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Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe Recipe

Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe

08.29.14 by Jackie

Panna cotta is a dessert we often ate during our Italian vacation last month. It consists of a combination of cream, milk, sugar and gelatin, which is the key ingredient for binding and thickening the dessert. My husband Lulu, who's a vegetarian, is still on a diet and has been working hard to shed the last few pounds, so I prepared my own version to suit his dietary needs.

Agar agar (made from seaweed) is a great vegan substitute for gelatin. I used hazelnut milk to replace the cream and milk and Manuka honey as the sweetener. 

To give an appealing look to the dessert, I served it with red currants ("Corinthes rouges" in French) for a striking contrast in color. The reasoning behind the hazelnut milk is that historically, panna cotta was eaten with fruit and hazelnuts. 


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Asparagus Stuffed Pasta with Fig Hazelnut Sauce Recipe

I don't know if you've noticed but I tend to prepare healthy meals fairly often. This is my husband Lulu's request and it was his New Year's resolution to change his eating habits. He's lost 25 pounds so far and he's trying to get back to his pre-marriage weight.

Yesterday, I boiled manicotti-like pasta (big pennoni rigati) and stuffed them with a mixture of yuba (tofu skin), green asparagus spears, yellow onions and curly parsley. After completing the vegan filling, I realized I needed a binder to be able to stuff the mixture into the cylinder-shaped pasta . 

While the pasta was boiling, baby Aria and I stepped outside and randomly harvested a few ripe figs in the garden. That's when I decided to prepare a sauce for this dish made of fresh figshazelnuts, tomato paste and roasted red bell peppers. The texture came out exactly as wonderfully as I had anticipated it would. Sometimes, improvisation ends up with beautiful results!  

 


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Rib-Eye Steaks with Mushroom Coffee Sauce Recipe

I had prepared this very flavorful sauce for the Polar Production Team last week as a thank you for bearing with me during the long, sleepless hours of filming my first cooking series. On the last day, I packed a meal for each member revolving around my favorite insomniac's ingredient: coffee, of course!

I seared beautiful rib-eye steaks and paired them with a mushroom coffee sauce. The beef was such good quality that salt and pepper could have been sufficient but I jazzed it up with espresso coffee and flavored the sauce with the velvety, dark elixir. 


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Gourmet Steak Pinwheel Recipe Recipe

Gourmet Steak Pinwheel Recipe

08.19.14 by Jackie

This is a simple beef recipe, as no marinating time is necessary. I selected a good quality piece of New York Sirloin steak that I thinly sliced and used for the wrapping. I created multiple layers by spreading shaved Asiago cheese, goat cheese (as the adhesive to the top covering) and arugula over the steak. Once the beef was rolled into a tight wrap, I sliced the log into small pieces, then pan-seared them.

As a reminder of the flavor of the beef pinwheels, I topped them with arugula Asiago pesto. Not only did it give a beautiful, striking color to the meat, it also paired wonderfully with the cauliflower puree I served on the side. 


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Fried Egpplant with Balsamic Coffee Reduction Recipe

This recipe is heavily inspired by an antipasto we had during our family trip to Italy last month. I didn't think "melanzane all'aceto balsamico", or eggplants with balsamic vinegar, would give me much of a thrill. But I was blown away by the flavor of this simple preparation with minimal ingredients. I decided that when I got back home, I’d prepare a similar starter dish.

First I pan-fried tender eggplant slices, then coated them in a balsamic reduction flavored with garlic, fresh oregano and dark, bold coffee. To provide a great contrast of color and texture, I topped the very nice and tasty eggplants with crumbled goat cheese, sweet basil and chocolate-covered coffee beans as a reminder of the flavor of the reduction.

It's the first time since the launch of PhamFatale.com that I've been away for so long. I've been swamped with work and my personal life is so chaotic these days, I didn't have a minute last week to be in front of the computer. I want to announce that I just completed my first, professionally filmed episode of a new cooking series. We worked day and night and finally wrapped the 20-ish-minute episode after taping on the last day for more than 15 consecutive hours, until dawn. It was challenging but it really gave me an insight into what really happens behind the scenes. A lot of mishaps happened on the first days (broken glass, crickets, yellow jackets and wildlife were part of the fun), but overall it was such a positive experience.

Thanks to the amazing filming crew, I had a lot of fun in a very friendly atmosphere. To show my appreciation, I concocted and packed a full meal for each member so I could be forgiven by their spouses after taking them away for such long hours. Thank you so much Polar Production Team for your professionalism, hard work, dedication and most  of all for believing in me. You guys rock! 

Cooking Series
Behind-the-scenes at the first episode of my new cooking series.


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