Duck Confit and wild mushrooms winter tourte

 

This is fabulous recipe I use to make back in France for the Holidays . Originally the recipe called for fresh duck breasts and fresh duck foie gras….the foie gras bringing enough fat to the otherwise dry breasts making for the perfect Holiday dish . Now living in California where such delicacy has been banned ( and I have to say that our own livers have also a hard time digesting it too now ) I have modified my recipe to something just as delicious and tasty but healthier, much easier to digest and also legal !! No need to smuggle foie gras on your next trip to France ! 

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Serve it with a wild arugula salad , caramelized pears and pecan with a basalmic vinaigrette .

 

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But before to get there you first have to make your own duck confit as it is just impossible to find some here . Duck confit is one of the most delicious way to eat duck , even for those who do not care for duck as it is cured in such a way that it falls of the bones and melt in your mouth . I just wish we could find fattier duck legs with a thick fat skin but I still got delicious results with the legs I find at Whole Foods . Once cooked the duck confit legs can be kept in the duck fat for months in the fridge making the whole process easier as many steps can be done in advance .

Making duck Confit legs at home :

It is a “long” process but a very easy one , so don’t panic !

First cure the legs with sea salt rubbing the duck . Lay flat in a baking sheet and put in the fridge for 15 to maximum 20 hours ( any longer and your duck will be way too salty ) Then rinse well and pat dry . I would make as many as possible since they preserve so long . You will need 5 legs for a tourte …but a duck confit leg with a crispy skin served on a potatoe gratin is also a fabulous dinner any day !

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In a crock pot put the duck legs and cover with melted duck fat . You can buy duck fat at specialty stores like Whole Foods . It comes in small containers and looks solid . Buy as much as you need to cover all the duck ….this will also preserve the duck once cooked and can be used over and over ….also tastiest way to saute some potatoes ! I always have some in my fridge ….DSCN8586 [1280x768].JPG

Simmer at a very low temperature 70F to maximum 80F so the fat does not boil for about 6 to 8 hours .This is when the crock pot comes in handy ….but I could not adjust the temperature on mine so I had to go from “low ” setting  to ” keep warm”  in order to keep the temperature under control . When the meat is super tender , put in a container and cover totally with the duck fat . Store in the fridge .DSCN8587 [1280x768].JPG

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The day you want to make the duck tourte , take the duck out and warm up to melt the fat. Boil some thick potatoe slices . When almost cooked , drain and lay on a baking pan . Display the duck legs on top and put in oven to broil until the skin gets crispy and gold. DSCN8802 [1280x768].JPG

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For a 12″ round pie mold big enough to serve 8 people :

Pull the crispy skin and duck meat off the bones of 5 legs , lightly mash about one big cooked potato ( the one sliced that was under the duck in the oven ), mash slightly a small jar of cooked and peeled chestnuts. Rehydrate a bag of wild dry mushrooms ( 25grs from Trader Joes ) then saute in butter with a bag of sliced crimimi mushrooms ( 10oz bag chopped ). Once all the water is evaporated ad to the meat + 2 eggs and 20ml of whipping cream , pepper , NO salt .Mix well DSCN8804 [1280x768].JPG

You will need a package of 2 frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff pastry sheets . Defrost the day before . Roll flat the 1st sheet and lay inside the pie mold. Fill with meat mix , cover with the second puff pastry sheet using water or egg white to “glue” the 2 together . Decorate with the rest of dough .Make a small chimney so the steam can get out and keep the crust crunchy , brush with egg yolk so it will get a nice color and bake for a bout 45 mns at 375F or less. Serve warm not hot .DSCN8815 [1280x768].JPG

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And voila !

Recipe for the Holidays

Cardon de Noel is a traditional vegetable dish for Christmas in Provence. You can find some during the Holiday season in the Italian markets like Mona Lisa ( Cardone ) Italian usually just fry them but we make them in a light cream sauce . The delicate flavor tastes like artichoke bottoms and pair very well with truffles . It is simply delicious and I wish I could find some year round ! Here is the way to prepare them …not complicated but the preparation on the vegetable is a bit labor intensive . The best would be to find super fresh young cardone , as white as possible ( that makes it easier to clean ) but it’s not always the case …They look like big celery stalks but are a bit “furry” and more grey .

Recipe

RecipeYou have to remove all the threads like for celery ….and there are always a lot ! Wear gloves as it will stain your hands . Put in a bucket of cold water with a lemon juice or the cardone will turn black .

Recipe

Recipe

Recipe

Recipe

RecipeIn a large pot , boil water ; salt and sift in a large tablespoon of flour without making lumps. This will whiten the cardon as it cooks . Boil slowly for about an hour or until soft and tender . You probably will have to ad some water from time to time .

 Pierre is just over looking my job today !

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Recipe

 

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recipeStrain in a colander …this can all be done in advance and put in the fridge to keep straining . The day you want to eat it just a make a light consistency white sauce or “bechamel sauce ” This is the most basic of all french sauces ….but I remember it took me a year to master when I was 18 and just moved out of my parent’s home and in with Pascal my husband  ….some 30 years ago now ! Since then I never weigh or measure anything and always just make a perfect bechamel ( put a good chunk of butter in a sauce pan , when bubbly ad the flour and “foam ” to make a “roux” …ad more flour as needed to thicken your roux and your sauce later ; ad milk and whisk non stop , keep adding milk until reach the right consistency , then ad a small container of whipping cream .)  For this recipe you want it to be pretty liquid like an “english cream ”  and you want to make more than enough so your vegetable is swimming in the sauce because as you bake it in the oven it will thicken and reduce . I do not put any cheese or other seasoning as it kill the delicate flavor ….only a good shaved truffle  is perfect addition . bake for 30mns or so until gold on top and serve .This dish goes perfectly with any poultry . Hope you like it !

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recipe




Rabbit or Chicken with black olive tapenade and potatoes with bay leaves

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DSC00637 [Desktop Resolution].JPGThis is a traditional recipe from Provence with bold mediterranean flavors. It’s also  very healthy and  delicious ! 

This recipe is normally made with rabbit…a common meat in France , very lean and tasty. Here it is hard to come by rabbit but I found some at Siesel meat market in Bay park near Morena Bvd in their frozen section. ( 1 rabbit cut into parts : legs, trunk in 2 or 3 pieces, liver…will serve 6 people )  You can also use chicken thighs ( skinless ), breast would be too dry. ( count maybe 2 thighs per person )

In a cast iron pot , saute the meat in olive oil until brown. Ad , 4-6 thin slices of pancetta , 2 large onions chopped in cubes, 1 shallot chopped and toss until onions are soft and gold . Pour in 1/2 a bottle of white wine ( it should not cover the meat entirely but come half way ) Do Not Salt or pepper ( a lot in the pancetta ) , cover and simmer for about 1 hour. There should always be some liquid but it is not a liquidy stew…more like a “civet ” . In a pan , saute 1 pack of small white button mushrooms and 1 pack of small crimini mushrooms washed and cut into 4 pieces . Cook until  all the water has evaporate. Set aside. Remove the pit of some black olives and cut in small pieces ( but not chopped) , set aside. When the meat is tender ad the mushrooms and olives, turn a few times and remove from the stove to let cool down over night. This is much better the next day ….and this way you can prepare it in advance. The following day ; just re heat the stew ; when hot  ad 80grs  of Black Tapenade ( about 1 jar ) and serve with some fresh linguine or some baked potatoes with bay leaves : Cut the potatoes so you can insert some bay leaves ( do not cut the potatoes all the way so they stay together) , 2 cuts per potatoe.

