French in a Flash: Roasted Endive And Pear Salad With Arugula, Walnuts, And Roquefort

RECIPE: Roasted Endive And Pear Salad With Arugula, Walnuts, And Roquefort
Roasted Endive and Pear Salad with Roquefort

Roasted Endive and Pear Salad with Roquefort

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The endive and Roquefort salad is a popular one, but for good reason. The bitter crunch of the endive and piquant creaminess of Roquefort balances the smooth and the intense. The sweet pear and woody walnuts are the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of the salad—never far behind, and almost always found together.

I am not someone to stand in the way of whatever works. But there is a tradition in France of baking endive, usually in a gratin, where it’s rolled in ham and smothered in Gruyère: now that is delicious. So I thought, why not try roasting the endive and pears, to soften the former, and intensify the latter. I pile them into a composed salad with soft, baby arugula, the requisite walnuts, and a drizzling of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Planks of spicy Roquefort shingle the top. It’s a wintry take on the perennial salad.

Roasted Endive And Pear Salad With Arugula, Walnuts, And Roquefort
serves 4

Roasted Endive and Pear Salad with RoquefortIngredients

  • 4 Belgian endive, quartered lengthwise

  • 2 Bosc pears, cored and stemmed, cut into 8 pieces each

  • Fine sea salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for dressing the salad, to taste

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves

  • 4 cups baby arugula

  • 4 ounces Roquefort, cut in 4 slices

  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Arrange the endives and pears in a single layer on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Roast for 30 minutes.

  3. Arrange the walnut halves on a small, rimmed baking tray and put in the oven with the endives and pears for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  When toasted, roughly chop the walnuts.

  4. Allow the endives and pears to slightly cool.  Arrange on top of a bed of baby arugula.  Top with walnuts and slices of Roquefort.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Soup & Salad, Vegetarian

French in a Flash: Broccoli Quiche with Gruyère and Cheddar

RECIPE: Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

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Quiche is like a great pair of jeans: There is no time when either is inappropriate. These days, jeans will get you into a Broadway play, a New York diner, and even, if you’re lucky, an office. So base and simple, they’ve become elegant, a canvas left blank to suit your fancy.

And then there’s quiche. I love the kind of food that you make, and then have one slice of right out of the oven. Then, you swaddle it in plastic wrap, and when lunch rolls around you sneak over to the fridge for another slice. And then for dinner. And then for breakfast again. And then, suddenly, it’s gone. Perpetually appropriate, hot, cold, or warm, quiche isn’t fussy. It doesn’t demand anything of you except your appetite—no predilections or cravings.

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Categories: Bread & Butter, Breakfast & Brunch, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Eggs, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Tarts, Quiches, Pizzas, Vegetarian, Vegetarian

French in a Flash: Daube Roast Beef Sandwiches

RECIPE: Daube Roast Beef Sandwiches
Daube Roast Beef Sandwiches

Daube Roast Beef Sandwiches

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Daube is the kind of under-the-radar French fare that doesn’t have a big name. It’s no boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, or onion soup. You’ve probably never heard of it. But once you have Daube you quickly add it to the canon of French classics in your repertoire. It’s a time-honored, wine-based French stew that I’ve had mostly in the southern parts of France, flavored with herbes de Provence and, in this case, orange and olives. Think of it as a boeuf bourguignon that replaces the heavy flavors of bacon and mushrooms with punchy, bright flavors of sunnier skies. It’s memorable. Memorable to me, mostly, because it appeared nightly on the Provençal prix-fixe menus of every restaurant I frequented in the summer of 2009. Daube has now become something a family joke because we ate it almost every other night for a month!

This French in a Flash take on the summer Daube dinner is a bit of a French sloppy Joe-meets-cheese steak. I make a kind of Daube stew sauce from sweet onions, carrot, orange, garlic, and oil-cured black olives with rosé wine and stock. Into the simmering sauce goes high-quality bought sliced roast beef that soaks up the sauce as though it had been stewing all day. The meat gets piled into a crusty garlic-rubbed baguette or roll, and eaten greedily for dinner with a cold glass of whatever’s left in the bottle of rosé. It’s casual, but like Daube, pungent, punchy, unexpected, and unforgettable. An effortless, but flavorful, every-night dinner.

