Tag Archives: French

recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s fillet of sole meuniere #jc100

Julia Child's Sole Meuniere

Julia Child’s Sole Meuniere

Filet of Sole Meuniere was Julia’s first-ever meal in France.  She described the sole as “a morsel of perfection” and “the most exciting meal” of her life.  It was this simple preparation of sole that inspired  Julia’s 40-year love affair with food and the start of a cooking revolution in America. The dish takes less than ten minutes to prepare and since the filets go for a swim in clarified butter, there is no shortage of rich “French” flavor. Pour yourself a nice glass of chablis and take a petit voyage to France for dinner.

“There is no substitute for the taste of butter in good cooking…” — Julia Child

Sole Meuniere

Fillet of Sole Meunière

Serves 6

6 skinless, boneless sole or other thin fillets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of flour or so for a plate
4 tablespoons clarified butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon cut into wedges

  1. Dry the fish, remove and bones, score, trim and lay flat on wax paper.
  2. Dust the fillets with salt and pepper. Just before sauteing drop each fillet into the flour to coat each side, shaking off any excess.
  3. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of clarified butter. When the butter is very hot, but not browning, rapidly lay each fillet side by side leaving a little space between each (don’t overcrowd).
  4. Saute 1-2 minutes on both sides, turning carefully so as to not break the fillet. The fish is done when just springy. Immediately remove from the pan to a platter or plates.
  5. Sprinkle each fillet generously with parsley.
  6. Wipe the pan completely clean, set over high heat and melt with new butter until bubbling.
  7. Pour over fillets — the parsley will bubble up nicely. Season with salt, serve with lemon wedges immediately.

Bon appetit!
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s salade nicoise
recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s rolled french omelet
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s chocolate mousse
Do This!: Celebrate Julia Child’s 100th Birthday 

Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

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recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s rolled french omelet #jc100

Julia Child's Rolled Omelet

Julia Child’s Rolled Omelet

“A good french omelet is a smooth gently swelling, golden oval that is tender and creamy inside” — Julia Child 

Julia Child has a very particular way to make an omelet. Through perfected pan tilt technique she promises a light fluffy interior with a beautifully browned exterior, all rolled up into a marvelous breakfast package. I didn’t have her leaning over my shoulder to tell me if I mastered her method correctly, but in the end it tasted and looked good, so that’s all that matters.

 

Julia Child's French Omelet

Julia Child’s French Omelet

Julia Child’s Rolled French Omelet

7″ non-stick pan
2-3 eggs per omelet
Big pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Garnish or filling, as desired

  1.  Proper way to beat eggs: Just before melting the butter in a pan, break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper. With a table fork, beat the eggs only enough to blend the whites and yolks thoroughly, about 30 sec.
  2. Place the butter in the pan and set over very high heat. As the butter melts tilt the pan in all directions to film the sides. When it starts to foam and is at the point of coloring {indicating the pan is the right temperature}, pour in the eggs.
  3. Let the eggs settle in the pan 2-3 seconds to form a film of coagulated egg in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Grasp the pan handle with both hands and immediately begin jerking vigorously back and forth at a 20 degree angle over the heat.
  5. It is the sharp pull of the pan that throws the eggs over the far lip of the pan then back over the bottom surface of the omelet. After several jerks the omelet will start to thicken.
  6. A filling should go in at this point if desired.
  7. Then increase the angle of the pan to 45 degrees, which will force the egg mass to roll over itself with each jerk of the pan.
  8. As soon as the omelet has shaped up, hold it in the angle of the pan for 2-3 seconds to brown up, but no longer. The center of the omelet should remain soft and creamy.
  9. Turn the omelet onto a plate with the pan slightly off center so it rolls into the middle of your plate.
  10. Garnish with maldon salt, a pat of butter {if you want to stay true to Julia} and some fresh herbs.

Mastering the Art of Julia Child
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s chocolate mousse
Do This!: Celebrate Julia Child’s 100th Birthday

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NYC Best: A Cafe Stands For…

A Cafe Gulf shrimp sauté, in a coconut milk crème fraîche with cayenne curry

Adventurous…Alluring…Anonymous…Appetizing…the A train??

A Café has been a small eating haven on the upper west side for over 10 years, but somehow I never discovered it until recently. It’s not the type of place you walk by and take notice of. The front is anonymously non-descript, it’s nestled next to a defunct custom hardwood floor shop and the name itself doesn’t exactly provide any tantalizing color. But should you venture inside this small space, you will find organic French Caribbean cuisine worth writing about and a BYOB policy to jump for joy over {hard to find in NYC}. What’s even more exciting? They take reservations and offer a prix fixe menu for $25 from 6-8pm. Ok, so it’s inexpensive, easy to get into, personal wine collection-friendly and quaint, but the food?

Amazing.

The whole operation is more or less a one-man show. With a tiny — and I mean TEENY TINY — kitchen in the back, plates keep flying out with the speed of a assembly line operation. Your host/server/expediter/bus boy/”bartender” works the room with such precision you would never even notice staff size {or lack thereof} unless you took a trip to the restroom in the back and saw where all the magic happens.

And magic it is — the grilled Hass avocado, mushroom terrine in a shiitake-sesame dressing {must try to recreate this at home}, was an alluring combination of flavors that was creamy and earthy, while also surprisingly {and pleasantly} served warm. The broiled Bourgogne escargots, with pastis in a cilantro-chili butter was lick your plate-worthy — and lick we did. We had the pleasure of sitting at a table next to the owner and chatted it up for quite awhile. He was quick to tell us these are not just any escargot, but sourced from the best of the best — and I think I agree. For my entree I had the gulf shrimp sauté, in a coconut milk crème fraîche with cayenne curry. This was the dish that really caught my attention and showcased the marriage of the French and Caribbean cuisines. The flavors were rich and comforting and left me wanting more.

The Skim: If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, a trip up to 108th/Columbus is well worth the adventure. And if you know anything about Duke Ellington’s song, Take the A Train, {check it out HERE} well then you’ll understand where A Café really got its name {west 106th street was named Duke Ellington Blvd after his death}.

Map: 973 Columbus Avenue {between 107 & 108th}
Reservations: Taken! email: reservations@acafeny.com
Phone: 212.222.2033

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Mary Queen of Scots is a Better Restaurant than Lady

Mary Queen of Scots

 

Mary Queen of Scots is one Jenny Jones-worthy episode of a lady. Crowned at nine months old; married to her first cousin then promptly strangled him to death; forced to abdicate to her one-year old son; fled to England to seek protection from Queen Elizabeth, then attempted to claim the throne as her own; and finally was tried and executed for treason after 19 years in custody. That’s what happens when you are raised without good parents.

All of that sounds like a perfect recipe for an exciting restaurant muse. It’s no secret that Highlands is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC {it made my Favor8 list}, so when they took over the old Allen & Delancey space to open a new restaurant and bar, Mary Queen of Scots, it became a must try.

The menu alludes to both Scottish and French cuisine with items such as the rataouille vegetable tart or house smoked scottish salmon. I had a fantastic salad of pickled beets, caramelized yogurt and toasted hazelnuts that I would highly recommend to anyone. The wild striped bass with potato bacon terrine, mustard greens and white wine cream came highly recommended and certainly sounded like a winner, but was sadly not warm by the time it reached my table and was underseasoned. I did have food envy with the MQS burger though. Served with house cut chips and spicy pickles, this is a sure thing {is that french or scottish?}

MQS Burger

 

The Skim: Overall, Mary Queen of Scots was a good meal out, but it did not dethrone Highlands, which in my opinion serves up far superior fare. Both have great bars and an inventive cocktail menu though, so if you’re looking for a cool place to lose your head, MQS is a fantastic hideout.

Map: 115 Allen Street {N of Delancey}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.460.0915

Good Tartan Times:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand
8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park
Water of Life Whisky Wednesday With The Macallan

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recipe goodness :: herbed buttermilk biscuits

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

Today is my dear friend Kristin’s birthday — the same one who went to Paris and loves all things french. So in honor of her big day, I made her these incredible herbed buttermilk biscuits from french food writer and cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. I love when someone takes something so ordinary {enter biscuit} and adds one small, but brilliant touch {enter thyme} to reinvent the old standard. Dorie is a master with pastry, so I had no doubt these would turn out to be a fantastic breakfast treat, but biting into the warm, flaky biscuit and surprising your still somewhat sleepy taste buds with the fresh herby thyme is a delightfully unexpected way to start your day.

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
{From Dorie Greenspan
; adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours}

Makes 12 biscuits | 425º | Cook Time: 14-18 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, crushed between your fingers
6 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk, well shaken

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425º F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, soda, sugar and thyme together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces with flour.  Quickly, working with your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.  You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces of every size in between – and that’s just right.

Pour the buttermilk over the ingredients, grab a fork and toss and gently turn the ingredients until you’ve got a nice soft dough.  Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gently kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough.  Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out until it is 1/2-inch thick.  Don’t worry if it isn’t completely even. Use a knife or biscuit cutter to divide the dough into 12 pieces and transfer the pieces to the baking sheet.

Slide into oven and bake until the biscuits are puffed and golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes. Serve immediately {with delicious jam or honey — Fauchon is my favorite french jam if you really want a franco-breakfast}.

Breakfast Inspiration:
recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea

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recipe goodness :: flaky cheese straws, as easy as being barefoot

Inspired by her planned trip to Paris, my roommate purchased the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. And eager for the departure, we sat down one evening to plan a meal to bring a little taste of French cuisine to the comforts of our NYC apartment. The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for cheese straws is simple, but outstanding! I would encourage everyone to keep a box of puff pastry in the freezer at all times for an impromptu addition to your next dinner party or to simply add a little flavor flare to a mid-week meal. And you could really substitute a number or herbs and cheese to take these straws in your own direction (rosemary and parmesan, chili powder and aged gouda, or cinnamon and sugar for a breakfast/dessert straw)

Barefoot Contessa’s Cheese Straws

Prep Time: 5-10 mins | Cook Time: 10-15 mins
Makes 22-24 Straws

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge
1 extra-large egg (large is fine)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board or counter until it’s 10×12 inches. Beat the egg with 1 TBS of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/4 cup of Parmesan, 1/2 cup of Gruyere, 1/2 tsp of the thyme, 1/2 tsp of the salt and some pepper.

Step 1. Roll flavorings into puff pastry

With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11-12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Step 2. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cheese will burn. Cook and serve at room temperature.

Step 3. Bake, cool and enjoy!

What Else To Put on the Plate:
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn

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