If you search online for “Ratatouille,” you’ll find some pretty fancypants recipes. They look lovely. The thing is, traditional Ratatouille really isn’t fancy. For hundreds of years, Ratatouille was understood to be a vegetable-based French country stew, made from whatever the cook’s garden happened to offer up for harvest that day. In that spirit, today’s Ratatouille recipe is both flexible and delicious! Save the silver and china for another dinner. 😉 Continue reading
The Global Recipe Project Cookbook
Contest Ends May 30th
Available on Amazon, 100% of the profits from The Global Recipe Project Cookbook will benefit not-for-profit organizations which feed people as a central part of their mission. Cooks and food bloggers from around the world have generously contributed to this amazing book. Over 170 recipes from 65 countries are included!
Try your hand at Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, while reading how and when this meal is traditionally served. Sample a variety of chutneys while exploring the rich spice blends of India. Dine on simple and delicious French dishes such as Croquette Monsieur and Soupe L’Ongion.
Bakers will appreciate clear and simple instructions for classics such as Italian Cannoli and Austrian Apfelstrudel. Feeling adventurous? Amigdalato, a Greek almond pastry, and Kransekake, a Norwegian wedding cake, offer dramatic dessert options for holiday entertaining.
If you know of a gooey, chocolaty baked confection more fabulous than a French Chocolate Éclair, do let me know because I can’t think of one! They’re so decadent, they must be difficult to make, right? Au contraire! If you can stir a few ingredients together and squeeze a plastic bag (more on that later), you can make this heavenly dessert.
Fun variation: Instead of the French vanilla cream filling used below, consider filling these decadent treats with English Lemon Curd. Either option is delicious! Let’s get started!
Ingredients (Makes 30 mini Éclairs)
For the éclair shells:
1/2 cup real butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour Continue reading
“Simple” and “Beef Bourguignon” are not words we see paired too often, but perhaps we should! French food does not need to be mysterious, and this spin on classic French beef stew is really a snap to prepare. Also, it’s versatile. Feel free to add or subtract vegetables as your taste buds desire. Suggestions are given in the recipe below. Bon Appétit!
2 pounds good quality beef stew meat
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup real butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (750 ml) bottle burgundy or cabernet sauvignon wine
2 cups French Braised Onions (optional)
2 cups roasted root vegetables (optional)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
Step 1) In a large plastic bag, toss together beef stew meat, flour, salt, and pepper. Shake the bag until the meat is evenly coated with the flour mixture.
Step 2) Combine half of the butter and half of the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Melt butter and oil together over medium heat. Add half of the meat from step 1 to the skillet, and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally with a metal spatula.
Step 3) Transfer browned beef to a slow cooker (such as a Crock Pot). Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the other half of the butter, oil, and beef.
Step 4) Add 1/4 cup of red wine to the skillet and continue cooking over medium heat while scraping vigorously with a metal spatula to deglaze the pan. Pour the contents of the pan into the slow cooker over the beef.
Step 5) After all of the beef has been browned and transferred to the slow cooker, pour the remainder of the bottle of red wine over the beef. Cook the beef on “low” for 8 – 10 hours (preferable) or on “high” for 4 – 5 hours, until most of the wine has been absorbed and the beef is very tender.
Step 6) Approximately 30 minutes before serving, gently stir any combination of French Braised Onions, roasted vegetables, and Kalamata olives into the slow cooker with the beef, to heat through. Serve with potatoes, sautéed yellow squash, and/or French bread.
I’ll be honest, friends. While I adore most vegetables, onions have never ranked really high on the list. I don’t “dislike” them, they just aren’t a favorite. Or rather, they weren’t a favorite until I made these amazing French Braised Onions. It all started a few days ago, when I pulled these lovely little onions from my backyard garden. Aren’t they cute?
Alas, they are also a bit slow to clean and peel! It seemed a waste to just chop them up and toss them in a recipe as if they were big, store bought onions. I wanted to showcase these little cuties. The recipe below is incredibly simple, you just need to be patient with the slow cooking required. The end result is worth the wait… onions infused with broth and wine, sweet and savory, with a silky texture. French Braised Onions are delightful as an accompaniment to meaty dishes such as beef bourguignon, or can be served as an appetizer on thin slices of baguette.
Ingredients (Makes about 3 cups)
30 – 40 small white onions (1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter)
2 tablespoons real butter
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup dry red wine
Step 1) Melt butter in a 9 inch skillet. Sprinkle rosemary evenly over melted butter.
Step 2) Lightly trim the bottoms and tops of the onions, removing only about 1/4 inch from each end. Arrange onions, top sides up, in the buttered skillet.
Step 3) Pour the chicken stock and wine over the onions.
Step 4) Bring the skillet just barely to a boil over medium heat, then immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Step 5) After 15 minutes, cover the skillet and continue cooking over low heat for an hour or longer as needed, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Gently shake the skillet every few minutes, to prevent sticking and evenly distribute the liquid. Don’t rush this! It really should take at least an hour for most of the liquid to absorb. If the liquid is disappearing quickly, reduce the heat.
Step 6) When almost all of the liquid has been (slowly!) absorbed, your French Braised Onions are ready to enjoy!
French Macarons might be the best dessert to ever emerge from Crowded Earth Kitchen. How’s that for an endorsement to try this recipe?
A Google search for “French Macarons” will turn up… wait for it… 630,000 hits. Does the world really need 630,001? Yes. Here’s why! You see, here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we sorted through a good long many of those 630,000 links, picking up tips and ideas along the way. The end result is Continue reading