Easy Dessert or Snack: Tropical Fruit Salad.


I cook most days. Sometimes though things happen that makes it difficult to have dinner in a timely fashion. Tonite was one of those night. I had been running all day and all evening and had so much work to do still that I told my husband he would be on his own as far as his dinner. Me? I was not very hungry but was craving something fresh and light. I did not want to just eat a fruit, too boring and so unappetizing… I had some kiwis, mango and those wonderful persimmons in my fridge and though I had bought them to make a tropical dessert of some sorts, tonight they looked like a very appetizing dinner;-) and so this is what I had: Tropical Fruit Salad.

For two servings: 1 whole mango, 2 kiwis, 2 persimmons. Peel all the fruits and dice them in small cubes. Place them in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp of turbinado brown sugar and stir. You may also add 1 tsp of flavored rhum. Yum! Et voila!!!

This was such a treat!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Delightful Fat Free Dessert: Strawberry Napoleon


With January often comes new year resolutions… and that of losing weight. If you are one of those people, this strawberry Napoleon is the perfect dessert for you. It is fat free, easy to make and so delicious you won’t feel that you are on a diet.

Ingredients for 4:

  • phyllo dough,
  • honey,
  • 1 cup of pistachios chopped thinly,
  • 2 cups of strawberries sliced thinly.

  1. Cut 36 rectangles of 2.5 x 4 inches out of one phyllo dough sheet. You may need to use several sheets to cut out those rectangles.
  2. Lay those rectangles flat on the roulpat.
  3. Warm up the honey so it is lukewarm. With a pastry brush, brush the honey over each of those rectangles.
  4. Layer 3 rectangles on top of another and sprinkle powder sugar and pistachios  crumbs.
  5. Transfer those 3 layers rectangles on the large silpat. You should have 12 rectangles in all. Cook for 3-4 minutes at 400.
  6. Remove the silpat out of the oven and let the rectangle cool until they are cold and hard.
  7. Meanwhile slice the strawberries in their width in a bowl, add 1 tbsp of sugar and stir to coat.
  8. To build the napoleon, place one rectangle, layer the starwberries, add another rectangle and repeat. Finish with a layer of the dough. ET voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Oven-Roasted Summer Vegetables


If you read this blog, you either know me personally or have come to one of my cooking class. And so you know that I love to cook. I love to cook so much in fact that you will find me in my kitchen 200% of the time when I am home. People paint, collect stamps. Me, I play with food, I try new flavors and ingredients and I make up recipes. It is rewarding in itself to eat what you have prepared. It is even better when the food tastes great and it is good for you. This recipe is such a recipe. It is so yummy, you feel as if you splurges when in fact it is very healthy.  With the Demarle cookware, nothing tastes like you even tasted things. Vegetables taste so fresh and so yummy… Try this recipe, it is yummy and so fast to make. You will love it!!!

Ingredients for 4: 2 small zucchini sliced and 4 small summer squash sliced and cut very thinly, 1/2 box of cherry tomatoes, 1 small red or orange bell pepper sliced thinly, 1/4 purple onion sliced thinly, 1 tbsp of rosemary, thyme Demarle seasoning, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Place all the diced vegetables in a bowl, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix well to coat the vegetables. Empty the vegetables on the silpat and spread them out. Sprinkle the onions. Then sprinkle salt, pepper, the rosemary seasoning and a bit of parmesan and cook in a warm oven at 400 for 8-10 minutes. C’est tout!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Salmon Filet with Onion Compote


This week-end I hosted a cooking class and we fixed several yummy fares. Salmon was on the menu. Since I had some uncooked salmon left over, I chose to fix that for dinner on Sunday night. I had been reading that cookbook about Papillottes called ” Papillottes et Bricks” de Frederic Berque, and find a recipe that I tweaked a bit. Here is mine:

Ingredients: 2 salmon filets, 1 purple onion chopped, 1 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp of honey.

In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil. When the olive oil is warm, add the chopped onion and cook at medium-low heat until it becomes a dark golden color and is caramelizing. Add 1 tbsp of honey and stir. Lay the salmon filet on the silpat and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper. Spoon the onion compote on top of the salmon and cook in the warm oven at 375 for 5-8 minutes ( 5 for medium-rare, and 8 for done). I served my salmon with summer roasted vegetables. Dinner was ready in 8 minutes, can’t beat that, and it was yummy;-) Et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

La Galette des Rois or King’s Cake


La galette des Rois (literally “the flat pastry cake of the Kings”) is a cake celebrating Epiphany. This holiday which traditionally falls on January 6th, is a Christian holiday that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Magi to the Baby Jesus (Wikipedia). La galette des rois is traditionally sold and consumed a few days before and after this date. In modern France and Quebec, the cakes can be found in most bakeries during the month of January. Two versions exist: in northern France and Quebec the cake (which can be either circular or rectangular) consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane. In the south of France, particularly in Occitania and Roussillon, the cake, called gâteau des rois or royaume, is a torus-shaped brioche with candied fruits, very similar to the Catalan tortell. This version of the cake originates in Provence and predates the northern version.

