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Posts Tagged ‘french’

Surprise! Welcome to my Northwest Territories Kitchen. I’ve somehow found a new place to call home, amidst the tail-end of the boreal forest treeline, on the shores of the Great Slave Lake. I think this is going to be a great year for Gourm(eh) on my end – I’ll be exploring Canadian food from the Northern perpective, something I’ve always wanted to do. There are still a few weeks of fishing left (hopefully) before we break until the ice can hold us safely. The rose-hips are lonely without their leaves, just waiting to be picked and turned into jelly. The days are getting shorter at an unbelieveable rate – and although I’ll miss the sun, I’m really excited for the northern lightshow, with a mug of hot chocolate.

I’ve been here for a week now, and while I was hoping to share a traditional dish right away, I’m going to start with this tarte la francaise, in hommage to all the wonderful francophone people I’ve met in the community. Without an internet connection of my own, I’m dependent on the public library, and neighbours around me, who have generously offered me their internet connection. Tired of going up to see them for their internet, I decided to pay them back with a warm little apple pie tonight, like my Grandmother makes in Normandy.

1 shortcrust pastry

1-2 tart apples, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1 egg

Make the short crust pastry at least 30 minutes in advance, and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 400f. Slice apples finely with a sharp knife. Dip in a dilute lemon juice solution and drain so they don’t brown.

Once oven is ready, roll crust out to 3cm wider diameter than a tart dish (or a pie dish). Place in dish, and press edges down to have a nice thick outer crust. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Freeze for about 10 minutes.

Arrange apples on cooled crust in a thin layer. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until apples begin to soften and crust becomes lightly golden on edges.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream, egg, sugar, and spices together, and refrigerate until apples are softened.

Spoon cream mixture over apples and bake for another 25 minutes or so, or until set and slightly golden.

Enjoy with vanilla-infused whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Bon appetit,

-Sitelle

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I first fell in love with tapenade when I was travelling through France years ago. At the time, olives were something I ate if I had to, but not something I especially sought out. But with one bite of tapenade from a French market, I was truly in love.

Since then, I have sought out tapenade in every French market I have visited (the winner is Voltaire, France along the Swiss border). Be it black olive, green olive, or a surprise mix with artichokes – this black gold simply vanishes in my presence. A few years back, I discovered how easy it was to make tapenade. The trick is allowing enough time for the spread to mellow – overnight will suffice.

The recipe below is my go-to fast tapenade recipe. It’s the one I’ve perfected over the last five years through trial and error, and while it may not be as authentic as tapenade found in a French marketplace (it lacks the anchovies!), it certainly never fails to please 🙂

Tapenade

Ingredients:
One can black or green olives
Capers in juice (about 2 tablespoons)
Garlic to taste (1/2 to 1 clove)
Juice from one-third to half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions:
In a food processor, blend the garlic, olives, and capers until coarse. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper. Continue blending, slowly drizzling the olive oil until your desired texture is reached.

Tapenade becomes tastier the longer it matures, so preferably chill overnight (although it can be served immediately!). Enjoy with a crusty baguette or fancy crackers!

– Catherine

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For our final pi day celebration today, we offer you a savoury quiche, one of Sitelle’s specials.  This is perfect for any meal of the day, with the delicious cheese and veggies adding personality to the quiche.

And so, we offer you our Pi Day in a nutshell (well, aside from the other two pies):

We ate a few eggs along the way… (the recycling bin had 4 egg cartons by the end of our adventuring)

To quote our dear roomate and friend on our Pi Day activities: “that’s an insane amount of eggs you two used. You guys are like Michael Phelps”.

Higher compliments could not have been given!  We hope you love and indulge in Pi Day as much as we do!

Ingredients – 1 large quiche

-1 quantity savoury pastry crust (*https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/savoury-pastry-crust/)
-4-5  large eggs (depends on size of dish and how many eggs you have)
-1 cup whipping or sour cream
-2 cups grated Emmenthal or Gruyère cheese
-1 cup red pepper julienne
-1 zucchini, cut 3/4 cm rounds
-1 cup broccoli florets
-1/2 cup green onions or shallots, diced
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp salt (and more to taste)
-1 Tbsp parsley, finely minced
-1/2 tsp paprika (optional)
-black pepper, to taste

Directions

Chop the vegetables and grate the cheese, and set aside.  Prepare the savoury crust, then roll it out and place in a buttered pie or fluted quiche dish.  Prick it with a fork.  Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, crack the eggs, and whisk in the cream.  Add the onion, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Arrange the veggies on the crust, and pour the egg mixture over top.  There should not be too thick a layer of egg mixture.  Once it has been spread out (I usually gently shake the whole thing to spread it), sprinkle the cheese over top, and the paprika.

Bake in the oven until it is set, approximately 25 minutes.  This quiche is absolutely delicious with a green salad, and makes for absolutely amazing lunches the next day.  Happy Pi Day!

-Catherine and Sitelle

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I like reading cookbooks for fun.  I’ve been doing this since I was little – I even looked at the pictures before I could read.  This has resulted in a huge repertoire of cooking information, including about 10 different ways of making omelettes.  Eventually, I’ll post them all.  For now though, I’m focusing on a recipe I learned from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This is also the same style of omelettes they make at La Mère Poulard at the Mt. St. Michel in France where the cooks actually create rhythms while beating the eggs in large copper bowls.

I love that omelettes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on the mood, the time the craving strikes, and what I have to accompany them.  They are never boring because so many different varieties exist.

On the topic of omelettes, I figured I’d also weigh in with an interesting fact about eggs.  Eggs are truly the perfect protein for humans.  Different types of protein (lamb, chicken, beans, or lentils, for example) have different amounts of specific amino acids needed by humans.  Humans also need specific types of amino acids in specific ratios, and the egg happens to have the closest thing to the perfect ratio of amino acids to nourish a human at least for its protein requirement.  How cool is that?  Eggs were, until recently, used as the standard against which to measure the quality of other proteins relative to what humans need.  It has between 90 and 99% of the perfect match with human amino acid needs.  A “perfect artificial standard” has since been created, retiring the egg from its standard position, but its composition should nonetheless be remembered.

Ingredients – 2 servings

-3 large eggs
-1 Tbsp salted butter
-1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice – in this case cheddar

Directions

Whisk the eggs together, beating vigorously until they tripple in volume.  That is the key step, according to Julia Child.  I’d never done this before myself, and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  This takes between 4-8 minutes, depending on your level of experience or use of an electric beater.  In an oven-proof frying pan, heat the butter.  Once it is bubbly, pour over the frothy egg mixture.  Let it cook over medium-low heat, until the edges are golden.  Preheat the broiler at maximum.  When the mixture is mostly solid, sprinkle the grated cheese over top, careful to spread it out and not to put too much in.  Place this under the broiler for 1-3 minutes, depending on the strength of the broiler, until it puffs up more, and is golden on top.  Serve over fresh toast, home-fries, or whatever you like to have omelettes on!  Just a note – hold the salt and pepper until you’ve tried it – I don’t even think this omelette needs anything, except perhaps a few snipped chives from the garden if it is that kind of day.

-Sitelle

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After Catherine posted her Chicken Dijonaise recipe, I had to laugh because that very same night we had ‘Poulet Dable’, which is a similar recipe to hers, although still different enough that I could justify posting it a few weeks later.  Plus, when is there ever enough mustardy goodness in a main course?  Another benefit of having two similar recipes is that it allows one to see how a recipe can be altered.

I thought I’d wait a while to share my take on the recipe, or actually, Dorie Greenspan’s take (which we changed ever-so-slightly).  This is a typical meal in Normandy, where my family comes from, and when I’m missing the green moors and the salty taste of the ocean on my lips, I crave these flavours especially.

The spiciest condiment in the french kitchen gives this dish it's name - mustard

From Dorie Greenspan’s “Around my French Table”, one of my favorite cook books recently published (page 217).

Ingredients

-2 whole chicken breasts, sliced at least in two, or 4 thighs and drumsticks, skin removed (I always get bone-in because it’s cheaper and more delicious)
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 large shallot, finely diced
-1 garlic clove (not too big or not too pungent), germ removed, and very finely chopped
-1/3 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream or crême fraiche, or table cream if you must)
-3 Tbsp extra strong dijon mustard (the stronger the better)
-1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (this is something that isn’t normally added in France, but I find that flavours in cream, butter, and poultry are generally less strong in Canada so this helps perk it up)
-1 pinch (1/8 tsp) nutmeg
-1 tsp thinly shredded gruyere per person (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 200F.  In a large skillet, heat  oil and butter until butter has melted.  Add chicken, and brown both sides, about 5 minutes on each side (try not to touch it while it is browning, so keeping the temperature low enough, in the middle range is key so it doesn’t burn but also browns nicely).  If there’s too much chicken to make it at once, try doing one batch and then another.  After the chicken is cooked through, place it in a covered dish in the oven to keep warm.  Ensure there’s still enough oil in the pan (if not, just add a tad), and sauté the shallot and the garlic for a few minutes, until they are soft.  Then add wine, and once the wine bubbles, add the cream, and stir to remove any bits attached on the pan.  Once this all comes to a simmer, add the mustard, stirring it in, as well as the Worchestershire sauce.  Season with a little salt if you like, and sprinkle the gruyere onto the chicken at the end and cover with sauce.  Serve this with boiled potatoes, rice, or even macaroni.  For me, this really qualifies as Normal comfort food, and always makes me think of my lovely grandmother.

-Sitelle

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