The Little Paris Kitchen | Cookbooks By Lovely Ladies

Spring might not want to show up in Chicago yet but let me tell you, spring flavors are taking over my kitchen whether they want to or not. I love today’s cookbook feature because it’s a menu using recipes with spring ingredients but it’s also perfect for colder days. The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo is one of the most approachable French cookbooks I’ve seen. Traditional French recipes are given a modern twist using ingredients that are accessible and not so intimidating. This particular menu is perfect for a weekend dinner with friends or family. The flavors are bright and it’s not a super heavy meal but it is comforting and satisfying. All qualities necessary for a cold spring night.

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I’ve only made a handful of recipes from The Little Paris Kitchen but what I have cooked through has been incredible. For example, who knew Mac n’ Cheese was French and that it could taste so good?! I mean, I guess we all know how fantastic Mac n’ Cheese can be, but not when you make it yourself! There’s also a recipe for Meatballs in Spicy Sauce with Alsatian Pasta that is to-die-for. She has salads, desserts, gouters (or snacks), and even breakfast recipes. It’s a well-rounded cookbook that touches a lot of different parts of French cuisine and that’s what makes The Little Paris Kitchen such a great cookbook.

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I know I can only complain about the weather so much on here without sounding like a broken record, but you guys. It was snowing today. I love cold weather as much as Snow Miser but it would be great to walk around without a coat. You know what I mean? On the other hand, I have a few extra winter pounds from all my “comforting” dinners I don’t want exposed just yet. So when I have recipes like the Spring Lamb Stew to give the best of both worlds, it’s a win. On another note, I hope you guys are enjoying these little peeks at cookbooks I’m in love with. It’s great sharing my own recipes with you but I also love sharing my experiences with cookbooks. It’s different and it also broadens my own perspective on ingredients and different cuisines.

The Menu:
Garlic Mayonnaise with Crunchy Raw Vegetables
Spring Lamb Stew
Citrus Fruit Cake

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The Garlic Mayonnaise is the real recipe for the starter. It’s more like a garlic aioli that acts as a dip for freshly cut veggies. It’s a light appetizer that pairs well with heavier dishes or mains that stand on their own like the Spring Lamb Stew. Like many other lamb recipes I’ve cooked through, I substituted beef. I know it’s not the same, I know using lamb is the whole point of this being a spring stew but it’s SO expensive. Buying a 3-pound lamb roast versus a beef cut is like comparing pennies to dollars. Using a beef roast doesn’t ruin this dish though so stick with me.

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Green beans, peas, and carrots brighten this stew and the beef is the perfect substitute for a still-winter-kind-of-spring meal! The flavors blend beautifully and the meat cooks for a few hours making it super tender. It is fantastic for leftovers as well (if there are any left). Serve with a little crusty bread and you have yourself a winning dinner!

Finally, the best part of this post: Citrus Fruit Cake. It sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? Fruit cake does not bring to mind happy feelings. Forget that. This is more like a citrus pound cake. It has a similar texture and consistency. It’s got a great citrus flavor because of all the orange goodness but it’s not too overpowering like lemon can get. You know what I mean? It’s easy to make and lasts for a few days if you can restrain yourself to just a slice or two. It’s wonderful by itself but also tasty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some berries on top.

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French Country Cooking | Around the World with Cookbooks

Remember French Cooking Fridays? It was my journey cooking through A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorisson - my first true experience working with French recipes. While it had its frustrations, it also had its accomplishments. It was rewarding making it through some of those harder recipes and eye opening to whiz through the easier ones. For example, there was a chicken recipe that took hardly any time at all and was one of the best chicken recipes I’d ever made in my life. Who knew French food could be so easy? I’ll tell you, no one who is familiar with stereotypical French cuisine.

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As I continue reading Julie & Julia, I’m seeing that the majority of the recipes included, or at least the ones she writes about, are expert level recipes. Is that the truth about any cuisine though? Regardless of the country, everyone needs easy weeknight recipes every once in a while. I mean, what about a croque madame or croque monsieur? That’s hardly a major time commitment. A Kitchen In France did more than expand my cooking skills, it expanded my mind when it came to French Food. Not only does it have the traditional laborious dishes that are decadent and rich, it also has dishes that are light, simple and come together in no time. That was one of the reasons I loved sharing my experiences cooking through A Kitchen In France. I wanted to open the definition of French cuisine and show that it’s not all 8 hour cooking sessions and heavy meals. It’s versatile and seasonal like any other cuisine.

When I found out Mimi had come out with a second cookbook, I knew that I needed it for my cookbook shelf (now shelves). French Country Cooking is organized a little different than A Kitchen In France. While AKIF was organized by season, FCC is organized by course: sides, starters, main courses, staff meals, Sunday suppers, desserts, gouter (snacks), and drinks. Mimi was inspired by the pop-up restaurant her and her husband had taken over in the Medoc region of France. Main courses are dishes you’d see in the restaurant. Staff meals are less complicated, quicker options to feed workers on breaks. Sunday supper dishes are meals you’d cook for your family, something very important to Mimi and her family. The others explain themselves except gouter. A little background info...the French do not eat between meals. They hardly even drink. Because dinner is so late (no earlier than 7:30pm and as late as 10pm), to keep hunger at bay they’ll have a little gouter in the late afternoon to tide them over until dinnertime. A gouter is sweet or savory, sometimes a little of both!

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The meal I chose to showcase French food for our “Around the World” series is classically French. From onion soup to pears with chocolate, these dishes showcase the finesse of French cuisine, the decadence of French cuisine, and the simplicity. Each dish has a different level of work involved and each dish has a different number of ingredients required. I was hoping to show the versatility of the culture. You tell me if I did it justice.

Plantia’s Onion Soup
French Onion Soup is one of those dishes that are without question French. Mimi’s recipe, by coincidence, mimics the same recipe the woman who owned the restaurant before her used to serve. Her name was Plantia so Mimi named the recipe after her. The secret to both of their soups is duck fat and using comte or gruyere cheese on the toasts. I did not use duck fat but I did use gruyere cheese! Onion Soup is super simple to make. Onions cook down until soft before chicken stock, wine and a few other ingredients get thrown in the pot. Everything simmers for a bit before placing cheese toasts on top for a delightful bowl of soup. This recipe may lack ingredients but it lacks no flavor. It’s a recipes that feeds the soul.

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Poule au Pot
I recently read the part in Julie & Julia where Julie makes Pot au Feu for a group of friends. Pot au Feu and Poule au Pot are similar in that they’re both boiled dishes. Pot au Feu is several types of meat all boiled in a large pot with veggies. Poule au Pot is a stuffed whole chicken boiled in a pot with vegetables. Similar, right? Another thing they have in common is that they are not visually satisfactory. They’re actually kind of gross. I wanted to share a photo of the Poule au Pot once it finished cooking to show the stuffing and all that but it was gag worthy. I was not putting a photo of that on the blog.

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Poule au Pot is one of those traditional go-to French dishes made for comfort. It’s also one of those dishes that can be made a million different ways. The prep is a little intense for this one with the stuffing but other than that, it’s not too bad. A creamy mushroom sauce finishes the dish using some of the homemade stock from the pot. That’s the biggest pro for this recipe. The water that the chicken and veggies boil in transitions into a beautiful, rich stock that you can use later in the week. I had about 3-4 quarts of stock leftover that I used all week long. So while Poule au Pot may not be visually stunning and translated to English (boiled chicken) might not sound scrumptious, it’s actually a very tasty dish and it’s also comforting. Whip it up on the weekends when you have a little extra time on your hands.

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Baked Pears with Chocolate
What comes to mind when you think of French desserts? Macarons? Souffle? Chocolate Mousse? How about a baked fruit drizzled in dark chocolate? Because that’s exactly what this is. Four (five if you use mint) ingredients come together for an indulgent dessert that tastes more sinful than it actually is. Melted butter drizzles over halved pears followed by a hint of honey. They’re baked until tender before finished with a healthy drizzle of melted dark chocolate. It’s a dish where the fruit shines but does not taste one bit healthy. The best part is that you don’t feel guilty or gross after indulging. You feel satisfied, satiated and ready for a glass of bubbles. Might we suggest strawberries in prosecco??

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We have a one recipe and one cookbook feature to go! In case you missed the others, see our stops around the world cooking in ItalyThailandGreeceNorth Africa and Mexico.


French Cooking: Pork Cheek Raviolis & Chocolate Meringue Swirls

We’re going for a double whammy this week with our French Cooking series. Two comforting dishes and a decadent dessert are coming for your Saturday. Maybe it will share a little inspiration for a weekend family dinner. French cooking, like Italian cooking, is food for the soul. It’s food that is scrumptious but also beautiful and seasonal. These dishes are no different. From a hearty soup to elegant raviolis to a pillowy, rich dessert, today’s menu will not disappoint.

STARTER: Harvest Soup
Harvest Soup is what I like to call an “everything but the kitchen sink” soup. It’s a simple meat and veggie soup that simmers all day for a tender, flavorful dish later. It’s so simple to prepare as well. Place a beef roast in a pot and cover it with water. Bring it to a boil and add the vegetables and let it simmer low for a few hours. Once the beef is cooked and tender, remove it for a few minutes to pull the meat apart and add back into the soup. It’s a simple, comforting dish anyone will enjoy.

MAIN: Pork Cheek Ravioli with Cepes
These raviolis are a lot of work but they are worth every second. If there’s one piece of advice I can offer after making these, it’s to have patience. The ravioli dough needs precision and patience. Too much flour and it will be too tough. Not enough flour and it will end up too sticky. It’s a fine line to manage. The pork cheek filling isn’t particularly difficult to make but it has a few steps that take time. The end result is this decadent and rich ravioli that will blow your mind. The filling is packed with flavor and has an almost creamy consistency. The red wine gravy is beautiful in color, so different from any traditional ravioli.

Cepes are mushrooms found seasonally in Europe. I have never seen a cepe in the midwest before so I look for whatever wild mushroom the store has in stock. If wild mushrooms are still tricky to find, a meaty portobello mushroom will work or shiitake. Pork cheeks are supposedly super affordable. At least from what I’ve read online. Even though my butcher mentioned someone else had recently asked for pork cheeks, they didn’t have any to sell. So improvisation led me to purchasing thin cut pork chops which cooked for a few hours before getting blended together with the wild mushrooms for the ravioli filling. It is divine. I cannot say enough good things about the filling for these raviolis. The flavor is off the wall and the red wine sauce that gets spooned over the top tastes like something that is served in a Michelin rated restaurant.

DESSERT: Chocolate Meringue Swirls with Chocolate Sauce
These meringues are the epitome of light decadence. They’re little mounds of pure heaven. Light enough to make you feel good about yourself but rich enough to feel like an indulgence. The chocolate sauce on top is an added treat with the Chantilly Cream. I was hesitant to tackle this recipe at first but I am so thankful I did. Mimi doesn’t have the exact recipe for these on her website but she does have one close to it. Click the link above to try them for yourself.

Catch up on our French Cooking Series HERE. In case you’re new or haven’t had a chance to read about our journey cooking through A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorrisson, read our very first post HERE.

French Cooking Friday: Croquant Ratatouille & Double The Desserts!

When dinner fits into a large bowl, you know it’s a good one. Today’s main dish from A Kitchen In France boasts a meaty and veggie filled meal perfect for chilly spring days. Slow Cooked Lamb with Croquant Ratatouille is one of those recipes that make the entire house smell incredible all day. It even lingers into the next day making everyone who enters your home hungry and jealous of your professional cooking abilities. The other two dishes we have for you today are desserts. One, a simple fruit and wine combination that is pure culinary sophistication. The other, simple and elegant yet delicious. Take a look and dig in!

MAIN: Slow Cooked Lamb with Croquant Ratatouille
The slow cooked lamb starts on the stove and finishes for a few hours in the oven. It bakes low and slow all day in a broth that has onions, garlic, carrots, herbs and celery. Instead of lamb, I used a pork roast because it was already in the freezer. It turns out a little milder in flavor and less gamey but still delicious. The pork roast (depending on its size) doesn’t need as much time to cook so as you’re checking on it every two hours, be careful not to let it over cook. You’ll end up with a dry, stringy piece of meat.

The Croquant Ratatouille is a delicious mixture of vegetables sauteed on the stove. The vegetables cook in two batches before coming together so everything cooks even. It takes hardly any time to bring this together. The chopping gets a little tedious since the vegetables need to be diced rather than chopped but it’s well worth it. Instead of plating this as a side, I used the Croquant Ratatouille as a bed for the slow cooked pork and spooned some of the liquid from the roast all over the top. It’s such a comforting dish and the leftovers are equally delicious.

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DESSERT #1: Pears a la Medocaine
If you’re not a baker and prefer desserts that are almost impossible to mess up, this one is for you. Start by making the red wine syrup. A few ingredients come together on the stove to a boil. The pears soak for a few minutes before everything gets transferred to a bowl. The pears refrigerate for about 24 hours and your dessert is ready. No cooking, no baking. Just a little boiling and stirring before calling it a day. I used red pears for this treat. I find them a little sweeter than green pears which works well with the dry red wine. A few things to note: make sure the pear is still slightly firm otherwise it will be hard to manage and start to disintegrate in the wine syrup. Second, choose a wine that you’d enjoy drinking. If you don’t like the wine itself, you won’t enjoy the dessert.

DESSERT #2: Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water
For those of you like me who are not particularly confident in their baking abilities, I introduce you to the apple tart. Tart dough is not as temperamental as pie dough making it much easier to throw together. The filling is also simple. Homemade apple sauce and sliced apples layer together for the simplest fruit dessert you’ll ever make. It’s also such an elegant presentation. It’s a great option to bring to parties or serve guests when you don’t want to go overboard.

Catch up on our French Cooking Series HERE. In case you’re new or haven’t had a chance to read about our journey cooking through A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorrisson, read our very first post HERE

French Cooking Friday: Savory Tartlets, Steak & Chocolate Tarts!

The sun might be shining a little more these days but the air still holds a chill. That means comfort food is still in season and I can’t say I’m mad about it. It provides the opportunity to enjoy tasty bites like what we’ve got for you in this week’s French Cooking Friday! From decadent tartlets to melt-in-your-mouth steak and rich, indulgent chocolate. Each of these dishes are easy to prepare (well, the tart will go smoother if you have baking skills. I struggle.) and they pair together well. Check them out and Happy Friday!

APPETIZER: Cepe and Parsley Tartlets
Tartlets have fast become my favorite appetizer. They’re versatile, easy to make and always tasty. These particular tartlets are quick to whip up and make a nice savory start to a meal. Cepes are a type of mushroom found in Europe but here in the states, especially the Midwestern states, you’re forced to improvise. Any wild mushroom will do fantastic. I love using shiitake mushrooms when Mimi has a recipe that calls for cepes or a wild mushroom mix. If those are still hard to come by, portobellos or bellas will be just as tasty.

Store-bought puff pastry dough is one of the best things ever invented. Considering how many times I’ve had to use this stuff while cooking through A Kitchen In France, I should buy stock in it. Sometimes it can be tricky to find but as long as you can get the kind that unfolds or comes in square form, you’ll be set. Dough is not my personal specialty. I don’t have the patience for it and it doesn’t have the tolerance for me. So don’t be embarrassed to give in to store-bought help.

MAIN: Grilled Entrecote a la Bordelaise
Translation: steak with a bone marrow sauce and sauteed shallots. Now, before I lose you with the bone marrow, I have to confess that I didn’t actually do that part. I would have though! I couldn’t find the ingredients that I needed. Bone marrow is actually a fantastic ingredient. If you can buy bones at your grocery store or butcher, do it! The marrow in the bone lends incredible flavor to things like soup and pasta gravy. That extra level of richness takes your cooking to the next level and has everyone asking for the recipe. Since I wasn’t able to grab all the ingredients I needed, I seared the steaks in butter in a cast-iron skillet and topped them with shallots. No marrow unfortunately but they were still quite tasty.

SIDE DISH: Butternut Gratin
This was the star of the show. I had butternut squash haters eating this. Similar in theory to a traditional potato gratin, this version is a bit sweeter with a nice salty kick. Butternut squash and onions come together with heavy cream, butter, brown sugar and delicious Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a weakness of mine. It’s so tangy and salty, the perfect cheese to pair with an otherwise sweet dish. Regardless the time of year, this is a side dish for any dinner menu.

DESSERT: Chocolate Tart
It can take me two or three times to whip up desserts, especially ones that need dough. I got this one on the first try though. The tart dough for this recipe is a little different than a traditional kind. Almond flour lends a little bit more graininess and flavor. It’s also a heavier dough so it’s more sturdy but at the same time, not as pliable as you’d like a dough to be. The chocolate filling is simple to prepare as well. Melted chocolate, cream and a few other ingredients blend together for a rich dessert everyone will love. I suggest a very small sliver of this at a time. The chocolate is rich and becomes almost overpowering in excess. Then again, this is coming from someone without a sweet tooth.

Catch up on our French Cooking Series HERE. In case you’re new or haven’t had a chance to read about our journey cooking through A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorrisson, read our very first post HERE.

French Cooking Friday: Squab Pie & Two Desserts!

Happy Friday! It’s the end of the week which hopefully means a little down time, a little wine time and a little indulging. As I sit here writing this post, it’s a balmy 35 degrees, the warmest weather we’ve had in a while and quite confusing at that because it’s January. January is supposed to be freezing cold and white. More importantly, this is supposed to be a bad winter and so far, nothing about what we’ve currently experienced can be categorized as a bad winter for Chicago standards. It’s rather depressing. However, for those weekends when you’re not planning on much and it’s still going to be cold, you want something comforting. The best comforting meals often take a bit of time to come together and leave not much time for anything else. So today, I bring you one dish to enjoy as well as two desserts, one that could certainly pass for a breakfast!

MAIN: Squab Pie with Foie Gras and Armagnac
Squab sounds like something you’d eat in 17th century Europe, does it not? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get around some of the ingredients that might be easily available in France but not so much here. Squab Pie is essentially an enormous meat pie. Think minced meat but with much better ingredients and a lot of veggies as well. It’s a great way to get a ton of nutrition and food groups into one dish. It takes a minute to prepare but is well worth it in the end. This is great for a Sunday dinner when you have the better part of the day to prepare it. Enjoy with a nice, full-bodied glass of red wine.

Crepes with Salted Butter Caramel
This might seem a little backwards but I know a caramel is great when I hate it even more. Something I have never been shy to admit is my lack of love for caramel. I have tried the sugary substance multiple times to test my taste buds and I’ve had it in a million forms. I have yet to meet a caramel or a caramel combination that does not make me gag. In fact, the better quality the caramel, the worse it makes me gag. This salted butter caramel must be fantastic because I was not having it. One taste was all it took for me to grab a glass of milk and a few piece of cheese to get the taste out of my mouth. The crepes on the other hand were fantastic. Light and sweet, they’re ideal for a dessert with the salted caramel butter sauce or use them for breakfast with a little bit of jam. I personally feel they’d pair even better with chocolate.

Calvados and Creme Fraiche Apple Tart
If you’re looking for a rich, dense dessert, this is your guy. This apple tart, better made in a tart pan (not a pie dish like I used), is full of apples and tons of flavor thanks to the creamy filling from the calvados and creme fraiche. The crust even has an edge to it because it’s made with a mixture of regular and almond flour. Every part of this dessert has an extra level of flavor which make it substantial and satisfying. Make sure to follow the recipe instructions perfectly. That creamy filling needs to set and if you don’t follow the instructions spot on, you run the risk of it not setting.

Remember the pumpkin soup from last week, I recently had one of my leftover containers for lunch and it helped me remember exactly how delicious it is. I highly recommend taking the time to prep that soup if you have some time one weekend. Delish! If you're catching up on the series, see the inspiration behind French Cooking Fridays HERE and catch up on all blog posts HERE.

French Cooking Friday: Pumpkin Soup, Flavor-Packed Potatoes, A Galette & More!

It’s been a minute since we posted in our French Cooking series and we hope you missed it because we sure did. There has been plenty of kitchen work lately getting meals created and desserts perfected. While it would be delightful to say that it’s been a breeze, there have been a handful of incidents. Some have caused laughter, others frustration. Regardless, this has become one of my favorite series to date and it’s a little bittersweet that this will be our last leg of posts for it. Fear not though, we have several weeks ahead of French many that it will actually take us into March! If you’re catching up, read about our venture into A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson and scroll through past posts HERE. Bon appetit!

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STARTER: Pumpkin Soup
Confession, I have two individual containers of this left in the freezer. This soup is so delicious that it’s worth all the hassle to create. What hassle, you ask? This soup requires you to peel and dice a pumpkin. Sure, it sounds simple enough. 45-minutes later you’re just about ready to throw the knife across the room and give up on the pumpkin. Who knew a small pumpkin could yield so much work. A few more ingredients, a little milk and an immersion blender’s magic later, you have a masterpiece. Creamy, sweet and savory soup perfect for winter with a taste of fall.

MAIN COURSE: Quail Grilled Over Grapevines
This dish consists of two things that are impossible to find where I live: quail and grapevines. While I may never be able to taste the flavor Mimi raves about in her book and on her blog that only comes from grilling with grapevines, a girl can dream. Quail, on the other hand, might be more accessible but still not particularly easy to find. This is one of those times when I really want to try a recipe but I need to use a ton of improvisation. So here is how I turned a very French fall meal into a simple dish that you can make regardless of your location.

Original main ingredients: 4 quail, 4 thin slices of pork belly, pancetta or bacon, 4 teaspoons of butter, 4 garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. My ingredients; 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4 slices of prosciutto, 4 teaspoons of butter, 4 garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Rather than placing the rosemary, butter and garlic inside of the quail, I sliced each chicken breast lengthwise but not all the way through to butterfly it. Inside of the fold, I place the butter and rosemary then wrapped a slice of prosciutto around the chicken to seal the deal. Finally,  I halved the garlic cloves and scattered them around the chicken before placing it in the oven to bake. I’m sure this is a completely different experience from the grilled quail but as baked chicken, this recipe was pretty fantastic.

SIDE DISH: Potatoes a la Lyonnaise
This is officially my favorite potato recipe on the planet. It’s a simple dish but out of this world. Potatoes, onions, parsley and a ton of butter come together for the most satisfying potato side you will ever have the pleasure to eat. It takes a minute to prepare but so worth it. The potatoes are first boiled to soften slightly. Next they are sauteed with salt, pepper and a ton of butter for a nice, fried flavor and texture. Onions are sauteed separately, again in butter, and then mixed together with the potatoes. Finally, the mixture is baked so the tops get a nice little crunch. It’s spectacular. If it weren’t all carbs, I’d eat it as a main course!

DESSERT: Galette Perougienne
A specialty from the small town of Perouges, near Lyon, this bite of heaven is a light, lemony cake. The dough is topped with sugar and butter before baking for a delicious, caramelized crust. It’s less like cake in texture and consistency and more like bread, which I actually believe it is, but the sugar and lemon give it a sweet flavor making it more of a dessert. This is no doubt my favorite dessert so far in A Kitchen In France. I think I ate half all on my own and it’s so simple to make that there’s no reason not to try it. Please, if you’re cooking through this cookbook, do not skip this treat.

Yes, that is a Halloween tablecloth beneath the cake. Seems that when I made this, I intended to write about it closer to Halloween! Whoops :P

Yes, that is a Halloween tablecloth beneath the cake. Seems that when I made this, I intended to write about it closer to Halloween! Whoops :P

Next week, we continue with a very hearty dish that stands strong on its own as well as two desserts perfect for the cold of winter. What have you been eating lately?

French Cooking: Pea Veloute, Pork Roast and Sweet Treats

We're sending summer off today (officially) with a French meal that is truly fantastic. This is quite possibly my favorite meal from the summer portion of A Kitchen In France. If you need to catch up on the series, search "French Cooking" on the blog or read our original post talking about the journey. We've got two desserts again this week and a main dish that is almost as good as the starter. If you like bacon, this menu is for you.

STARTER: Chilled Garden Pea Veloute
I should start by saying that I did not serve this chilled, I served it tepid warm. It was mostly because of timing but we all liked it at the temperature I served it. Pea soup is something me and my grandparents love. Add a little bacon, the garlic cream and you've got something special right there. I will say this. If you are shelling raw peas, you need a lot. I had one pound of pea pods and I managed to only fill the bottom of a bowl. I added frozen edamame (because that's all I had in the house that was green) to make up for the lack of peas. It turned out quite tasty.

MAIN: Black-Pig Pork Roast with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
I'm not sure where to get black pig anywhere around here, nor am I even sure we have black pigs in northern Illinois. But it is apparently a delicacy in the French country! Instead, I simply picked up a 3 pound pork tenderloin. It's wrapped in bacon, surrounded by garlic and thyme, drizzled with olive oil and roasted. It's quite delicious and so easy to put together. The garlic mashed potatoes are the perfect compliment, just as easy to whip up and so tasty. It's a classic dinner that anyone would enjoy and made even better with the bacon.

DESSERT: Peach & Cherry Papillotes
This is basically fruit and a red wine syrup baked in a parchment paper packet. It's delicious, it's easy and it's a great dessert for those cool summer nights the closer we get to fall. Serve it with a small piece of pound cake and you have one heck of a dessert. This is something you could whip up really quick with company and it will impress them. 

DESSERT: Red Berry Barquettes
Barquettes are fancy shaped mini tart molds. They look like little baskets and are super cute but if you don't have a barquette mold (like me) don't fret. You can use mini tart molds or you can just make it in a regular tart pan. It will turn out tasty either way. I love this recipe because it's totally customizable. Being a red berry tart, you can use whatever kinds of berries are available to you at the time: strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, red currants, etc. The recipe calls for a cranberry jam but I used a strawberry jam instead. It was so delicious. A perfect treat to hang on to summer if you're not ready to let go.

Now that we've been through the spring and summer sections of A Kitchen In France, tell me what you're looking forward to in fall and winter!