Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Busy December in my kitchen...

It has been a very busy month in (and out!) of my kitchen!
Here's a little sample:
 
Dark Chocolate Truffles
for Cooking Club Holiday Party
 
Brie-Spinach-Cranberry Puff Pastry Pinwheels
for Cooking Club Holiday Party
 
 
Labels for Holiday Cookies

 
Cranberry-White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
drizzled with Dark Chocolate

 
Holiday Treats for Co-Workers and Neighbors
 
 
Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake):
Orange- flavored Genoise, Brushed with Cointreau Syrup,
Filled with Orange Marmalade,and Topped with Dark Chocolate Ganache
 
Happy Holidays!
 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chickpea Noodle Soup



Snow Day! No school! Yay! We can take it easy in the morning and eat homemade pancakes for breakfast. Then head outside to have a snowball fight and make a snowman. When we get cold and hungry, we rush back in for some warm soup. In the afternoon, there's more outside play (sledding anyone?), and more yummy comfort food like Nutella crepes and hot cocoa while watching a Christmas movie. Truly a perfect day in my book!

This soup is a nice “veganized” version of the classic chicken noodle soup. It's so good, I don't even miss the chicken. I hope you'll give it a try, it's a winter favorite in my house!


Serves 6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped = 1 petit oignon, coupé en petits morceaux
  • 4 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped = 110 g de champignons cremini, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced = 1 gousse d'ail, émincé
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled & chopped = 4 carottes, épluchées et coupées en rondelles ou demi-lune
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced = 2 branches de céléri, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme = 1 cuillère à café de thym
  • 4 oz (uncooked) egg noodles = 110 g de pates
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed = 1 boite de 425 g pois chiches, drainés et rincés
  • 4 cups vegetable broth = 950 ml de bouillon de légumes
  • 2 to 4 cups water = 425 à 950 ml d'eau
  • salt & pepper = sel et poivre
 
Heat olive oil in cast-iron Dutch Oven. Saute chopped onions and mushrooms in olive oil for a few minutes. Add garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, and pepper and saute for another 5 minutes.

Add vegetable broth and 2 cups water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add noodles and chickpeas, add more water if you wish, and simmer until noodles are cooked. Season to taste. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey-Pumpkin Lasagna



This is a great way to use any leftover turkey you may have but it also works with chicken, ground turkey, or simply keep it vegetarian by substituting sautéed mushrooms for the meat.

Serve with mixed greens and a crisp white wine and you have a great dinner!

Serves 4-6

For the béchamel:
  • 3 tablespoons butter = 45 g de beurre
  • 4 tablespoons flour = 4 cuillères à soupe de farine
  • 2 cups (whole) milk = ½ litre de lait (entier)
  • pinch nutmeg, freshly grated = pincée de noix de muscade
  • salt & pepper = sel et poivre
For the lasagna:
  • 8 pieces no-boil lasagna = 8 feuilles de lasagne
  • 1 cup ricotta = 250 g de ricotta
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten = 1 oeuf, légérement battu
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree = 120 g de purée de citrouille ou potiron
  • 1 cup shredded gruyère cheese = 100 g de gruyère râpé
  • ½ turkey breast, cooked and cut-up in tiny cubes = ½ blanc de dinde, cuit et coupé en petits dés

Start by making the béchamel: melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add flour and cook until golden, stirring a few times. Pour in half the milk gradually, stirring vigorously with a whisk until smooth, then stir in the remaining milk. Keep whisking for a minute or so. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until sauce has thickened.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine ricotta, egg, pumpkin and ½ cup cheese in a bowl.

To assemble: spread about 1/3 cup of béchamel at the bottom of a square baking dish. Place 2 pieces of lasagna side by side. Top evenly with ½ cup of ricotta mixture and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the turkey bites and 2 tablespoons shredded gruyère. Spread another 1/3 cup béchamel and continue layering: lasagna, ricotta, turkey, gruyère and béchamel, twice. Top with remaining 2 lasagna pieces, pour remaining béchamel and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on top.
 
Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Apple-Cranberry Crumble



This is my absolute favorite fall dessert! It's simple and so easy to make -- no baking skills required. A little sweet, a little tart. Perfection!

