Our last FND of winter break was a French affair. We had a great time eating delicious food and enjoying hanging out with each other before we head back to college. The French have a wide array of amazing food and the dishes we made did not disappoint–it was like sitting in a little bistro in the heart of Paris!
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. instant yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- In the container of a food processor, combine flour, salt and yeast. Process for 5 seconds, then slowly pour water into the processor while the machine is running. Process for about 30 seconds until the dough is in a ball, then transfer it to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about 3 hours.
- Sprinkle a little flour onto a counter, and divide dough into three balls, and let them rise, covered, for about 30 minutes.
- Then, flatten each ball and fold it over itself twice, sealing the seam. Spread a towel on the counter and place the loaves into the folded seams of the towel. Let them rise for another 1-2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450° and bake loaves on a lightly floured baking sheet for about 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
- Enjoy with French cheese!
Butternut Squash Soup:
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- salt, if needed
- In a Dutch oven, or similar sturdy pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, cumin and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.
- Add the squash and potato and mix thoroughly with the onion mixture to coat the vegetables. Add the stock, tomato paste and lemon juice and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove from the heat and allow the soup to cool some before processing. Working in small batches, puree the soup in a blender, pouring the pureed soup into another pot as you go.
- Once it is smooth, return the soup to the heat and stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Warm through and serve immediately.
Salmon en Papillote:
- Salmon fillet, cut into pieces (one for each guest)
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Vegetables of your choice (we used asparagus)
- Salt and pepper
- Parchment paper (one piece for each piece of fish)
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Dry the fillets with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place each fillet on a separate piece of parchment paper. Place a slice of lemon on top of each piece of salmon. Arrange the vegetable around the fish.
- Wrap each piece of fish in it’s parchment paper, making sure that there are no gaps or tears. Place them in a baking dish and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
- 3/4 pint double cream
- Ground black pepper
- 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 oz. butter
- Cheese for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Grease a baking dish with some of the butter.
- Layer the potato slices in the dish, overlapping each other, seasoning lightly with the salt and pepper, sprinkling a liberal amount of cheese on each layer.
- Sprinkle cheese on top of the last layer.
- Put the double cream, garlic, and sprigs of thyme in a pan and bring them gently to the boil, then remove the thyme and pour hot cream over the potatoes.
- Dot the top of the gratin with the remaining butter and some extra cheese if you wish, and bake for about 1 hr to 1 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are soft, and the top is crispy and golden brown.
- Serve hot.
Apple Tarte Tatin:
- 1 1/2 lbs. firm apples
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 oz. butter (room temperature)
- Butter for baking dish
- Lemon juice
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 4 oz. butter, chilled
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Peel apples and lightly coat with lemon juice so they don’t brown.
- Put sugar and 3 tbsp. water in a pot and let caramelize–let the sugar melt into the water on a low heat. Once melted, turn up the flame a little, don’t stir, but tilt the pot and move it around from time to time. Once the syrup is a pale honey colour, it has caramelized.
- Add butter to caramel and stir until it melts. Take off heat and pour caramel into a buttered pie dish.
- Cut apples into halves, and cut each half into 3 pieces. Place apples in pie dish, so they are squeezed tightly together. Do this step quickly, so the caramel doesn’t harden.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. This is a good time to prepare the crust (recipe below).
- Take tatin out of the oven and let the apples cool a bit. Once cooled, place crust on top, tuck the edges into the dish, and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust has browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Then, place a serving dish on top of the tarte and carefully flip over, so the apples are facing up.
- Serve warm, with crème fraîche (or vanilla ice cream) on the side.
- Mix salt, sugar and flour.
- Cut chilled butter into small pieces and mix into flour with fingertips. Stop mixing when it looks like sand.
- Make a well and pour in eggs. Incorporate into flour using your fingers and a spatula.
- Once mixed, form a ball, place on floured surface and knead for 10 seconds. Reshape into a ball, roll out with a rolling pin, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.