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 »

Fruit, Neruda and enjoying the silence

October 3rd, 2012

fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel,  fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

Fruit, Neruda and enjoying the silence:
fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel, 
fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

Fall fruit reminds me of Pablo Neruda. Actually, his writing and in particular, the compilation of selected poems (translated by Stephen Mitchell) entitled: full woman,fleshy apple, hot moon. How wonderful is a man who appreciates both the honest curves of women and the beauty of seasonal fruit and can artfully write about both. 

 

figs pears and grapes

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fresh figs with balsamic caramel, fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

October 3rd, 2012

 

 

fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel,  fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds   

fresh figs with balsamic caramel, fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

 

 serves many happy people

(makes approx. 11 ounces caramel sauce)

  

fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel,  fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

 

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seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out

August 20th, 2012

 Pont de L’Archêveché bridge paris 

seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out: 
melon and honey-ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis)

It is the combination of a famous bridge in Paris and a honey bee crashing our dinner party which inspired this week’s simple pleasure: melon and honey - ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis). Also this week, peach and tarragon clafoutis. Both recipes make the most of summer’s end. 

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ceries aux lavande et thym (cherries poached with lavender and thyme)

July 10th, 2012

Chef Morgan ceries aux lavande et thym (cherries poached with lavender and thyme)    

ceries aux lavande et thym
(cherries poached with lavender and thyme)

serves 6-8

what you need:

24-30  firm, ripe red cherries, stems removed (pits reserved)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons of lavender flowers (tied in cheesecloth)
4 tablespoons superfine sugar
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 piece of lemon peel

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soupe de pêches au gingembre frais (peach “soup” with fresh ginger)

June 10th, 2012

peach “soup” with fresh ginger

soupe de pêches au gingembre frais 
(peach “soup” with fresh ginger)

serves 8

what you need:

sorbet
2 cups fresh peach juice from yellow peaches

3 cups chopped ripe yellow peaches
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh ginger zest

peach soup
4 beautiful white peaches, cut into 8 wedges

3 cups fresh peach juice from yellow peaches

garnish
melange de pain d’épice (as needed) or ground cinnamon 
pink and/or golden sanding sugar

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gâteau au yaourt (yogurt cake)

April 21st, 2012

A sweet cake for kids without too much sugar

vive le grignotage ! 
(long live snacking) 

tea time, goûter and “un peu sucré ou pas du tout”:
gâteau au yaourt (yogurt cake)

One day a friend and I were having tea. He works in the culinary television industry and like most Parisians, he is passionate about food and so our conversation revolved around food, of course. As he poured the tea, he shared with me a saying his grandmother had when she served tea. She would say, “une sucré ou pas du tout” (meaning, take one sugar or take nothing at all). Thinking of childrens’ fondness for sugar (and for snacking), his grandmother’s comment stuck with me and it inspired this week’s simple pleasure: gâteau au yaourt. Read the rest of this entry »

gâteau au yaourt (yogurt cake)

April 21st, 2012

 

gâteau au yaourt (à ma façon)  (yogurt cake with strawberries, sweet pea blossoms and whipped Grand Marnier yogurt cream)

gâteau au yaourt (à ma façon)

(yogurt cake with strawberries and whipped Grand Marnier yogurt cream)

 

makes one 8” cake 

what you need:

cake
½ cup + 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
3 fresh egg yolks
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons orange blossom water 
1 cup unbleached King Arthur cake flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
3 fresh egg whites

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Pas de Deux: douillons aux pommes (apples in nightdresses)

December 16th, 2011

 

 

douillons aux pommes, apples in night dresses, dessert apples

Pas de Deux: douillons aux pommes (apples in nightdresses)

Like many people this time of year, one of the traditions in my family is to attend a performance of The Nutcracker.  In sum, it is a story of a young girl, Clara, who is given a nutcracker as a Christmas gift. The nutcracker turns into a Prince who takes Clara to the Kingdom of  Sweets where the Sugarplum Fairy and various treats (Spanish Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, etc.) perform for Clara (still in her nightdress) and the Prince. At the end, the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier perform the Grand Pas de Deux (“steps of two”). As I watched the Pas de Deux, I thought of … food. The combination of a kingdom filled with dancing culinary specialities, Clara’s nightdress, and the “deux” (the collaboration of two) reminded me of the French classic dessert douillons aux pommes (apples in nightdresses). Inspired by the ballet, douiillons aux pommes is this week’s simple pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »