Tuesday, April 28, 2009


4 to 6 servings, depending upon the size of ramekins used

An unusual dish from Lyon, France; a tender flavorful flan baked within leafy greens, and served with a delightful Garlic Cream.

Perfect for a light lunch, dinner, or an appetizer ~ don't limit the delicious Garlic Cream to only this recipe; it is fabulous on vegetables and simply prepared chicken or fish, too!

Adapted from “Simple Soirees” by Peggy Knickerbocker
Recipe yields 6 ramekins

For the Gnafron

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 carrot, diced
½ pound andouille sausage or other distinctively flavored, spicy sausage, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Splash of white wine
1 Napa cabbage, separated, tough parts of the core removed (16 to 20 leaves)*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter for greasing the ramekins
4 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream

For the Garlic Cream

3 cloves garlic
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
Splash of white wine
½ cup heavy cream

To make the Gnafron~

Melt the butter in the olive oil in a heavy saucepan, add sausage, carrot, onion, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer slowly for 15 minutes; as the mixture becomes dry add the white wine. Allow to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes; remove pan from hat and allow the sausage mix to cool for about 10 minutes.

While the sausage mix is cooking, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a deep skillet or pot. Salt generously, reduce heat to simmer and blanch the cabbage leaves (tender parts only)* a few at a time. Remove with tongs and allow to drain and cool on clean kitchen towels.

Butter interiors of 6 small ramekins, or soufflé dishes with butter. Line the dishes with cabbage
leaves allowing them to overlap so when the egg-sausage mixture is spooned into them they can be folded over to enclose the filling.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs with the cream, add a bit of salt and pepper. Stir the
cooled sausage mixture; mix well. Divide the mixture among the lined ramekins and fold the
overlapping leaves over the top. Do not be concerned if the mixture leaks out around the leaves.

Preheat oven to 350* (F)

Place the ramekins in a deep baking pan, large enough to hold them all. Pour warm water around them so it comes ¾ of the way up the sides of the ramekins.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 1 hour (begin checking at 30 minutes; mine were done in 45 minutes. When they are done, the Gnafron will be set and the top will be firm to the touch. If the tops begin to brown place a sheet of foil loosely over the tops. It’s okay if the tops get golden brown.

To make the garlic cream:

While the Gnafron bakes, make the garlic cream. In a small heavy pot combine the garlic, sugar, salt and splash of water; cook over medium low heat for a few minutes. Add a splash of dry white wine; continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the garlic to steep in the cream until the Gnafron come out of the oven. Reheat the garlic cream over low heat (it will be thin); remove and discard the garlic.

To serve, run a knife around the sides of the ramekins to loosen the mixture. Turn out onto a platter or individual plates (or serve right in the ramekins.) Serve with a little garlic cream over the tops.

*Note on blanching the cabbage leaves: I blanch the leaves whole, then when they have drained and cooled, cut a “v” to remove the tough core part (center rib) of each leaf (cutting them out afterwards makes the leaves easier to handle and not as apt to tear while blanching.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Deep Dark Mahogany Glazed Wings

Deep Dark Mahogany Glazed Wings

1 pound (or more) chicken wings, disjointed with tip sections reserved for another use (or discarded)
For the baking sauce, may be doubled or tripled, etc.
(I usually double, for extra sauce):
6 Tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce (Kikkoman, for example)
2 Tablespoon Dry, Pale Cocktail Sherry (not sweet sherry)
3 (or more) Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sliced, peeled fresh ginger (about the size of a quarter)
1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 * (F)

Method: Line a shallow baking pan with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or brush lightly with vegetable oil), to facilitate easy clean up.

Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, cook just until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool a bit.

Arrange wing pieces in a single layer on the foil lined pan. Pour the sauce mixture over all, and turn to coat pieces to coat evenly.

Place the pan of wings in the hot oven, turning from time to time, and spoon
sauce over to keep them moist.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until completely cooked through and tender.

May be placed under a hot broiler for a few minutes if you like crisper skin.
Watch carefully, as they burn easily.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, garnished with thinly sliced scallions,
chives, and/or a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gaufrettes ~ French-style Waffle Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling

Gaufrettes ~ French-style Waffle Cookies
with Salted Caramel-Cinnamon Filling

(The number of cookies this will yield depends upon the diameter of your pizelle or stroopwafel

I find this dough easiest to mix in my stand mixer, the first stage requires several minutes of beating, then the addition of the flour makes the dough very stiff ~ so I allow the machine to do the work.


3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
4 cups all-purpose flour


Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until the mixture turns fluffy and very pale, and forms a ribbon that holds its shape.

Add the melted butter and mix well.

Sift in the flour, a little at a time, and mix well to form a smooth dough.

Next, allow the dough to rest. (I leave it right in the mixing bowl and cover the top of the bowl with a clean, barely damp kitchen towel) Allow dough to rest for about 2 hours at room temperature (I've used it at 1 1/2 hours with no problem.)

With your hands, roll the dough into balls, 1-1/2 inches in diameter

Bake in a hot pizelle iron (or stroopwafel iron) he smallest grids until the cookies are golden brown and crisp. Let the cookies cool on a rack and fill when cool; store in airtight containers.

Note: These wafers are delicious without the filling, too.

For The Filling:

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons dark corn syrup (I've used light corn syrup; no notable difference)
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts, optional*

Coarse sea salt (optional)

To Make Filling:

In a saucepan boil the brown sugar, the remaing one cup of the butter, cinnamon, and dark corn syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (234-240 degrees F 112 -115 degrees C). Stir in ground hazelnuts at this point, if using.

To assemble the cookies:

Best to spread the filling and assemble one at a time, to assure top wafer wil adhere to the filling.
Allow cookies to cool, spread warm filling on one wafer; sprinkle a tiny pinch of coarse sea salt over filling (if desired), top with second wafer. Continue until all wafers are used. When cool store in an airtight container.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Greek Style Baby Back Pork Ribs ~ From My Friend Ann

If you like pork ribs, I'll bet you'll love these as much as my family and I do!

The recipe is from my friend Ann, at Thibeault's Table .
You must check out Ann's blog ~ it is loaded with excellent recipes.

Thibeault's Table Greek-style Baby Back Pork Ribs

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

1 or 2 Racks of Baby Back Pork Ribs
2 to 3 garlic cloves
dried oregano
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
Lemon zest (Optional)
salt and pepper

Mince garlic and press with back of knife to turn into a paste. (or use a microplane)

Rub ribs with garlic, rub on oregano, salt and pepper and lemon zest ifusing. Squeeze juice of whole lemons over ribs a few hours before cooking.

Note: These can be marinated earlier in the day or overnight, but do not add the lemon juice until a few hours before grilling or the lemon will change the texture of the meat.

If using a gas or grill: Heat grill to high (both sides) Place ribs on one side of grill and turn that side off.

If using a charcoal grill: Use the indirect method of grilling (meat not directly over the fuel source.)

Cook, turning occasionally until ribs are tender.

Each grill will vary, but on Ann's (and my) grill (using the INDIRECT cooking method)
they take about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the ribs.

They may take a little less time, or a little longer; depending upon your grill.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup ~ Barefoot Contessa's

We really like this one ~ very satisfying, yet not too filling. In a word? Delicious!

Italian Wedding Soup
Adapted from : "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics"
8 servings

Note: I have substituted ground turkey, and turkey sausage in this recipe with great success. I use orzo pasta.

To make the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, and more for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta (I use orzo, but any tiny pasta will do)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the meatballs~ place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon or small portion scoop, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (Makes about 40 meatballs.) No need to strive or perfection, they needn't be perfectly round. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

While meatballs ar baking, prepare the soup broth: heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed; I always add a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice to heighten the flavors.

Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.

Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan. Really good with garlic bread!

Friday, April 17, 2009

White Gazpacho ~ Slightly Sweet & Tangy

White Gazpacho ~ Slightly Sweet & Tangy
Makes 4 cups

I made this for a Garden Party Buffet we gave last summer; it was perfectly refreshing and very popular. It's also vegetarian friendly.

Different than other white gazpachos than I've had, it is slightly sweet from the grapes, and tangy from the mild vinegars. The almonds and bread add body; I served grape halves and toasted Spanish Marcona almonds on the side so each person could add their own. It's an excellent selection for a party or other gathering as it can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator until serving time. Keeper!

4-5 slices French bread, (or other good, non-sweet white bread) about 1/2" thick
2 cups water
1/4 of a medium size yellow onion, peeled and chopped (or 6 scallions, white part only)
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped (English, or regular)
1/2 cup champagne vinegar *(
1/2 cup almond or mildly flavored olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 pound green grapes, rinsed and halved, garnish (but don't omit!)
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or blanched whole almonds -or almond halves), toasted

Remove crusts from bread slices. Cut bread into 1/2" cubes to make 2 cups of bread cubes. Put the bread and water into blender with the onion, cucumber, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and white pepper. Puree until completely smooth.

Chill soup until it is very cold (at least two hours).
Serve it in cold bowls or mugs. Garnish with the green grapes and toasted almonds. Offer more, if desired so each person can add their own.

*For the vinegar: You may use 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, plus 1/4 cup good white wine vinegar, not plain white vinegar as it is too strong. Alternately, substitute 1/2 cup plain (unseasoned) Rice Vinegar.

Note: There are many, many versions of t )his recipe floating around the internet, the one I used in August was inspired by Panera Bread's recipe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Fairy Cakes

Nigella Lawson's Fairy Cakes
Recipe yields 12 regular size cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 Tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour *
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
(May use 1/2 teaspoon almond extract instead of the suggested 1 tsp.vanilla extract.)

2-3 Tablespoons milk
Directions :
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (I bake them at 375* F)
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking paper cups.

Put all the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel to make for a soft consistency. (I use the full 3 Tablespoons)  It doesn't seem like enough batter, but it will all work out, scrape every bit from the bowl and try to fill each cup equally.
Bake for 15-20 or until they are golden on top. (These are perfectly baked in 14 to 15 minutes @ 375* in my oven) It's best to start checking them at 12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack, but remove from the tin as soon as possible.
Before you decorate, if desired, slice off any mounded tops so you have a flat surface to decorate. Some don't cut the mounds off, but with Fairy Cakes, I always do... and the trimmings become cook's treat!

For the Icing ~
Note: Some don't like this icing because it hardens in less than a day. I don't mind because the cakes usually don't last an entire day around my house. They are delicious with a soft buttercream, chocolate ganache, or simply softly whipped cream, too.
Enough for 12 fairy cakes

1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
3-4 drops lemon juice
food coloring, if desired

Mix the sugar, egg white and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and creamy, it should have the consistency of heavy cream. Nigella suggest dividing the batch of icing into smaller portions so you can add different colors to each, if you like.

In the cookbook the "Fairy Cakes" are topped with rosebuds and little sugared daisies and fresh berries, so cute! But allow your imagination to take over, these are so much fun to decorate in a number of ways.

* Note: I make my own self-rising cake* flour, using the following guideline:
Mix the following (in the proportions you need):
For each 1 cup cake flour add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Tips:* For some reason, in my experience, these bake up much more uniformly when I use all-purpose flour, rather than cake flour.

I use the full 3 Tablespoons of milk for best cake results, and always bake these in a 375* (F) preheated oven, not 400*.
My Alternate Frosting suggestion:

Extra creamy Buttercream Frosting

1 stick softened butter (4 ounces)
2 cups confectioner's sugar
Enough heavy cream to loosen
Flavoring of your choice (I used 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract for the icing shown here)
If you choose to use almond extract reduce amount by a scant 1/2 teaspoon.

Blend all ingredients (except cream) together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. Whip on high speed until well mixed and fluffy, gradually adding enough cream to produce the desired consistency for spreading or piping.

Since this frosting contains cream, the frosted cupcakes should be stored in refrigerator until shortly before serving.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Completely Edible Flower-Glazed Cheese

Choose cheese with a flat surface (if cheese has rind, it must be edible); Ile de France Brie, or Camembert wheels or wedges, for example.

This recipe is everything you need to decorate and glaze several cheeses.