I know Thanksgiving dessert is all about pies but if you want to try something different and a bit lighter, go for it!

Serves 6

For the filling:
  • 6 to 8 medium apples (Braeburn, Fuji or Gala), peeled and sliced = 6 à 8 pommes de taille moyenne, épluchées et coupées en lamelles
  • 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries = 150 g de cranberries fraiches
  • cup freshly squeezed orange juice = 80 ml de jus d'orange pressé
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar = 2 cuillères à soupe de sucre
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch = 1 cuillère à soupe de maïzena
For the topping:
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour = 30 g de farine
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar = 50g de cassonade
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces = 40 g de beurre, coupé en petits dés
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats = 20 g (4 cuillères à soupe)  de flocons d'avoine

Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
 
Put apple slices and cranberries in a large bowl. Combine juice, sugar and cornstarch, and pour over apple-cranberry mixture. Toss well. Spoon apple mixture into a lightly buttered 8”x10” baking dish.
 
Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter in the food processor, pulse about 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Sprinkle flour mixture and oats on top of the fruit filling. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm, into individual bowls, with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Note: I purposely keep the topping light and sparse, you may want to double the topping ingredients if you like a heavier layer on top.
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash & Leek Soup



Another soup. I hope you don't mind! The temperatures are dropping and I am craving soup on a daily basis now. Butternut squash and leek: another combination I love! If you lack the time to roast the butternut squash, you may just skip that step but it does add more depth to the soup.
 
If you've never peeled a butternut squash, check Simply Recipes tutorial here.
 
Makes about 4 servings

  • Olive oil = huile d'olive
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped = 2 poireaux, coupées en morceaux
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed = 1 courge butternut, épluchée et coupée en cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth = 475 ml de bouillon de légumes
  • 1 cup water = 240 ml d'eau
  • Salt and pepper = sel et poivre
  • Pinch cinnamon = une pincée de cannelle
  • Pinch nutmeg = une pincée de noix de muscade

Spray butternut squash cubes with a little olive oil and roast on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Coat dutch oven with 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add leek and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes. Add roasted butternut squash cubes and broth/water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Season with spices and salt and pepper to taste.

Purée with immersion blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Banana Pumpkin Smoothie


I think I am slightly addicted to this smoothie. I've made it pretty much everyday for the last week or so! It tastes so good and it's a great source of vitamin A, calcium and protein. Yummy and healthy, yes! Plus easy to fix for breakfast or an after-school snack!

If you can't find low-fat kefir, substitute 1/2 Greek yogurt, 1/2 milk . And feel free to spice it up with ginger and cinnamon, I personally enjoy the clean, fresh, simple taste of the banana and pumpkin together, lightly sweetened with a touch of honey.
 
*** Have a happy, spooky Halloween!***

Makes 1 large smoothie (breakfast) or 2 small ones (snack)

  • 1 ripe banana = 1 banane bien mûre
  • ½ cup pumpkin (canned or homemade) = 120 gr de purée de citrouille ou potiron
  • 1 cup kefir = 240 ml de kefir
  • ½ tablespoon honey = ½ cuillère à soupe de miel
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (optional) = 1 cuillère à soupe de graines de lin moulues (facultatif)
  • a few ice cubes = quelques glaçcons

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

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sweet Potato & Apple Soup


In the fall and winter, I almost always make a big pot on soup on Sunday so that I can quickly fix lunch or dinner on those crazy busy week days: just reheat a cup of soup (I recently purchased this great little vent n' serve soup mug from Tupperware and it is perfect for that purpose), add a few crackers or a grilled cheese sandwich. Done!

Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped = 1 petit oignon rouge, épluché et coupé en morceaux
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped = 2 patates douces, épluchées et coupées en morceaux
  • 1 medium apple, chopped = 1 pomme, coupée en morceaux
  • 2 to 2 ½ cups vegetable broth or water = 475 à 600 ml de bouillon de légumes ou d'eau
  • Salt and pepper = sel et poivre

Coat dutch oven with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion, sweet potato chunks and apple slices. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add vegetable broth (or water). Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes.
 
