Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Be The Change...

As this year comes to a close, so does this blog...

Thank you for four wonderful years of cooking and blogging. I have enjoyed creating and sharing every recipe and post with you.

I feel like it's time for me to move on to new personal projects and focus more time and energy on my family and my community.

May 2015 be healthy and filled with love and inner peace.

Live in the Moment.
&
Remember to give thanks and spread kindness around you.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Endive Leaves Stuffed with Crabmeat Ravigote


This classic New Orleans dish is a quick and elegant appetizer for the holidays!

Ravigote is French for “perked up”, what it means here is that it is nicely seasoned and a bit spicy. You are warned!

Serves 8 
  • ½ cup mayo = 100 g de mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard = 2 cuillères à soupe de moutarde créole ou de moutarde à l'ancienne
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or white vinegar) = 1 cuillère à soupe de jus de citron ou de vinaigre blanc
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco) = ¼ à ½ cuillère à café de Tabasco
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped = 1 oignon vert, finement ciselé
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, drained = 2 cuillères à soupe de câpres, égouttés
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots = 1 cuillère à soupe d'échalotte, émincée
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley + extra for presentation = 1 cuillère à soupe de persil frais, ciselé
  • Pinch white pepper = une pincée de poivre blanc
  • Pinch dried dill = une pincée d'aneth séchée
  • 1 lb lump crabmeat = 450 g de crabe en morceaux
  • 4 Belgian endives, leaves separated = 4 endives, feuilles séparées

Combine all ingredients (except crabmeat and endive leaves) in a bowl and whisk to blend. Gently fold in the crabmeat, being careful not to break up the lumps. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

When ready to serve, spoon about two tablespoons of crab mixture onto each endive leaf. Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chicken with Apple Cider Sauce and Bacon Bits


One last autumn recipe before December hits!

I really like how the sweetness of the cider offsets the smoky saltiness of the bacon. Use any kind of bacon you like, even turkey bacon will do!

Serve it with mashed sweet potatoes and sautéed green beans. Yum!

Serves 4
  • 4 chicken breasts = 4 escalopes de poulet
  • Salt & pepper = sel et poivre
  • 2 slices of bacon = 2 tranches de bacon
  • Half small onion, minced = un demi petit oignon, émincé
  • ½ to ¾ cup apple cider = environ 150 ml jus de pomme
  • ¼ cup +1 tablespoon chicken broth = 60 ml + 1 cuillère à soupe de bouillon de poulet
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch = 1 cuillère à soupe de maïzena

Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to ½-inch thickness using a rolling pin. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon slices in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and crumble in a small bowl. Add chicken to the same skillet and cook about 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken, set aside and keep warm.

Add minced onion to pan, cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add cider and ¼ cup broth, bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in bacon and return chicken to the pan. Let it all simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove chicken and plate to serve.

Mix cornstarch with one tablespoon of broth and add to the skillet. Let the sauce thicken for a couple of minutes. Pour cider-bacon sauce over the chicken and serve right away. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Autumn Quinoa Salad


 
I made this quinoa salad for a teachers luncheon at my son's school and it was such a hit that I got an email requesting my “secret” recipe! Haha, no secret here, I am always happy to share good food and recipes. I just wanted to bring something fresh, healthy, gluten and nut-free and vegan, so anyone could enjoy it! I quickly put the salad together with what I had on hand. You could substitute any nuts you like for the pepitas and add ¼ cup of crumbled goat or blue cheese.

Serves 6-8

For the salad:
  • 1 ½ cups tri-color quinoa = 250 g de quinoa
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced = 1 courge musquée, épluchée et coupée en petits dés
  • 4 oz. baby spinach or baby kale = 110 g de jeunes pousses d'épinards ou de kale
  • ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds or nuts = 30 g de pépitas (graines de courges rôties)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries = 30 g de cranberries séchées
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 minced garlic clove = 1 gousse d'ail, émincée
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter (or applesauce) = 1 cuillère à soupe de compote de pommes
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à soupe de moutarde forte
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup =1 cuillère à soupe de sirop d'érable
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar = 3 ou 4 cuillères à soupe de vinaigre de cidre
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons olive oil = 6 à 8 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive

Place quinoa in 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, spread the diced butternut squash on a cookie sheet, spray with a little olive oil and sea salt and roast in 375-400° oven for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa and roasted butternut squash, add about baby spinach, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.

Put all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a mason jar, close lid tightly and shake to blend.

Pour dressing over salad {you may not need all of it, refrigerate any leftover} and toss well.

If making ahead, refrigerate salad until ready to serve. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Simply Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Halloween is such a fun holiday. Carving your jack-o-lantern is definitely a must.
But wait!
Stop!
Do NOT throw away those pumpkin seeds!
You can turn them into crunchy, salty, golden little gems. I like to roast mine very simply with a little EVOO and salt. But you can definitely spice them up or make them sweet. Either way, they are super addictive!

Oh and did I mention that pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are nutritional powerhouses? They provide many nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc. Definitely a snack you can feel good about!

Makes 1 to 2 cups
  • Pumpkin seeds from one medium pumpkin = graines de citrouille
  • Olive oil = huile d'olive
  • Sea salt = sel

Scoop the seeds out and rinse in a colander under running water. Let them dry for several hours or overnight. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Stir until all the seeds are well coated. Then sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Give it another stir.

Spread onto a baking sheet (fitted with a baking mat). Roast for about 20 minutes in a 350°F / 180°C oven, stirring halfway through. Make sure not to burn them!

Remove from oven and let them cool down. Transfer to an airtight container.
 
Snack on them, add them to a homemade trail mix, or sprinkle on top of an autumn salad. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oven-Baked Apple Butter


 Contrary to its name, apple butter doesn't have any butter in it! Apple spread would be a more appropriate name but apple butter it is! It is smooth and sweet and goes beautifully on top of Greek yogurt (my favorite way to eat it!) and oatmeal, or you can also spread it on buttered toasts or pancakes. Need more ideas, look here for more creative ways to use apple butter.

You can slow cook apple butter on the stove, but I like the hands-free oven method. Just stir once or twice every 30 minutes and let the magic happen: in about 3 to 4 hours, the sauce will reduce and reach a perfectly smooth and thick texture and a beautiful deep amber color. And your kitchen will smell amazing!

Feel free to can the apple butter (following proper safety procedures) as it makes a wonderful homemade holiday gift!
 
I just hosted my Cooking Club friends for a “Fall Feast” and I chose to pack my apple butter into mini plastic containers as a party favor for my guests. Cute, no?
 
 

Makes about 2 ½ cups
  • 4 pounds apples, peeled and chopped = 1.8 kg de pommes, épluchées et coupées en morceaux
  • 2 cups apple cider = 475 ml de jus de pomme
  • 1 cup light brown sugar = 200 g de cassonnade
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice = 1 cuillère à soupe de jus de citron
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon =1 cuillère à café de cannelle en poudre
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract = 1 cuillère à café d'extrait de vanilla
  • Pinch of ground cloves = une pincée de clou de girofle en poudre

Combine the apples, apple cider, brown sugar and salt in a large Dutch. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes, until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves. Use an immersion blender (or puree in batches in a regular blender) until smooth.

Bake, uncovered, in a 250°F / 130°C oven, stirring every 30 minutes, for 3 to 4 hours, until it's thick and dark. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Maple Pumpkin Spiced Latte



This latte is autumn heaven in a cup! Sure, you can go to any coffee shop and get one but:
  1. You'd have to get out of the house
  2. You'd be spending your hard-earned cash – $5 for a latte? No thank you!
  3. Do you even know what's in that latte – real pumpkin? real spices? I don't think so.
I tried different proportions and sweeteners and to me, this one has the best balance of flavors. I especially love the touch of maple syrup but you could use ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract instead.

Makes 1 serving
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed coffee = 160 ml de café
  • 1/3 cup milk (any kind you like) = 80 ml de lait
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée = 2 cuillères à soupe de purée de citrouille
  • Pinch of cinnamon = une pincée de cannelle
  • Pinch of cloves = une pincée de girofle en poudre
  • Pinch of nutmeg = une pincée de noix de muscade
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup = une cuillère à café de sirop d'érable
 
Mix all the ingredients, except maple syrup, in a small sauce pan and heat over medium on the stove for a few minutes. Stir maple syrup in and transfer to a mug. Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Maple-Cinnamon Yogurt Dip


Back to school = back to packing lunchboxes and healthy snacks. This one is quick and easy and one of my son's favorites!

Serves 2
  • ¾ cup (6 oz.) plain Greek yogurt = 170 g de yaourt nature grec
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup = 2 cuillères à soupe de sirop d'érable
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon = ½ cuillère à café de cannelle
  • 2 apples, sliced = 2 pommes, coupées en lamelles

Mix yogurt, maple syrup and cinnamon together . Serve with apple slices.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peruvian-Style Corn Salad



Back from a fantastic trip to France and almost ready for back-to-school. But first, another Cooking Club meeting, this time, dedicated to the cuisine of Peru.

This dish is known in South America as Ensalada de Choclo, litterally corn salad. Peruvian corn is bigger, whiter, and not as sweet as American corn but either variety will work. I used organic frozen corn that I just steamed in the microwave. If queso fresco (my favorite!) or queso blanco is not available, any farmer's cheese will do.

This colorful, light and refreshing salad is a perfect side to a late-summer grilled chicken or steak. Enjoy!

Serves 6
  • 3 cups cooked corn (cooled) = 400 g de maïs (cuit)
  • ½ red pepper, finely chopped = ½ poivron rouge, coupé en petits morceaux
  • ½ green pepper, finely chopped = ½ poivron vert, coupé en petits morceaux
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped = ½ oignon violet, coupé en petits morceaux
  • 8 oz. queso fresco (or farmer's cheese), diced = 225 g de queso fresco, coupé en dés
  • 2 TBSP minced cilantro = 2 cuillères à soupe de coriande fraiche ciselée
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile végétale
  • juice of 1 lime = jus d'1 citron vert
  • salt and pepper to taste = sel et poivre

Put the corn, bell peppers, onion, cheese and cilantro together in a large salad bowl.

Whisk lime juice and oil together, season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss gently. Chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thai Sticky Rice with Mango



Summer has been very busy and I am sorry to report that my cooking has been minimal. Lunch is usually tomato or cucumber salad and  savory tartines (bread topped with some kind of cheese), or crackers and hummus, or a panini, and dinner is nothing that exciting either. So, thank God for Cooking Club! The last one was dubbed “Thai in July” and it was, as always, delicious and inspiring. I brought the quintessential Thai dessert: sticky rice with mango.

I used my beloved rice cooker and it made the whole process so easy, I felt a little guilty to bring a zero-challenge contribution to Cooking Club. You may think a rice cooker is just another gadget that takes up space in the kitchen but to me, it is a life saver, it makes perfect rice (even brown) every single time and it keeps it warm so I can start it, leave home and come back to ready-rice. Did I mention the model I own also steams veggies and meat or fish. Yep, it's that good!

You should find sticky rice, also labeled sweet rice or glutinous rice in any Asian markets. I am lucky to have both H-Mart and Lotte within a few miles and going there is like a mini trip to a far-away land -- no passport required. I love it!

Serves 6 to 8 (based on a recipe from Quick and Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott)
  • 1 ½ cups Thai sticky rice = 280 g de riz gluant (aussi appelé riz glutineux ou riz doux)
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk = 475 ml de lait de coco (non sucré)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic evaporated cane sugar) = 200 g de sucre
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 3 or 4 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced = 3 ou 4 mangues bien mûres, épluchées et coupées en lamelles

Place sticky rice in large bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the rice and transfer to rice cooker, cook as per manufacturer's directions, or steam rice in steamer basket over gently boiling water for about 30 to 45 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times until sugar has fully dissolved. Set aside.
 
When the rice is done (“ding” – I love my rice cooker!), you should have about 4 cups of cooked sticky rice. Transfer it to a large bowl, pour about ¾ of the sweet coconut sauce all over and stir to distribute it evenly into the hot rice. Cover and let rest for 1 to 3 hours. The rice will absorb almost all the sauce.

When ready to serve, place a generous portion of sticky rice in a small bowl or plate, drizzle additional sweet coconut sauce on top if desired and place a few slices of mango on the side. Enjoy!
 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Oatmeal and Dried Fruit Squares



There are lots of pool time ahead in our summer schedule, including early swim practices and meets. These oatmeal squares are a great on-the-go breakfast or snack. They are quite different in terms of texture and taste than the other oatmeal squares I posted a couple of years ago. They are also a bit healthier. I make them nut-free to keep everyone on the swim team safe but if you know allergies are not an issue, feel free to throw in walnuts or almonds. This batch included dried cranberries and blueberries, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and bittersweet chocolate chips. I think the next one will have dried apricots and mango, white chocolate chips and shredded coconut. Can't wait!

