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Caramelized apple upside-down cake

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For some, pumpkin spice everything may be all the rage for those fall months when leaves spin slow to the ground and we shake out the coats and scarves so hastily hidden away with summer’s arrival.  But before flavored syrups and the facility of canned pumpkin, another fruit reigned over autumn: the apple.  A New England native, the apple is an automatic October symbol for me.  I think every elementary school student in the area has a field trip to a local orchard.  My town hosts at least five apple picking locations, each vying for some title of prowess – the best cider !  Apple cider doughnuts ! 10 different apple varieties !  Hay rides ! Pick your own ! It’s a glorious, fall-hued chaos that absolutely epitomizes the start of cooler weather, shorter days, and (perhaps most importantly) the baking season.

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Recently, apple pies were made and sold in the center of town and listening to everyone talk about the crust and the filling and the spices and the apples made me ALMOST want to eat pie.

But then I remembered.

I don’t really like apple pie (a phrase not to be uttered in a town that thrives on apple consumption).  In fact, I really just like apples straight up and down: plucked from the tree, polished on my pants, and devoured with an excellent crunch and the occasional spatter.

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So what to do with this bounty of fruit so often relegated to pie filling ?  Oddly enough, the answer came from France, and more precisely from my home-away-from-home in the heart of Bourgogne.  During one of many Dijon visits, my friend’s mother brought out a gâteau aux pommes.  A “simple, family recipe – nothing special” with caramelized apples and a buttery cake that melts in your mouth.  Simple ?  Nothing special ?  Au contraire !  It looks and tastes both classy and purely of apples, as the ingredients can’t hide behind the spices of cinnamon and nutmeg so often paired with American desserts.  This upside-down caramel apple cake relies on sweet apples, butter, and sugar to create a winning dessert that looks chic but is easy to craft.

When I asked Brigitte if I could use her recipe, she sent me a scanned, handwritten version that included instructions such as “carameliser le moule” – caramelize the cake pan.  How…how does one do that ?  How does one even make a caramel, exactly ? As such, I have gone through and provided my “Americanized” version of the quantities and instructions.  While somewhat capricious, I have yet to entirely ruin this cake (and it’s becoming somewhat ubiquitous in my repertoire of apple-based dishes).  Head to an orchard and pick (or pick up) some Macoun, Gala, or Fuji apples and try your hand at this French family “gâteau.”

Ingredients (for the cake):

3-4 medium apples (Use a firm fleshed variety – no McIntosh !)
1/2 stick butter (+ 1 tbsp for the pan)
1 cup flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons milk (more as needed)

For the caramel:

You can use a 1:3 ratio of water to sugar – I think I used 1/4 cup water to 3/4 cup sugar but any incarnation of this ratio is fine – if you have apples that are less sweet, use more sugar but you really only need enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan.

Directions:

Peel and cut the apple into thin slices. Set aside – do not season with lemon thought you may be tempted to do so !  It is okay if they brown a little during the cake preparation process.

Liberally butter the interior of a 9 inch cake pan and set aside.  I place the pan on the stovetop over a warm eye to keep the caramel from hardening somewhat, but you do not need to do this.

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“Caramelize the cake pan” – yes, the infamous step. I interpret this as making caramel in a pan and pouring it into the cake mould.  Yes, we are going to make a wet caramel and no, don’t panic.

Put the sugar and the water in a pot on medium high heat.  Stir initially to incorporate the sugar into the water but once mixed, just leave it alone on the eye. Let it bubble until it turns a nice deep caramel color – you will see the sugary liquid change from clear, to a light brown, to an amber tone. Take it off the heat and carefully pour the hot caramel into your warm cake pan.  Be sure to cover the entire bottom of the pan (swirl as necessary).

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Arrange the apple slices in the caramel and be careful not to burn yourself !  The caramel may look pretty, but it is essentially molten sugar.  Your skin will not like it.  I like to place the apples in an attractive pattern but you do not need to take the time to do this – it’s your call.  Be sure to evenly place the apples around the mould.

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Once the apples are arranged, mix up the cake batter.  Soften your butter and whip it until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat for 1 minute.  Crack the egg into the batter, pour in the vanilla, and mix again until smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and the baking powder.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter batter and mix until smooth – add the milk to thin the batter to a spreadable consistency.  Depending on the day and the temperature of the butter, I add more or less milk to the batter – start with 2 tablespoons and continue as necessary.

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Pour the batter over the apples and use a spatula to smooth the top of the cake.  Be sure to cover all of the apples !

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 325F.  (Sometimes, I get impatient and increase the temperature to 350F…shh, don’t tell).

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Once the top of the cake is a nice golden brown, remove from the oven.  It is a dense cake – I usually touch the top to check for a little spring, but the cake is done when the middle is no longer jiggly.

Let the cake cool slightly – 10 to 15 minutes – before turning it out onto a plate.  This step is tricky – start by running a knife around the edges of the cake pan.  Then, place a plate over top of the cake pan.  Using oven mitts, in one movement flip the cake onto the plate.  Tap the bottom of the pan and slowly lift it up.  Don’t panic if a few apples have stuck to the pan – just put them back into place. As Julia Child (or perhaps Meryl Streep) said, “When you’re alone in the kitchen – who’s to see ?”

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Serve warm or cool as dessert, a tea cake, or even (in my house) as breakfast !  Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra touch. Bon appétit ! 🙂

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White Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

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With Labor Day on its way out the door and schoolchildren taking its place, classic snacks are on the brain.  Parents in this modern age are determined to nourish their offspring with “healthy snack” – you know, those that crunch like carrots and don’t contain trans fats, packaging, or any other frivolities.

I’m not saying throw away dreams of good calories and vitamins abound…but when I came home from school as the leaves turned brown, I wanted a cookie.  Yes, I was “that kid.”

The chocolate chip cookie dipped in milk is classic and (taking a hint from the many clothing advertisements cropping up this season…) classic never goes out of style. As such, I admit to having cookie brain lately…where at many moments during the day, I crave a cookie.  The presence or absence of a cookie wreaks havoc on emotions – just take a look at cookie monster ! Happiness and sadness hinge upon the presence of one, buttery morsel lying at the bottom of the jar.

Some kind of goodie clearly had to be made…so I landed upon a white chocolate chip pecan cookie. Soft and chewy with a little burst of spice from time to time, these treats are perfect for that 2pm lull when coffee calls and you seek an energy burst.  Or when you get home off the train and can’t yet imagine dinner. Even breakfast (if you throw caution to the wind !) justifies a nibble.

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Now, I’ll admit:  I like white chocolate BUT I use it to appease those who can’t sleep at night after having eaten “real” chocolate…as a result, I stirred in a handful of semi-sweet chips to the recipe at the end…as I don’t have any problem snoozing after cookie consumption.

Whether you suffer from cookie brain or not, this spin on the classic chocolate chip delight is sure to leave you (or your children) grinning.

Ingredients: 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and smooth.  You can do this with an electric mixer or by hand.

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Add the white and brown sugar, whipping until lightened in color and almost pillowy.  Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition.  Don’t worry if your batter adopts a strange texture – this often happens if the eggs are not room temperature.  Their chilly, refrigerated state makes the butter cringe.  It is okay – adding the flour will make everyone get along. Toss in the two teaspoons of vanilla and give the mess a whirl.  Be sure to scrape down the sides from time to time – make sure all the butter is getting incorporated into the batter.

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In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  I enjoy the snickerdoodle-esque (quite the adjective) quality cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice bring to these cookies.  Makes me feel a little like Remy in Ratatouille.  It offsets the pecan nicely – very much a fall flavor.  If, however, you prefer the more standard flavor profile, you can skip them and no harm will come to the cookies.

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Slowly add the flour mixture in to the batter, being careful not to mix too quickly (or else flour will be everywhere in the kitchen – EVERYWHERE.  Like this). Once combined, stir in the pecans and the chocolate chips.  Taste.  Whatever anyone ever told you about not eating the batter is to be ignored.

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On a baking sheet (which you may or may not line with parchment paper – it’s up to you), drop the cookies by tablespoonful.  I like to shape them into rounds but it’s definitely not an exact science…they will spread out a bit so be sure to leave about an inch to two inches of space between each bit of dough.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes but be sure to use your nose: once you can smell the cookies, chances are good that they are done. I prefer soft bites but if you like crispy cookies, by all means cook them longer.

Once out of the oven, remove them from the baking sheet and let them cool on a wire rack…but remember – warm, just-out-of-the-oven cookies are the best, so you should probably eat one or two.  With some milk.  Just a “serving suggestion”. 🙂

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As for the rest, save them for snacking and relieving cookie brain symptoms !  Bon appétit !

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Chocolate Chunk Scones with Raspberry Swirl

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7:30am.  The alarm goes off.  “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” followed by “bebebeBEEP bebebeBEEP bebebeBEEP bebebebebebeBEEEEEEP” and then the humming of my roommate’s generic iphone guitar strum and then, finally my little dumbphone’s contribution to the matinal symphony: BUZZZZZ…BUZZZZZ…BUZZZZZ….(love meeeee, says the Envy2 LOVE MEEEEEEE).  Banging these devices any number of times, I open my eyes and proceed to poke the top mattress of our bunk bed. “wakey wakeyyy meowww…” poke poke poke.

Roommate is not nearly as amused by the morning cacophony as I am.  I’m greeted with a groan. “Noooooooooo” goes the grumpy cat.

Mornings are rough.

As she finally scrambled down from her perch on high, I began the process of getting up out of bed and making the most exciting decision of the morning: breakfast !

It’s Saturday and I don’t want cereal.  Or a bagel.  Toast is a definite no.  Don’t even think about oatmeal.  Definitely not having yogurt.

I want a real, old-time, well-prepared, rejoice-in-the-fact-it’s-Saturday breakfast. That means baked goods AND, upon examining the dwindling supply of groceries…something creative.  I saw chocolate chunks.  I saw baking goods.  I had some raspberry jam in the fridge.  Put it all together and…scones had to be the answer.  After a little googling, I settled on this recipe from The Joy of Baking, one of my favorite baking websites.  I’ve added some spices and substituted jam for fresh berries (the grand scheme all along, of course), but the recipe is mostly intact and, after having devoured two in rapid succession, provides a delicious breakfast dish.  I paired it with some cheesy grits and a fried egg, but all the loving these scones need is a cup of something warm and an open weekend morning…that doesn’t need to begin as early as mine did.  Happy nibbling !

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Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter, skip added salt)
6 tbsp butter, cold and chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (more are fine 🙂 )
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
4 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

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In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices and stir to incorporate.  I really enjoy cinnamon and nutmeg with flavors like chocolate, but adding these is not obligatory in any fashion.

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Add the cold butter to the flour.  Using a pastry blender (or your hands – either works fine), work the butter into the flour.  This will take a little bit of time, but be patient.  If you are using your hands, make sure you start with really cold butter.  The warmth of your hands will affect how much flour the butter is able to “absorb,” so to speak.  If the butter absorbs too much flour, the consistency of the final product will be slightly off…no real harm done (whew !) but if you want a “true” scone consistency, don’t work that buttah too much, honey.   The final product should have the texture of crumble – if you squish it, it will keep a basic shape, but upon touching it again will crumble into DUST.  POOF !

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To this mixture, add the chocolate chunks.  Give them a good stir to coat them in the crumble combination.  Once coated, make a chasm (that word has such presence…I definitely need a deep voice to deliver it with full force) in the flour mixture.

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In another bowl, combine the yogurt, egg, and vanilla.  Whisk well to combine.

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Pour the egg mixture into the hole made in the flour.  Stir with a fork to incorporate, somewhat.  Add the jam and stir until the dough just comes together – the mixture will be thick – that’s okay.  You don’t want to mix it too much or the dough will be chewy and tough.

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Once the batter just holds together, turn it out onto a well-floured surface.   Form the dough into a circle and cut the circle into triangles to place upon a prepared baking sheet.

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Cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Mine are a little more than golden brown BECAUSE my broiler is a little wonky.  If desired, you may dust the scones with powdered sugar and broil them for about 10 seconds to give them a nice crust.  Mine stayed in a touch too long but are none the worse for wear (or taste) !

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Enjoy with a cup of java or tea or simply with your breakfast.  Bon appétit ! 🙂

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Atelier de Cuisine at the French Cultural Center/af of Boston

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I blinked my eyes and the summer drove past before I had a chance to ask for a ride !  Rather rude, though I know hitch-hiking is frowned upon in most places.  I thought Summer might make an exception, but alas – here I am, at the end of August, with but a week of “liberties” left to my name.