Daube Roast Beef Sandwiches
serves 4

Daube Roast Beef SandwichesIngredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 half medium yellow onion, sliced thinly on a mandoline

  • 1 half small carrot, peeled

  • 1 clove of garlic, whole but bruised, plus 1 large clove, whole and peeled

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence

  • 5 French oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped

  • 3 wide strips of orange zest, made with a vegetable peeler

  • 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup dry rosé wine (red or white would do as well)

  • 1 cup beef stock

  • 1/2 pound excellent quality thinly-sliced rare roast beef

  • 1 thin baguette, or 4 French rolls, or 4 small Kaiser rolls


  1. In a 9 inch sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, bruised garlic clove, and carrot, sauté for 5 minutes, or until translucent but not golden.

  2. Add herbes de Provence, olives, orange zest, and flour, cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.  Add wine and allow to reduce for 30 seconds.  Add beef stock, and whisk to pick up all the bits on the bottom of the pan, and to incorporate flour.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover, and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

  3. Separate the slices of beef, and add to the pot.  Take the pan off the heat, and stir the beef into the sauce.  Cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.  Remove the carrot, orange zest, and whole garlic cloves.  Discard.

  4. Toast the baguette or rolls in a toaster on the ‘bagel’ setting or under the broiler.  Cut the remaining whole garlic clove in half, and rub the hot, crusty bread with the cut side of the garlic.  Pile the meat into the bread, and serve with chilled rosé wine.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series

French in a Flash: Cosmopolitan Kir Royales

RECIPE: Cosmopolitan Kir Royale
Cosmopolitan Kir Royale

Cosmopolitan Kir Royale

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Let’s face it. The holidays give us an excuse to toast the holidays. And while everyone loves a great bottle of wine, to me, festive means cocktails. I love the mad scientist aspect of it: nipping a swig from here or there while mixing and matching for the perfect holiday concoction, flutes bubbling over like test tubes. Maybe that’s just in my kitchen!

But when it comes to holiday cocktails, I like to keep them themed. Usually, on Thanksgiving, I mix Champagne with pomegranate juice, but I’ve just found something so much more festive. Cranberries, perfect for the season, are a wonderful pair for bright oranges. So, I tore page out of the old Cosmo handbook, and added cranberry juice and Triple Sec, an orange liqueur, to Champagne. he Triple Sec makes it taste slightly sweeter and slightly more alcoholic than Champagne on its own. Very fun. And the cranberry juice adds a sweet-tart note, and a beautiful holiday hue. Garnish with a bog-bobbing cranberry or an orange twist, and you have a fun marriage of the Cosmopolitan and the Kir Royale, plus a little something to take the edge off the relatives this holiday season. Santé! Continue reading

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Categories: Cocktails, Drinks, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series

Franglais: Orange Madeleines with Cranberry Sauce

RECIPE: Orange Madeleines
Orange Madeleines with Cranberry Sauce

Orange Madeleines with Cranberry Sauce

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Thanksgiving is nothing if not nostalgic. And the only food in the world to have nostalgia as a first ingredient is Proust’s madeleine. While holding onto Thanksgiving leftovers may seem like an unhealthy obsession with the past, think twice before throwing them out. You never know where they might come in useful.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bakery, Bread & Butter, Breakfast & Brunch, Cheap, Eat, Franglais, multi, Recipes, Series, Sweets, Vegetarian

The Secret Ingredient (Cranberry) Part III: Cranberry Ice Cream with White Chocolate Chunks

RECIPE: Cranberry White Chocolate Ice Cream
Cranberry White Chocolate Ice Cream

Cranberry White Chocolate Ice Cream

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I wrote two weeks ago in this column that I’d never seen a fresh cranberry outside of the United States. But there is one place that I’ve seen a dried cranberry: in England, where at school, my best friend used to stave off the afternoon doldrums with a dried cranberry and white chocolate cookie. That got me thinking: the tartness of cranberry is one of the few things that can rein in that over-the-top sweetness of white chocolate. What a perfect ice cream that would make, and what an unexpected Thanksgiving dessert to scoop next to a slice of pumpkin pie.

Deemed a “superfruit,” cranberries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Their high antioxidant levels may boost the cardiovascular and immune systems, and may even help prevent cancer; they contain a chemical that may prevent tooth decay; they may prevent kidney stones, and are beneficial against bacterial urinary tract infections and gingivitis. Frankly, I don’t see how we can get along without them.

The perfect excuse to eat them in some delicious, sweet-tart holiday ice cream.

Cranberry White Chocolate Ice Cream
serves 6

Cranberry White Chocolate Ice CreamINGREDIENTS

  • 1 12-ounce bag cranberries

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • Pinch fine sea salt

  • 5 large egg yolks

  • 4 ounces good white chocolate, cut into chunks


The night before, remember to freeze your ice cream maker bowl.

In a medium saucepot, heat the cranberries and 1/3 cup sugar on medium-high heat until the cranberries just begin to get hot.  Then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring often, until the berries are burst, and softened.  Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and purée.  Pass the cranberry purée through a fine mesh strainer.  The mixture should yield about 1 cup of smooth cranberry purée.  Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepot, heat together the cream, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, and pinch of salt over medium-low heat until just scalded (bubbles will form around the edges of the cream).  Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat together the egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar, until the mixture is pale and thick.

Once the cream mixture is hot, pour about 1/3 of it into the egg yolks mixture and whisk quickly to temper the egg yolks.  Pour the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the cream, and cook over low heat.  Use a wooden spoon to constantly stir the custard until it is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon: at about 170°F.  Pass the custard through a fine mesh sieve and into a large bowl.  Whisk in the cranberry mixture.  Cover the cranberry custard, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Turn on your ice cream maker, and pour in the cranberry custard.  Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Just before the ice cream is completely churned, add in the white chocolate chunks.  Transfer to a bowl or Tupperware with a lid, and freeze for at least 4 hours.  Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before scooping and serving.

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Categories: Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient

French in a Flash: Quatre Épices Poussins under a Brick

RECIPE: Quatre-Epices Poussins under a Brick
Quatre Epices Poussin

Quatre Epices Poussin

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My love of turkey is only a recent development. And even at that, I only consent to eat it when it’s freshly roasted, usually on Thanksgiving. Anything else—turkey sandwiches, turkey soups, turkey whatevers—just aren’t going to happen. So I have a high sensitivity to those who want to try something other than turkey for Thanksgiving.

To me, these Quatre Épices Poussins are the perfect holiday bird. Something about Thanksgiving requires a bird, and I feel compelled to uphold that. But sometimes you want something smaller to alleviate leftover overflow in your apartment fridge, or something quick-cooking to disguise the fact that you were actually at work until two hours before your mother-in-law arrived, or something different from what you had last year. Tradition, after all, isn’t for everyone. These young chickens are holiday poultry that cook quickly, are perfect for one (you can portion it for an army or a sweet dinner for two), are entirely unique, and have tremendous stage presence.

The stage presence comes from a traditional French spice blend called quatre épices, or four spices. Consisting of cracked black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, the blend is reminiscent of rich medieval dinners, centered around a great long table on which a roasted pig reclines, clenching an apple in its mouth. Highly spiced, and lightly spicy, it is a seasonal je ne sais quoi that makes these little crispy-skinned, succulent game birds special enough, and festive enough, for the holidays

Quatre-Epices Poussins under a Brick
serves 2

Quatre Epices PoussinIngredients

  • 2 poussins, backbone removed and butterflied

  • Salt

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons quatre épices (ingredients follow)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Quatre Épices

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Make the quatre épices by combining all four spices.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Pat the poussins dry with paper towel, and season them well with salt.

Mix 2 1/2 teaspoons quatre épices with 3 tablespoons room temperature butter. Using your hands, spread the butter in a thick layer over the front side of the birds.

In a braising pan, heat the vegetable oil on medium heat.

When the oil is hot, place the poussins skin side down in the pan, and weight them down with one brick well wrapped in foil. Sear for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to the oven.

Bake the poussins in this position, breast side down under the brick, for 30 minutes. Then remove the bricks, and roast them breast side up for 20 minutes. Then rotate them again so that they are breast side down, and replace the bricks for the final 10 minutes. The poussins will cook for 1 hour in total.

 Allow the poussins to rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Categories: 60 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series