Makes 20-25 squares
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats = 160 g de flocons d'avoine
  • 1 cup unbleached flour = 120 g de farine
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon = ½ cuillère à café cannelle
  • pinch of salt = une pincée de sel
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1 cuillère à café levure
  • ¼ cup evaporated cane juice sugar = 4 cuillères à soupe de sucre non-raffiné (bio)
  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk = 350 ml de lait ribot (ou de lait normal)
  • ¼ cup applesauce = 4 cuillères à soupe de compote de pomme
  • ¼ cup oil (canola, coconut...) = 4 cuillères à soupe d'huile
  • 1 large egg = 1 oeuf
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla = 1 cuillère à café de vanille
  • ½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, blueberries, apricot...), chopped if needed = 50 à 75 g de fruits secs, coupés en morceaux si besoin
  • ¼ to ½ cup chocolate chips or chunks = 25 à 50 g de pépites ou petits dés de chocolat
  • ¼ cup pepitas (or any chopped nuts) = 30 g de graines de citrouille ou tournesol, ou de noix
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional) = 30 g de noix de coco râpée

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.
Mix the buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla in another bowl.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, stir gently to combine. Fold in the dried fruits, chocolate chips, pepitas (or nuts if using) and shredded coconut.

Pour the oatmeal mixture into a buttered 7 x 11 inch baking dish.

Bake for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool down completely. Cut into squares. Enjoy!
 
 

Note: I keep the oatmeal squares in a sealed container in the fridge and just microwave each for 10 seconds before serving.
 
 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hummus in Cucumber Cups

In the summer, I could live on hummus. Seriously: hummus + pita bread + carrots, cucumber and bell pepper strips = lunch. Every day. There is nothing like hummus made from scratch. Sorry, I just don't like the taste of pre-packaged hummus. {Yes, I am a hummus snob}. You can use canned chickpeas but dried chickpeas are so much cheaper, and you don't have to worry about the lining of the can, recycling, etc.. Better for your wallet, better for the environment: win-win!

There are several ways to cook dried chickpeas: in a pressure cooker, on the stove, or in a slow cooker. I like the latter because that way you don't need to pre-soak them. Place 7 cups of water, 1 lb of dried chickpeas (sorted and rinsed), and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours --7 (for firmer chickpeas) or 9 hours (for softer chickpeas – ideal for hummus or chickpea salad). Drain and use immediately, or refrigerate for a few days.

The nice thing about making your own hummus is that you can customize it to your taste: some people like theirs garlicky, some like it lemony. The recipe below is just in the middle, feel free to taste and adjust as you go. Sometimes, I even throw in a few kalamata olives, or roasted bell peppers.

There's nothing wrong with serving hummus in a bowl but he cucumber cups make for a cute and fun presentation, and a nice little one-bite appetizer for a summer cook-out!

For the hummus:
  • 2 cups well-cooked or canned chickpeas, drained = 450 g de pois chiches (cuits ou en conserve,  égouttés)
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste) = 4 cuillères à soupe de tahini
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (optional) = 2 cuillères à soupe de yaourt grec nature (facultatif)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling = 60 ml d'huile d'olive + 1-2 cuillères à soupe pour la présentation
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled = 2 gousses d'ail
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste = sel et poivre
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika, plus a sprinkling for garnish = 2 cuillères à café de paprika + une pincée pour la présentation
  • Juice of 1 lemon = jus d'1 citron

Put everything in a food processor and puree until smooth. If you want to serve as is, transfer to a bowl, drizzle with extra olive oil and sprinkle a little paprika on top.
 
 
 
For the cucumber cups:
  • Hummus
  • 2 or 3 long cucumbers
  • Crumbled feta or chopped olives for garnish

Using a vegetable peeler, peel strips on each cucumber to make a stripe pattern. Cut cucumbers crosswise into ¾-inch slices. Use a melon baller or a round measuring spoon and scoop out the center of each cucumber slice to form a little cup. Fill each cup with about a tablespoon of hummus. Top with crumbled feta or chopped olives. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blueberry Muffins



This basic recipe yields super moist, airy muffins and works with other fruit as well. Actually, I just made another batch today, this time with rhubarb and strawberries. Oh my, that combo was delicious, but there's something about blueberry muffins I just love, love, love. Depending on my mood, I either use lemon zest to brighten the flavors, or vanilla extract for a little more sweetness. Your choice!

Makes 12 muffins
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached flour = 175 g de farine
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder = 2 cuillères à café de levure chimique
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda = ¼ cuillère à café de bicarbonate de sodium
  • Pinch of salt = une pincée de sel
  • 1 egg, beaten = 1 oeuf, battu
  • 5 fl. oz. Milk = 150 ml de lait
  • ½ cup butter, melted = 110 g de beurre, fondu
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR zest from 1 lemon = 1 cuillère à café de vanille OU le zeste d'un citron
  • ½ to ¾ cup sugar = 100 à 150 g de sucre
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) = 180 g de myrtilles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Combine the egg, milk, butter and vanilla extract or lemon zest in another bowl. Add to the dry mixture. Mix until just combined, don't over stir. Gently fold in sugar and blueberries.

Divide evenly between a 12-muffin tin and bake for 18 to 22 minutes. Enjoy!

 
Note: if you like a little bit of a crunchy top, sprinkle some brown sugar before baking.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Savory Bread Pudding



Lots of things going on in at the beginning of May: Cooking Club, Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother's day... This savory bread pudding is a great addition to any brunch you might be invited to. It is super easy to make, and convenient too, as you put everything together the night before, then let it rest in the fridge overnight for the bread to absorb all the custard and bake in the morning. It is also very versatile: I have made it with kale and butternut squash in the fall and zucchini and roasted grape tomatoes in the summer. I like to keep it vegetarian but you could definitely add bacon or sausage. I recommend using good, rustic, whole-grain French bread and any combination cheeses you like – I am a big fan of Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio, a blend of asiago, fontina, parmesan and provolone.

Serves 8-10
  • 2 tablespoons butter = 30 g de beurre
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped = 1 oignon, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped = 1 poivron rouge, coupé en morceaux
  • 6 oz. baby spinach = 170 g de jeunes pousses d'épinards
  • Salt & pepper = sel et poivre
  • Pinch nutmeg = une pincée de noix de muscade
  • 8 cups cubed (1 inch) French bread (½ lb) = 225 g de pain (baguette, batard), coupé en cubes de 2 cm
  • 2 cups grated cheese = 170 g de fromage râpé
  • 2 ¾ cups milk = 650 ml de lait
  • 6 eggs = 6 oeufs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard = 2 cuillères à soupe de moutarde forte
 
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, add onion and bell pepper and cook stirring, until soft (about 5 minutes). Season with about ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in handfuls of spinach, and cook until it all wilts. Remove from heat.
 
Mix bread cubes, cheese and spinach mixture in a very large bowl. Transfer to to a buttered gratin dish.
 
Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and another ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pour evenly over the bread mixture. Chill, covered with plastic wrap, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Let bread pudding stand at room temperature 30-45 minutes.
 
Bake, uncovered, until puffed and golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mini Greek Frittatas



I love eggs for a quick protein boost in the morning or for a snack. I often make those mini frittatas for our Sunday brunch and save extras for busy week-day breakfasts or for my son's lunchbox. The best part is that you can use customize them with what you have: bacon (cooked and crumbled) and cheddar, zucchini (diced and sauteed) and goat cheese, bell pepper and gruyère...

Makes 24 mini frittatas
  • 6 large eggs = 6 oeufs
  • ¼ cup milk = 60 ml de lait
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream = 2 cuillères à soupe de crème fleurette
  • Salt & pepper (about ¼ teaspoon each) = sel et poivre
  • ¼ cup shredded spinach (fresh or thawed) = 60 g d'épinards hâchés et égouttés
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta = 40 g de feta émiettée
  • A few black olives, sliced = quelques olives noires, coupées en rondelles

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Generously grease one (24) or two (12) mini muffin pans with olive oil spray. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the spinach and feta. Pour egg mixture evenly into the 24 mini muffin cups and top each with an olive slice in the middle. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from muffin pan and serve right away.
 
Note: You can also keep those (cooked) in the fridge for a few days, just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds to reheat. They are also great at room temperature in your kids' lunch box.
 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Aloo Tikki



Lately, I have been on a quest to “master” Indian cooking. Well, I don't think I can ever truly master it but I want to be able to serve a decent Indian dinner and cut back on take-out! Of course, it helps that one of my best friends is from India and that she took me to the Indian grocery store, guiding me through aisles of spices, legumes, flours and other specialty items. I was like a kid in a candy store, went home and started reading through recipes after recipes. So expect more Indian flavors to grace this blog soon!

