Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Sunday

Well I was going to push the menu back. Husband is sick in bed, but just wants to lay there and be alone. So in between taking him chicken noodle soup (which I am still surprised he can keep down food... sympathy illness? Cuz I couldn't keep anything down), I have been cooking since 11am. Pure bliss. My daughter who has peaked and interest in all this, but I was told I could not post her picture until she looked "hot", has chosen to spend the day in the kitchen with me. It has been fun, with the exception of one meltdown (I am not used to sharing my kitchen), where she kept asking me how to spell the things I am making. Ok, this is the whole point! I HATE it when I am asked what is for dinner. But oh well. I apologized for turning into a demon and we moved forward.

1st started with Creme Brulee because as we all know it needs to set for 2 hours. I am doing it the FRENCH way though making the extra thick creme aglaise ... chilling it, then topping it off with a caramel powdered praline that I made by browning the sugar, baking some almonds, mixing, pouring to cool.. then once cooled put it in the blender to make the scrumptious topping. It is chilling right now.

Next I moved on to working on the Gnocchi. ugh. This took two times. You start off by making Pate a choux... which you then mix into the already made mashed potatoes... then you add egg and flour. Well I didn't add enough egg and flour. Too much mashed potatoes. It turned into yucky mush. So take two. This time it worked. Perfect Gnocchi. I am however making Gnocchi Mornay So... I am letting the Gnocchi dry out on the counter while making the chicken. While the Chicken is cooking I am going to work on the cheese sauce for the Gnocchi which will go into the oven the last 10 minutes. Here is a pic of them "drying" on the towel before they go into the cheese sauce.

The chicken. That F***** did not have the giblets in the bum. So I had to improvise. I used some bacon instead. My daughter helped mincing the green onions which made her eyes water severely. She has been a sweetie working on dishes. Which she then said "I now know why you said I could help." Which isnt' true, but if you want to help, you help right? The stuffing has butter cream cheese, bacon, herbs, bread crumbs (which yes, are homemade thank you very much... baked the bread yesterday and blended the crumbs today). I have opted to use my bag cooking method because I am sorry, basting every 8 minutes sucks. I have better things to cook...

The bacon I substituted for the liver was scrumptious. The herb stuffing was rocking. Everything about this meal... oh my. Did I mention I was in the kitchen for 5 hours today and loved all but 5 minutes of it? I contributed to the 5 minute meltdown.

Here are the final fixings:

The beans rocked. I topped them off with butter and lime juice. The creme brulee was to DIE for and the chicken... well just look at it. I served it with a Penner Ash Seven Springs 05 Pinot Noir. Poor hubby is missing out on that one.

Tomorrow: LEFTOVERS!
I can eat the cheesey gnocchi every day forever. yum!

Tomorrow... back to work at Pure Country Pet Boutique designing dog clothes. yay me! I will miss cooking for the day. It brings me happiness.

Here is the recipe for the chicken: Poulet Rôti à la Normande


3 lb. roasting chicken

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. butter

Herb and Giblet Stuffing:

1 chicken gizzard, peeled and minced

1 tbsp. butter

1/8 tsp. oil

1 chicken heart, chopped

1 to 4 chicken livers, chopped

1 tbsp. minced shallots or green onions

2/3 cup coarse breadcrumbs

4 tbsp. cream cheese

2 tbsp. softened butter

3 tbsp. minced parsely

1/8 tsp. tarragon or thyme

1/8 tsp. salt

1 pinch pepper


1 cup whipping cream

1/4 tsp. salt


3 tbsp. strong brown chicken stock or

3 tbsp. canned beef bouillon

3 to 4 tbsp. whipping cream

Salt and pepper

Drops of lemon juice


First, prepare the stuffing. Saute the gizzard in hot butter and oil for 2 minutes. Then stir in the heart, liver and shallots or onions. Saute for 2 minutes more, or until the liver has stiffened but is still rosy inside. Scrape into a mixing bowl.

Blend in the rest of the ingredients and taste carefully for seasoning. Let stuffing cool.

Sprinkly salt inside the chicken, and loosely fill with the stuffing. Sew or skewer the vent. Truss and dry the chicken, and rub its skin with butter.

Roast the chicken in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. After roasting 1 hour, remove all but 1 spoonful of fat from the pan. Baste chicken with 2 to 3 tbsp. whipping cream every 3 to 4 minutes until the chicken is done. The cream will probably look curdled in the pan, but this will be corrected later.

Remove the chicken to a hot platter and sprinkle with salt.

Add the stock or bouillon to the cream in the roasting pan and boil rapidly for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up coagulated chicken roasting juices.

Just before serving, remove from heat and stir in additional cream by spoonfuls to smooth out the sauce. Correct seasoning, and add drops of lemon juice to taste.

Spoon a bit of sauce over the chicken and send the rest to the table in a warmed sauceboat.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Well the last 24 hours in this house was not fun! Friday morning at about 3am I was hit with a major flu. I will spare you the details, but lets just say nothing stayed in, not even water. My lovely husband went to the video store and stayed in bed with me caressing my hair in between bathroom trips, which were about every 10 minutes. It is sad when your spouse said "HEY! You made it 30 minutes this time!" So to say the least, our lovely date to The Market was completely ruined. Cancelled is more like it.
Alas, it is a new day. Onward to making
Galettes Au Fromage

Poulet Saute aux herbes de provence
Puree de pommes de terre a L'ail
Choux Broccoli a la Mornay Gratines
Mousseline au chocolat

It is 1: 30 and I am moving very slowly. But after a dear friend brought me some homemade mexican chicken and rice soup ( it is the only thing that works for everything). I feel I can accomplish this task.

I started with the Mousseline au chocolat because it needs at a minimum 2 hours to set. Kids were in the room while I started. Curiousity got the better of my 16 year old daughter (Sucker for all things chocolate).... soon she was in there helping whip up this and that. It is quite a long process with a lot of pans and beating going on. She almost tossed her cookies when I poured in the grand mariner. Too much liquor smell for her. It quickly went away though after burning off. It is sitting in the fridge now. I will now go trim the fat off the chicken and prepare the Galettes Au Fromage for munching. 

Time has now passed and I am now finished with the long meal that was so good. The potatoes.. eh, next time I will make more of the herbes de provence sauce to help make them more creamy. 
The chicken ...OH MY.. seriously to die for. Broccoli was great too. The boy went back for seconds on the chicken and I will for sure make it part of my regular dishes. I tried to take a picture with my crummy cell phone.

I guess I will need to take pictures with my camera from now on. Also I added a recipe for Grommet frommage. Cheesey wafers that I put in the garlic mashed potatoes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 3- to 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, rinsed, patted dry

1 teaspoon dried thyme or savory

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in spice mill or with mortar and pestle

3 unpeeled garlic cloves

2/3 cup dry white wine or 1/2 cup dry white vermouth


2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon dry white wine or dry white vermouth

2 to 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, fresh fennel fronds, or fresh parsley (optional)
For chicken:

Melt butter in large wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, add chicken pieces and cook only until golden, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken breast pieces to plate. Sprinkle remaining chicken pieces in pot with half each of thyme, basil, and fennel seeds, then salt and pepper. Add garlic to pot. Cover pot; reduce heat to medium and cook 8 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle chicken breasts with remaining thyme, basil, and fennel seeds, then salt and pepper. Return breast pieces to pot; baste chicken with butter in pot. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, turning and basting occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer to hot platter; cover.

Remove peel from garlic cloves; mash garlic with spoon or fork in same pot. Add 2/3 cup wine to juices in pot; boil until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, occasionally scraping bottom of pan, about 8 minutes. Pour reduced pan juices into measuring cup and reserve for sauce.

For sauce:

Off heat, whisk egg yolks in heavy small saucepan until beginning to thicken. Whisk in lemon juice and 1 tablespoon wine. Gradually whisk reserved pan juices into eggs, 1 teaspoon at a time. Set sauce over very low heat and whisk constantly until warm and slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time. Remove from heat. Stir in herbs, if desired. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

The boy polished off 2 of the chocolate mousse with creme anglaise. The reason I have not mentioned the daughter is because she is busy playing in her Varsity Basketball game. She won't be home until late so bummer, she gets leftovers. She hates that. But I did make her a hot ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomatoe and vinigarette before she left. She ate it fast. But carbs, veggies, protien all in one will be good for her before her game.
I think I am going to be a heathen tomorrow and skip church. Which I try not to do. But I am still moving very slowly and now my husband is coming down with it. Time for me to take care of him.
So the menu is getting pushed back. Sunday is leftovers because with the husband sick, I will be taking care of him instead of cooking. However it just pushed back a day. All will return to normal after this bug leaves.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Meal planning

After a morning of work my head started getting more and more stuffed. Severe sinus headcold that my daughter has been battling reared its ugly head in me. Nice of her to share huh? So here I sit in bed meal planning. Nothing else to do really. The meal planning led to coupon clipping. After all, cooking all this food costs a lot of money. So I started a coupon clipping frenzy. I even have my notebook all organized alphabetically. I think my husband hates this new side of me, since while I am cooking, he is out picking up things for me and shuffling through coupons. Which I very nicely put in an envelope for him.

As stated before Friday I have off due to our date night at The Market in Del Mar. So I have made my menu for the following 3 days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) Here is a peak. I can't wait for the kids to ask me now.

Galettes Au Fromage
Poulet Saute aux herbes de provence
Puree de pommes de terre a L'ail
Choux Broccoli a la Mornay Gratines
Mousseline au chocolat

Gnocchi De Pommes De Terre
Poulet Roti a la Normande
Con Combres Salade
Creme Brulee

Pomme de terre sautees
Bifteck Saute Bercy
Harticots Verts a la maitre d'hotel
Chocolate Souffle

I will be busy. It will be fun. I have a new book on its way from Italy and I can't wait for it to get here. In the meantime I am stuck with Julia Child and Mario Batali and remnants of recipes from the food network that occasionaly Giada or someone else perks my interest with a nice foreign name.

Ok that is all for now. You will read about the yay's and nays of the recipe. Leftovers anyone?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yum is all I can say

Tuesday afternoon after being asked over and over again what I am cooking, I decided I will no longer give in. They will have to either look it up or just deal. Isn't the fact that i am sweating in the kitchen enough? Ok a little background. I am mother to 5, but only 2 left at home. We are a blended family, so my husbands older 3, that I love as my own, are gone. Now I am left to feed the hubby and the two teenagers. My daughter, God Bless her, loves everything. She constantly talks about my cooking and I feel blessed for that. My Son however... doesn't eat anything with real ingredients. Cereal YES! Fast food YES! Pizza YES! Real food? NO!

So Tuesday night I made:
Potage Parmentier, Coq Au Vin, Oignons glaces a brun, champignons sautes au beurre
The Potage Parmentier which is Leek and Potato soup topped off with some cream... was so good! I was surprised! I was not expecting it to be good. I mean how good can potato and onion soup be? Plus, it called for the entire bushel... including the gross green part. After passing it through a food mill, it was so creamy and yummy. Son would not touch it. Daughter polished it off and asked for more. Husband and me both drank it down and LOVED it! Next came the Coq Au Vin. Oh my goodness. Husband thought it was the best chicken meal he ever had. Son even ate all of his. Daughter and I loved it. Oignons glaces a brun.... eh. I probably won't make them again, champignons sautes au beurre: strictly for my husband. I refuse to eat fungus. Kids won't touch it either. However I am told I am so good at making it.

Tonight: Wednesday I cooked for 3 hours. Well longer if you count the bread I started at 11am. I had to cook everything from scratch including the French Bread. Then I started the long process of Soupe a L'Oignon Gratinee. Let me say it is Way worth it! I would suggest it for anyone that has not tried making it. I have never liked French Onion soup, I have never understood why people liked it, UNTIL NOW!
The 2.5 hours spent was well worth it. Topping it off with my homemade french bread ... toasting it and topping it even more with cheese..yep. Try it. TO DIE FOR!
Next on to the Petites Ballotines De Boeuf... say that 3 times! This one was good. Just not as good as the Coq Au Vin. It was not a hard process. We all ate it. I am sure it would be a damn good meal for anyone that doesn't eat gourmet regularly. All plates were cleared. On to dessert: Crepes Fourrees Frangipane. This was my first time ever making crepes. It was pretty easy and let me tell you I will dream about them tonight. I will. SO good. The almond cream in the middle made me want to sing. We all had thirds. Cleaned all of them off. Yep! Must have been that dark chocolate melted on top. I don't know. But I see a lot of crepes in my future.
Tomorrow I have to work, Designing dog clothes all day, then I am off to Bible study at my church. So it is leftovers. We have leftovers coming out of our ears. We have PLENTY leftover. Friday I have a date with my husband at our favorite ultra gourmet restaurant The market. So cooking resumes on Saturday.

Here is the recipe for the french onion soup AND the Crepes Fourrees Frangipane:
Soupe à L’oignon Gratinée – French Onion Soup

The key to French Onion soup is the slow cooking of the onions in butter and oil, followed by a long, slow simmering in stock. This helps them to develop the rich flavor this soup is known for.

6-8 servings


5 cups thinly sliced yellow onions

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2 quarts beef stock, boiling

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons cognac

4-6 rounds of hard-toasted French bread

1-2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese


1) Cook the onions slowly in the butter and oil in a covered saucepan for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to medium and stir in the salt and sugar. The sugar will help the onions to brown. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have turned a deep golden brown.

2) Sprinkle in the flour and stir over heat for 3 minutes. Off heat, blend in the stock. Add the wine and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for another 30-40 minutes or more, skimming if needed. Correct seasonings.

3) Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Place rounds of bread in soup bowls or a tureen and pour soup on top. Sprinkle with grated cheese and brown under a hot broiler until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately

Crepes Fourrees, Frangipane (Crepes with Almond Cream)

12 cooked crepes 6 inches in diameter

1.5 cups frangipane (almond custard)

2 ounces or squares of semi sweet baking chocolate

2 Tb melted butter

1 Tb granulated sugar


Directions: Follow Crepe Fines Sucrees recipe... Spread 2 Tb of frangipane on the less-good side of each crepe. Fold the crepes into wedge shapes, or roll them, to enclose the filling, and arrange in the baking dish. Grate the chocolate over the crepes, sprinkle on the melted butter, then the sugar. About 20 minutes before serving, set in a preheated 350-degree oven until the chocolate had melted. Serve hot or warm.

Crepes Fines Sucrees (light batter)

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup cold water

3 egg yolks

1 Tb granulated sugar

3 Tb orange liqueur, rum, or brandy

1 cup flour (scooped and leveled)

5 Tb melted butter

Directions: Place the ingredients in the blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to sides of jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight

Frangipane (Almond custard filling)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup boiling milk

3 Tb butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup pulverized macaroons or pulverized almonds

Directions: Beat the egg and egg yolk in he mixing bowl, gradually adding the sugar, until mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon. Beat in the flour. Then beat in the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets. Pour into saucepan and set over moderate heat. Stir slowly with the whip, reaching all over the bottom of the pan. When mixture begins to coagulate into lumps, beat it vigorously until it smooths and thickens into a stiff paste. Then over moderately low heat, beat it with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour thoroughly. Be careful the custard does not scorch on the bottom of the pan. Off heat, beat in the butter, then the flavorings and macaroons or almonds. If not used immediately, clean custard off sides of pan and dot top with softened butter to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Frangipane will keep for a week under refrigeration, or may be frozen

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