stuffed zucchini blossoms

March 20th, 2014

chef morgan zucchini blossoms

spring has sprung

“GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK”

zucchini blossom farce with veal, spring greens and herbs

I knew the question was coming. Then it came.

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the perfect Madeleine

February 5th, 2013

 the perfect Madeleine being handed off to another girl

dear Madeleine, please be mine !

how to bake the perfect Madeleine 

So it is like this: a half-birthday celebration, a reduced-sugar school policy, and several requests for a favorite snack recipe (just in time for your Valentine’s celebration) which all inspired this week’s simple pleasure: vanilla bean Madeleines.

girl eating the perfect Madeleine  

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vanilla bean Madeleines

February 5th, 2013

vanilla bean Madeleines for valentines day

vanilla bean Madeleines

makes 2½ dozen

what you need:
9 tablespoons (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted 
1 cup (7.5 oz) granulated sugar
4 large eggs (7 oz.), room temperature
1½ tablespoon vanilla bean paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup 2 % milk, room temperature
1½ teaspoon lemon zest Read the rest of this entry »

home for Valentine’s Day

January 29th, 2013

 

black and white, girl in wedding dress with artichoke bouquet

 

home for Valentine’s Day;
cooking for the important person or people in your life:

la blanquette d’amour

 

In honor of  Saint Valentine’s Day (a little early), I share something with you beyond a great recipe, the words of author Leo Tolstoy. It is Tolstoy’s “pursuit of life” which inspired this week’s simple pleasure: la blanquette de veau (veal stew in a white wine-crème fraîche sauce with mushrooms, pearl onions, and artichoke hearts served on garlic-rubbed toasted French bread). I also call it “blanquette d’amour” because cooking is all about what you put in the cocotte, namely, a little love with hand-chosen ingredients. Read on.

 

 black and white, girl in wedding dress with artichoke bouquet

  

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falling leaves in Paris and autumn simplicity on your plate

November 30th, 2012

 

paris fall leaves man with dog

falling leaves in Paris and autumn simplicity on your plate:
scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and thyme

I have only seen it snow once in Paris and the snow didn’t stick. This year while Paris has seen a couple rainy and “see your breath” chilly days, overall it has been beautiful and 5 or 6 degrees Celsius warmer than usual for late November. Parisians have been out in droves, profiting from the gift of warmer weather. Although the holidays are approaching, right now it is not holiday decor which covers the city, but blankets of golden leaves. Watching Parisians play in the leaves (and the city workers haul mounds of the leaves to compost piles) I thought of the poem Gathering Leaves by Robert Frost where he talks about the lightness and the “harvest” of falling leaves. I wanted to “harvest” leaves. In particular, I wanted to capture  the color scheme and lightness of these golden leaves and the flavors of autumn and put it on a plate in a simply way. That thought inspired this week’s simple pleasure: seared scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and fresh thyme. 

scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and thyme

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seared scallop macarons with chanterelles and thyme

November 30th, 2012

 seared scallop macarons with chanterelles and thyme



seared scallop macarons with chanterelles and thyme

serves 4

what you need:

sauté
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
 cups sliced chanterelles and champignons de Paris (or white mushrooms) 
½ teaspoon fresh French thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh Italian parsley
⅛ cup dry white wine (or Grappa)
kosher salt (as needed)
freshly ground black pepper as needed

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comfort food perfect for the season: spaghetti squash à la carbonara

November 21st, 2012

 spaghetti squash carbonara

from a special cheese to a brasserie on Saint Dominque, 
comfort food perfect for the season:
spaghetti squash à la carbonara  

I held in my hand a beautiful ewe’s (sheep) milk Italian cheese, Pecorino Rustico Pepato, I got from Norbert (The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills). The cheese, spiked with black pepper, reminded me carbonara. Eager to use the cheese but hesitant to use it on routine spaghetti pasta with little nutritional value, a basket full of winter squash caught my eye. Inspiration for this week’s simple pleasure was found: spaghetti squash à la carbonara. 

spaghetti squash

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spaghetti squash à la carbonara (spaghetti squash carbonara)

November 21st, 2012

squash carbonara with egg 

spaghetti squash à la carbonara (spaghetti squash carbonara)
(une carbonara pas commes les autres !)

(remember to read through the entire recipe to
understand the sequence of events. There are only a few steps, 
but its best to do them
in the suggested order)

 serves 6-8

what you need:

1 spaghetti squash (approx 2 pounds, 5 ounces)
fresh thyme sprigs Read the rest of this entry »

rolling with lobster, California style (and a little French influence)

September 24th, 2012

  

 

rolling with lobster, California style
(and a litle French influence):

lobster “roll” California style

Lobster season. In America, lobster is generally enjoyed two ways: steamed and served with a bath of melted butter; or, if you are on the East Coast, in a “lobster roll”(lobster meat combined with melted butter and mayonnaise served in a roll). However, we cannot forget that it is also the season for apples and Asian pears (and in California, heirloom tomatoes and avocados are delicious right now). 

seasonal fruit 

It is in the nineties in southern California (and will be for some time).  In this heat, hot, heavy food does not sound appealing. Sliced, Asian pears, apples, tomatoes and cucumbers all look like wheels and it seems to me that with these seasonal fruit wheels we can create our own “roll” that uses the West Coast bounty and is compatible with this summer weather. These thoughts inspired this week’s simple pleasure: lobster “roll” California style (mille-feuille de homard à la Californie).

apple wheels sliced 

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lobster “roll” (California style)

September 24th, 2012

 

lobster “roll”  California style
(mille-feuille de homard à la Californie)

serves 4

what you need:

lobster 
4 lobster tails 
1 cup seafood stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 sachet (1 bay leaf, fresh Italian parsley, fresh cilantro, black peppercorns, 1 strip lime peel)

salad
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1-2 apples, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 Asian pear, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1-2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1-2 tomatoes (preferably Green Zebra), sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced

dressing
2 teaspoon gros sel de Guérande (or sea salt)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup avocado
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh minced Italian parsley
pinch piment d’espelette
freshly ground black pepper (as needed)

lobster apple and avocado ingredients

garnish
pinch piment d’espelette
pinch minced fresh Italian parsley Read the rest of this entry »