Tag Archives: Cook

Frenchie and a Bowl of Soup

18 Nov

When the team at the Charlotte Agenda asked me for a fall-inspired recipe, a soup came to mind immediately.

Some might say what’s a soup other than random vegetables puréed and mixed together?

Sounds too simple. Sounds too easy.

But a soup is so much more. A soup is complex.

First, a soup is texture. How will it feel as soon as the spoon touches your tongue? How will it linger after the first mouthful? What was added to the bowl to make it an interesting meal experience?

A soup is character. How well do the ingredients and intertwined flavors complement one another? Does it take on a new dimension as you continue eating?

A soup is also art. Will it charm your guests after the first taste? A well-styled bowl of soup to trigger excitement and happiness, bringing emotions to the eyes as you look down at the bowl placed in front of you – big spoon in hand.

But a soup is also comfort. The relief felt from feeling warmer after a cold winter walk. Smiling as both hands hold the heated bowl. Eased at the idea of eating something nutritious. Comforted when sick and bed stricken – grandma and grandpa lovingly caring with a pot of simmering soup going on the stove. Perhaps there will be toasted bread? Or croutons? I hope it will be creamy and a bit spicy.

Mange ta soupe, ça te fera du bien.

A bowl of soup to feel better. 

A bowl of soup to ease the pain.

A bowl of soup to warm bodies and souls.

And sometimes, a bowl of soup is all we need to find serenity and support while gathering with friends around a steaming pot at the dinner table. When we need it the most. When we need a human connection. When we need to talk about life, freedom and personal liberties. When we want to be serious. When we need to laugh and be silly, escaping life for 5 quick seconds.

A bowl of soup to find comfort when tragedy strikes.

A bowl of soup for France and Paris.

Go to the Charlotte Agenda page for more photos and the full recipe of the roasted pumpkin and shallot soup with walnut and spinach pesto croutons.

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Frenchie and Summer Memories

16 Jul

The light is brighter, the air feels lighter, this must be summer.

And a lazy summer spent slouched on a blue couch is ok by me!

Merci Mayà.

It’s the sweet appetizing smell of the ripe apricots waiting in a green bowl on the counter in my kitchen that reminded me how much I love apricot tarts.

And summer is a great time to reminisce and remember.

Like the apricot tart my grandpa used to lovingly prepare for me and my brother when we came to see him either for lunch or after school in his townhouse located three skips away from our school.

I still remember the noises inside this old house. And the smell in the kitchen.

And I know where he used to put away his spices and his sugar, or where his boxes of fragrant teas were lined up.

An apricot tart always waited for us in the summer.

La tarte aux abricots, c’est une tradition !

I suddenly realized the last time I posted a recipe for a summer tart was a very long time ago.

Une très bonne occasion.

A new crust recipe I worked on last month.

Who knew that adding baking powder to your crust could lift it and make it so much lighter? Thanks Fine Cooking for the tip.

And of course, pairing apricots with my favorite summer scent – lavender.

A bit of cuisine de Provence on a plate.

Enjoy! The result is truly unique and one that made trial tarts disappear within seconds into hungry guinea pig mouths.

Happy summer. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Apricot Lavender Tart

makes a 9-inch tart

 

for the gluten-free crust

½ cup (90 g) white rice flour

⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp (45 g) gluten-free oat flour

½ cup (60 g) tapioca flour

⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp (45 g) of powdered sugar

1½ teaspoon of xantham gum

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers

a pinch of sea salt

1 stick or 8 Tbsp (115 g) butter – chilled and cubed

4-5 Tbsp iced water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the white rice, oat and tapioca flours with the powdered sugar, xantham gum and baking powder. Add the sea salt and dried lavender and mix well on medium speed with the paddle blade.

Drop the butter cubes in the bowl and work until it becomes crumbly and sandy.

Drop the iced water in the bowl one tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to come together and form a ball.

Flatten the ball, cover and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

 

for the vanilla apricot compote

5 oz (140 g) ripe apricots – about 2

2 Tbsp natural cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

While the dough is chilling in the fridge, place all the ingredients for the compote together in a small saucepan and cook until thick – about 4-6 minutes. Set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

Roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan (22-23 cm). I use some of the tapioca flour to roll it. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

This crust recipe does not leave much overhang. Leave the crust thick to absorb the apricot juices as much as possible.

Place the dough and tart pan back in the fridge for 30 min.

 

for the filling

¼ cup (50 g) natural cane sugar

1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers

1 Tbsp almond flour

1.25 lb (565 g) ripe apricots – about 7

Combine the sugar and dried lavender in a small bowl. Work with your fingers to mix it well and rub the lavender with the sugar to release its scent and flavor the sugar. Set aside.

Cut each apricot in half and each half lengthwise in half-moons.

Sprinkle the almond flour on the crust. Spread the vanilla apricot compote on the crust mixing it with the almond flour.

Drop the apricot half-moons on the compote. Arrange them neatly in a circle or drop them randomly. There is beauty in the disorganized random placement of the fruit.

Sprinkle the lavender sugar all over the tart.

Bake for 10 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375 °F (190 °C) and bake for another 40 minutes.

Let the tart cool for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan.

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Frenchie and a BBQ à la Campagne

17 Jun

When you start experiencing the Relish Carolina shindigs and their roaming dinner parties, you just can’t stop.

Sensory overload in the best way possible, they say. And it’s true!

Do you remember this partie de campagne at the farm? I do!

Every year, new themes, new food, new locations and new concepts.

The excitement always builds up as their new seasonal dinner calendar is announced.

This time – a South Carolina BBQ retreat to escape and joyfully spend a Sunday night among old and new friends.

The usual 100-120-seat long table, the same outdoor fairy lights.

The familiar vibe, the regular smiles and warmth of the crowd.

Countless ducks, chickens, fish, hogs, pork.

Fire pits, smoke, ash and enticing smells surrounding guests already busy cocktailing and grazing on the local charcuterie.

And going away from the traditional BYOP (Bring Your Own Plate), this time Le Creuset displayed an elegant and grandiose array of colorful plates, pitchers and cookware.

A perfect summer night.

If you’ve never participated in a Relish event, here is what you need to know:

– buy your tickets ahead of time, they disappear fast

– fast all day and come hungry

– be prepared to socialize, meet new people, and share family style food platters

– as Relish points out – it’s ok to talk to strangers – and you never know who might be seating next to you… your next best friend, a new client, or future husband/wife.

– try everything once, food or drinks, and go back for seconds

– bring bug spray if it’s an outside summer event

– enjoy local ingredients, food, chefs, mixologists and anything crafty Relish might have up its sleeve – and they have a lot of ideas!

– play the game, if there’s a theme, go with it!

– and of course, relax and have fun

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