Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon


I love vegetables so I am always cooking some. I usually eat whatever I see, and whatever strikes me fancy in the grocery store ;-) Today, I cooked brussels sprout because they are actually something my husband would eat.

Ingredients: 1 pack of brussels sprouts, 4 slices of bacon, salt and pepper.

Rinse the brussels sprouts  in water with a little bit of vinegar. Remove the outer leaves of the brussels sprout if they are damaged. Place them in the large round mold, add 1 tsp of water mixed with 1/8 tsp of salt. Cover the large round mold with the octogonal silpat and microwave for 5 minutes. The brussels sprouts should be cooked but still firm ( I don’t like them too soft). Cut them in half. While they are cooking in the microwave, cook the bacon in a frying pan until it becomes crispy. Remove the bacon pieces from the frying pan. Keep 1 tbsp of bacon fat and discard the rest. In a frying pan, place the 1 tsbp of bacon fat and turn the heat to medium high. When the bacon fat is sizzling, add the brussels sprouts, the cooked bacon and cook the sprouts for a few minutes stirring constantly so that they will not burn. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tsp. of chopped parsley. Et voila!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pan-Seared Sirloin Patty with Caramelized Onion and Cream Reduction


It was 6:30 when I was making my way home. I called home to check on everyone and to ask about dinner. Instead of a dinner suggestion, I was told to get some pizza so as to have dinner ready as soon as I got home and also as not to let me cook since it was already late. Though it  was nice of my husband to suggest that I do, I was not going to do that, you know me better. Instead I was going to get something easy to fix and quick!!! For them: sirloin patty with caramelized onions and cream reduction and steamed new potatoes. Me, roasted fall vegetables and maple, mustard and pecan coated pork chop.

Sirloin Patty with caramelized onion and cream reduction.

Ingredients: 3 sirloin patties, 1 purple onion diced and chopped, 2 tsbp of butter, salt and pepper, 1 cup of heavy cream, salt and pepper.

In a frying pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and when the butter is sizzling add the diced onion. Cook the onions on low-medium heat until they become brown and golden. Season with salt and pepper by sprinkling a little of each on the onions. Remove the onions from the pan. In the same pan, add 1 tsbp of butter and melt it. When it is sizzling, add the sirloin patties. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the steak and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the patties and cook for another 2 minutes. When they are cooked to the temperature that you like, set them aside and place them in warm oven to keep them warm. Meanwhile, add 1 cup of heavy cream in the frying pan and bring it to boil. Season with salt and pepper and keep cooking until the cream is reduced to its half and has become thicker.

To serve the steak, place the steak on the plate, spoon a little bit of sauce over the steak and spoon some onions over the sauce. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Steamed New Potatoes with Herb Butter


Being married to a German man can be quite a challenge?!?! Why because it is harder and harder to think of new ways to fix potatoes. Luckily today as I went to pick up those sirloin patties, I saw those new potatoes. New potatoes are so tasty on their own. There is really nothing you need to do beside steaming them and adding fresh herbs and butter…

Ingredients: 1 bag of new potatoes ( preferably white, they cook quicker than the red one and or the purple one and when you are in a hurry, it is what you need…), 1 tbsp of butter melted, 1/8 tsp of salt, 1 dash of fresh pepper, 1 tsp of chopped parsley.

Place the new potatoes in the round mold, add 1 tbsp of water and 1/8 tsp of salt. Place the octogonal silpat on the round mold, and cook them for 8-9 minutes in the microwave. Remove the potatoes from the round mold, peel the skin off, add the melted butter, the chopped parsley, the pepper and stir well. Add salt if needed. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pumpkin Soup au Naturel


With the fall coming in and the weather turning to cool, it is giving me envy of soups and veloute… Since I had made some little tartlets made with fresh pumpkin and had lots, lots of pumpkin left overs, I decided to fix a pumpkin soup. It is so easy to fix, and it warms your stomach and your heart in a flash!!!!

Ingredients: 8 cups of fresh pumpkin peeled and diced, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 large sweet yellow onion, 6 cups of chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste about 1/8 tsp of salt and 1/16 tsp of pepper.