I can’t complain though, as these busy months have brought many surprises, including the opportunity to teach my own cooking workshops at the French Cultural Center/Alliance Française of Boston !  Working with students ranging from age 3 to mid-teens, we tackled pain aux raisins, mousse au chocolat, and bread (“pain”), which we (of course) christened as baguettes.  The final results were impressive, and this week’s group was no exception.

Tuesday afternoon, thirteen fabulous “ados” (aka teenagers) gathered in the ballroom of the FCC/af and listened to me (yes, attentively – I only chided Siri once…and since I don’t have Siri on my phone, it really wasn’t a bother at all 🙂  She’s really quite sweet) explain how I started blogging and why I love cooking.  I then divided the group into two teams, pairing each group with a recipe.  Their mission ?  Prepare the recipe, with my guidance, to be published on my blog.

This could have gone so terribly, horribly, wrong.  What if we failed ?  What if they didn’t like it ?  Not to mention dealing with a big goofball (me) in the kitchen…

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I have never been PROUDER of a group of students.  They spent just over 90 minutes in a hot kitchen working constantly (for the most part…) to make bread and mousse au chocolat.  They separated eggs – some for the first time – without hitch.  They kneaded bread dough.  They asked fantastic questions, like “Why do we knead dough” and “why does bread rise” ?  Rather than just mentally check out, I was delighted to see them all working.  The blog entries posted below are a result of these thirteen ados incredible work – they wrote everything, took and selected all of the photos, and of course, ate the food they made (though I DID help eat the mousse…it was too good to ignore).   Félicitations to the super-chouette ados !  To see their work, either school down or click the hyperlinks above.

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Please note: these recipes and steps are in French as the workshops were “animated” in French only, following the immersion-style teaching guidelines of the alliance française.  If you would like an English translation, that is entirely possible – just let me know.  Bon appétit !

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Du pain et plus de pain et seulement le pain

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Mon amie et moi avons visité l’Italie l’été dernier, et nous l’avons adorée! Alors, nous avons décidé que nous aimons le pain! Tout le pain! Nous faisons le pain tout le temps, et maintenant, nous avons un magasin de pain. Beaucoup de gens l’aime et notre pain est toujours très réussi. Notre magasin s’appelle “Du pain et plus de pain et seulement le pain”. Nous sommes très connus pour nos baguettes. C’est notre pain préféré. C’est très amusant de cuisiner!  Une classique!

Les ingrédients:

4 tasses de farine
3 tsp (c.à.c) de levure boulangère
2 tsp (c.à.c) de sel
1 1/4 tasses d’eau chaude
Un peu d’huile d’olive

Les étapes:

1. Mettez la farine, la levure boulangère et le sel dans un grand bol. Mélangez rapidement avec une cuillère.

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2. Dans une tasse, ajoutez l’eau chaude (1 minute dans le micro-onde devrait marcher).

3. Ajoutez l’eau chaude au mélange de farine et travaillez le tout avec vos mains. Quand la pâte commence à faire une forme (comme un cercle), versez le tout sur la table.

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4. Travaillant avec les mains, pétrissez la pâte pour 10 minutes. Mettes la pâte dans un saladier pendant 1 heure pour reposer.

5. La pâte devrait être gonflée; frappez-la pour faire échapper le gaz de la levure. Diviser la pâte en quelques morceaux afin de modeler de petites cercle.

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6. Faites un baguettes avec la pâte. Pliez les deux “coins” de ce cercle pour faire un triangle. Roulez le bas du triangle pour faire la forme d’une baguette, comme un cylindre.

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7. Mettez les baguettes sur une plaque à four. Laissez reposer la pâte pendant 30 minutes, puis mettes-les dans un four chaud (475F) pendant 30 minutes (à peu près).

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Bon appétit ! 🙂

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Yay college !

So I definitely took a nice long break from posting recipes…I had to move back into university (!) and as a result, I have been trying simply to readjust to college-life (and my college kitchen…).  Blog went on hold.

Lucky for you, however, I have returned !  Given that classes have yet again restarted (and the work is pouring in), I have set a little goal for myself : to update once a week.  I know it isn’t very often, but given that this is more a personal project (and I don’t think THAT many people are impatiently awaiting my little blurbs on food), I think this ought to suffice.

From this point on, I will be posting recipes that have (most likely – I have a few stockpiled from my time at home) been concocted completely by hand.  You’ll be able to tell because the arms in the photos will be red and tired from all the whisking (oof).  This also means that my facility is less beautiful and my utensils are definitely lacking…but since when has that stopped me ?  🙂

So…here’s to some future blog posts (this weekend) inaugurating COLLEGE LYFE and all that comes with it.  I think I’ll write about muffins…

Until then, bon appétit !

-L

 

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Well ! What a pleasant surprise !

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that I’d been nominated for the “Versatile blog award” – I’ve only been posting (consistently) for a few months now, so I figured something like this would probably never occur…but look – here we are !  Thank you so much, at350degrees.wordpress.com !  I am quite flattered.

However…there are a few hitches with this fantastic award…I don’t have 15 people to nominate !  I’m not entirely certain how to proceed…so for the moment…I’m going to put my nominating powers on hold.  I reserve the right to redistribute this award at a future date 🙂  (I can do that, right ?  Well, tough luck if not.  That’s just how the cookie is going to crumble…so to speak.)

About those 7 things…

-I can wiggle my ears…and whistle…and purr !  But probably not at the same time…
-My feet aren’t petite but I like them that way.
-A white piece of printer paper and a papermate blue pen are my two most important kitchen accessories – it’s how I note all of my recipes in my cookbook.
-I “do voices”…as in, imitations.  Famous people, made-up characters, friends…teachers…enemies…anything !
-Often, as I am without many helpful electric appliances, I whip and whisk everything by hand.
-Tea is my best friend.  Without it, I’m very grumpy.  cc themousewhoflipshereggs.wordpress.com
-I am fluent in French (well…mostly…) though have zero French blood in my body…vive la France !

Well !  I think that’s enough about my habits and personality – thanks again at350degrees !

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Lemon Caper Chicken

In high school, I was lucky enough to have babysitting jobs because I had a younger sister.  The plan of attack was simple :  she made friends, I met her friends (and their parents), and they asked me (sometimes) to babysit because I was (naturally) the older and more mature sibling.  In reality, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hang out with my sisters’ friends, as they are all charming with charming younger siblings themselves.  Eventually, our families would just merge and become friends.  It is from such a friendship that this recipe surfaced.  While having a casual dinner over at one such family’s house, we experienced Lemon Caper Chicken.  It’s a really simple dish that doesn’t take long to make and it definitely looks fancy…and who doesn’t like looking fancy ?  The bite from the lemon and the white wine work well with the sourness (and surprise) of the capers.  This recipe will make enough to feed 4 people.

Ingredients :

2 tbsp olive oil
4 whole boneless chicken breasts, halved
1 cup of white wine (I used a Chablis but anything will work)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
A little flour (for dredging)
Salt
Pepper

OPTIONAL FIRST STEP : Pound the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap to flatter/tenderize.  Place the pieces of chicken into a bowl of flour that has been seasoned with a little salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot (but not smoking!  We don’t want the fire alarm to go off…).  Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Be sure to flip the chicken after about 5 minutes.  I always have to cut the chicken in half to make sure it’s no longer pink on the inside – chicken is tricky and you don’t want to risk having not entirely cooked the meat.  When done, remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a platter.  Cover to keep warm.

Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan and scrape the bottom to remove the brown bits – these will add great flavor to the dish.  When you add an acid to the pan, you are deglazing it – dissolving so to speak those bits of delicious protein that stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Bring this mixture to a boil and add the capers.  Let simmer for about 2 minutes before whisking in the butter, one piece at a time.  Cook over low heat for 1 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve !  This pairs well with rice, be it risotto or white rice, as a starch.  A piece of homemade bread is also welcome, given that the sauce is absolutely heavenly.

Bon appétit !

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Marmalade Muffins

I’ve never been a fan of hard biscuits and jam.  English muffins, yes; biscuits, no.  That said…I love jam.  I feel like good jam doesn’t get enough attention on this side of the Atlantic.  When these muffins came to my attention (my mother made them for weekend breakfasts on occasion), I couldn’t have been more delighted.  Tucked inside each seemingly plain treat is a treasure trove of jam.  You can vary the flavors – I use raspberry and blackberry most often, but apricot and blueberry would be great as well.  Little tip – make sure you grease the pan liberally – if the jam escapes from it’s little home snug inside the muffin batter, it will boil and bubble in the oven and make it difficult to remove.  This recipe makes 12 plump muffins.

Ingredients :

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1tbsp+ 2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups plain yogurt or buttermilk
3/4 stick butter
1-2 tsp vanilla
Jam of any kind !

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Grease 12 regular muffin cups.  Thoroughly mix flour, sugar, baing powder, and salt in a large bowl.  In a medium-size bowl, whisk eggs with yogurt, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Pour over flour mixture and fold in until just combined.

Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into muffin cups.

Fill with jam.

Top off with batter.

Bake 25-30 minutes of until golden brown.  You’ll know the muffins are done when you are able to press their tops with our finger and the cake will spring back.  That said, these are pretty dense – so don’t be surprised if the pan is still heavy when removing from the oven.

Let them cool on a rack at least 5 minutes before serving, as the jam inside is VERY HOT.  We don’t want any burnt tongues…that just ruins the rest of breakfast. 😉

Bon appétit !

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Chicken Marsala

It’s never a fabulous idea to leave me alone and to my own devices. A few days ago, such an event occurred, and I watched two food-related documentaries back-to-back before deciding that cooking was exactly what the doctor ordered ! In our refrigerator were all the ingredients necessary to make Chicken Marsala and nice, crusty “Italian” bread. You can just guess what we had for dinner…

My family now thinks it’s WISE to leave me all by myself – dinner is [magically] made by the time they return to the house !

Here is the recipe, adapted from Gourmet Magazine’s Chicken Marsala.

Ingredients :

2 cups chicken broth (low sodium would be best)
2 or 3 tbsp finely chopped shallot/onion (I used an onion)
5 tbsp unsalted butter
10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 1/2 tsp fresh sage (I used dried rosemary to great effect)
Ground black pepper
1 cup flour
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup dry Marsala wine (I used cooking wine)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat and let boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 1 cup of liquid. Depending on the power behind your stovetop, this can take 15-20 minutes. If it reduces too much, it’s okay – you’ll just have a little less sauce. This (OF COURSE) can be offset by adding more wine/cream later, so don’t stress.

Chop the shallow/onion. I never have shallots so I’m always substituting onions. To cut an onion finely, I recommend halving it, then cutting gridlines with the knife on the half of the onion. Then, slice thinly, and the onion will fall onto the cutting board in nice small pieces. Crying is allowed.

Cook the shallot/onion in 3 tbsp butter (or olive oil, that’s okay) in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring until it begins to turn golden. At this point, add the mushrooms, being careful not to crowd them. Julia Child spoke wise words when she said, “DON’T CROWD THE MUSHROOMS” as they won’t brown well if you do. Cook half the batch at a time, if necessary. Once they start to change color, I chop them in half with the wooden spatula used to stir so that they release more liquid. Season with ground black pepper and rosemary.

Once the liquid has been evaporated and the mushrooms are nice and brown/soft, remove from the heat and put into a bowl.

Put flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Gently pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, one piece at a time.

Using the same pan that was used for the mushrooms, heat 1 tbsp of both oil AND butter. Once the butter stops frothing, place the chicken in the pan and cook until golden. Chicken takes awhile to cook and you want to make sure it is cooked ALL THE WAY THROUGH. NO PINK. Got it ?

Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a platter. To keep this warm, the chicken can be placed in the oven but WARNING – this could dry the chicken out. You know your oven – you decide.

Add the wine to the skillet and boil over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the nice brown bits leftover from the chicken. (This is called “deglazing” – it works wonderfully).

Add the broth and the cream and bring to a simmer. Once lightly boiling, add the mushrooms and continue to stir until thickened slightly. At this stage it is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to TASTE the sauce. This way, you know if you need to season it more – add salt, pepper, more cream or wine, perhaps – I ended up adding much more wine and cream. 🙂 Live the good life…

Once the sauce is hot and seasoned to your liking, add the lemon juice and a bit of wine. Stir and then pour over the chicken. Serve with a nice chunk of bread…I made mine but this dish isn’t picky – any nice, crusty Italian loaf will do. Bon appetite !

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