Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fruit with Kefir and Granola

I discovered Kefir last year and quickly became addicted. Kefir is a thick and tangy fermented milk. At first, it will remind you of drinkable yogurt. But nutrition-wise, it is so much better: it packs high-quality protein and provides plenty of calcium and probiotics too. Added bonus: it is low in lactose so it's easy to digest. You can find Kefir in most grocery stores now. I stick to the plain and low-fat kind, as the fruity versions contain added sugar. You can also use it in place of buttermilk in pancakes and breads, or mix it in smoothies.

As always, the combination below is just one of many. Another favorite of mine it to use berries (I keep frozen ones in my freezer in the winter months) with vanilla-almond granola. No granola? No problem, any healthy cereal will do!

I love how this breakfast keeps me feeling light, yet full and energized, all morning long!

Serves 1
  • ¼ cup pineapple bits = 45 g de petits morceaux d'ananas
  • ½ banana, sliced = ½ banane, coupée en morceaux
  • ½ cara-cara orange, cut into chunks = ½ orange, coupée en morceaux
  • ½ cup low-fat kefir = 120 ml de kefir
  • 2 tablespoons mango passion granola cereal = 2 cuillères à soupe de granola (ou muesli) mangue-passion

Put fruit chunks into a shallow plate. Pour kefir over fruit and top with granola. Sit down and savor every bite!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chicken à la Mirepoix

Mirepoix is a combination of chopped celery, carrots and onions and is used as a base for stews, soups and stocks. Here, it takes center stage and brings incredible flavor to plain chicken breasts.

This dish is so easy to make and comes together quickly (especially if you do the chopping earlier in the day). The inspiration behind it is chicken noodle soup, which I love. However, for some people I know (and live with), soup is not satisfying enough to be a meal by itself. For a soupaholic (is that not a real word?) like me, it's insane but I am open-minded. So I created this dish and served it with egg noodles. It was like having chicken noodle soup, only in a more substantial way and everyone left the table feeling happy and full. It is now a classic at my house!

Serves 4

  •  2 tablespoons olive oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced = 4 grosses carottes, épluchées et coupées en morceaux
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped = 2 branches de céléri, coupés en morceaux
  • 1 medium onion, diced = 1 oignon moyen, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth = 350 ml de bouillon de poulet
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste = 1 cuillère à soupe de concentré de tomates
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme = 1 cuillère à café de thym séché
  • 1 bay leaf = 1 feuille de laurier
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts = 4 blancs de poulet
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper = sel et poivre

In a heavy pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion, and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, turning the chicken over once and stirring occasionally. Uncover and let cook a few more minutes to reduce liquid to desired consistency. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Galette des Rois


Happy New Year! May 2013 be healthy and kind... and yummy, of course!
I love how, for the French (and many other countries), the holiday season is not over until Epiphany on January 6.

Epiphany is celebrated in many different ways around the world. There are different customs even within France. In the south, the traditional cake is a brioche with candied fruits (similar to the Spanish roscon de reyes) called a royaume. In most other regions, we bake a galette, which is flaky puff pastry filled with frangipane, a sweet filling made of ground almonds, butter, eggs and sugar. All Epiphany cakes do share a similar feature though: they hold a trinket, usually a porcelain figurine or fève. If you get the slice with the trinket (try not to break a tooth on it!), you become king (or queen) for the day and get to wear a paper crown. If you buy your galette from the bakery, they provide one, but otherwise, it's a fun craft to do with your kids.

So why not start a new, fun and tasty tradition this year on January 6?

Makes 1 galette, 8 to 10 slices
  • 1 lb. puff pastry, homemade or store-bought   = 450 g de pâte feuilletée
  • 1 cup almond meal = 100 g de poudre d'amandes
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened = 70 g de beurre, ramolli
  • ½ cup sugar = 100 g de sucre
  • 3 large egg yolks, divided = 3 jaunes d'oeufs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract = 1 cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille
  • 2 medium apples or ripe pears, thinly sliced = 2 pommes ou poires bien mures, coupées en tranches fines
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips or chunks = 50 g de pépites ou morceaux de chocolats

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Divide the puff pastry in half, and roll each piece out into a large circle. Using a template (a plate works well), cut one 10" circle from each piece.

Make the frangipane filling by beating the almond meal, butter and sugar until creamy. Add two egg yolks and vanilla, and continue beating until well blended.
Spread the filling over one of the circles, leaving a 1" rim around the edge of the pastry. Place the trinket towards the edge (so you minimize the chances of cutting into it when you slice the galette) and top with apple/pear slices and chocolate if using. Brush a little water around the edges. Gently place the second circle of puff pastry on top. Press and crimp the rim with a fork to seal the galette.
Mix the last egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water together. Brush this glaze over the top of the galette and trace a pretty pattern on the surface (softly, with a knife).
Bake the galette for about 30 minutes until it is beautifully golden. Remove it from the oven, and cool before serving. Enjoy!