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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Orange Creme Brûlée

Simply French


French dessert at its best. This is Orange Creme Brûlée. Elevate your game.






Research:

We used a recipe that we found on fine cooking's website, CLICK HERE.

Plan:

Gather the following ingredients:


0.75 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
0.25 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons plus 1-2 teaspoons sugar
1.5 tablespoons of Grand Marnier (we substituted Cointreau)
Pinch of kosher salt

We doubled the recipe to serve 4




Preheat oven to 300 and follow along.

Execution:

Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

What is a simmer you say? When the liquid is lightly bubbling around the edges of the pan



Remove the pan from the heat and add the zest, vanilla extract, and Cointreau and let it sit for 10 minutes.



Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the pinch of salt together


Once the temperature of the cream has reached 165 degrees temper it into the egg mixture.

What the heck tempering? It is when you add a hot liquid to raw eggs a little at a time to prevent the eggs from cooking. Add a little and mix, add a little and mix.


Then filter the mixture to remove the zest


Finally, prep the Ramekins. What are those? Small porcelain dishes, get some culture folks.

Norpro 6 Piece Porcelain Ramekin Set

Place the Ramekins in a baking pan and fill about 3/4 to the top with water.


Then fill the Ramekins with your mixture


Place in the oven for 40 minutes or so. We have very shallow Ramekins so ours took about 20 minutes. Cook until the center jiggles like jello or about 150 degrees.

Then set aside to cool.

Just before serving add granulated sugar on top and torch to melt the sugar to create that distinctive hard candy crust and garnish with some fruit and maybe a mint leaf.



Verdict:

These are delicious. A lovely orange and cream flavor and the perfect final course for your French insprired meal.

You should make this often.

We would love it if you would drop us a note and let us know how your cook went in the comment section. We are always looking for suggestions and improvements! We have opened up the comments so that anyone can post now, so please do. I'll try not to delete anything unless it is spam or stabs me in the heart.



Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Coq Au Vin

Thank you Julia Child 


Here is one of our first attempts to make an official Julia Child recipe and it is daunting. The famous Coq Au Vin.

Now I know what you are thinking. So fancy and French. Well, as it turns out French peasant food is delightful and similar to any other comfort food that you may be used to. Just a little fancier and maybe consumed while wearing a beret. This is simply cook a chicken, sauté mushrooms, braise onions and prepare a sauce or gravy depending on where you are from. No big deal.

Don't be intimidated. Pour a glass or two of wine and roll up your sleeves. We are just going to cook by numbers.






Research:

We purchased Mastering the Art of French Cooking and we also found a link on food network. LINK

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I: 50th Anniversary

Plan:

Gather the following ingredients:

3 to 4 ounce lean bacon
2.5 to 3 pound whole frying chicken cut up.
0.5 teaspoon of salt
0.125 teaspoon pepper
0.25 cup cognac
3 cups young full bodied red wine (preferably french)
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
0.5 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
0.25 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
12 to 24 brown braised onions (pearl onions)
0.5 pound sauteer mushrooms
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
fresh parsley

Brown braised onions

1.5 tablespoons butter
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
18-14 pearl onions (we buy the frozen ones)
0.5 cup beef stock
salt and pepper
4 parsley, 1/2 bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon thyme tied in cheesecloth (like a teabag for us rednecks)

Sauteed Mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
0.5 lb mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small
1-2 tablespoons minced shallot or green onion
salt and pepper

No point in taking a giant ingredient photo. Let's just get started.

Execution:

First things first, let's prepare a snack to get us through this adventure.



Meanwhile:

In your heavy dutch oven sauté the diced bacon in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to side dish.

Or don't do this. We skipped this step as our guests were not fans of pork.

Then brown the chicken with salt and pepper a pinch or two each. Return the bacon to the casserole, cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes turning the chicken once.



Uncover and pour in the cognac. Ignite the cognac with a match. (invite your friends over for this folks it is pretty impressive). Shake until flame subsides.




Pour in the wine. Saving a little for the chef. It is such hard work cooking.



Add just enough stock to cover the chicken. Stir in tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to simmer.



Cover and simmer slowly for 20 to 25 minutes. Until chicken is tender and juices run clear. Remove the chicken to the side.



While the chicken is cooking... prepare the onions and mushrooms - skip down to below to see this effort. Then come back.

Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for 1 to 2 minutes, skim off the fat.



Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2.25 cups. Then salt and pepper to taste... Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste (called beurre manie).



Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wisk. Bring to simmer for 1-2 minutes to thicken the sauce so that it will coat a spoon.



Assemble.

Arrange chicken in a casserole, place mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. If the dish is not to be served immediately, make a film on top with stock. set aside uncovered for no more than 1 hour. or cool and refrigerate until needed.





Serve on platter decorated with sprigs of parsley.

Brown braised onion:

When the butter and oil are bubbling in a skillet, add the onions and sauce over medium heat for 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown evenly. Be careful to not break the skins up too much.



Pour in the stock, season to taste and add the herb teabag. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the onions are tender and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the teabag or just plain herbs and serve.



Sautéed Mushrooms:

Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see the butter foam, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as the mushrooms begin to brown, remove from heat.


Toss the shallots with the mushrooms and sauce over medium heat for 2 more minutes. Season to taste and serve.







Verdict:




Holy cow we just made Coq Au Vin! and Julia taught us!

So good and comforting. Classic French peasant food.

We would love it if you would drop us a note and let us know how your cook went in the comment section. We are always looking for suggestions and improvements! We have opened up the comments so that anyone can post now, so please do. I'll try not to delete anything unless it is spam or stabs me in the heart.



Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Whoopie Pies

Probably the most delightful name for a treat 


Having just given up on dieting for the week, we decided to make the famous Whoopie Pie. A nice treat to make in the cold winter months. Please hurry springtime.





Research:

We used a recipe that we found on Epicurious, CLICK HERE.

Plan:

Gather the following ingredients:


2 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 cup cocoa powder
1.25 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of well shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

Filling

1 stick unsalted butter
1.25 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla



Preheat oven to 350 and follow along.

Execution:

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer. Then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.



Spoon 0.25 cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets.



Bake in upper and lower thirds of open, switching positions halfway though until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a spatula to a rack to cool completely.



Filling:

Beat butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow and vanilla in a bowl at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Then assemble!






Verdict:

These are just plain delicious. Probably not the best thing to have in the house for weight loss but it is a nice way to raise your spirits in the final days of winter.

Make some of these.

We would love it if you would drop us a note and let us know how your cook went in the comment section. We are always looking for suggestions and improvements! We have opened up the comments so that anyone can post now, so please do. I'll try not to delete anything unless it is spam or stabs me in the heart.



Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer