Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel (Part VIII)

RECIPE: Challah Pain Perdu
Challah Pain Perdu

Challah Pain Perdu

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Challah Pain Perdu


Ingredient list to come


Begin by making the crème anglaise. Heat the half and half in a saucepot over medium heat.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a hand mixer until they are light and pale in color.

Very slowly stream the hot half and half, while mixing, into the sugar-yolk mixture.

Return the mixture to the saucepot and heat over medium heat. Add the vanilla. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the crème anglaise coats is thick and coats the back of the spoons. Pass through a strainer so that any bits of egg that have scrambled will be removed. Allow to cool only slightly while you assemble the pain perdu.

Whisk together the half and half, sugar, honey, and eggs. In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoons of butter. Press the challah, one piece at a time, into the custard, flipping once, so the bread has a chance to soak it up, but not to become overly saturated. Sauté the custard-soaked bread about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden, in batches, using more butter as necessary.

Dust powdered sugar over the top of the pain perdu. Serve with the crème anglaise.

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Categories: Recipes

Santa Baby (Part I)

RECIPE: Baguette Croutes with Brie, Avocado Mousse, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas–although, I do love Bing Crosby. To me, Christmas is all about the colors of mistletoe: red and green. Christmas is about love, after all, isn’t it?

So this month, for Serious Eats, I put together four turned-out red and green French Revolution recipes: Baguette Croutes with Brie, Avocado Mousse, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes; Green Penne with Spinach Pistou, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and Filet; Red and Green Mash made from potatoes, beets, goat cheese, fines herbes, and creme fraiche; and White Chocolate Bark with Almonds, Fresh Mint, and Dried Berries. Click on the recipe names under the photos for the recipes.

So, Santa Baby, I recommend that you hurry down the chimney tonight. I’ll be waiting under the red and green.

Baguette Croutes with Brie, Avocado Mousse, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 1 avocado

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

  • 2/3 baguette, cut on a diagonal into 24 ¼-inch slices

  • Olive oil for drizzling

  • 1/2 pound of brie, cut into 24 pieces

  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, julienned, or cut into strips


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Prepare the avocado mousse by mashing the ripe avocado with the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper with a potato masher. Put away the masher, and switch to a hand mixer, whipping the avocado for a minute so that it becomes even more smooth.

In another bowl, whip the heavy cream. Then, using a silicone spatula, fold the cream in batches into the avocado mixture. By the end, you will have avocado mousse.

Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season lightly with salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the croutes are crisp and golden.

Remove the baguette croutes from the oven, and while they are still hot, place one piece of brie on each toast of baguette, so the heat from the bread just begins to melt the brie. Spoon some avocado mousse on the brie, and top with a few slivers of sun-dried tomato.

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Categories: Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Vegetarian

Santa Baby (Part II)

RECIPE: Green Penne with Basil-Spinach Pistou, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and Fillet

Green Penne with Basil-Spinach Pistou, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and Fillet

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Green Penne with Basil-Spinach Pistou, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and Fillet
serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes

  • 3/4 pound of beef filet

  • 1 pound of spinach penne rigate

  • 2 cups of baby spinach, plus 1 cup, packed

  • 1 cup of basil, packed

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, separated

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • Pecorino Romano to taste


Preheat the oven to 425°F and bring a large pot of water to boil.

Toss the tomatoes on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes at 425°F.

Season the filet with salt and pepper, liberally, on both sides. Heat a sauté pan on high until it is very hot, quickly add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sear the steak, 6 minutes on each side. Put it aside to rest.

When the water is boiling, salt the water, and cook the green penne to al dente.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Put the 1 cup of basil, 2 cups of spinach, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper into the food processor and pulse to break it down. Run the machine, and stream in 1/2 cup of olive oil.

Slice the steak into 1-inch cubes. Julienne 1 cup of spinach. Put the tomatoes, steak, spinach, pesto, and cream in the bottom of large bowl. Drain the pasta from the water, and toss, adding a couple of spoonfuls of pasta water if the sauce needs thinning.

Grate Pecorino Romano down over the top of the hot pasta.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes

Santa Baby (Part III)

RECIPE: Red and Green Mash
Red and Green Mash

Red and Green Mash

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Red and Green Mash

Ingredients for Red Mash

  • 6 small-medium boiler potatoes, peeled

  • 1 small beet, peeled, trimmed, and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 milk, plus 1/2 cup, plus more if desired to thin out potatoes

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons goat cheese

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for Green Mash

  • 6 small-medium boiler potatoes, peeled

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chervil

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche

  • 1/4 cup milk, plus more if desired to thin out potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Salt and pepper

Procedure for the Red and the Green Mash

Put all 12 potatoes in a stock pot, just cover with cold water, and cover the pot with a lid. Bring the water to a boil, season with salt, and cook until the potatoes are tender—about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, simmer the beet slices in 1/2 cup of milk until the beet is just tender—about 15 minutes. You’ll want to heat the milk on medium until it simmers, and then lower the heat to low for the rest of the cooking process.

Next, begin work on the Green Mash. Place the chervil, parsley, chives, and tarragon with salt and pepper and crème fraîche in a small food processor and blend until completely smooth and green.

When the beet has finished cooking, add the beet and the milk that it cooked in, along with another 1/2 cup of warm milk, into a small food processor, and blend until smooth.

Using a ricer, mash 6 potatoes into one large bowl, and 6 potatoes into another large bowl.

For the Green mash, add 1/4 cup of hot milk, 1 tablespoon of butter, and the herbed crème fraîche to one bowl of potatoes. Mix until thoroughly combined.

For the Red Mash, add the beet mixture, the goat cheese, and the butter, and mix until thoroughly combined.

At this point, season both mashes separately, and assess the consistency of the potatoes. For a thinner mash, add more milk, a little a time, until you are satisfied. The original recipe makes very potato-y mash.

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Categories: Recipes

Santa Baby (Part IV)

RECIPE: White Chocolate Bark with Fresh Mint, Almonds, and Dried Berries
White Chocolate Bark with Mint and Berries

White Chocolate Bark with Mint and Berries

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White Chocolate Bark with Fresh Mint, Almonds, and Dried Berries

  • 8 ounces of good white chocolate, chopped up

  • 15 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade

  • 20 dried raspberries

  • 6 dried strawberries

  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds


Set up a double boiler, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water in the pot beneath. Add the chopped white chocolate to the bowl.

While the chocolate is melting, chiffonade the mint, and chop the dried berries. You want all the ingredients to be about the same size and shape as the almond slivers.

Pour the melted chocolate onto parchment, and sprinkle the toppings on the chocolate, pressing lightly to set them.

Refrigerate the chocolate for two hours, then invert the hard block onto a cutting board, and peel off the wax paper. Turn it around again so the toppings face up, and use a knife to cut the bark into shards.

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Categories: Recipes

Like Water for Chocolate: Framboise-Framboise Brownies

RECIPE: Framboise-Framboise Brownies
Framboise Framboise Brownies

Framboise-Framboise Brownies

From what I understand, human beings are seventy percent water. Perhaps that is where the expression “eau de vie” comes from: water of life. But, as most girls would agree, if I could pull a great switcheroo, I would. I would trade water, for chocolate.

If I were seventy percent chocolate, I would never have a care in the world. PMS would no longer exist. Absolutely everyone would love me, crave me, find themselves inexplicably drawn to me. Heroin would have nothing on me; I would be the subject of the entire world’s addiction. I have a feeling I would go very far in my vie, if my eau de vie were chocolat.

But I suppose there are certain risks involved that must be considered. For example, my Framboise-Framboise Brownies are ninety-five percent chocolate, and they never made it very far at all. In fact, they never made it past the plate, and they only stayed there a matter of a few excruciating hours of longing. If I were going to trade my water for chocolate, I would have to make very sure that my chocolate were not dark cocoa fudge studded with chips of white chocolate.

And I would have to be very careful never to wear pink. For my Framboise-Framboise Brownies are enrobed in a frosting of fresh-bitten raspberries. They are also spiked with real eau de vie: Framboise, raspberry brandy. They were dangerously irresistible, and, well, I require the freedom of choice, which the poor little dears never had.

No, trading water for chocolate, exchanging the eau de ma vie, is too dangerous. For you see, there are no brownies left! I am irresistible to Mr. English, and I suppose that will have to be enough.

So, I’ll just keep my eau de vie, and enhance it with a bit of eau de parfum. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go lick the bowl from my next batch of Framboise-Framboise Brownies.


Framboise-Framboise Brownies

Framboise Framboise BrowniesIngredients

  • 1 box Duncan Hines brownie mix

  • 2 eggs

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

  • 2 tablespoons of Framboise

  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries, which will yield 3 tablespoons of juice, thawed

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Spray an 8x8 brownie pan with nonstick cooking spray

  3. In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, eggs, oil, water, white chocolate chips, and Framboise. Mix until just combined. Pour into the greased brownie pan.

