Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

May the magic of Christmas fill your homes with love, peace and happiness ♥
For those who are in pain, may you find the strength in your heart to know
that there will be better tomorrows...
*** Merry Christmas ~ Joyeux Noël ***

Chocolate Sponge Cake, filled with Whipped Mascarpone-Chestnut Cream and
topped with Silky Dark Chocolate Ganache


Friday, December 7, 2012

Good Morning Quinoa

This is very similar to oatmeal but using quinoa makes for an even healthier breakfast!

There are many ways to create your own version: use fresh berries in the summer, top with walnuts or almonds, add a couple drops of vanilla extract in the milk, substitute honey for the maple syrup... Be creative! Just make sure you cook the dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, figs...) with the milk so they end up plump and soft. If using fresh fruits (berries, banana, mango...), add them just before serving. Any milk will work: whole for a creamier mixture or skim for a lighter version, also almond, soy or rice milk.

Serves 2
  • 1 ½ cups milk = 120 ml de lait
  • ½ cup quinoa = 85 g de quinoa
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries = 40 gr de cranberries séchées
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup = 2 cuillères à café de sirop d'érable
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon = une pincée de cannelle
  • 1 banana, sliced = 1 banane, coupée en lamelles

Bring milk, quinoa and dried cranberries to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer, covered, until most of milk is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to two serving bowls, top with maple syrup, cinnamon, and banana slices. Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pasta and Bean Soup

Vegetarian, yet hearty and satisfying, this Italian-inspired soup comes together quickly on a weeknight. Let everyone stir the pesto into their individual bowl and watch it melt and flavor the soup as if by magic.

Serves 6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 small onion, chopped = 1 petit oignon, émincé
  • Salt and pepper = sel et poivre
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped = 1 gousse d'ail, finement émincée
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable broth = 1.2 à 1.4 l de bouillon de légumes
  • Pinch of dried herbs (thyme & oregano) = une pincée d'herbes séchées (thym & origan)
  • 1 cup mini-wheels pasta (or other small pasta) = 75 g de petites pâtes
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed = 1 boite ou 1 bocal de 440 g de cannellini (haricots blancs italiens), égouttés et rinsés
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes = 1 boite de 410 g de tomates concassées
  • 6 teaspoons pesto = 6 cuillères à café de pesto

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, herbs and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the beans and the tomatoes and their juice, and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Ladle into serving bowls and top each with a teaspoon of pesto. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Caramelized Oranges & Cranberries With Vanilla Custard

I know Thanksgiving dessert is all about pies: apple, pumpkin, pecan. But frankly, after all the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, pumpkin rolls and a few other succulent side dishes, I am stuffed (pun intended!). This bright and simple dessert is a nice way to end a rich and filling dinner. The tartness of the cranberries is offset by the sweetness of the custard, while the oranges deliver an energizing punch.

I usually make the vanilla custard from scratch the night before but if you wish to make it even easier, just top the broiled fruit with vanilla ice-cream instead. It's just as delish!

Serves 4

Vanilla Custard: click here for recipe from Gourmet magazine
I half the recipe and use a vanilla bean, cut in half, that I drop in the milk while heating. No need for a thermometer, you'll just know it's ready when the sauce starts thickening. Strain through a sieve and transfer to a serving dish to chill overnight in the fridge.

Broiled Fruit:
  • 4 navel oranges, peel and pith removed, sliced  = 4 oranges, épluchées et coupées en tranches
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries = 50 g de cranberries fraiches
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar = 4 cuillères à café de cassonade
Heat broiler. Divide fruit among four shallow ramekins. Sprinkle with sugar. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Broil until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Cool for a couple minutes. Pour a little vanilla custard on top and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy
 and yummy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spinach, Pancetta, Mushroom & Fontina Pasta Bake

I love pasta casseroles. They are the perfect make-ahead comfort food. This particular one is packed with flavors and rather healthy: no bechamel sauce, not even an ounce of heavy cream. The creaminess comes from the fontina cheese, which melts beautifully. Its mild flavor lets the mushroom and spinach really shine, and the pancetta provides a bit of saltiness and smokiness.

