Friday, July 27, 2007

La Mousse au Chocolat, a lovely French sin !

The Mousse au Chocolat is one of the preferred French desserts: kids and adults adore it… If you go to France, it would be easy to eat one everywhere, in our traditional « café », in a brasserie, or in a restaurant !!!

There are many ways to make it, the only things you’ll always need are chocolate, and eggs (whites and yolks separated). My recipe comes from « Pierrette », my mother and I have never tried another one, because it’s simply delicious. It doesn't take long to make it and, it’s also a yummy light dessert as there is no whipping cream!!!

For the chocolate, use dark chocolate or milk chocolate as you prefer. Of course, the authentic mousse is made with dark chocolate. The best one is the guanaja which contains 70 % cocoa solids and which comes from Valrhona, a famous French brand from the south of France. And you are lucky, because you can find it in your Trader Joe’s. Many chocolates sold at supermarkets typically contain 50 to 60 percent cocoa solids. If you choose chocolate with a higher percentage, your mousse may be slightly denser. The quantity of sugar depends of your taste, and it’s also possible to make mousse au chocolat without sugar! Just try with different kinds of chocolates and use which one you prefer. You can also put a pinch of your preferred alcohol!

For 6 ramekins
½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup of sugar
3 eggs

- In a medium sauce pan, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with 2 tablespoon of water, mix often with a wood-spoon. Take off of the heat when the chocolate is smooth.
- Add the 3 egg yolks and mix well.
- Beat the 3 egg whites with a pinch of salt until solid peaks form.
- Very gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until well blended. Pour into ramekins or other dishes.

Refrigerate about three hours and serve chilled. Decorate with dusted cocoa powder, grated chocolate or raspberries, strawberries which complement the chocolate quite well…

With mousse au chocolat, drinking a glass of champagne would be perfect. Also, with a sweet wine and you can prepare some simple cookies to eat with it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

When I bored with baseball, I think about rhubarb...

During the week-end, when my children play baseball, I'm not(all the time) super attentive, I must confess. So, I take pictures of them or I take magazines from my purse and I'm looking for special recipes.
By chance, some days ago, someone left me some "Elle" magazine from France where I can find recipe cards that interesting to me. You may not know this, but I adore rhubarb, and in California, I can get rhubarb all year around. That's not the case in France, where there is a season for rhubarb (and also for all produce !!! ). So in one "Elle", I just discovered a recipe which reminds me the good fruits cakes of my grand-mother Adèle. I share with you that delicious recipe...
The Rhubarb Cake of Adèle
10 rhubarbs stalks
10 strawberries
1 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 stick of butter
1/2 cup of milk (soy or cow)
1 egg

Cake topping
1 egg
1/2 cup of soy cream

- Peel the rhubarb and cut in diced pieces. Put in a deep bowl with sugar and leave for two hours. - Preheat the oven at 375 ° F.
- Buttered inside of a pan or use a vegetable oil spray ans sprinkle a little of flour all over.

- Put in a mixer the flour, the baking powder, the sugar, the milk and one egg and mix until it is smooth.
- Pour in the cake pan and spread evenly.

- Strain the rhubarb mixture and use a paper-towel to blot the excess liquid. Rinse the strawberries and cut in slices. Arrange on the batter.

- Pour the rest of sugar with the soy cream and the egg. Pour over the fruits. Cook it for 45 minutes before removing from the pans.

And then enjoy !

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

la quiche lorraine, an old French recipe...

Everybody eats Quiche Lorraine in France, and perhaps you too ! La Quiche Lorraine was created during the middle of the sixteenth century. It came from Lorraine, a French region in the north east of France, near Germany. The word « quiche » comes from the German word « küchen » which means cakes. There are thousands of recipes of Quiche Lorraine, but most of them are made of eggs, milk or cream, hams or "lardons " (strip or cube of bacon) in a pastry crust.
We eat it warm like an entrée or for a one plate dinner with just a walnut vinaigrette salad ( 1 teaspoon of french mustard, 2 pinch of salt, pepper, 5 tablespoon of walnut oil and 1 table spoon of balsamic vinegar), it’s a simple family meal. We also like to bake little quiche for appetizers or buffet. It is a very easy and quick dish, especially if you buy the pastry.

For the pastry or buy pie crust in your store
1 cup of all-purpose flour
¼ pound (1 stick) of unsalted butter diced, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of water
1 egg

Pour the flour into a bowl and make a kind of fountain. Pour into the fountain water, salt, and the butter cut up in little chunks and the eggs. Combine with your fingers or use a food processor. Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the fillings : a béchamel
6 oz of fully cooked diced ham
less than ¼ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of milk
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste
4 oz shredded gruyere or parmesan cheese
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.

To prepare the crust : on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin two or three times, rotate the dough and roll out again until you have get a circle. Fit the dough in a tart pan on parchment paper; stick the dough with a fork. Then put the ham or bacon in diced pieces on the dough.

Make a béchamel : in a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add the flour, mixing well and immediately with a wooden spoon. Cook 2/3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add milk little by little, stirring gently with a wire whisk or wooden spoon until smooth and thickened Add the shredded gruyere or parmesan, mix well. Out of the heat, add the eggs and mix well. Add nutmeg, pepper and salt. Fill the dough as full as possible with the béchamel and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately or let cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges to serve.

If you have some quiche leftover, just warm it in the oven to serve, the dough will stay crunchy !

The addition of onion to Quiche Lorraine makes Quiche Alsacienne. Without eggs, an open-face onion tart with anchovies and black olives is a Pissaladière Niçoise, a relative of pizza.