Poor man’s caviar

This cold appetizer can be used as a dip on a slice of French bread or served on a bed of lettuce.

1 big eggplant or 2 small ones
2 or 3 big tomatoes (canned or cooked)
2 Tbsp of olive oil
2 onions sliced
1 green pepper sliced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp of dry white wine
2 Tbsp of olive oil

  • If fresh tomatoes are used: remove the seeds and the skin, chopped coarsely and cook gently with salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaf for about 15 minutes.
  • Bake the eggplant with the skin on at 400°F for one hour or until soft.
  • Scrape the pulp of the eggplant in a saucepan and discard the skin.
  • Add 2 or 3 big tomatoes (canned or cooked) to the eggplant.
  • Put the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions and pepper until tender.
  • Add to the eggplant mixture, mix in the garlic and cook slowly until all liquid is evaporated.
  • Add salt and pepper and the wine. 
  • Let cool.
  • Before serving add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and some chopped parsley.

Petits chaussons au Roquefort

Another way to use the pâte brisée!  The rolled out dough is cut in small 3 inch squares instead of a large pie crust and each piece is filled in the center and folded into a triangle.

1/4 lb of Roquefort
1/2 stick of unsalted butter softened
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsps of cognac
pepper
chives or minced onion tops
1 ‑ 3 Tbsps of whipping cream
1 egg beaten with ½ Tb of water (egg wash)

  • Mash the Roquefort and beat in the butter, egg yolk, cognac, pepper, chives.
  • Beat in the cream by tablespoons.
  • The mixture should be thick.
  • Cut the dough in 3″ squares and fill each center.
  • Run a brush, wet with water, on the edges.
  • Fold and press the edges firmly.
  • Press the end of a fork all around the edges for decoration.
  • Paint the top of each chausson with the egg wash.
  • Make a design on the surface of the dough with the back of a knife or a fork. 
  • Poke a hole in the center of each chausson.
  • Place on a baking dish and refrigerate until firm. 
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Bake in upper third of the oven until brown (about 15 minutes).

Petits chaussons au crabe

Another way to use the pâte brisée!  The rolled out dough is cut in small 3 inch squares instead of a large pie crust and each piece is filled in the center and folded into a triangle.

1/4 lb of crab meat, chopped
1 large onion cooked in 1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced (it can be roasted if desired)
2 Tbsp of butter + 2 Tbsp of flour
1 cup of hot milk
1/2 cup of Swiss cheese

  • Brown the onion.
  • Add the green and red pepper.
  • Mix with the crab.
  • Make a béchamel sauce:
    • Melt the butter, add the flour.
    • Slowly pour in the milk.
    • Bring to a boil.
  • Add the crab meat and the Swiss cheese.
  • Cut the dough in 3″ squares and fill each center. 
  • Run a brush, wet with water, on the edges.
  • Fold and press the edges firmly.
  • Press the end of a fork all around the edges for decoration.
  • Paint the top of each chausson with the egg wash.
  • Make a design on the surface of the dough with the back of a knife or a fork. 
  • Poke a hole in the center of each chausson.
  • Place on a baking dish and refrigerate until firm. 
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Bake in upper third of the oven until brown (about 15 minutes).

Pâté

1 lb of chicken livers
2/3 cup thinly sliced onions (no more than 1 cup)
1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
1 cup of water
2 tsp of salt
1 1/2 cups of butter softened (or just over 1 cup of ghee)
ground pepper
2 tsp of Cognac
Tomato skin, leek or scallion for decoration
1 envelope (or 1 Tbsp) of unflavored gelatine for aspic (in 1/4 cup of cold water)

  • Clean livers, discard blood, remove ligaments.
  • Place the livers, onions, garlic, bay leaves, water and 1 tsp of salt in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and cook at a bare simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
  • Take out the solids and place them in a food processor.
  • Retrieve the bay leaves and discard them.
  • Reserve and strain the liquid; use a paper towel in the strainer. You can clarify it by cooking it with an egg white.
  • Process the liver adding the butter or ghee piece by piece.
  • Finally add the second teaspoon of salt, the pepper, and the Cognac.
  • Process for 2 more minutes or until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  • Pour into a mold and decorate any way you want with tomato skin, leek or scallion.
  • Add the prepared gelatine to the reserved liquid.
  • Cover the decoration and let the pâté firm up in the refrigerator overnight.

Parmesan mousselines

For 4 people.

The standard pyrex cups work best to unmold because they are wider on top and the mousselines slide easily from them.

1 cup of milk
1/3 cup of flour
4 Tbsp of butter
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 cup of freshly ground parmesan cheese
1 cup of heavy cream
2 Tbsp of butter
salt and pepper

  • Heat milk to warm.
  • Pour it slowly into the flour and mix thoroughly.
  • Whisk the mixture over medium high heat until it thickens.
  • Off the heat, add 4 Tbsp of butter, one at a time, then add 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese, three egg yolks, salt and pepper.
  • Beat the 2 egg whites stiff.
  • Fold into the mixture.
  • Butter the molds and fill 3/4 full.
  • Place them on a bain‑Marie.
  • Bake in middle rack, on preheated 350°F oven for 20 minutes or until top is spongy.
  • All the above can be prepared ahead of time.
  • Unmold into a greased gratin dish, pour cream over them and more cheese on top.
  • Bake for another 15 minutes or until puffy.

