Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Gorgonzola Quiche

I'm thinking that this quiche would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving meal. I made it up last Friday, trying to eliminate another quarter of Hanae's pumpkin. I brought it to a potluck lunch and my friends loved it!

For a quiche 11" (28 cm) in diameter
  1. Roll out the quiche crust, place on a tart pan lined with parchment paper. Punch with a fork.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes (peeled, seeds and strings removed: see here).
  3. In a deep pan, melt the butter and sauté the pumpkin cubes on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until tender. Remove the lid and let the water evaporate completely (another 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow the cooked pumpkin to cool down.
  4. Whip the eggs and cream together. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Purée the pumpkin (in a blender, or simply with a fork). Mix in the egg and cream. Spread on the quiche crust. Dice the Gorgonzola cheese into 1/4" x 1/4" cubes and sprinkle evenly on the quiche. Grate Emmentaler on top.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 365F (185 C) for about 40 minutes, until golden. Eat warm (but not hot) as an appetizer with crispy lettuce, or serve as amuse-bouches (in the form of tartlets, see here).
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Thank you so much for reading this blog and for always posting encouraging comments.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin soup

A few weeks ago my daughter came back from daycare with a huge pumpkin, so heavy she couldn't lift it. We didn't get a chance to carve it in time for Halloween... but we got to eat it right after that :-)

A quarter of it turned into a soup (no, no the rest didn't turn into 3/4 of a carriage), inspired by one of Anne-Catherine Bley's many, delicious soup recipes.

Serves 6
  • 1/4 pumpkin (that's about 1 kg or 2+ lbs)
  • 3 or 4 small yellow or Yukon gold potatoes (optional)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • heavy whipping cream (half pint carton)
  • 3 or 4 strips uncured bacon
  1. Cut a pumpkin into 5 or 6 wedges. Remove the pumpkin's seeds and strings. Cut each wedge into 2-inch sections and cut out the skin. Cut each section into cubes.
  2. Melt the butter or heat up the olive oil in a large pot. Peel and slice the onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin and potatoes (also peeled and cubed) and cover with water (3 to 4 cups, or 3/4 liter). Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the vegetables get mushy.
  4. Remove from heat. Blend until smooth. Stir in freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Dice the bacon into "lardons" (small bits of bacon...). Cook in the microwave for a few minutes on a plate covered with paper towels, until crisp.
  6. Serve 1 or 2 ladles of soup per person in small bowls. Serve the heavy whipping cream and crisp bacon bits in two serving dishes for the table. Each guest will pour the amount of cream they want in their soup and then sprinkle the desired amount of bacon on top.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Broccoli rabe and breaded veal scalopini

We recently moved to old downtown Mountain View and it really feels like heaven. Beautiful and quiet tree-lined streets, century-old houses, inviting vegetable gardens and deliciously fragrant flowers in the front yards, countless parks and playgrounds, shops, restaurants... and of course the weekly farmers market, which I was surprised to read is the fourth largest in California. We walk to it almost every Sunday. What a treat!

One farmer at the very end of the market (I forget their name...) sells the best french string beans we've ever had. They are thin, firm, with a bright green color that attest their freshness. We simply steam them and eat them with a little bit of butter melted on top. This farmer also sells what they label as "Italian broccoli" but is actually broccoli rabe. When my father visited last summer he immediately recognized these greens. They are not common in France, but his Italian grand mother would prepare them when he was a child. My father didn't remember how she would cook them so we made a few trials and here is what we came up with. They were the perfect side dish for our breaded veal scalopini (also a heritage from our Italian descents).

Broccoli rabe with tomatoes
Serves 4
  • 1 lb (500 g) broccoli rabe
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion (or given the size they have in California, just one half)
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Wash and steam the broccoli rabe for a few minutes (3 or 4) in a pressure cooker.
  2. Thinly slice the onion. Peel the garlic clove, cut in half and remove the stem.
  3. Heat up 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan.
  4. Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes on medium heat until translucent.
  5. Add the broccoli rabe, close with a lid and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Cut the tomatoes in 4 or 8 wedges depending on their size, add to the pan and cook several more minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Breaded veal scalopini ("Escalopes de veau panées")
  • 1 or 2 veal scalopini per person
  • 1 egg, beaten in a bowl
  • 1 or 2 handfuls bread crumbs, in a bowl
  • salt and pepper
  • at least 2 tbsp butter
Proceed as follows with each scalopini:
  1. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Dip in beaten egg
  3. Dip in bread crumb and cover evenly
  4. Pan fry in a good amount of butter (add more butter before flipping as the bread crumb will absorb it), 1 or 2 minutes on each side over high heat.

Vote for this recipe on Foodista.com and it might get published! Simply click on the icon...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Grapefruit, avocado and shrimp salad

Hi Everyone!

It has been two and a half years since I posted anything on this blog (except for a couple posts maybe). I missed you! Life has been full of events, happy and sad. Mostly happy. We are now a family of four. Luca was born last June. Hanae is now a two and a half years old toddler. They are the most perfect children on Earth. :-)

Needless to say, though, that our cooking habits have changed quite a bit. We haven't given up on the healthy and tasty criteria, but everything has to be prepared quickly or we would never eat. I am hoping to find the time to blog regularly again (weekly?) as we are starting to settle in. The recipes will be simpler than ever. And you should try them on your kids! Hanae eats pretty much everything we do.

So let's start with this refreshing salad for the Indian summer (temperatures are high in the Bay these days). Keep it in the refrigerator until it is time to serve it as it is best chilled.

Serves 4
  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • 1 or 2 avocados
  • 1/2 lbs cooked shrimp salad (that's a big handful)
  • about 2 tablespoons vinaigrette salad dressing (recipe here) – Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil (sunflower + olive for instance), salt and pepper
  1. Prepare the grapefruits by peeling them then removing the skin from each wedge and cutting the flesh in two. Make sure to work above a salad bowl to collect the juice. This is the hardest part of the recipe but it can go really fast once you have some practice.
  2. Cut the avocados into small cubes. I find that the quickest way to do this is to cut each avocado in half, trace squares with a knife in the flesh, all the way down to the shell. Then flip the half avocado and press on the skin/shell to detach the cubes into the salad bowl.
  3. Rince the shrimp, dry in a paper towel. Add to the salad bowl.
  4. Prepare the vinaigrette by combining 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp oil, 1 pinch salt and some freshly ground black pepper. The quickest way is to pour all ingredients into a jar, close the lid and shake.
  5. Add the dressing and toss.