Display in a baking dish, ad a few spoons of chicken broth at the bottom, drizzel with olive oil, salt. Bake in the oven 350F for a bout 1 hour or until cooked. ( for a faster version , cover and cook in the microwave for 10mns then put in the oven for the finishing crispness.

Enjoy it !

White peaches in lemon verbena syrup / yellow peaches in lavender honey syrup

Peaches are in season right now and so delicious ! This is a very easy recipe that makes a fantastic fresh summer desert …..

For 4 to 6 white peaches :

Boil some water and pour over the peaches . Let stand a few minutes. Strain and peal . Cut the peaches in quaters.

In 80cl of water , disolve on medium heat about 200 grs of sugar ( more or less depending on how sweet the peaches are )  .Take to a boil for a few minutes and ad a bunch of fresh lemon verbena leaves ( I grow my own , but you can find some at Hillcrest Farmers market). Let stand covered to infuse the verbena . Remove the leaves and gently put the peaches quaters into that syrup . Simmer for 10-15 mns until peaches are poached. Ad some new fesh verbena leaves and cool down in the fridge . Serve very cold with some syrup and some leaves .

This recipe can be done also with yellow peaches . Instead  of sugar , I use lavender honey in the same proportions and ad long zests of citrus fruits ( grapefruit, orange and lemon ) witch I serve with the fruits . The mix of lavender honey and zests is fantastic .

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Voila !! Thanks Pierre for an other great recipe 🙂

 

Roasted apricots with lavender honey

 

DSC_4867 [Desktop Resolution].JPGIt is apricot season ! One of my favorite way to eat them is simply roasted….the twist ??  Some lavender honey  ! Place the apricots cut side up in an earthenware baking dish. Sprinkle with some lavender flowers( very little or it could be too pungent) . If your apricots are not too sweet ad some sugar ( 2-4 tbs) . Bake in the owen 350F . When they start to soften and releasing their juice ad some lavender honey ( up to your taste about 4 tbs) and a couple of tablespoons of sweet wine ( Muscat de Beaumes de Venise …this one is my favorite because it’s so close to my home town in Provence) Finish to roast until a bit brown. Serve still warm with some fresh made whipped cream or panacotta gelato. Personally I serve them with some home made lavender honey ice cream and almond “tuiles” a traditional cookie shaped like a roof tile . This recipe will transport you to Provence !

“Clafoutis aux cerises ” or traditional french cherry cake.

It is cherry season again !! Time to make some cherry cake or as we say “clafoutis” in Provence. This is a very simple recipe that sure will delect eveybody.

 

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For 6 people and a round baking dish about 10″ diameter  2 ” deep :

Butter the botton of the mold .Then fill it up with enough cherries to cover the mold entirely and almost have a partial second layer of fruits ( you’ll need almost 2 pounds of fruits ) .Pit the cherries carefully !!

Cover the fruits with a batter made with :

2 eggs lightly beaten , 200ml of whipping cream,

50grs of grounded almonds ( about 4 tablespoons ) available at Trader Joes . Ralph and Whole foods also sell almond meal

75grs of self rising flour  ( about 4 tablespoons ) , 40 grs of melted butter , 75 to 100 grs of sugar depending on how sweet or not the cherries are ( 4 to 6 tbs ) , vanilla ( extract or beans) and a dash of a good dark rhum .

( please note that the tablespoons measurements are really approximative….my mum said a couple of soup spoons = 2 tbs ??  I measure in grams not in tbs…..measuring in grams will give you the perfect result and you won’t take the chance to have  a cake to heavy in flour ….)

Sprinkle with some coarse crystallized sugar and a few sliced almonds .Bake at 350F for about 30 to 40 mns ( until knife comes out clean and cake is golden brown )

Serve with some panacotta ice cream or vanilla ice cream. I think that cake is best eaten a few hours after it’s done …almost still a bit warm so I try to make it late afternoon if we’ll have it for dinner. It gets a bit soggy the next day with the moisture of the fruits.

 

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