks in a blender and blend.

4. Add the cream and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Place partially baked pie shell on a rimmed baking dish. Fill with the leeks. Pour the red pepper purée over the leeks and place in the oven.

6. Bake 30 minutes.

7. When the filling is almost set, sprinkle the goat cheese and thyme on top and bake for another 5 minutes.

  1. To serve:

Remove from oven and allow to rest. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 12 depending on how you slice it!

My colleague, Kathy Morton, and I are planning a trip to France this May. We will be sharing a rented villa in Rousillon with some other friends and are planning so new excursions in Provence. But we will be in France a week before our reservation starts and are just now deciding between Burgundy and Poitou Charentes. So many fabulous places and so little time, n’est-ce pas??

In the meantime, I have started to re-introduce myself to Burgundian cuisine and of course the wine. What’s not to love? The land of coq au vin, boeuf bouguionne, gougères, cheese from Abbaye de Citeaux, and I could go on and on but here is a recipe that may help me decide, et voilà:

Quick, easy beef burgundy recipe

Boeuf Bourguigonne is a well-known dish from Burgundy and many of us have probably had it in one form or another. This variation is a quick version that can be done in less than an hour and yet is still infused with flavor. The secret is a good cut of meat, in this case a sirloin. This recipe would make a good family night dinner and can be easily doubled for entertaining.

Ingredients

1 large, yellow onion

2-3 shallots, chopped to measure ¼-cup

½-lb bacon, diced into 1″ squares

8 oz. baby carrots, sliced vertically in half

12 small, white mushrooms

1½ lbs. boneless, top sirloin, cut into 1′ cubes

1 teaspoon thyme

2/3 cup dry, red wine

Parsley, salt and pepper

PREPARATION:

1. Peel and chop onion. Mince shallots to measure 1/4-cup. Cut bacon into 1″squares.

2. In a deep saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until pan is well-coated with fat, about 10 minutes.

3. Add onions and shallots and cook until bacon is almost crisp and onion is tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.

4. Cut carrots as directed above and microwave them until tender. Wipe mushrooms with a clean cloth, take off stems and discard.

5. Add beef to pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until meat is evenly browned.

6. When beef is browned, add mushrooms, thyme, wine, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat 12-15 minutes. Do not overcook meat.

Lemony Butter Cookies filled with Raspberry Jam

Lemony Butter Cookies filled with Raspberry Jam

I love cookies, all kinds of cookies, but I must admit these are at the top of my list. The hint of lemon in the soft, butter cookies enhances the raspberry filling. Buy the most luxurious brand of raspberry jam you can.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla sugar
zest of 1 lemon
6 oz. butter
1 small egg (or beat one large egg in a small cup and use 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg)
For the filling:
raspberry jam
Icing:
juice of one lemon
powdered sugar
To finish:Dust with confectioner’s sugar
PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl.

2. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter.

3. Add the egg and quickly knead together to combine.

4. Roll the dough into a cylinder and fit into a cookie press.

5. Press out the cookies onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. The cookies should still be pale.

6. Remove the cookies onto a rack and allow to cool.

7. Mix together the lemon juice and the confectioner’s sugar to make a the icing.

8. When the cookies are cool, spread some raspberry jam on the bottom of one cookie and place another cookie on top.

9. Brush with the icing and serve.

Shrimp at a Paris Market

I urge – no beg! – you to try this easy, impressive dish. My friend Becky and I loved it so much we had it two nights in a row. It is a foolproof dish to serve for company also.Just one caveat, it really only works really well with fresh shrimp. I’ve tried it with frozen and the sauce was too watery, Et voila!

Shrimp, sautéed in pastis with lemon and cherry tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS:

• 1-1/4 lbs. fresh shrimp, peeled & deveined (If made with frozen shrimp the sauce is watery)
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, cut in half (use half red/half yellow cherry tomatoes if possible)
• 3 Tablespoons pastis (Pernod or Ricard)
• 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
• 2 Tablespoons julienned basil
• 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
• 1 Tablespoon snipped chives
• salt & freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add the tomatoes. Pour in the pastis and flambée.
3. When the flames die, add the lemon juice, butter, basil parsley and chives and season with salt and pepper.
4. Swirl the pan over the heat until the butter has melted. Make sure that the sauce does not boil because it will separate.

To serve:

Serve immediately accompanined by a baguette for mopping up all the sauce.

Chicken stuffed with Goat Cheese

Chicken stuffed with Goat Cheese

I recently moved into a new “mother-in-law” apartment in the suburbs. Quite a change and I’m not too sure about it. It’s hard being back in the suburbs, the commute is a bit long and well, there is no oven! I bought a countertop oven and tried this recipe. It didn’t turn out too badly at all. The recipe goes together quickly and makes a whole meal. I like to use a harder type goat cheese but sometimes it is hard to find, so a softer Montrachet-type chèvre will also work. I did make all 4 servings even though now I only need to cook for one…guess what I’ll be having for lunch the next 3 days! Et voila,

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 4 oz. goat cheese (I like to use a semi-hard goat cheese which are hard to find, soft goat cheese works too)
  • fresh thyme
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 to 1/3 cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 425F

1. Pour the oil into a baking dish and tip or rub to coat the bottom of the pan.

2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and scatter on the bottom the baking pan.

3. Cut the goat cheese into 4 disks. Gently loosen the skin on the chicken breasts and put the goat cheese and some thyme leaves under the skin.

4. Lightly rub the top of the chicken breasts with some more olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. Place the chicken on top of the tomatoes. Scatter thyme sprigs on top. Pour the wine into the pan.

6. Place in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

To serve:

Place a 1 chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates. Surround with the tomatoes and serve.

Strawberry Cointreau Cocktail

Strawberry, Rose and Cointreau Cocktail

I just returned from a quick 7-day tour of Provence and had a great time discovering the rosés of the region. I was also lucky because it is strawberry time in France. I remember when I took my daughter, Lindsey, to Paris. We shopped at a couple of markets and bought a barquette of gariguettes strawberries. She stopped along the sidewalk, stepped into a doorway and ate the entire barquette declaring, “These are the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten!”

In honor of these two memorable events, I’d like to share the following cocktail with you all! This French cocktail, Velours de Fraise ~ Strawberry Velvet ~ is made with strawberry purée, Cointreau and rosé wine.

Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 4 Tablespoons Cointreau
  • 2 cups Rosé wine, well chilled

PREPARATION:

1. Set aside 4 of the prettiest strawberries to decorate the glasses.

2. Remove the stems and place the strawberries and Cointreau in a blender or food processor. Purée.

3. Pour the purée through a fine strainer to remove the seeds.

4. Put the strained purée into a pitcher, add the rosé wine and stir.

To serve:

Pour the Velours de Fraises into 4 glasses. Garnish with the whole strawberries and serve.

Broccoli Soup with Mustard Seeds

Broccoli Soup with Mustard Seeds

We’ve had quite a few gray, rainy (and kind of cold) days in Atlanta this winter. And today was no exception. But that’s ok because I love soup and this one is a long time favorite. It goes beyond a typical broccoli soup with the addition of the mustard seeds. They give a little, golden pop of flavor with each spoonful. Et voila:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large bunch broccoli, trimmed, tender stems, peeled and chopped also
  • 6 cups chick
  • en broth
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup golden mustard seeds
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For garnish: grated Parmesan cheese

PREPARATION:

1. Put the butter in a large pot and melt over medium heat.

2. Add the onion and saute until it is soft and translucent ~ about 8-10 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes, broccoli and chicken broth to the pan. Season with some salt and pepper. Bring the mixture just to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Stir in the cream.

5. Puree the soup with a stick blender or in batches using a food processor.

6. If you used a food processor, return the soup to the pan and stir in the mustard seeds.

To serve:

Ladle the soup into 6 soup bowl, sprinkle with cheese if desired and serve hot.

One of the most fascinating things about wine for me is that I am always, always learning.  Last week, I assisted at a wine tasting at Cook’s Warehouse in Atlanta. We tasted 6 wines from the Loire Valley, 5 of them under $20.00. I was very excited to taste this Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie and was not disappointed. It reminded of the month I spent in Angers enjoying oysters along with a few glasses of these wines from around Nantes.  In this video, the vintner, Pierre Lieubeau shows us where his vineyard is situated and explains  more about the soil of his vineyard.

Domaine de la fruitiere muscadet sevre et maine sur lie

The wine itself is a perfect expression of this AOC. It was citrusy but not tart.  Tasters smelled and tasted hints of green apples and everyone enjoyed the minerality. The price point was very appealing as well at $12.00. Imported by Jon David Headrick Selections.

Sausages baked in puff pastryPronounced: soh sees / fuh yuh tee

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 4-5 thin sausages or kosher hot dogs
  • 1 egg yolk

PREPARATION:

1. Roll the puff pastry out to lengthen about 1 – 1/2 inches.
[r] 2. Beat the egg yolk. Brush over the pastry.

3. Put the 1 and 1/2 hot dogs (if using kosher hot dogs) horizontally in a row about 2″ down from the top edge of the pastry.

4. Fold the pastry over the hot dogs. Press the dough around the hot dogs. Keep a 1″ border along the side. Brush some of the egg yolk on the top and sides of the roll. Cut along the border and cut then cut the log crosswise into 1″ pieces.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 two more times. Preheat oven to 355F.

6. Place the sausage rolls on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.

To serve:

Serve hot from the oven. Or they may be cooked in advance and then warmed in a 350F oven for 2-4 minutes.

Tartines aux Feves

Ok, ok, I know most people turn up their nose at lima beans. But you may change your mind with this recipe for smashed lima beans mixed with Parmesan, lemon juice and basil. The bean mixture is then spread on toasted baguette slices and topped with some fresh mozzarella cheese and olive oil. Miam-miam!

Pronounced: tar teen / oh / fehv

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 10-oz package frozen lima beans, cooked according to package directions
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • To serve:
  • baguette slices, rubbed with olive oil and garlic and baked
  • fresh buffalo mozzarella balls
  • extra virgin olive oil

PREPARATION:

1. Allow the beans to come to room temperature and season with some sea salt.

2. Place them in a large bowl and using a potato masher or a fork, mash them up. They should be chunky.

3. Add the lemon juice, cheese and some chopped basil and mash together.

4. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and season.

5. Spread the baguettes with some of the mashed bean mixture.

6. Cut or tear the mozzarella balls and place on top of the beans.

To serve:

Arrange on a plate, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

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