Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bagels fait maison

Bagel anyone?

In a large bowl, whisk together:

1 c warm water (as hot as you can stand it and still keep your finger in it)
1 ½ t salt
2 T sugar
2 ¼ t yeast

Add 3 c flour, mixing well. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, adding flour if you need to keep it from sticking. Don’t cheat on the kneading time – it needs to be very well kneaded. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let rest 20 minutes in a warm place, like oven with light on. Pull the dough out and cut it into nine pieces. Shape each piece into a tight ball. I usually pinch the ends together repeatedly to form a tight ball with a “belly button”, but whatever works.

Gently poke a hole through each ball using a rounded handle on a piece of silverware. Twirl the dough around the handle gently until the gap stretches to be one inch wide. Dip the bagel in milk, then place the bagels on a greased cookie sheet. Leave plenty of space for them to rise. Let rise in a warm place 30 minutes.

Boiled first, then baked.

Fill a saucepan ¾ full of water and bring to a boil. Add 3 T sugar or 3 T molasses. Boil the bagels one at a time for 1 minute on either side. Pull out the bagels using a slotted spoon and place them on a cookie sheet or stoneware. Brush tops with beaten egg white. If you want to add toppings like sesame seeds or poppy seeds to the bagels, sprinkle them on now.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brown. Be sure to check the bottom of the bagels for doneness before pulling them out. You might need to flip the bagels for them to cook evenly.

I see bagels in your future

Optional: When adding flour you can also add cinnamon and raisins, garlic, minced onion, blueberries, or any other flavors.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Homemade cottage cheese...

After all my incessant chattering about how I was going to start making cottage cheese from scratch, several of you asked for pictures and details.

The ingredients before: buttermilk (Laban), cream (creme), salt (sel), dry milk (lait ecreme en poudre), and rennet. Oh, and the cheesecloth.

The votes are in and the cheese making was a success. Not a smashing success, mind you, but definitely worth repeating and perfecting. This first attempt came out with a very soft texture, much like chevre (goat cheese)which we also like. Next time I'll let the curd ripen a bit longer and see if that helps.

As this is a work in progress, check for updates before you make this at home. :)

1/4 rennet tablet (an enzyme sold as Junket in grocery stores)
1/2 c cold water
1 gallon skim milk
1/4 c buttermilk (let sit at room temp at least 4 hours before using)
1 t salt
1/3 c cream

Step 1: Milk, buttermilk, and rennet

Crush the rennet and dissolve in water. In a large saucepan heat the skim milk to 70 degrees. Add the buttermilk and rennet solution. Stir well, then stir a little more. Cover with a towel and let it sit 18-24 hours until a firm curd forms, called ripening. To test the curd's readiness, cut a small piece from the edge. If the edges are defined and the curd holds its shape, it's ready.

Step 2: Curds separating from the whey

Cut the curd horizontally, vertically, and diagonally (both ways) at one inch intervals. Heat the curds slowly, one degree per minute, to 120 degrees. Hold temperature for 20-30 minutes, stirring gently every five minutes.

Step 3: Cutting the curds

Pour off the whey then drain the curds in a colander lined with cheesecloth. After 2-3 minutes, lift the curds using the four corners of the cloth and dunk them in cold water 1-2 minutes. Stir the curds well. Repeat this process in ice water.

Step 4: Pouring the curds and whey into strainer

Step 5: Draining the whey

Step 6: More draining

Drain the curds until free from whey and place in a large bowl. Add cream and salt to taste. Chill overnight.

The resulting product

Homemade cottage cheese on salad - yum!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

III's creppy pancakes

III invented this recipe tonight when we couldn't decide on buttermilk pancakes or crepes. So he combined the two.

Berry creppy pancakes

Mix 2 c flour, 2 T sugar, 2 t baking powder, 1 t baking soda, and 1/2 t salt in a large bowl.

In a second bowl mix 2 c buttermilk, 1.5 cup milk, 2 eggs, and 4 T oil.

Add wet to dry and mix well. Let sit 15 minutes to an hour before using to avoid a "flour" taste. Cook in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, flipping once.

