Archive for September, 2010

Travels in France – Warm Goat Cheese Tart with Caramelized Onions

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Another favorite French recipe, this time from New York City!  You can find French cooking almost anywhere and everywhere!

From Balthazar
80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012

Opened in 1997 by chef Keith McNally.  Since it opened it can be difficult to find a table, so we thought we would bring it to you.

Serve a slice of this delicious tart as an appetizer, or a larger slice along with a salad as a main course.

1 3/4 cups (9 oz/280 g) flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yokes, beaten
3-4 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
Leaves from 1 fresh thyme sprig, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces goat cheese at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 eggs
2/3 cup (5 fl oz/160ml) heavy cream

To make the pastry: In a medium bowl, stir the flour and salt together. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture is the texture of course crumbs.  Add the egg yolks and water and mix quickly with a fork.  Press the dough together with you fingers.  Pat the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30-minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  On a flat surface, roll the pastry dough out to a 12-inch (30-cm) circle.  Fit the pastry into a 10-inch (25-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.  Line with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 10 minutes, or until set.  Remove from the oven and remove the foil and weights.  Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork.  Return the shell to the oven and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or intil lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  To make the filling: In a small saute pan or skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, thyme, and bay leaf for about 7-minutes, or until the onion is golden.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Season the onion mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a blender or food processor combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, eggs, cream, salt and pepper to taste.  Process until perfectly smooth.

Spread the onion mixture evenly on the bottom of the tart shell and fill with cheese mixture.  bake in the perheated oven for 12-minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool slightly, or to room temperature.  Cut the tart into wedges and serve.

Make 8 servings.

iPhone Apps for Locating B&Bs

Friday, September 24th, 2010

While searching around the iTunes store I ran across two interesting applications  (APPS) for finding a Bed and Breakfast.  I thought I would pass this information along for our iPhone toting guests to take a peek and see if they might meet their needs.

Yeerp Bed and BreakFast

The first is called Yeerp Bed and BreakFast ( and is available in 6-languages.  The app uses your current location to search.   This is a free app, and does contain a advertising banner across the bottom, however it is not at all distracting.  It will use your current location and shows the rating of each facility.  The only downside is that it includes other types of business and hotels, which may be good or bad depending on the size of the area.

The second Bed and Breakfast Mapper ( only available  in English.  This app requires you to type in your location and then press the search button, however it only returns Bed and Breakfast locations, making it easier to use in large areas.  You can also limit your search range, so if you do not want to travel an additional 30 miles, this is a great feature. You can then click on the information at the bottom of the screen and go to the B&B’s own web site.  This app is also free in the iTunes Store.

Bed and Breakfast Mapper

So, take a look and see if you like what you see.

Courtesy of the William Miller House Bed and Breakfast

Travels in France – Fricassée de Veau, Légumes et Champignons

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The third in our series to provide authentic French recipes!  This one is also from the heart of Paris!

From Chez La Vielle
1 Rue Bailleul, 75001 Paris

Hidden away on a quiet street in Paris’s bustling first arrondissement is a tiny bistro that serves superb cuisine to local gourmets and a few knowledgeable travelers.

Veal Fricassée with Vegetables and Mushrooms

1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80ml) olive oil
4 pounds (about 2 Kg) veal stew meat or shoulder, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) cubes
Sal and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large tomatos, cored and chopped
1 fresh basil sprig
1 calf’s foot (Optional)
Bouquet garni” 1 parsly sprig, 1 thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf, tied in cheese cloth square
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80ml) dry white wine

4 small turnips, peeled and halved
4 small carrots, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths
2 leeks, white part only, sliced about 1/4 (.6-cm) thick
1 bunch green onion tops, chopped
3 1/2 ounces (105 g) slab bacon or smoked ham, diced
5 Tablespoons (2-1/2 oz/75 g) butter
2 shallots, minced
8 ounces (250 g) chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces (250 g) oyster mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces (250 g) white mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil and brown the veal on all sides.  Using a slotted spoon transfer meat to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

To the same pan, add the onions and garlic and saute over medium heat for 5-minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and bouquet garni.  Add the calf’s foot, veal wine and enough water to cover the meat.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.  reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 2-hours, or until the meat is extremely tender.

Meanwhile, to make the garnish: Sepatately steam or blanch the turnips, carrots, leeks, and green onion tops until just tender.  Set the vegetable aside.

In a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat, saute the bacon or ham for 5-minutes (use a little oil to saute the ham).  Add the vegetables to the  bacon or ham, stir to combine. Set aside.

In a saute pan over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons butter and saute the schallot until translucent, about 2-minutes.  Add all the mushrooms and saute for 5-minutes. Set aside.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the veal to aserving dish.  Bone the calf’s foot and cut the meat into pieces; arrange them and the steamed or blanched vegetables over the veal.

Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve and return it to the sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the sauce over the meat and vegetables.  Serve the sautéed mushrooms separately as a  side dish.

Makes 8 servings.

Designer House & Garden Tour Opens in Richmond

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The Richmond Symphony Orchestra League’s Designer House and Garden Tour has opened and extends through October 11th. This is the RSOL’s 14th Designer House, a beautiful English Tudor, gorgeously transformed by interior designers, landscape designers, artists, (more…)

Travels in France – Gratinée des Halles

Monday, September 13th, 2010

A fine recipe from the heart of Paris!  Bon Appetit!

From La Poule au Pot
9 Rue Vauvilliers, 75001 Paris

A large bowl of this hearty soup becomes a meal in itself when served with a green salad and some fresh fruit or other dessert.  The soup is even more flavorful when prepared a day in advance.

French Onion Soup

From La Poule au Pot

1/4 cup (2fl oz or 60ml) vegetable oil
5 large yellow onions (about 2 1/2 pounds/1.25KG, thinly sliced
2 cups (16fl oz/500ml) dry white wine
8 cups (2 liters) Chicken and Beef stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
8 – 2/4-inch thick (2cm) slices of day-old French Bread
3 cups (12 oz/375 g) shredded Gruyère cheese

In a large, heavy pot over high heat, heat the oil until almost smoking.  Add the onions and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the onions for about 30-minutes, or until they are soft and an even deep golden brown; stir frequently.

Pour the wine, raise heat to high, and boil until the soup is reduced by two thirds.  Stir in the the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler.  Place 8 deep oven proof soup bowls or crocks on a baking sheet.  Ladle the soup into the bowls, add a slice of the bread to each bowl, and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.  Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings