French in a Flash: Tarragon Chicken and Carrot Muffins with Sweet Chèvre Icing (Part I)

RECIPE: Tarragon Chicken
Tarragon Chicken

Tarragon Chicken

Good morning, Revolutionnaires! I have been behind in keeping you up to date on French in a Flash, so I want to tell you about the last two week’s recipes on Serious Eats.

Tarragon Chicken is this unfortunate dish that we tried to throw together at the Cordon Bleu. I say tried, because it was the one dish that I don’t think one of us finished. It sounds so simple: chicken stewed in a summer-sweet broth of tomatoes and tarragon. And yet, all I remember was being in the kitchen at 9:30 at night deboning both the chicken’s thigh and my own thumb. As they say in France, “catastrophe!”

Tomatoes and Tarragon

Tomatoes and Tarragon

It was a shame, too, because it seemed like such a good idea–so rustic, and filling, but at the same time a bit exotic. We are so used to having our tomatoes with basil, but in France, tomatoes are all about tarragon, and there is that kind of fresh anise sweetness that counters the tomatoes so well. It seemed to me like the perfect summer stew, hearty and steaming, but still fresh as a daisy. So, I decided to never look at my Cordon Bleu recipe for the dish again, and make it my own way. I made it for my aunt and uncle, and along with a devoured mountain of baguette, it was a hit.

Click here for the Tarragon Chicken recipe.

Carrot Muffin with Sweet Chèvre Icing

Carrot Muffin with Sweet Chèvre Icing

Last week’s French in a Flash caused a bit of controversy. September always gets me thinking about back to school, especially since I myself am going back to school. And for me, back to school is all about breakfast and snacks, the two meals I never bother with in the summertime. I wanted these muffins to truly be “in a flash,” so they start with boxed cinnamon muffin mix, which is then doctored up with golden raisins, grated carrot, and chopped walnuts. The icing is made from powdered sugar, cream cheese, and, the piece de resistance, goat cheese. It’s like licking a finger scraped down the side of a red velvet cake–that cream cheese tang in the sweet frosting–but multiplied and deepened. I think these are a great way to make something which I still consider homemade in just minutes, but I understand some of my readers were fairly disappointed at my use of a boxed mix. I would be happy to hear your opinions, Revolutionnaires! Click here for the Carrot Muffins with Sweet Chevre Icing recipe.

Again, my apologies at having been so remiss. Tons of travel and a new computer have stymied my best intentions.

Tarragon Chicken
serves 4 to 6

Tarragon ChickenIngredients

  • 8 vine ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 8 chicken legs
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 4 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 6 stems tarragon

Procedure

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a braising pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken, in batches as necessary, until golden-brown all over. Set the chicken aside, and discard the oil.
  2. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and sweat just a minute. Add the vermouth and the wine, and simmer to reduce and burn off the alcohol. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and half the tarragon. Add the chicken back into the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil.
  3. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, until the meat is falling off the bone. Boil uncovered for a few minutes at the end if you want to evaporate off some of the liquid (I like it saucy). Scatter the leaves from the remaining 3 stems of fresh tarragon over the chicken, and serve piping hot.
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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series
 

French in a Flash: Tarragon Chicken and Carrot Muffins with Sweet Chèvre Icing (Part II)

RECIPE: Carrot Muffins with Sweet Chèvre Icing

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Carrot Muffins with Sweet Chèvre Icing
Ingredients
  • 1 box cinnamon muffin mix
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 batch Chèvre-Cream Cheese Icing
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 ounces chèvre, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 10 paper muffin liners.



Mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a big bowl. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon out nine or ten muffins into the tins. They will be filled nearly to the top.

Bake for 19 to 22 minutes, until the muffins are puffed and golden.

Allow muffins to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, spread the tops with some Chèvre-Cream Cheese icing, and embellish with a few pieces of chopped walnut, golden raisins, and a shower of cinnamon.

Chèvre-Cream Cheese Icing

Use a hand blender to combine all ingredients until smooth.

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Categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Pastries, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian
 

The Secret Ingredient (Harissa) Part I: Harissa Honey Salmon

RECIPE: Harissa Honey Salmon
Harissa Honey Salmon

Harissa Honey Salmon

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

am personally delighted to introduce this month’s Secret Ingredient because I grew up on it. Harissa is Moroccan ketchup, a North African chili paste, made from spicy red chilies and garlic. Most commonly sold in tubes, like the popular tubed tomato paste, it also looks a bit like tubed tomato paste. But instead of being sweet and tinny, it is fiery and pungent.

Don’t confuse it with hot sauce–it’s not simply hot. It also reeks of garlic and coriander, adding a hot, briny, and heady flavor. It reminds me of my Moroccan grandmother, Mémé, who has this deep russet red hair to match the harissa, and the same saucy, piquant personality. She is also the one who introduced me to harissa as a child by way of her spicy stewed olives.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient
 

French Revolution on Flickr!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words–which is usually how many words it takes me to describe each dish in my Flickr pool! Browse photos of French Revolution food on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenchrevolutionfood.

