This is the dessert I made for the last class of my 3-week cooking series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. The semester ended last night – it is officially summer for me. No more classes until September.
Since I made this during class, I don’t have any step-by-step photos for you, but the recipe is straight forward.
This is the perfect dessert for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or honestly for any day of the week this summer. Enjoy!
May 16, 2013 5 Comments
The lucky students received the added bonus of Barbara Fenzl’s delicious Squash Blossom Quesadillas at the start of the class.
Once again, I was on the happy receiving end of a basket full of goodies! I brought them home and made Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms, intending to share the recipe here.
Then I discovered that I’ve already posted the recipe, nearly to the day, two years ago. CLICK HERE to see.
Of course, with that many squash blossoms, I also had to make Barb’s fabulous and super easy quesadillas!
May 6, 2013 2 Comments
On Monday, Chef Beau MacMillan from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain was the guest instructor at Les Gourmettes. The class and the menu were outstanding. This dessert was the crowning glory. Beau made a dense, not too sweet, polenta-pistachio cake, topped with olive oil cured strawberries and drizzled with a winning zinfandel-dried cherry syrup. Out of this world!
Since he brought pre-made individual cakes, I was the happy recipient of the cake batter he demonstrated for the class. My boys will be so happy with their dessert this coming weekend!
May 1, 2013 1 Comment
Last week Les Gourmettes owner, Barbara Fenzl, made this beautiful and delicious dessert for her classes. Everyone was wowed.
Meringues plus Berries and Cream. They made for a glorious presentation! Light, refreshing, and perfect for spring. This will continue to be the ultimate dessert throughout the upcoming summer months.
Orange Flower Water is one of the special ingredients. Although it is added to three different components of the recipe, less than 1/2 teaspoon is used in total.
Measure carefully and do not be tempted by the notion that if a little is good than more is better. Like Rose Water, Orange Flower Water is potent and if too much is added, your dessert will end up tasting like perfume. Not a good thing!
April 27, 2013 1 Comment
Galette is a French term that refers to a variety of flat round cakes, usually made with a flaky pastry dough.
Galettes can be sweet or savory. Although it is most common for galettes to be filled with fruits or chocolate and served for dessert, savory galettes are a satisfying meal on their own.
When making this galette, it is important to have the filling ingredients chilled or at room temperature. A hot filling will melt the butter in the dough before it hits the oven, preventing the crust from becoming flaky and crispy.
One of the filling ingredients in this galette is an onion jam. I link you to that recipe in the list of ingredients.
I made a simpler version for this galette by eliminating the vinegar and raisins in that original onion jam recipe and instead adding a couple teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves. Either version will work wonderfully here.
Joanne Weir made a Mushroom and Blue Cheese Galette in cooking class at Les Gourmettes last week. It was fabulous! I was the lucky recipient of an extra round of dough for the crust. It is an outstanding dough. It is flaky and crispy and delicious. The recipe below is for Joanne’s dough and my filling.
April 22, 2013 3 Comments
I admit it, this recipe looks VERY intimidating. It is long. There are many components. It looks complicated. But I PROMISE it is not hard to do. In fact, it is a wonderful special occasion entertaining dish. For a crowd, no less!
How is that possible, you ask?
It is because none of the components are difficult and all but one can be done 1 or 2 days in advance. So in reality, it comes together quickly and seamlessly at the end.
Even the final, last minute component, the Hollandaise sauce, is foolproof. I know, you may be ready to quit reading right now… Hollandaise Sauce – Absolutely Not!
But really it is foolproof! No stove is involved! All you need is a blender. You’re still skeptical? This sauce comes from Chef Tyler Florence. It works perfectly and is easy as can be, I may never make traditional Hollandaise sauce again!
As I was beginning to make the crêpes in my usual crêpe-pan, I decided that they were too small, so I switched to a larger skillet. This was a personal choice, if you don’t have a medium size skillet (about 10-inches across the top) a smaller regular crêpe-pan is fine. Above you can see the two pans I’m talking about, and below the difference in the crêpe sizes.
April 3, 2013 1 Comment
I made myself smile after I typed that heading. Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update has always been one of my favorite sketches on SNL. It is the show’s longest running recurring sketch and has some memorable anchors, from the original, Chevy Chase, to the current, Seth Meyers. I especially loved Jane Curtain and more recently have enjoyed when Tina Fey and/or Amy Poehler were paired with Meyers.
But I digress, this isn’t about SNL, but rather my own weekend happenings.
Saturday’s activity could have been a SNL sketch. It involved an 81 year old man, my dad, who will be 82 on April 18th, myself, and my 21 year old son, Connor. The humorous part would have been watching us try to move a large, bulky, very heavy, double recliner La-Z-Boy loveseat from the back bed of my dad’s truck and into his condo.
Just thinking about how it must have looked makes me wish there was a surveillance camera in the area filming us – it would be hilarious to watch back! We struggled every inch to get that monster in the house. We first stood it up on end atop a large piece of carpeting and intended to drag/push it along the narrow walkway that leads to the front door. It would not budge.
It was too heavy to pick up, so we ended up just flipping it lengthwise, from end to end until we reach the “L” turn in the sidewalk that is near the door. There, we struggled to get it around the corner. When we finally reached the door, I pulled out my phone and snapped a photo of Connor leaning his head on the recliner. We squeezed it through the door and through the even more narrow entry and finally got it into place. I hooked up the electric connectors (the recliner is electric, not level-operated) and my guys took their well-deserved rest in the beast!
Sunday was much more relaxed and fun. I was invited to an event honoring my dear friend, mentor, and colleague, Barbara Pool Fenzl.
March 19, 2013 3 Comments
In case you’re not local and just in case you haven’t heard – we’ve been freezing here in the desert this past week.
It’s not right.
This is the desert!
That land of saguaro cactus and yucca, not ice and snow!
Winter is our prime time! It’s what we live for, perfect weather! Not freezing temps that damage our desert loving plants. (Yes, those are sheets covering plants and trees in my backyard.)
We aren’t supposed to be moaning and groaning about the weather now, that’s what we have 6 months of summer for … 115+ degree days … that’s our moaning and groaning time.
I am not happy! Not happy because it forced me to get out and try to pick as many of my Meyer lemons as I possibly could pick in one day. I wasn’t able to get them all. Close, but not all. The photo above represents about 1/4 of the crop I got off the tree.
My dad took home a full crate plus a full shopping bag.
The tree was the most prolific it has ever been. Here is what it looked like on Thanksgiving day.
So many lemons, that they were laying on the ground, still attached to the tree. The weight of them brought them down that far.
In late November and early December, I picked all the low lemons and took several bags to Les Gourmettes, to share with the teachers and students there.
January 16, 2013 5 Comments
After making a cheese sauce for the chowder recipe I posted yesterday, I was in the mood to make cheese sauce again the next day.
I had a huge hunk of fabulous Manchego cheese in the fridge so I created this saucy open-face sandwich, which would be equally delicious without the bread and served as a chicken main course dish.
Besides making the classic sauce for a humble mac & cheese, I seldom make cheese sauce. Maybe I should listen to Julia Child and do it more often.
“Sauces are the splendor and the glory of French cooking” ~ Julia Child
How about a quick lesson in the classic French sauces?
Let’s begin with the queen of the mother sauces of French cuisine ~ Béchamel sauce – also known as white sauce is made with a white roux of butter and flour that is then cooked in milk. Béchamel is used as the base for other sauces, such as Mornay sauce, which is what I’ve been making, it is Béchamel with cheese.
In the late 19th century, famed French chef Auguste Escoffier created the list of the five mother sauces. They are:
- Sauce Béchamel, milk-based sauce, thickened with a white roux.
- Sauce Espagnole, a fortified brown veal stock sauce.
- Sauce Velouté, white stock-based sauce, thickened with a roux or a liaison, a mixture of egg yolks and cream.
- Sauce Hollandaise, an emulsion of egg yolk, butter and lemon or vinegar.
- Sauce Tomate, tomato-based
That is quite a bit more information than you need to make this simple sauce and dish, but it’s good basic stuff to know.
December 29, 2012 2 Comments
I’m sorry it took so long for me to get this soup posted. It makes great use of the delicious broth that was produced by making John Ash’s fantastic Ginger Chicken.
As much as I love soup, and you know I do, the real payoff from making that chicken was John’s outstanding sandwiches.
Hopefully you’ll find time to make all three recipes. The white meat I have leftover (after making the sandwiches and this soup) will be used to make THESE enchiladas.
Three great meals from 2 chickens, now that’s a good deal!
October 29, 2012 2 Comments