Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Bowl material: guacamole flan!

Note: the French version of this recipe is here on La cuisine de Babeth.

Hey, Sunday it's the big sport day, at least in the US! It's the Super Bowl! Well to be very honest with you, I was never a big fan of football while living in the US, but I must admit I always watched the Super Bowl. Not because of touchdowns or quarterbacks but for 2 reasons:
1- it always a great excuse to come to a party or throw one, BBQ with beers and finger foods.
2- for the never seen before tv ads.
If you keen on have more info about the rules here's a great article.

On internet there's a lot of Super Bowl recipes, starting with cookies or cakes, or finger foods. Even Heidi (great cookbook's author and food blog's author) post a little recipe: her guacamole.

Let me give you my own recommendation, finger food style guacamole: a guacamole flan.

I made it in September for my friend Emmanuelle's farewell party. It's super easy, but use a real blender instead of a hand mixer, or you will need to wear you swimsuit in the kitchen, because you will end up covered in guacamole!

Agar-agar guacamole flan:
- 2 avocados
- juice of 1 lemon
- 15 coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon of powdered spices
- fresh grated ginger
- soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of soy cream (you can substitute by dairy cream)
- 200ml soy milk (as well substitution: milk)
- 100ml water
- 3 grams of powered agar-agar
- 1 tablespoon of chestnut oil
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (e.v.o.o)

Directions: (need to be prepared at least 2 hours in advance)

1-Remove the avocado's flesh, don't hesitate to scrape the skin where the flesh is bright green. Your flan will get a nice color.
2- Add in your blender: avocado, lemon juice, powered spices, ginger, soy sauce, cream, chestnut and olive oils. Mix it till it's creamy. Set aside.
3- Pour in a pot the milk and water, and add slowly agar-agar. Let boil, then cook for 30 seconds at medium heat.
4- Mix well #2 and #3.
5- Place in a cooking dish in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

6- When ready (it will have reached a jelly-like consistency) cut in cubes and present with toothpicks.

Important: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Note: the French version of this recipe is here on La cuisine de Babeth.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Salmon risotto

Note: the French version is published on La cuisine de Babeth.

At the beginning of the week, while unrevealing my favorite papillote recipe, I told you all about the good and the bad effects of salmon (oily fishes in general) on your health. I hope it wasn't a lecture, though. The main point was: yes of course salmon is super good for your health, it's loaded with vitamins and OMEGA 3, but sadly because of human pollution it's also loaded with dioxins and PCBs. So my advice was and still is: eat oily fish but not a huge amount of it, basically don't make oily fish your diet cornerstone.

Well I had some fresh salmon steaks' leftover and I don't like to waste stuff, I was trying to figure out how to accommodate it without doing a papillote sequels. They're usually insipid, take Hollywood 's sequels as an example ... So my brain was working hard and BINGO! a salmon risotto!
I re-used, as a base, for my recipe the goat cheese and mache one I presented here. I just didn't have any white wine, so I just replace it by the same amount of chicken broth.

(for party of 2)
- half of a salmon steak
- 120g (3/4 cup) of Arborio rice
- 1/2 onion
- 450ml (2 cups) of chicken broth (made from Kub bouillon cube dissolved in hot water)
- 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated gruyère
- olive oil (aka e.v.o.o.)

1- Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the cut out onion.
2- Add to the skillet the salmon (I cut it into pieces). When golden enough remove from the stove.
3- Add the rice and mix till the rice is coated with oil.
4- Pour the broth ladle by ladle. Note: wait for the rice to absorb the broth before pouring the next ladle.
5- When the risotto rice is cooked add the cut out Parmesan and the gruyère. Mix few minutes at low heat.

Important: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Note: the French version is published on La cuisine de Babeth.

Monday, January 28, 2008

[Daring Bakers] Lemon meringue pie

Note: French version of this post is on La cuisine de Babeth, here.

