Archive for the ‘French cuisine’ Category

  • VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

    Date: 2011.02.22 | Category: Dairy free, French cuisine, RECIPES | Response: 1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I take no credit for this recipe but I did tweak it a little for some extra flavor. Everyone should know it.
    This is the simplest pudding desert you will ever make. It requires no baking, no setting time, no refrigeration prior to eating. 

    I call it, instant gratification!
    You can beat 4 basic ingredients! Plus it is dairy-free and egg free.

    INGREDIENTS:
    12 oz silken tofu
    1/3 cup vegan chocolate powder
    1/3 cup raw sugar or rice syrup
    2 tsp vanilla
    dash of salt
    1 TBl orange jam* (optional)

    NOTE: If you are not familiar with silken tofu, you can find it in the same section with the regular tofu in most grocery stores. It comes in small 12oz cardboard packages that keep well even if not refrigerated. Mori-Nu is made with non-genetically modified soy beans, so this is great. You can use it in shakes, as filler in cream pies,  for making vegan cheesecakes, in dips for an extra velvety texture. Make sure to always have several on hands.

      
    PREPARATION:

    1. Mix the tofu and chocolate powder first in a bowl, add the vanilla, orange jam and salt.
    2. Pour in a blender or processor and add the sweetener.
    3. Blend until smooth.
    4. Pour into a nice dish and serve.

    * The orange jam will add more sweetness and a little tang. It will also bring the chocolate flavor out. You can also add 1 Tbl of coconut powder for extra flavor.

    Makes 2 generous servings

    Enjoy

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  • MINI PEPPER QUICHE

    Date: 2011.02.16 | Category: Dairy free, French cuisine, RECIPES, Vegan Appetizers | Response: 2

    I found an old black and white photo of my grandmother and I when I was 4 years old. It brought back so many happy memories and especially of being in the kitchen and watch her lovingly concocting all kinds of delicious dishes.  The colors, flavors and textures varying with the seasons. I had the all important job of official taster and spoon cleaner! Someone had to do it! These were the good old days! This dish is inspired by a French classic called ”Timbale de légumes“. Originally served in small bite sizes, it is a hearty dish that is usually served with a salad. The chickpea flour replaced the egg mixture and makes this a denser and more nutritional dish, with no cholesterol and lots of protein from the garbanzo bean flour.

    It can be served all year around, right out of the oven in the winter and cold in the summer. They are great for picnics too. You can keep these babies in the fridge for a week. You can make it in all kinds of fun shapes for creative visual displays (loaves, muffins etc). Make sure to include seasonal fresh herbs for a burst of flavor in every bites. I used fresh basil leaves this time.

       INGREDIENTS:

    3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
       2 Tbl rice flour (optional)
       1 red bell pepper diced

       1 chopped tomato
    1/2 cup zucchini diced
    ½ cup bread crumbs
       1 Tbl olive oil
    1 Tbl tahini (sesame butter)
    Little water
    Fresh green onions, paprika, salt and pepper to taste

       5-6 leaves of fresh basil (optional)

    PREPARATION:

    1) Preheat the oven at 375F, lightly oil muffin tray or ceramic cups

       2) Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
       3) Add the vegetables and mix with hands.
       4) Drizzle the olive oil and the herbs over and mix with spoon.
       5) Add a little water so that the mix is moist and holds together.
       6) Spoon the mixture in ceramic cups or muffin tray cups and flatten the top.
       7) Bake for 20mn
      8) Serve hot or warm
    FUN FACTS ON GARBANZO BEAN FLOUR (a.k.a Chana):
    a) Mixed it with an equal amount of water and you have a perfect egg replacer that is gluten free.
    b) Use it to create a crisp texture to parboiled vegetables by rolling pieces before pan frying them (potatoes, zucchinis etc.)
    c) Ladies, how about a homemade exfoliant
    Mix 4 tbsp of chickpea flour, a pinch of turmeric powder (optional) with a little water until you get the consistency of a paste. Apply to your face and leave it on to dry and then wash it off. You can do this while taking a bath for a special treatment. I like to add a drop of lavender for the super treatment. If  you use essential oil be careful, mix it with a little vegetable oil first to avoid burning your skin.
    Have fun and let me know how it turned out!
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  • EGGPLANT CAVIAR

    Date: 2011.01.31 | Category: Dairy free, French cuisine, heart healthy foods, RECIPES, Vegan Appetizers | Response: 0

    Ok, so after an extended trip to the South of the border (3 Mexican recipes in a row!), we are going over to Europe, to the South of France where I come from, for a delicious appetizer. Traditionally, this eggplant recipe is served cold in the summer but you can also serve it warm in the colder months. It calls for the big round purple ones but you can also used the long Asian ones. There are many varieties of eggplants and all are beautiful and delicious. The only thing is to make sure that they are firm and without blemishes otherwise, you will get a lot of seeds and little flesh.

