SEPTEMBER 2021 CHALLENGE - LA CUISINE FRANCAISE!

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Canelés de Bordeaux

This French pastry is rather simple in concept, yet can be extremely challenging to execute. It features a high-heat custard batter, somewhat like crepe batter but in which the starch has been pre-gelatinized. The final product is crunchy on the outside and custardy moist on the inside.

Traditionally, these are flavored with vanilla and rum. Since there was no rum in the cabinet (and it's not French anyway) I substituted kirschwasser, which isn't French either. :)

Batter Preparation:

wet ingredients - whole milk, butter, liqueur, and vanilla are heated while the egg, egg yolk and sugar are whisked together. Then combined.

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dry ingredients - into the wet, fold in sifted flour and a bit of salt.

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the rest - No, "rest" doesn't mean additional ingredients. What you see is what there is; That's all, folks, Rest in this context means a 24-hour nap in the refrigerator.

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Baking Mold Preparation:

According to legend (and the internet) the best molds for this pastry is a specialized copper mold. Those were used for this challenge entry but, honestly, I've made good canelés using silicone molds too. These are "two bite" size - 1 3/4 inch (4.5 mm) diameter by 1 3/4 inch high.

The non-stick coating is a blend of beeswax, butter, and bit of vegetable oil.

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Fill and Bake:

Molds are filled and baked. High heat - 525 degF for 15 minutes, and 400 degF for 35 min. Other temperature-time combinations exist and work too.

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Final Product:

Behold... after getting them out of the molds (not always an easy feat).

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LOL... CHALLENGE OVER... YOU WIN!

I completely agree about Thos. Keller. I eat at Bouchon Bistro as often as possible (never more than once per year, however). Bouchon cookbook is awesome. After flipping though it while waiting to be seated at Bouchon Bistro, I recently bought a copy. My only complaint... it's big and hard to hold. Waaa-waaa-waaa, right? :)

I loved Bouchon as well. I got to eat at the French Laundry just down the road. It was amazing, plus I got a tour of the kitchen and met Chef Keller. On that day, I could die happy.
Loving the French Laundry love! You guys inspired me to bust this French Laundry classic out tonight:
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Sea Bass, Sweet Parsnips, Arrowleaf Spinach, and Saffron-Vanilla Sauce.

But more importantly, I am loving everyone's entries, especially the use of pastry! I read Bill Buford's book about learning to cook in Lyon at the start of the pandemic last spring and he says that the use of pastry in savory dishes was one of the major developments that pushed French cuisine forward past the Italians in the 17th and 18th centuries. I love that idea is so on display here!
 
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
Halfway through the month, and now I get the idea that it might be fun to do a dish showcasing each of the 5 mother sauces. Or 4, or 7, however you prefer to break it down. I like 5. Here's one based on bechemal. I am pretty sure I won't do more than 1 or 2 more entries after this.

The Players

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Butter and flour for the roux, milk for the liquid. Onion and leek for the flavoring.

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A 20 ounce double cut bone in pork chop as the target for the sauce.


The Process

First off, the chop is seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme from the garden. Vacuum sealed in a bag.

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Sous vide, 2 hours, 130F.

Closer to the finish time for the chop, the veggies are prepped.

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Dice the onion and one of the leeks. The other two leeks are just split down the middle.

Make the blonde roux with the butter and flour. Whisk in the milk.

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The onions and diced leek get cooked in butter low and slow, trying not to brown them. After cooking them for about 15 minutes start mixing in the bechemel.


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Once all the bechemel is mixed in with the veggies, the sauce is strained, seasoning adjusted.

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Meanwhile, the two remaining leeks are cooked in butter.

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The pork chop is out of the hot tub, dried off, and goes into the air fryer for about 10 minutes to get browned. A couple slices of bacon get fried and crumbled coarsely.

Time to plate up.

The Product

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That was one honkin' big pork chop! And that sauce, basically onion gravy, was just right paired with that pork. It was a very nice meal.

Next up might be fish with veloute, or perhaps beef or shellfish with bearnaise.

mjb.
 
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Joined Jan 8, 2010
My photography is not nearly as good, neither is my plating, but who cares ;)

Roast chicken..
Since I have no oven, I figured I'll try use my weber smoker.
Recipe is loosely based on Rich Stein's, from "secret France".
I have to admit that I hardly have any French cook books on my kindle. Plenty Asian, bbq etc, but no French.
I digress.

I did a wander through my garden and found that my turnips are ready. I thought those were typically Northern European, or British. I googled them anyway, and it seems they are quite popular in France, called Navets ( https://behind-the-french-menu.blogspot.com/2014/12/traditional-root-vegetables-in-modern.html?m=1), so I used them together with some potatoes, underneath the chicken.

Rub (more like a paste)
Dijon mustard, fresh rosemary, dried thyme, garlic, a fresh chili (couldn't resist), paprika powder and smoked paprika powder, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Half onion and garlic in the cavity
IMG_20210915_132028.jpg IMG_20210915_132737.jpg

Chicken is waiting patiently (and yes, that is a wooden board)
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Turnips and potatoes
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Meanwhile, fire was started
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Placed potatoes and turnips in a dutch oven (maybe I should call it a casserole pot?) and put the rubbed chicken on top

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Closed the smoker and waited....
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End result.
No other pictures as by then my dinner guest had called to say he couldn't make it, so I drank his share of the beers as well ;)
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
For the first of what I hope will be several entries, I made a pretty classic southern-French late summer meal.

First, a plain hearth bread. I didn’t take pictures of the dough and stuff, because why?
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Second, a tian with potatoes, eggplant, and zucchini, with a tomato-pepper sauce and an herbed crumb crust.

The sauce began with onions, peppers, garlic, and olive oil, with some herbes de Provence. Then I added a very ripe yellow tomato (I didn’t pick it for color, really), and stewed it for a while to get really soft and unctuous.
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I boiled some potatoes and trimmed some eggplant and zucchini, then sliced them into thin rounds. The tomato sauce went in the bottom the baking dish, and I layered the slices in a pretty pattern around.
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Olive oil on top, tinfoil, bake at 375 for an hour. When it was time to serve, I mixed up bread crumbs, a little Parmesan, lots of fresh herbs and some garlic, and enough olive oil just to coat, and sprinkled this generously over the top. Then under the broiler just enough to brown, and garnished with basil flowers.
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Third, oeufs mollets gratin with Swiss chard. I boil/simmered eggs 6 minutes and chilled them, then peeled them carefully when they were cold.

In lightly browned butter I sauteed chopped onion, swiss chard stalks, then chopped leaves, until soft. I seasoned with just a hint of nutmeg, because my wife doesn’t like it much.
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Greens on the bottom, eggs nestled in, sprinkled with Comté, coated with bechamel, sprinkled with more Comté, and under the broiler just to get a little bit of color.
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The eggs had the right texture, and with the bread and sauce and so on… delicious!

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Of course tian is always good in season, and even better on the second day.

A couple of French classics.
 

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Pissalidiere verte
I didn't have black olives, that's why ;)
Neither a lot of anchovies, so a bit of a frugal one as well.
But tasty. Very very tasty and will definitely be made again!
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I made a sourdough base (also one of my better attempts).
Slowly cooked onions, just with olive oil. I had to add some water as I could not keep the flame low enough, due to the wind
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Olives and anchovies
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Topped the dough and baked at high heat in my uuni pizza oven.
I forgot to put some thyme in with the onions, so just sprinkled some before baking


Despite the picture below, there was not a single slice left :)
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79
87
Joined Jul 15, 2020
My photography is not nearly as good, neither is my plating, but who cares ;)

Roast chicken..
Since I have no oven, I figured I'll try use my weber smoker.
Recipe is loosely based on Rich Stein's, from "secret France".
I have to admit that I hardly have any French cook books on my kindle. Plenty Asian, bbq etc, but no French.
I digress.

I did a wander through my garden and found that my turnips are ready. I thought those were typically Northern European, or British. I googled them anyway, and it seems they are quite popular in France, called Navets ( https://behind-the-french-menu.blogspot.com/2014/12/traditional-root-vegetables-in-modern.html?m=1), so I used them together with some potatoes, underneath the chicken.

Rub (more like a paste)
Dijon mustard, fresh rosemary, dried thyme, garlic, a fresh chili (couldn't resist), paprika powder and smoked paprika powder, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Half onion and garlic in the cavity
View attachment 70885 View attachment 70889

Chicken is waiting patiently (and yes, that is a wooden board)
View attachment 70891

Turnips and potatoes
View attachment 70892

View attachment 70886

Meanwhile, fire was started
View attachment 70888


Placed potatoes and turnips in a dutch oven (maybe I should call it a casserole pot?) and put the rubbed chicken on top

View attachment 70887

Closed the smoker and waited....
View attachment 70890

End result.
No other pictures as by then my dinner guest had called to say he couldn't make it, so I drank his share of the beers as well ;)
View attachment 70893
Nothing wrong with doing it on the smoker! I have Paul Bocuse's original cookbook from the 70s and he is a big proponent of open hearth cooking over a wood fire. He laments that many chefs at that time didn't know how to do it anymore. So good for you and perfectly in theme!
 
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Joined Jul 15, 2020
Butzy does not have an oven and cooks mostly in an outdoor kitchen. Pulls off great food too.
Yeah, I saw that in her post. Since she mentioned not having many French books, I thought she would like to know the Pope of French Cuisine would approved whole heartedly of her outdoor cookery!
 
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So it's a fancy popover with a froo froo name? Very French.
I know you're trying to make a joke here, but do you realize that can be demeaning ?

So you've never had a canelé, don't know what it is, bastardize it by saying that it's the same thing as some American dish that vaguely looks like it, mock the name and make a sweeping judgment about another culture?

I'm not sure when or why it became accepted on this forum to mock the French but I know this type of comment would be deemed unacceptable toward other cultures or ethnicities that are, in America, historically more sensitive to racial slurs. I wish my culture would deserve the same respect.

A canelé is nothing like a popover. The name may appear "frou frou" to you because to you it's a foreign language that you feel sound funny? It's just an adjective to me, based on the shape of the mold that is used to bake the cannelé in. Just like you say tri-tip because of the triangle shape of the piece of beef.

I invite you to give a canelé a try next time you get an opportunity. It's closer to a portable, hand-held crème brulée than to a popover.
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
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Yes, I do feel French cuisine is over-credited for the results as I experience them,--my taste preferences. I feel similarly about Ethiopian and Korean food off hand as well.

Demeaning jokes are a humor form I dislike. I've posted about that here a few different times, such as practical jokes, hazing, and many popular comedians.

I am guilty as noted.
 
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
Yes, I do feel French cuisine is over-credited for the results as I experience them,--my taste preferences. I feel similarly about Ethiopian and Korean food off hand as well.
Ok phatch. That's your opinion and I can respect that.

Demeaning jokes are a humor form I dislike. I've posted about that here a few different times, such as practical jokes, hazing, and many popular comedians.

I am guilty as noted.
Ok, sincerely I do appreciate you posting that. My whole point wasn't about your opinion of French cuisine or the potential exaggeration of its reputation or level of recognition, but about the joke which I felt was harmful. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way. But I did feel the need to point out how I felt about it. That is done, and I was acknowledged, thank you for that. We can now move on to more serious matters — the food.

I shall come back shortly and post a couple of dishes for this challenge. It's been too long since I participated, and I don't have any excuses to miss that one! :D
 
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Ratatouille with Merguez and couscous!

1. First, I lightly sauté onions with red bell peppers in olive oil.
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2. In one pan, I sauté zuchinis in olive oil and finish with minced garlic (barely cooked). In another, I sauté eggplants in olive oil.
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3. I add minced tomatoes to the bell peppers and onions and continue to render until the tomatoes lose their water.
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4. I then add the zuchinis and eggplants.

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5. Mix them up and let cook for another 10—15mn.
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6. Temper the merguez sausages:
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7. Grill the merguez:
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8. Plate with some freshly steamed couscous, along with a nice glass of Morillon by Jeff Carrel, a unique dry white wine made from grapes infected with Botrytis (a.k.a. noble rot) which are normally reserved for sweet wines such as Sauternes.
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535
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Green beans with herb crusted rack of pork ribs
French cooking is not only the fancy elegant refined complex dishes you get from michelin-starred expensive restaurants. It's also about down to earth family cooking. It starts with locally sourced quality fresh ingredients, careful unhurried preparation, with the constant goal of getting the maximum flavor out of the products.

1. The green beans were harvested yesterday night by a local farmer, I bought them early this morning at the local market.
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2. My wife handles the green beans: she simmers them in salted water, then sauté them in butter with garlic and parsley. The hazelnut-like smell of lightly browned butter fills the house!
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3. Pork ribs from a local farmer. These little piggies were raised less than 10 miles from home.
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4. Marinade ingredients: Alsace wine...
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5. ... wild thyme from my yard (it smells very flowery) ...
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6. ... chives ... (that mint sprig just HAD to be in the picture)
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7. ... herbs in the blender with an onion, parsley, dijon mustard, olive oil, dash of soy sauce ...
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8. ... and on the ribs!
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9. The ribs are in the oven, low and slow for 8 or 9 hours (at this temp, who's counting?) - Can you spot me taking the picture with my phone?
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10. Ready! Beautifully golden brown and delicious! See all the sucs at the bottom of the pan? Let's deglaze them....
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...
 
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Pain de Mie

It might look like white bread with “a froo froo name”, and it is a basic white bread baked in a loaf pan, but it’s a high-end sandwich bread that’s rich in butter and flavor. This was a “recipe test”… from American Boulangerie by Pascal Rigo.

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At lunchtime I’ll schear with this:

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Pate de Campagne, FROMI Briehirousse d’Argental, FROMAGERIES PAPILLON Revelation Roquefort… and, of course, a few cornicons.

And in a nod to last month’s challenge, it will all be enjoyed with a

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