Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Post by our daughter : Le Punch du Soleil!

I am Gaelle's  daughter.
I know she talks a lot about me and my brother on her blog. I like most of her recipes but not all of them! This time I was the one to cook.I  made this drink called "Le Punch du Soleil". My mom liked it.I  added a little more fruits than the original recipe.(I like to improvise too!! )

I hope you will like it!!!!

For 4 persons you need:

  1. Press 4 oranges 
  2. Peel 1 pineapple and 5 kiwis
  3. Cut them in little pieces
  4. Then put them in a blender.
  5. Next pour them in 4 glasses and have fun drinking it!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

La roulette russe: sauteed peppers

One of my favorite part of the late summer farmer's market are the small peppers that you saute in olive oil until they are fully cooked and eat with lemon juice and sea salt. My friends from California enjoy them pretty much all year long (sigh! heavy sigh since I just came back from a two-day business trip to the Bay Area....) but back East, it's just a seasonal treat....

Favorite peppers to serve that way are Padrón Peppers or the ones that we also find on the market (like the Bishop's Crown I got from Tom Culton Organics on the picture).   Unlike most peppers that are either sweet or really hot, you don't really know how hot a Padrón pepper is until you try them as only 10-25% of them are really hot...
Last year, we bought many Padrón peppers that were really not that hot... but this year, the farmer warned us that some of them were actually much spicier than usual. And sure they were!!

This is why we started calling it the "Roulette Russe" with our children when we eat these peppers... If you are lucky, the one you pick is not too hot; if you are unlucky, well, we have a nice slice of bread with butter ready for the unlucky eater! 
Despite a few really really hot ones, our children have been enjoying eating them. We serve them as an appetizer, or a side dish or even when we do our Friday evening aperitif....
Now if I could live in California... (re-sigh...)
Bon Appétit!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Filet mignon de Porc aux Raisins et au Cumin - Pork Tenderloin with Cumin and Grapes

I was doing some "Summer Cleaning" yesterday (LOOONG overdue!!!) and part of it included getting rid of some magazines that had been piling up next to our bed. I don't purchase many magazines except for the New Yorker; I otherwise rely on my appointments here and there to catch up with past news... or to the free subscriptions I somehow receive. My husband only subscribes to professional magazines, which titles are only relevant if you are into veterinary ophthalmology research (anyone?).

One exception are cooking magazines from France which my husband is really fond of.... He used to subscribe to one in particular when he was living in France (that was 14 years ago!) but kept an on-and-off subscription to that magazine since he moved to the US. While he has not had a subscription lately whoever comes from France knows to bring along the latest issue....
What I noticed over the years though, is that the amount of magazines piling up/the amount of recipes indeed made is really high...  "No time, not the right ingredients, difficulty finding a recipe in all the magazines... ", any excuse is good for me to hear.  We tried to find a solution to the "recipe access" issue, sorting out some of the recipes he would most likely make and putting them in dedicated binders....  Despite all this nice filing and despite dozens of magazines later, he has made only 4 recipes (the Charlotte aux Fruits Rouges, the Creme Renverseà l'orange, a Soupe aux Fruits Rouges et à la Mascarpone and this recipe.) 4.
My business hat tells me that 1) The magazine must be really excited about having such a loyal customer... 2) We should forget purchasing this magazine because it's a real waste of money, especially now that everything is a click-away... My supportive spouse heart actually loves having him dream in front of these recipes... but my practical head knows that I will most likely be cooking the next meals anyway (with or without a recipe from that magazine (because honestly, I am not a big fan of that cooking magazine myself)).

He would argue that this is the same with me and the Elle à Table that I ask visitors to bring (or that I purchase while in France)... and this would be true except that I never purchase the magazines to make something; I only get them to get ideas and then improvise around because yes, I don't have time to make elaborated dishes anymore and I do lack some of the ingredients (or if they are available, what should be an affordable meal becomes very expensive....)...  and despite that, my magazines/recipes made ratio is much higher!

One of the recipes he likes to make is this Pork Roast with Grapes and Cumin. I have come to making it myself as well (??!!) with generally great success -  it passes our children' "can-we-have-it-in-our-lunch-box-tomorrow? " test (i.e., a close to perfect score!))... and it's a relatively easy dish to make even the the night before...   so I would highly encourage you to try it out!

In the meantime, I'll see whether we'll come back with new cooking magazines from our vacation in France! Stay tune, you never know what could be cooking soon in our family! Bon Appétit!

- 2 pork tenderloin
- 500 gr (1 pound) of white or red grapes
- 200 gr (about 1/2 pound) of small pearl onions
- 1 tbs honey
- 30 gr (1 oz) butter
- 1 tbs cumin seeds
- Olive oil, salt and pepper

  • Peal the onions and reserve in a bowl
  • Wash the grapes and cut them in half. Blend about 1/3 to make a heavy juice. Reserve.
  • Salt and pepper the meat and roll it in cumin seeds (you can keep the tenderloin whole or cut them in chunks depending on the size of your cocotte)
  • In a cocotte, heat the oil and brown the meat. Once all pieces are done, add the honey and the grape juice. Cook for another 15mns.
  • In the same time, cook the onions in butter in a pan. Once they are cooked, take them out of the pan and drop the remaing grapes into it. Sautee the grapes for 5 minutes. 
  • Once the meat is fully cooked, take them out of the cocotte, and deglacez the cooking juice (scrapping the bottom of the cocotte very well) and let it cook for another 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Put the meat on a serving plate, laying the sauce over it and the onions & grapes around.
 My personal comments:
  • I generally cook the onions wih the meat and add the grapes a few minutes before serving so that they are cooked but not mushy.
  • I like to blend white & red grapes as well as white/yellow/red pearl onions.
  • I serve it with mashed carrots and/or rice.
  • You could make it with a pork roast - allow more time for cooking.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Aragula Soup - Soupe à la Roquette

Aragula ("roquette" in French) is a favorite green in our household. I don't know whether it was already common in the US in the late 80s  but I don't remember eating any in France growing up. Choices of greens for our salade verte were really limited to laitue, feuille de chêne, mâche et frisée (I promise to make frisée aux lardons one day - a favorite of my husband's but not something I ever ever enjoyed (even before I stopped eating meat)!)

Aragula is something I really discovered in the US and have come to love (unlike iceberg lettuce).
We could eat some everyday, especially when the other green options for our daily "salade verte"are iceberg lettuce or another unappealing romaine. 
We eat aragula just plain with a balsamic vinaigrette, or in my home-made improvised mix-greens salad or other salade composée, on a white pizza or in a sandwich! Although it sometimes touches warm food, I had never thought about making it into a soup until I realized a few months ago that, because I was traveling a lot (hence the absence of posts since Feb! Sorry....), we were not going to be able to eat the whole aragula before it would go bad (and yes, it does go bad relatively quickly, even when we purchase it in a clamshell container (I know, I know)), I would have to come up with a soup. It was freezing cold outside (we had a LLOOOOOONG winter this year) and I figured that I could pretty much cook it in a similar way as I do the Soupe au Cresson
Easy. Simple. Delicious. And a great success.
To be honest, between watercress and aragula soup, I prefer watercress (if and only if, this is wild watercress (or watercress that actually tastes like watercress! (I have been disappointed sooo many times here...))... but making this aragula soup is a good alternative. Whereas the taste of aragula that can be pungent when eaten raw, it becomes milder in the warm soup - making it an easy alternative for children for instance. 
I also think that this soup, or a slightly modified version of it, will be great served cold this Summer. Until then (I could eat hot soup every day), I know that I can go and purchase more aragula... we'll never run out of ideas (next on my list is aragula pesto (recipe anyone?)) to eat it all... Bon Appétit!

Ingredients (for 4 persons)
- aragula, washed and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 potatoes, skin off and cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil

  • In a pot (with lid), over medium-heat, saute the onion, garlic and potato in olive oil.
  • Add about 3 cups of water
  • Put the lid on and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Immerse the aragula for two minutes
  • Blend thoroughly
  • Add salt and black pepper to taste .
  • Serve with crème fraîche, grated cheese, toasted bread.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

A few months ago, I was in San Francisco and a friend of mine introduced me to a great local artisan chocolatier and we got to talk "excellence in Chocolate in the US and France" while visiting his atelier...  It was really fascinating to hear him talk about his passion for chocolate and innovation in chocolate-making... I do believe in "innovation" in companies; some of our Executive Education clients are actually coming to Wharton to get their executives to be more innovative.....  Obviously, it was even more mouth-watering to talk about innovation in... chocolate making! The very interesting thing he told me is that when he wants to bounce ideas, he calls up a French artisan chocolatier (excellent as well, trust me!!) and the two of them talk shop! From a business standpoint, this is really exciting to see two competitors helping eachother come up with another great product. It's a win-win situation: they both have something to win in coming up with new products because it will help their profession against the industrially-made chocolates that are out there and stealing some of their market share....
I could not leave the atelier without purchasing some chocolate bars to take home to Philadelphia to share with my husband and our children. This started a discussion among us as we tend not to agree on what defines "un excellent chocolat"...  Like everything else in food, it does take time and experience to be able to distinguish and appreciate differences in chocolates... I am no expert... but do know that I'd rather not eat chocolate than a mediocre one... A real treat? A really nice piece of dark chocolate with an espresso after lunch (once all the dishes is done so that I can really enjoy my coffee!)...

Despite all that I just wrote,  when it comes to baking with chocolate, I generally use the  IKEA dark chocolate bars.  IKEA chocolate??? Yes, I know that it is definitively not the best chocolate out there but it is good enough to bake a cake for a Sunday afternoon tea-break! This is my price/quality hat taking over....

Here is a recipe I got a few years ago. This recipe is a great recipe, and not just for people who avoid gluten.... The best thing? It's even the next day.. so very practical when I don't have time to bake something on Sunday morning...  Verdict of the Chocolate-cake eaters in our family? They all love it! Would it taste better with a more-upscale chocolate? I am not sure. Will have to try! Bon Appétit!


  • 275 gr (9.7 oz) dark chocolate
  • 5 medium eggs separated
  • 175g (6.1 oz) sugar
  • 140g (4.9 oz) almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1 TBs of rhum or orange liqueur (optional)

  • Preheat ovent to 170C (340F)
  • Roughly chop about 50g of the chocolate and reserve
  • Melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave or in a double-boiler
  • Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whisk in half of the sugar, a tablespoon at a time until incorporated - you have a soft meringue.
  • Beat the egg yolks together with the remaining sugar until pale and doubled in volume.
  • Carefully fold in the meringue mixture into the egg yolk mixture. 
  • Gently fold in the chocolate
  • Fold in the rest of the meringue
  • Fold in the almond flour and the chopped chocolate.
  • Add the rhum/liqueur.
  • Fold into a round mold and bake in the oven for 30mns. After 30mns, turn the oven off and leave the cake for another 15mns.