Saturday, March 29, 2008

Le Creuset great bargain deal tomorrow

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

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

A girl never has enough shoes nor Le Creuset cast iron pots. Yes, yes trust me on that.
Le Creuset is the Rolls Royce of cast iron pots, but oh God! they're not cheap ... unfortunately just like Rolls Royce cars.
Tomorrow, Sunday 30th of March on vente-privée, a shopping web-site, there's a super Le Creuset sale (outlet prices). So tomorrow morning connect at 9 o'clock (yep I know my dear foody friends it's very early, even more because you may have forgot, but tomorrow we switch to day light saving times).
You need to be a member to shop on vente-privée, here an invitation from me to become one.
(I've noticed today, April 16th, that the invitation link is broken. They're doing some upgrades on the site. You can still get an invitation, just drop me an email at: cuisinedebabeth[at]gmail[dot]com with your email address and I will add you to the list of happy customers!)

PS: please leave at least one for me !!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cherry blossom and mochis recipe

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

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

In the land of the rising sun, spring is awaited with a quasi-religious fervor. Japaneses from around the world as well as a few connoisseurs are actively following the blossoming of the "sakuras", the cherry trees, and even plan their trip back home around that magical time. Timing is critical since the blossom last only a few days; yet it is quite hard to predict accurately since it depends on so many factors. Scientific build advanced predictions models and weather forecasts track the arrival of the "blossom front", the beginning of the week of bliss when the trees are filled with little pink flowers.

The first time I heard about this event was a few years ago while I was working in California and where I had a lot of Japanese coworkers. My colleagues were outdoing each other with their finest predictions and in no time the office was deserted as all my Japanese friends had left in a pink-colored frenzy to go back to the motherland to admire the spectacular blossom. It was quite disconcerting although not in the same way as the time I found myself like the main character in "fear and trembling". Don't worry, I was never asked to go and clean the rest rooms but still, the CEO - who had never even spoken to me- asked me to fetch him a coffee. Never mind I was an engineer...

Coming back to the spring-announcing cherry blossom, I just got the urge to eat mochis, these little glutinous rice-based Japanese delicacy. Here in France, they are all but impossible to find so I plucked up courage and zealously started on this new culinary endeavor. There are a lot of recipes hanging around the inter web but most of them involve a microwave, which I do not possess, but I eventually struck gold on Lydia's blog My Kitchen, a great source for asian cooking.

Quick trick: Don't try to keep mochis in the fridge! I tried to save some for Mathieu who was away last week during my mochis trials and unfortunately they became hard and tasteless. Enjoy them fresh!

Ingredients (24 pcs):

Filling (optional)
½ cup dried peeled mung beans
1 cup water
½ cup raw or caster sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
100g sweet potato, peeled and steamed
Pinch of salt

2 cup glutinous rice flour
½ cup cornstarch
3-4 tbsp condensed milk
1 cup & 1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Food coloring (optional)

1 cup coconut flakes
  1. Filling: Rinse the mung beans and discard any residual peels. Combine beans with water and bring to boil. Cover and let it simmer over low heat, stir occasionally until all water is absorbed by the beans. It can also be cooked in the microwave using a microwave rice cooker as if cooking rice.
  2. Combine cooked mung beans, sugar, oil, sweet potato and salt in a food processor. Blend all ingredients to form smooth paste. Remove paste from food processor, divide and shape paste into 24 small balls. Keep in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  3. Mochi: In a large mixing bowl, mix together glutinous rice flour and cornstarch. Pour in boiling hot water and stir rapidly to mix. Add in condensed milk and oil, mix well and knead to form a soft dough. Divide and shape dough into 24 small balls. Cover with damp cloth until ready to assemble.
  4. Assemble: Take a dough ball, make a deep impression with thumb (like a well) and place a filling ball in the middle. Bring all edges together and pinch to seal. Roll it around with palms to smooth out the edges and form a ball.
  5. Steam mochi balls over medium heat for 10 minutes. OR drop them into a pot of boiling water (medium heat), once they floated on the surface remove it with a spoon. I used boiling method, find it easier.
  6. Roll cooked mochi balls in the coconut flakes while they are still hot. Ready to serve.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter chump lamb with rosemary and roasted potatoes

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

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

I wish you all an happy Easter! We had a pretty classical Easter Sunday: our day started at the farmers market, then a visit to our butcher and baker. We went really early (that may not be early for you but for us it was) in order to be ready for 11 o'clock Easter mass. And today no way to be late for mass. In France it's quite a tradition to be late at mass, except for my Grand-Dad but he was in the Army so he's never ever late, a way of life. We even planned to arrive a bit early. On regular Sundays in churches all over France, even when really late you can still get a seats but not so for Christmas or Easter where you are quite likely to be left standing. Our church doesn't waive to that principle. Before we left for church I had time to prepare our dessert: a cinnamon apple pie.

When we got back we didn't waste any time. We peeled and cut the potatoes, potatoes with a charming name: Mona Lisa potatoes. We laid the table with the fine china and crystal glasses we received as wedding gifts. Granted, with porcelain you have to do the dishes by hand, but who cares? Not us: we don't own a dishwasher anyway! On our menu: chump lamb with fresh rosemary. Rosemary supplied by my favorite truck farmer. She only sells organic products. If you stop by Antibes' farmers market you can pay her a visit and in the summer she will be happy to explain to you how she fight against vermin with insects only. Not bad!

After the main dish and the apple pie, each other we had a chocolate cocotte (hen). Chocolate eggs hunting is a classical activity for kids in France on Easter Sunday. I bought during the week our Easter chocolate at the best chocolate shop in Antibes: Le Pralin ( 7 bd Albert 1er 06600 ANTIBES).

Easter chump lamb with rosemary and roasted potatoes

Ingredients: (for 2)
-chump lamb prepared by your favorite butcher
-3 to 4 potatoes
-1 young onion
-1 fresh rosemary branch
-salt and pepper

1- Peel and cut the potatoes. Peel the first layer of the onion and slice it thinly.
2- In a lasagna dish dispose some pieces of butter, then in the middle place the lamb. All around dispose the slices of potatoes and onions.
3- Sprinkles the rosemary, salt and pepper.
4- Place in the oven at350F , 20 minutes per pound.

Note: we served that dish with fresh green beans.

Other lamb recipe: Lamb shoulder chops with pomegranate

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy macaron-day!

Note: French version is on La cuisine de Babeth

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

I have a huge announcement to make: today, March 20th is macaron's day. Pierre Hermé, pastry chef royalty, decreeted so and he didn't have to persuade us. Macaron is super chic, trendy and even posh. Kirsten Dunst alias Marie-Antoinette was on a macaron-only diet in Sofia Coppola movie.
If you're in LA, check out Paulette macaron shop.
So at Pierre Hermé's boutique, today he offers us 3 macarons, and you can buy a special strawberry-chocolate one. All the profits will be given to the French orphan diseases association.
Check as well the beat sarcoma awareness post here.

You can try macarons at home, check here (sorry in French, I need more time to translate for you my macarons' recipe in English).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Making-off my first cooking video!

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

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

At the end of February I was invited to shoot a video clip, no not for the new rap music royalty but to prepare a recipe with the author of it in front of a camera. The video is part of a mini-serie for marmiton the first recipes directory in French. I used to browse trough it to find French classical recipes while I was living in California. So on February 23rd I jumped into my private jet, en route to Paris. The crew was really delightful, super pro and at the same time relaxed, no stress. I even at the chance to discuss photography, leica cameras and white balance with them.

We were 8 in a Parisian apartment transformed for the occasion into a movie set. 1 journalist Cyril (the guy in the black shirt), the cookbook author, 4 cameramen and 2 normal girls Marie and me. I was thrilled to be there and very curious to see the other side of the picture.
We spent 3 hours in that movie set kitchen for a 3 minutes 49 video clip, oh boy: c'est la vie!

Here the recipe featured in the clip, from the book: Snacking: Grilled marinated shrimps
Ingredients: ( serving 4)
-20 large shrimps, peeled, deveined with tails attached
-1 lemongrass stick
-2g (about 1 tbs) coriander seeds
-2g (about 1 tbs) cumin seeds
-1 lime
-2 spoons of cooking oil (sunflower oil for example)
-2 tbs of powered coriander
-2 tbs of sugar
-2 tbs of nuoc mam (fish sauce)

Directions: (marinated time:2h)
1-Trim, wash and cut the lemongrass. In a mortar: mix altogether the lemongrass and the cumin and coriander seeds.
2- In a mixing bowl mix the powered realized with the lime juice, cooking oil, sugar, nuoc mam and some pepper.
3- Place the shrimps into the marinade. Cover and place into the fridge for at least 2 hours.
3- Remove from the fridge, grill them for 2 or 3 minutes each side.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The ultimate brownie recipe

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

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

Spring got re-elected without any trouble. Spring is already working hard here in Antibes: birds are twittering and the delicate jasmine perfume lazily overruns the alleys of the city (a smell much more posh than the mimosa's one). Even with the return of colorful butterflies I was in desperate need for comfort, without any alcohol beverage help. My working from home status will lose one word ...
I know 2 very comforting activities: buying a new pair of shoes and eating chocolate. This time I picked the second one. I turned to my Mum's brownie.
Here, only for you the recipe:

-6 oz of bittersweet baking chocolate
-3oz of butter
-6oz of sugar
-4.5oz of flour
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp of almond purée
-1 pinch of salt

1- Melt together the butter and chocolate using the double-boiler method. And if you're in a lazy mood you can skip the double-boiler. You just need to melt the butter and chocolate at low heat, stir well. Be very careful and watch it because it will stick and burn in a blink. No distractions like kids or phones...
2- Mix the sugar with the eggs.
3- Add the melted chocolate, almond purée (can be replace by melted almond paste) to it.
4- Add the flour with a pinch of salt.
5- Butter a baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 375F.

Note: You can combine to the mix some walnuts or fresh strawberries.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brussels sprouts and red quinoa cassolettes

Note: French version is on La cuisine de Babeth, food blog mainted by me

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

To end with honors and fireworks our epic series on Brussels sprouts A-lister, After the first episode: mini-muffins, the sequel: cabbages wedding between Roma and Brussels here's the final chapter of our trilogy: Brussels sprouts quinoa cassolettes.

Ingredients: (serving 2 cassolettes)
- 1 cup of red quinoa
-6 Brussels sprouts
-Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
-celery salt
-lemon juice
-fleur de sel, or kosher salt

1- Trim, wash and cut in quarters (or even smaller) the Brussels sprouts.
2- Heat some butter in a skillet and the Brussels sprouts with celery salt and sauteed for 20 minutes at low or medium heat. (they should not become brown). Set aside.
3- Cook the quinoa following the directions on the box.
4- Butter the cassolettes pans and dd a layer of Brussels sprouts and a layer of quinoa. Cover with grated Parmesan.
5- Bake in the oven for few minutes until the cheese melts and turns your favorite shade of orange.

Note: to serve you can sprinkle some lemon juice and fleur de sel (or kosher salt) on top.
I served them with a simple roquette salad (Arugula).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cabbages wedding between Roma and Bruxelles

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

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

As promise I'm proud to announce the comeback of Brussels sprouts on this blog. This time our tiny veggie teams up with a very chic fellow: Romanesco broccoli.

This vibrant bright green veggie with its spiral pattern is the living proof of fractals just like snow flakes.
It makes very classy decorations in a plate and its smooth texture is like silk in your palate.
Here a sauteed veggies' wedding:

Ingredients: (serving 2)
-1 cup of basmati rice
-miso broth
-1/2 cup of lardons (bacon bits)
-1/2 Romanesco broccoli
- 6 Brussels sprouts
-Brussels sprouts
1- Bring water + miso broth to boil. Add the rice.
2- Wash the veggies, trim their ends and remove the yellow leaves. Quarter them.
3- Cooked the lardons in a pan. Set aside.
4- 5 minutes before the end of rice cooking time add the veggies to the water.
6- Drain the water.
7- Sauteed the rice+veggies with the lardons in a pan for few minutes. The rice will become a bit crunchy.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Endroit, lounge bar in Antibes