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French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part I)

RECIPE: Lobster Salad Sandwiches
Lobster Salad

Lobster Salad. Made for summer, inspired by Spring.

It’s Labor Day! And I think this week’s French in a Flash is the perfect Franco-American extravagance: lobster rolls inspired by the Parisian restaurant Spring, served with summer staples zucchini frites with basil fleur de sel and heirloom tomato salad.

Lobster Sandwich Spring

The original lobster sandwich from Spring

For me, Labor Day is about picnics, and that means sandwiches. When I was at the Cordon Bleu this summer, I hardly ate a thing. I was on my feet nine or ten hours a day, in the kitchen six days a week. Just looking at the food filled me up, and I was never hungry. It’s such a terrible shame, I thought, that I’m in Paris, and I’m not eating a thing.


Zucchini Frites

Zucchini Frites, with Basil Fleur de Sel

We had one Saturday off, and my best friend looked me square in the eye. “Kerry,” she said, “we’re going out and we’re eating.” She’d heard of a place called Spring across town where every Saturday they served nothing but lobster sandwiches with goose fat fries.

The next noon found us sitting at a wooden table in the tiny storefront of Spring, delicately savoring every bite of our lobster sandwiches. The lobster was served in whole chunks, tossed in a light sauce of mayonnaise and fresh orange zest and juice, in a white-wheat baguette. Celery and chives sprinkled in a touch of verdant freshness. And on the side, crisp, hand cut potatoes fried in goose fat, sprinkled with salt and the confetti zests of lime and orange. It was the best sandwich I ever ate.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad, with South of France Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

So last week, when I saw Florida spiny lobster on sale for $9.99, I had the supermarket steam one up for me (a nice change after my bloody execution of thirty-odd crabs in cooking school), and I came home and tried to recreate the Spring sandwich for summer. I added my own take on it, but it’s still si bon. And I like to serve it with the best zucchini and basil and tomatoes summer has on offer before its officially fall.

You work hard for your lobster; this Labor Day, take a day, like we did in Paris, to stop and enjoy it. For the full recipe and story from my column French in a Flash on Serious Eats, click here. Bon app!

Spiny Lobster

"Eat me!"

Citrus and Herbs

"With these!"

Lobster Salad Sandwiches
2 to 4
Lobster SaladIngredients
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon total of lemon, lime, and orange zests
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced celery
  • 7 ounces lobster meat, cut into very large chunks (about 1 cup total, or the meat from the tail of a 2-pound spiny lobster), steamed and cold
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 wheat baguette
  • Butter, room temperature

Procedure

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the citrus juices—which must all be freshly squeezed—the citrus zests, the mayonnaise, chives, and celery. Taste the dressing and season accordingly with salt and pepper, not forgetting that the lobster is slightly salty itself.
  3. Take your steamed lobster tail and cut it into large chunks, about four to six pieces for the whole tail. Leave the claws whole. Gently fold the lobster meat together with the dressing, and set it in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut the wheat baguette in half horizontally almost all the way through to create a hinged sandwich roll. Very lightly butter both sides with soft sweet cream butter. Stick it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes, until it is just lightly golden and a little bit crusty. Most importantly, allow the bread to cool.
  5. When the baguette is back to room temperature, take the lobster salad out of the fridge, and scoop it, brimming, into the bread. Serve it with zucchini frites and an heirloom tomato salad.
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Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series
 

French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part II)

RECIPE: Zucchini Frites with Basil Fleur de Sel
Zucchini Frites

Zucchini Frites, with Basil Fleur de Sel

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Zucchini Frites with Basil Fleur de Sel
Zucchini FritesIngredients
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into French fries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 basil leaves, sliced into a fine chiffonade
  • 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

Procedure

Fill a cast iron skillet halfway up with vegetable oil, and heat it to 350°F.

While the oil is heating, toss the zucchini sticks with the flour in a large baggie.

Fry the zucchini in batches, shaking off any excess flour before slipping them into the oil. They should take about 2 to 4 minutes to become crunchy and golden on the outside, and soft within. If you are making zucchini chips, the cooking time will be lower. Just remove them when they are golden. Drain the fries or the chips on paper towel.

While the zucchini is frying, combine the basil leaves and fleur de sel. Sprinkle it over the zucchini while it is still hot.

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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part III)

RECIPE: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel
Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad, with South of France Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel
Heirloom Tomato SaladIngredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, sliced
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Fleur de sel for seasoning

Procedure

Arrange the rainbow of sliced tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with the best olive oil you have, and finish with fleur de sel. This would be a fun place to use basil oil, or garlic oil, or even lemon oil.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian