Friday, August 20, 2010


Bonjour! This week our taste buds flew somewhere around the eiffel tower...Chef Doug , our international tour guide around the kitchen once again! If ya can't make the trip, these recipes are easier on the budget and full of ooh-la-la delish in your mouth!

Bittersweet Ganache Glaze

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I prefer 55% to 63% bittersweet chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. light corn syrup

Stovetop instructions:
In a small saucepan, warm the cream over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate pieces and the corn syrup. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes and then stir until smooth.

Chocolate-Glazed Éclairs
Yields about 1 dozen éclairs

1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
1 Tbs. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 recipe Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 recipe Éclair Pastry Shells
1 recipe Bittersweet Ganache Glaze

Combine the cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a chilled mixing bowl and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until the cream becomes fluffy and forms a soft peak that folds over when you lift the whisk. Be careful not to overwhip the cream or you risk it curdling when you fold it into the custard.
Whisk the pastry cream until smooth and then gently whisk in about one-third of the whipped cream to lighten the pastry cream. Scrape the rest of the whipped cream over the mixture and, using the whisk in a folding action, gently blend the two until the mixture is uniform and smooth.
Cut an éclair shell in half lengthwise with a serrated knife. Use your fingers to pinch out the doughy insides of both halves. Use two soupspoons—one to scoop and the other to push the cream off the spoon—to mound the filling into the entire length of the bottom half of the shell, about 2 to 3 Tbs. of filling per shell. Gently place the top half of the éclair shell on the custard and put the assembled éclair on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining shells.
When all the éclairs are assembled, warm the glaze a little just until it's warm enough to flow off the side of a spoon in a wide, thick ribbon. (If the ganache is too hot, it will run off the éclairs and puddle below on the tray. Spoon the ganache along the entire length of each éclair top. Put the sheet of glazed éclairs in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.

Éclair Pastry Shells

Yields 12 to 13 éclair shells.

2 oz. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. table salt
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Cut a sheet of parchment to fit in a heavy-duty 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Using a pencil, draw three sets of two lines spaced 3 inches apart, running the length of the parchment. These will be guidelines for piping the éclair dough. Line the baking sheet with the parchment, penciled side down—you should be able to see the lines through the parchment. If not, draw them darker.
In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously to combine. Continue to stir, using a figure-eight motion and smearing the dough against the sides of the pan to cook the flour and work out any lumps, for 2 minutes. The mixture will be thick and look like a firm ball, or balls, of sticky mashed potatoes that pull away from the pan sides. During this process, it’s normal for a thin layer of dough to stick to the bottom of the pan and sizzle.
Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, mix until the dough feels merely warm to the touch, not hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
With the mixer still on low, beat in the eggs one at a time. After each egg is added, the dough will separate into small lumps and then come back together. After the dough pulls back together, briefly (about 20 seconds) increase the speed to medium low to mix the dough well. Reduce the speed to low before adding the next egg. After the addition of the last egg, scrape the bowl well and beat on medium low for a final 30 seconds.
Scrape the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Twist the top of the bag to push the dough toward the tip. Hold the bag at a 60-degree angle and set the tip of the pastry tube on the paper, right at the top of one of the 3-inch-wide stripes you drew earlier. Squeeze the pastry bag and, using the lines on the parchment as a guide, pipe out 3-inch lengths of dough in a tight zigzag pattern, spacing the éclairs about 1 inch apart.
Bake until the shells are puffed, crisp, and thoroughly golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. If you find that they’re baking unevenly, rotate the pan. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes, before filling or storing.
Make Ahead Tips
Store the shells in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Or freeeze them in an airtight plastic freezer bag for up to six weeks. To refresh the shells before assembling. arrange them on a baking sheet and warm them in a 350°F oven until dry, firm, and almost crisp, 10 to 15 minutes for room temperature shells, 15 to 20 for frozen shells. Let cool before using.

Steak au Poivre with Cognac Sauce
Serves four.

1 Tbs. whole black peppercorns
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt
2 lbs. Pork Tenderloin, cleaned
1 Tbs. canola or grapeseed oil
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely diced shallot (about 1 large)
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp. Cognac or brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
Crack the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. It's fine if some are just broken in half and others are smaller; the important thing is to crack them all. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, crack the peppercorns on a cutting board, crushing them with a meat pounder or the bottom of a small heavy skillet or saucepan.
Sprinkle 1 tsp. of the thyme and 1 tsp. salt evenly on both sides of the pork tenderloin and then pat the peppercorns on both sides to create a thin crust. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy-duty 10- or 11-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil; when it's shimmering hot, arrange the pork in the pan and cook until the bottom sides are nicely browned and release easily from the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pork and cook the other sides until browned, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Pour off any fat left in the pan, but not the browned bits. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat to avoid any flare-ups and carefully add 1/3 cup of the Cognac. Return the pan to medium heat and cook until the Cognac reduces to a glazy consistency, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the cream, tarragon, the remaining 1 tsp. thyme, and any accumulated juices from the resting pork. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, 1 or 2 minutes more. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp. Cognac and season to taste with salt. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve.

Sautéed Ratatouille
Serves six to eight Yields 5 to 6 cups

1 lb. eggplant (1 medium globe), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 3-1/2 cups)
Kosher salt
9 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. onion (1 medium), thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 lb. red bell peppers (2 medium), peeled (as much as possible with a vegetable peeler; serrated works best), cored and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb. zucchini (3 or 4 small), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/8-inch-thick half-moons (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup chopped garlic (6 to 8 large cloves)
1 lb. tomatoes (2 medium), peeled (with a serrated vegetable peeler; otherwise, skip the peeling), cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Few drops hot sauce
2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil (a chiffonade)
2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh mint (a chiffonade) (optional)
Toss the eggplant with 1 tsp. kosher salt in a colander and let sit in the sink or over a bowl while you prepare the other vegetables.
Sauté the vegetables one at a time.
Tip: If the juices in the pan look black and burned at any time, rinse the pan with water and wipe it out. If not, leave the cooked-on juices in the pan; they'll add flavor to the final dish.
In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the thyme, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and deep golden brown, 15 to 20 min. Scrape into a clean colander or large strainer that's set over a bowl to catch the juices.
In the same skillet, heat another 3 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften and get browned around the edges, about 5 min. Add the rosemary, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they're extremely soft and sweet, another 10 to 15 min. Gently fold into the onions in the colander.
Heat another 1 Tbs. oil over high heat, and as soon as you see the first hint of smoke, add the zucchini and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Shake and stir to distribute the zucchini slices evenly in the pan so they all get browned. Cook over high heat until tender and nicely browned on both sides, 5 to 7 min. Add to the colander and gently fold with the onions and peppers.
Finish with the eggplant and tomatoes.
Dump the eggplant onto some paper towels, and pat to blot up surface water. Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in the skillet over high heat, add the eggplant (no additional salt), and shake and stir to distribute the cubes evenly in the pan so they all get browned. Cook over high heat until lightly browned on several surfaces, about 5 min, and then lower the heat to medium. Cook until the eggplant is very tender--not at all al dente--another 13 to 15 min. Fold into the other vegetables.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and all their juices and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cook until the tomatoes collapse slightly and the juices thicken and darken a bit, 3 to 5 min. As you're cooking, scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze all the cooked-on vegetable juices. Add to the colander, scraping out all the juice from the skillet, and fold everything together.
Let the vegetables rest, then reduce the juices
Now let the vegetables sit in the colander for 15 to 20 min. At that point, you should have around 1/2 cup liquid in the bowl. Pour it into a small saucepan, heat until gently boiling, and boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. The flavor should be very bright and intense. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and a few drops of the hot sauce to taste. Fold this glaze into the vegetables, along with the basil, parsley, and mint (if using). Taste for salt and add more if needed.

Sorrel Vichyssoise
yield: Makes about 8 cups, serving 6 to 8

• 1 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of leek, washed well
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 pound boiling potatoes
• 4 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 1/2 pound fresh sorrel (available seasonally at specialty produce markets and some supermarkets), stems discarded and the leaves rinsed, spun dry, and shredded coarse (about 8 cups)
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, or to taste, plus, if desired, additional for garnish
In a large saucepan cook the leek and the onion with salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, the broth, and the water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender. Stir in the sorrel and simmer the mixture for 1 minute. Purée the mixture in a blender in batches, transferring it as it is puréed to a bowl, and let it cool. Stir in the cream, the chives, and salt and pepper to taste, chill the soup, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight, and serve it sprinkled with the additional chives.