  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Insert a toothpick—it should come out clean.

  5. Leave the brownies to cool in the pan, and when they set and only slightly warm, remove them to a cooling rack to complete the process.

  6. Meanwhile, make the raspberry glaze. Place the thawed raspberries in the blender, and purée completely. Pass through a fine sieve—the berries should yield 3 tablespoons of ruby red juice. Be sure to measure the juice, and not just the berries, and the texture of the glaze depends on it.

  7. Combine the raspberry juice, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar. Spread evenly on top of the completely cool brownies. Allow to set for 15 minutes.

  8. Cut into little squares and try not to eat them all at once!

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Categories: Chocolate, Desserts, Eat, Recipes, Vegetarian


RECIPE: Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding

Scroll down for recipes that say Thanksgiving with a French accent: Provencal Turkey Roast with Riesling, Potato Gratin and Baguette Stuffing Tart, Thoroughly Modern Haricots Verts Amandine, and Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding. These recipes come from my SeriousEats.com article Thanksgiving with a French Accent.

By the looks of my family’s Thanksgiving, it is easily believed that the Pilgrims were French women dressed in hourglass imitation Diors and swaddled in not-imitation furs—or at least, that’s how my grandmother looks in the portrait I have of her on the deck of her ocean liner as she entered New York harbor for the first time with a young, unrecognizable version of my mother in bangs in tow. The Indians were mostly the greengrocers on the corner near their new Queens apartment.

I am not sure when they took up the Thanksgiving sport, but when I was young our Thanksgiving dinner on 68th Street in Manhattan bore so little resemblance to Plymouth that no one thought it amiss that I ate hotdogs and thought stuffing positively repugnant. Soggy bread? Ew, I decided. They gave me cornbread at school—I spat it indiscreetly and resolutely into my napkin. So dry it turned my tongue into a dessicated sponge. As M. le Norman puts it (my mother’s Normandy-hailing boyfriend of many years): “Maize existe seulement pour les cochons!” Yes, corn exists exclusively for pigs.

But then I tried pumpkin pie. Maybe American food wasn’t so bad after all! My family regarded the fairytale gourd with curiosity, and then dismissal. No, absolutely not, it’s unnatural, they swore. To them, the evil face of Jack-O-Lantern stared through every ridged orange façade. But the pie was so good! Eventually, I talked myself into turkey. And by the time I was eighteen, I ate cornbread. Stuffing didn’t come until my early twenties, but then at last my Thanksgiving meal was complete after all.

Despite the quirky picture they painted, every year, my family consistently gathered for Thanksgiving, and as I was the lone American in the group, it was always at our house. It was as though they were all woman, and I was the sole man on the dancefloor. They waited for me to take the lead, and so I made the meal. I always dreamed up French versions of all the traditionals. I usually make Herbes de Provence-roasted turkey instead of plain, haricots verts amandine and pomegranate braised wild mushrooms instead of green bean and cream of mushroom soup casserole, potatoes au gratin instead of mashed potatoes, and a granita made from Norman apple cider instead of apple pie. I did a menu called Thanksgiving with a French Accent for SeriousEats.com this year, and I wrote there that I do that because my family celebrates a different kind of Thanksgiving. No, we weren’t at Plymouth, and don’t have the Indians to thank for our survival. Mémé had her fur coat and didn’t arrive here freezing and riddled with scurvy. No, she would never have tolerated that—scurvy ruins the complexion! Our Thanksgiving is a time to say “Merci aux Etats-Unis”: for good fortune, for opportunity, for freedom, for acceptance, for a bite out of the American dream, and a slice of that pumpkin-flavored American pie. And so every year, remembering where we came from, and where we happily are now, we say “Thank You” with a French accent. A “Merci” to New York and to America. Merci bien.

My recipes this year are a quick and simple French Thanksgiving for six. The turkey is a boneless turkey breast roast that pays homage to the far-flung regions of France. It is braised in stock spiked with Alsatian Riesling. It is crusted with the mustard of Dijon. It is rubbed with the garlic and Herbes de Provence and olive oil of the south, and the caramelized shallot gravy makes something of a Provençal pissaladiere of the turkey breast. Our traditional potatoes au gratin get a makeover based on a tart I made at the Escoffier school at the Ritz in Paris. The cream-boiled potatoes are laid in a tart crust, and covered with my version of stuffing: baguette soaked in the herby cream of the potatoes, and baked to a crust. These haricots verts amandine are a thoroughly modern take on the classic, coating the crisp green beans with almond crumbs and lemon zest. A respite from the heavy rest of the meal. And for dessert—something decadent, but still tolerably French enough for my relatives: pumpkin brioche bread pudding. Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow, Americans, and comme toujours…BON APP!

