Oui! French Escape Madeleines

Let’s go to the 18th century when baking in molds began. Oh wait…let’s read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and dip our petit madeleines in our London Fog (bergamot tea, foamed almond milk with vanilla syrup) & selectively remember why we just know that now & then cake comforts us. Enjoy your sweet life!
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3/4 t vanilla 1/2 t almond extract or vice versa depending on your taste or traditional = 3/4 t vanilla 1 T lemon zest
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter melted set aside to cool + 2 T butter melted to oil tin
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt (or less)
  • 1/2 t baking powder

Tendre, s’il vous plaît. Whisk flour, salt & baking powder in small bowl. In mixer with wire whip, beat eggs & sugar 6-8 minutes until light & thick. Add flavorings. Fold in flour mixture, gently. Take 1/4 c of the batter & mix with the 1/2 c melted butter until the butter is incorporated. Then thoroughly fold this butter batter into the egg, sugar, flour batter, gently. Cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile oil molds VERY WELL. EVEN if you have non stick molds, oil them well. The butter helps the petit cakes brown too. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Organize your tea ingredients: Begamot (Earl Grey) Tea, almond or milk of choice, vanilla or vanilla syrup, sugar. Make your tea while your cakes bake.

Place 1 tablespoon of batter in the center of each of 22* VERY WELL oiled 3″ x 1.75″ mold. Bake 10 to 14 minutes. (Ovens and atmospheres vary.) They are done when the edges are just brown. You can test with your finger by pressing gently. If it’s done it’ll resist a bit & spring back. Remove from oven. Wait 1 minute (no longer) & with a table knife coax your madeleines onto a wire rack to cool. (OR DON’T WAIT – I like one warm from the oven.) Store in air tight container or freeze.

Eat within a few minutes. (Did I say that?) I meant days. (I am a glutton for anything French or cake like or filled with glorious memories.) I am pretty sure the benefits of bergamot & black tea totally counteract the sugar sins.

Some folks like them sprinkled with (more) sugar. I like mine naked with Earl Grey tea. ENJOY!

*The shells in my tin are about 3″ x 1-3/4″. There are 24 shells but this batter made 22 perfectly. (Rumor has it you can use real bivalve shells.)

Heaven… Artichokes & Oysters

Inspired by my new housemate Thomas Keller via Masterclass. I learn something new with EVERY interchange. These days, I am talking back to “Chef” as I fondly address him.
  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced 1/4 inch
  • 1 large shallot sliced thinly
  • 6-10+ garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
  • 1 large carrot, sliced diagonally & thinly
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 c Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 C + water
  • Bouquet Garni: 3 thyme sprigs, 8 peppercorns, 2 large bay leaves, parley sprig (Chef puts these in cheesecloth.)
  • 2 cups water with juice of 2 lemons to keep artichokes from browning. (I strained this “lemonade” after use and am drinking it.)
  • 4-6 large artichokes, leaves, stem & thistle removed. Keep in lemon juice & water as you work as they quickly oxidize. Clean the heart that’s left so all of it is edible. (I added the stems that I had trimmed as well but I did compost all of the leaves.)
  • 12 oysters
  • 4+ T Kerry Gold butter, clarified
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Maldon Salt flakes

In a sauté or saucepan large enough to hold the hearts & liquid to cover them, add oil and sauté the shallots, fennel & carrots with salt until just limp. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add bouquet garni, liquids & simmer for about 10 minutes while you prepare the artichokes.

Place the artichoke hearts in the pan. Adjust liquid so it just covers the hearts. Submerge a clean (all natural with no dyes) tea towel over the hearts to keep them moist. Cover.

Simmer on low. Cook until the hearts just yield to a sharp point. I use a toothpick or skewer. It’s easy to overcook these so check frequently. It will take at least 10 minutes but maybe up to 30 depending on your artichokes.

When almost done, remove the hearts & keep warm. (I had a waiting saucepan on low heat & recovered them with the tea towel.)

Add the oysters to the vegetables, cover. Simmer about 2 minutes until the oysters are barely heated. They’ll continue to cook as you shell them. Open the oysters & set aside. (Clams or mussels would be great too!)

Heat the clarified butter. Add the 2 garlic cloves & cook for 1 minute.

Place your veggies on a service plate. Add the artichoke hearts, cut into cubes. Arrange oysters on the side. Drizzle the entire plate with the garlic butter. VERY lightly sprinkle with a bit of Maldon Salt.

I drank the broth. Ate all the garlic & licked the pan.

Hmmmm, maybe a crusty baguette would be a nice addition.

ENJOY!

Healthy Herbes de Provence

C’est bon et bon pour vous.
  • 1 T Fennel Seed 
  • 2 T Summer Savory
  • 2 T Thyme
  • 2 T Basil
  • 2 T Marjoram
  • 2 T Parsley
  • 1 T Oregano
  • 2 T Rosemary
  • 5-6 Bay Leaves (or 1 t ground Bay Leaf)
  • 2 T Lavender Flowers
  • 1 T Tarragon*
  • 6 Black Peppercorns
  • YOU CAN USE ALL FRESH or MIX FRESH & DRY HERBS IN THIS BLEND AND FREEZE. Allow 3 times the dry amount for fresh and of course you’ll have to grind your dry herbs, mince your fresh ones & blend. Storage info follows.

To mix, you can use a suribachi (I love this Japanese grinding bowl bowl with a rough unglazed center that I learned about from Alice Waters.); mortar and pestle; or an electric spice grinder. (I have a Cuisinart SG10 which holds all of this mix.) You can also use ANY BOWL and a wooden spoon.

When mixing spices grind the largest ones first…ie. peppercorns and bay leaves. When these are relatively small, add the all the remaining herbs & blend to your preference, coarse to very fine. Try to have consistent particle sizes of all the herbs so you have true blend of flavors for your recipe.

Store AIRTIGHT in a dark/tinted GLASS container for up to 6 months. Beyond that your flavors and nutrients will dim. You can freeze your blend (IN FREEZER PROOF AIR TIGHT GLASS NOT METAL OR PLASTIC) and maybe get 12 months. (PLASTIC is toxic next to any food! It is NOT airtight. I love Ball straight-sided freezer safe jars! Here’s Dr. Weil’s view about SILICONE which might be an option…https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/cooking-cookware/cooking-with-silicone/

I have also mixed my blend with olive oil, plopped teaspoonfuls on a parchment lined tray, frozen and popped out into my BALL jars and returned to freezer. Pre-measured with an extra boost of EVOO. 12 months maximum storage but I use within 6 months.

MAGIC HEALTH

This is just a teeny bit about the health gifts.

As a nutritional chef, I have learned that this blend is loaded with LIFE — phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. Remember more is not necessarily better. Taste your foods as you cook to see what is your spice preference.

