Thursday, February 27, 2014

Roasted chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts are a very typical Parisian street food. I have such fond memories of getting out of the metro on cold winter days and smelling the aroma wafting from those warm little nuggets of deliciousness, wrapped in newspaper cones.

Provided you can get your hands on fresh chestnuts in the shell, these are extremely easy to make! You don't even need to grill them on an open fire, you can just use a pan (although they will taste much better if you prepare them on a barbecue grill or in the fireplace). I do recommend a cast iron skillet if you have one, but any skillet will do.

Try them, you won't regret it!

- fresh chestnuts, still in their shells

- rinse and dry the chestnuts
- with a sharp paring knife, score the chestnuts in an arched line

Note: this will allow the chestnut to expand with the heat without exploding
- place the chestnuts in a dry hot skillet and cook for about 20-25 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring often so that they don't burn

Note: a little char is okay though! They will develop a lovely smoky flavor.
- the chestnuts are ready when you can smell them and they have cracked a little along the scored line; they will be soft to the chew

- serve unpeeled, in a newspaper cone and enjoy them while you stroll down the streets. Or in front of a cozy fireplace ;)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Earl Grey Waffles

I'm really more of a savory breakfast person. But there's something about fresh waffles that just makes it for me. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The taste of butter… hmmm…. But I digress.

I'd been craving Earl Grey goodies for a couple of weeks, and I figured it would totally work as a waffle concept. I'm not going to lie: this recipe was a success! I'm very happy with the subtle tea flavor of the waffle, which could even be enhanced by adding ground leaves in the batter. I didn't have any on hand, but maple syrup would totally kill on top of those babies!

So easy, few ingredients, very quick and absolutely divine with a freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and orange slices.

Oh, and if you don't have a waffle-maker, just make pancakes! ;)

Bon appetit!!

INGREDIENTS (yields 6 waffles):
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup brewed Earl Grey (very concentrated)
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 2 eggs, separated

- put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add all the wet ingredients (except the egg whites) progressively until blended smooth

- gently fold in the whipped egg whites until just combined

- ladle in a waffle-maker or if you don't have one, cook like pancakes

- seve freshly cooked, hot with a little square of butter and a light sprinkle of confectionner sugar
- Enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Korean BBQ chicken (Dak Bulgogi)

The third installment of my Asian culinary experiments is a Korean BBQ chicken (or Dak Bulgogi).

I had a ton of fun researching this recipe and shopping for groceries. I think I'm going to try more recipes from around the world every now and then.


INGREDIENTS (4 people):
- 6 chicken thighs
- 1 asian pear
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 inches of fresh ginger
- 4 scallions
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce

- remove the skin and bones of the chicken thighs and slice the meat thinly

Note: you can keep the bones for use in a homemade chicken stock
- slice the scallions, grate the onion, garlic, ginger, asian pear and add all the ingredients in a large bowl

- mix well until the chicken is well coated with the marinade, and let rest in the fridge for at least one hour

- cook in a skillet for a few minutes over high heat until cooked through and slightly caramelized

- I chose to serve mine sprinkled with sesame seeds, with large romaine lettuce leaves to make salad wraps alongside sliced tomatoes and limes
Note: I know, I know, limes are absolutely not a Korean ingredient (confirmed by my Korean colleague), but I think the tang of lime juice cut really nicely the sweet and round taste of this BBQ chicken. Feel free to omit this non-authentic ingredient ;)
- 하겠습니다

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crêpes (French pancakes)

Even though February is in the middle of winter and it's downright depressing that spring is still so far away, you will not find a French person who doesn't LOVE this month!

And that's because we celebrate La Chandeleur (or Candlemas), otherwise known as Crepe Day. In this day of celebration (February 2nd), it is tradition to stuff your face with as many Crepes as humanly possible.

Now this year Crepe day fell on the same day as the lunar New Year, and because I made Pho last week to celebrate, I had to wait a week before I made my crepes. But here they are now:) And you should make some too!


INGREDIENTS (for about 30-40 crepes, depending on the size of your pan):
- 8 large eggs
- 4 cups of milk (1 liter)
- 1lb AP flour (500g)
- 4 tbsp melted butter (not pictured)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- a pinch of salt
- optional: 1 tbsp of rum (this is a classic flavor, but you can use any other flavoring you like such as orange blossom water, lemon zest, orange zest, vanilla extract, coconut extract, coffee, etc...)

- in a large bowl, mix the flour and salt, add the eggs and milk all at the same time and whisk until smooth

- if there are lumps, you can pass it through a fine sieve before adding the melted butter and blending with a whisk

- let the batter rest at least 1 hour in the fridge
- preheat a flat pan on medium-high heat and add a little drizzle of melted butter in the pan before you pour in a ladleful of batter and immediately swirl the pan around so that the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan in a thin layer

- just like for pancakes, you want to start seeing small bubbles on the uncooked surface of the crepe and browning of the edges before you carefully flip it over with a spatula

Note: if the first crepe is a fail, don't despair! The first one is always messed up! And you get to nibble on it while you cook the rest ;)
- the subsequent crepes do not even need melted butter in the pan (that's why there is so much melted butter in the batter itself!), but feel free to add some in between crepes if you feel like the crepes stick to the bottom
- serve warm with any sweet toppings you like! Classics include Nutella with or without banana slices, strawberry preserves, plain sugar and my favorite: a light sprinkle of plain sugar and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice. De-li-cious!
- Happy Crepe day!