Pile of crepes

Serving ideas:
Fresh fruit, like peaches and blackberries
Real maple syrup and cottage cheese (maybe homemade?)
Peanut butter and bananas
Scrambled egg with ham and cheese
Sauteed vegetables, like zucchini and tomatoes, with cheese

The chef himself

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Beer rolls

In my pursuit of finding the perfect bread and roll recipe, I tried to recreate a beer bread I'd had before. This is the recipe I developed and Jonathan has named as his favorite of my bread experiments.

In a large ceramic or oven-safe bowl pour 1.5 cups of room-temperature beer. Let sit 10 minutes then heat in microwave. I judge the temperature by putting my pinky finger in it - if it's too hot to keep my finger in, let it cool a bit. Dissolve 3 Tbsp sugar in beer. Add 1 package yeast and stir once. Let sit 10 minutes until yeast foam covers most of the liquid and you can smell the yeast.

Add 1/3 cup oil, 1 beaten egg, 2 tsp salt, and 3 Tbsp powdered milk. (If you don't have powdered milk, substitute 1/2 warm milk for 1/2 cup beer in first step.) Beat well with whisk. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When dough begins to form, switch to using a heavy spatula to stir. When to thick to stir, dump onto clean, floured surface.

Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. The finished product should not stick to your hands and be smooth, not torn-looking. Keep kneading if necessary.

Oil the ceramic bowl, then roll the dough in it to lightly cover it in oil. Leave the dough in the bowl and brush with milk. Place bowl in slightly warmed oven (about 90 degrees) and brush with milk every 15 minutes.

When the dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and place on floured surface. Knead until you can handle the dough without it sticking. Shape into rolls or loaf and place on baking pan. I like Pampered Chef stoneware, but whatever floats your boat. Brush with milk and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from stoneware.

Other ideas: add 2 tsp powdered garlic and 2 tsp parsley to dough while adding salt. Excellent garlicky dinner rolls! Not so hot with jam for breakfast the next day though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Watermelon pickles

Now that summer fruits are in season, we've been feasting on watermelon! So what's a good southern girl to do with the rinds? Pickle 'em!

In a large bowl mix 1/3 cup salt, 1 cup water, 4 cups watermelon rinds, with all pink and green removed, cut into 1 inch slices, plus water to cover melon. Cover and let soak overnight.

Drain the watermelon rinds and rinse well. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until just tender and begin to turn translucent. Drain well.

In a saucepan mix 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, dash allspice, few drops red food coloring. Simmer 20 minutes.

Pour seasoning mixture over rinds. Simmer ten minutes. Pour pickles into sterilized jars and seal. Cool the refrigerate at least one day before eating.

et voila! The finished product...minus a few sample bites!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Butter chicken curry (Murg Makhani)

Yes, our fantastic meal came from a mix that Hanalee sent to us directly from India. But this is a recipe I found online that seems like it would reproduce it accurately.

Optional marinade for 1 lb chicken pieces overnight
1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 onion chopped very finely, almost paste-like
2 tsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp ginger powder
1 clove crushed garlic
2 drops red food coloring and 1 drop of yellow

For the Sauce
4 large tomatoes, chopped
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp cream
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp powder
salt, pepper, and sugar to taste

Heat 2 Tbsp butter on medium level in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the chicken, 1 chopped onion, 3 crushed garlic cloves, and the marinade (optional). Cover and cook for about 25 minutes or till the chicken is fully cooked. After the liquids have evaporated, stir fry the chicken for some time in the residual fat.
Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a second saucepan and add the chili powder, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and cook uncovered on medium level for about 7 minutes till the puree thickens and the fat separates. Stir in the beaten cream and reduce the heat to low.
Add the chicken and chopped ginger to the simmering sauce. Sprinkle salt to taste if needed. Mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the curry is thoroughly heated through.
Serve over hot rice or alone with naan (Indian bread) and the following topping - not optional.

Thinly slice 2 large onions as if making onion peels. Add 2 cups sour cream (or 2 cups fromage frais), 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and lots of freshly chopped cilantro.

