Sunday, December 19, 2010

Need ideas for New Years Eve?

An idea for an appetizer, with scallops and passion fruits. The combination is great.
Serving 4 people, you need : 8 scallops, fresh ones, 8 passion fruits, butter and green salad as a side dish.
Open the passion fruits and take the pulp and the grains, mix them with a fork, with 2 tbsp of butter.
Heat your frying pan, spread a tbsp of olive oil and bake the scallops 1min on each side, until nicely brown, then add the butter with passion fruits and use a spoon to put it on the scallops for 2 min.
Serve these scallops with green salad with arugula and a balsamic vinaigrette.
This is a great recipe inspired by a great cooking class I attended recently at Guy Martin's cooking school in Paris.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The chouquettes of my son Paul

I love it when I'm the help of my 11 years old son Paul. He likes to cook, to bake ... and to eat. The recipe of tonight is "chouquettes", in other words small "choux" covered with small sugar pieces.
Kids love it as a snack. He prepares them for breakfast at school tomorrow morning.

To make them, you need :
- 1 cup of water - 250ml
- 8 tbsp of butter - 110g
- 1 tbsp of sugar - 10g
- 1 cup of flour - 120g
- 5 eggs
- a pinch of salt

In a sauce pan, bring to a small boil the water and butter. When the butter is melted, add the flour and quickly stir with a spoon until it has the shape of a ball. Put the dough in a mixing bowl and add the eggs one by one. You should get the texture of a smooth dough.
Add sugar and salt.
Preheat the oven at 400F (180 degrees C).
Shape the chouquettes with 2 teaspoons on a plate that goes to the oven covered with parchment paper.
Bake for 20min until nicely brown (wait until brown otherwise they would deflate).
Put little pieces of sugar on each of them. Bravo Paul!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another soup recipe to warm up...

I left Boston last summer but brought back Boston's weather in Paris. Incredible!
Temperatures have been below 30 degrees for a week and we left the whole Boston's weather equipment in our house in the Loire Valley!
Not so many solutions to warm up : soups, soups and soups... or pot-au-feu, this will be for the next post.
Today's soup is a vegetable soup with a hint of curry. You'll have your "5 fruits and vegetable per day" portion.

You need for soup for 4:
- 1 leek
- 2 zucchinis
- 2 carrots
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 potatoes (baking ones, Idaho, Russet or all purpose ones like Yukon gold; if you're in France use "pommes de terre à purée", like monalisa or bintje)
- 2 or 3 tomatoes (you can use whole peeled tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons of curry powder or curry paste
- salt, pepper
- Vache Qui Rit (processed cheese)

Peel and cut all the vegetables, put them in a pot full of water with salt, pepper and curry and bring to a boil until everything is cooked (about 30 min).
Blend all the vegetables with part of the boiling water (according to the texture you want) with 2 portions of Vache Qui Rit
Ready. Enjoy and stay warm...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Need for a simple and last minute recipe for apple pie?

OK, this is my grand mother's.

Make a dough with 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of butter, 2 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon of sour cream, my little secret. Mix everything together until it has the shape of a bowl, and put the dough in the fridge for an hour. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and put it in a baking dish on a parchment paper. You can also us a ready to use dough(I like the Pillsbury one - pie crust).

Cut the apples in slices and spread them on the dough with each slice recovering partly the previous one. Then spread on the apples 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and small slices of butter.
Bake for 30 to 35 min in a pre-heated oven to 400F.

Guess what : the smell in my apartment is great, and the pies will be ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in my son's class tomorrow! Happy thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shiny soup for grey and cold weather

You know I love lentils. Here is a recipe of my friend Françoise who leaves in Poland. She enjoys there, as in Boston, very cold weather and has become the world champion of soups.
The lentils and tomato soup is one of my favorite.

You need one onion, lentils, a can of diced tomatoes, curry powder and a can of coconut milk.

Dice the onion and fry it until translucent, add 1 cup of lentils, salt, 2 teaspoons of curry and the diced tomatoes, and cold water of course. Cook for 1/2 hour and blend it with the coconut milk. Delicious!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Now, direct comments and recipes from Paris...

It's been a long time since my last post. Actually, my life has changed again a little bit and we moved back to Paris. A nice apartment right in the center, a very good cheese shop, butcher shop and of course, a bakery just around the corner. It was very difficult to leave Boston but nice, in a way, to go back to Paris.

Well, I unpacked my cooking equipment and utensils recently and went back to my passion. Last thing I tried, was a duck confit gratin. Whaouh! This was just so French just served with a green salad or steamed broccolis.
It's quite simple as soon as you find duck confit. Remove the flesh from the bones and cook it in a frying pan with diced shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder for 10 min until it's a bit caramelized.
Slice potatoes, cook them in milk for 10 min.
Then spread the duck confit at the bottom of a gratin dish, then put the potatoe slices shaped like petals or rose windows. Bake in the oven at 350F for 30 min until slightly brown.
Welcome to France and more precisely to Périgord in the south west, The area of the duck confit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Smoked salmon pasta for tonight

6:30pm, some friends just came by to say hi... Of course, we ask them to stay for dinner, wondering what's left in the cabinets and the fridge to improvise a dinner.
Well, I have the basics to cook the salmon pasta I love. Let's cook!
You need for 4 servings: a box of penne pasta, 4 slices of smoked salmon, 1/2 a lemon juice, one small container of salmon eggs, heavy cream, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Boil a full pan of salted water and put the pasta for 10 to 11 min.
In the meantime, slice the salmon and put in in a bowl with lemon juice. Drain the pasta when cooked. Add to the pasta, 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 4 tablespoon of olive oil, the slices of salmon and the container of salmon eggs. It's ready! So easy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Carbonara for tonight's dinner

Oh, my god, it's 6pm already and nothing's ready for dinner. All right then, I'll make it simple and for sure, I'll please my audience, in other words my kids. I have penne pasta, eggs, bacon, parmesan and heavy cream in my fridge. Good.

Now, very simple, cook the pasta al dente (around 10 min in boiling water). In the meantime, cut the bacon in small strips and fry them until slightly brown, but not too much. Drain the pasta, add an egg yolk, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, 4 tbsp of grated parmesan and the bacon strips. Mix together in the pot, reheat for a couple of minutes and stir, so that the cream finishes to cook the pasta and enjoy!

I hope my italian friends will agree on that recipe!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Farmer's markets are back!

Huge weekly markets have been one of the things I have been missing a lot since I arrived to the US. In France, they take place all year round. Therefore, I was very happy today to be able to go to the market again. There were plenty of strawberries, freshly picked. And, and... I tried a goat cheese which is delicious: they sell several sorts, with pepper, with basil and garlic or marinated with herbs in olive oil. All of them are very good. Enjoy them on a slice of good French or Italian bread, with, of course, a glass of red wine.
Simply pleasure!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cooking Rendez-vous aprons for sale

Aren't they sweet? Yes, of course, both my kids... and the Cooking Rendez-vous aprons!
I just received my second order, ready to sell. The first one has been used for the classes. I can tell you, the quality is great: made in the US, easy to clean and iron with the spoons and the logo embroidered. Aprons for adults are available at $35 each and the kid size is $30 each. If you're interested just send an e-mail to with your names and address, the number of aprons and sizes you would like. We will send you a paypal invoice and send your order to your personal address.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I love crostinis, do you?

When the time comes to welcome friends for barbecues, I like to share with them simple appetizers with a glass of wine. Here are the last ones I made:
- Mix together 1/2 lb of antipasto pitted olives, with 4 anchovies and a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. Spread this tapenade on crostinis and put on top half a cherry tomato.
- Spread on a crostini a tablespoon of ratatouille and put on top a little piece of mozzarella di buffala
- Spread on a crostini a little bit of pistou and then baked tomatoes, and a piece of mozzarella di buffala.
Mix them on a big plate with all the different colors. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A very nice article in Arlington patch

We were very happy to welcome Leah, a journalist from Arlington patch, for one of last weeks' classes. The theme was Spring and Summer vegetables and we were cooking our ratatouille, when Leah arrived to take pictures. The atmosphere was nice and warm and Leah was asking questions and talking with our customers. So nice!
Then, her picture were great, she wrote a very nice article in Arlington patch. Thank you Leah! You're welcome any time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baked tilapia filets on the deck for lunch

I love Tilapia, its subtle taste and firm and smooth texture. You can make so many recipes with it.
One of the simple ideas is to bake the filets for 10 min in the oven (400F): just put each filet on a square 15 in piece of foil (or parchment paper). Season with raw salt, pepper, lemon juice, one tablespoon of olive oil, a little piece of butter and 5 olives. Close the foil or the parchment paper in order to make what we call in French a "papillote", which means the fish will cook with its own steam inside the foil. Serve this filets with boiled fingerling potatoes, fried asparagus and pistou. Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A great dinner with eggs in 10 min?

Oeufs cocotte: this is a very French one, indeed!

A very simple idea: pour an egg in a ramekin, add 2 tablespoon of heavy cream, salt and pepper and whatever additional ingredient you have left in your fridge: I love to add 2 tbsp of cooked mushrooms, or 1 tbsp of parmiggiano or 1 tbsp of spinach or 5 pitted olives and slices of dried tomatoes or slices of ham. Cook them in the oven for 8 min with the ramekins put in a pan filled with warm water (you have to preheat the oven for 15min at 400F with the pan filled with 2 inches of water so that the water is really warm when you put the ramekin in it).

You know it is cooked when the white is white and not transparent any more but be carefull not to overcook them. Enjoy them with green salad and thin slices of French baguette.
My Mom used to do that when she was running short of ideas for dinner and we loved it. I used to prefer them plain with a lot of bread but, please don't tell my kids. Yummy!
Your comments are welcome...

Monday, May 3, 2010

New themes for classes for Spring and Summer

Three new themes are now available, blooming like flowers in my yard:

- Spring and Summer vegetables with very nice recipes to bring home of Ratatouille and Chicken Crumble and a Swiss Chard and Salmon gratin. I finalized them last week and it has been a big success in my family. You would enjoy during the class a great stew of Asparagus with Olives and Bacon.

- The Onion, two delicious recipes to bring home: Pork Filet Mignon Orloff Style, which is a very old recipe, adding cheese and bacon to the Filet Mignon and a Shrimp and Tilapia Curry. If you like onions, you'll love the pissaladiere we'll taste during the class, again a traditional French recipe I adapted with onions, tomatoes and anchovies.

- Spring and Summer fruits, with two recipes to bring home for a whole dinner, an Apricot on Almond Paste Tart and a Chicken Tagine with Plums. The recipe for your meal with us, will be Raspberry Crumble. Of course, a savory treat will be served before.

If this is enough mouth watering and you feel like booking a class...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another idea with greens

Salmon and greens, a great combination! This a recipe for the whole family or for a dinner with friends: Swiss Chard and Salmon Pie.
Prepare the Swiss chard (you need 2 bunches): cut the leaves in strips and keep the stalks for another recipe. Put the leaves in boiling water for 3 min and then, cook them in a frying pan for 5 min with one tbsp of butter.

On a sheet of puff pastry (I buy the two sheet box of Pepperidge Farm in the frozen section), spread strips of smoked salmon (3 average-sized slices), then put the Swiss chard on top; on top of it put thick slices of fresh salmon (1/2 lb - skin off), a bit of lemon juice, 3 tbsp of sour cream, a pinch of salt and pepper. The close the pie with the second sheet of puff pastry and seal the edges. Finish by painting the puff pastry with an egg yolk.
Bake this pie for 45 min in the oven at 400F, until nicely puffed and brown.

Enjoy this pie with a green salad, to which you can add arugula, seasoned with balsamic vinaigrette.
This recipe is also very good if you substitute kale for Swiss chard, or any of the spring leaves you can find.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Greens, greens, so many greens...

With spring, all kinds of greens arrive in stores. What to do with them? Here are a couple of ideas with the ones I got yesterday : swiss chard and kale.
Before cooking them, you have to prepare them:
- cut the kale leaves and cook them in boiling water for 3 min, then fry them for 5 min.
- cut the swiss chard leaves, cut the stalks in 2 inches sticks. Cook the leaves like for kale and boil the stalks for 20 min. You can use them together or separately.
2 ideas I tried with my kids yesterday and the result was quite good, indeed: the 3 of them ate them and 2 loved it... What a success!
- First one is, again, my bechamel trick and ham or bacon you pour on the cooked vegetables. See post below with asparagus.
- Second one is closer to a quiche without a dough : mix 2 eggs, with 1/2 cup of half and half, 1/3 cup of shredded cheese like sharp cheddar or swiss cheese, pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the eggs on the cooked greens and put in the oven for 45 min (400F). If you like it, you can switch cheddar by any blue cheese. This is delicious.
Some other ideas will come soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home vinaigrette : how could you live without it?

Ready-to-use vinaigrette is easy to buy and convenient, I know, and we're always in a rush... Yet, just try once to mix one teaspoon of Dijon mustard and one teaspoon of Dijon Moutarde a l'ancienne (the one with mustard seeds) ; then add 4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and mix vigorously and finally add 5 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You will not regret it!
And to avoid doing it each time you want some greens with vinaigrette, just make plenty of it and keep it in the fridge in a jam container. I always make some in advance.
This vinaigrette is delicious with simple green salad with tomato grapes and roasted pine nuts.
This my DIY vinaigrette!

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to get kids eat veggies?

With my 3 boys, every dinner is a challenge: how to get them to eat at least one veggie and, if possible, the same one. I have been trying things for years. Basically, the idea is to help them get used to the taste of vegetables and therefore associate them with things they like, such as cheese, eggs, etc....

Here are a few of the most successful ones:

The first one is to use Bechamel, a white sauce I make with parmesan. I wrote the recipe on my post about
the arrival of spring and asparagus. This white sauce can be put on boiled broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, asparagus and, if you add bacon, and put it in the oven for 15 min, most kids will love it (who doesn't love anything with bacon??). Last time I made it, two of my boys had it on broccoli and the third one on leeks.

My second one is quiche. You can use whatever you have left in you fridge: just mix 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, salt and ham or bacon and one boiled veggie, like leeks, broccoli, asparagus, spinach... Pour this mix on a ready-made pastry crust or directly in the pie pan if you don't have one and cook in the oven for 45 min at 400F.

Finally, I have been making them vegetables purees and soups for years. A trick for the puree is to boil together a medley of potatoes, carrots and zucchini, mash them with a food mill and add butter and milk. You can also add some cheddar on top of the puree and broil it for 5 min. Delicious and simple!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let's have dinner on the deck this evening!...

... but, but, I just came home and have no idea about what to cook, for a light dinner, for a very warm evening. We call it in French, litterally, "cooking from the closet". I always have in my fridge a ready-to-use dough (like the pie crust from Pillsbury), mustard and shredded swiss cheese or sharp cheddar cheese. Very simple : you roll out the dough, on a sheet of parchment paper and put it in the pie pan ; put a thin layer of mustard (1/8 in) ; then spread slices of tomatoes, add on top 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Put in the oven (400F) for 30 to 40 min until micely brown.

Enjoy this pie with green salad made with spring mix and a bit of arugula, tomato grapes, pine nuts previously slightly roasted with a balsamic vinaigrette.... and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asparagus are back! Good news!

The flowers are coming so fast in my yard! and the Asparagus are spreading in the markets. My house is among those dying for asparagus. They would always eat them the same way, cold with vinaigrette.

I tried yesterday evening a new recipe, for a change : peel and boil the asparagus for 10 min ; roll 4 of them in a ham slice ; make a Parmiggiano Bechamel or white sauce (3tbsp of butter melted in a sauce pan, add 3 tbsp of flour, whip vigourously and add 2 cups of milk and cook slowly for 10min until it gets thick, then add the 1/3 cup of grated parmiggiano) ; pour this sauce on the asparagus and ham ; spread shredded swiss cheese on top and put it in the oven (400F) for 20 min and finish with 5 min broil. Delicious! Even Gabriel, my local fan of vinaigrette, loved it.

You can adapt this idea with leeks, broccolis, cauliflower or boiled endives (very French indeed).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Everybody needs iron

Did you know that 30% of the world population lacks iron?

