French Recipes

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Lamb Chops with Kumquat Walnut Crust Recipe

Lamb chops are great on their own, but this walnut and kumquat flavored crust takes them to another level. I love the crust so much, I could eat it on its own. The fragrant zest of the kumquats pairs very well with the roasted and ground walnuts.

To ensure that the meat is juicy and very tender, I marinated the lamb in a Cabernet Sauvignon marinade mixed with my usual meat tenderizer ingredient (green papaya) before adding the crust. This recipe takes some time, but your efforts will be rewarded.

Our kumquat tree has produced a bumper crop this season, and I'm taking full advantage of the fruits of our labor. Stay tuned for more recipes that feature this wonderful and unique citrus.


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Blackberry Creme Brulee Recipe

Blackberry Creme Brulee

03.11.10 by Jackie

Crèmes brulées are my mother-in-law's pêcher mignon, which literally translates to "cute fault" in French (which means guilty pleasure). I keep telling her that these custard desserts can be flavored with anything and she keeps challenging me. She brought home a whole case of blackberries from our local market and asked if I could make her favorite dessert cups with them.

So after flavoring crème brulée with lemon, cherry, butterscotch, matcha green tea and masala chai, I was able to prove to her that I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.  It has occurred to me though that maybe her "challenge" is just an excuse to get me to make more crèmes brulées. As long as I can come up with more flavors, I'll keep playing along. After that, she'll have to come up with a better reason!


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Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon) Recipe

Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon)

03.08.10 by Jackie

Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional French meat dish that is fairly easy to prepare. All you need is a lot of patience because it takes a long time to cook for the beef to become tender and succulent. To help tenderize the meat, I added an unconventional meat tenderizer (papaya paste) to my version of this French classic. If you want to make your beef bourguignon more authentic, just omit this ingredient. I also didn't add pearl onions, as I added a combination of leeks, shallots and sliced onions to the dish instead. The usual root vegetables (carrots and turnips) are also part of the gastronomic experience.

For anyone who is a fan of Julia Child or has watched the recent movie of her life, Julia and Julia, boeuf bourguignon may seem like too much of a challenge to make at home. But it doesn't really have to be this way. I used a slow cooker to make controlling the heat during the cooking process a simple task. With this method you needn't worry about the pot overflowing while the stew simmers. It may look good in movies, but you don't want to have to clean up that mess!

I put the ingredients in the slow cooker on low before going to sleep, and woke up to the aroma of beef stew permeating every room of the house.  For the meat eaters, it's an intoxicating scent; for the vegetarians in my house, not so much. So if you have a slow cooker, try making boeuf bourguignon at home. It's easier to make than it looks, and the results are so worth the effort. And make sure that when you serve the dish to your loved ones, you start the meal with the phrase immortalized by Julia Child, "Bon appétit!"


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Tarte Poire Noisette (Pear Tart with Hazelnut Cream) Recipe

Tarte aux poires et à la noisette sounds like a fancy-schmancy dessert but really, it's just a French tart made with hazelnut cream and ripe pears. That's about it. The only other embellishment is that I enhance the flavor of the nut cream with a little green anise.

Green anise seeds are usually infused in tea as a medicinal treatment for children's stomach aches. It's a pretty common remedy in Northern Africa. I love the sweet fragrance and the strong notes of licorice. You don't have to add the aromatic seeds to the nut cream but I think they pair wonderfully with pears.

Being French, it still is really remarkable to me that in America, French sounding names make products sound more luxurious (and expensive). I've even seen some products that have names that don't make sense in French, but I guess evoke a sense of elegance. Now that I've let you in on the secret, don't be fooled by fancy French names anymore! However, if you prepare this recipe for your friends or family, make sure that you use the French name to impress them. Better to be the "fool-er" than the "fool-ee!"


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Oven Roasted Chicken with Kumquats Recipe

The strong flavor of kumquat takes roasted chicken to another level. I marinated the chicken with kumquats and finished the dish by brushing the poultry with a kumquat glaze. The final product was tender and tasty with a crunchy skin.

I served the chicken as one of the dishes for our buffet-style dinner party. We had about 15 people at the house, so I roasted 3 whole chickens. I carved the chickens and placed them in a chafing dish with the chicken drippings at the bottom of the dish to prevent the chicken from drying out or burning. There were literally only a few wings left, so I think it worked out pretty well. Our tree is absolutely bursting with kumquats, so if you're a fan of the diminutive citrus, stay tuned, because I'll be posting many more recipes in the near future.


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