    Some cool nutritional facts:

    1. Eggplants are rich in water (92%), in minerals (magnesium and zinc) and high in potassium (260 mg/100), making it a great natural diuretic.
    2. They are also rich in easily digestible fiber if steamed or baked (forget deep frying!)
    3. The skin is high in anti-oxydants.
    4. They are good for people with type 2 diabetes because they are high fiber with a low glycemic index.
    5. If you track your calories, you will be happy to know that it is one of the lowest calorie vegetable (18 kcal/100 g), making it comparable to tomatoes, endives or lettuce.
    6. More recent studies even states that it can also help lowering cholesterol. Apparently, they have discovered that eggplant captures the fat and prevent it from seeping into the blood stream. That’s why, if you try to fry it, you will have to use a ton of oil because its fibers absorb everything! So skip the frying and instead steam or bake and let the fiber absorb the internal fat!

    No wonder, it is one of the star of the Mediterranean diet!
    So why not splurge and start incorporating it in your diet?

    INGREDIENTS (for 4 people):
    – 2 eggplants
    – 1 medium onion
    – 1 tomato
    – 3 Tbl olive oil
    – 3 Tbl lemon juice
    – 1 garlic clove
    – Fresh basil an parsley (optional)
    – salt & Pepper

    PREPARATION:

    1. Preheat oven to 300F
    2. Place whole eggplants on a baking dish and bake for 35mn until the flesh is soft when you touch it.
    3. Remove the eggplants from the oven. Without burning your finger, slice them in half lengthwise, and with the help of a soup spoon, scoop out the middle.
    4. Place the flesh in a thin thieve to drain the excess water (remember it is a sponge).
    5. Slice the onion and the garlic thinly.
    6. Gently heat a little olive oil and add the onion and garlic until golden. You can add a little water if needed. Note: If you can digest raw garlic, skip this step.
    7. Blanch the tomato. Boil some water, make a cross on top of the tomato. Drop it quickly and remove it so that you can easily peel it. Remove the seeds and dice it.
    8. Place the eggplant, onion, tomato and remaining ingredients, except the olive oil in a blender or a food processor and blend. Add the remaining olive oil and blend again. Taste and season more if you need.
    9. Pour into a nice dish, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
    10. Serve with crackers, on sliced french baguette and with cut raw vegetables.

    Yumm!

    BONUS RECIPE:

    If you have even less time or don’t have a food processor, you can slice the eggplants with the skin, place them in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle with a little garlic salt and drizzle with some olive oil and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon. On a lightly oiled baking tray, sprinkle with a little garlic salt and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake at 350F for 15mn, flip the slices and drizzle a little more olive oil, bake for another 5-10mn. Serve with rice, or quinoa, or in a sandwich. It is soooo good and sooo simple!

    Enjoy!

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  • RUSTIC APPLE-PEAR TARTLETS

    Date: 2010.12.15 | Category: Dairy free, French cuisine, RECIPES | Response: 0

    There is nothing better than a light desert after a satisfying meal. It is a way to delay a little longer the inevitable end of a pleasant moment, maybe over a cup of herbal tea or coffee.  And if you take this philosophy of life a little further, you have my motto: “Life is short, eat desert first!” But American pies, cakes and the likes tend to be a little too sweet and heavy for my taste (especially after a meal), so most of the time I end up skipping it altogether. But there are so many ways to create delightful bites of sweet pleasure for exactly that occasion!


    Take the traditional French tart, lightly caramelized on top, tender in the middle and flaky on the bottom, yum. Well, yesterday, I noticed 2 pears that needed some TLC, so I decided to make a tart, but as I was in the process of assembling the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have enough vegan butter and pastry flour (what kind of cook doesn’t have enough flour, really!) So I did the unthinkable, I used vegetable oil and some chick pea flour instead! I had no idea how this was going to turn out. I had only 2 pears and 1 apple to work with, so it wasn’t enough to fill an entire cookie sheet, so I decided to make individual tartlets instead, the rustic kind. No two alike, each its own unique creation! In other words, I was improvising big time.

    Believe it or not, it came out really nice with a light flaky crust. The chick pea flour gave the crust a nice golden color and to my surprise, no extra flavor. And if this wasn’t good enough, I looked it up and found out that a half cup of chick pea flour also provides 10 grams of protein, lots of calcium, magnesium, potassium, so my tart was nutritional too! How about that! You can have your cake and eat your nutrients too! It gives a whole new meaning to sweet!


    Note: The dough will feel a little weird when you use oil instead of chilled butter. It resembles a soft fatty ball. I only chilled it for 5 minutes (I didn’t have all day to bake!) I didn’t want to add to much flour for dusting not knowing what would happen with the texture, so when I tried to roll it, some pieces stuck to the board. So I had to do a little patching here and there but you can’t see it after you bake it.

    INGREDIENTS:

    DOUGH:
    1 ½ cup of wheat pastry flour (plus 1/4 cup for dusting)
    ½ cup garbanzo bean flour (also called besan or chana in Indian stores)
    ½ cup vegetable oil (Canola ok but not olive oil!)
    4-5 Tbl iced water
    ½ tsp salt
    2Tbl sugar


    FILLING:
    3 ripe pears (or mix of pears and apples is fine too)
    1-2 cups of sweetened apple sauce
    Juice from ½ lemon
    1 tsp arrowroot* (or 2 tsp of cornstarch*)
    Sugar for dusting


    PREPARATION:

    1. Heat up the oven to 390 F. Ligthly oil a cookie sheet.
    2. Put a few ice cubes in a small glass.
    3. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
    4. In another bowl, combine the oil and the iced water.
    5. Mix wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
    6. Make a ball and put into a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 10mn.
    7. In the meantime, peel, core and slice the pears and apple. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with natural sugar. Juice the lemon and mix the arrowroot in it. Pour it over the fruit and gently toss to coat evenly.
    8. Take out the dough from the fridge, dust a surface and gently roll it. It could stick to the pin, so be gentle.
    9. To make individual tartlets, roll out the dough thinly, there is no need to prebake. Just take a jar or the lid of a glass jar and cut out circles.
    10. Place a little apple sauce in the middle (sprinkle a little sugar if the apple is not sweetened), then a few slices of pears, gently lift the tartlet with a spatula and put in the palm of your hand, use your fingers to fold the edges in a few places. Sprinkle again with a little sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet.
    11. Bake at 390F for 15mn until golden.
    12. Remove from oven and put an even thin layer of apricot or peach jam over it while it is cooling off. This will create a nice glaze for your tartlets. Makes between 6-8 tartlets depending on the size of the tartlet you make.

    NOTE: If you have more fruit, you can cover an entire cookie sheet. If the dough comes appart, just patch it. Poke a few holes all over and bake for 15mn at 380F. Then cover with a layer of apple sauce, then neatly layer the pear and apple slices. Sprinkle with more sugar. Bake for 20-25mn at 390F.  See step 12 for adding the glaze.

    * Cornstarch: I stopped using it, because I found out that more than 80% of the corn grown in the US is used for animal feed in factory farms and a good part of it is genetically modified. Virtually no testing has been done on the safety of human consumption of GMO corn. The excuse being that most is being used for animals so why bother, but numerous by-products are made from this same GMO corn (corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, corn meal, corn chips, apparently, white distilled vinegar is also made from corn…) and end up in practically everything that we eat. If that wasn’t bad enough, most cornstarch also contain aluminum in the form of Sodium Aluminum Sulfate (Rumford and Magic baking powder are the only aluminum free brands I am aware of).


    So I now use *Arrowroot. This West Indian root was traditionally used to treat wounds caused by poison arrows so it cured poisonous substances and healed the wounds. I may just try it next time I cut myself! Make a little paste by mixing a little powder with some water. I will let you know what happened! I don’t know about you but I am all for moving my pharmacy into my kitchen.

         Usage: Substitute 2 tsp of arrowroot to 3 tsp of cornstarch.
         Use 1 tablespoon of arrowroot with 1 cup of liquid to thicken a sauce or as a gelatin substitute.

    Unlike cornstarch, your dish can be refrigerated, frozen and thawed nicely without turning into a jelly like mush.
    It is a little more expensive than cornstarch but so worth it.
    Actually, if you buy it bulk it is almost the same, minus the aluminum and the GMO!
    What a deal!

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