In a large pot, add the olive oil and turn the heat up. When the oil is getting hot, add the diced onions and stir until they become translucent and soft. Add the diced pumpkin and stir to brown them. When the pumpkin is getting brown and caramelized, add the broth and stir. Cook for 30 minutes until the pumpkin is getting softer. With a handmixer, puree the soup and add salt and pepper if needed. Cook on low temperature for 30 minutes. Let cool at room temperature and place in fridge. When serving, add a few tablespoon of heavy cream  and eat!!! Yum!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Parmesan and Bacon Double-Baked Potatoes


With this dreary weather, all I want to cook for my family and I, is comfort food. I crave roasted fall vegetables, sweet potato puree, pumpkin veloute, winter squash soup, apple pies…  Of course those fares are nothing my husband would eat so I have to think of new recipes that he would enjoy. Today he had cubed steak, sauteed brussels sprouts, and double-baked potatoes.

Ingredients for the double baked potatoes: 3 medium-size potatoes, 3 fresh green onions diced, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 1/3 cup of crumbled bacon, 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper.

Rinse the potatoes and place them in the round mold. Cover the mold with the octogonal silpat and microwave for 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the mold, and slice the top of the potato off. Scoop the potato out of the shell. Place the potato “meat”in a bowl, and with a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Add the 1/2 cup of warm heavy cream ( or skim-milk) and stir. Add the parmesan, the bacon, the diced green onions, salt and pepper and mix well. Fill the potato shells, sprinkle the top with grated parmesan and bake  them for 10-15 minutes in an already warm oven (375). FINI!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Crisp Chocolate Cookies


As you know I go grocery shopping almost every day. It allows me to find inspiration if I don’t know what I am going to eat that night, or just get the freshest ingredients. Sometimes I go to Publix, sometimes I go to the Fresh Market. I love those two grocery store, they are so clean and their food look so fresh! There is one thing i do not like at the Fresh Market though… it is that table full of treats, cookies and cupcakes. I always drool over them.. and resist the temptation to buy them;-)

I had seen those yummy looking crisp chocolate cookies, so when I saw this recipe in the Chocolate edition of the Fine Cooking 2006, I had to fix them of course just to try;-)

Ingredients: 3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 large eggs at room temperature, 2 tsp. of vanilla extract, 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of baking soda, 3/4 lb. of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Turn the oven to 375. In a bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside. In the mixer bowl, place the butter and the sugar and beat for 1 minute until the butter turns white and double in volume. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on medium. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop tablespoon of dough every two inches on the large silpat. You will probably need 2 large perforated sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are turning a deep brown. Remove the sheets from the oven and let the cookies cool off for about 5 minutes. When the cookies are completely cold, place them in an airtight container or in a plastic bag so they will stay crisp. Miam!!! My kids love them!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Saute Scallops over Coarse Apple Compote


What do you think about when your mind wanders? Me, food. I think about food. I think about things that would taste good. I think about recipes, and how things would taste when combined with various ingredients. Today I was dreaming of scallops. I was dreaming of scallops sauteed in hazelnut oil, topped with roasted hazelnut and carrot puree. So when I got home today, I set up everything to fix that dinner I had thought of all day long…. except that I did not have the main ingredient: Hazelnut oil. Grrrr…. What to do now… My carrot puree was already prepared. I guess I could have simply added sauteed scallops to it, but this would have not satisfied me. So instead I set put to prepare a total different dish. Sauteed Scallops over a bed of apple compote.

Ingredients for 1 person: 1 apple cored, peeled and sliced, 4-5 scallops, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of butter salt and pepper to taste.

In a small frying pan, melt the butter. When the butter is sizzling, add the broken hazelnuts and saute them for  a few minutes just enough to toast them. Remove them from the pan, and set them aside. In the same frying pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and when the butter is sizzling again, add the apples and saute them. Add 1 tbsp of brown sugar and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly to avoid the caramel to burn. When the apples are turning golden and getting softer, remove them from the pan and set them aside. In the same frying pan, add 1 tsp of butter and melt it. When it  sizzles, add the scallops and saute the scallops for 2 minutes on each side. Et Voila!

