Sunday, September 13, 2015

Herbs de Provence Omelette with Tomato, Fromage Madrigal and Crème Fraîche

     Exciting breakfast food is in demand.  Consumers are finally getting bored with the standard bland breakfast food that most restaurants offer.  Restaurants that are not afraid to break the mold seem to be profiting from creative bold breakfast cuisine.  
     There are a lot of traditional international breakfast entrées and creative modern brunch recipes in this website.  The breakfast food flavors range from mild old fashioned flavors to spicy new extremes.  Folks browsing the web searching for something different for breakfast, usually end up looking at some of my breakfast recipes. 
     Relatively few chefs publish new breakfast recipes, so I decided to take advantage of the situation.  Filling a void is a great strategy for attracting readers.  The analytical statistics data from the old food website and this new breakfast cuisine website definitely show that good breakfast recipe ideas are what viewers are looking for.   

     *This entire recipe yields 1 petite omelette.

     Crème Fraîche:
     Place 1/3 cup of sour cream in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of cream.
     Whisk till the ingredients are slightly aerated.       
     Chill the crème fraîche till it is needed.

     Omelette d'herbes de provence a la tomate et crème fraîche:  
     By French definition, an omelette can be any kind of shape.  A flat omelette does not need to be called a frittata, especially if the ingredients are French!  
     A light sprinkle of French Madrigal Cheese is part of this recipe.  French Madrigal is like a bold tasting aged Emmentaler.  The bread crumb coating gives this omelette a golden tint that looks nice with the green herbs in the eggs. 
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of milk.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 teaspoon of French Herbs de Provence.  
     Add  1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk the eggs, till they are foamy.  
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 4 slices of tomato.  (about 1/4" thick)
     Grill the tomato slices for about 20 seconds.
     Slide the tomato slices onto a dish and set them aside.
     Step 3:  Wipe the non-stick pan clean.
     Place the pan back over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 4:  Add the reserved Herbs de Provence Egg Mixture.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette. 
     Sauté till the eggs just start to become firm on the bottom half of the omelette.  
     Step 5:  Remove the ban from the heat.
     Arrange the reserved 4 grilled tomato slices on the uncooked eggs on the top half of the omelette.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grated Madrigal Cheese on the omelette.
     Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of plain French bread crumbs on the omelette.
     Drizzle a few drops of melted unsalted butter over the bread crumbs.
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are fully cooked and the bread crumbs become a golden color.
     Step 7:  Slide the omelette onto a plate.
     Use 2 spoons to make 4 quenelles of crème fraîche and place each quenelle between the tomato slices.
     Sprinkle 2 to 3 pinches of coarsely chopped Italian Parsley on the omelette.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This simple French country style omelette tastes nice!  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Velvet Pancakes with Wild Sour Cherry Syrup

     Red Velvet Pancakes!
     Red Velvet Pancakes and Red Velvet Cupcakes have been trendy items in recent years.  Many home cooks just buy a package of manufactured Red Velvet Cake batter mix.  Those who are health conscious know that packaged products have a long list of artificial ingredients.  Artificial ingredients are something to be wary of, especially since many common food enhancers and stabilizers are now GMO. 
     Health conscious cooks do prefer natural ingredients.  There really is no good reason to buy a package of pre-mix pancake batter.  Pancake batter is very easy to make.  The recipe can be put together backwards and the pancakes will still be good.  Pancake batter is a very forgiving recipe.  
     The original Red Velvet Cake was made with natural ingredients.  There was no food coloring in the recipe.  The red color came from beet juice.   Concentrated reduced beet juice will yield a deep red cake batter.  Regular strength beet juice yields a lighter color.  
     Not every beet variety stains equally.  Some beets produce more color than others.  When making beet juice for a red velvet batter, it make take a few trial and error runs to achieve the desired tint.  It is worth the extra effort, because the red batter will be natural and nutrients from the beets will enrich the finished product.

     Wild Sour Cherries are popular in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  Jars of Wild Sour Cherries packed in their own juices are available at Eastern European food markets.  Little or no sugar is added to the juice in the jar, so the sour cherry flavor is retained.  
     For an item like pancakes, a syrup that has pieces of fruit in the sauce is the modern standard.  Modern cooks make fruit syrups from scratch.  Twenty years ago, nearly every restaurant style fruit syrup was artificially colored and flavored.  Now only national brand chain restaurants use artificial syrups these days.  That is one of the many reasons why I never dine at those kinds of restaurants.  Natural flavored syrups with pieces of fruit is what modern customers prefer. 

     Beet Juice:
     The concentration of the beet juice is what makes the difference in the tint of the pancakes.  Two beets is usually plenty.  Sometimes two beets do not produce a dark tint.  The staining power of beets varies, so it is a judgement call.  
     If two beets dot not produce a deep red color, then one option is to add another beet when making the next batch.  The other option is to seek dark red beets from another market.  Not all red beets are created equal. 
     Step 1:  Place 2 to 3 peeled sliced red beets in a sauce pot.    
     Add enough water to cover the beets.
     Place the pot over medium heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the beets become tender.
     Step 2:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Let the beet juice stand for thirty minutes.
     Pour the beet juice through a strainer into a container.
     Chill the beet juice till it is needed.  (The sliced beets can be served as a vegetable with another meal.)

     Wild Sour Cherry Syrup:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups of light syrup.
     Jars of Wild Cherries packed in their own juices are available at Eastern European food markets.  There are many brands to choose from and as long as the product comes from Eastern Europe then it will be of good quality.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1/3 cup of water.
     Boil the liquid over high heat.
     Allow the water to evaporate.
     Watch the sugar as it foams and enters the candy temperature stages.
     Cook the sugar till it becomes a light yellow amber color. 
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of dry red wine.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 cup of wild sour cherry juice from a jar of wild cherries.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground clove.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground ginger.
     Step 3:  Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the liquid becomes a light syrup consistency.
     Step 5:  Add 1/2 cup of preserved wild sour cherries from a jar.
     Reduce the temperature to ver low heat and keep the syrup warm.  Add water if the syrup becomes too thick.  

     Red Velvet Pancake Batter:
     Yield:  1 cup flour = about 1 1/2 cups of batter (Enough for 4 medium size pancakes.)
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of all purpose flour in a sifter.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
     Step 2:  Add 1 egg.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of cream.
     Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup of beet juice, while slowly whisking, till the batter is a medium consistency.  The batter should be thick enough to easily coat a spoon.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter, while stirring.
     Step 4:  Set the red velvet pancake batter aside for ten minutes, then gently stir the batter one more time.

     Red Velvet Pancakes with Wild Sour Cherry Syrup:
     This recipe yields 1 portion (4 medium size pancakes)
     Step 1:  Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle or non-stick griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Lightly coat the griddle with melted unsalted butter.
     Step 2:  Pour 4 separate equal size portions of the red velvet batter on the hot griddle.
     *A medium size batter portion is about 2 1/2 ounces.  If you have a small griddle, then make 1 or 2  pancakes at a time.  
     Step 3:  When a bubbles appear over the entire surface of the pancake, then it is time to use a spatula to flip the pancakes.
     Grill the flipped pancakes, till no raw batter can be seen on the edges.
     Step 4:  Stack the red velvet pancakes on the center of a plate.
     Place 1 pat of unsalted butter on the center of the top pancake.
     Spoon the wild sour cherries and syrup over the red velvet pancake stack and onto the plate.
     Garnish with a mint sprig.
     Viola!  Red velvet pancakes with a great tasting wild sour cherry syrup.  Unfortunately, the beets that I used to make beet juice did not produce a deep rich red dye.  Ce est la vie!  Even so, they do have a nice looking pale red tint.