Friday, July 31, 2009

A Little Steamer Banquet:)

Many many many years ago.. there was an asian market where I met the nicest young woman.. I bought new products for cooking from day I went to the store and she was gone..I was happy to find out from another shopkeeper that she and her husband had opened their own store and I was given the location..

Many ingredients and quite a few baskets later..I was a loyal patron and she the sweetest of shopowners~ And honest!! So honest!

I had leftover chicken..I like that..takes the guessing out of the steaming:)

I chopped up my chicken.. w/ green onions.. julienned carrots.. slivered fresh baby bok choy..ginger ..garlic..sesame oil.. soya..

and placed the little mountains of tasty mix.. in my pre~bought dumpling wrappers from my now asian market~on top of some fresh bok choy in the steamers...

Used my daughters gift of chopsticks..and favorite dipping sauces:)

It was a divine little dinner..

With the sun finally peeking out amidst the daylily blooms~
I could eat this at least 3 times a week!

Tastes fresh.. and healthy!

Even the clean up is a breeze~

She closed her store last year..luckily I found another.. but after all those years it will take me time to feel the same ~Takes time to form bonds..I miss her cheerful spirit and tips and tricks.She also taught at the back of the store~ Limitless energy.A good role model for hard work~
Everytime I see my baskets I think of her! There I go again w/ things that remind me of people!

Next week? Shrimp maybe?

Marinated Chèvre~

Watching Laura Calder.. the other night..although it was a repeat..My eye caught something different this time..Last time it was her potatoes baked with bacon and cheese:) This time it was the marinated chèvre~

You will need a sterilized jar~

2 Bay leaves
4 fresh peeled garlic cloves
Olive Oil
Goat cheese
the rind of one lemon

Slice 1 inch thick goat cheese..pack all the ingredients into your jar with the Goat Cheese and top with EVOO..Place in the refrigerator.
Lasts up to one month in the fridge.
Serve w/ baguette,crackers etc..

I used my home grown garlic,thyme and bay leaves..I added a Nasturtium from my garden for the pleasure of seeing it in the jar~:)

I am making another small jar today..In fact I could enjoy making many...I gave this one away.. and I want to tell you if I liked tasting it as much ~

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gâteau Breton~

When I go to lovely French Pastry shops here like La Gascogne..I often see their Sablé
Breton Cakes..I always find them so purely and simply beautiful..

Last week I came upon a recipe for one here..
I printed the recipe..and have been waiting ever since.. to make it..I had to wait until the fig and strawberry tart was almost finished..
My husband is the one that eats the desserts so I have to be patient:)
Monday.. I made it~

I even liked looking at it baking~

It's super rich.. but it's worth it~

You just slice a SLIVER..

There's only 1 tbsp of rhum:) I grabbed the first bottle I found..we like wine..have different things and liqueurs for the lovers of it~

La Recette

For a 24 cm removable tart pan

250 g butter semi salted
250 g icing sugar
1 egg+ 1 egg yolk mixed with a bit of water
1 tbsp rhum

250 g of four

Cream room temp butter
add icing sugar and mix

add egg and rhum
pour flour in slowly funnel~ like and combine.. Spread in your tart pan that you have buttered and lined with parchment..
With the tines of a fork make the design on the top of the cake with the egg yolk that you mixed with the water.
Bake in a preheated 356 F oven for 35 mins.. let cool 10 mins.. remove from pan..

Let cool completely..
Then she suggest wrapping in a "torchon"..dishtowel and keep in a dry ...not bright space.

This is a keeper in my books..No flafla.. just pure goodness..and sheer beauty~

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

La Cuisine Marocaine~

My new neighbor introduced me to this way of cooking..I have just ordered the first book she lent me that had that fabulous pepper salad~

This week she lent me this one..

She mentioned she had made the Olive/Preserved Lemon Chicken~
I read the recipe.. and perused THAT book's recipe for preserved lemons.. different than the other book..
So I made this book's:) this time.. For Jojo..My Neighbor and I.. 3 jars..

I hope they are as good as the others.. 3-4 weeks will tell:)

Anyway..I was determined to make this new recipe..with my already preserved lemons:)

It was a very different recipe.. Cooking onions first then adding spices I did grind with my coffee grinder..(Cinnamon,ginger,saffron,pepper)the grinder reserved for add the mix to the onions and slather your chicken w/ this paste..The chicken cooks in broth and these spices.. you add olives and preserved lemons.. Coriander(none for J) and parsley..

It simmers for quite a bit..and you turn it 2 or 3 times..I was grateful the butcher had tied the legs and stayed intact~
You simmer it ap 1 1/4 hrs..add the preserved lemons and parsley and olives..and simmer at least another 15 mins until the chicken is done..I then transferred the cooked chicken a pepper couscous to a warmed tagine ..placed it in the warm oven while I reduced the broth/sauce the chicken simmered in..Takes a while:)

So you pick some flowers..

Get the water and wine ready..

And then voilà.. a whole new found way to cook chicken that I love..:)

I preferred it to J..
I thought it was moist and tasty..and I picked at it while saving the rest of the chicken..

The Couscous..I let go:)
I love this way of cooking w/ all the spices~

I hope you all saw this..
I would have loved to be married like this..and I dance like Elaine..On Seinfeld~
This couple..will make it:)
I LOVE THIS me happy:)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dip~A~Dee~ Doo~ Dah..Dip~A~Dee~ Ay~

My Oh My What A Wonderful Day~
With Dips~

Melissa at Love At First Bite~
I have been keeping this one and Sat. night w/ Shrimp Tapas.. this hit the spot!

Oh yum.. a little sin..
Not for every day.. I only ate 2 I promise..but soo good!

They are so flavorful..and with a small side order of honey butter..What a wonderful day!

La Recette~

Butter Dips
(from Chow Times)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup butter

1. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in cheese and green onions. Add milk and stir slowly with a fork until dough clings together.

2. Turn the dough onto a floured board, coat the dough with flour and knead lightly about 10 times. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 1-inch squares.

3. Melt butter in a 450°F degree oven in a 8×8 square baking pan. Coat all the sides of the squares in the melted butter. Bake in same pan for 25 to 30 minutes. After baking, flip the little buns over in the pan to coat the top with any remaining butter. Pull apart and serve with soup, chili, salad or a casserole dish.

Merçi Melissa!

My notes..I used less butter because we are old:) I added garlic to the dough and some "Fines Herbes":)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Soul Food #14~

Finally Saturday afternoon~ The sun came out..A little touch of golden sunshine in my gardens at last~

It was short lived~
The most unusually thunderstormy summer in my memories.Quel Dommage..It's so fleeting this summer of ours~

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sels Aromatisés~

Remember when I fell in love with Aromatized Salts? And made some Thyme and Rosemary ones?Thanks to Linda?

Well this past week I fell in love with "Et Si C'était Bon"'s salt..

A beautiful concoction of salt..and balsamic vinegar..

Mamina suggested using it with cantaloupe and that's exactly what I had for lunch Saturday..

Now I am a little addict of it~

It's a pretty and fun thing to make..

And the possibilities of the salts and the uses are endless I would think..

50 Ml of Balsamic Vinegar
6 heaping tablespoons of coarse salt(3 plus 3)
In a casserole on heat reduce the balsamic vinegar to ap 3 tbsps without letting it become a syrup.
Once done..add 3 tbsps of salt and mix well.. spread on a cookie sheet with parchment and bake at for ap 40 mins.. regularly stirring w/ a fork..

Remove.. add the 3 leftover tbsps of salt and mix.. Put in a processor or use a mortar as I did..

Store in a hermetically sealed jar.
In high may have to bake again.I used Sel De Guérande which has a high moisture level so I did..Use coarse kosher should be fine.

Merçi encore une fois Mamina~

PS My daughter sent me the link to this video..She subscribes to Goop..
I really enjoyed it..She's adorable..

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Never Think Kind Gestures Are Forgotten~

Years ago..maybe 23.. an agent worked in my little town..and he treated us to lunch at one of his listed homes.. His wife had made the desserts.. 2 tarts..and I told him how good they were and he beamed with pride and said his wife was such a great baker..I said I would love those recipes~

A few days later.. this was left at my office..
I thought that was so nice..

I have kept them ever since and many a tart recipe has fallen on my way or another.. I have 4 favorites and they are handwritten..Well maybe 8:) But 4 are handwritten..Here are 2 of them..

Many agents have come and gone..and it's natural.. but I have never forgotten this gentleman's name and he left almost right after..I hope they are well and happy..
I've just never forgotten this:)

Yesterday I made the second one.. halving the measurements on the right..and using even less of butter..I am not quite sure that 1.5 lbs of flour equal 2 cups;) A small error.It should read 3 cups :)It's a typo ..I am sure..

Just a plain delicious crust .. w/ fresh figs and strawberries.. pistachios.. and sugar..

A tiny bit of sugar.. because I did add a slight brushing of melted white chocolate after the first baking of the seal the crust from the juices of the ripe fresh fruit~

You can serve with ice cream or whipped cream..I also brushed some melted honey ..a a glaze after baking..
A small thing this little note almost 25 yrs ago.. but nevertheless.. never forgotten~

Friday, July 24, 2009

Herbs and Flavors~

My neighbour lent me this book..And many beautiful photos caught my eye..
But a sage cornbread in particular was a coup de coeur for me..
I made it when she came for dinner~

I made it in a springform and wondered about the imprint of the base and sure enough my woman's intuition was right so next time I will not make it in a springform..I'll use larger sage leaves and add lots of chopped sage to the cornbread..I'll serve w/ garlic butter.I love sage..cornbread and garlic it works..and it's so very pretty when you unmold..And SO easy!

