Christmas Recipes

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Easy Party Appetizers: Foie Gras Stuffed Prunes with Almond Tuiles Recipe

Foie gras stuffed dried plums are my guilty pleasure. The dried plums (prunes) are baked with maple syrup, and to enhance the texture and flavor, I add a pinch of fleur de sel and a sprinkle of crumbled almond tuile cookies. These little appetizers will definitely be served by the dozens during our New Year Eve's dinner.

I know this recipe might raise some eyebrows on several levels. I've always loved,  perhaps worshipped, the French culinary delicacy called foie gras. If you've never tasted foie gras before, it's like eating a piece of intensely flavored, semi-softened butter. Some people think it's an abomination and constitutes cruelty to animals. I believe that in Chicago for a time there was even a ban on foie gras and that the sale and production of foie gras is still illegal in California.

The other thing you might find odd is that I chose to use prunes in an elegant appetizer. I was surprised to learn from Lulu that in America, prunes are marketed as digestive aids and have a rather negative stigma. That is not the case in France. Prunes are often served as a snack for children, and just yesterday I saw them on a fruit and cheese platter at the end of a lovely meal we had at my friend's home. They’re now marketed in the U.S. as dried plums, not prunes, because there was so much negativity associated with prunes as a laxative.

I hope this recipe will inspire you to try new ingredients, or perhaps old ingredients in new ways.


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Merry Christmas 2010 Recipe

Merry Christmas 2010

12.26.10 by Jackie
A belated Merry Christmas to everyone! We were just in Rome, and I thought it would be nice to share some pictures I took at the Vatican, as well as one of our lovely Christmas dinner (lobster!).
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Potato Timbale (Potato Cup Recipe) Recipe

Timbale means "drum" in French. Potato timbale is just a fancy name for a potato dish baked in a drum-shaped round mold. What I like about this dish is that it's very convenient when we host dinner parties because the servings are individual. Plus it makes a nice, appealing presentation.

Potatoes are par-boiled, sliced and placed in the shape of a round mold. Then, it's filled with whatever you like. I packed the potato cups with braised fennel, water chestnuts and blue cheese. This is what I call true comfort food if you want to serve a feast ("un repas de fête" in French) for Christmas.


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Blue Cheese Pear Salad Recipe Recipe

Blue Cheese Pear Salad Recipe

12.15.10 by Jackie

When pears still have a hard texture, they are a wonderfully sweet addition to salad. I wanted to make a first course that looks festive for the holidays, so I mixed some greens, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, pears and blue cheese. What's not to like? To finish, I drizzled creamy blue cheese dressing on the salad.

This is definitely not a salad for dieting! It's the holidays though, so indulge.


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Mashed Purple Potatoes Recipe

Mashed Purple Potatoes

12.13.10 by Jackie

My husband Lulu and I are spending the holidays with my family and friends in Paris. We just arrived and have enjoyed our first couple of days in the City of Lights, despite the cold weather. The sights are wonderful, but the real treat is the wonderful products and ingredients that France has to offer. We went to an open air market this morning and brought back some Vitelotte potatoes.

You might know them as purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes, négresse or truffe de Chine. They are small-sized waxy potatoes, with a skinny and oblong shape. The flesh is dark-violet blue surrounded with a white rim. The texture is quite flour-y and have a different flavor than regular potatoes. I prepared them by boiling, mashing and then mixing the potatoes with butter, cream and milk. I flavored the mashed potatoes with blue cheese and dill. It was a delicious way to start our Parisian vacation!


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