Croquembouche


 

photo 4Last week was Mother’s day and as such, it called for a fabulous dessert. But what to do??? Having seen eclairs, profiteroles at every corner of cooking magazines and facebook profiles, I could not help but making my own the night prior to Mother’s Day. So at 10 o’clock in the evening, this is what I was doing in my kitchen.

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Ingredients for 16-20 small cream puffs or croquembouches:

  • 80 ml  or 2 oz of milk
  • 80 ml or about 2 oz of water
  • 70 gr, or about 5 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10 gr. or 2 tsp of sugar
  • 100 gr. or about 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. of flour
  • 2 eggs

Creme Patissiere, or Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 330 gr. or 11 oz. of milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 yolks
  • 70 gr. or 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of sugar
  • 12 gr.  or about 1 tbsp of flour
  • 12 gr, or about 1 tbsp of corn starch

Caramel:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • patience 
  1. In a saucepan, heat up the milk, water, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add the butter cut up in pieces.
  3. When the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to boil.photo 1
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well.photo 4
  5. 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.
  6. Remove the pan from the stove, empty the dough into a cold bowl and add the eggs to the dough one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  7. photo 2
  8. Place the dough in a pastry bag, with the large circular tips make large rounds of about  1 1/2 inches wide  on a large silpat that you would have previously lay on a large perforated sheet.photo 3
  9. Place the perforated sheet in a warm oven of 350 and cook the cream puffs for 20 minutes. The dough should be brown and dry on all sides. If the dough is a little bit soft, continue cooking the puffs for 1-3 more minutes. Take them out to cool. photo 5Set them aside to prepare the pastry cream or creme patissiere.
  10. In large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  11. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  12. Open the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out of the bean and put them into the milk.
  13. Warm up the milk over the stove, or in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  14. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir. Place the milk/ egg mixture back onto the stove and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is becoming really thick. Remove the pastry cream from the stove, and place it into a bowl. Set aside.
  15. Pour the pastry cream in a round mold..
  16. Cover the pastry cream with some plastic wrap and place it into the fridge to cool.
  17. When the cream is completely cool, make a small indentation to fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream and lay them upside down for easier access when you are going to fill them up.
  18. Fill the pastry bag with the vanilla cream and fill each cream puffs.photo 1
  19. Place the puffs back onto the silpat, and prepare the caramel.
  20. Empty the cup of sugar into  a medium-sized saucepan and place the saucepan onto the stove at a medium high temperature. DO NOT STIR!!!
  21. Only start stirring once the sugar is turning an amber color on the outside rim of the saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has turned that amber color. Reduce the heat to low, and leave the  pan on it so that the caramel will not harden.
  22. Dip the head of each cream puff into the caramel and place them back onto the silpat until the caramel has hardened, and has cooled.photo 2

Eat when they are cool. I dare you to only eat one, or two. They are so good, you will want to eat them all at once!!!photo 5Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Kielbasa Sausage and Potato Soup


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My daughter is a senior and consequently is spending her very last year with us. BOO hoo… As a responsible adult, she has therefore been applying to various colleges over the US, some close and some not so close. In fact a bit further than we would like it to be.. but this is how life goes….

Because of a lack of time, we decided to visit a few colleges during this Christmas break. Well, I know most colleges are empty during this time but it is difficult to get some days off when you have a full time job. Any way, after offering a delicious Christmas dinner to my family on the 25th of December, we quickly cleaned everything, packed our suitcases to drive towards Florida on the 26th at 6:00 am. Though the timing was a bit hectic, we were happy to leave the Carolinas to find the sunny weather and warmth of Florida. Well, after being back I am happy to say that Lisa did not find a colleges that she fell “in love with” just yet, so may be she will not be going too too far. We can dream, right???

Well as we made our return back to the Carolinas yesterday, we also left the warmth of  Florida and found ourselves coming to an even colder state than we had left. It was 23 yesterday when we got home. BRRRR…

After a long drive, sitting more than 15 hours in the car, I was not really in the mood to cook dinner, but i was so cold that a soup really sounded appetizing. Well, after a long week of absence, I can say that little can be found in the fridge, and so i had to do with what I had: Potato and Kielbasa Sausage.

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Ingredients for a large pot of soup for 10 people:

  • 1 onion sliced thinly
  • 1 kielbasa sausage sliced thinly and cut in quarters
  • 8 medium sized potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 4 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1-2 cup of cream
  1. Place the large pot on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Add the butter and melt it.
  2. When the butter is sizzling, add the onions and saute them until they become translucent and golden.photo 1
  3. Add the sausages and saute them as well.
  4. Then add the potato cubes to the onion mixture and saute them as well for a few minutes until they become a bit golden.photo 2
  5. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to boil. Lower the temperature to medium low and cook for at least 30 minutes or the potatoes are tender. Add salt, pepper and stir well. For a faster option, you may transfer the content of the pot into a large round mold, place the octogonal silpat on top to close it and cook the potatoes for 13 minutes. Then transfer the content back into the pot. Pour the broth over the potatoes, add salt, and pepper and bring it to boil. Lower the temperature and cook for 5 minutes.photo 1
  6. Add the cream and mill the mixture until it is smooth.photo
  7. If  you wish to have a soup free of lumps, you may sieve the soup through a fine sieve. I did not, and still enjoy it very much. Warm and cozy. Yum!!!

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

Transfer the content of the pot into the large round

Raspberry and Rose Napoleon


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I love living here in the States. I love the weather, the people, the opportunity, everything.

If there is something that I miss, though, it is my family. Luckily as a teacher I have my summer off which gives me the time and opportunity to travel. So every year for the past 10 years, Lisa, Theo and myself ( or les Trois Mousquetaires, as we like to call each others) we travel, visit family and sightsee France and Europe.

This year it was the surrounding of Paris with all its beautiful cattles: Fountainebleau, Chantilly, VilleComte…
photoand Berlin. photoIf our trip is different every year, there is one thing  that stays constant, it is our usual lunch at La duree. We have made it our yearly treat. we love to go there because the setting is beautiful, the food is wonderful and it is just fun to be there;-). Plus the desserts over there are always out of this world!!!

I am sure that you can already guess what i order each time?!? Yes, it is chocolate, of course. My dessert this year looked like this… pretty?! right;-)photo

Theo ordered a very fancy ice-cream, and lisa ordered a rose and raspberry napoleon.

I did not say a word when she ordered that dessert because i did not want to dissuade her from her choice, but I did not think that she would like the rose flavor since she does not like my rose macaron. But to my surprise, she loved it, loved it.

Well this Sunday, for our dessert treat I decided to make that for our dessert. I somewhat followed the recipe that Stephane Glacier propose in his book Tartes, Gouters, et Entremets, but I changed a few things to make it easier. 

This dessert looks very hard to make, BUT IT IS NOT so I hope that you will give it a try. It is worth it. Yes!!!

Proof??? my daughter asked I made two so that she would not have to share hers;-)

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Ingredients for a square for 4 people:

  • 1 puff pastry package thawed at room temperature for 40 minutes.
  • 1 box of raspberry box of about 6 oz. 
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for the puff pastries.

Ingredients for the Creme Patissiere, or Pastry cream:

