French Revolution on Kindle
It seems to me that knowledge and cooking have a lot in common.
Take Prometheus for example. In Greek mythology, the rascal gave fire to humanity, thus allowing us to cook (invaluable!), but also, symbolically, to think (also somewhat valuable).
So, it is quite apropos, I feel, that French Revolution is now available for monthly subscription on Kindle, Amazon‘s wireless electronic reading device. Whether this blog kindles your stove, or stokes the flame of your ever-expanding mind: I hope you’ll try it!
Click here to be taken to Amazon’s page for French Revolution to subscribe.
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Posted by Kerry |
Purple Potato Trout
Every girl starts off her life in the closet. Just whose closet, however, is a matter of chance. I began mine in Meme’s closet.
It was she who taught me the French insistence on simplicity embellished with “the correct” accessories. So this week in French in a Flash, I accessorize my favorite fish, trout, with scales of crisp purple potatoes and a spritz of sauce a la francaise, lemon-butter sauce, layered with threads of lemon zest and petals of whole parsley leaves. Pretty on the inside, and the outside.
As always, the full text and recipe of this post can be found on Serious Eats if you click HERE.
Purple Potato-Crusted Trout à la Française
- 4 1/2-pound filets of trout
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 medium or 8 small purple potatoes, sliced chip fine on a mandolin
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup whole fresh parsley leaves
I love the thin, flakey filet of trout for this dish, but you could use any flakey white fish. Tilapia or snapper would be especially nice.
If you cannot find purple potatoes, sometimes called Peruvian purple potatoes or blue potatoes, just use a simple new potato instead.
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- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Rub both sides of each filet with just shy of 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick spray, and lay the filets skin-side down on the pan. Tile the top of the trout with the slices of purple potato, overlapping them like shingles. Season the potato with salt and pepper as well, and drizzle with the remaining oil.
- Roast for 12 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes.
- Present the fish on a platter, and spoon some of the sauce à la française on top.
Recording at the BBC
Good news. I have finally been able to upload the audio for my BBC shows right here to French Revolution. They have been added to all the original recipe posts, which I have listed below. Additionally, please find here my original interview with DJ Joel Hammer, on how it all, from French Revolution to French in a Flash, got started. I hope you enjoy!
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Posted by Kerry |
Apple Blackberry Bread Pudding
For the final, dessert course in my four-course French dinner for BBC Radio Oxford, I wanted to bridge the Channel and revel in a bit of Anglo-Francophilia. Apples and blackberries melt between layers of custard-soaked brioche for the perfect bread pudding.
I suppose it is appropriate for this bread and butter pudding that is presents itself as something of a sandwich: trifle layers of bread pudding stratified by a filling of blackberry and apple. I thought for this meal, a lightened Pot au Feu, dessert should be everything of wintry decadence—something the White Witch might have served to Edmund in Narnia. It is the bridge that crosses the Channel: the bread pudding is made from buttery sweet French brioche and spiked with Calvados from Normandy, but the apple and blackberry filling, like a cobbler filling, is all English.
I have heard that when Marie Antoinette proclaimed “Let them eat cake,” she used the word “brioche,” not “gateau.” The richness of the brioche gives a definitive cake feel to this dessert, and the size of its portions and not-too-sweet demeanor make it perfect for breakfast the next day. This brioche bread pudding is easy but still precious, comforting but still decadent, English but still very French. Good desserts make good neighbors.
Apple and Blackberry Bread Pudding with Brioche and Calvados
serves 4 to 6
- ½ stick, or 4 tablespoons, or 2 ounces, or 57 grams, unsalted butter
- 6 ounces/170 grams blackberries, halved
- 4 Pink Lady apples, peeled, and cut into a ½ inch/ 1 ½ centimeter dice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup/110 grams sugar, plus 1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds and pod separated
- 1 tablespoon/10 grams flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups half and half (US) or whole milk (UK)
- 1/3 cup Calvados
- 800 grams brioche (about 2 loaves), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 container of custard (optional)
- ¼ cup Calvados (optional)
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- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C.
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once you’ve diced the fruit, toss it immediately with the lemon juice, and then add the mixture to the butter.
- Add in the seeds from the vanilla pod, and the sugar, and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Add the flour to the fruit, and stir in. Cook another 3 minutes. Set the fruit aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 4 eggs, 2 cups of half and half or whole milk, 1/3 cup Calvados, and 1 cup of sugar. Submerge the brioche cubes in the mixture, and allow to set and soak for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, butter the inside of a square baking dish. Arrange half of the brioche mixture in the bottom of the dish. Then spread the apple and blackberry mixture all over, creating a layer of fruit. Cover with the second half of the brioche mixture. Top with a sprinkling of 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills, and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve warm.
- If you are making the custard, put the bought custard in a sauce pan on low heat to warm. Add in ¼ cup Calvados, some single cream to thin out the custard, and the reserved vanilla bean pod. Allow to just heat through.
