Sauteed Scallops over a Warm Roasted Bell Peppers Salad.

Yeah……Spring Break is finally here!!! Yeah!!! Here in South Carolina, we are all ready and are all waiting with anticipation for Spring Break. And like many Americans I will be going away for a restful vacation my self. But as many of you know, going away also means getting ready for this trip. This means that all the little businesses need to be attended, laundry needs to be cleaned, suitcases need to be packed and tax needs to be filed ( YUK!!!).

It is one thing to pack, but to get everything done before leaving is a tantalizing tasks especially when you are working a full time job like me. So guess what … I have to cut corners somewhere to find that extra time. And this was done tonite with dinner.. I ordered pizzas for my husband and my children,  and I prepared myself  very quick meal with what I had on hand: scallops in the freezer, and a few roasted bell peppers in my fridge.

Ingredients for 1 : 3-4 scallops, 1 bell pepper roasted, peeled, and sliced in small strips, 1 garlic clove, 2 tbsp of Marcona almonds broken coarsely, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of hazelnut oil, salt and pepper to taste.

In a small frying pan, warm up 1 tsp of hazelnut oil. When the oil is sizzling, add the scallops ( fresh or thawed), and cooked them for 2 minutes on each side or until the sides is turning a golden brown. Remove the scallops from the frying pan, place them on a warm plate, and cover them with some aluminium foil to keep them war. In the same frying pan, add 1 tsp of hazelnut oil and add the red pepper strips. Saute them for a few minutes, add the chopped garlic, broken Marcona almond and saute it all for a few minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and bring it to boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

To serve, spoon the red pepper salad on a plate and place the scallops on top. Drizzle some more of the vinegar over the scallops and spoon a few of the marconas pieces. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Grown-Up Chicken a la Creme

The recipe of the cream chicken is really good and like my children, it used to be my favorite growing up. But as I took a bite I also thought it could taste better with the addition of a few other ingredients such as red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes…..So here it is;-)

Ingredients for 4: 12-16 chicken tenderloins, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 whole bell pepper roasted and peeled and sliced in very small strips, 2 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes ( kept in olive oil), 1 tbsp of fresh chopped basil, 1 cup of fresh spinach, salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the chicken. Saute the chicken for a few minutes on each side ( 1-2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper ( 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper) and remove the chicken from the pan. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the bell pepper and saute them on a medium heat. Add the cream, and the spinach and bring to boil. Add salt ( 1/8 tsp) and pepper ( 1/16) and stir well. Add the chicken for a few minutes, just enough to cook the chicken through. To serve the chicken, place the tenderloins on the plate and spoon a bit of the sauce over the chicken. Eat with rice or pasta. C’est tout!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Poulet a la Creme ( Chicken Tenders in a Cream Sauce)

As a french person, I am proud to say that I do not own “fat free” and “light” food. Eating well is very important, for your health but also for your waist… So I tried to cook healthy as much as I can. And as you have seen on my blog, I tried to cook without using oil or fats. I do, however, have cream and butter in my fridge at all times because you just never know when I will be using it. Tuesday evening, my husband was away for business so I only needed to cook one meal. My children love chicken like me so i decided a fix them a very simple recipe that has been a favorite of them for ever. And it needed cream… luckily I had some in my fridge;-)

Ingredients for 3: chicken tenderloins (3-4 per person), salt, pepper, 1 tbsp of butter, 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the chicken. Saute the chicken for a few minutes on each side ( 1-2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper ( 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper), and add the cream. Bring the cream to boil and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. For added flavor you may add 1 tsp of mustard, and saute mushrooms but my children like neither so i did not add it. They ate the chicken with lefts-over potatoes from this past Sunday. They loved it.

You ought to try. It was easy and yummy;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Hazelnut and Cranberry Bar

So all the bars from last week were gone by Friday evening, and I did not think about fixing some until I was looking for a snack on Sunday afternoon. As always, I just took what i had on hand to make those bars. This time I did not add any sugar since I subtituted the agave juice with honey. I liked them better in fact, not as sweet.

Ingredients: 2 cups of almond, 2 cups of pecan, 1 cup of hazelnut, 2 cups of dried cranberries, 1/4 cup of almond butter, 1/2 cup of honey.

Place all the nuts on the flexipat and place the flexipat in a warm oven of 375 for 10 minutes or until the nuts are getting toasted and fragrant. Remove them from the oven and empty them into a large chopper, add the cranberries and chop until it is coarsely chopped.  Place the honey and the almond butter in a microwavable bowl and warm them up for a minute. Empty the content of the bowl into the nut mixture and pulse a few times to mix up the almond butter to the nuts. Empty the nut mixture onto a flexipat and cook in a warm oven of 375 for 10 minutes. Remove the flexipat from the oven and let it cool. Flip the side of the flexipan and slide the nut bar onto a chopping board. With a sharp knife, cut bars of 1 inch by 3 inches. Place the bars into a airproof container and eat as you wish. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pasta with a Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Sauce

Once in a a blue moon, I can cook other things than potatoes for my husband;-). On those days, my choices are still limited : croque-monsieurs, crepes or pastas. Today too lazy to fix crepes, and wanting to fix a more balanced meal, I chose to cook pasta. Cooking pasta is so much fun, because you can dress the pasta in a million different way, yet when your family do not care to have seafood or vegetables in their pasta, it somewhat restricts you with what you can prepare. Since my husband loved red pepper, i chose to prepare the pasta with a red pepper sauce. I usually make a creamy sauce where I puree the red pepper and add cream, but tonite I decided to go a lighter way.

Ingredients: 2 red pepper, 1 whole head of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, linguini or spaghetti, 2 tbsp of fresh basil chopped, 1 package of four cheese italian sausages from Johnsville, olive oil, fresh parmesan.