It makes a very pretty country presentation on the table also..

La Recette~

Sage Feta Cornbread

1 tbs softened butter for the pan
18-24 large sage leaves
3/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2tsps baking powder
2 tsps sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup evoo
1 cup crumbled greek feta..

Preheat oven to 400 ..Smear butter on pie plate and arrange sage leaves decoratively.
Save ap 6 pieces of sage to slide into the sides horizontally
Mix dry ings.. and wet ings.. gradually mix both together..add the feta.

Pour into plate..
Bake ap 25 mins until top springs back..Cool a bit then flip while still warm and serve~

From: The Herbal Kitchen, by Jerry Traunfeld

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home Grown Garlic~

I cannot say I was over the moon w/ my bounty..but the taste was good:) and it's cute:)

I took advantage of it to make 2 favorite salads lately~

A no egg mock Caesar..

And a Greek Salad~

I truly enjoy both..

The mock Caesar dressing is so easy~

It's all in my head though!

Hellman's Light Mayo

Lemon Juice
Fresh Garlic
Parmesan Cheese
Anchovy paste
Worcesterchire sauce
Salt and Pepper

I start w/ the mayo and then go according to taste..we top it off w/ J's home made croûtons..and his gets an extra sprinkling of real anchovies~Not mine..the paste..suffices:)

And the Greek Salad..

Is all up to you also..

Red onions..
Kalamata olives
Fresh tomatoes
Red peppers
Fresh Garlic

S and P

I combine all and then place on a bed of lettuce~ Top w/ Nasturtiums.. ~

The garlic makes these dishes for me..

and not necessarily mine~

Taken at Twilight:)~

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Come Away With Me~

Monday was beeautiful~ My niece had told me about a place..called Bleu Lavande here in Québec..I Googled it and immediately wanted to visit~

It's wonderful~!It's far for took us almost 3 hrs to get there because of traffic etc.. but the drive was pretty..and once we got there it was worth it~

I have never seen so much Lavender at once.. when in Provence.. the lavender was finished..this was as close as I could get and it was fabulous.

Bleu Lavande.. was someone's dream..and it's come true~

We were so impressed!
Their home..the outbuildings..the store.. the land.. the apparatus.. all in showplace condition~

They have a wonderful store on site with all their products..the store is large.. white washed inside..w/ the wonderful scent of lavender throughout.
Top quality beautiful merchandise..packaging.. etc.. decoration.. food items.. the list goes on and on.. white iron pieces..chandeliers..etc..
Many many temptations~

This was a little area next to the main store entrance..

Their home is simply beautiful..pale yellow amidst all the green grass and lavender~

A private little garden oasis also.. with 2 massothérapie tables overlooking the land!

There was a small sign in that part of the garden.. mentioning.. whispers only ~ A little girl whispered to her parents..she must have been sweet!
Many many children were there and they have a little play area for them also.

You cannot help but want to touch and feel and they encourage it~
By humans or the multitude of bees ..

C'est beau beau beau!

They offer lunches.. or single items.. very reasonably priced and many items using their can also picnik with your own lunch which is what we did.

They also sell their plants..Munstead or English..
They recommend for baking and cooking only the Munstead..which is what I grow here.

Every day has a special attraction..on Monday it is artist day..many artists were set up amidst the grounds painting..
Another sight I love!

I took many many more photos but this entry would be too long and ennuyant for you..
I'll end with saying that I really enjoyed my day.. the blue fields..the blue sky..the blue products!

That everything about that place is charming and first class.
The staff was friendly,knowledgeable and sweet.
The lady in the kitchen dept could not have been more helpful!AS sweet as the chocolate she was selling..Deep dark rich chocolate bars with lavender..
All perfectly presented and packaged~

Des Coups De Coeur for certain!

I made these because they were selling some..but wanted to do them my way w/ my cookie cutter :)

The recipe was just a sablé recipe w/ icing sugar,butter,corn starch and flour.I simply added a teaspoon of lavender blossoms..dried..and grown in my little garden~

La Recette~
60g corn starch
40g icing sugar
150g flour
150g butter semi salted
1 tsp+or- of dried culinary lavender blossoms

Mix dry ings..add butter..roll out..cut..bake ap 8 mins Convection 330.

I brought some over to Caroline's never thinking the boys would like cookies w/ lavender though..and surprise.. they liked them!

For anyone who enjoys gardening,open spaces,nature painting,photography and a quiet pretty outing ~

Bleu Lavande was a treat for me~I just love Lavender~