As the second side to serve with my Short Rib Pot au Feu in my BBC Radio Oxford series, I slather a warm, crusty baguette with two mustards, garlic, butter, and herbs. What better to soak in stew than little irreverent twists on iconic French ingredients? Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the final course: dessert.
When you’re modernizing a classic recipe, sometimes the best thing to do is to defiantly turn up your nose, stick your tongue irreverently in your cheek, and have a bit of fun with the irony of it. Traditional Pot au Feu is served with bread and potatoes and spicy French mustard. But I wanted a side dish, not a tray of condiments.
So, for my perfect pairing for my modern Pot au Feu, I combined the idea of bread and mustard into a single Mustard Garlic Baguette. Presented like supermarket garlic breads, with garlicky butter slathered into deep doughy ravines, mine begins with a fresh, crusty, and iconic baguette. Into gills that I slit into the bread, I smear a butter spiced with Dijon and whole grain mustards, garlic, thyme, parsley, and pepper. When the bread has baked, the garlic is sweet, the mustard tangy, the butter melted, and the baguette delicious and decadent. There is nothing better with which to soak up brothy Pot au Feu. This recipe makes a bit of extra mustard garlic butter, so you may even want to make two baguettes!
Pot au Feu with Mustard Baguette
Two-Mustard Garlic Baguette
- 1 stick/4 ounces/ 113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 small cloves garlic, grated
- 2 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- The leaves from 1 stem of thyme
- 1 baguette
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- Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Mix the soft butter with the grated garlic, mustards, herbs, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
- On the top of every baguette are slits that bake to form the pattern distinctive on all French baguettes. Follow these markings, and slit them down the center, almost so you cut through the baguette, but not quite. You are making slits in the bread to slather with the garlic and mustard butter.
- Smear the interior of these slits generously with the butter. You may not use all of it (use it on a second baguette if you like).
- Wrap the buttered baguette completely in foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Pull apart, and dip into your Pot au Feu.
Pain au Chocolat Cinnamon Roll
When I was young, I learned a lot of French words before I learned the phrase “French kiss.” And when I did, I needed some comfort chez maman. This week for French in a Flash on Serious Eats, I roll my American school and French home up into one perfect pastry: Pain au Chocolat Cinnamon Rolls with Creme Fraiche Icing and Walnuts. Using store-bought puff pastry stills gives you golden layers of croissant, the dark chocolate inside melts to a perfect sweet brown mess, and the top is sweet with white icing. And you can find the recipe and full text article here! Bon app…
Pain au Chocolat Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Roll Ingredients
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon milk
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- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Mix together the sugars, cinnamon, and salt.
- Unroll both sheets of puff pastry, and paint both lightly with melted butter using a pastry brush. You will have some butter left over.
- Divide the sugar-cinnamon mixture between the two sheets of pastry, spreading evenly. Divide the walnuts and chocolate chips evenly across both pastry sheets.
- Use the remaining butter to grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
- Roll up both sheets of puff pastry, and use a serrated knife to cut each log into 6 cinnamon rolls.
- Place 1 roll in each muffin cup, cut-side-up. If any of the filling falls out, just divide it between the cinnamon rolls. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting by whisking together the powdered sugar, the crème fraîche, and the milk.
- Use a knife to help lift the cinnamon rolls out of the muffin cups and onto a wire rack to cool. When they are cool, spoon the frosting over the top of the cinnamon rolls.
Buttery Chantenay Carrots with Chervil
My favorite part of stew is the carrots. As one of the sides for my BBC Radio Oxford four-course French dinner, I updated the stew carrots in the Beef Short Rib Pot au Feu by roasting English Chantenays in the oven just until crisp, and then tossing them with sweet butter and grassy chervil.
One of England’s greatest culinary luxuries is, to me anyway, the Chantenay Carrot. You’ll notice these photos are of baby carrots, because in America, the Chantenay Carrot is a thing of fairytales, like Sir Lancelot, dragons, and gnomes. So if you can’t find the stubby little orange gems, go ahead and substitute baby carrots, or chunks of regular carrot cut on the bias, or even farmstand purple carrots if you can find them. But Chantenays are charming, darling, and best.
Some of the best things in life are the simplest. These carrots are roasted in the oven until they are tender, but still garden crisp, and tossed with cool, creamy butter and chervil, a tender anise-y herb in the parsley family. They take nearly no effort whatsoever, but are the perfect Pot au Feu accompaniment. Who doesn’t love carrots in their stew—this version is just a modern take: crisp instead of mealy, evocative of the spring garden instead of the winter furnace.
Pot au Feu with Carrots
- 1 pound/454 grams Chantenay carrots
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil, divided (substitute parsley if chervil is unavailable)
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
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- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/205 degrees C.
- Toss the carrots with the olive oil, 1 tablespoon chervil, and salt and pepper. Be somewhat liberal with the salt, to counteract the sweetness in the carrots. Spread the dressed carrots on a baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes.
- While still hot, toss with the remaining tablespoon of chervil, the butter, and a bit more salt and pepper. Serve!