It reminds me of the spinach-gruyère cheese pasta gratin my mom used to make when we were little, but in a grown-up, more sophisticated way. Perfect to warm my body and soul on a cold autumn night!

Serves 4-6
  • ½ lb penne pasta = 225 g de penne
  • 4 oz. diced pancetta = 115 g de pancetta, coupée en petits dés
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced = 2 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • 1 small onion, chopped = 1 petit oignon, coupé en petits morceaux
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped = 450 g de cremini (petits champignons bruns), coupés en morceaux
  • Salt and pepper = sel et poivre
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes = ¼ cuillère à café de flocons de piment rouge séché
  • ¼ cup white wine = 60 ml de vin blanc
  • 6 oz. baby spinach = 170 g de jeunes pousses d'épinards
  • 6 oz. fontina cheese, grated = 170 g de fontina, râpée
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan = 45 g de parmesan en poudre

Cook pasta in a large pot of unsalted water, according to package directions. Drain but reserve a few tablespoons of cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brown pancetta for a few minutes. Set aside and drain fat from skillet. In same skillet, heat olive oil, add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking and stirring, until mushrooms are nice and brown. Add white wine and scrape bottom of skillet for 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.

Steam spinach in microwave for 1 minutes. Add to bowl. Stir and add grated fontina and cooked pasta. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste. Stir everything thoroughly. If the mixture seems too dry, add a few tablespoons of pasta cooking liquid.

Transfer to a buttered baking dish and top with grated parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and browned, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: you can make this casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it, unbaked for 24 hours. The chilled dish will take about 1 hour to fully bake.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes are perfectly spiced and moist. The cream cheese frosting adds a touch of sweetness and the nut topping a nice crunch. I made them for a bake sale at my son's school and they were gone. Fast. We didn't even get one... So we went home and I made another batch the next day! Happy Halloween!

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = 125 g de farine
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1 cuillère à café de levure
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda = ½ cuillère à café de bicarbonate de sodium
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon = 1 ¼ cuillère à café de cannelle
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger = ¼ cuillère à café de gingembre en poudre
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg = ¼ cuillère à café de noix de muscade en poudre
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves = ¼ cuillère à café de clou de girofle en poudre
  • 2 eggs = 2 oeufs
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (canned or homemade) = 245 g de purée de citrouille
  • ½ cup (packed) brown sugar = 100 g de cassonade
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar = 50 à 100 g de sucre
  • ½ cup vegetable oil = 120 ml d'huile végétale
For the frosting:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened = 110 g de cream cheese (Philadelphia ou équivalent), ramolli
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened = 45 g de beurre, ramolli
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract = ½ cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar = 250 g de sucre glace
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional) = 1 cuillère à soupe de lait (facultatif)
For the topping:
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans = 30 g de noix ou de noix de pecan, concassées

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180° C. Line muffin tins with 12 paper liners.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and spices.

In another bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin purée, sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture, in two batches, and stir until combined.

Fill cupcake tins three-quarters full and bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting: in a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and mix slowly until completely incorporated. For a thinner, more spreadable consistency, add one tablespoon of milk and blend well.

Spread the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting and top with nuts. Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sweet and Spiced Butternut Squash Stew

Easy and satisfying vegan dish with all the flavors of autumn. Adjust the spices to your liking (think cumin, turmeric, curry).

Serves 4
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes = 1 boite de tomates concassées (800 g.)
  • ½ cup currants or raisins = 70 g de raisins secs
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger = ½ cuillère à café de gingembre
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon = ½ cuillère à café de canelle
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg = ½ cuillère à café de noix de muscade
  • Dash ground coriander = une pincée de coriandre
  • Salt and pepper = sel et poivre
  • ½ red onion, cut into wedges = ½ oignon violet, coupé en demi-lunes
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1” chunks = 1 courge butternut, épluchée, dépépinée et coupée en morceaux de 2-3 cm
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar = 1 cuillère à soupe de cassonade

Place the tomatoes (and their juices) in a 6-qt slow cooker. Add the raisins,spices, salt and pepper.

