Monday, July 25, 2011

In a Pinch

 Chocolate Tart

Have you ever read a recipe that says, a pinch of this and a large spoonful of that?  That is how old recipes used to be before everyone had a scale and cups, ounces, and the metric system even existed.  It's a lot easier now days. In culinary school, after measuring salt, sugar and flour over and over, I got pretty good as guessing how much I needed.  That is how older recipes worked, the person who wrote the recipe knew from repeated making of the recipe how much worked each time.  However there are times I still find myself in a "pinch" wanting to make a dessert but not having access to proper measuring equipment. Believe it or not, not every kitchen in France is as well equipped for pastry making as mine is.  And while I can pretty much eyeball a teaspoon of salt without an actual teaspoon still, other measures are not as easy for me now.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family Dinner

 Fresh Ingredients for Ratatouille

The visitors are slowly beginning to arrive.  My friend Anne warned me about it.  She has had a steady stream of visitors since I meet her back in December (and I've been secretly jealous).  I want people to come visit me and see where I live (just don't all come at once please, it might get a little crowded).  Oh course visiting me right now means staying in a hotel and then just meeting me for lunches, dinners and a little Paris sight seeing; I don't have a guest room.  But if you're willing to buy the plane ticket, find a reasonable hotel or apartment to crash in, I'd be very happy to have you over for dinner.  

It's starting with my cousins, which is great.  Romain has not got much of a chance to meet my extended family.  And considering my immediate family is so large....meeting all the extended family at once would be completely overwhelming.  He still forgets a brother or two when trying to name all my siblings (mainly Jeff, lol).  First my cousin Angie on my Dad's side visited.  She was here for a few days during a bit of a European tour with her girlfriend.  We had nice dinner at Le Petit Canard and a nice lunch a few days later at my favorite place Le Cafe du Commerce.

Last week Angie's younger brother Brad and his wife Corrine arrived in France for a visit.  They are staying a bit longer so I invited them over for dinner and we'll check out some restaurants a little later in their stay.
Thankfully neither of them are picky eaters, so I went all out planning a nice dinner including some good traditional French apero for them to try.  Rillettes de porc, saucisson with noisette (hazelnuts), fresh baguette cereals, and Rice and Buckwheat crackers for Corinne who is allergic to Gluten ( I can accommodate!).

I was going to make a simple Ratatouille and Seared Tuna steaks.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Tuna at my local fish shop, so I took some Cod instead. When I got home from my shopping, I decided to get a little fancy with my Ratatouille and dress it up a little.  I took some of my small circle rings ( that I have used for anything from making small tarts to English Muffins)  I covered one side in foil to make them like small dishes and started layering my veggies inside. I wanted to make a Ratatouille timbale of sorts.   It worked out pretty well and was delicious with the lightly fried Cod in a lemon and butter sauce.  We followed that with 3 types of cheese and of course dessert: Chocolate Cherry Clafloutis!  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bread- the next challenge

 Seeded Baguette

I am my Father's daughter, you've probably heard me say it before.  I have a hard time letting people do things for me that I can do for myself.  I used to change the oil in my car instead of taking to one of those quick lube places.  It wasn't so much to save money, it was more so I knew what was going, a bit of quality control (had a few bad experiences with sloppy work and forgetfulness at some of those instant places) and also to be able to brag a bit that yes I know how to change my own oil.  What does this have to do with Pastry?