Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taste du Provence


March 2011

Keirsten & Kristy

{The Invite}
Each invite was addressed to the Mademoiselle in French!

{French Decor}

{The Place Settings}

{The Menu}

. Apricot and Brie Dip .
(Crock pot dish)

1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon apricot preserves, divided
1/4 cup apple juice
1 (2-pound) brie, rind removed, cut into cubes
Bread rusks, crackers or crudite for dipping

Combine dried apricots, 1/2 cup apricot preserves and apple juice in Crockpot slow cooker. Cook and cover on HIGH 40 minutes. Stir in brie and cook 30-40 minutes or longer until melted. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon preserves. Turn slow cooker to LOW and serve with bread, crackers, or crudite.
COOK TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes (HIGH)

. Endive, Pear, and Roquefort Salad .

9-12 heads of Belgian endive
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 pound good Roquefort cheese
3 ripe Bartlett pears, halved, cored, and sliced
1 cup toasted walnut or pecan halves

Trim off the core end of each head or endive and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut out the cores, separate the leaves, and place 1 1/2 to 2 heads of endive on each plate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Toss the pears with some vinaigrette and place on the endive. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the endive leaves to moisten them. Crumble the Roquefort onto the endive. Sprinkle with walnuts or pecans and serve at room temperature.
Note: If you have a hard time finding endive when it is not in season. A good alternative would be romaine lettuce.

. Gougeres (Cheese Puffs) .

1 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. (Note: The flour will not stick to the bottom if you are using a non-stick pan)
Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Immediately add the eggs, Gruyere, and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1/4 inches wide and 3/4 inch high onto the baking sheets. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use two spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.
(Note: You can freeze these ahead of time. To freeze, bake the puffs, allow them to cool, and freeze in a sealed plastic bag. Reheat at 425 degrees for 5 minutes.)

. Vichyssoise .

4 medium leeks
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound (3 medium) all-purpose potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

Cut off roots and trim dark green tops from leeks; cut each leek lengthwise in half. Cut enough of white and green parts crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces to equal 4 1/2 cups. Rinse leeks well to get rid of all of the dirt.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree soup mixture until smooth. Stir milk and cream into puree. To serve hot, heat through over low heat. (Do not boil.) To serve cold, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until very cold. Makes about 8 cups.

. Soupe au Pistou (Provencal Vegetable Soup) .
(Wolfgang Puck)

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium leeks, washed and light green and white parts cut into 1/2 inch dice
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch dice
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon whole black and white peppercorns
4 small sprigs fresh thyme
4 small sprigs fresh parsley
12 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
30 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
6-8 slices of French bread, about 1/4 inch thick
Olive Oil
6-8 ounces creamy goat cheese

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and saute just until they start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about 1 minute more. Add the carrots and celery and continue sauteing until the vegetables deepen in color but have not yet begun to brown, 3 to 4 minutes more. Pour the stock into the pan, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt.
Tie the peppercorns, thyme, and parsley in a square of cheesecloth, securing it with kitchen string. Add this bouquet garni to the pan. Stir in the beans, zucchini, summer squash, and tomato. Continue simmering until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Pistou: Put the garlic and tomatoes in a blender or food processor with about 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Begin processing. With the machine running, add the basil leaves, and then pour in enough extra-virgin olive oil to make a smooth, thick, but fluid paste. Transfer about 2/3 of the paste into a serving bowl to pass alongside the soup.
Goat Cheese Croutons: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the bread slices with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and turn on the broiler. Spread 1 side of each crouton with goat cheese and put it back on the baking sheet. Broil until the cheese is warm and slightly bubbly, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
When the soup is ready, stir the remaining pistou into the saucepan and remove and discard the bouquet garni. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and float a crouton on the center of each bowl.

. Cold Cucumber Salad .

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
4 large cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In medium saucepan, mix sugar, water, white pepper and salt. Heat mixture over medium-high heat to boiling and boil until sugar us dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in vinegar.
Pour mixture over cucumber slices. Sprinkle with parsley. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

. Salade de Carottes Rapees (Grated carrot salad) .