  • 250 gr. or 1 1/4 cup of whole milk,
  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 40 gr. or 3 tbsp of granulated sugar,
  • 10 gr. or 3 tsp. of flour,
  • 10 gr. or 3 tsp. of corn flour,
  • a pinch of salt,
  • 1 stick of butter.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of rose extract.
  1. Place the puff pastry sheet on the roulpat and with a rolling-pin, spread the dough out to make a rectangle of 13″ by 9.5″.
  2. Place the pastry onto a silpat that you would have previously placed on a perforated sheet. With a fork, prick the pastry. photo 2
  3.  Place another silpat on top, and place it in the fridge. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Turn the oven to 356.
  5. Remove the pastry from the fridge. When the oven is at temperature, place another perforated sheet above the silpat to prevent the dough from rising when it will cook in the oven.
  6. Bake the puff pastry for 30 minutes. It should be golden.photo 3
  7. Remove the puff pastry from the oven.
  8. Turn the oven to 450.
  9. Sprinkle some sugar all over the baked pastries and when the oven is at 450, place the pastry back into the oven for 6-7 minutes or until the sugar has completely melted and has become caramel. Be careful to watch that the sugar is not burning. photo 2
  10. While the puff pastry is cooking, prepare the mousseline cream.
  11. In a small saucepan warm up the milk and bring the mixture to boil.
  12. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  13. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  14. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir.
  15. Place the milk/ egg mixture back onto the stove and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is becoming really thick. Remove the pastry cream from the stove, place it into a bowl, add the vanilla and stir well.
  16. Cover it tightly with a plastic wrap and let it cool.
  17. When the cream is completly cool, place it in kitchen mixer. Add the soft butter and whip until the mixture is fluffy. Add the 1/2 tsp of rose extract. Set aside.
  18. Remove the pastry from the oven, and let it cool completly.
  19. Let the puff pastries cool completely before assembling the dessert.
  20. With a sharp knife, cut each pastry into 2 rectangles of 9″ by 6″.photo 3
  21. Place one rectangle on a plate, and place rasberries all around the rectangle. Pipe the cream inside the rectangle of raspberry. photo 2Place a few more rasberry in the middle of the rectangle to create leverage for the top tier of the cake.
  22. Top the cream with another rectangle of cooked pastry.photo 5
  23. With the piping bag and the small round tip, pipe the cream all over the second rectangle.  photo 1
  24. Place another rectangle atop the cream.
  25. Cut a waxed paper, or aluminium a bit smaller than the top rectangle.photo 2
  26. Lay it on the top puff pastry, and with a  powdered sugar sifter, sprinkle some sugar for decoration. Add a few fruits et voila!!!photo 3photo 4photo 5

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Creamy Pan-Roasted Potatoes


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It has been a while since I posted a potato recipe. I still cook  them ( a lot I will say), but since they are often the same, or not presentable for pictures I have not shared them. I thought I would share this recipe I fixed a few days ago. My husband loved them so much that he kept on raving about them ( and almost did not share them with his two children…)

Ingredients for 2-4 people:

  • 1 bag of tiny new yellow potatoes
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp of fresh or dry parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the potatoes in the colander and run water over them to clean them.
  2. Place the potatoes in the round mold, place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold and microwave for 5-7 minutes or until they are cooked, but still firm.photo 1
  3. Cut them in half. OR CUT THE POTATOES IN HALF FIRST, THEM MICROWAVE FOR 3-5 MINUTES. 
  4. Place a large frying pan over the stove at medium high temperature and melt the butter. When the butter is melted and is sizzling, add the cut potatoes. photo 2
  5. Cook the potatoes for 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are roasted to your liking. photo 3
  6. Add the cream, the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook until the cream is boiling. Season with salt and pepper. photo 4Serve with whatever you are eating. My family had steamed broccoli and kobe steaks.photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Cook for another 5 minutes unt

Gluten Free Peach and Almond Muffin


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A few weeks ago I was invited to spend a few days with some friends  and colleagues for a retreat in Sundance, Utah. What a treat!! It was  decided that we would not go out for any of our meals and that we all would take turns in the kitchen. Because some of us were to arrive earlier at the retreat, they became in charge of the grocery shopping which meant that we all had to send in recipes we wanted to prepare and share. I send just a few, but many from my blog were actually chosen for many meals which made me very happy;-)

One day we were served gluten free blueberry muffins with a streusel top for Breakfast. It was delicious!!!

So delicious in fact, that I have been  trying to find some of the ingredients to make those delicious morning treats!! But I can’t find them in the few stores I have been to so far. I guess I need to try a few more.

Well since I had some peaches that needed to be “disposed”of, I decided to make muffins, but this time I decided to make gluten free muffins using almond mill since I was unable to find gluten free all-purpose flour. After trying a few recipes here and there, I developed my own. I hope that you will try it. It is very good and so so moist!!!

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Ingredients for about 10 cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 almond mill
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of apple
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of rice flour, or gluten free all purpose flour
  • 2 peaches diced and chopped in very small
  1. Turn the oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the almond mill, the sugar and the rice flour.
  3. Then add the apple sauce, the oil and the eggs and mix well.
  4. Add the chopped peaches in the mixture and mix well.photo 3
  5. With a scoop, fill each cupcake holes with the mixture.photo 2
  6. Cook the cupcakes for 25 minutes or until they are cooked ( when checking with a knife, it should come out clean). Et voila!!photo 3

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Gorgonzola and Caramelized Purple Onion Quiche


 

IMG_4309Do you have days when life is so crazy that dinner time arrives, and there is nothing on the table. Last night was this kind of night. I had nothing planned to make. Nothing really in the fridge and yet we needed to eat dinner. So what do you do?? Well, you either order out ( something that we do not do), or find things to use in the fridge. And this is what I did. I searched,  found gorgonzola cheese and lettuce. I did not even have a pie crust so I actually made it from scratch, but you certainly can make your own.

Ingredients for 1 quiche for 6-8 people:

  • 2 large purple onion diced thinly
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbled
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pie crust
  1. In  a large frying pan, warm up the olive oil. When the olive oil is sizzling, add the chopped onion and saute it.
  2. When the onion is starting to become an amber color, turn the heat down to medium and keep cooking for 10 minutes until the onions are becoming a darker brown and becoming softer. Set aside.
  3. Place the pie crust inside the tart mold, or the round mold.
  4. With a fork, prick the bottom of the pie to prevent an air pocket to form at the bottom of the pie.
  5. In a large bowl, empty the caramelized onion, crumbled gorgonzola, eggs, cream and mix well.
  6. Pour this mixture into the pie crust.
  7. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes.photo 4
  8. Serve with a salad. Miam, Miam, Miam.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Almond and Cream Cheese Brownie


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It had been a while since I made some brownies. Not because I don’t like them, but because if I make them i will eat them, and I do not, do not need to eat them.

Well this past Wednesday we had a faculty meeting at our school, and many times teachers are asked to bring a snack to serve at those meetings. This time was my turn. After thinking what to cook, I decided on something chocolate. Who does not like chocolate???Brownies are also so easy to make that I decided to make a batch. Of course, it is more fun to try a new recipe than to use an old one so I used a new one from “Chocolate” by Better Homes and Garden 2012.

Ingredients for about 40 small brownies:

  • 3 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp of butter softened
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1  1/4 cup of flour and 1 tbsp of flour
  • 3/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 6 oz. of chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 2 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
  1. Turn the oven to 375. Place the flexipat on a medium perforated sheet. Place the metal frame inside the flexipat.
  2. In a bowl, stir 1 1/4 cup of flour, baking powder, sat and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, place the chocolate and 1 stick and 1/2 of butter and microwave for 90 seconds or until they are both completely melted.
  4. Add 2 1/4 cup of sugar to the chocolate mixture while beating on low-speed.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beating well each time.
  6. Add the milk, vanilla and almond extract and mix well.
  7. Add the flour and mix well.
  8. Spread this mixture into the flexipan. Shake the pan by hitting the end against your counter to make the batter spread evenly out.
  9. Set aside.
  10. In a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese and 2 tbsp of butter until it is becoming creamy.
  11. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and mix well.
  12. Add the egg and mix. Then add 1 tbsp of flour and combine.
  13. Pour this mixture over the batter into lines.
  14. With a knife, go from left to right to make zizzag pattern into brownie.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.photo
  16. Cool in the pan completely before unmolding the cake and cutting it into squares.

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Et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!