Add the onion and squash, sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Cover and cook until squash is tender, about 5 hours on low or 3 hours on high.

Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Maple Apple Crumb Loaf

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words... or maybe I am just over-tired and not inspired to write much. In any case, go ahead. Bake. This. Loaf. Now. You're welcome!

Makes 1 loaf

For the batter:
  • 1 ½ cup white whole wheat flour = 180 g de farine
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1 cuillère à café de levure
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda = 1 cuillère à café de bicarbonate de soude
  • Dash nutmeg = une pincée de noix de muscade râpée
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon = 2 cuillères à café de cannelle en poudre
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened = 60 g de beurre, ramolli
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce = 2 cuillères à soupe de compote de pommes
  • ½ cup maple syrup = 120 ml de sirop d'érable
  • 1 egg = 1 oeuf
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract = 1 cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk = 80 ml de lait ribot
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced = 1 grosse pomme verte, épluchée et coupée en petits dés

For the topping:
  • ⅓ cup flour = 40 g de farine
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, diced = 40 g de beurre, bien froid, coupé en petits dés
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar (packed) = 65 g de cassonade
 Preheat oven to 350°F / 180° C.

Sift dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) together. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except the apple. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches and mix until just combined. Fold in the apple. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch greased loaf pan.
Mix the topping ingredients together (with your fingers or a pastry cutter). Sprinkle mixture and press gently into the batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a serving platter. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

It's getting a bit chillier. Fall is here. The time has come. The time for soup that is!
I made my first batch of pumpkin soup of the season last week and boy was it good.
This cheesy broccoli soup is equally delicious. You could top it with homemade croutons but it had been a long week and I was tired so I decided to just smash a few crackers instead. The result was instant comfort!
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced = 2 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • 1 small onion, chopped = 1 petit oignon, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 medium russet potato, diced = 1 pomme de terre, coupée en petits dés
  • Salt and pepper = sel et poivre
  • 1 large bunch broccoli (about 1 ¼ lb), cut into florets = 1 grosse tête de broccoli (environ 550-600 g), coupée en petits bouquets
  • 3 cups water = 700 ml d'eau
  • 1 cup milk = 235 ml de lait
  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1 ½ cup) = 170 g de cheddar, râpé
  • A few Ritz crackers, smashed (optional) = quelques crackers salés (style Ritz ou TUC), écrasés en miettes (facultatif)
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, potato, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the broccoli florets and water and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for a few minutes, until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat and, using a handheld immersion blender, purée the vegetable mixture until smooth. Return to the heat, add the milk and simmer until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until completely melted. Check seasonings and add more salt/pepper if needed. Ladle into 4 bowls and top with smashed crackers. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple Smoothie

Have you gone apple-picking yet? We have. What a fun family outing! Apple pie, muffins and sauce are definitely on the agenda but I am also trying to come up with new ideas to use all those apples we brought home. This apple smoothie is one of them. It's a great after-school snack and it almost tastes like apple pie... except, it's much faster to make and it's healthier for you!

Makes 1

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt = 110 g de yaourt grec
  • 1 medium apple, sliced = 1 pomme, coupée en tranches
  • ½ cup milk = 120 ml de lait
  • 1 tablespoon almond granola = 1 cuillère à soupe de granola (ou muesli) aux amandes
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup = 1 cuillère à soupe de miel ou de sirop d'érable
  • Dash of cinnamon = une pincée de canelle en poudre

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

I hope I didn't lose too many readers with that title! Make it “Snack Pizza” if you prefer. Or serve it with mixed greens for a quick lunch. I personally like eating it as a mid-morning breakfast, after an energizing work-out.

