Tag Archives: bacon

A Valentine Dinner

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone 🙂

Now, those of you that know me know I am not much of an ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey over-the-top romantic… but I am, of course , a sucker for a good reason to get cozy and enjoy a great meal with the one you  love.  And since my boy is French and romance tends to be in his nature, I think it is only fair that he deserves a meal to match.

Since living in France I have learned some things about the French culinary world, and have acquired several French cook books.  This four-course meal contains an appetizer of my own creation – Warm Green Bean Salad with Poached Egg, a main dish adapted from Les Secrets de la Mère BrazierChicken à la Crème with Morel Mushrooms served over rice, a salad with cheese and bread, and a dessert adapted from a sweet little book called Les Desserts BistrotVanilla-Spéculoos.

Accompanying the appetizer we had a rosé champagne called Michel Fallet that a friend of mine gave me as a gift.  Her boyfriend’s dad produces the champagne  in the region of Picardy in the small town of Charly-sur Marne.    With the main course we drank a Côtes du Rhone, one of my many favorite kinds of red wines here in France.

In this special “cooking for two” post, you will find the recipes for the appetizer, the main course, and the dessert posted below.

Enjoy !

 

Warm Green Bean Salad with Poached Egg


Ingredients:

1/2 lb. of fresh green beans

4 strips of bacon

2 eggs

1 tblsp. vinegar

butter

salt and pepper

Directions:

Remove the ends of the green beans and discard.

Fry up bacon strips, remove from heat and and let cool.  Crumble bacon into pieces and set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and blanch green beans until thoroughly cooked.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan or a frying pan fill with about 2 inches of water + 1 tblsp. of vinegar.  Bring to a simmer.

Gently crack the eggshell and drop the egg in as close to the water as possible.  Immediately, gently fold the white over the yolk.  Repeat with the second egg.  Cook eggs for about 3-4 minutes and remove egg with a slotted spoon.  Set aside.

Drain green beans and combine with about a tablespoon of butter.  Split the green beans evenly on each plate.  Sprinkle with bacon pieces, salt and pepper to taste.  Place the poached egg on top and serve.

 

Chicken à la Crème with Morel Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces (thighs, legs, breasts, etc)

2 1/4 cups crème fraîche (or heavy cream if you cannot find c.f.)

1 – 1 1/2 cups of morel mushrooms

flour

lemon juice

butter (or oil if you prefer)

salt and pepper

Directions:

Salt, pepper, and flour the chicken pieces.  In a large pot, fry the chicken in butter.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a generous amount of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium heat until cooked through.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces and deglaze the pot with the crème fraîche. (Delgaze is to disolve the cooking juices or solid food in a pan by adding liquid and stirring). Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.  Place the chicken back into the pot, pour in the mushrooms, and bring to a low simmer.  

Remove the chicken and plate as desired (serve over rice or pasta).  Run sauce through a strainer to separate from mushrooms.  Top chicken with mushrooms and pour sauce over everything.

Mère Brazier recommends pairing this dish with either a Beaujolais nouveau wine or a Côtes du Rhone wine.

 

Vanilla-Spéculoos


Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 3/4 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean, split open and scraped*

6 egg yols + 1 whole egg

1/2 cup sugar

24 spéculoos cookies**

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 250 F

In a small pot, warm cream, milk, and vanilla over low heat.  (Cooking slowly prevents curdling)

Meanwhile, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and well combined.  Slowly pour and mix hot cream and milk into egg and sugar mixture until well combined.

Pour mixture into 10-12 small oven safe glasses, or 6-7 “cocottes” (see image)

Place glasses/cocottes into a baking tray.  Fill tray half way with water.  If using small glasses, bake for about 40 minutes.  If using cocottes or larger sized glasses, bake for about 1 hour and 20-30 minutes.

Let cool and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Right before serving, crush spéculoos cookies and cover cream mixture.

NOTES:

*If you don’t have or want to buy a vanilla bean, you can use 2 tsps. of vanilla extract.  Add to the sugar and egg mix instead of heating with the cream and milk.

**Spéculoos cookies are very rare in the US, so if you cannot find them you can either use any kind of hard spice cookie.  If you still cannot find spice cookies, you can use cinnamon graham crackers.

Bon Ap!

Julie

Advertisements

Steak Roulades

Mmmm steak.  Just the thought of it can make your mouth water.  With winter upon us, nothing fills you up like a nice, juicy, flavorful steak.  As I was cooking these, the whole house filled with the aroma of garlic, wine, and steak.  Even as I am writing this I can smell it if I close my eyes 🙂   While this looks complicated, trust me you will be surprised at how easy it is!

I made this meal for my au pair family and it was a big hit.  I mean, how can  you go wrong with steak filled with delicious accompaniments?  😀

Steak Roulades

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of steak escalope (these are long, thin slices of steak made easy for rolling)

2 shallots, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 cup of thick cut bacon pieces

1 cup of mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup of shredded emmental cheese

1/4 cup of beef or vegetable stock

3 tsp. dijon mustard

a handful of fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup of red wine

salt and pepper

toothpicks

Directions:

In large pan, sauté shallots, bacon, and mushrooms until mostly cooked.   Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cheese, parsely, and mustard.  Lightly salt and pepper.

Lay out each slice of beef flat.   Salt and pepper each side.  Spread a layer of the filling onto each slice.

Then gently roll shut and secure with toothpicks.  Repeat until all steaks are used.  Set any remaining filling aside (do not throw out!).

In a large pan, heat oil on medium/high – high heat.   Place roulades into pan and brown for about 2 minutes.  Flip steaks to brown other side for 2 minutes.  Add red wine and let cook for 5 minutes.  Set heat to medium/low and pour any remaining filling into the pan.  Add the beef or vegetable stock.  Cover and let simmer for 2 hours.  Half way through, flip roulades over.

Remove from heat and serve with roasted potatoes, pasta, rice or whatever you choose!  These are great with a glass a nice red wine as well 😉

Bon Ap!

Julie

Creamy Broccoli, Leek, Bacon and Mushroom Soup

IMG_3613

With fall in full swing and cold weather upon us, nothing is more comforting that a hot bowl of soup.  During the cold seasons, I eat lots of soup.  There are so many flavors and ingredients to choose from: meats, vegetables, pastas, what type of broth, and so forth.  This hearty soup will fill you up and warm you up on even the coldest of days.

One thing I highly recommend is finding the best tasting baguette you can locate and using it to sop up any remaning broth.  The French even have a word for this act of wiping your plate clean with le pain called saucer.  Only the French would have a word for something so simple yet absolutely delicious.

Creamy Broccoli, Leek, Bacon, and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups of broccoli florets, chopped

1 cup leeks, white part, chopped

1 cup of carrots, chopped

1 cup of thick bacon pieces

1 cup of mushrooms, chopped

1 large shallot, chopped

6 tblsp. olive oil

4 tblsp. flour

4 1/2 cups chicken broth (can use vegetable broth if you prefer)

2 cups of milk

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cups small pasta noodles (elbow macaroni, spirals, vermicelli, etc)

salt and pepper to taste

shredded parmesan or emmental cheese

Directions:

In a medium sized pot bring broth  to boil and add broccoli, leeks, and carrots. Let boil 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat. Drain broth into a container and set broth and veggies aside.

Meanwhile, in large pot, sauté shallots, garlic, and bacon in oil.  Add mushrooms until slightly tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Slowly add broth and milk, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute.  Add vegetables.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.  With 8-10 minutes remaining, add pasta.  Re-cover.

Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes (soup will thicken).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir and serve.  Top with shredded cheese as desired.

Bon Ap!

Julie

Leek, Mushroom and Bacon Tart

IMG_3520

Hello everyone 🙂   Sorry it has been a few weeks since my last post.  But don’t worry, this recipe will make up for my lack of presence, I promise!  In a few weeks I will be moving again and should have some more time to cook and bake.  Keep a look out!

This tart is absolutely delicious.  The crust is the same recipe used for the Quiche Lorraine I posted a few months back.  The combination of the leeks, mushrooms, bacon and eggs leaves a wonderful taste in your mouth.  I ate three slices…  🙂

This is a simple recipe with a quick prep time so its a great no-fuss light affair.  Enjoy!

Leek, Mushroom and Bacon Tart

Ingredients:

Pâte a Tarte Dough (can be found on my Quiche Lorraine recipe)

7-10 slices of bacon

400g mushrooms

2 leeks, white part, chopped

1 cup of condensed, unsweetened milk

2 eggs

1 tblsp. flour

olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Clean and chop mushrooms and leeks.  In a large pan, on medium/high, cook leeks with oil for about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook both vegetables together for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pie pan.  Roll out the dough over parchment.  Pour vegetables into the crust.

In a bowl, beat together condensed milk, eggs, and flour.  Pour over vegetables.  Add salt and pepper over the top.  Lay slices of bacon over the top.

Cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

IMG_3517

Bon Ap!

Julie