  • Fennel – Carminative (antiflatulent), galactagogue (increases breast milk supply), expectorant/antitussive (relieves chronic cough), anti-colic, stomachic (aids digestion), anti-inflammatory (supports overall wellness). I LOVE FENNEL!
  • Savory – Anti-oxidant (see oregano blog https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano for information about antioxidants), anti-septic, anti-fungal, expectorant, stomachic, aphrodisiac, thirst quencher.
  • Thyme – Antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti fungal, expectorant, anti-candida, vermifuge (expels parasites), carminative, antitussive, antispasmodic, diaphoretic (skin redness increasing blood flow for musculoskeletal/arthritis/rheumatism pain relief).
  • Basil – Antidepressant, detoxicant, headache relief, lung support, digestive.
  • Marjoram – See Oregano.
  • Parsley – Diuretic, blood purifier, digestive, galactagogue, emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant), carminative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant.
  • Oregano – https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano
  • Rosemary – Nervine (calms nerves), antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, diaphoretic, analgesic (pain relief), antispasmodic (muscle spasm relief), antioxidant, carminative, liver tonic, astringent, circulatory support. I LOVE ROSEMARY! Here’s a little side note about the magic of Rosemary. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/world/what-in-the-world/rosemary-and-time-does-this-italian-hamlet-have-a-recipe-for-long-life.html
  • Bay Leaf – Anti-carcinogen, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, calmative, antiflatulent, sedative, sodium replacement for taste. DO NOT EAT WHOLE BAY LEAVES AS THEY MAY CAUSE CHOKING/GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS!
  • Lavender Flowers – Antibacterial, digestive, cholagogue (promotes bile flow), carminative, nervine (Lavender is amazing, helping with sleep, depression, fatigue, anxiety, etc.), insect repellent. Suggested lavender varieties include Provence, Melissa, Royal Velvet, Buena Vista and English.
  • Tarragon – Digestive, antiflatulent, cholagogue, nervine, appetite stimulant, metabolism booster. *Tarragon has very distinctive flavor can overpower other herbs, so you may want to start with less to see if your taste buds agree. If your tongue feels a little numb when you eat Tarragon, I am told that’s part of it’s magic.
  • Black Peppercorns – Digestive, enhances bioavailability, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, improves cognition, expectorant, antitussive. EAT ON EVERYTHING!

SOURCES & REFERENCES, ETC.

www.katolenyardley.com The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies by Katolen Yardley

www.thymeherbal.com Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen by Brittany Wood Nickerson

Dr. William Li https://drwilliamli.com author — Eat to Beat Disease

Rebecca Katz – AMAZING RECIPES! She so gets the flavor thing — MAKE — www.rebeccakatz.com/recipe-box/triple-triple-brittle

And last but not least — I love this podcast because Dr. Gundry has a plethora of health professionals as guests whether he agrees with their views or not. So if you are a sponge for health info this is your go to… …https://drgundry.com/the-dr-gundry-podcast/

TREASURE FIND Vegan Bouillabaisse

TRY THIS Faux Seafood Stew – IT IS AMAZING!
Inspired by GENIUS Chef Tal Ronnen. https://www.plantforwardkitchen.org/tal-ronnen
Although they say when you change one ingredient the recipe is yours, this one is definitely MORE Chef Ronnen’s. The ingredient list is long but the recipe is super EASY.
  • STOCK
  • 8 c filtered water
  • 4 Sencha tea bags or 4 t Sencha tea
  • 2 6-inch by 8-inch pieces of dried kombu
  • 2 T avocado oil
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stalk cut into chunks
  • Sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 fresh 4-inch thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 t whole black peppercorns
  • 2 large allspice
  • 1/4 c astragalus root pieces
  • 1/2 c Sauvignon Blanc
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water to a boil. Add tea & kombu. Remove from heat & let steep 15 minutes. Meanwhile heat the avocado oil & sauté the onion & celery with a sprinkle of salt until onion is transparent. Add remaining ingredients, except wine & cook about 1 minute. Add wine & cook 1 minute. Add the stock & simmer for 20 minutes. Strain stock into another pot. Toss or eat the vegetables. Yields 6 cups of stock.

  • SOUP
  • 1 t saffron threads, place in 2 T water
  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 2 c chopped leeks, white & light green parts only (Think 1/4″.)
  • 2 – 3 c chopped fennel bulb (Think 1/2″.)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb mushrooms cut into largest bite size pieces. THINK DRAMA. (Chef’s recipe called for 1.5 lbs oyster & lobster. I had maitake & oyster on hand. Dr. Andrew Weil http://www.drweil.com/health is a great believer in the immune-enhancing and cancer-protective properties of shiitake, oyster mushrooms, maitake, enoki, etc.
  • 8 artichoke hearts (fresh, frozen or canned) cut into halves
  • 4 Italian parsley sprigs & stems, minced
  • 1 navel oranges, finely zested & juiced (Have a second orange on hand in case you decide you’d like more citrus flavor.)
  • 8 ounces diced Italian tomatoes
  • 2 T Pernod TASTE AFTER 1 T ADDED.
  • TASTE FIRST. You may or may not need this — 1/4 c Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 t herbes de Provence (Recipe coming.)
  • Sea Salt or Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Rouille (Recipe follows.)

Sauté the leeks & fennel in the avocado oil for 2 minutes. Tasting along the way…add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT MUSHROOMS. Simmer 10 minutes. Add mushrooms & simmer 10 minutes. Adjust flavor to your taste just before serving. Meanwhile, prepare ROUILLE.

  • ROUILLE
  • 1/2 c vegan mayonnaise
  • 1.5 roasted red pepper (jarred is fine)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 3-inch by 4-inch +/- baguette, remove crust & tear into pieces
  • 1.5 t Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
  • 1 T lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • Cayenne, a pinch to taste
  • Sea salt

Toss everything except olive oil, cayenne & sea salt in a Blendtec mini or your favorite machine that pulverizes everything. Pulverize until very smooth. With the machine running slowly add the olive oil. When you have a creamy emulsion, taste & add cayenne & salt to taste.

SPOON the SOUP into a bowl. Top with ROUILLE. SMELL IT. Add a crusty piece of garlic smeared baguette. ENJOY!

LEEKS VINAIGRETTE NESTS

FullSizeRender-3Photo – Merci, Kathy Thompson!

ORGANIC INGREDIENTS, PLEASE.
Serves 12

LEEKS
2 large 1.5″ diameter leeks
Cut off roots and trim leaves leaving 3″ of dark green.
Halve them lengthwise and wash thoroughly.
Cut into ribbons about 1/2″ wide.
Leeks are banked with earth as they grow to create the
delicate white root ends. You can plant the trimmed root and it will grow a new leek. Save the tops for a soup or a stir fry.

You can prepare the vinaigrette as the leeks cook.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil.
Add 1/2 t. sea salt.
Add leeks and simmer for 15 minutes until they are just translucent and tender. You’ll need to tend these as they cook. If you overcook they will be mush. If you overcook them then save them for something other than Leeks Vinaigrette. Maybe a leek puree topped with tiny carrots.

Have a bowl of ice and water ready to chill the leeks once they are done. Drain the tender leeks reserving the liquid to drink now or later. It’s delicious hot and cold! Place the drained leeks into the ice water and let chill thoroughly. Drain but leave them moist as the water helps to dilute the vinaigrette a bit.

VINAIGRETTE
Vinegary things’ sourness is influenced by the vinegar type and is a personal preference so before you add the leeks to the vinaigrette, taste it.

In a bowl large enough to hold the leeks, mix together:
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 t. garlic salt or a tiny clove of fresh garlic and a dash of salt
1 dash of freshly ground or FRESH white pepper (or more to your taste – it’s powerful if it’s fresh)

OPTIONAL
1/2 t. Dijon mustard – I do not add as I think it masks the delicate leek flavor.

Add the drained leeks and toss gently. Place in a GLASS or CERAMIC covered dish and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to 8 hours. No metals or plastics please as they influence the flavors. A Ball jar with an enamel lid works too.

QUAIL EGGS
Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 T vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 45 seconds then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. These are tricky to keep a gooey yellow so you might just let them cool to room temperature and be happy with whatever the yolk decides to do. The shells are so beautiful – so I just clip off the top of the egg and set it into the nest.

THE FUN PART – ASSEMBLY

Select lovely little dishes. I like square dark dishes for the contrast. <$2 at World Market. In each dish swirl a nest of leeks, top with a clipped quail egg, a few capers, a bit of sunflower seeds for crunch.

I think they’d be delightful in petit cupcake liners and then placed in one of those ceramic egg cartons. I will try to get a photo of that next time!

Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before serving.

Bon Appétit