Recipes

A cupcake for the grown ups !

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Recipes on June 17th, 2012 by Natacha – Comments Off on A cupcake for the grown ups !

Today we made our favorite cupcakes to bring to a party. I really like them because they “feel” healthier -not a butter based frosting- than the cupcakes i’m used to make.

Strawberry Balsamic Reduction ( for 24 cupcakes) :

  • 1Lbs. Organic Strawberries – chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

Put all the ingredients on a pot on low heat, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, on low heat (about 7 minutes). Let cool, and your cupcake filling is ready !

Mascarpone frosting (for 24 cupcakes) :

  • 16 ounces Mascarpone cheese
  • 1Lbs.  confectioner’s sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Beat the mascarpone and juice and gradually add the sugar. Depending on your taste you may want to adjust the sugar amount.

Core you favorite vanilla cupcake, fill with strawberry compote and add frosting.

 

Happy Father’s day ! Life is sweet, remember to eat dessert first ! (hopefully my kids won’t read this)

Cinnamon roll cupcakes

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Recipes on June 14th, 2012 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I made this recipe and we all totally loved it ! Those cupcakes totally taste like a cinnamon roll !

Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup organic butter
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose organic flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup  organic brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic whole milk

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

Bring butter and eggs to room temperature.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and beat until combined.  Add egg and vanilla.  Add flour in three portions, alternating with milk (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour).

Add 1 tbsp batter to the paper liners.  Add 1 tsp cinnamon mixture to the cups.  Add remaining batter to the muffin cups (about 2 tbsp each).  Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cinnamon mixture.

Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes  (or until a toothpick comes out with just crumbs clinging).  Let cool on a wire rack for ten minutes then remove from the baking pan.  Allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

For the frosting, I used a basic cream cheese frosting (butter,cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla).

This is a very easy recipe that can be done quickly. I made a batch and now my kitchen smells like a cinnabon store 🙂

Sprinkled with cinnamon for decoration...

My son wanted to try frost his own cupcake, i turned my back 5 seconds and this is what he did :

“But mommy those are frosting claws” – what do you answer to that ?

Happy Thursday, the weekend is almost here !

 

 

New challenge : Make me a Crab Cake !

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life, Recipes, Techniques on February 11th, 2012 by Natacha – Comments Off on New challenge : Make me a Crab Cake !

I just finished a cake order that was pretty fun….I was obsessed with it for a few days…A CRAB cake for a little guy that likes to wear his mittens and pretends he’s a crab (i’m a sucker for those personal details)

The client wanted a chocolate mousse filling, but after i tested it i knew the mousse would not hold well in a 3D cake that I would have to carve (but still works well in multi layer traditional cakes). Instead I perfected a swiss meringue chocolate buttercream which was divine, and maybe even lighter than a traditionnal chocolate mousse filling.

Swiss meringue Chocolate Buttercream :

Ingredients :

  • 6 egg whites (organic)
  • 4 sticks of organic butter
  • 1 package of Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips (i liked it better than with the bitersweet chocolate for this recipe)
  • 240g of organic sugar

1. Melt the chopped chocolate over a water bath. Set aside and let cool.
2. Place egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl.
3. Set bowl over 1 inch of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently until mixture reaches 140°F/60°C  (this step is to pasteurize the eggs)
4. Remove from heat and using an electric mixer, whisk on medium speed until egg whites are cool to touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand).
5. Continue beating, gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces and continue to beat. It will first look watery or separated, but after 10-15 minutes, it will come together.
6. Once desired, pipe-able consistency has been reached, fold in cooled chocolate until well incorporated.

Fondant has been laid

The crab is finished!

View from the side

To get a quote, email me your cake/cookie/cupcake/candy bar project at  : natacha@frenchyfood.com

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

Posted in Life, Molecular Gastronomy, Recipes, Techniques on January 13th, 2012 by Natacha – Comments Off on Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

It’s been a very good year or like my husband says “the best ever”…

I ended the year with a meal at an amazing restaurant and met a very inspirational chef : Cesar Ramirez. Unlike any other 3 Michelin Star restaurant, Brooklyn Fare is a BYOB, single-menu prix-fixe, and payment is required to be pre-arranged. (You pay for your meal before you even go, which makes the whole experience easier, and let’s you forget how much you just shelled out.) My husband brought some champagne that was offered by my great-grand mother, it made the whole night even more special.