Aloo tikki is my husband's favorite Indian appetizer. The spiced potato patties are a traditional North Indian street food. Vendors fry them and serve them with coriander-mint and tamarind chutneys. I wanted to avoid frying them in too much oil, so I browned them in a pan brushed with safflower oil and finish them off in the oven. They are vegan, dairy and gluten-free (just don't use breadcrumbs, try chickpea flour for a similar texture, or omit all together, they will just be a little softer). My husband said it was the best aloo tikki he's ever had. I had a really hard time saving enough to serve to my cooking club friends the next day!

Makes 16-20 patties
  • 4 large potatoes (I used Gold), scrubbed clean = 4 pommes de terre, nettoyées
  • 2 tablespoons any neutral (safflower, grapeseed...) oil, divided = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile au gout neutre
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds = 1 cuillère à café de graines de cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder = 1 cuillère à café de curcuma
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced (about 2/3 cup) = 1 petit oignon jaune, émincé
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons) = 2 cuillère à soupe de gingembre râpé
  • 1 to 2 green chiles, stems removed and finely minced = 1 ou 2 piments verts, finement émincés
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted = 85 g de petits pois
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder = 1 cuillère à café de coriandre en poudre
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala = 1 cuillère à café de garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon red chile powder = ½ cuillère à café de chili en poudre
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne = ½ cuillère à café de poivre de cayenne
  • Sea salt = sel marin
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons gram flour (besan) or bread crumbs, optional = 1 à 2 cuillères à soupe de farine de pois chiche ou de chapelure, facultative
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice = 1 cuillère à soupe de jus de citron

Put potatoes in boiling water. Simmer about 20-25 minutes until they are soft when poked with a fork. Remove and cool down on a large plate. Peel and mash. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and turmeric, and cook for 30 seconds until the seeds sizzle. Add minced onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring a few times. Add minced ginger and green chile. Cook another minute or so. Add peas and cook for an additional minute. Remove from stove and add the mixture to the mashed potatoes.

Add coriander, garam masala, red chile, a teaspoon of sea salt and chickpea flour or breadcrumbs if using. Use your hands and mix well. Add lemon juice and mix again.

Take about 4 tablespoons of the mixture, roll it into a small ball and flatten it to make a 2” patty. Place on a large platter and continue to make patties out of the entire mixture.

Brush about 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully place 5 patties in the pan, and cook until brown (about 2 minutes). Flip and brown on the other side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all patties are browned.

Bake in 350°F preheated oven for 6-8 minutes. Serve with coriander and tamarind chutneys.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Broccoli-Cheddar Casserole


 
When I was tasked with bringing a broccoli side to a school potluck, I knew right away I was making this casserole. I can't recall where the original recipe came from but I do remember it called for a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. I don't buy those because a. they don't taste good to me, b. I am not crazy about some of the ingredients (namely monosodium glutamate and other questionable additives) in there. The good news is you can easily recreate the soup at home with real ingredients. A quick Google search will give you many recipe options. My go-to recipe is from Laurie at Simply Scratch. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of her recipes.

I made three casseroles – it was a BIG party, and there was no leftover for me to bring back home!

Serves 6
  • 1 batch of condensed cream of mushroom soup = 300 g de concentré de crème de champignons
  • ½ cup whole milk = 120 ml de lait entier
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à soupe de mourtade forte
  • 20 oz. broccoli florets = 560 g de broccoli, en petits bouquets
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese = 100 g de cheddar râpé
  • 1 slice of whole-wheat bread, toasted and processed into crumbs = 1 tranche de pain complet, toasté et finement émietté
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted = 15 g de beurre, fondu

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Steam broccoli florets for 4 minutes and place them into a buttered casserole dish.

Stir the soup, milk, mustard, and cheese. Pour evenly over the broccoli.

Stir the bread crumbs and butter together. Sprinkle over the broccoli mixture.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Serve right away!

Notes:
- For a complete side, add 2 cups cooked rice to the broccoli mixture before baking.
- For a non-vegetarian option, add crumbled bacon (about 3 thick slices) to the mushroom mixture and proceed as directed

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Teriyaki Marinade



I often use homemade marinades to infuse meat, seafood or tofu with flavor before baking or grilling them. Teriyaki is a favorite at my house and it seems I make this marinade every other week.

You can either use soy sauce or tamari for the base. Tamari may be harder to find but because it has a higher concentration of soy beans and no grain (making it virtually gluten-free), it is thicker, smoother richer, and less salty than the more common soy sauce. Once you try it, you won't go back.

