Monday, February 28, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Olive Oil Loaf

Savory loafs are really one of the easiest recipes in my cooking repertoire. It's literally ready in minutes, and it's a wonderfully versatile recipe that you can adapt to leftovers in your pantry. You can substitute the cheeses to suit your preference, add scallions, artichoke hearts, prosciutto, olives, any herbs of your choosing... It's really adaptable to any season and any taste. I like to serve it in small slices to complement a cheese platter, for any aperitif snack food or serve it warm with a nice crisp salad. It also makes for a wonderful afternoon snack if you don't want to indulge in something too sweet.

Savory loves are quite common in France, and are misleadingly called 'cake'! I grew up eating many different variations of the recipe I bring you today and I still enjoy them just as much today.

Sun Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Olive Oil Loaf

3 eggs
1/4 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of grated Gruyere, tightly packed
70 grams of crumbled soft goat cheese
8 large sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and coarsely chopped
2 tsp of fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the 3 eggs, wine, olive oil and cream. Once homogeneous, add the flour and baking powder and whisk. Fold in the Gruyere and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Take out the loaf batter and fold in the goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the batter into a greased standard loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If the loaf starts to brown too much, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and continue to bake. Let cool for a few minutes and unmold. Enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lobster, Tarragon Mayonnaise and Truffled Potato Puree

Here is a little glimpse of the meal we enjoyed for Valentine's day. I opened my fridge to find that two big live lobsters had somehow made their way to my kitchen, and I couldn't be happier. I'm not usually a big fan of surprises, but this one was definitely a much appreciated one! While we were preparing the lobster, we made a quick homemade tarragon and caper mayonnaise and a potato puree that we served with a drizzle of truffle oil. This was one of the best meals I've had this month and felt like a little glimpse of summer in the middle of the wintertime. What did you have for your Valentine's day menu?

If you've never made homemade mayonnaise, I would encourage you to make your first batch as soon as you have a minute. It really does not take long to make and tastes so much better than the store bought kinds. I like flavoring mayonnaise - like this one, with tarragon and capers- so that the sauce always feel special. It was really a treat with a meaty lobster tail! We simply boiled the lobster in salty water until just cooked. As for the potatoes, I made a simple potato puree (with cooked potatoes, a little butter and a splash of cream) and finished it off with some good quality truffle oil. Using too much truffle oil can really overpower a dish, so make sure to add a modest drizzle. The right amount can really add to a dish and make it feel that much more festive.

Tarragon Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk
150-200 ml of canola oil
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 small bunch of tarragon, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl, add the egg yolk and mustard and whisk until blended. Slowly add the oil, whisking continuously. After you have incorporated about a quarter of the oil, you should feel the mayonnaise coming together and starting to form a thick sauce. Add the oil very slowly to make sure that it has time to be completely incorporated in the mustard mixture before you add more oil. Once all the oil has been added, add the vinegar and lemon and whisk again. Add the capers and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.Enjoy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Perfect Breakfast and a Sweet Giveaway!

Let's be honest. We've all had those days when you wake up and need a pick-me up right off the bat. For those kind of days, a nice breakfast might just do the trick. For me, frittatas are definitely the way to go when you have time for a hearty morning meal. Beat a couple eggs with a little cream, add some greens and a little cheese and let the frittata bake in the oven while you prepare the rest. This breakfast platter includes some greek yogurt topped with blueberries and oats, some sliced apples and a parmesan, spinach and green onion frittata. Add a glass of freshly pressed grapefruit juice and a good cup of coffee and you can be sure the day ahead will be that much brighter!

And to continue the day on a good note, I'm offering a great giveaway. I have 3 copies of Kings of Pastry to send to 3 lucky readers. This movie follows chefs as they compete for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. It's a wonderful movie for anyone interested in the pastry realm and will bring you backstage at one the most intense culinary competitions in the world. To enter the contest, comment on this post and tell us what your favorite pastries are. For a second entry in this contest, add a comment on Chocolate Shaving's facebook page. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only and ends on February 18th, 2011. Good luck!

Parmesan, Green Onion and Spinach Frittata
Serves 2

4 eggs
1 splash of heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
3 green onions, sliced
1 handful of baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 375F. Beat the eggs until homogeneous and add the cream and milk. Stir in the green onions, spinach and parmesan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to a cast iron pan on medium heat. Using a whisk or wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it just start to cook. Place the cast iron in the oven and bake until the frittata is just set and golden brown (about 15 minutes).
Serve warm. Enjoy!
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