1 pound carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup mild oil, such as grapeseed or canola
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: fresh currants or raisins, chopped walnuts, and/or fresh parsley

Grate the carrots by hand, using the large holes of a box grater. (If grating causes the carrots to weep, press them between your palms to rid them of excess liquid before you toss them into a serving bowl.)
Put the mustard, honey, vinegar and oil in a processor or jar, season with salt and pepper and whir or shake until blended--you’ll have a thick, smooth vinaigrette. Just before serving, add any of the optionals and pour over the dressing, toss well, and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.

. Salade de Betterave (Lime and Honey Beet Salad) .

2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lime
2 teaspoon honey
2-3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound cooked beets, peeled
Minced fresh dill and chives, for garnish (optional)

Whisk together the vinegar, lime zest and juice, and honey in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the dill and chives, and season with salt and pepper. Cut the beets into wedges (about 1/2 inch thick), add them to the bowl and gently turn them around in the vinaigrette. Cover the bowl and chill the beets for at least 2 hours, or for as long as overnight.
At serving time, stir in another teaspoon of oil, if you think the salad needs it, and taste for salt and pepper. If you’re using them, top with minced herbs.

. Curried Chicken, Peppers, and Peas EN PAPILLOTE .

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, at room temperature
12 thin slices red onion, halved
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut four 12-inch squares of nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Have a baking sheet at hand.
Cut the chicken into long strips and then cut the strips crosswise in half. Put the chicken and all the other ingredients in a bowl, seasoning them with salt and pepper, and stir until the curry powder has evenly colored the chicken and vegetables. Spoon an equal amount of the mix onto the center of each piece of foil or parchment. Draw up the edges of the foil and seal the packets well, but don’t crimp the foil very close to the chicken--you want to leave room around the ingredients so they can steam. Put the packets on the baking sheet. (You can assemble the packets up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerate; bake for a few more minutes.)
Bake the papillotes for 17-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through--carefully open a packet and cut into a piece of chicken to test.
Serve the packets immediately. Great with rice, couscous or quinoa.
(Note: We served this with couscous that we purchased at the store,and we simply followed the instructions on the box in order to make the couscous.)

. Gratin Chou-fleur (Cauliflower-bacon gratin) .

1 cauliflower
1/4 pound bacon, cut crosswise into slender strips
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 ounces of Gruyere (you can also use swiss cheese in a pinch), grated

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter either a 2 /12 quart dish or a 9x13 pan. Put the dish on a baking sheet.
Put a large pot of salted water water on to boil. Pull or cut the florets from the cauliflower, leaving about an inch or so of the stem. Drop the florets into the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the cauliflower under cold running water to cool it down, and pat it dry. While the cauliflower is cooking, toss the bacon strips into a heavy skillet, over medium heat, and cook just until the bacon is browned but not crisp. Drain and pat dry.
Spread the cauliflower out in the buttered pan, and scatter over the bacon bits.
Put the flour in a bowl and gradually whisk in the eggs. When the flour and eggs are blended, whisk in the cream and milk. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir in about two thirds of the cheese. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower, shake the pan a little so that the liquid settles between the florets, and scatter the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until it is puffed and golden, and a knife comes out clean.

. Meringues Chantilly .

6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream
Raspberry Sauce (see separate recipe)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw six 3 1/2 inch circles on each pice of paper and turn the paper facedown on the baking sheet.
Beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium-high until frothy. Add 1 cup sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a pastry tip or a spoon, put the egg whit into the circles.
Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
For serving, fill each shell with whipped cream, top with berries and serve on a puddle of raspberry sauce.

1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberries jam
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur or raspberry flavoring

Place the raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

. Madeleines de Coco (Coconut Madeleines) .
Note: In order to make these great cookies; you need a madeleine pan.

1 1/2 tablespoon melted butter, to grease the pans
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the pan with the butter and flour.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add the butter and mic. sift together the flour, cornstarch baking powder, and salt, and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the coconut.
Fill your madeline pan 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed. Tap the cookies out of the pan and dust with confectioner’s sugar or cool and dip in chocolate. These are also great eaten plain.

{Take Home Gift}
The gals were given a fresh delicious baguette with satchels of lavender. The smell was heavenly! The detail of the tags is absolutely darling!

{The Hostesses}
A big thank you to Keirsten and Kristy for hosting such a tranquil afternoon in France! The food was divine and the decor so detailed with a European flair! From dry lavender soda to baguettes; completely delish! Merci!!

{The Help}
A special thanks to the two cutest Mademoiselles ever!!

{The Gals}