Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Kitchen, My World- France

Bienvenue a la France!! So this week was my first challenge with My Kitchen, My World. Lauren chose French food! Exciting but semi-intimidating. Although my family and I visited France on our vacation to Europe last summer, I don't remember much about the cuisine other than the fast food type meals we had like crepes (YUM) and Croque Madame (ALSO YUM). All I remember from high school French is "Je t'aime mon petit chou chou," petit pois, pommes de terre and other random vocabulary.

The little I know about French food seems complicated and very rich. First thing that came to mind: Quiche. Totally predictable, but I haven't made one since I was in 9th grade or so. Then I thought of Coq au Vin. Never had it, but it sounds good..who doesn't like chicken and wine? I bought some green beans from the farmer's market and decided to make them...Not necessarily french, but if I cut them french-style does that count? Here's my plate....

I made the Quiche with Arugula and Bacon using this recipe from I made it as written, except I added some nutmeg to the custard, and I did not make a crust...trying to cut a few calories.
Arugula and Bacon Quiche- My style

6 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8 ounces arugula, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 5 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup whipping cream
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)

1tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For filling:Cook bacon in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and drain. Add shallots to same skillet and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add arugula and sauté until just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add balsamic vinegar; toss to combine.
Sprinkle arugula mixture, then bacon over crust. Whisk cream, eggs, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in cheese. Pour mixture into crust.
Bake quiche until filling is slightly puffed and golden, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.

For the Coq Au Vin I used a Julia Child Recipe on Food, but adapted it alot based on other recipes I skimmed.

Coq Au Jess

5oz Bacon

One chicken cut up

1/4 cup Brandy

3 cups red wine, I used Pinot Noir

1 can chicken stock (more if necessary)

3 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped

1/2 tbsp tomato paste

4 stalks thyme

1 bay leaf

12 Pearl or Boiler Onions

1 package mushroom blend

1 package baby bellas, sliced

salt and pepper

herbs de provence

Cut the bacon into bite size pieces. In large sautee pan with lid or casserole pot saute bacon until browned and crisp.

Meanwhile, blanch pearl onion for 1-2 minutes, cool, and skin will peel off easily.

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Sautee 3 min on each side. Remove chicken from pan. Add mushrooms to pan, sautee briefly. Remove mushrooms. Add brandy to deglaze pan, scraping bits off bottom with a wooden spoon. Ignite brandy, shaking pan back and forth until flames subside.

Return mushrooms, chicken and add onions to pan. Pour wine into pan and add enough chicken stock to cover chicken with liquid.

Stir in tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.

Cover and simmer 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Mushrooms in pot.

Semi-cooked chicken just after adding wine to pot.

Pearl Onions...Aren't they pretty?? I've really got to work on my photography skills...

Green Beans:

1lb green beans (Not sure how many I had, enough for 4 people....)

4 slices bacon, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 tbsp olive oil

lemon zest

lemon juice

small handful parmesan cheese

Boil pot of water and blanch green beans for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Heat oil and bacon in med sized pan until bacon starts to crisp. Add garlic to pan. Simmer garlic 3 min or so. Add green beans to pan, mix to

coat with oil/garlic mixture. Add lemon zest and squirt of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and parmesan cheese. Toss and serve!

Overall, the meal was incredible. My parents and the BF all ate it and raved about it, especially the Coq Au Vin. Make sure you don't overblanch the pearl onions like I did, mine kinda disintegrated after the 20 minute simmer into little wilted chunks of onion. Still tasty, but not as asestetically pleasing as the cooked round onions. The BF, who doesn't eat cheese, LOVED the quiche, even with the gruyere. The green beans were simple but good, I love their crunch and the brightness the lemon adds. We ate all but one small slice of quiche at dinner, and most of the chicken and green beans. It's just too bad I didn't have enough time to make a luscious French dessert!! Bon Appetit!


Elra said...

Oh la la, very impressive dishes you have here. Love the "Coq Au Vin" very much! Delicious.

bricogirl said...

Well if you're ever looking for some more easy French food - that's what I'm all about. Looks like you did a great job!

Natashya said...

Wow, you went all out! I especially like the quiche dish, I will have to try that one soon - hubby loves quiche.

Lauren said...

fantastique! i love quiche, and coq au vin is soooo good. great job!

Michelle Dargen said...

Looks fantastic!!