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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 a Peach Summer Salad

18 Aug

Summer local peachesScenes from SoCalWhat can I say? When the peaches from Georgia and South Carolina are abundant, salads, tarts and cobblers become staple items on the kitchen counter.

Mixing peaches and tomatoes is one of my favorite food pairing.

It’s a bit unusual but when you think about it more it just makes sense.

Blueberries and lemon.

Honeydew and cucumber.

Strawberries and basil.

… et maintenant, les pêches et les tomates.

Honey-roasted cherry tomatoes Near San Diego, CA Colorful Charlotte's 4th Ward Out and about in SoCalI started to make this salad before I left for Southern California.

It followed me all summer long so far.

Picnic on the grass under giant trees.

Warm summer dinner on the balcony.

Friend’s evening garden party.

Sunday pot luck by the river.

Or on-the-go for a light lunch.

I like it a lot, if it wasn’t obvious already, and I hope you will too!

Coronado Hotel in San Diego Light, sun and food Longing for the oceanPart of me still feels like I am on vacation when I make it.

It has summer written all over it.

In fact, it screams bright blue skies and sunny golden hues.

Encore un peu de salade?

Oui, avec plaisir…

Temecula, CA green patio The colors of summer Manhattan Beach California scenery, feet in the water.Ruby red, bold yellow, leafy green.

Summer in a plate.

A salty sweet combination to make and enjoy over and over.

There is just something light about it that reminds me of the feeling I had when eating at Fishing with Dynamite on Manhattan Beach.

I don’t know if it was the light, the space, the many bright windows or the food, but it was a delicious summer experience.

And eating this salad directly from the salad bowl with your feet up outside in the heat is also highly recommended.

Coast to coast from CA to MA Temecula vines Beautiful Georgetown in DCA perfect summer saladPeach and Tomato Summer Salad with Ginger Tarragon Vinaigrette

serves 6-8

2 lb (900 g) of ripe tomatoes – mix and match as much as you can – I use big red tomatoes, small red, yellow, and black cherry tomatoes

9 oz (255 g) of ripe peaches – cut in wedges

4 oz (115 g) of black olives

20 basil leaves – roughly chopped

4 Tbsp of olive oil

1 Tbsp of raspberry vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard

1.5 teaspoon of maple syrup – or honey

1×1″ (2,5 cm x 2,5 cm) of fresh ginger – peeled and cubed

15 tarragon leaves

4 oz (115 g) of feta cheese – crumbled

a handful of pine nuts

freshly ground pepper

Cut, chop, slice the tomatoes to end up with a variety of different cuts: wedges, small slices, pieces, halves etc. I like to halve the cherry tomatoes and cut the bigger tomatoes in wedges.

In a big bowl, drop half of the tomatoes, peaches, black olives and chopped basil leaves. Keep the rest separate for now.

In a small food processor, mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette: olive oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, fresh ginger and tarragon leaves.

Pulse until the vinaigrette is smooth, emulsified and the ginger and tarragon are well blended. Add more fresh ginger or tarragon depending on taste and strength of the herb.

Pour half of the vinaigrette over the salad in the big bowl. Mix delicately.

Add the rest of the tomatoes, peaches and black olives on top. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil leaves.

Sprinkle the salad with the feta cheese, pine nuts and ground pepper.

With a big spoon, add small dollops of the vinaigrette over the peach and tomato salad.

Put the left over vinaigrette in a pourer and serve next to the salad for extra helpings.

Georgetown lime house

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