Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cherry Tomato and Pesto Quiche

I'm making an exception today: the following recipe is not a classical French dish but something I "invented" yesterday night while trying to use up the cherry tomatoes and basil growing in my backyard. Since it turned out really good I wanted to share this new recipe with you guys (there are more quiche ideas here). So here it goes:

  • home-made pâte brisée quiche crust
  • about 4 tablespoons of home-made pesto sauce
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (it should work with 3 sliced "regular size" tomatoes)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
  • gruyère cheese
  1. Roll out the dough and place it in a buttered pie pan (or use baking paper instead of the butter, as I did). Make a few holes in the crust with a fork.
  2. Spread the pesto evenly on the pie shell.
  3. Place the tomatoes on top of the pesto.
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs and crème fraîche. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour this mix on the tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle shredded gruyère cheese on the top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes at 400F, or until the quiche has a nice golden color.

You can eat it warm or cold, with a green leaves salad or on its own.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Easy Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is so easy to make that you'll wonder why you were buying industrial one so far...

The important thing is to have all the ingredients at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge about 15 minutes in advance.
  • 1 very fresh egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (try Maille or Amora brands)
  • salt and pepper
  • canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice.
  1. Place the egg yolk in a bowl. By the way the bowl should be at room temperature too.
  2. Add the mustard, salt and pepper. Stir until obtaining a smooth paste.
  3. Let the oil flow in a thin stream over the mustard paste, stirring constantly with a metal spoon or a whisk. Pour the oil slowly enough so that the emulsion remains homogeneous at all time. Theoretically one can make up to 1 liter of mayonnaise with 1 egg... So add as much (or as little) oil as you need, as long as the constistency of the sauce doesn't change (it shouldn't become liquid).
  4. Finish with the vinegar or lemon juice. Stir some more to incorporate.
  5. Consume right away or keep in the fridge with a plastic film covering the bowl, no more than a day or two.
Variant: in some recipes the vinegar is added at the same time as the mustard, salt and pepper. That works too. Adding the vinegar at the end is Pierre's mom's secret (not anymore!) and I never missed a mayonnaise since I started doing it this way.

Another alternative: if you are using an electrical blender you can use the whole egg (white and yolk). The mayonnaise will be lighter in color and texture.

Mousseline sauce: this impressive sauce (which is perfect with steamed aspargus for instance) is nothing more than a fancy mayonnaise. The egg white is whipped separately (into a firm white foam) and incorporated at the end.

Photos added on Sept. 09, 2006

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Baby shrimp stuffed avocado

We are just back from Washington D.C. where we've spent 3 beautiful days walking on the Mall, visiting museums (I loved the NMAI), federal buildings and memorials under the warm sun of late summer. We've also spent an afternoon in gorgeous Georgetown and stopped at Café La Ruche for an early dinner before going back to the airport. I had a delicious stuffed avocado. Avocado became really popular in France in the 1970's . You would find this recipe in any french cook book of that time. I only takes a few minutes to prepare and can be served as an appetizer, on its own, or as a main dish (like at La Ruche) with a mixed greens salad. The avocado can be served in it's "shell" (I mean with the skin on) and eaten with a spoon. All you need is:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 tablespoons peeled, cooked baby shrimps
  • 2 tablespoons home-made mayonnaise (see my next post).
  1. Rinse the avocado and dry it with a paper towel. Cut it in half and remove the seed but don't peel it (or do so... It's up to you).
  2. Mix the baby shrimps and the mayonnaise in a bowl.
  3. Place each avodaco half on a plate and pour half of the shrimps on each one. You can place the avodado on a lettuce leaf to prevent it from sliding on the plate.

And voilà!