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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These cookies come from a recipe I found on Tracey's blog. I will be honest and tell you that  I had never made cookies before, but Tracey was so enthusiastic about these ones that I felt compelled to try them. It did not disappoint. The cookies were delicious, not too sweet, not too hard, just good. Between myself, my coworkers and my roommates, they were eaten in a day.

Until I make more cookies, these will be my favorites. You can find the recipe on Tracey's blog. I followed it step by step. Let me know if you like them! They're the perfect treat to bring to work and make all your colleagues happy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flat Roast Chicken

I have always loved roasted chicken. This might be due to the numerous roasted chicken I've had in my childhood. For me, roasted chicken means having my grandparents come from the north west of France with 10 chicken in their trunks, and these chicken come directly from a farm where they have run freely outside eating only good stuff until they make it to my plate. These chicken are usually twice the size of the ones I find around here and the meat is much more tender. I always have trouble understanding why american people eat so much chicken when according to me it's pretty hard to find good chicken in this country. I always either buy organic chicken or I go to a local poultry shop that sells one of the best chicken I've had in the area.

So when I found this recipe for roasted chicken on Tracey's blog, I really wanted to try it. First I thought it was interesting because I never had chicken like that before, second I thought it would be a good cooking challenge for myself since I had never deboned anything in my life. If only I had known how much work this would be, maybe I wouldn't have felt so excited. The result is definitely pretty tasty. The chicken was tender and juicier than when you roast it without deboning it. The cooking time is also less than what it would normally be.

However, deboning that animal was A LOT of work. You need to remove the backbone of the chicken in order to flaten it. Maybe I should say first that I didn't have scissors, which might explain a lot. I had to remove the backbone with a big kitchen knife that is not very sharp. Also, I am not a big fan of working with raw meat. I can take a steak or a chicken thigh, season it and cook it, but working with a whole raw chicken to debone it was not my cup of tea. When I was done, I felt like I had accomplished something extraordinary and the result looked like this:

Overall, I would say it was a very good chicken, but was it worth the work? I am not sure. Maybe it's much easier with scissors... I encourage you to visit Tracey's blog for the recipe. As a suggestion, you can serve it with a side of pan fried potatoes. You only need to cut them and then they will cook in the pan while you work on your chicken.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Parmesan roasted Lobster (Homard rôti au parmesan)

Now that I live in Boston I can eat as much lobster as I want for a reasonable price. In France I could never imagine doing that. Lobster is very expensive and is considered a luxury good. We occasionally eat it for Christmas or New Year. I probable had more lobster in the year and a half that I spent in Boston than in my whole life before that. Now that I can enjoy lobster without thinking about how much money I spent for it, I have been thinking about finding a good way to cook it. Everytime I have lobster, I enjoy it but it never blows me away. I think the meat is very chewy and is not as good as crab meat for example or a good fish. Also, in Boston it is usually served with melted butter and this is just something that I don't get. Dipping your lobster in pure fat is not a concept that suits my French tastes...

So I finally decided to get out of the traditional boiled lobster served with coleslaw and fries that all the cheap seafood joints will serve you and cook my own lobster. I went to the best fish market ever, New Deal Fish Market. This place has awesome seafood and I'm lucky enough to live 5 minutes away. I bought two delicious alive and kicking lobsters and looked online for a recipe. At that time I was not following all the cooking blogs yet, so I searched my favorite French recipes website and I found this recipe for Parmesan roasted lobster. I had to make a few adjustments to the original recipe to reach the desired result but in the end the lobster was delicious and a great change to the traditional plain boiled lobster. Of course the recipe calls for boiling the lobster at the beginning, so you have to be brave and throw the kicking lobster in the water, and opening it afterwards is not an easy job either, but in the end it is delicious. Try it and tell me what you think!