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Blend with immersion blender until smooth (add more broth/water if needed). Enjoy!
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Roasted Autumn Salad with Apple-Maple Vinaigrette


 
All the flavors of autumn into one yummy salad. As always with most my recipes, make it your own!

Don't like brussels sprouts? Roast butternut squash or pumpkin chunks instead (and substitute pumpkin butter for the apple one in the vinaigrette). No pepitas (pumpkin seeds)? Use any nut you like (walnuts, pecans, almonds...). Not a fan of blue cheese? Goat cheese or feta would work great too!

Serves 4

For the salad:
  • 20 brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise = 20 choux de Bruxelles, coupés en deux dans le sens de la longueur
  • 2 apples, sliced = 2 pommes, coupées en lamelles
  • Olive oil = huile d'olive
  • 4 cups baby spinach = 120 g de jeunes pousses d'épinard
  • 4 tablespoons dried cranberries = 4 cuillères à soupe de cranberries séchées
  • 4 tablespoons pepitas or nuts = 4 cuillères à soupe de pepitas ou noix/pecans/amandes
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese = 4 cuillères à soupe de Roquefort émietté
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 garlic clove, minced = 1 gousse d'ail, émincée
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter (or applesauce) = 1 cuillère à soupe de compote de pommes (ou de sirop de Liège)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à soupe de moutarde forte
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup = 1 cuillère à soupe de sirop d'érable
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar = 60 ml de vinaigre de cidre
  • ⅓ cup olive oil = 80 ml d'huile d'olive

Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.
 
Spray olive oil on a baking sheet, spread brussels sprouts and apple slices and spray with more olive oil. Roast, turning once, for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: blend all the ingredients together in a small food processor or in a mason jar.
 
Divide spinach leaves onto 4 plates, top with roasted brussels sprouts and apple slices, dried cranberries, pepitas and crumbled blue cheese. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette on each salad and serve right away. Enjoy!

Note: save leftover vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Bread




 
The quintessential autumn bread. I like to keep it simple but feel free to add a cup of chopped walnuts or chocolate chips.

This recipe makes two loaves: keep one for yourself, give one to a friend or neighbor and make their day!

You can also bake the batter in muffin tins: bake regular-sized muffins at 350° for 24-25 minutes or mini muffins at 375° for 11-12 minutes.

Makes two loaves (based on a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine)
  • 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar = 300 g de cassonade
  • 1 cup granulated sugar = 200 de sucre
  • ½ cup vegetable oil = 120 ml d'huile végétale
  • ½ cup applesauce = 120 ml ou 120 g de compote de pomme 
  • 3 large eggs = 3 oeufs
  • 1 16-ounce can pumpkin (or homemade) = 450 g de purée de citrouille
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour = 375 g de farine
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon = 2 cuillères à café de cannelle en poudre
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves = ½ cuillère à café de clous de girofles en poudre ou fraichement moulu
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg = ½ cuillère à café de noix de muscade en poudre ou fraichement moulu
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda = 1 cuillère à café de bicarbonate de soude
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder = ½ cuillère à café de levure chimique

 
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugars, oil and applesauce in a large bowl. Add eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, spices, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture and blend well. Mix in walnuts or chocolate chips if using.
 
Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake for about 1 hour and to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer and cool completely. Enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thai Chicken with Fresh Basil


We often order take-out from a nearby Thai restaurant, but this dish is so easy and quick to make, you won't need to reach for the phone. The original recipe is from this great little book: Quick and Easy Thai; however, I have tweaked it quite a bit to our taste (less onion, more sauce, ground chili paste instead of fresh chilies...). If you can find some, use Asian basil, if not, Italian basil will work just as well. I usually serve this dish with steamed jasmine rice and sliced mango for dessert. Thai night-in!

