Frenchie and a Winter Soup

19 Jan

Winter isn’t winter without the distinct flavor and smell of celeriac.

And winter isn’t really winter in the southeast.

So as temperatures started to drop in the area these past couple of weeks, it became clear that winter needed to be celebrated with a thick pureed soup to welcome the mild January cold notes that remind me of much colder weather in Wisconsin and Boston.

This simple soup gets its wonderful texture from the silky-smooth addition of pears while the crispy bacon helps create the overall seasoning.

And starting the new year with a comfort dish makes the heart grow fonder for new adventures in the coming year.

Bonne année !!

Celeriac Soup with Pear and Bacon

Serves 8-10

2-3 oz (55-85 g) of bacon, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1 Tbsp of fennel seeds

1 Tbsp of tarragon, chopped,

2 leeks, white and green, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup (80 ml) of oaked white wine

2 lb (905 g) of celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks

1 medium Russet potato, peeled and cut in chunks

2 organic pears, 1 pear peeled, cored and cut in chunks, 1 pear washed, cored and thinly sliced

3 cups (70 cl) of water

3 cups (70 cl) of vegetable stock/broth

1 teaspoon of sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1 cup (25 cl) of coconut milk

other herbs as needed for serving (chopped thyme, rosemary, or parsley)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Cook the bacon in the oven until crispy – depending on taste. Set aside.

In a heavy pot, heat up the olive oil.

Add the onion and shallot, and cook for 4 minutes on medium low until soft.

Add the fennel seeds, the tarragon and the leeks, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed and evaporated.

Add the celeriac, the potato and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the pear and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Add the water and stock, season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high. When starting to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

When the vegetables are ready and tender, use a hand-held mixer to puree the soup or use a food processor. Taste the seasoning and adjust the salt, pepper and tarragon if necessary.

Serve the soup in individual bowls. Mix 1 Tbsp of coconut milk in each bowl before serving. Arrange thin slices of the second pear, bacon chunks, pepper, and chopped herbs on top of the soup. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of coconut milk on top and serve.

Frenchie and a Memorable Year

23 Dec

Farewell to a memorable year.

2014 is closing its doors soon and the time to look back at a year’s worth of pictures, recipes, family, colors, friends and food has come.

Ending the year feeling thankful.

Thankful for the people met along the way, the friendships that became stronger, the food and joys of cooking shared with many, the family visits and trips that continue to make me look at the world in a different way.

But also ending the year on a fun note with the interview Lindsey at Lost in Cheeseland wrote last month about Frenchie and the Yankee as part of her Franco File Friday column. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read the interview here.

Lindsey is an incredibly talented blogger and a wonderful friend. I wish we lived in the same city so we could eat chocolate regularly over tea and coffee.

And lastly, the fun assignment to work on an exclusive Thanksgiving recipe last month for the November issue of the Charlotte Observer/South Park Magazine team.

To tell you the truth, I could see myself making this recipe during the Holiday Season as well so I included it below.

A happy and merry end of 2014 to all.

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

<Note to the readers outside of the U.S.: I wrote the recipe for an American magazine and did not include the conversions as I usually do on the blog. Please email me for details.>

Bourbon-flavored Cranberry Clafoutis

for a 9″ round 1-quart shallow baking dish

1⅓ cup (6 oz.) fresh cranberries, divided into 1 heaping cup (5 oz.) and ⅓ cup (1 oz.)

½ cup (2.5 oz.) dried cranberries

⅔ cup plus 1 Tbsp. Bourbon

½ cup Grand Marnier

2 tsp. vanilla extract

unsalted butter, for the mold

½ cup natural cane sugar plus 2 Tbsp., for the mold

4 Tbsp. quinoa flour

2 Tbsp. almond meal

2 Tbsp. finely ground tapioca flour

½ tsp. sea salt

finely grated zest of ½ organic orange

3 eggs

⅔ cup whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

½ Tbsp. turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Bring 1 heaping cup (5 oz.) of the fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, ⅔ cup of the Bourbon, Grand Marnier and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract to a boil in an 11″ sauté pan. When boiling, continue to simmer over medium to low heat for 8-10 min stirring often or until the juice is reduced to about 1 Tbsp. Transfer in a small bowl and set aside to let the cranberries and juice cool.

Generously butter the baking dish and sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of the sugar all over the bottom and sides. Tap the excess out.

In a bowl, combine ½ cup of the sugar, quinoa flour, almond meal, tapioca flour, sea salt and orange zest. Beat in the eggs until well combined. Add and stir in the milk, heavy cream, 1 Tbsp. of the Bourbon, and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Pour the cooked cranberries and the remaining juice into the baking dish. Arrange them to cover the bottom. Pour the batter on top. Scatter the ⅓ cup (1 oz.) of fresh uncooked cranberries evenly on top. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake the clafoutis for 35-40 min until the center is set and the top is golden brown.

Serve at room temperature or cold.

Frenchie and Amsterdam

20 Nov

How is it even possible I’ve never traveled to Amsterdam before?

I am in love!

And I am still thinking about this trip and our time walking around the canals last month when it was still 65-70 degrees outside.

A mere 3 hours away from Paris by train – it is beyond me I have never thought about spending some time in Holland before.

But I should really thank my friends from the Midwest for moving to Amsterdam and giving me this opportunity to stroll through the city and absorb as much as possible le temps d’un week-end.

By bike, by boat, by feet and by tram, we went around and around like mice in a maze of bridges, picturesque water views, tiny streets and cool cafés.

And Paris should definitely be scared because when it comes to cafés Amsterdam is in my opinion winning.

A few of my favorites and best discoveries are listed below.

– Café van Leeuwen – a lunch outside sitting at the terrace with views of the canal? Yes please! And you cannot go wrong with their spicy butternut squash soup with a kale salad and a local beer.

– De Koffie Salon on Utrechtsestraat – drinking a tea or coffee upstairs with oversized pictures of old European movie stars make you feel like you are in a black and white movie. And eating a blackcurrant pastry with Sophia Loren watching over you is my definition of indulging.

– Museum Van Loon – a private maison bourgeoise to visit while picturing a time when rich merchants ruled the city and the canals. Time capsule Amsterdam style.

TwoForJoy – and who wouldn’t want another pastry from a place where people sit outside and drink their coffees while playing cards or focusing on a coloring book?

Vinnies – the space is what attracted me first. An old piano next to a refurbished Louis XIV style sofa on painted white wood boards. And the organic mint tea to soothe an aching body from walking too much in the city.

Ibericus – it is not often I get to stop on the side of the road, dismount my Gazelle Dutch bike, and walk into a place to order jamón ibérico to go. This place has it all!

De Taart van m’n Tante – like stepping inside a doll house or your worst kitsch nightmare, the colors will surprise you, the fake flowers will make you smile, but the appeltaart will make you want to have a second piece.

Sama Sebo – when in Amsterdam, eat Indonesian food! And when it’s rijsttafel night, make sure to come hungry.

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