Slice the red pepper in half, remove the seeds and place the red pepper open face down on  a silpat as well as the garlic head.  Cook in a warm oven at 450 for 30 minutes or until the skin of the red pepper is scorching. Remove the red pepper from the oven and place them in a ziploc bag. Place them in the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile add 1 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan. When the oil is getting hot, add the sausages and cook them on medium-high for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover the pan and cook them for another 7-10 minutes or until they are cooked through. Make sure to turn them during cooking so that they are cooked evenly on all sides. When the sausages are cooked, set the pan aside and keep warm until the rest of the meal is ready.

Cook the pasta according to the directions of the package. While the pasta are cooking, prepare the sauce. When the pepper have cooled ( 10-15 minutes), remove the peppers one by one from the ziploc bag and peel them. Place the red pepper and the garlic in a chopper and puree them. Add the chopped basil, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/8 tsp of pepper and mix well. When the pastas are cooked, drain them and add 1/4 cup of the sauce in the pasta. Mix well. Slice the sausages in 1 inch cut and add them to the pasta. Serve tha pasta on each plate, drizzle more sauce and sprinkle some fresh parmesan. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Luscious Chocolate Eclairs

I know, I know.. I said that I needed to take some of those winter layers off, but comes the weekend, I love to make yummy desserts and preferably chocolate. I had been eying that recipe of chocolate eclairs ever since I made the ones for the Titanic party, but the lack of time kept me from making them until this past Sunday. Those chocolate are a bit different from the “normal” ones. Instead of being filled with a chocolate pastry cream, they are actually filled with a chocolate mousse. HEAVEN!!!

This recipe was adapted from a French cookbook called Eclairs By Marabout.

Ingredients for 15 +eclairs:

Ingredients for about 15+ eclairs or  about 30 mini eclairs:

For the choux pastry: 8 cl  or 1/4 cup, 1 tbsp of 1 tsp of milk, 8 cl or 1/4 cup, 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of water, 1/16 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of sugar, 3 1/2 Tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of flour, 2 large eggs.

In the saucepan, heat up the milk, salt, and sugar. Add the butter cut up in pieces. When the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to boil. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well. Place the pan back on the stove ( it must be turned off, but will still be warm), and stir and stir with a heat-resistant spatula until the dough starts becoming a ball and will no longer stick to the rims of the pan. Remove the pan from the stove and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Place the dough in a pastry bag, with the large circular opening make long sticks of about 5 inches or 2 inches for small ones on a large silpat that you would have previously lay on a large perforated sheet. Sprinkle the eclairs with some confectioner’s sugar and cook them in a warm oven at 350 for 15 minutes for the small ones or about 25 minutes for the large ones. The dough should become brown and dry on all sides. If the dough is a little bit soft, continue cooking the eclairs for 1-3 more minutes. Take them out to cool.

While the choux are cooking, prepare the sinful filling:

250 gr of dark chocolate ( I used bittersweet Ghiradhelli), 100 gr of butter, 4 egg yolks, 6 egg whites, 40 gr of granulated sugar, 1 pinch of salt.

Melt the butter and the chocolate in a double boiler OR place the chocolate and the butter in a microwavable dish and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the chocolate from the microwave and stir well until the mixture is homogeneous. Place the egg whites in a kitchen mixer and beat the whites until hard peaks are forming. Slowly add the chocolate mixture. Do not overbeat so as to not deflate the egg whites. PLace the “chocolate mousse in  large bowl and refrigerate for several hours.

When the mousse has rested and has solidified, start assembling the eclairs. Slice the eclairs in half from one side, open  them up,  fill the eclairs with the chocolate mousse, and close them back up. PLace the eclairs in the fridge so that the mousse will not melt.

Prepare the icing: For this recipe, I used a different icing. Normally you would use an icing made out fondant or a glacage, but I used a ganache.

Ingredients: 125 gr of bittersweet chocolate, 125 gr of cream, 40 gr of honey, 50 gr of butter.

Place the cream, honey and the chocolate in a bowl, and microwave for 90 sec. When it is melted, add the butter and mix well. Mic well until the ganache is nice and shiny. Let it rest a few minutes for it to cool off before spreading it on each eclairs.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Beet Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Only few weeks ago I had to wear hats on cold days and bundle up. It is strange how weather can change so drastically. Today it is already 82. Where has spring gone to????

With this weather change luckily comes craving of fruits and vegetables. I believe that I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that in the summer in France, for appetizers we have “crudites”, which is an array of various salads. Generally it would be cucumber, or carrot, or even celery root salad. I know, some of you may think… Yuk..But well-seasoned, those salads are really good and bring a bit of a change to the boring green salad. I have always liked beets. Growing up my mom always bought beets in a can. To prepare her salad, she always sliced the beets in 1/2 centimeter thick and season them with a red wine vinaigrette.

All winter long I had seen those fresh beets in the fresh produce section, but never dared to buy them until yesterday. WHY? because again I would have been the only one eating them here at my house. Well, I could not resist seeing them again and really wanted to eat a beet salad so here they are today;-)

Ingredients for a salad for 4: 3 fresh beets rinsed and peeled, 1 tbp of Meyer lemon zest, the juice of half of a Meyer lemon, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of sherry vinegar, 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper.

Place the beets in the round mold and place the octogonal silpat on top to cover it. Cook in the microwave for 8 minutes. They should be soft. Meanwhile grate one half of a Myer lemon to have about 1 tbsp of zest, and squeeze the lemon juice. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the zest, the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of sherry vinegar, 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper and mix well. Add the beets that you would have cut in a small cubes. Mix well and enjoy…

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!