Makes 1

  • 1 whole wheat Middle Eastern flatbread (or pita) = 1 pain pita, au blé complet
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese = 1 à 2 cuillères à soupe de ricotta
  • Dash of garlic powder = une pincée d'ail en poudre
  • Dash black pepper = une pincée de poivre
  • A few baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped = quelques jeunes pousses d'épinards, grossièrement hâchées
  • A few grape tomatoes, halved = quelques tomates cerises, coupées en deux
  • 1 egg = 1 oeuf

Mix ricotta with garlic and pepper. Spread on one side of the flatbread.
Top with spinach and tomatoes and crack egg in the center.
Broil in oven for a few minutes until bread is golden brown and egg is set.
Sprinkle a little salt and/or pepper if you wish. Enjoy!

Note: if you are not a fan of the goey, runny yolk, simply beat the egg in a separate bowl and pour in the center of the pizza, then broil as directed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oatmeal Squares

I adore old-fashioned oats. They add so much flavor and texture to cookies and pancakes. I have tried a few oatmeal bar recipes, some with less butter and more sugar, and I found this ratio to yield the best bars: buttery, crumbly, moist and not too sweet. Grab a square and a glass of cold milk and you have a tasty after-school snack!

Makes 36 squares
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour = 180 g de farine
  • 2 tablespoon(s) brown sugar = 2 cuillères à soupe de cassonade
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature = 225 g de beurre
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats = 120 g de flocons d'avoine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar = 100g de sucre
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda = ½ cuillère à café de bicarbonate de soude
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 1 egg = 1 oeuf
  • ¾ cup jam (any flavor you like) = 225 g de confiture (n'importe quel fruit)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 3-in. overhang on two sides.

In a food processor, pulse ½ cup (= 60 g) flour, brown sugar and ¼ cup (= 55 g) butter until the mixture forms large crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup (= 40 g) oats. Set aside.

In the same food processor (no need to clean!), combine the granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1 cup (= 120 g) flour and ¾ cup (= 170 g) butter until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Add the egg and pulse until blended. Transfer to a large bowl, fold in the remaining 1 cup (= 80 g) oats and spread into the prepared pan.

Spread the jam evenly over the batter. Crumble the remaining mixture over the jam. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Using the overhangs, transfer the bar to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares. Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

This is an easy chicken dish that tastes so flavorful thanks to the combination of perfectly ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. Fantastic for a late summer dinner!

Serves 4

  • 4 chicken cutlets or 2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin = 4 escalopes de poulet fines
  • Salt & pepper = sel et poivre
  • A few tablespoons flour = quelques cuillères de farine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • ¼ cup white wine = 60 ml de vin blanc
  • ½ cup chicken broth = 120 ml de bouillon de poulet
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped = 2 tomates, coupées en dés
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream = 2 cuillères à soupe de crème fraiche liquide
  • A few basil leaves, chopped = quelques feuilles de basilic frais, ciselées

Season cutlets with salt and pepper, sprinkle with flour and shake to remove excess.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Sauté cutlets on both sides and transfer to a plate.

Deglaze pan with wine and cook until almost all evaporated. Add broth and return cutlets and their juices to pan. Cook for a couple minutes until done. Transfer cutlets to a serving platter. Stir chopped tomatoes and heavy cream into sauce in the pan. Heat through and pour over cutlets. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dill Potato Salad

I am not a big fan of potato salad when it's drowned in full-fat mayo. So be warned: my version is not really creamy. If you want, you can even substitute half the light mayo for Greek yogurt, it will add a nice tang. Don't omit the celery, its crunch and flavor really work well here.

