Main Course Recipes

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Roasted Pheasant Stuffed with Sage and Granny Smith Apples Recipe

I'm still on the quest for the perfect 4-course "French meal" in honor of the opening of the movie called "Julie and Julia".

Pheasant is a French delicacy. My family would cook pheasant around the holidays. I looked through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in search of a good pheasant dish to make, and the only recipe I found was a stew called "faisan en escabèche" (pheasant jellied in lemon). I think it tastes better when it's roasted, so I made this dish.

I stuffed the game bird with sage, bread to absorb all the fat (and flavors) of the bird, and some Granny Smith apples for their sweet and acidic taste. Yogurt is used as a meat tenderizer. In France, I would always use two Petits suisses instead. What's a Petit suisse? Le Petit suisse is like yogurt, but better; it has a richer consistency than regular yogurt and is sold in half the size (4 ounces) of the standard American yogurt because of its high fat content . It's made from milk, sweet cream and a starter. And it's oh, so good.


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Simple Green Bean Salad with Toasted Sliced Almonds and Pomegranate Vinaigrette Recipe

Green bean salad is probably the simplest, healthiest dish you can make. I usually serve it as a first course or as a side dish accompanying a roasted chicken or any other white meat.

As with other easy dishes, the key is to use good, fresh ingredients. I got some crisp haricots verts fins from the local market. Haricots verts fins literally means thin string beans in French; they are much more tender than regular green beans.

For an added contrast of texture, I added some toasted, sliced almonds and some coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes to bring a tart, acidic flavor. 

What I love about this dish is that you can mix and match green beans with anything, such as wax beans (called haricots beurres in French). Just select an ingredient that will create an appealing color contrast: nuts, capers, feta cheese or even anchovies all work well.


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Spinach and Artichoke Croquette Recipe

Spinach and Artichoke Croquette

07.29.09 by Jackie

A croquette is a moist filling that is breaded and then fried.  Potatoes, seafood and vegetables are popular varieties.  I wanted to make a healthy version today, so I stuffed mine with artichokes and spinach. I added some mozzarella as well because I love it when the croquettes are hot and stringy on the inside.

The name "croquette" is from the French verb croquer which means "to bite with a crisp crunch". You can serve it as an appetizer (they are kid-friendly) but you can also stuff a sandwich with several croquettes for added texture and consistency. I used an herb ciabatta bread. I'll post the recipes of the spreads I used and the rest of the elements for the sandwich tomorrow.


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Bi Cuon Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls) Recipe

The bì cuốn chay is a blend of bì chay, thick rice vermicelli noodles, baby cucumber sticks, Vietnamese mint and Thai basil wrapped in a bánh tráng (rice paper disk). It is served with a simple soy sauce-based dipping sauce called nước chấmnước mắm (fish sauce) or a peanut sauce (recipe follows in the tip section).

We had some bì chay yesterday. I served it with bún (thick rice vermicelli noodles). When served together, it is called Bún chay. In many ways, the dish is basically a deconstructed spring roll. That made deciding what to do with the leftovers really easy.  Without much effort, you'll get two meals out of the same dish. And did I mention that it is absolutely delicious?

If you crave the fried version for your main course, check out the recipe here.


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Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Pork

07.25.09 by Jackie

Sweet and Sour Pork can be found on the menu at just about any Chinese restaurant.  I wanted to make use of the pineapple and ketchup sauce in a vegetarian dish for the herbivores in my house.  I substituted tofu for the pork; you can also use seitan if you prefer (or meat if you're like me). 

I used fresh pineapple to provide natural sweetness and a hint of tang to the sauce.  I also added a little lime juice to brighten it up. To thicken the sauce, I dissolved a little cornstarch in water and added it to the mix. To this, just throw in a few carrots and enoki mushrooms and you're ready for a quick and easy dinner.


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