The cake has a small trinket (often a small plastic or porcelain figurine) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. The person who gets the trinket is declared the King or Queen of the day.

The cakes are usually sold in special bags, some of which can be used to heat the cake in a microwave without ruining the crispness of the cake. A paper crown is included with the cake to crown the “king” who finds the fève in their piece of cake.

Formerly, one divided the cake in as many shares as guests, plus one. The latter, called “the share of God,” “share of the Virgin Mary,” or “share of the poor” was intended for the first poor person to arrive at the home.

The French President is not allowed to “draw the kings” on Epiphany because of the etiquette rules. Therefore, a traditional galette without figurine or crown is served at Elysée Palace in January “Wikipedia”.

Today I will give you the recipe of La Galette des Rois with Frangipane:

Ingredients for 1 galette for about 8 people:

  • 1 pack of puff pastry,
  • 3.5 oz of almond mill,
  • 3.5 oz of sugar,
  • 2.70 oz of butter,
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk,
  • 1 tsp of almond extract.

  1. Roll the pastry sheets into 2 12 inches disks.
  2. In a bowl, add the almond mill, the sugar, 2 eggs, the melted butter and 1 tsp of almond extract and mix well.
  3. Empty this mixture onto one of the disk. Spread the mixture so it covers the disk all over up to 1/2 inch off the border.
  4. Place the trinket in the cake, but away from the center.
  5. Break the last egg and place the egg yolk in one small bowl, and the egg white in another.
  6. With a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough.
  7. Place the other disk on top of the other one and close the edges by pressing and pinching the sides together.
  8. With a knife, “draw” decorations on the dough.
  9. Add 1 tsp of water to the egg yolk, mix well and brush the egg wash onto the top of the galette.
  10. Cook in oven for 20 minutes at 375. YUMMM!!!

11. Serve the galette. To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares, it is traditional for the youngest person in the house and to place themselves under the table and name the recipient of the share which is indicated by the person in charge of the service. As the cake is being given out, everyone is to wait until the child has given all the share ( but one) and tells when to start eating. It is fun!!! You should try. For now..

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

An Asian Twist on Vegetables….


Some people crave sweets, salty snacks. Me… good vegetables… I am not satisfied if my dinner does not include vegetables. The problem is variety. I get tired of eating the same vegetables. Luckily with each season comes new vegetables, yet it is difficult to find fun ways to eat them. In the book ” 75 Nouvelles Recettes Proteinees” from the Marabout Editions, there is a large selection of vegetables recipes. Some better than others. The recipe of today’s post was based on the recipe called “legumes vapeurs a l’asiatique”. Though I really like the originality of the vegetable mix, I made a few changes including the sauce.

Ingredients for 4: 1 red pepper cut in thin strips, 1 bag of miniature carrots ( can be found in the packaged vegetables in your grocery store), 2-3 summer squash sliced thinly, 2 cups of snow peas, salt, light soy sauce, hoisin sauce.

Trim the snow peas. Place all the vegetables in the round mold to steam them. Mix 1/16 tsp of salt with 1 tsp of water, and pour it into the round mold. Place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold and microwave for 5 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, mix 2 tsp of light soy sauce with 2 tsp of hoisin sauce and 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger. Pour this mixture into the cooked vegetable and mix well to coat. Et voila!!!

 Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Tikka Chicken with Raita Sauce


Over Christmas I received a lot of cookbooks from France. One of the cookbook that I was given was “75 Nouvelles Recettes Proteinees” de Marabout Chef. The recipes are fun, easy and light recipes that only take a few ingredients and a few minutes to prepare. The dream cookbook when you are running out of ideas and are looking for quick recipes to fix on a school night. One of the recipe that got my attention was Tikka Chicken with Raita Sauce. I knew of both seasonings and sauces but would have not thought of putting them together.

When reading the recipe, it called for a Tikka curry paste. I just assumed it was a form of curry paste that you need to add to the recipe… Wrong… It is in fact an already prepared sauce. Since I had not researched the ingredients to fix that Tikka sauce, I took the easy road and bought a jar of the sauce. Well this is a quick and easy dinner;-)

Ingredients for 3-4 people: 2 large breasts of chicken, 1 cup of tikka sauce, salt, and pepper.