The recipe below makes just under 1 cup, enough to marinade 2 lbs of chicken wings, or 4 salmon fillets, or 1 lb of shrimp, or 1 package of extra firm tofu. I like to make it a day ahead so the flavors have time to develop before throwing in the protein to marinade for another 4-8 hours.

Makes 1 batch
  • ½ cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce = 120 ml de sauce soja ou de tamari
  • ¼ cup mirin or white rice vinegar = 60 ml de mirin
  • ¼ cup brown sugar = 50 g de cassonade
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced = 3 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger = 2 cuillères à soupe de gingembre frais râpé
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile de sésame
  • pinch red pepper flakes = pincée de flocons de piment rouge

Put all the ingredients in a jar, screw lid on and shake well . Use right away or refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicken & Mushroom Pot Pie


 
When it comes to comfort food, who doesn't like a good chicken pot pie? Unfortunately, the pre-packaged frozen ones are loaded with fat and sodium. I am not claiming that my version is healthy by any means. But it's definitely healthier. It has just a little chicken but lots of mushrooms and vegetables, which you can customize to your taste (green beans and corn work well too) . Also, the creamy sauce has, well, no cream. Granted there's plenty of butter in the crust but it's so deliciously flaky, it's absolutely worth it. Life is good!

Serves 4

For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons butter = 40 g de beurre
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour = 3 cuillères à soupe de farine
  • 1 ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock = 300 ml de bouillon de poulet ou légumes
  • salt & pepper (about ¼ teaspoon each) = sel & poivre
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme = ¼ cuillère à café de thym
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed into small bite-sized pieces = 1 escalope de poulet, cuite et coupée en petits dés
  • 6 oz. baby bella mushrooms, diced = 170 g de champignons (de Paris), nettoyés et coupés en morceaux
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced = 2 carrots, épluchées et coupées en morceaux
  • 1 celery branch, sliced = 1 branche de céleri, coupée en morceaux
  • 1 small onion or shallot, diced = 1 petit oignon ou 1 échalotte, émincée
  • ½ cup frozen peas = 70 g de petits pois congelés

For the crust:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = 120 g de farine
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 6 tablespoons butter = 80 g de beurre
  • 5 tablespoons ice cold water = 75 g d'eau glacée
or/ ou
  • 1 pie crust or 1 sheet of puff pastry (thawed) = 1 pâte à tarte ou pâte feuilletée (décongelée)

Make the crust:
 
Pulse the flour, salt and butter in a food processor, fitted with the metal blade for 20 seconds (about 10 pulses). Add the ice water through the chute and process just until the dough begins to stick together. Turn the dough unto a floured surface and knead for one minute until smooth and pliable. Flatten the dough into a round and cover with plastic wrap.

Note: Dough can be made ahead and chilled in the fridge. When ready to use, leave to soften at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Make the filling:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, and stir in the flour. Stir a few times. Gradually pour in the stock, whisking constantly. Simmer the sauce over medium heat for 5 minutes until it thickens. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Stir in the chicken chunks, mushrooms and vegetables. Spoon the filling into a 10” deep pie dish.


Assemble and bake:

Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Roll the crust or puff pastry out slightly larger than the dish. Place it on top of the filling. Cut out the excess dough and use the tines of a fork to press the dough against the edge of the dish. Cut a few vent holes with a sharp knife.

Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Green Detox Soup



When my son was little, he used to call this the “Shrek” soup because of its color. It is quite green indeed. It's also very healthy, and happens to be vegan. I feel like it helps detox my body after all the splurges of the holidays. Plus it's ridiculously cold outside. Like below zero wind chill cold. So all I want right now is soup and tea, a blanket and a good book! 

Serves 4-6 (based on a recipe in Good Mood Food by Donal Skehan)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped = 2 poireaux, nettoyés et coupés en morceaux
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped = 2 branches de céléri, coupés en morceaux
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, stalk removed, cut into florets = 1 tête de brocoli, coupée en petits bouquets
  • 4 oz. fresh baby spinach = 120 g de jeunes pousses d'épinards
  • 2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth = 475 ml de bouillon de légumes
  • 2 cups water = 475 ml d'eau
  • Black pepper & sea salt, to taste = sel et poivre

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and sauté the leeks for about 2 minutes. Add celery, broccoli and spinach. Cook for about 3 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Add broth and water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Use immersion blender (or transfer to a regular blender) and process until smooth. Season with additional pepper if you like. Serve right away!