To serve spoon the apple confit on the plate and place the scallops on top. Add a few hazelnuts over the scallops and devour!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Halloween Cooking Class


This week-end, I hosted a Halloween Cooking Class for children of 8 years and over. The class met for 2 hours during which we got busy making all kind of Halloween food. On the menu we had Witch Brew in Dripping Blood Glasses, Cheese Bats Appetizers, Mummy Hot dogs, Double Baked Little Ghosts, Black Cats in a Caramel Dip, Melted witches and Brain hemorrhage Cupcake. We did not quite make everything, but managed to cook everything beside the Double Baked Little Ghosts.  I think those young ladies enjoyed getting their hands dirty, as well as their stomach full;-)

As for me, I had a great time meeting all those cute girls, and had much fun seeing them making all the treats we had planned on doing. So thank you so much aspiring chefs and cooks you made my day!!!

If you have not already come to one of my cooking class, you must!!! We have so much fun learning new recipes and sampling everything.

So call me for more information at 494-4494. Until then….

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Monk Fish Poached in Oolong Tea


I love to cook  consequently we do not go out often. When we are out-of-town, on the other hand, I look forward going out and eating out. I look for places that are avant-garde. This allows me to see the different fares that are available out there, other than  what we are exposed to here in Spartanburg. A few months ago, I had dinner in Greenville at Devoreaux – I highly recommend it, very good, very different, it is a new cuisine, very modern, very inventive in its preparation and flavors.  My friend ordered Seared Foie Gras with Oolong Tea. I loved the flavors. In fact I loved the dish so much that I have been dreaming of making something with oolong tea ever since. I wanted to try a recipe with fish, a very fine fish such as Mahi or monk fish. So I have been making those recipes with various teas, and various way but never got the flavors I was looking for until now. In this recipe, the fish is poached in tea and white wine and served over basmati rice.

Ingredients: 1 lb of monk fish cleaned up and diced in 1 inch squares, 1 big red onion or 2 small ones chopped very thinly, 1 cup of white wine, 4 cups of water, 4 tea packets of oolong tea, and 2 tea packet of acai berry pomegranate tea, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 cup of basmati rice, salt and pepper, 2 tbsp of butter.

Place 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring the water to boil. Place all tea bags in the water to steep for 5 minutes. You will use  2 cups for poaching the fish, and 2 cups as the sauce for the fish to which you will need to add 1 tbsp of sugar.

In a small saucepan, add 2 cups of water, 1/4 tsp of salt and bring the water to boil. When the water if boiling, add the rice, stir and lower the temperature. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain the rice, add 1 tbsp of butter, stir and set aside.

In a frying pan, place 2 tbsp of butter and saute the onion until the onion is getting translucent and soft. Remove 1/2 of the onion from the frying pan and place it in a small container. Continue cooking the other half of the onions until they are caramelized and turning brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan, place the soft onion, 1 cup of white wine, 2 cup of tea, 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper and bring to boil. When the water is boiling, add the fish and poached for 5 minutes, or until the fish is becoming translucent. Drain the fish and the onion from the broth and set aside.

To serve, spoon the rice in a shallow plate. Top the rice with the fish and the onions. Place a few caramelized onions atop the fish and add 1/2 cup of the sweet tea. Et Voila….

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chili Powder Coated Tuna with Spicy Blackberry Coulis


I love tuna, and I would be completely satisfied eating it flashed saute with a horseradish sauce. It is quick, yummy and very satisfying. And it is a great substitute to sushi;-). But because I had purchased a blackberry jelly ( that I originally planned to use for a pork chop), I thought it would be fun to use it as an accompaniment for my fish. It was different, but I will repeat this recipe again… The spicy sweet combination was wonderful!

Ingredients for 1-2 person: 1 tuna steak, about 1 tbsp of chili powder, salt and pepper, 2 tbsp of blackberry jelly, 2 tbsp of light soy sauce, 1-3 drops of tabasco sauce, 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil.

In a little sauce pan, add the blackberry jelly, the soy sauce and the tabasco sauce. Bring to boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the sauce is getting a bit thicker. Set aside.

Place the tuna steak on a plate and dash a little bit of salt and pepper on each side of the tuna. Then cover the tuna with chili  powder. In a small frying pan, drop 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil and bring the heat to medium-high heat. The oil should be hot to sear the tuna. Sear the tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, just long enough to sear the sides but leaving the meat still red ( i like my fish rare;-)). Place the tuna steak on a plate and let it stand for a minute or two. Slice very thinly.

To serve spoon the sauce on the plate, and place the tuna slices on top of the sauce. Mangez!!!  YUM, YUM… How simple was that;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!