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

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

After a flower-menu base restaurant, a wine bar and the best Italian in Antibes here a great lounge bar address.
L'Endroit (the place in French) is a trendy lounge bar where Antibes' happy fews gather, located in the old Antibes village (la vieille ville). Well until last week it was only a bar. I discovered that you can also have diner there. I was having a drink with friends after diner -by the way l'Endroit gave you some great stuff to nibble on: veggies and dips- when my friends P and C suggested that we just forget about our pizza plan and stay for diner.
Well the food really came as a surprise! We had duck with ... vanilla ice-cream, very unusal but my palette really enjoyed that mix. And you should leave room for dessert: their chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, to-die-for!

29 rue Aubernon
06600 Antibes

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Husband in the kitchen: Apple Tarte Tatin

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

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

As far as guys go, I am pretty average when it comes to the kitchen: I don't cook a lot and I keep it simple. I have few specialties and I tend to do them over and over. One of these is Tarte Tatin, the reversed-caramel-apple-pie.
When I moved in with Babeth, I moved my tools, my snowboard and my pile of useless electronics as any self-respecting guy would. But I also contributed a Tarte Tatin pan to the household. As I was sharing a house before, I didn't have much in terms of cooking ware, no pots, no skillets, but I had a Tatin pan. Go figure.
So here it is: the delicious yet simple Tarte Tatin recipe!

- 5 big Apples (I like the "Pink Lady" type because they don't disintegrate in the pie, "Golden Delicious" are also great)
- 5 oz Butter
- 6 oz Sugar
- 7 oz of puff pastry/pie crust
- You'll also need a high-rise frying pan which goes on stove tops and in the oven.

- Peel and cut the apples in 1/8th quarters. Set aside.
- In the Tatin Pan, melt the butter and add the sugar
- Cook together at med-high until it turns into a brown caramel. Don't overcook.
- Remove from the heat
- Add the cut apples clockwise in the sugar, then fill the middle and any hole as much as possible.
- Cook together on the stove top at med-high for 5 minutes. Only half-cook the apples for now.
- Preheat the oven at 375F (190 C)
- Put some flour on your counter and roll the pie crust until it is round and about the size of the pan
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Place the crust inside the pan, covering the apples and extending out to the edge of the pan. Fold over or cut out any excess crust.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes until the crust turns golden and crispy.

Reversing the pie:
- While the pie is still hot, place a wide and flat plate over the pan and quickly turn it around to un-mold the pie. Don't wait for the pie to cool down!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Poets' liquor

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

Poets' liquor is back on the shelves. I 'm talking about absinthe, the beautiful and ever-changing green color alcohol beverage that was very popular back in the 19th century.
Painters, poets and writers were looking for inspiration with help of Absinthe fairy lady.
Absinthe by Degas:

The liquor was banned and surrounded by a lot of beliefs. It's supposed to be mysterious and addictive and mind blinder, but today with modern techniques the liquor is safe to drink -in moderation, but like any alcoholic beverages.

What I really like is all the ceremonials around and the vintage touch of it. You need to have a special spoon and it's better to have the right glass and a little water fountain. You put the spoon on top of the glass with a sugar on it. You pour slowly water to the absinthe through the sugar. The liquid will change color.

Oscar Wilde was an absinthe drinker and once said:
“Absinthe has a wonderful colour, green. A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?”

In Antibes there's a great bar à absinthe, rue Sade in the old village near the farmer market.
In Paris, in Le Marais I found a cute shop where they sell everything related to Absinthe, time stopped in this boutique: the clerk is dressed just like Impressionists painters were. Great time machine!

Ands on internet there a great vendor named "Buy Absinthe", they carry all different type of great brands like Versinthe, you can choose from a green one to a white one (to order Absinthe it's here).They even have all the accessories: the spoon , the glass and the fountain:
Check out Absinthe blog!

Here some history of the poets' liquor onto their web site.

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