Champagne Millésimé from "mémé"

Brooklyn Fare has 18 seats disposed in a U-shape with one waitress/sommelier in the middle – although no wine list or actual wines. Cesar and his small crew cook right in front of you through 20+ small dishes and he steps out of the kitchen to talk to patrons and friends. He loved the fact that I was from Alsace and recognized that his cabbage dish (an Alsatian staple) must have taken more than 8 hours to cook. As he served us an egg dish topped by a whole slice of black truffle from Perigord, he yelled “no extra charge”. Cesar (always wearing a crisp white shirt during service, and keeping it white as my husband noted) told me he loves his craft and that the restaurant wasn’t making any money but “that’s not what matters”.

When I asked him where he trained (he used an interesting mix of advanced cooking techniques as well as traditional ones) he simply laughed at me…”I learned by working in restaurants!” I was also very pleased to have seen all the great dishware he was using. Cesar told us he has one of the most expensive collections of restaurant china in the world, which is very possibly true: some bowls that balanced on a pinpoint magnet, large plates made out of stone, Laguiole knives…

I used to love David Chang’s simplicity but Cesar took it to a whole other  level…So there you have it: the most fantastic food experience so far!  I just hope that when they get a liquor license it doesn’t take away from the charm of this little restaurant.

Thank you Cesar for one of the best food experience in my life (and my hubby for making it happen !)

Cesar Ramirez - Photo courtesy of Art Culinaire magazine

Halloween Cake Pops, Ghost Cookies and Snowstorm…

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life, Recipes on October 31st, 2011 by Natacha – 3 Comments

First snowstorm of the season !

Saturday we had our first snow storm of the season ! It was quite a surprise and since the temperatures dropped considerably, I used my time wisely and prepared some last minute goodies for Halloween in anticipation of the trick-or-treating action this Monday.

I started by some basic sugar cookies, sloppy royal icing and chocolate eyes and mouth…

Booooooo !

Then my imagination wandered and I started to want to try to make “cake pops”…

I have never been a big fan because the technique calls for store bought cake and icing (processed ingredients…yuck…yuck…yuck) but every once in a while I have to bend my rules for the sake of my children and husband. The cover was made out of white chocolate and various types of candy (a great one to work with : chocolate covered sunflower seeds).

 

My favorite ones to start :

Where's our mummy ?

And a little collage of all the fun I had while making them…I made Jack-O-lanterns, eyeballs (least favorite), aliens, ghosts….

Trick-or-Treat !

I think we’re ready for Halloween…Treats are done and costumes (dragon and ladybug) are ready to be worn !

Have a spooky Halloween !

 

Stay tuned for Max’s birthday cake : I will attempt to make his wish come true… His request : ” A 4 year old Stegosaurus – just like ME”.

I always love a good challenge, email yours to Natacha@Frenchyfood.com

Hollandaise Science

Posted in Molecular Gastronomy, Recipes, Techniques on September 14th, 2011 by Natacha – Comments Off on Hollandaise Science

My husband dislikes Hollandaise sauce, I love it with white wine poached salmon and steamed potatoes…Huge dilemma !

I tried many version, changed the flavoring, played with the viscosity…But I finally found the solution ( YES -> Highlight of the week).

I made a Hollandaise sauce and then transferred it to an iSi whipper, added a CO2 cartridge and there you go : the result is an amazingly light and foamy Hollandaise sauce.

Ingredients for the 1L iSi Gourmet Whip:

650 g butter cubes (makes about 500 ml clarified butter), 5 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs, 50 g finely chopped shallots or onions, 100 ml dry white wine, juice of one lemon, 1 to 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 to 1.5 bay leaves, 6 crushed black peppercorns, salt, white or Cayenne pepper and a pinch of sugar.

Preparation:

Melt the butter cubes in a pot and bring to a boil (clarifying – approx. 5 minutes). Skim off the foam from the top of the butter with a ladle. Allow the chopped shallots to cook in the vegetable oil without coloring. Add the crushed peppercorns and the bay leaves (broken into pieces), then add the white wine and allow the mixture to simmer and reduce for about 3 minutes. Pass the spice stock through a fine strainer. Place the egg yolk, the two whole eggs and 4 tablespoons of the reduction in a metal bowl and whisk it over a pan of barely simmering water (approx. 70 °C / 160° F) until it doubles in size (approx. 1 to 1,5 minutes). Next, carefully stir in the warm liquid butter (approx. 50° C / 120° F), first drop by drop and then gradually increasing the amount of butter added. The mixture needs to emulsify (form a combination of egg and butter). Finally, season the sauce with salt, sugar, white pepper and lemon juice. Pour the sauce into a 1 l Gourmet Whip, screw in two cream chargers and shake vigorously. Keep the filled Gourmet Whip warm in a bain marie at temperatures of up to 65° C / 150° F.

You don’t have to follow that exact recipe, you can easily simplify it and just make a warm emulsion with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice for a quick sauce !

Spring Pea Dip

Posted in Life, Recipes on July 31st, 2011 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I brought back spring peas from the farmer’s market. Kids were starving, it was already noon, I had to act quick…I blanched the peas, shocked them into an ice bath (to preserve the beautiful green color), threw them in the blender, with mint, ricotta,EVOO, salt & pepper….I served the dip on toasted baguette with shredded parmesan cheese. It was a big hit and quickly calmed down my hungry monsters…

Spring pea dip on toasted baguette

More pasta…

Posted in Recipes on July 31st, 2011 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I decided to get a little bit more creative with my pasta, so since the kids need more veggies in their diet I added half a frozen package of organic chopped spinach (make sure to remove all moisture!) to my classic pasta dough recipe, and there we go :

"Real" Spinach Spaghetti

Since I made those on a weeknight, I went for an easy sauce, sauteed some mushrooms, added some cream and parmesan cheese….toss in the cooked noodles, a few bits of leftover smoked salmon and parmesan….ET VOILA !

Dinner is served !

Easy Mango Coconut Sorbet

Posted in Life, Recipes, Techniques on May 16th, 2011 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I have been “playing” around a lot with my ice cream maker recently… Last week i pureed organic strawberries with lemon juice and sugar, then strained it to make a strawberry sorbet. It was delicious but required lots of work and dishwashing…Not really what a busy mom needs…

There had ot be a way to make a healthy sorbet faster and with less mess….So I decided to use my daughter’s babyfood and subsititute milk for coconut milk ! Et Voila !

Ella's mango puree

Ingredients :

  • 2 packets of mango baby food (organic is better)
  • Juice from one lime
  • One can of light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

 

Mix all four ingredients, chill and then pour into ice cream maker – you’ll end up with a delicious light sorbet…The perfect end to any meal !

 

 

Making my own pasta…

Posted in Cooking tools, Recipes, Techniques on April 20th, 2011 by Natacha – 1 Comment

KitchenAid pasta press

When i saw a pasta extruder that fits my KitchenAid stand mixer, I went nuts and had to have it !

I used a basic egg noodle recipe and I was very surprised at how easy it was to make your own pasta!

And it was sooo much fun, my 3 year old loved watching the macaronis coming out !

To go with it I made a simple Andouille sausage/fresh tomato sauce….we found pasta heaven last night !!

Macaronis coming out of the extruder

Basic egg pasta recipe (for 2 people) :

  • 1 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 0.5 to 1 Tbsp. water (adjust)

Mix flour and salt, then add eggs and water in stand mixer, then knead by hand for 2 minutes and prepare walnut size balls of dough to feed the pasta extruder.

The water is critical in the dough, if you put too much it will not work, you needjust enough so that the dough sticks together but remains pliable.

Use pasta extruder and voila ! I let my pasta dry for a couple hours before throwing it into a pot of boiling water with some olive oil and salt, after 2 minutes they started to float, that’s how i knew my mini-macaronis were ready !

Ready to be cooked !

I can’t wait to start experimenting with flavors…etc….Bucatini alla Bolognese for this weekend ! Stay tuned !

 

On a lighter note, my mother-in-law would love for the world to know about her favorite cosmopolitan cocktail recipe…So there it is :

Ellen's cosmo

 

1.5 oz. Absolut Raspberri vodka

1 oz. Triple Sec liqueur

1/2 oz. Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Enjoy!