Boursin Hash Brown Cupcakes


photo 4 I cannot remember where we were, but my husband ordered a Boursin Gratin. I am not usually a fan of potatoes but those were so fragrant that i had to try them. I was surprised by the taste. It had “un je ne sais quoi” that simply made me want to eat more. And it melted in my mouth…. It was so so good. Because I did not dare to ask the waiter what was the recipe, I tried to come up with mine. So here it is. My husband declares that they are out of this world. He is German, he knows his potatoes so i will believe him;-) I dare you to try.

Ingredients for 12 large cupcakes size:

  • 1 1/2 bag of frozen hash browns
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 box of Boursin Cheese ( French Cream Cheese flavored with herbs and garlic) Cheaper at Costco!!!
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of garlic salt ( I used Lawry’s Garlic Salt)
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper

1. Defrost the hash brown by either placing the bags in your fridge overnight, or by placing the hashbrown in the large round mold, covering it with the octagonal silpat and microwaving it for 3 minutes.photo 1 2. In a large bowl, mix the cream, the Boursin cheese, the garlic salt and the pepper.

3. Then add the defrosted hash browns. Mix well.

4. Place this mixture into the opening of the large muffin pan that you would have placed on top of a medium perforated sheet. ( It is great for portion control;-) You do not need to spray any oil in the Demarle Cookware, however you will need to, if using any other mold.photo 2 5. And cook for 30 minutes at 400 or until the potatoes are a golden brown. You may need to cook longer if you are using tin muffin pan. Also do not forget to spray them with oil.photo 3 6. Voila!!!photo 5

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Boursin Hash Brown Cupcakes

  • Servings: 6-12
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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photo 5 Ingredients for 12 large cupcakes size:

  • 1 1/2 bag of frozen hash browns
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 box of Boursin Cheese ( French Cream Cheese flavored with herbs and garlic) Cheaper at Costco!!!
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of garlic salt ( i used Lawry’s Garlic Salt)
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper
  1. Defrost the hash brown by either placing the bags in your fridge overnight, or by placing the hashbrown in the large round mold, covering it with the octagonal silpat and microwaving it for 3 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cream, the Boursin cheese, the garlic salt and the pepper.
  3. Then add the defrosted hash browns. Mix well.
  4. Place this mixture into the opening of the large muffin. ( It is great for portion control;-) You do not need to spray any oil in the Demarle Cookware, however you will need to, if using any other mold.
  5.  And cook for 30 minutes at 400 or until the potatoes are a golden brown. You may need to cook longer if you are using tin muffin pan. Also do not forget to spray them with oil.
  6. Voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Sesame Seeds


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Asparagus are one of those vegetables that can be seasoned so many ways to accomodate your entree. Since I was serving an Asian flavored dinner, I thought to flavor my aspargus with toasted sesame seed oil, and sesame seeds. Yum, and fast!

Ingredients for 4:

  • 12-16 asparagus
  • 1 tsp  of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 picnh of pepper
  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds
  1. Trim the aspargus by breaking the ends.
  2. Then place then into a bowl. Drizzle the oil over the asparagus, and with your fingers, turn the asparagus inside the bowl so as to coat them well.
  3. Place the asparagus onto a small silpat that you would have placed onto a small perforated sheet.photo 1
  4. Cook them into the oven for 3 minutes if very tiny, 5 minutes if normal size, and 7-8 minutes if larger than your thumb. Serve with your entree. Yummy!!! Crunchy! Un vrai delice.photo 4

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Cute Small Caesar Salad Cups


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I love desserts, yummy scrumptious desserts. You probably figured out that from a few of my blog entries. But I also like to eat healthy because I feel better if I do, and i can still fit in my clothes that are 10 years old ( provided I still wear them, right???).

So when I offer cooking classes, I like to do the same. I like to offer recipes that are easy to make, pretty, yummy and healthy ( though sometimes they are not, and that is okay too. )

For one of the latest cooking class, i decided to make those caesar salad cups because they were different, and they presented vegetables in a fun way.

The idea of using bread as a pie shell came from one of the book from Martha Stewart. She is so creative!!!

Ingredients for 20 mini cups ( for about 6-5 people):

  • 1 1/4 romaine salad
  • 1/4 cup of caesar salad dressing. I used Creamy Caesar Salad dressing from Hidden Valley, but you can make your own. Recipe here.
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese ( plus a bit more for sprinkling for decoration)
  • 1 loaf of sandwich bread of about 20 oz. ( or exactly 20 slices.
  1. Turn the oven to 400.
  2. Cut each slice into a round of 3 inch. Place each round of bread in each indentation of the medium tartlet or the medium tartlet silform that you would have placed on a medium perforated sheet.
  3. Cook the tartlet for 6-8 minutes or until they are golden.photo 1
  4. Meanwhile, chop the salad very thinly.photo 3
  5. Add the dressing and the parmesan and mix well.
    photo 4
  6. When the cups of bread are cooked, and completely cold, fill them up with the salad mixture.
  7. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan for decoration and enjoy!photo 5

Cute, yummy and guilt free since it is salad;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

Maple Syrup Flavored Brussells Sprouts



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My mom was a great person, and a great cook. What I hated about her, however, is that she believed we needed to eat a little bit of everything on the premises that all food brought various vitamins and nutrients. That is the reason why she served us many vegetables, and other food such as  liver  because it was good for us. For example, liver and spinach were good for iron, oranges for their vitamin B.  etc cetera…

I will tell you that even though she was a fabulous cook, I did not always like her cooking. One of the thing I really disliked as a child in fact was Brussels sprouts. They were bitter, smelled awful , and they were not gentle to my stomach.
It took me many years to cook them when I got married. I cannot remember exactly why I cooked them again. I think my husband liked them (in fact it is one of the very few vegetables he likes and will eat).
My children never liked them, but to follow the tradition, they had to eat them because  eating vegetables is good for you.

However it did not matter how often, or how different I served them. Both my children hated them, making faces with every bite they took.

What happened one day really came as a surprise. Lisa and I were grocery shopping one day, and I picked up a bag of Brussel Sprouts. I surely thought that if she was going to comment on my choice, she was going to scream why I would choose to pick them. But she did not. Instead of a statement of disgust, she actually inquired to see if they were for us, and when I told us that they were not, she gave a sigh, looked pitiful and said: Mom , can you get some for us. Really???? Had I heard right? really ??? I was shocked!!!
All I can say is that you she probably likes them because i am using bacon and maple to flavor them, and I am using my demarle mold to steam them which makes them so much better, and so much tastier!

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Ingredients for 4-6 people:

  • a bag of brussel sprouts ( about 12oz)
  • 2 tbsp of bacon bits from costco
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  1. Place the brussels sprouts in the sink filled with water and a tbsp of white vinegar.
  2. Cut the stem of the Brussel sprout, and peel the first and maybe the second leaf of the sprout. Repeat with each sprout.
  3. Cut each Brussel sprout in half, and place them into the round mold.
  4. Add the bacon bits. Place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold to cover the round mold and place it in the microwave to cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile turn the oven to 425.image
  5. When the Brussels sprouts are cooked. Pour the maple syrup and the olive oil over the Brussel sprouts and stir.image
  6. Place a large silpat over a large perforated sheet and spread the Brussels sprouts over the silpat.image
  7. Place them into the oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until they are getting a golden color.
  8. Enjoy!!! I know my sweet daughter does. I hope that your family and children will enjoy them :-)image

Bon appetit and happy cooking!!!!

Pork Pot Stickers


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I cook many things at home because I am very curious.  And if something appeals to me I want to try it. But because my husband does not stray much from his favorite ( potato, pasta and German food), it is difficult to cook new things for him. So when there is something out there, different that he likes, I will jump on it and make it;-)

I love Asian Food, I love sushi and Thai. Since he will not eat sushi, we occasionally eat thai food though we have to really twist his arms and help him turn left to the Thai Place, and not to the right to his favorite German restaurant Gerhard’s:-)

There he will order two things, Pork Pot stickers and Beef Pasta stir fry.

I have not tried to fix the latter because the pasta are quite different and I am not sure that i could duplicate that, but since Pot Stickers are well liked at our house, I decided one day that I would try my hands at it. And I will say that they are so easy to make, yummy, really cheap and and and…………they can be frozen to be used at a later time;-)

If you try to make them, give your self some times because they will make a large bunch and it takes a bit of times to make the “ravioli”.

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Ingredients for about 80:

  • 1 bag of brocoli slaw
  • 12 oz or 1 pack of ground chicken, turkey or pork(today I used pork).
  • 3 tbsp of fresh ginger grated
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper
  • 1 pack of wontons

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tsbp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil
  1. Steam the brocoli slaw according to directions, (or place it into the large round mold, place the octogonal silpat on top of that and cook it for 5 minutes.) Let it cool.
  2. When the brocoli is cold, chop it.
  3. Place it into  a large bowl, add the meat, all the other ingredients and mix well.photo 1
  4. Place the rectangular roulpat on your counter and lay as many wonton on it as you can. Place about a teaspoon  of the meat mixture in the middle of each wonton.photo 2
  5. With a silicone brush, wet the sides of each wonton with water and close the wontons to make a triangle.photo 4photo 3
  6. If you do decide to freeze them, place them flat on a large silpat that you would place on a large perforated sheet. Make sure that they are not touching or they will stick to one another and it will be impossible to separate them as they are very fragile.  Freeze them as such and when they are frozen, place them in a ziploc bag to keep for later use. 
  7. Place a large frying pan on the stove, melt one tbsp of butter and when the butter is sizzling, place as many wontons as you can in the pan.
  8. Sear them for a minute and then turn them.photo 5
  9. Throw 1/4 cup of water over the pot stickers and place the lid over them. Cook them for 5 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile prepare the sauce that goes with it.photo
  11. Eat while they are warm. photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Spanakopita


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I have always loved spanakopitas. They are so yummy. Yet I will tell you that I never tried to make them because they look so difficult to make. Well, over the holidays I bought a large bag of fresh spinach for my morning smoothies, not really thinking that the bag I purchased would be so much. And since we were going  away for a week I decided I would make some for appetizers for the holidays. I used the recipe from a Costco Cookbook that I adapted to use what i had on hand.

It was really good, and guess what??? It was really not that hard to make. Just needed to be patient.

Ohh and you can fix them in advance and freeze them for later use.

Ingredients for about 30:

  • 15 oz of frozen spinach thawed out, or fresh one that will weigh to 15 oz cooked.
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups of feta cheese or 2 cups of feta and 1 cup of ricotta ( will make the spanakopita more
  • 4 scallions chopped very thinly
  • 2 tbsp of the dill/ lemon demarle herb blend
  • 1 clove of garlic pressed
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1 pack of phillo pastry
  1.  Mix all the ingredients together and set them aside.
  2. Open the filo dough and cut the filo dough into 3 strips. Take one strip out, and roll the other ones back into the plastic so they will stay moist.
  3. Pull apart 2 layers from the stack, keep the other one under a moist paper towel. Either brush some melted butter, or olive oil, or if you have spray some Pam.
  4. Spoon 1 tbsp of the spinach mixture and place it in the corner of the large triangle. Fold the corner where you placed the spinach onto itself  so that it will form a triangle. Continue folding until the filo has been used and the end result looks like a triangle.
  5. repeat all those steps until you have used all the spinach mixture.
  6. Spray the spanakopitas with some butter and cook them into a warm oven for 8-12 minutes at 400. Eat warm.

photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Green Bean Casserole My French Way;-)


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The first time I was introduced to a casserole was about 15 years ago. My husband  and I had been invited to a dinner party/ dinner club and everyone had been invited to contribute to the meal by bringing something. I cannot recall what i brought, but what i recalled is the food that i tasted. Some was good, some average and some just below average. What i remembered is a green bean casserole. I had never seen green beans served other than steamed, sauteed in a pan, or served as a salad before that evening. I tasted it and though many people went on and on about it, i was really not impressed.

I will tell you that I never really ventured to make a green bean casserole until this week-end. In the october issue of Fine Cooking, there was a recipe that looked so yummy that I needed to try it. Except that i hardly followed the recipe because I did not have everything on hand.

Ingredients for a casserole of 8-10 people:

  • 2 lbs of green beans rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 leek 
  • 1 onion
  • 1 box of mushroom
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 cup of broth
  • 1 cup of milk/ or cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. Rinse the leeks, chop them very thinly and set them aside.
  2. Slice the onion in half. Slice 1 half in thin rings.photo 1
  3. Place them into a bowl, drizzle some flour, mix them well.photo 3
  4. Fry them a bit a time in a sauteed pan until they are golden brown. Set them aside.
  5. Chop the other half of the onion.
  6. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and cook it until it is sizzling. Add the onion and saute them until they are becoming a light yellow and are translucent. Add the leek and do the same.
  7. Then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook them until they are brown and the liquid has evaporated.
  8. Add the flour and stir well.IMG_2874
  9. Add the white wine and bring the mixture to boil.
  10. Lower the temperature, add the broth, the cream and cook until the mixture is thickening.IMG_2875
  11. Meanwhile, steam the beans for 4 minutes until they are cooked, but firm.
  12. I choose the use my round mold to steam the beans because it is much quicker: trim the green beans and place them into a large round bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Place the octogonal silpat on top to close it off and cook the beans in the microwave for 6 minutes.
  13. Drain the water, place the beans into a casserole dish. I chose my large round mold again because it is non-stick so no scrubbing;-) when it will be cleaning time.
  14. Pour the sauce over the beans, mix well and cook the “casserole” for 20-30 minutes.
  15. When it is time to serve the casserole, mix the casserole to distribute the sauce. Sprinkle the sauteed onions over the casserole and enjoy;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

French Green Bean Salad in Maple Dressing


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Do you have teenage children? I do, I have two. And though I hate that they are grown already and soon ready to leave me, i do enjoy the fact that they are driving on their own. It has truly been a blessing having my daughter drive herself and her brother to school and run errands for me. And run errands, she does… every day. The other day i sent her to get some French green beans for a cooking class and in spite of finding some, she bought some regular green beans, not quite the same taste, or texture. I cooked them the same way I would have my French green beans, but i was not too too satisfied. Any way, we cooked them, we ate them and there were gone.

Because I had another bag in the fridge, i decided to fix a salad with them. Growing up in France, we often had green beans salad with fresh sliced onions. I never was fond of it, that is why I decided that i could use cooked onions instead. I also added maple syrup to my vinaigrette to sweeten the taste of the vinaigrette = Bingo;-) I loved, loved, loved it. I hope that you will give it a try.

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Ingredients for 4-6:

  • 1 bag of green beans ( about 16 oz.)
  • 2 tbsp of Dijon Mustard ( or other strong mustard)
  • 2 tbsp of champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup ( good quality)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/16 tsp of pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion to make 1/4 cup of caramelized onions.
  1. Drop 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a large frying pan and heat it up until it is starting to sizzle. Add the chopped onion and saute it for a few minutes stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce the heat and continue cooking the onions until they are becoming an amber color. It will take at least 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, stir and set aside to cool.
  3. Rinse the green beans, trim the ends and place them in the round mold. Place the octogonal silpat  on the large round mold. Place the round mold on the microwave and cook it for 4 minutes.
  4. When the beans are cooked, let them cool. Cut them in 1/2 inch.
  5. In  a large bowl, mix all the ingredients to make the dressing ( oil, olive oil, salt, pepper, maple, mustard). Add the cut beans and the caramelized onions and mix well.

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You may add 1/4 cup of toasted pecans, 1/4 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbled, and 1/4 cup of cranberries ( that you would have previously soaked in water for 2 minutes) for extra flavor and for variation. 

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Well, i have to say that this salad was a winner at my table, even my son and husband went for second. Yeah!!!! And I have enjoyed it so much myself that I have been eating it for dinner and lunch these past 2 days.

I know that i will be serving it for Thanksgiving, easy fast and still yummy;-) I hope that you will give it a try.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Grilled Asparagus Salad


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In the summer, we often grill because:

1. it takes no time to prepare dinner

2. it gets too hot in the house if the oven is on

3. i like to hang outside when the sun goes down.

For those same reasons, we grill last night. I had salmon and asparagus while the rest of the gang enjoyed some sausages and roasted potatoes. Because I always fix too much vegetables ( or I fix just enough but no-one else is eating them), I was left with quite a few extra asparagus today. What to do?

Personally I do not like to rewarm asparagus the next day because they don’t taste wonderful therefore I thought of making a salad with that this evening , and I was quite happy with their flavor.

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Ingredients for 2-4 people:

If you have some left-over grilled asparagus, skip step 1-4.

  1. Rinse the asparagus under running water and trim the ends.
  2. Place the asparagus in a bowl, drizzle some olive oil over them, and with your fingers toss the asparagus so that they will be well-coated with olive oil.
  3. Turn the grill to medium and grill the asparagus for 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Let them cool.
  5. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Place the asparagus on a cutting board, and with a sharp knife cut them in small segments of about 1/2 inch.
  7. Toss the cut-up asparagus in the vinaigrette, stir and enjoy.

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Zucchini Butterfly- Papillon de Courgettes


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It is summer, and as such your garden or your grocery store should be filled with cheap but yummy summer vegetables: zucchini, Summer Squash, Corn, Tomatoes…

But what to do with them. Even me who eats lots of vegetables get tired of eating the same vegetable over and over again.

Zucchini is a prime example. How else can you eat it besides grilled, steamed and again grilled???

My sister-in-law makes zucchini muffins. They taste pretty good, but it is not something I want to fix with zucchini.

My sister shared this yummy recipe that make for great sides to any dish. Today I am using fresh zucchini, but you can certainly  substitute zucchini with any other vegetables.

Ingredients for 8, which makes 2 trays of 12 butterfly. 

  • 4 medium-sized zucchini or about 2 lbs of fresh zucchini
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream, half & half or milk
  • 1 cup of swiss cheese ( optional)
  • 1 tbsp of corn flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme, rosemary herb blend 
  1. Turn the oven to 350.
  2. Using a mandoline, or a hand grater, grate the zucchini and fill a bowl with them.
  3. Add to it, 4 eggs, 1 tbsp of corn flour, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of thyme, and mix well.photo 1
  4. Scoop this content in the mold or container of your choice. Today i used the butterfly mold  (on special this month), but your could use a big muffin tray or even bake the whole thing in one big mold such as the sunflower mold.photo 2
  5. Cook for 30 minutes in small container, and 60 minutes in a large one.
  6. Serve those yummy butterflies with a dinner of your choice. Et voila!!!photo 3

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!