Serves 4-6
  • 6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced = 6 pommes de terre rouges, nettoyées et coupées en cubes
  • 3 eggs = 3 oeufs
  • 1 large celery, finely chopped (about ½ cup) = 1 grosse branche de céleri, coupé en petits morceaux
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise or veganaise = 100 g de mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice = 2 cuillères à soupe de jus de cornichons doux
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à soupe de moutarde forte
  • Salt & pepper to taste = sel et poivre
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried, for garnish = 1 cuillère à soupe d'aneth fraiche ciselée ou 1 cuillère à café séchée, pour décorer

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook eggs stand for 10 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

In a large bowl, mix mayo, pickle juice and mustard. Add potatoes, eggs and celery and stir gently until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until chilled or overnight. Garnish with fresh dill before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Salsa & Black Bean Stuffed Avocado

All fat is not created equal. There is actually fat that's good for you and avocado is a perfect example. It is also nutrient-dense, providing multiple vitamins and phytochemicals that help keep your body healthy.

For a quick appetizer or lunch, stuff the avocado with any type of fresh chunky salsa or pico de gallo you like: the traditional tomato/onion/cilantro is fantastic but a fruity mango salsa would work too. Add black beans to boost the protein and fiber benefits. Serve as soon as you make to prevent the avocado creamy flesh from turning black.

Serves 4
  • 2 avocados, halved and pitted = 2 avocats, coupés en deux et dénoyautés
  • sea salt, to taste = sel
  • 1 lime = 1 citron vert
  • ¼ cup fresh salsa or pico de gallo = 4 cuillères à soupe de salsa
  • ¼ cup (cooked) black beans, drained = 4 cuillères à soupe de haricots noirs (cuits)

Season avocados with salt and squeeze lime over each half.
In a bowl, combine salsa and beans. Divide evenly between avocado halves. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tropical Bars

This one is a splurge for sure! It's perfectly sweet and tasty and frankly, it is quite challenging to eat only one square. Make sure you pick the ripest mango and pineapple so their fruity flavors really shine through.

Makes 16 or 20 squares

For the base:
  • 1 cup sifted flour = 100 g de farine tamisée
  • ½ cup butter, softened = 115 g de beurre, ramolli
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar = 3 cuillères à soupe de sucre glace

For the topping:
  • 2 eggs = 2 oeufs
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar = 175 g de sucre
  • ¼ cup flour = 30 g de farine
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder = ½ cuillère à café de levure
  • pinch salt = une pincée de sel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract = 1 cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts = 50 g de noix de macadamia concassées
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut = 40 g de noix de coco râpée
  • ⅓ cup chopped pineapple = 65 g d'ananas coupé en petits dés
  • ⅓ cup chopped mango = 65 g de mangue coupée en petits dés
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips = 50 g de chocolat noir

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, butter and sugar until smooth. Spread thin in an 8” square pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt, and stir well. Fold in all remaining ingredients (except chocolate) and spread mixture over baked base. Put back in the oven and bake for another 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then lift out of pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Melt chocolate and drizzle over cooled pastry. Let chocolate harden for a couple hours and cut into 16 or 20 squares. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuna & Artichoke Stuffed Tomatoes

This no-bake stuffed tomato recipe takes no time to prepare and is perfect on a hot summer day!

Serves 4
  • 4 large beefsteak tomatoes = 4 grosses tomates "coeur de boeuf" 
  • 2 cans (5 oz. each) white tuna (in water), drained = 2 boites (140 g chaque) de thon, égoutté et émietté
  • 1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped = 1 boite (400 g) de coeurs d'artichauts, égouttés et coupés en morceaux
  • 2 tablespoons capers = 2 cuillères à soupe de capres
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar = 1 cuillère à soupe de vinaigre balsamique
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper = sel et poivre

With a sharp knife, slice off the top of each tomato. If need be, also cut a thin piece off the bottom to make the tomatoes sit flat on a plate. With a spoon, scoop out the pulp and chop roughly. Place in a bowl and add the tuna, artichoke hearts, capers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spoon the mixture evenly into the tomatoes. Place the tomato tops back on and serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Roasted Summer Veggie & Goat Cheese Panini

My summer lunches are pretty much salads, panini and more salads, and more panini! Easy peasy... and delicious!