Serves 3 to 4
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile végétale
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced = 2 ou 3 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • ¼ cup chopped onion = ¼ d'un oignon, coupé en petits morceaux
  • 3 or 4 medium chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces = 3 ou 4 escalopes de poulet, coupées en morceaux
  • 4 tablespoons nam pla (thai fish sauce) = 60 ml de nam pla ou nuoc-mâm
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce = 30 ml de sauce soja
  • 4 tablespoons water = 60 ml d'eau
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar = 2 cuillères à café de cassonade
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground chili paste (sambal oelek) = 1 à 2 cuillères à café de sambal ulek (purée de piments)
  • 20 to 25 fresh basil leaves = 20 à 25 feuilles de basilic frais

Heat up the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a couple minutes. Toss the chicken pieces in, cook, stirring so the chicken browns on all sides.

Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, water and sugar and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the chili paste and basil leaves, toss well. Once basil has wilted, remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Serve immediately, with jasmine rice on the side. Enjoy!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chickpea Salad Sandwich



Have your kids gone back to school yet? We're getting dangerously close here (woohoo!) and I am already thinking about new healthy ideas to fill my son's lunchbox, and mine!

This vegetarian alternative to tuna and chicken salad is so easy to make, and it's delicious! I have a feeling it's going to be on our weekly rotation.

Makes 4 medium sandwiches

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed = 1 boite de 425 g de pois chiches, égouttés et rinsés
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise or vegenaise = 4 cuillères à soupe de mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard = 2 cuillères à café de moutarde forte
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice = 1 cuillère à café de jus de citron
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped = 1 branche de céleri, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped = 1 carotte, épluchée et coupée en morceaux
  • Pinch cayenne pepper = une pincée de poivre de Cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste = du poivre noir fraichement moulu
  • Whole grain bread = des tranches de pain aux céréales complètes
  • Lettuce leaves = des feuilles de laitue
  • Tomato slices = des tranches de tomate

Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to roughly chop. Add mayo, mustard, lemon juice, celery and carrots and pulse a few times to incorporate. Season with cayenne and black peppers.
 
Assemble sandwiches by layer bread, lettuce, tomato and chickpea mixture. Top with another slice of bread, or serve open-faced. Enjoy!
 
Note: If you don't have a food processor, you can simply mash the chickpeas and finely chopped the carrot and celery, before mixing all the salad ingredients together.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Quiche



I just love quiche! You can make so many combinations and this one is perfect for the summer months when zucchini, bell peppers and eggplants are in season.

The pie crust is easy to make in the food processor. Or simply buy a frozen one. Shortcuts are okay sometimes! If you have a Trader Joe's near you, I highly recommend theirs. And while you're there, grab a bag of Quattro Formaggio. It's a blend of shredded parmesan, asiago, provolone, and fontina cheeses that will give any dish great flavor and texture. Otherwise, use 1/3 cup shredded parmiggiano reggiano or asiago and 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella or fontina.

I brought this quiche, with mixed greens on the side, to a swim team potluck recently. It stood out... and was gone quickly!

Makes one 10” quiche, 6-8 servings
  • 1 pie crust (thawed as per instructions) = 1 pâte brisée
  • 2 zucchini, diced = 2 courgettes, coupées en petits dés
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, diced = 1 poivron orange ou rouge, coupé en petits dés
  • 5 or 6 slices of eggplant = 5 ou 6 rondelles d'aubergine
  • Olive oil, in a spray bottle = huile d'olive en spray
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme = ½ cuillère à café de thym séché
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten = 3 oeufs, légèrement battus
  • ½ cup heavy cream = 120 ml de crème fleurette
  • ⅔ cup shredded cheese = 75 g de fromage râpé (parmesan, gruyère...)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano = ½ cuillère à café d'origan séché
  • salt & pepper = sel et poivre

Place the vegetables on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and thyme. Roast in 425°F oven for 35 minutes, stirring the diced veggies and flipping the eggplant slices after the first 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8” thick. Transfer to a pie pan. Prick the base with a fork a few times and set aside.

When veggies are done, remove from oven and turn it down to 375ºF / 190ºC. Let veggies cool slightly.

Beat together the eggs and cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the shredded cheese, season with pepper and dried oregano. Add roasted zucchini and bell peppers and pour onto the prepared crust. Top with roasted eggplant slices. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Parmigiana



Eggplant parmigiana is a southern Italian dish made of sliced eggplant, deep-fried then layered with cheese and tomato sauce and baked. I can not bring myself to deep-fry anything (even in olive oil!) so in this healthier version, I skip the batter and frying and simply roast the eggplant.
 
