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Seattle - November 18, 2009

Dangerous Liaisons

Regional French Cuisine Cooking Lessons

Considering your microwave food repertoire, mastering the art of French cooking is a lofty goal. (To your credit, you excel at puncturing plastic wrap.)

Chef David Amar can introduce you to your neglected appliances.

The Provence native has a relaxed manner, whether he’s teaching you how to use cutlery or make ganache. Simply tell Amar the number of people you’ll be entertaining, and he’ll help plan a menu, shop for ingredients, and aid with preparation.

Beef daube, ratatouille, and boar chops are just some of the principal plates he can coax you through. Appetizers like salmon tartare and French onion soup, fresh-baked baguettes, and delicious desserts complete an impressive spread.

While there, Amar will explain French cooking terms as well as the regional history of dishes.

Giving you the Gaul to be the hostess with the mostest.


Regional French Cuisine (206-789-0523 or regional-french-cuisine.com).




Favorite Recipes

Filet of Idaho Trout Meunière

From River Dance Lodge

For a simple trout recipe that delivers incredible results try River Dance Lodge Chef David Amar's light and flavorful Idaho trout meuniere. Classic and absolutely satisfying, this is one dish for fish that is not only elegant, but easy to make!

Ingredients for 2 people:
2 Idaho trout, gutted and fileted, and deboned
A quarter cup of unsalted butter
2 Tbsps. Of capers
The juice of 2 lemons
A quarter cup of flour
Salt, pepper.

Directions:
Butterfly the trout, make an incision with a sharp paring knife all along where the back bone used to be, don’t go all the way through. The two filets of the trout are still attached together, but now they can both stand flat. Repeat this process on the other trout.
Place the butter in a fry pan, on medium heat and let it brown slightly.
Rinse the fish in cold water, and then dry them with paper towel. Place the flour in an entrée plate, and coat the trout with it.
Turn your gas on medium high to high.
Fry the trout skin side first in the brown butter for 2 minutes, depending on thickness. Flip and fry the other side for a minute.
When both fish are cooked, remove from pan and place in a serving platter with a lip or shallow edges. Notice the cooking juices in the pan; do not discard, no matter what your doctor says, this is where it is getting good.
Lower your heat to medium again then throw in the pan the lemon juice and the capers, pick up all the caramelized stuff with the lemon juice and a whisk or a wooden spoon. This is called deglazing.
Cover the fish with this sauce. It is ready to serve. Enjoy your meal.


French Flavor

Adding a bit of delicious French flavor to our daily lives

by Erin      French Market Spice blog.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                                                           

We are pleased to welcome Chef David Amar as French Market Spice’s contributing chef and French culinary expert.

Originally from Aubenas, France, Chef David runs his own private cooking school in Seattle, Washington where he gives hands-on cooking lessons right in your own home.

Simply tell Chef David the number of people you’ll be entertaining, and leave the rest to him. Not only will he help plan a menu but also shop for ingredients and assist you and your friends with preparation. Beef daube, ratatouille, bouillabaisse de Marseille, and boar chops are just some of classic French dishes in his repertoire. His menus would not be complete without the most important item on any French table…bread! You will learn his secrets to make delicious and crusty baguettes in your very own oven. For dessert lovers, ever dream of making fresh apple tarts or bittersweet chocolate truffles?

All throughout, Chef David will explain French cooking terms, techniques, ingredients as well as the regional history of each dish.  As an alternative to going out, why not stay in and have an authentic French fun evening sharing and learning with your friends and family? Sounds like fun to us!

Chef David will be a regular here on French Flavor sharing his tips, techniques, and authentic recipes.  Let the learning begin!  Below is his recipe for Daube Provençal, a traditional French stew made with cubed beef, wine, and vegetables.  Bon Appetit.


Daube Provençale

Serves 4 to 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of beef chuck roll, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • Ox tail or neck bones; and/or a veal foot (for flavor)
  • 1 cup of chopped bacon, smoked or not
  • 1 piece of orange peel studded with cloves
  • 1 bay leaf and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence (to taste)
  • 4 medium size carrots (sliced and diced)
  • 1 large onion (sliced and diced)
  • 1 bottle of French red wine, preferably a Côtes de Provence or Côtes du Rhône
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Black olives (to taste)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 dozen button or crimini mushrooms sliced (optional)

Techniques: There are two very traditional way to make Daube, both equally good.

Technique #1:

  • Marinate all the ingredient overnight, then cook them for 6 hours over low heat.
  • Add liquid if needed, (broth, water, wine).

Technique #2:

  • Sauté meat, onion, carrot, bones, until slightly browning
  • Deglaze with tomatoes and wine until it covers it all
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over low heat for 6 hours
  • Add liquid if needed, (broth, water, wine)

Tips: Important to use a heavy braising pan with a heavy lid. The best is cast iron with a cast iron lid or cast aluminum alloy with glass lid. A stainless stock pot/braising pot with a thick bottom works well too. If you’re in the market for such a pan, be sure to check out options from Le Creuset or Staub.


Chef David’s Best Kept Secret of the New Year

2010 January 28
by Erin


New Year’s eve in France is called réveillon and typically involves a long meal and party. The name réveillon is derived from the word réveil (meaning "waking"), because guests try to stay awake until midnight or later. The meal includes luxury food like lobster, oysters, caviar, escargot, and foie gras.

We celebrated réveillon this year with French friends in Rueil Malmaison outside of Paris and our first course consisted of foie gras mi-cuit served on small toasts with sweet onion jam. Mi-cuit means half-cooked and that it is fresh liver that has not been preserved in any way. (It has not been boiled in a container for 2 hours, as with most preserved versions.) Surprisingly, this type of foie-gras does not taste very liver-like, which makes it a good type to try for your first introduction to the dish.

Our hosts paired this with a chilled Sauternes dessert wine. A classic match for foie gras, Sauternes is a wine from the Bordeaux region made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that are allowed to partially raisin, thus giving it a rich, sweet complex flavor.

Chef David, French Market Spice’s contributing chef, shares his recipe for Faux Foie Gras (Duck Liver Mousse). As you know, real foie gras is expensive, and often difficult to find in the US. Chef David has developed an easier, more budget-friendly way to reproduce the depth of flavor and smooth texture of this authentic French favorite.

Faux Foie Gras (Duck Liver Mousse)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of duck livers
  • ¾ pound of unsalted butter (3 sticks)
  • 2 teaspoons of Spice Parisienne
  • 5 ounces of whole dried morel mushrooms
  • 2 fluid ounces of sherry wine
  • 2 fluid ounces of brandy
  • 1 teaspoon of sodium nitrite (pink curing salt)
  • 1 teaspoon of Truffle Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Fleur de Sel
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Adding a bit of delicious French flavor to our daily lives

 

Preparing foie gras generally does not require special kitchen equipment or utensils, except that you should choose a container to serve as a mold. It is typical to use a medium to large terrine shaped mold to make a block shape. You may also choose to use several smaller molds, depending on your purpose. Included below are some photos of typical terrine molds you’ll find in most cooking stores.

Soak the mushrooms in a little bit of tepid water.

Pan-sear the liver with a little bit of the butter, and the pink salt. When nicely seared, deglaze with the sherry and the brandy and the mushroom water and braise until ¾ of the liquid has reduced.

Put the remaining reduction in a food processor while still warm and add the butter slowly while processing.

At this point, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into molds of your choice. Refrigerate it to cool with no lid so that the steam can escape freely.

Once the foie gras has cooled, you can either slice it and serve with toasts or bread on the side or you can spread it directly onto toasts and serve it.

Popular accompaniments include cornichons, onion, apricot, fig jam, salad, nuts, and dried fruits. The choice is yours. Needless to say, your family, friends, or Supper Club foodies will be impressed!

Bon Appetit et Bonne Année 2010!