There isn't much of a recipe here. Just get a bunch of your favorite summer vegetables. Bonus point if they come from your own backyard! Okay, farmers markets are good too. Zucchini, summer squash, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, eggplant, whatever you have on hand. Dice them up, spray them with olive oil, and dried herbs (thyme, rosemary or oregano), roast them in a 450°F/230°C oven for 30 minutes. You can do this ahead of time. I always make a huge batch (at night, when it's cooler outside!) and store leftovers in the fridge.

When ready for lunch, sprinkle or spread goat cheese  (feta works too) on a slice of bread, add a nice portion of roasted veggies, season with freshly ground pepper and top with another slice of bread. Brush both sides of the sandwich with a little olive oil. Grill in a panini press (or use a grilling pan) until the bread is golden brown and the cheese melts. Transfer to a plate and serve right away. Enjoy!

Other panini ideas:
- Giada's Prosciutto, Spinach and Fontina Panini
- Giada's Tuna and Artichoke Panini
- Closet Cooking's Fig and Brie Panini
- Pioneer Woman's Grilled Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Panini
- WholeFoods' Cuban-Style Panini

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Speedy Tabouleh

Tabouleh is a Middle Eastern salad made with couscous or bulgur, tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs and seasoning. Any variety of couscous will work but I like using pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous). By adding chickpeas and cucumbers, I bump up the protein and green content and transform this traditional mezze into a more substantial meal.

I love my tabouleh minty and lemony, but feel free to substitute parsley if you prefer, and add a little more olive oil. Using Persian (mini) cucumbers and grape tomatoes means less chopping and saves time, hence the “speedy” in the title.

This refreshing vegetarian/vegan salad can be prepared ahead of time and is perfect on a hot summer day.

Serves 4-6
  • 8 oz. (uncooked) pearl couscous = 225g de couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed = 150 g de pois-chiches
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped (about 2 cups) = 4 mini concombres, coupés en dés
  • 10 oz. grape tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups) = 275g de tomates cerises, coupés en deux
  • ¼ cup (packed) chopped fresh mint (or parsley, if you prefer)= 15-20 gr de menthe, ciselée (ou de persil, selon votre préférence)
  • Juice from 2 large lemons = jus de 2 gros citrons
  • Kosher salt, to taste = sel
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste = poivre fraichement moulu

To cook pearl couscous: heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan, sauté pearl couscous until lightly browned (about 4 minutes). Add 2 ¼ cups boiling water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed (about 12-14 minutes). Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a medium bowl, combine the cooked/cooled pearl couscous, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes and mint.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together to coat evenly.

Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Slow-cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

There are lots of recipes for pulled chicken (or pork) in the slow-cooker. They are all pretty similar in that they use a mix of chicken, spices and barbecue sauce. Beer (or sometimes Coke) seems to be that secret ingredient you can't really taste but that makes the dish extra good. I don't buy sodas but I did have beer in my fridge (oh well, what can I say!) so that's what I used. I didn't have time to make my own barbecue sauce but if you do, by all means, go for it!

You can easily go to the pool or the park while this is cooking, but I happened to be home and boy, the smell coming out of my slow-cooker was a-ma-zing! I couldn't wait for dinner!

I piled the pulled chicken on whole-wheat slider buns and served potato salad and coleslaw on the side. Delish!

Makes enough for about 4-6 regular sandwiches or 8-12 sliders
  • 3 large or 4 medium skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ lbs) = 3 ou 4 escalopes de poulet (environ 700 gr au total)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder = 1 cuillère à café d'oignon en poudre
  • 1 teaspoon paprika = 1 cuillère à café de paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder = ½ cuillère à café d'ail en poudre
  • Salt & pepper (about ½ teaspoon each) = sel et poivre (environ ½ cuillère à café de chaque)
  • ½ cup of beer (I used JB Summer Brew) = 120 ml de bière
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Trader Joe's Kansas-Style Bold & Spicy) = 240 ml de sauce BBQ

Sprinkle chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place into slow-cooker, pour beer and barbecue sauce on top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove from slow-cooker and shred on a cutting board with two forks. Return to slow-cooker, switch to keep warm and let sit uncovered for about 30-45 minutes until most of the barbecue sauce is absorbed.