Oeufs à la tripe

This is a regional French dish, originally from Lavel in Mayenne, which earns its name from the strips of hard-boiled egg white that could be thought to resemble real tripe.

Note: To prevent the yolks of a hard-boiled egg from becoming green-tinged (called ferrous sulfide) use fresh eggs, never cook the eggs longer than 15 minutes and, once cooked, quickly cool them in cold water. Also, peel the egg shells before the eggs are cold. It’s easier.

Serves 8.

8 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup of butter
1 lb of onions, sliced
12 Tbsps of flour
2 1/2 cups of milk
salt and pepper
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
finely chopped parsley

  • Cut the egg whites into slices and place in a buttered fireproof dish.
  • Reserve the egg yolks. Keep warm.
  • Melt the butter in a pan and sweat the onions for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring all the time.
  • Pour on the milk, slowly at first, and bring to a boil.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Simmer until very thick and creamy adding more milk if needed. This is a béchamel sauce.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Coat the egg whites with the sauce and sieve the egg yolks over the top.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Mushroom croustades

Croustades are little bread cases made with round slices of soft white bread. They most successfully solve the ever-present problem of how to serve an elegant cocktail hors d’oeuvre with very little labor.

24 slices of white bread
butter
 
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp of finely chopped shallots
1/2 lb of mushrooms finely chopped
 
2 level Tbsp of flour
1 cup of milk (or 1/2 milk 1/2 cream)
salt, pepper, chopped parsley
1/2 tsp of lemon juice

  • Brush muffin tins with the butter. Cut a round of bread to fit into the muffin tins.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F and bake croustades for 10 minutes.
  • For the filling:
    • Melt butter in a frying pan, add the shallots and stir them without letting them brown.
    • Stir in the mushrooms and cook until all the moisture is gone.
    • Sprinkle the floor over the mushrooms and stir well.
    • Pour the cream and milk stirring constantly and bring the mixture to a boil.
    • Remove from heat and stir in the seasonings and the herbs. At this point you can refrigerate until needed.
  • Use a small spoon to fill the croustades.
  • Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.  Dot with butter.
  • Cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 350°F then briefly under the broiler.

Leeks in puff pastry

2 1/2 cups of leeks (white of 4 leeks, minced and washed) or 6 yellow onions
3 Tbsp of butter
salt, black pepper, nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 cup of crème fraiche (heavy cream is ok)
q/4 cup of gruyere or swiss cheese
Puff pastry with 6 turns
Glaze: 1 egg yolk & 1/2 Tbsp of water

  • Melt the butter in a pan until it sizzles. 
  • Add leeks and coat them with the butter. 
  • Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes over low heat.  Make sure the leeks do not burn.
  • Pour the heavy cream and cook for another 15 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Cool while you grate the cheese. 
  • Mix together and refrigerate until cold.
  • Cut two thirds of the puff pastry and refrigerate the rest. Then cut the two third piece in half.   Put the other half in the refrigerator.
  • With some flour on the pastry surface, roll out the remaining half into a 10 inch square of equal thickness. 
  • Freeze on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.
  • Do the same thing for the other half.
  • Place a 10″ pot lid over each square and cut 2 perfect circles.  Freeze them for another 15 minutes.
  • Cover one of the circles with the leek mixture leaving a 3/4″ edge free all around and brush it with cold water.
  • Cover the filling with the second circle and press the edges all the way around. 
  • Be sure both circles are flush all around the edges.  Prick the edge all around with a fork.
  • Refrigerate until needed.
  • To cook preheat oven 450°F.
  • Decorate the top of the pie by drawing parallel lines 3/4″ apart, then all the way across the previous lines to make a diamond shape figure.
  • Brush the glaze over the top and bake for 10 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven.
  • Then reduce temperature to 400°F and bake for 30 more minutes. 
  • Cover the top with foil toward the end of baking if necessary.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Gougère au fromage

1 cup of finely diced gruyère cheese
salt and pepper
beaten egg to glaze
2 Tbsp of finely chopped almonds
a few thin slices of gruyère cheese
pâte à choux (see pâte à choux recipe) 

  • Preheat oven to 425/450°F
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet and trace a 10 inch circle.
  • Add the diced cheese to the pâte à choux.
  • Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4 inch plain tube.
  • Pipe round the traced ring on the baking sheet (3 rounds – 2 low, 1 in middle)
  • Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the finely chopped nuts and slices of gruyère.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375°F for another 20 minutes.
  • Rotate pan once during cooking time.
  • Serve at once.

Eggplant caviar

From Yves Parent.
 
1 medium size eggplant
1 big garlic clove (or 2 small ones)
1 lime
4 to 6 drops of Tabasco
1 Tbsp of chopped cilantro
I Tbsp of olive oil (optional)

  • Put the oven on broil.
  • Prick the top part of the eggplant with a fork or knife to avoid bursting.
  • Put the eggplant on an aluminum foil and broil 18 to 20 minutes on each side.
  • Split the eggplant in two lengthwise and scoop out the pulp in a bowl.
  • Add one crushed garlic clove, the lime juice, chopped cilantro, Tabasco and salt.
  • Mix in food processor.
  • Serve chilled with crackers or veggies as an appetizer or hot as a side dish with chicken or salmon.