2 cups dry white wine (or regular-strength chicken broth)
(Note: Wine will give a clearer, more sparkling aspic glaze than chicken broth)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin powder (Knox, for example)
Chilled, flat-surfaced cheese (any rind must be edible), Ile de France Brie, or Camembert, wheels or wedges are perfect.
Edible decorations ( see suggestions below)


In a 2 to 3 quart-pan, combine wine and gelatin; allow to stand for 5 minutes. Place over medium heat and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear.

Place pan in a larger container filled with ice cubes and water, stir liquid occasional until it begins to thicken and looks syrupy. It it becomes too firm, reheat to soften, then chill again until syrupy.

Place cold cheese on a wire rack in a shallow rimmed pan. Decide upon a pattern/decoration.

Spoon a coat of aspic over top and sides of cheese; when slightly tacky ( 1 to 3 minutes), decorate as desired with the flowers, leaves/herbs. Refrigerate entire pan (with rack and cheese) uncovered for 15 minutes.

Spoon more aspic over top and sides of cheese to cover all. If desired add one or two more coats of glaze, refrigerating after each layer is added.

When cheese is completely covered with glaze, invert a bowl over cheese without touching surface until ready to serve. Can be prepared up to 36 hours in advance of serving.

NOTE: Choose edible, organic, pesticide-free blossoms, herbs, or greenery ~

Flower suggestions~ Pansies, violas, rose petals, primrose, geranium, carnation, calendula, nasturtium, violets, strawberry blossoms.
Greenery suggestions ~ Chives, dill, sage, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, watercress, cilantro, parsley.

After rinsing and blotting dry, store leaves and flowers in plastic bags in refrigerator until ready to garnish the cheese.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Pea Soup with Bacon

Chilled Spring Pea Soup
by Gordon Ramsay


(Ten Speed Press, 2000)

Serves 4 as a first course

I made a few changes which are noted below.

4 ounces lightly smoked sliced bacon *
2 shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh peas in pods, shelled
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 cups vegetable stock or light chicken stock
Water *
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus a little extra for serving

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Reserve 4 slices of bacon and chop the rest. *
Place the chopped bacon in a saucepan with the shallots and oil.
Heat until sizzling, then sweat over a low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.

Stir in the stock and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl, rubbing with the back of a ladle. Leave to cool and then refrigerate.

Meanwhile, bake the reserved bacon on a rack, placed in a shallow, rimmed baking pan and bake at 350* (F) until as crisp as you like. Keep warm.

When the soup is well chilled, taste and adjust seasonings.
Whisk in the cream. season again as necessary.

Serve in bowls with a little drizzle of chilled cream on top ,
garnish each with a warm bacon slice bacon.

My changes:

  • I use a 16 ounce bag of frozen green peas
  • I barely cooked the peas until they were thawed and warmed.
  • I omitted the 1 cup of water.
  • I did not pass the soup through a seive, instead I whirred it in the blender on high a bit longer until it was perfectly smooth. (The choice is yours.)
  • I reduced the amount of bacon to 5 slices as I didn't care for the bacon cooked with the peas and whizzed up in the stock, it gave the soup an odd flavor, in my opinion.
  • Instead I baked the slices, and crumbled one into the soup before serving, I used the remaining four as garnish, as indicated.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Basic Crêpe Recipe

Here the crêpes are filled with cottage or ricotta cheese and served with fresh strawberries, sweetened strawberry sauce and Chantilly Cream.

The recipe I usually use for crêpes is based on Julia Child's recipe; I prefer to make the batter a couple of hours ahead of making the crêpes but if you are in a time pinch, even 1/2 hour of resting will help.

Crêpes Ordinaire

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. The batter:

You can whisk the batter ingredients by hand, but it is much quicker to mix in an electric blender; whiz the liquids and eggs in the blender container, then gradually add the flour and allow to blend for about 30 to 60 seconds. Scrape blender container if necessary so all flour is combined.

Set aside at room temperature for one hour, or refrigerate up to 24 hours until you are ready to make the crêpes.

2. To cook the crêpes:

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.

Julia taught us that the first side to cook is considered the "public" side ~ it is the more attractive presentation side, so you may want to keep that in mind when you serve your crêpes.

For an excellent tutorial and more information about crêpes you can refer to a number of Julia's cookbooks for highly detailed instructions ~ for example page 531, in "From Julia Child's Kitchen", etc.

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