Chai tea

One of the parcels Hanalee sent me from India included perfumed teas that are used to make a sweet, milk tea drink. I have been tweaking my recipe for Chai, so these teas are perfect. I prefer cold Chai in the summer, obviously, but it's also very good hot.

Pour 2 tbsp black loose leafvanilla tea into 1.5 cups water. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer 2 minutes. While simmering, add 1 cinnamon stick, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 3 cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, and a tiny shake of black pepper. Strain the tea then add 2 tbsp dry milk and a splash of cream. Sweeten to taste with honey. Pour over ice and shake until melted. The colder, the better.

Monday, May 23, 2005

III's gray matter...

I know they look...gray, but they were the best blueberry pancakes ever! Jonathan made these on Saturday morning (after washing the dishes before I even woke up!) using a treasured box of muffin mix from the US. They were amazing. You'll have to ask him for the "recipe." I just wanted to share the pictures.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Caesar's best salad

I'm not a die-hard Caesar lover, but this recipe was awesome. I highly recommend it for your next salad experience. My modifications to the original recipe are in italics.

1 cup mayonnaise - 1/4 cup mayo, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup milk
2 T lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed - 6 for us...we're past the dating stage!
2 t Worchestershire sauce
2 t Dijon mustard
2 T parmesan
8 anchovy filets, chopped - I left these out per Jonathan's requests
1 coddled egg

Shake until well mixed. Refridgerate until needed. Pour over romaine lettuce and toss. Top with Parmesan, homemade croutons, and sliced red peppers. And blackened chicken if you want. Oh yum.

Fruit dip

We are so excited that strawberries are in season in Lyon! So just in case we needed help gorging on them, this dip does the trick. Just mix and dunk.

1/2 cup plain yogurt or fromage frais (French blended cottage cheese)
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp articicial sweetener (optional)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

School snack granola

This is a fun, healthy snack recipe that you can play with - the best kind!

2 cups oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose or wheat flour
1/3 cup packed sugar
3/4 cup raisins or chopped fruit (I did apples)
1/2 cup wheat germ (I substituted cornmeal, but any grain will work)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and grease well. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, sugar, raisins/fruit, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts. In a smaller bowl, thoroughly blend oil, honey, egg, and vanilla; pour into the flour mixture, and mix by hand until the liquid is evenly distributed. Press evenly into the prepared baking pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. Cool completely in pan before turning out onto a cutting board and cutting into bars.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Homemade pizza

Oops! You were too late!!!

Make the crust using Oatmeal Bread dough (recipe below), mixing 2 t garlic powder and 1 t thyme in with flour. Press into a cookie sheet after first rising. Cover generously with marinara sauce, at least 1 ½ cups. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella or cheese of your choice, both before and after placing toppings.

Marinara Sauce
We use this basic sauce for pizza, lasagna, and spaghetti. Make it ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to week.
In a saucepan mix 1 can chopped tomatoes, 1 small can tomato paste, 1/8 c. olive oil, ½ c chopped onion, 5 cloves crushed garlic, 2 t sugar, 2 t oregano, 1 t thyme, 1 t basil, and ½ t salt. Optional - add 1 chopped zucchini and 1 grated carrot. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

Suggested toppings:
Mushrooms sautéed with garlic
Onions caramelized by slow-cooking in olive oil
Fresh garlic
Spinach sautéed with garlic
Eggplant sautéed with garlic
Sliced tomatoes
Green or red peppers
Artichoke or palm hearts
Pepperoni or sausage
Ham or bacon
Tuna – not kidding, a French fave

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until crust is done. Brush crust with olive oil, then serve.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Oatmeal breads

Heat 1 c. water in microwave until warm - just barely steaming and not burning your fingertip. Add 1/8 c. sugar and stir to dissolve. Add 1 packet yeast and stir once. Wait until the top of the water is covered in a light foam, about ten minutes. Add ¼ c. oil, ½ t. salt, and 2 T powdered milk (or substitute ½ c. milk for ½ c. water earlier on.) Once well mixed, slowly add 1 3/4 c. flour and 1 c. oatmeal until a soft dough forms.
Kneed the dough on a lightly floured counter for 8 minutes (no cheating!) until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl then roll it around to be sure all of the dough is lightly coated in oil. Place the bowl in a warm place (90 degrees) to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into small pieces and shape them into rolls. I usually cut about 2 T of dough then turn it out and pinch the ends together repeatedly to form a roll. Dip the top of the roll in milk before placing on a baking sheet. Let rise another 30 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden. These make great dinner rolls, hamburger buns, bread, and pizza crust.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Our popcorn secret

Tastes best with a high marshmallow : popcorn ratio, as shown!

Although not a traditional Lyonnais treat, this is our current favorite late night snack. Pop one bag of microwave popcorn and remove the 'old maids.' In a small saucepan melt 1 T butter, 1/4 c brown sugar, and 2-3 handfuls of marshmallows. Once completely melted and smooth, mix in 1 t vanilla. Pour the mixture of salted popcorn and stir well. Dig in!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

French onion soup from Lyon

Melt 1 T. butter in a heavy skillet. Add 2 onions, finely chopped, and cook for ten minutes over low heat. Add 8 c. chicken stock and bring to gentle boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Slice 1 day old baguette (French bread) into thick rounds and place on cookie sheet. Toast until crisp and golden on edges. Place a layer of baguette slices in an overnproof tureen. Sprinkle with grated Gruyère (Swiss) cheese. Alternate layers, ending with cheese. Ladle the soup over the bread and cheese. Place in lowest part of oven and cook for 30 minutes at 350°. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg, 1/4 c. port, and black pepper. When toping in tureen begins to brown, remove from the oven. Using a ladle, gently push aside the crust and remove a cup or so of soup. Pour the soup into the egg mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Pour the egg mixture back into the tureen under the crust. Bake another 10-15 minutes, then serve immediately.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Jonathan's stir-fry

Jonathan stirring the stir-fry and frying the fried-rice

This week we decided that we were craving food from "home" instead of our usual French fare, we made Asian stir-fry! No recipe included since most of you have access to amazing take-out options. Go enjoy them!

Stir-fry on Sunday

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pork medallions with prunes

A simplified version of a traditional recipe.

Filet de porc aux pruneaux

Trim and reserve the fat from 1 lb of pork medallions, sliced 1/2 inch thick. Sauté the medallions in butter for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from pan and keep warm. Cook the pork fat for about 5 minutes in the butter, then remove it. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 grated carrot, fresh thym, and a bay leaf. Let the onions cook slowly until translucent. Spoon off excess oil. Add 1 cup dry white wine and let simmer until almost evaporated. Add 1 cup beef bouillon and let simmer 30 minutes. Add 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup pitted prunes. Simmer 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste and sseason as desired. Place pork medallions in cream sauce and heat 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

This recipe is translated from
Le Cordon Bleu: Régions de France

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cider chicken in mushrooms

The traditional name of this dish is Poulet Vallee d'Auge, named after a valley in Normandy which is known for its cider, cream, apples, and calvados.

Poulet au cidre avec sauce champignons

Saute 5-6 pieces of chicken in 2 T butter, salt, and pepper until golden brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place it in a saucepan, saving the butter mixture. Sprinkle the chicken with calvados (apple brandy) and flambe it. Add 2 chopped shallots and cook on low heat until transparent, but not golden. Pour 2 cups of apple cider over the chicken. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Saute 1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms in the remaining butter for 4 minutes. Add the mushrroms and juice to the chicken and also 1 cup of sour cream. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the chicken.
Continue cooking the sauce until it thickens to coat a spoon. Salt/pepper as needed. Return chicken to the sauce and heat for 2 minutes.
Peel, core, and thinly slice 2 Golden apples. Cook them gently with a little butter. Serve the chicken and sauce over wild rice and garnish with apples and fresh parsley.

This recipe is translated from
Le Cordon Bleu: Régions de France