The end of the month smells like contest in the kitchen and yes, you smelled it right: it's Daring Bakers day! January's contest was a great one, especially for a girl with such a sweet tooth like me, it was a delight
I was so excited to bake a lemon meringue pie.

Well, I must share with you that I was a bit too excited and my first batch as shown below was not a success. Distracted as I am, I forgot to turn off the grill on my oven. The pie burned on top and didn't cook at all.

I didn't give up and went back to my kitchen. So lo and behold: the great, the only: Daring Bakers' Lemon Meringue Pie!

Here the recipe:

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Help beat sarcoma!

Note: the French version of this post is here.

Well today no recipes on our plate, but let's talk about a more serious subject: sarcoma. Sarcoma are very rare cancers. Unfortunately when we say rare for a disease, we all know that it's also means less researches and exposure.

I got to know sarcoma few weeks ago, one of my friends Nat just replied to my Happy New Year email with that line: for more news check I did check that web site and that when and where I learned that she has cancer, sarcoma. I was deeply sad . I don't know what is happening but she is the second friends of mine, in their thirties, who is telling me since 01/01/2008 that they have cancer.

I read a lot about sarcoma, I must admit that this word was new to me.

I met Nat few years ago in California, in the Silicon Valley. It's a great place to live and to meet people, it's even easier when you're a foreigner to meet other foreigners. And also we share a very special link: she was the first one to save a small abandoned fury animal, animal that is now living on my sofa!

While reading Nat's blog I was happy to discover that she was not giving up, she created a public charity:, she put in place a donation system that benefits Stanford's researches and participate to a tv show to raise the awareness about sarcoma and how to save fertility after cancer.

Oh and not to forget, if you're in San Francisco area participate to BeatSarcoma 5K Fun run race. The race starts at the Golden Gate.

Note: the French version of this post is here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Best Italian in Antibes!

Note: French version of this post is here on my other food blog.

Just around the corner there's a small Italian bistro with a nice "Boho" ambiance. None of the chairs or tables there are the same, but all from antic stores. You can see the owner, a petite Italian woman, driving around her Sunday ice-cream color Vespa. Her cute, truly Italian, accent has note of Italian vacations.
Once in a while I cross the street and go for diner with friend there. We're always delighted: food is so good and pricing is reasonable.

No pizza on the menu but pasta and meat. The special, not always written on the blackboard menu list, is a must have! Cold veal and tuna with mayonnaise, vitello e tuna to named it. If it's not on the menu it's worth to ask for it.

Below the business card of Mamalu restaurant and a picture of vitello e tuna dish.

French version of this post is here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mustard salmon en papillote

Note: French version of this post is here on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth.

After all the craziness and the non-sense calories wise and long-preparation wise in our plates and kitchens during the holiday season, let's go back to more simple and healthy cooking, would you?
Also I should mention that the recipe I'm about to reveal will not create too many dishes to clean. I love that part.

Let's be serious here and talk about the beneficial effects of salmon and also restrictions. Salmon is an oily fish fully loaded with OMEGA 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins. If you're not been living in a cave for years you know that OMEGA 3 fatty acids are good for your health. But also with human pollution you shouldn't eat too much of oily fish, that's a shame - but true - and can be dangerous. Dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) can be present in oily fish and may jeopardize your health if you're eating a very large amount and for a long period of time oily fish.
But there is no reason to stop eating farmed salmon or other fish, or once in a while wild salmon.

Anyway my recipe is light and healthy.
Cooking fish in papillote leave it moist and flavorful without any added fat.

Ingredients: (for 2 persons)
- 2 salmon steaks (with or without skin)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (you may take a red or a yellow one!)
- coriander seeds
- Dijon mustard
- dairy cream (15% fat)
- herbes de Provence
- salt and pepper

1- Pre-heat the oven at 425F.
2- Rinse, remove the seeds and cut the bell pepper into small squares.
3- Place the salmon on a parchment paper.
4- Spread about 1 tablespoon on mustard on top, and some dairy cream.
5- Add bell pepper cubes , sprinkle herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and few coriander seeds.
6- Close the papillote, and place into the oven for 15/20minutes at 425F.