Did you know that 5 tablespoons of dry lentils ( a big portion) cover 50% of the daily needs for a woman and 90% for a man?

Did you know that you can cook lentils in so many different ways, you could eat them everyday, ... at least, we could in our family?

Yes, good food can do you good! In other words you can reconcile yummy and healthy.
Here is the "base" recipe : cook 1 cup of green lentils, my favorite, in hot water, slowly (very light boil) with an onion stuck with 4 cloves and a carrot peeled and cut in 4 pieces, salt, pepper and bay leaves. When they're cooked, you can enjoy them warm with pork, or cold with smoked salmon slices and shallots with a vinaigrette dressing made with raspberry vinegar (the key ingredient), or blend them with 1/2 of the cooking water and 1/4 of heavy cream for a delicious lentil soup... Therefore, join the Fan group of Lentils and enjoy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

So smooth madeleines!

I love madeleines. They are one of my favorite sweets with macaroons and chocolate cakes. They are quite easy to make. You just need the proper molds if you want them to look like madeleines.
So, the my last and favorite recipe is the one from Joel Robuchon, a famous Chef in France, one of the best among the bests.
Mix together 7oz (200g) of sugar powdered, 2 3/4 oz (80g) of flour and same amount of almond flour ; add 6 egg whites slightly beaten and then 7 oz (200g) of melted butter, one tablespoon of honey and the zests and juice of one lime. Put it in the fridge for one hour and bake them in the moulds for 15mn (400F)
So smooth! I cannot stop! I have to! I will never make these madeleines again, they kill me!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Creative recipes for kids with winter vegetables

I like to try new recipes, so does my older son Paul. This time, yesterday, we tried a very original meatballs recipe with chicken, leeks, mushrooms and a bit of fresh ginger. Very simple: you mince in a blender half a leek, 5 fresh mushrooms, a small piece (1/4 inch) of fresh ginger and mix that with 7oz of ground chicken, 1 tbsp of flour and 1/2 egg. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and shape in flat circles and fry them until nicely brown in a tbsp of olive oil.
Serve this with rice and soy sauce... delicious and your kids may say, like mine, " Mom, I didn't know I liked leeks that much". You feel so good, then !

Saturday, March 20, 2010

For chocolate lovers only...

Yes, I am addicted to chocolate; this is one of my numerous passions in life. Apparently, this was in my DNA, as you can notice with my youngest son Gabriel who was making truffles and chocolate ganache with me!
I love the multiple facets of chocolate: when you make a piece of dark chocolate melt slowly on your tongue, when you prepare a mini chocolate cake with the inside not really cooked so it remains semi-liquid, or when you pour boiling cream onto small pieces of chocolate in order to make a ganache. Of course, the quality of the chocolate you use is key. My favorite one is Valrhona, dark or milk chocolate. You can find it at Whole Foods or on line

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winter and rain call for soup

With this kind of weather, cold and humid, I just feel like having a warm soup with croutons for dinner. My grand-mother has a recipe with zuchinis which is very easy : just cook in boiling water 4 zuchinis. When they're cooked, blend them with a little bit of the water and 2 portions of The Laughing Cow (La Vache Qui Rit), a spreadable cheese in a round box you can find in many supermarkets. A pinch of salt and pepper and the result is amazing with a very creamy texture.
The whole family loved it and for a couple of minutes, I just felt I was a little girl again in my grand-mother's kitchen. The taste of chilhood!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A passion for food

My name is Marie. I am the Mom of three young boys and I just started this blog recently following the idea of sharing my passion for food. Actually, one of the thing I enjoy the most is having good food and a glass of wine with good friends. Of course, I love to cook and taste new recipes as much as cooking the recipes I inherited from my grand-mother in France. The favorites of the moment are a Chicken Curry with Apples and Bananas and a old Style Mustard Pork Blanquette with Winter Vegetables, which is a very traditional French but twisted with the mustard in the sauce. I inaugurated my first classes with them.
So, welcome to my blog, feel free to share with me your favorite recipes, your tricks, your comments... in other words your passion.