For the layering, feel free to make your own tomato sauce or use jarred marinara. As for the cheese, I use a combination of ricotta, shredded mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano (the real thing, not the so-called “parmesan” from a green can!). The traditional sliced mozzarella is a little too chewy for my taste, but the ricotta makes the whole dish super smooth and creamy. You're welcome!

Serves 6
  • 3 small or 2 medium eggplants, cut into ¼-inch slices = 3 petites aubergines, ou 2 moyennes, coupées en rondelles de ½ cm
  • about ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil = environ 60 ml d'huile d'olive + 1 cuillère à soupe
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced = 3 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes = 800 g de purée de tomates
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar = 1 cuillère à soupe de sucre roux
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil = 2 cuillères à soupe de basilic frais ciselé
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese = 425 g de ricotta
  • a pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated = une pincée de noix de muscade
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese = 225 g de mozarella râpée
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano = 100 g de parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) râpé
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano = 2 cuillères à soupe de parmesan très finement râpé
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs = 2 cuillères à soupe de chapelure (Panko)
  • salt & pepper to taste = sel et poivre

Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with olive oil. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip the slices over and repeat, so that both sides are oiled and salted. Roast until golden brown, about 40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F/190°C.

In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, do not let it burn! Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Add the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, and a pinch of black pepper and ground nutmeg.

To assemble the dish: spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish, followed by half of the roasted eggplant, another 1/3 of the tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, slices 1/3 of the sauce, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Mix panko and finely grated parmesan, sprinkle evenly on top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly. You can also put it under the broiler for a few minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lentil Salad in Pita Pocket



In the summer, our mornings are spent at the pool for swim practice so there isn't a lot of time to plan or make lunch. I steam some green Puy lentils the night before and this pita sandwich comes together in a few minutes. I use whatever I have in the fridge or pantry: tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper (fresh or roasted), shredded carrots, marinated artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives, chopped baby spinach or arugula. I love lots of colors! It's always delicious and filling!

Serves 2
  • 2 whole wheat pita pockets (I use Trader Joe's Pocketful of Fiber Pita Bread), each cut in half = 2 pains pita, coupés en deux
  • ¾ to 1 cup cooked lentils, at room temperature = 150 à 200 g de lentilles cuites, à température ambiante
  • 1 tomato, chopped = 1 tomate, coupée en morceaux
  • 1 mini cucumber, chopped = 1 mini-concombre, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped = 1 petit poivron jaune, coupé en morceaux
  • 8 mini mozzarella balls, chopped= 8 mini-balles de mozzarella, coupées en morceaux
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à café d'huile d'olive
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar = 1 cuillère à soupe de vinaigre balsamique
  • salt & pepper = sel & poivre

Mix the lentils, chopped veggies and mozzarella in a medium bowl, add oil, vinegar and seasonings and toss gently.

Stuff each pocket half with lentil salad and serve right away. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Caprese Pasta Salad


 
Simple. Fresh. Healthy. A great summer salad to share with friends and family!

I prefer using mini shaped pasta, as well as grape tomatoes and ciliegine: everything is small so you get all the delicious caprese flavors in every bite.

Serves 6-8

For the pasta:
  • ½ lb mini wheels pasta = 225 g de mini-pates (style Piccolini de Barilla
  • 1 lb. grape tomatoes, halved = 450 g de tomates cerise, coupées en deux
  • 8 oz. ciliegine (mini-mozarella balls), halved = 225 g de ciliegine (petites boules de mozarella fraiche), coupées en deux
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced = 10 à 15 feuilles de basilique fraiches, ciselées

For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup lemon juice = 60 ml de jus de citron
  • ¼ cup olive oil = 60 ml d'huile d'olive
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste = sel et poivre fraichement moulu

Cook pasta “al dente”, drain, put in serving bowl and cool for 10 minutes. Add remaining salad ingredients.

Blend the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and toss gently.

Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwiches



These open-faced finger salmon sandwiches were my other contribution to my Cooking Club's Afternoon Tea themed meeting. The horseradish adds a nice bite to the cream cheese and you can use either chive or dill as both complement smoked salmon really well. Get the best smoked salmon you can find or afford. I love Trader Joe's Nova Smoked Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon.

No occasion for finger sandwiches? Chop the smoked salmon and mix it into the cream cheese with all the other ingredients. Use the spread on a whole wheat bagel. Delish!

Makes 15 to 20 mini sandwiches (based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature = 170 g de cream cheese ou équivalent
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or dill = 2 cuillères à soupe de ciboulette ou aneth fraiche, grossièrement hâchée
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish = 2 cuillères à café de raifort préparé
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped = 1 cuillères à soupe de câpres, hâchés
  • zest of 1 lemon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice = zeste d'un citron + 1 cuillère à café du jus
  • Salt & pepper, to taste = sel et poivre
  • 5 or 6 slices pumpernickel bread = 5 ou 6 tranches de pain de seigle
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon = 225 g de saumon fumé, en fines tranches
  • Additional fresh chives or dill, for garnish = quelques brins de ciboulette ou aneth pour décorer
 
In a bowl, mix cream cheese, chopped chives (or dill), horseradish, pepper, salt, capers and lemon zest and juice until smooth.
 
Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture over each slice of bread. Top with smoked salmon. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut 3 or 4 circles out of each slice of bread. Place a small dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top and garnish with chive or dill. Enjoy!

Crème pâtissière / Pastry Cream


A few weeks ago, I posted a profiterole recipe. At the time, I was pressed for time and decided to fill the puffs with ice cream. It was delicious. Today, for our Cooking Club's Afternoon Tea, I filled them with the smoothest, most decadent pastry cream I have ever made. It definitely rivals any choux à la crème or éclair you would find in a French patisserie (pastry shop).

Makes enough to fill 15 medium cream puffs
  • 2 cups half-and-half or whole milk = 475 ml de lait entier
  • ½ cup sugar = 100 g de sucre
  • pinch salt = pincée de sel 
  • 5 large egg yolks = 5 jaunes d'oeuf
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch = 3 cuillères à soupe de maizena
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces = 50 g de beurre, coupé en 4 morceaux
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract = 1 ½ cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille

Heat the half-and-half (or milk), 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, use a hand mixer to whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk until the mixture is creamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in the cornstarch until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes.

When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer (do not boil!), gradually and slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture to temper. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is thick and glossy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and the vanilla.

Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate overnight  or for at least 3 hours until set.
 
It's now ready to use in any desserts that call for pastry cream: fruit tarts or tartlets, napoléons, éclairs. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaf



For years, I made Giada's TurkeyMeatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Then one day, I didn't have any fresh parsley, but I had chopped spinach in the freezer, so I used that. Another time, I didn't have any sun-dried tomatoes in the pantry so I tried throwing in some tomato paste instead. No feta? Substitute goat cheese. And why not add chopped olives. And serve it with marinara. Well, you get the picture -- I, basically, made it my own.

This has become my family's favorite meatloaf: it's bursting with flavors, it's moist, it's healthy. Win-win!

Serves 4-6
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs = 25 g de chapelure (panko si possible)
  • ½ cup (packed) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained = 50 g d'épinards hâchés surgelés, décongelés et drainés
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste = 2 cuillères à soupe de double concentré de tomate
  • 1 clove garlic, minced = 1 gousse d'ail, émincée
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten = 2 oeufs, légèrement battus
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half = 1 cuillère à soupe de crème fleurette
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à café d'huile d'olive
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese = 30 g de feta ou de fromage de chêvre, émietté
  • ¼ cup chopped black olives = 30 g d'olives noires
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper = ½ cuillère à café de poivre
  • 1 ¼ pound ground turkey (99% fat free) = 550 g de dinde hâchée
  • ½ cup marinara sauce = 125 ml de sauce marinara

Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Line a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
 
In a large bowl, mix together panko crumbs, spinach, tomato paste, garlic, eggs, half-and-half, olive oil, feta, olives, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir until just combined.
 
