While I was home in San Francisco – on vacation – my mother put me to work. “You wouldn’t mind cooking for just a few friends?” Three large dinner parties later I decided that bistro fare was a little more manageable for my own sanity.

My mother doesn’t brag too much about my cooking. But most of her telephone calls to our inviteés went something like this: “Are you busy Friday? You know, Amy’s cooking – my daughter, the chef? Yes, she’s back from working in a 3-star michelin Parisian restaurant and she said she’ll cook for us.”

No pressure…

So here’s a menu that’s guaranteed to impress the masses. But you must start the Coq Au Vin the day before. Don’t trust any of those 30-minute Coq Au Vin recipes. There is no substitute for the real deal.

And by the way, no one in France really uses Roosters anymore. To do so would be revolting by Paris standards. Back in the day, you soaked the nextdoor neighbor’s rooster (who was driving you crazy with his 4Am wake up call) in red wine and then cooked it slowly to tenderize the annoying little pecker before serving it back to your neighbor over a friendly bottle of bordeaux. That’s passé. I don’t even know where you can buy a rooster in Paris. Feel free to use chickens instead.

Salad Verte avec Tarragon Vinaigrette
Coq Au Vin
Assiette du Fromage:

Tarte Au Poire et Cardamom Crème Anglaise


Img 1524-1Img 1507-1

Img 1516-2

Click on “Continue reading” for les recettes!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Coq Au Vin
serves 8 people

2 young chickens around 3.5 lbs. each cut into 4 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thigh & drumsticks)
1 medium yellow onion sliced
3 cloves garlic smashed
20 black peppercorns
1 bunch Italian parsley
2 bottles cheap bordeaux wine
1 tomato quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots peeled and chopped
3 Tablespoons flour
1 small bag of pearl yellow onions (not white)
1 bag yukon gold potatoes (around 24, 3 per person) peeled
2 boxes of small button mushrooms

1. In a plastic container large enough to hold 2 quartered chickens put all ingredients from Chickens – Carrots. Mix together. Cover and refrigerate 10-12 hours or overnight.
2. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Strain vegetables and herbs from marinade and reserve each separately.
3. In a casserole, paella pan, or pot large enough to hold 2 chickens heat 2 Tablespoons of oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter. Once hot, place chicken skin side down and brown on both sides.
4. Once chicken is mostly browned add all vegetables and herbs to pot and cook until onions are translucent. About 5 minutes.
5. Sprinkle flour over chicken and veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes until well mixed in. Add marinade to chicken and veggies and mix well. The sauce should thicken slightly.
6. Cook covered in an oven at 350˚F for 45 min or until chicken is cooked through.
7. Remove from oven. Reserve chicken, but strain veggies from the marinade and throw away. Place chicken and sauce back into pot and keep covered until ready to reheat and serve.
8. Trim mushrooms and cook in a separate sauté pan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until done. Add to chicken.
9. Peel pearl onions (I know this is a pain in the butt) and cook in a small sauté pan with enough water to just barely cover. Add one pinch of salt, one pinch of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of butter. By the time the water has evaporated the onions should glaze and turn brown. When they start to brown remove from heat and add them to the chicken.
10. Peel the potatoes and steam or boil them until done. Do not add them to the chicken, but serve them on top or next to the chicken. They should retain their white color for contrast and will not add extra starch to the sauce this way.
11. Reheat everything before serving. Give each person a portion of chicken with a spoonful of the sauce with mushrooms and onions. Place 3 potatoes around the plate.
12 Serve with a lot of french bread to mop up the sauce!

Tarte au Poire
Sweet Tart Pastry
240g all purpose flour
125g butter
pinch of salt
20g sugar
5 ml water
1 egg
2 big pinches vanilla powder (optional)

Almond Cream
100g soft butter (almost melted)
100g sugar
100g fine ground almonds (like almond flour)
2 eggs

3 ripe but firm pears
1 lemon
Cherry pie cherries (optional)
3 Tablespoons apricot jam for glaze

1. Whisk salt, sugar, vanilla powder into flour. Sablé or cut in butter until dough resembles fine sand. This can be done with your fingers. Add egg and water and mix until ball forms. Knead dough lightly (2-3 times) inside of bowl to make sure ingredients are well mixed. Form into a flattened disk, cover with wrap, refrigerate.
2. Blanch sugar and softened butter in bowl with whisk until light in color. Add ground almonds and mix. Add two eggs and mix. Set aside.
3. Roll out tart shell 2-3mm thick to fit size of desired pan or ring (9-10″). Fit dough to pan and flute pastry edges. Prick the bottom of pastry with a fork.
4. Peel pears and core. Rub lemon half all over to help prevent them from turning brown.
5. Pour almond cream into shell and smooth evenly.
6. Cut pears in half lengthwise and into 1/4″ slices across. Fan pear slices decoratively on top of almond cream (see picture above). I tossed in some cherry pie filling cherries that I had in the cupboard for color and also to add a little zing to the sweet tart. Pears can be very sweet and it’s nice to have something a little tart to offset it.
7. Cook for 30 minutes at 160˚C or 350˚F turning tart every 10-15 minutes. Almond cream should be a nice brown color.
8. Brush a little melted apricot jam over pears for glaze.