Monday, April 11, 2016

Artichokes with Vinaigrette (Artichauts Vinaigrette)

Serves 2

2 artichokes
1/2 lemon
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp EVOO
salt and pepper

  1. Cut about 1.5" off the top of each artichoke, and cut the stem level with the base. Use kitchen scissors to trim the tops of the remaining leaves to remove sharp points and browned edges.
  2. Rub the cut surfaces with lemon juice to prevent discoloration while cooking.
  3. Wrap each artichoke in microwaveable plastic, put them on a plate, and microwave for 10 minutes. (The base should be tender when pressed - if not, keep on microwaving at 60 second intervals.)
  4. Let the artichokes stand for 5 minutes, then prick the plastic to release the steam and unwrap them (very carefully).
  5. Let the artichokes cool a bit, then use a small spoon to scrape out the choke (the prickly inner leaves).
  6. Make a simple vinaigrette in a small bowl by stirring together the shallot, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil a bit at a time, until it thickens.
  7. Fill the center of each artichoke with the vinaigrette, and serve.

Pepper Steak (Steak au Poivre)

Serves 2

If you're careful, you can try using bourbon in place of the brandy.

2 sirloin or fillet steaks (about 8oz each)
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp EVOO
3 tbsp brandy
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  1. Put the peppercorns in a sturdy bag, and crush them with a rolling pin or the base of a saucepan.
  2. Trim any extra fat off the steaks, then press the pepper onto both sides of the meat, thoroughly coating it.
  3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and oil.
  4. Add the steaks and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning once.
  5. Transfer the steaks to a holding plate and keep warm.
  6. Deglaze the frying pan by pouring in the brandy, and allowing to boil until reduced by half while scraping the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add the cream and garlic, and gently boil over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
  8. Serve the steaks in the sauce.

Steak with Anchovy Sauce (Entrecote au Beurre d'Anchois)

Serves 2

2 sirloin or filet steaks (7-9 oz each)
1.5 tbsp anchovy paste
3 tbsp butter
6 tbsp heavy cream
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp EVOO
salt and pepper
parsley or tarragon sprigs for garnish

  1. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of the butter and saute the shallots and garlic until soft.
  2. Stir in the cream, anchovy paste, and tarragon, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper
  4. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and EVOO together until they begin to brown.
  5. Add the steaks and cook for 6-8 minutes, turning once.
  6. Transfer the steaks to a serving plate, and keep warm.
  7. Add 2 tbsp of water to the frying pan, then stir in the anchovy sauce.
  8. Cook for 1-2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  9. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce, then pour it over the meat and garnish with parsley or tarragon.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chicken with Olives (Poulet a la Provencale)

Serves 4

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 tbsp EVOO
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
6 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
handful of pitted black olives
small handful of fresh basil leaves

  1. If it's still attached, remove the long finger muscle on the back of each breast.
  2. Place each breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and either pound with a mallet or roll with a pin until 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Season the chicken breasts with salt and the cayenne pepper.
  4. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden and cooked through, turning at least once.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a holding plate and keep warm.
  7. Wipe out the frying pan, and add the rest of the olive oil.
  8. Fry the garlic for a minute or so, until golden.
  9. Stir in the olives and cook for another minute.
  10. Stir in the tomatoes, shred the basil leaves, and then stir them in.
  11. Spoon the olive/tomato mixture over the chicken, and serve immediately.

Chicken Breasts with Grapes (Supremes de Volaille Veronique)

Serves 4

4 boneless chicken breasts (well trimmed)
2 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup seedless green grapes
fresh parsley for garnish
salt and pepper

  1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  2. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt half the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden and cooked through.
  3. Transfer the chicken breasts to a holding plate, and keep warm.
  4. Add the rest of the butter to the frying pan and saute the shallots until they just start to soften.
  5. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and reduce by half.
  6. Add the broth and keep on boiling until reduced by half again.
  7. Add the cream to the sauce, and bring back to a boil.
  8. Add the grapes and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  9. Slice the chicken breasts and serve with the sauce, garnished with parsley.

Leeks Cooked in Milk

Serves 4-8

8 medium leeks
4 tbsp butter
3 cups milk

  1. Thoroughly wash the leeks and trim so there are equal amounts of green and white.
  2. Put the leeks in a large skillet (2 layers, if needed), and pour in the milk.
  3. Bring just to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  4. Transfer leeks to a serving dish (without the milk), melt the butter on top, and salt to taste.

Buttered Leeks

Serves 4-8

8 medium leeks
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper

  1. Thoroughly wash the leeks, trim them so there's about equal amounts of green and white, then cut diagonally into 1" pieces.
  2. Put the leeks and most of the butter (reserve a pat or two) in a large saucepan with a lid.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5-8 minutes until leeks are tender but not mushy.
  5. Drain, season to taste with salt and pepper, and melt an extra pat or two of butter over the hot leeks.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Tarragon Chicken Breasts (Supremes de Poulet a l' Estragon)

Serves 4

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp dried tarragon (you can sub in chopped fresh basil or parsley)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
fresh tarragon sprigs for garnish
salt and pepper

  1. Season the chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper and put them in a saucepan just large enough to hold them in a single layer.
  2. Pour the white wine and broth over them (add more broth to cover the breasts, if necessary), then add the dried tarragon and the garlic.
  3. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook 8-10 minutes (juices should run clear when chicken is pierced by a knife).
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate, and cover to keep warm.
  5. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, skim off the fat, then boil to reduce by two-thirds.
  6. Add the cream to the saucepan, and boil to reduce by half.
  7. Stir in the fresh tarragon and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Slice the chicken breasts, spoon over a little of the sauce, and garnish with tarragon

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Mint Peas

Serves 6

3 cups fresh shelled peas
3 sprigs fresh mint, mince one sprig
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar

  1. Put the peas, whole mint sprigs, sugar, and salt to taste in a medium pot.
  2. Add just enough cold water to cover the vegetables in the pot.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes until peas are cooked.
  4. Drain the peas, and return them to the pot.
  5. Stir in the butter and minced mint leaves.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Stuffed Onions

Serves 6

6 large onions
1/2 cup of ham, diced
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
6 tbsp olive oil
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper

  1. Peel the onions, but be careful not to cut through the bottoms.
  2. Cook the onions in a large pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes. Drain the onions, and refresh them in cold water.
  3. Use a sharp paring knife to cut around and scoop out the center section of each onion. You want to remove about half of the inside.
  4. Lightly salt the inside of the "bowls" you just made, and leave them sitting upside down to finish draining.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  6. In a small bowl, beat the ham into the egg. Stir in the breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, nutmeg, and all but about 3 tbsp of the cheese. Add 3 tbsp of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Use paper towels to pat the insides of the onions dry. Stuff them with the ham and cheese mixture using a small spoon. Arrange the onions in a single layer in an oiled baking dish (ceramic works best).
  8. Sprinkle the tops of the onions with the leftover cheese, and then sprinkle with the leftover olive oil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes - the onions should be very tender and golden on top.