For the eloquent complete versions of these recipes, please follow the links provided to SeriousEats. The main menu begins HERE.

Provençal Roast Turkey with Riesling

Provençal Roast Turkey with Riesling

Provençal Turkey Roast with Riesling

1 4- to 4 1/2-pound pound turkey breast roast, without bones, tied by your butcher

2 tablespoons of Herbes de Provence

8 sage leaves

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 carrots, sliced on a bias into chunks

10 cipollini onions, peeled

1 cup of low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup of dry Riesling wine

2 tablespoons of butter

3 shallots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of flour

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Set the turkey breast roast in a roasting pan and make the rub by mixing together the Herbes de Provence, chopped fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and garlic. Use your hands to pack the herb paste on the meat, and rub it all over the roast.
  • Toss the chunks of carrots and cipollini onions with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Scatter in the roasting pan on either side of the turkey.
  • Pour the stock and Riesling into the bottom of the roasting pan around the turkey. Roast for 2 hours, basting occasionally.
  • To make a quick gravy while the turkey rests, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the shallots, and sauté for 5 minutes until they are translucent. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the roasting sauce and turkey juices, and whisk until thickened—about 3 or 4 more minutes.
  • Cut the string off the turkey, and slice the roast. Serve with the roasted vegetables alongside and gravy on top.

Potato Gratin and Baguette Stuffing Tart

Potato Gratin and Baguette Stuffing Tart

Potato Gratin and Baguette Stuffing Tart

1 premade pie crust

5 large boiler potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

3 cups of half and half

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs of thyme

A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of butter, plus a bit extra

½ baguette, cut into a ½-inch dice

1 slice of prosciutto, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out the cold pie crust so that it fits into a 10-inch pie crust. Cover the bottom with dry beans and bake for about 18 minutes, until the crust is ¾ of the way cooked. Put to the side.
  3. Meanwhile, add the potatoes, half and half, bay leaves, thyme, and nutmeg, along with a good amount of salt and pepper, to a saucepot. Bring to a low simmer, and simmer, mostly covered, for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes, but reserve the cooking cream. Discard the bay leaves and thyme stems.
  4. Sauté the onions for 15 minutes in 2 tablespoons of butter, so that they soften, but do not take on color. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread the onions on the bottom of the pie crust. Follow with the potatoes, and then the prosciutto. Pour ½ cup of the reserved cooking cream over the potatoes.
  6. Pour enough of the reserved cooking cream over the baguette cubes to saturate (most of the liquid). Allow them to soak up the liquid, then, using your hands (this will be messy!), lift them out, allowing the excess to drip off, but allowing them also to retain the moisture they have absorbed. Place a layer of baguette over the potato tart. Top with a few dabs of bottom to facilitate the browning of the tart.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, until the top of the baguettes are crisp, and the pie crust is golden. Serve in wedges.

Thoroughly Modern Haricots Verts Almondine

Thoroughly Modern Haricots Verts Almondine

Thoroughly Modern Haricots Verts Amandine

1 1/2 pounds of haricot verts, trimmed

2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cubed

Zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup of toasted almonds, pulsed in the food processor until they look like chunky almond crumbs

  1. To toast your almonds, scatter them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let them cool before chopping the food processor.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it.
  3. Drop the haricots verts into the water for 3 to 4 minutes—just until they are no longer raw.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the 2 tablespoons of cold butter into little chunks and place them at the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
  5. Drain the haricots verts and immediately toss with the butter, and the zest of the lemon, plus salt and pepper to taste. The heat from the haricots verts should just melt the butter.
  6. Place into a serving bowl, and scatter the toasted almonds crumbs over the top.
Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Brioche Bread PuddingIngredients

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • 1 1/3 cups cream

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree (from a can)

  • 1 11-ounce loaf of brioche, with most of the crust cut off, cut into 1-inch cubes


  1. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, and add in the sugar, and beat to incorporate. Add the milk, cream, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin, and whisk to combine.

  2. Tumble in the cubes of brioche, and allow to sit for 30-40 minutes, until most of the custard has been absorbed.

  3. Bake in a buttered casserole dish in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream.

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Categories: Desserts, Eat, Recipes, Vegetarian