Parmesan Roasted Lobster:


2 lobsters of around 2lbs each
1 cup of Parmesan
4 tbsp of xeres vinegar
1/2 stick butter
1 pinch of paprika
1 pinch Cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring 3L of water to a boil. Throw the lobsters in the water for two minutes. Drain them and cut them in half. Dispose the lobsters on a baking sheet, meat on top. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and mix it with the vinegar. Add salt, pepper, Cayenne pepper and paprika. Pour the flavored butter on the lobsters, let them rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some parmesan on the lobsters and roast the lobsters in the oven. The original recipe said to leave the lobsters 3 to 4 minutes in the oven, but in my case the lobsters were really undercooked so I left them around 10 minutes and they were perfect.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Eggs benedict (Oeufs bénédicte)

I am a big fan of Sunday morning brunches. I usually love to cook and eat everything that is on a typical French brunch menu: crêpes, waffles, french toast... But believe it or not, only a few months ago I had never eaten eggs benedict. Like never ever. I didn't even know what eggs benedict were like. I was asked for eggs benedict on a Sunday morning for brunch and I had to google it to find a recipe. And without having the slightest idea of what it would look like I just made them, and absolutely loved them. It is now a regular item on our Sunday brunch menu.

I have kept the recipe that I found on that first day, but made a few adjustments to it. For example the recipe called for ham, and I now use prosciutto. I think that the strongest and salty taste of the prosciutto complements very well the egg and the sauce. I also tend to not use as much lemon in my sauce because I happen to find the taste of the lemon too overwhelming in the original recipe.

This is a very simple dish to put together and it is delicious. I encourage you to try it!

Eggs benedict recipe:


English muffins
1 tbsp Lemon juice
10 tbsp unsalted Butter
3 egg yolks
Rice vinegar

Fill a large skillet with water and bring to a boil. Pour some rice vinegar in the water and keep to a simmer. Then prepare the hollandaise sauce. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and whisk the butter, egg yolks and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper. Keep whisking in a warm place, but not over fire or the egg yolks will scramble. If your sauce is too liquid, you can add a little bit of flour to thicken it.

Toast the muffins sliced in half. Put one slice of prosciutto in two layers on each half of muffin.

Poach the eggs. Crack each egg in a small bowl and pour the egg from the bowl to the simmering water very slowly. Then try to bring the egg together around the yolk with two spoons. The timing depends on the size of your egg and how hot your water is, but the eggs will be ready pretty quick (around two minutes). You can then remove the poached eggs from the water using two spoons, and dispose them on the prosciutto. Take two tablespoons of hollandaise sauce and pour it on top of the egg. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cream puffs! ( Choux à la crème)

It's been a while since my first blog post. On the day after this first post I caught the flu and then we went on vacation to Vancouver, but I continued cooking as much as possible and will share the recipes soon. But first, after the strawberry tart, the other recipe that needs to have a special place in my blog is the recipe for cream puffs!

I made some for the first time ever a few weeks ago. I was prepared for them to not taste very good, because the idea of making cream puffs just seemed like a lot of work and skills. However, these cream puffs turned out to be surprinsingly good and quite easy to make. I found the recipe on Allrecipes. To add the cream inside, I discreetly cut the top of the puff, inserted the cream and closed the puff. It looked the puff had never been touched! Of course, this is only good for cream puffs beginners like me :) . The one advice I have for these cream puffs is to make them in the morning and then enjoy them during the day while they are fresh. They taste so delicious then. Eating them a day after makes a big difference. I cooked them late at night and they already didn't taste as good the following morning.

 Cream puffs (choux à la crème) recipe:


1/2 cup white sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
4 eggs

For the custard: In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons flour and a pinch of salt. Stir in milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 60 seconds, then pour a small amount of hot liquid into the 2 egg yolks, and stir. Then return now heated egg yolks to saucepan and stir, over heat, until mixture starts to bubble again. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Cover and chill in refrigerator.

This is how the custard looked like for me:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

For the pastry: In a medium saucepan, combine shortening and water and bring to a boil. Sift together 1 cup flour and a pinch of salt and pour all at once into boiling mixture. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat, and add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet, or pipe into desired shape. Be careful, the puffs will maybe double in size while baking.

Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and bake 25 minutes more, or until golden. Cool completely, split, fill with custard, and replace tops. Enjoy!