Trim the chicken breasts of any fat and nerves. Place the rectangular roulpat on top of a wooden board and place one chicken breast in the middle of the roulpat’. Fold the roulpat     over the chicken and with a rolling-pin, pound the chicken so that it will be about 1/2 inch  thick. Slice the chicken in small strips and place the chicken in a ziploc bag, add the tikka sauce and marinade the chicken for a minimum of an hour. Turn the oven to 375, lay the chicken strips on a silpat and cook for 8 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the Raita sauce. This sauce is in fact very similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce;

Ingredients: 1 cup of liquid yogurt, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 small cucumber, 4 tbsp of fresh mint chopped, 1 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

Peel the cucumber. With a knife, cut the cucumber in half and with a dessert spoon remove all the seeds. Cut each half in half again and chop the cucumber very very thinly. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well.

To serve, place 3 to 4 chicken strips on each plate and top them with the raita sauce. Et voila! Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

Salmon stuffed with Mushroom Duxelles


One of my favorite place to eat is Cypress in Charleston. They have amazing dishes!!! My favorite there is Salmon Napoleon. It is a filet of salmon sliced thinly and stuffed with a mushroom concoction and topped with filo pastry. It is so fine and delicate … a real treat. It is so good, in fact, that everytime we go to Charleston ( not enough), we always have dinner there and I always order that dish afraid to be disappointed by something else I may order. I have been wondering how to make this dish ever since I tried it a few years back… and kept trying to duplicate it without much luck… until last week. Yes, last week as I was making the Duxelles for the Beef Wellington, I thought that may well be the secret stuffing of that amazing dish and so I tried….After trying, I must say that I was quite happy with my discovery.. It was almost as good as Cypress. Yeah!!!!

Ingredients for 2 people: 2 shallots chopped thinly, 1 box of fresh mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of parsley chopped, 1 tbsp of truffle oil, 4 tsbp of butter, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of white wine, 3 sheets of phyllo dough thawed.

In a large frying pan warm up 1 tablespoon of truffle oil and 2 tbsp of butter. When the oil and butter are sizzling, add the chopped shallots and sweat them for a few minutes. Place the sauteed shallots in a food processor, add the sliced mushrooms and the parsley and chop until you have a paste-like mixture. Melt another 2 tbsp of butter in the frying pan and when the butter is sizzling, add that mushroom paste to the frying pan  and cook at a low-medium temperature. Constantly stir that mixture while it is cooking until the moisture from the mushroom mixture is drying out.Add 1/2 cup of white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Season with salt, and pepper.

Slice each salmon filet in three layers. Scoop the mixture on one layer, top it with a layer of salmon.  Repeat again and finish with a layer of Duxelles. Take three sheets of phyllo dough and cut two rectangles the size of the salmon filet. Place each rectangle on each salmon filet. With a pastry brush, brush a little bit of olive oil on the phyllo layers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in a warm oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes. I cooked my salmon for 10 minutes because I like my salmon medium rare. I serve my salmon filet with grilled summer vegetables. Yum!!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Looking for a Fun Dessert Display for a Reception, Wedding, Birthday…


Do you have a special birthday coming up or an anniversary, a shower and you want a beautiful dessert display but are tired of cupcakes or petits fours, why don’t you order a macarons tree? They are so pretty! You can choose the flavor to match your taste and ask for colors that will compliment your event. Call me for details and price at 864-494-4494.

This tree shown is 6 inches tall and holds about 50 macarons. The flavors here are Lavender (lilac), Raspberry ( dark pink), Rose ( light pink), Vanilla ( cream). What would you like on Macaron Tree?

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Leek and Potato Soup


Meals in France are somewhat different than here in the States. We usually start our meal with an appetizer of some sort, if it is not Charcuterie ( cold Cuts), it is a soup in the winter and crudites in the summer ( fresh vegetables such as carrot salad). We then  have a main entree with meat, starch and vegetables which is followed by a salad with cheese and of course dessert. After the holidays, you can imagine, those desserts often become light sweets such as yogurts or fruits.

My mom made the best soups. One of my favorite soup growing up was carrot, potato and leek soup. And with this weather, I have been craving to eat this soup… the problem?!?! Leeks. It has been difficult to find leeks so today when i saw them, you can imagine that  I quickly grabbed a few of them to make that soup. Except that when I got home I realized I had forgotten to buy carrots… Oh well… today was going to be potato, leek soup.

Ingredients: 3 leeks, 5 medium sized potatoes, 1 cup of white wine, 5 cups of chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste, 3 tbsp of butter.

Trim the leeks to about 1 inch away from the white part. Cut the leek in half and rinse under water to clean all the sand. Chop the leek very thinly. In a large pot, melt the butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the chopped leeks. Turn the heat to low-medium heat to sweat the leeks for about 5 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes to the pot, and stir. Add the white wine and cook for a few minutes. Then add the broth to the pot and bring to boil. When it has come to boil, lower the temperature and cook for 20 minutes. With an emulsion mixer, puree the soup and add more broth if you think the soup needs to be more liquid. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. When serving, add chopped chives  and a dollop of sour cream and eat. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

NB: by the way, those are not leeks pictured here;-)