Serve on buns, with additional barbecue sauce if you wish. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Summer is officially here and blueberry season is in full swing. We love eating them for breakfast, snack and dessert!

Using blueberries in a salad dressing may sound unusual but it's a creative way to sweeten a traditional mustard vinaigrette. Try pouring it over mixed greens, berries and sliced almonds. Simple and delicious!

Makes  about ½ cup
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries = 75 g de myrtilles fraiches
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar = 1 cuillère à café de cassonade
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar = 2 cuillères à soupe de vinaigre rouge
  • 1 small shallot, diced = 1 petite échalotte, coupée en morceaux
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à café de moutarde forte
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice = 1 cuillère à café de jus de citron
  • Salt & pepper, to taste = sel et poivre
  • ¼ cup olive oil = 60 ml d'huile d'olive

Place the blueberries, sugar, vinegar, shallot, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor (fitted with the metal blade). Process for 45 seconds. Then, while running, slowly add the olive oil. When all combined, transfer to a small bottle or pouring dish.

You can use the vinaigrette right away or keep it in the fridge for up to a week. If so, let it come back to room temperature for 15-20 minutes and shake well to re-emulsified (add a little bit of water if the dressing seems too thick).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Roasted Greek-Style Potato Wedges

Summer comfort food at its best! These are perfect with my Greek turkey burgers.

Makes 4 servings
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges = 4 grosses pommes de terre Russet (environ 250 gr chacune)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil = 80 ml d'huile d'olive
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice = 2 cuillères à soupe de jus de citron
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano = 2 cuillères à café d'origan
  • 1 glove garlic, minced = 1 gousse d'ail, émincée
  • Salt & pepper, to taste = sel et poivre
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth = 80 ml de bouillon de légumes ou de poulet

Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss potatoes wedges with olive oil mixture and spread on a large baking sheet. Pour broth around the potatoes. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.

Roast until tender and golden brown (about 30-40 minutes), turning once or twice with a spatula.
Cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Frosting

Woohoo! I just got one year older wiser! And what would a birthday be without a cupcake? I was told you're not supposed to bake your own birthday (cup)cake(s) but I really wanted to try something different and I wasn't going to find anything “from scratch” at the store or in a box. So I went looking online for ideas and ended up creating my own coconut/lime cupcake/frosting recipe. The coconut flavor is perfectly sweet without being overpowering and the lime frosting adds a nice tang.

This treat is the perfect summer cupcake: it tastes like a day at the beach!

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened = 85 g de beurre, ramolli
  • ¾ cup sugar = 150 g de sucre
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites = 1 oeuf entier + 2 blancs d'oeuf
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour = 150 g de farine
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1 cuillère à café de levure
  • Pinch salt = une pincée de sel
  • ¼ cup (packed) sweetened shredded coconut = 35 g de noix de coco râpée
  • ½ cup light coconut milk = 120 ml de lait de coco (allégé)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract = ½ cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille
For the frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened = 40 g de beurre, ramolli
  • 1 lime = 1 citron vert
  • 1 cup powdered sugar = 120 g de sucre glace

Preheat oven to 350 °F / 180° C.
Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg whites, beating well after each addition.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and shredded coconut (dry ingredients) in a medium bowl.

Mix coconut milk and vanilla extract (wet ingredients) in a separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients to sugar/butter mixture, alternating with wet ingredients. Mix until combined, scraping sides of the bowl a few times.
Line standard muffin tins with 12 cupcake paper liners. Pour batter, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: zest the lime with a microplane grater, then cut in half and juice it. Combine butter, half the zest and 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons fresh juice in a medium bowl. Beat with mixer until well blended. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Spread about 2-3 teaspoons of frosting onto each cupcake and sprinkle with remaining zest. Enjoy!

Note: this is enough frosting to spread a thin layer on each cupcake. Flavor-wise, you do not need more but if you wish to pipe the frosting with a 1M tip, you will need to double the recipe.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rainbow Farro Salad

This colorful salad is beautiful to look at and is a great way to “eat the rainbow”. A perfect and healthy side dish for you Memorial Day BBQ or picnic!

Any grain can be used but I wanted to give farro a try. If you can't find any, you could substitute bulgur, wheatberries, barley, quinoa, brown rice, or even orzo pasta – you'll need about 3 ½ to 4 cups (cooked).

Serves 4-6

For the salad:
  • 8 oz. farro, uncooked = 225 g de farro (ou Ebly)
  • 1 small red onion, diced = 1 petit oignon violet, coupé en petits carrés
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced = 1 poivron rouge, coupé en petits carrés
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced = 1 poivron jaune, coupé en petits carrés
  • 10-15 Kalamata olives, quartered = 10-15 olives Kalamata, coupées en 4
  • 4 oz. baby spinach, chopped = 110 g de jeunes pousses d'épinards fraiches, émincées
  • A few leaves of fresh mint, chopped = quelles feuilles de menthe fraiche, émincées
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta = 60 g de feta émiettée
For the lemon-anchovy vinaigrette:
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard = 2 cuillères à café de moutarde forte
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste = 1 cuillère à café de pâte d'anchois ou pissalat
  • 1 garlic clove, minced = 1 gousse dail, émincée
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice = 4 cuillères à soupe de jus de citron
  • ¼ cup olive oil = 60 ml d'huile d'olive
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste = poivre fraichement moulu

Bring 2 ¼ cups water and farro to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 30-35 minutes, until all water is absorbed and grains become tender. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, mist a little olive oil and stir to prevent sticking. Transfer to a bowl and chill for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by whisking together all the ingredients.

Remove farro from fridge and add about half the vinaigrette. Stir well. Add red onion, bell peppers, olives, baby spinach, mint and feta. Stir together, and pour remaining dressing. Toss well and serve. Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Raspberry-Almond Palmiers

Yesterday, I was looking for an excuse to make some yummy treats when I read that it was International No-Diet Day. Gotta celebrate that one, right?

Palmiers (or elephant ears) are found in every pastry shop in France. They are usually “plain” (well, if you consider sugar plain!) and I find they can be a bit dry sometimes. Instead of granulated sugar, I like using preserves to keep the palmiers moist and give them a fruity flavor. Almonds (or any other nuts) are optional but add a little crunch that I can't resist.

To be honest, yes, making puff pastry is time-consuming but, it's not that hard. I have a traditional recipe that might be a bit too daunting for some, so I'll share this fast and easy recipe from King Arthur Flour. Go ahead and give it a try! You will need only half the dough for this recipe. Save the other half for later (you can freeze it) and make mini croissants, apple turnovers or pigs in a blanket – there are so many options, it won't go to waste, trust me!

It is also perfectly acceptable to use good-quality frozen puff pastry – and by that, I mean one that does not contain hydrogenated oils or shortening. If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's near you, try their Artisan Puff Pastry. It is made with only flour, butter, salt, sugar and water (no weird additives or preservatives, unlike other brands I've come across before).

Makes 20 mini palmiers
  • About 8 oz. puff pastry (or 1 frozen sheet, thawed) = 225 g de pâte feuilletée
  • About ¼ cup seedless raspberry preserves = environ 75 g de confiture de framboise
  • About ¼ cup chopped almonds = 4 cuillères à soupe d'amandes concassées
  • 1 egg, beaten = 1 oeuf, battu

Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C.

Roll out the puff pastry to a thin rectangle about 10” x 12”. Spread preserves all over the dough and sprinkle evenly with almonds.

Roll up the left side inward, stopping in the middle of the dough. Repeat with the right side. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least half an hour. It will make the log easier to cut.

Remove the log from the fridge and brush with the egg wash. Cut into 20 ½” pieces slices. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Enjoy!