French Recipes

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Beef Pot Roast Recipe Recipe

Beef Pot Roast Recipe

04.10.13 by Jackie

I don't know why I don't make this dish more often. It's inexpensive and so good. There are really only two meat eaters in our home, but with baby Aria growing up so fast, I felt she was old enough to try this dish. I used a fairly small cut of beef chuck, seared it to form a crust around the meat, then wrapped it papillote-style in aluminum foil, added beef stock and a few earthy vegetables around it and roasted it for a few hours.

The meat came out fork-tender; no knife was needed. And if you were curious to know if a 17-month-old could enjoy pot roast, well, Aria really liked it. She is not a big meat eater, but she does seem to have a taste for beef.

I served the pot roast with baked potatoes and creamed spinach. That's what I call pure comfort food! 

Note: Check out my beef pot pie recipe using the leftovers the next day.


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Grilled Eggplant Tartlet Recipe Recipe

Grilled Eggplant Tartlet Recipe

04.08.13 by Jackie

I love grilling vegetables. They can be served as is as a side dish or coarsely chopped in a salad. They also can act as the basis of flavorful spreads. Recently, I opted for the latter and created a smoky eggplant spread flavored with onion, garlic, grape molasses, tahini, a few herbs and sea salt; to ensure the eggplant would blend smoothly in the food processor, I added delicious Chardonnay cider I discovered at Trader Joe's. The result is out of-this-world delicious. You could stop the work right there and serve the spread in a bowl with lavash bread or pita bread, but I fancied it up by using it as a filling in mini-tartlets

This appetizer is not only cute, it's very easy to prepare. I let the girls prepare the eggplant spread and assemble the one bite-sized appetizers while I was preparing dinner.  I had two goals in mind. First, it kept them occupied and they had fun at the same time, instead of asking "is dinner ready yet?" The second main reason is that now since they now know how to make this, they can help out with very little supervision whenever we have guests over. I find it very valuable to get the girls involved in the kitchen. They appreciate food more when they know where it came from, and as I keep reminding them, they'll be thankful to know basics when they're on their own at college. 


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Coconut Madeleine Recipe Recipe

Coconut Madeleine Recipe

04.05.13 by Jackie

Maybe it's just me but I love having guests over for tea. It's fun because you can serve an assortment of savory and sweet treats to go along with it. And, of course, I love trotting out my different tea sets!

My go-to, fool-proof tea cake recipe is a French classic: the madeleine. The authentic, buttery, plain version is divine, but today I felt like adding something exotic and flavored the batter with coconut. The coconut version doesn't puff up as much as traditional madeleines normally do, but they are a touch crispier and pair wonderfully with a hot cup of tea.


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Stuffed Arancini Recipe (Stuffed and Fried Risotto Balls) Recipe

If you entertain as much as we do, you'll find this masala burger-stuffed arancini a great help when you're preparing a cocktail party. This appetizer is prepared in three steps: first making risotto, which I flavored with delicious saffron our friend Jasmine brought back from Iran (Thanks! I love you, Jasmine!), then preparing masala-flavored beef and Bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) and finally forming and frying the stuffed risotto balls (arancini).

I serve these with a bowl of marinara sauce: the acidity of the sauce balances the richness of the risotto balls nicely.


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Spinach Purse Salad Recipe Recipe

Spinach Purse Salad Recipe

03.28.13 by Jackie

This salad has all the elements I look for in a meal. It's sweet and savory with a lot of crunch, protein and a little bit of decadence. The butter lettuce, sugar snap peas, corn, fresh mangoes, Persian cucumbers and shredded carrots form the base of the salad. This combination with a little bit of dressing would be a great first course.

But to this I also added nuts and the pièce de résistance: crispy spinach purses that I formed with wontons. I filled the purses with spinach, a bit of mascarpone and mozzarella for creaminess and lentils for added protein. They can also be served on their own as appetizers.


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