An American Chef in Paris….Sort of

It has been a dream of mine since I was a very little girl reading about the adventures of Madeline, for those of you unfamiliar, I am speaking about the little girl in the children’s book series by Ludwig Bemelmans.  My dream as a chef is to cook alongside some surly French chef, shouting obscenities at me similar to Gordon Ramsey, as I masterfully pull off a chocolate souffle to perfection. I know I am a sadist.  But the idea of a snobby French chef thinking he can break this American novice chef, gets me giddy with pure delight!

 

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My Danielle in Paris….Living her dream

Two summers ago my daughter Danielle was able to recognize her dreams of going to Europe, most notably Paris and Italy, and fell in love with traveling! While she was in Paris, she called me and told me she had just consumed the most delicious sandwich she’d  ever eaten, in some small café near the Eiffel Tower, I cried hearing that, and I said, without her telling me, “Was it a Croque Monsieur?  She said, “Yes, how did you know?” I laughed, “For one you’re in Paris, for two, I know you, and you are like me you’d go for the heavenly combo of ham, melted cheese!” I then instructed her to try some Madelines, some Macaroons, proper pon frites, (French fries) and if time allowed some savory and sweet crepes. Truly the list could go on and on for me!  I adore French food, which is why I loved watching Julia Childs on PBS back in the day.  She was so funny, so vibrant, so full of life and man could she cook! She is one of my favs, and I could not pay homage to French cuisine without acknowledging what an inspiration this woman has been to me.

So it is unlikely I will be in Paris this year, but I am making it a point to get there very soon, as in within the next two years.  So until I get there I will be content with creating some masterpieces in my kitchen, and I can imagine a French chef yelling at my American incompetency in the kitchen!  On the list for you today are, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Croque Madame, because why not have the egg too with your melted “sammich”and for dessert, my delicious crepes with Nutella and strawberries, because I love the combo of chocolate and strawberries, and these crepes can do double duty, because you can fill them with cheese and some ham, or you can use a combo of veggies, and cheese, they are such a versatile vessel for yummy goodness.  I love them! I know you will too!

En vous souhaitant l’amour! (Wishing you love)

Sinfully,

Susan xoxo

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Croque Madame credit….CrazySexySavor.com

 

Croque Madame

  • Servings: 4-
  • Difficulty: easy
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Classic French Bistro Fare that's oh so satisfying!

Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maurath

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 oz. Gruyère, grated
  • 14  cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 8 slices of Bakery White bread or Sourdough bread, I could not find a bakery bread I liked today, so I made my own homemade wheat bread, for this recipe.
  • 4 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices Black Forest Ham, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp. of butter
  • 4 eggs

 

Directions

  1. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6–8 minutes. Add 1/4 cup grated Gruyère and the Pecorino Romano cheese, whisk until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  2. Heat broiler to high.
    Place 4 slices bread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and spread 1 tbsp. mustard over each. Top with 2 slices ham and remaining Gruyère, then bechamel, form sandwiches.  Heat a skillet with a some butter, divide a tablespoon of butter between the front and back of bread I placed three small slices on each side.  Lightly toast bread on both sides.  Transfer to sheet pan for the broiler.  Top with remaining bechamel side up.
  3. Broil until bechamel sauce is bubbling, about 2 minutes.
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Place an egg on top of each sandwich, and serve hot.

     

 

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Chicken Cordon Bleu-Credit…CrazySexySavor.com

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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A French classic, with a twist!

I like to use prosciutto in this! Classically you would use ham, but I love the saltiness of the prosciutto with the nutty Gruyère cheese, it pares so well!

Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maurath

Ingredients

  • 5 slices of prosciutto
  • 5 thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded thinly (time to get your frustrations out, trust me, that meat is paper-thin by the time I get done)
  • 1 cup of shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 5 tbsp. of Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs beaten with a splash of milk
  • flour to coat the chicken
  • butter
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Pound between two pieces of plastic wrap one chicken breast at a time, repeating with each cutlet.  Generously salt and pepper front and back of each breast.
  2. In a bowl beat two eggs with milk, in two pie plates add flour for dredging, and add panko bread crumbs.  Coat each chicken breast with Dijon mustard, a slice of prosciutto , and a sprinkle of cheese.  Repeat for each breast.  Roll up.  Lightly dredge each roll in flour, then dip in egg, then coat in the panko. Secure with toothpicks if needed.  I don’t use them.  I like to stick them in the fridge for about an hour,  to keep them firm and together.  This is not necessary but it eliminates the need for toothpicks to hold the rolls together.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Generously coat a 9×13 pan with butter.
  4. In a large frying pan on medium heat, melt 2 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp.of olive oil. Remove chicken from freezer, add chicken to pan, be careful when adding chicken that is cold, as it will spit when placed in the hot oil, you are just searing, the chicken will cook in the oven.  Add seared chicken to baking dish. Bake about 35-40 min until chicken is cooked through and does not have any pink.  Serve immediately.

 

 

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Crazy 4 Crepes- Credit-CrazySexySavor.com

Crazy 4 Crepes

  • Servings: 7-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A versitle French favorite that can be a dessert or a tasty breakfast or lunch treat. Freezes beautifully!

 

Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maurath

** This recipe makes about 15 crepes.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. of melted unsalted butter
  • splash of vanilla
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup of Nutella
  • 1 cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries
  • powdered sugar for dusting

 

Directions

  1. In a food processor or blender, I use my Ninja, combine all of the ingredients, and pulse for about 20 seconds to combine.
  2. Pour into batter bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  I find the batter works better when it has rested.
  3. Heat a small omelette size frying pan on medium heat.  Add a tiny bit of butter, then ladle in batter in a thin layer, you are not making pancakes, the batter is thinner and you want to spread it thin to cook a proper crepe. About one ounce poured in the center, swirling should do the trick.  Cook about 10 seconds or until lightly golden on back, flip and cook about 3 or 4 more seconds, transfer crepe to a large cutting board or a wax paper lined baking sheet, let cool, continue with remaining batter.  When the crepes are cooled you can line with wax paper and freeze extras or place in fridge.  Set aside some for filling with the Nutella and strawberries.
  4. In a microwavable safe bowl, heat about 6 ounces of Nutella about 1 min.  Let cool slightly, spread some Nutella in the middle of the crepe and layer in some sliced strawberries.  Fold like a burrito, sift powdered sugar over lightly. Enjoy

 

 

 

 

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