Pack the meat mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, reheat the marinara in a small saucepan or microwave.
 
Transfer meatloaf onto a platter., pour marinara on top and slice. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Salmon with Green Sauce


When I volunteered to host the ladies from my cooking club for a French-themed luncheon, I knew right away that I would demo and serve this as it is one of my favorite fish dishes ever. It is uncomplicated and comes together in no time. Yet, it is fancy enough to impress whomever you are serving it to.

Salmon is a very dense, meaty fish and it can be tricky to cook it right. I find baking to be the easiest and most reliable method. For best results: 1. remove salmon from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature 2. do not salt the salmon prior to cooking as it tends to dry it out faster 3. spray a little olive oil and lemon juice to help keep it moist 4. bake at 400° for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

The green sauce is traditionally made with sorrel, which is a sour and lemony herb that goes beautifully with salmon. Sorrel can be hard to come by. If you're lucky, you'll find it at your farmers market. Spinach (which is what I used for the occasion), watercress or arugula are good substitutes and are much easier to get at your local supermarket.

Serves 4 to 6
  • 4 to 6 salmon fillets = 4 à 6 pavés de saumon
  • olive oil in spray bottle = huile d'olive en spray
  • fresh lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon) = jus de citron (environ 1 c.à.c)
  • 1 tablespoon butter = 15 g de beurre
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped = 2 échalottes, ciselées
  • 3 oz.fresh baby spinach or sorrel leaves, washed and patted dry, finely chopped = 60 g d'oseille ou d'épinard frais, finement haché(e)s
  • 3 tablespoon white wine = 45 ml de vin blanc
  • ½ cup heavy cream = 120 ml de crème liquide
  • salt and pepper = sel et poivre

Preheat oven to 400° F / 200° C.
 
Spray salmon with olive oil and drizzle with lemon juice. Put on a baking sheet, lined with parchment or foil paper, skin-side down. Cook for 12 -15 minutes (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness).
 
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry, stirring a few times, for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped sorrel or spinach and wine. Cook until wilted then add the cream and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Let sauce warm up and reduce on low heat for a few minutes until salmon is baked.
 
Arrange salmon fillets on a serving platter and pour the green sauce over the top. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cheesy Potato Gratin



This is the gratin my mom has been making for years and it's just how I like it: decadent (hello, heavy cream!) and delicious! I do not claim that it is a traditional recipe for gratin dauphinois. Actually, because of the addition of gruyère cheese, it might be considered more of a gratin savoyard (from the Savoie region in the Alps). Also, I skip the step of pre-cooking the potatoes in milk before baking the gratin in the oven -- it works just fine and saves time!

Here are a few tips for achieving the perfect scalloped potatoes:
- use Yukon Gold potatoes,
- slice them thin (between ⅛ and ¼ inch thick) using a food processor or mandoline, or a sharp chef's knife,
- do not rinse or soak the potatoes once they are sliced (you need the potatoes to hold on to their starch which will give the gratin a smooth and creamy texture),
- make ahead of time, turn off oven, and let the gratin sit in the warm oven for up to one hour,
- for a lighter version, use broth (or homemade stock) instead of cream/milk.

Serves 6-8
  • About 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, rinsed and thinly sliced = 1 kg de pommes de terre (type Charlotte), épluchées, nettoyées et coupées en fines rondelles
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter = 20-30 g de beurre
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped = 1 gousse d'ail, finement hâchée
  • 1 cup heavy cream = 240 ml de crème liquide
  • ½ cup milk = 120 ml de lait
  • 1 cup (packed) shredded gruyère cheese = 125 g de gruyère râpé
  • Salt & pepper = sel et poivre
  • A pinch of nutmeg = une pincée de noix de muscade

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Generously butter a baking dish (about 12” x 8“) and sprinkle the garlic all over the bottom.

Place a layer of potatoes slices in the prepared dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with ¼ cup heavy cream and ¼ cup cheese. Repeat 3 times until all potatoes, cream and cheese are used up. After the last layer, add nutmeg to the milk and pour all over. Bake, uncovered, for about one hour until all liquid is absorbed, potatoes are tender and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!