Note: I served it with rice cooked in miso-water and radish sprouts.

Note: French version of this post is here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Uzbek Cuisine sneak pick

Do you know Uzbek cuisine specialties? Well here a sneak pick of a true Uzbek feast. Leave room for dessert!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Comfort food: Japanese pear and pine nuts scones

Note: French version of this post is here on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth.

Antibes almost entered Ice Age lately. It's cold and rainy! This dreadful weather inspires me to bake scones, comfort food that doesn't blow your diet. How nice :-)
I was day dreaming of scones still hot with melted butter on top.

I remembered some delicious scones I had in San Francisco at Easter brunch last year. I was in California on business trip and Mathieu joined me during his one week break. We went for brunch with friends in the city, in Hugo and Suzanne neighborhood at Pomelo on Church. They served us some delicious scones with pear and pine nuts to nibble on. God those scones were good, so yummy and light that I wrote a note in the moleskin which never leaves my purse.
Let me recommend that brunch café: it's a small and friendly place and very affordable.

Ingredients: (makes about 20 small scones)
-2 cups of flour
-2 oz of butter
-5 tablespoons of sugar
-5 tablespoons of milk
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon of baking soda
-1 teaspoon of salt (regular)
-2 tablespoons of pine nuts
-1 Japanese pear (regular pear will do too, such as French butter pear)

1- Beat the egg (omelette's like).
2- Add flour, salt, baking soda, pine nuts, and small pear's cubes into a large jar. Mix.
3- Add the butter (cuts into small cubes)
4- Mix the butter in well.
5- Add the milk and sugar, massage into a dough.
6- Shape one-inch balls.
7- Place onto a baking sheet.
8- Bake for 15 minutes at 400F.

You can keep them up to 5 days in a metal or plastic box.

Please note that this recipe of mine is taking part of "In the bag" contest: to cook with seasonal ingredients. And guess what pears are in the season :-) This month host is Julia from A slice of cherry pie.

Note: French version of this post is here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chocolate custard pudding recipe

Note: the French version is here on La cuisine de Babeth my other food blog.

First excuse the poor quality of the picture. Weather is so gloomy here in Antibes that lighting is bad at any time of the day. Please give me back my sunshine! Being in France maybe I should go on strike to get it back! :-)

Being green (or is it blue now?), I don't like over packaging so I've been meaning to stop buying puddings and make my own: produces less waste, it's empowering and taste much better!
In France those " La Laitiere" type of puddings come in little glass pots. So even better than recycling them I collected and re-used them.

Ingredients: (for about 8 little glass pots)
- 1 cup of milk (partly skimmed)
- 1 cup of dairy cream (15% fat)
- 6 oz (half a pack) of semi-sweet baking chocolate chips
- 4 yolks
- 3 oz of sugar

1- Boil the mix of cream and milk.
2- Stir the yolks and the sugar together till the mix is whitening.
3- Add the boiled liquids, don't stop to stir.
4- Add the chocolate chips, don't stop to stir. The heat of the mix will melt them.
5- Pour in each pots the mix.
6- Cook for 10minutes in a bain-marie.
7- Cool quickly in a ice-cube filled bowl.
8- Let rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

Comments: those puddings are very sugary, you may want to reduce the quantity of sugar in your preparation. Also don't hesitate to leave them longer in the bain-marie (double-boiler).

Note: the French version is here.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bonjour 2008! Hello 2008!

Note: the French version is here.

Thank you my dear readers for being this last year!
2007 was a memorable year filled with many experiences and new projects:
a wedding in France and of course starting my own blogs (in French and English) about my passion for food.

2008 is already looking to be thrilling in many aspects, Santa has left many ideas behind and I will unfold these surprises shortly but before more French, easy, unique recipes!

Stay tuned !!
Note: the French version is here.
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