Showing posts with label Jacques Pepin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jacques Pepin. Show all posts

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder with Salmon & Shrimp for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted a simple chowder this week as I was craving fish and seafood. I found one in Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder from More Fast Food My Way. I like the mushroom and zucchini and also was interested in the mashed potato flakes as a thickener. 

I made a few changes--subbing in coconut milk for the half-and-half and adding frozen corn for the sweetness, and leaving my shrimp whole. I also added some smoked paprika at the end. 

Seafood Chowder
Slightly Adapted from More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin 
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups trimmed, split, washed & sliced leeks
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups diced (about 1/2-inch) zucchini
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3/4 cup (1-inch) pieces peeled uncooked shrimp
1 cup (1-inch) pieces boneless fish fillet
2/3 cup half-and-half (I used coconut milk)  

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. When hot, add the leek and garlic and saute for about 1 minute . Add the clam juice, water. mushroom, and salt, bring to a boil, and boil for about 2 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and sprinkle the potato flakes on top, mixing them in with a whisk to prevent lumping. Bring to a boil and boil for about 1 minute. (The soup can be prepared several hours ahead to this point.)

At serving time, bring the soup back to a boil, add the shrimp, fish, and half-and-half and bring back just to a boil. The fish and shrimp will be cooked through. Divide among four bowls and garnish with crab meat or chives, and smoked paprika if desired. Serve immediately. 

Notes/Results: A good solid chowder, with a thick and creamy broth and lots of texture from the ingredients. I did add some smoked paprika to the mix and also squeezed a little lemon on my bowl to give it more of a pop of flavor. I would keep the sweet corn and next time I might add a bit of thyme to the mix, or dill would be another good option. It's hearty without being heavy and pairs well with bread to mop up the broth--I used leftover marbled rye. For the speed and ease, I would make it again.

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck week--any recipe from any of our featured IHCC chefs.

The lovely Debra is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared these Chef Grant's Best Burgers with Sauce Gribiche and Green Apple. She says, "These are great burgers for a weeknight meal. We enjoyed the combination of the creamy sauce gribiche with the slight crunch of the fried apple and the bacon-burger. (And, I am so stealing the onion and caraway mix for future recipes.)

Thanks to Debra for joining in!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fromage Fort: "Strong Cheese" Spread for Food 'n Flix January: French Kiss {#foodnflix}

Friday is finally here. To celebrate the end of the week, I pick cheese. Lots of cheese, mixed together and slathered over baguette slices and crackers, enjoyed with a glass of white wine and sweet red grapes. Have it for a snack, eat it for dinner, or even breakfast. It's a quick trip to the French countryside, as is our Food 'n Flix film for January, the 1995 rom-com French Kiss, starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. This month's movie is hosted by Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen (and the founder of Food 'n Flix) at the Food 'n Flix site. (See her announcement post here.)

I have to confess that I only vaguely remembered watching this movie years ago, strange for me because I love both Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. But, luckily it was on one of my cable channel's on demand movies this month, so I settled in last weekend and gave it a watch.

 Photo from

If you haven't seen it, here's a quick summary; Kate (Meg Ryan), a somewhat neurotic and rigid teacher follows her fiance (Timothy Hutton) to France to get him back when he falls in love with a French woman. En route, she meets Luc (Kevin Kline), a French thief. Although they clash at first and he hides something stolen in her travel bag, they are pushed together traveling the French countryside and an attraction forms. I won't say more than that--it's a rom-com, you get the picture. It's fluffy, but fun and has some great scenery. (Not including Kline, who I normally find quite appealing but in my opinion, needs a serious haircut and a shave in this film.

Food-wise, I wouldn't call it plentiful--but there is enough to inspire. Food inspiration that I noted included: Kate's "Paris in the springtime" mantra--conjures up fresh French spring foods, pizza with no cheese, Kate's Canadian citizenship--maybe a Canadian dish?, dinner with some kind of amazing sauce that Kate said was probably used to cover up horse-meat, ;-) fresh vegetables being chopped (it looked like fennel, endive and carrots were included), vodka and mini airplane bottles of alcohol, grapes and grapevines and the vineyard, cheese and baguettes, coffee, mention of French cheeses and a cheeseburger, a scent kit for wine tasting with rosemary, mushroom, cassis/currant, mint and lavender, a tray of cakes and frosting, a sea breeze cocktail and a vegetable plate with carrots on the beach

My inspiration comes from the scene on the train where Kate is gazing out at the French countryside while eating cheese and baguette. As Kate is lactose intolerant ("The mucus!") her pleasure at the cheese won't last long, but she has the following conversation with Luc:

Kate: "Did you know that there are 452 official government cheeses in this country? Don't you think that's incredible? To come up with 452 ways of classifying what is basically a bacterial process?"

Luc: "You would prefer one cheese? One cheeseburger to put it on and one restaurant to eat it in?"

Kate: "I'm saying I like the cheese. God!"

I'm with Kate, I like the cheese--probably too much for my own good. I decided to celebrate cheese and make Fromage Fort as my film-inspired dish. Fromage Fort means strong cheese in French and it's nothing more taxing that gathering up any and all bits and bobs of leftover cheese you have sitting around (Is there such a thing as leftover cheese?) and popping it into the food processor with white wine, garlic and black pepper.

In my case, I did have some blue cheese crumbles, a small square of Parmesan-Reggiano, and a new pack of goat cheese in my fridge. I supplemented from my local grocery store gourmet section where they have a basket of wrapped ends and chunks of different cheeses and so a square of Valbresso French Sheep's Milk Cheese and some of my favorite double-cream Fromage D'Affinois jumped into my basket. Because I had some sharper cheese flavors with the blue, feta and goat and I assumed Kate was eating Brie, I bought 3 oz of Guilloteau St. Angel Triple Cream Brie to round things out and I had my 8-ish (OK, probably closer to 10) ounces of cheese. For a recipe, I went with the Master, Chef Jacques Pépin, who had recipes for this classic spread from his childhood in several magazines, including Food & Wine 

Food & Wine says, "Fromage fort is the ultimate way of using leftover cheese. Jacques Pepin's father used to combine pieces of Camembert, Brie, Swiss, blue cheese and goat cheese together with his mother's leek broth, some white wine and crushed garlic. These ingredients marinated in a cold cellar for a week to a week-and-a-half (he liked it really strong). Now Pepin's wife, Gloria, makes a milder version in a food processor that takes only seconds. It is delicious with crackers or melted onto toasts. It also freezes well."
Fromage Fort
Recipe from Jacques Pepin via Food &
(Serves 4 or More)

1/2 lb cheese pieces
1 garlic clove  

1/4 cup dry white wine  
black pepper 
Put about 1/2 pound of cheese pieces in the bowl of a food processor, add 1 garlic clove, about 1/4 cup of dry white wine and a big grinding of black pepper. Salt is usually not needed, but taste the mixture and add some if it is. Process for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is creamy but not too soft, and then pack it into small containers. 

The fromage fort is ready to use now, either served cold or spread on bread and broiled for a few minutes. Broiling will brown the cheese and make it wonderfully fragrant.

Notes/Results: If you like strong cheese you will love fromage fort. The beauty of it is that it is so forgiving and adjustable to tastes. You can put in your favorite cheeses and wine, adjust the garlic and black pepper, and have something a bit different and wonderful each time. The challenge of it is stopping slathering it on bread, crackers, apple slices, a spoon, sticks... anything you can find really.. and eating it. I loved my mix--I got the pungency of the garlic and the blue and goat cheeses, but it was mellowed by the creamy, nutty, softer cheeses. It takes almost no effort to put together--a little grating of harder cheese like the Parmesan, but otherwise just processing and tasting. 

I served mine with a seeded baguette, rosemary-flavored wafer crackers, and sweet grapes to cut the richness of the cheese.  I divided my fromage fort between a ramekin, a small jar, and a tiny espresso cup and think all of them are fun serving ideas. I read that Pépin's wife makes up batches and freezes them to thaw out later, but I fear mine will not last that long! Especially because I plan on putting some under the broiler tonight. ;-) I will definitely make this again. 

I'm linking up this post at I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck this coming week, our chance to make any recipe from our current, or any of our past featured chefs. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

I'm also linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post

The deadline for this round of Food 'n Flix is Sunday, January 29th and Heather will be rounding up all the dishes on the Food 'n Flix website. If you missed this round and like food, films and foodie films, join us for February when the film pick is Pan's Labyrinth, hosted by Pretty Cake Machine. 

Happy Aloha Friday!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Beulah's House of Prayer" by Cynthia A. Graham, Served with Jacques Pépin's Garlic Soup with Croutons

Happy Aloha Friday! I'm happy to be hosting a TLC Book Tour stop today for Beulah's House of Prayer by Cynthia A. Graham. Accompanying this Depression-era story with its touch of magic is a bowl of Jacques Pépin's simple but delicious Garlic Soup with Croutons, inspired by my reading. 


Publisher's Blurb:

Some storms bring destruction. Others bring salvation.
In 1934 the tiny town of Barmy, Oklahoma, is in desperate need of a miracle. The cows are hungry, the rain won’t fall, most of Main Street is boarded up. Young aspiring trapeze artist Sugar Watson is dumped unceremoniously into this bleak setting with little money and only one thing on her mind—escape. Beulah Clinton, a Holy Ghost preacher, has dedicated herself to helping the distressed in this ragged little wasteland, and Sugar soon finds herself thrown in with Marigold Lawford, the simple-minded widow of the richest man in town, and Homer Guppy, a boy trouble follows like dust after a wind.
Despite Sugar’s immediate distaste of Barmy, Beulah’s patience, Marigold’s kindness, and Homer’s unconditional love make her reconsider the meaning of home.
On Black Sunday, the worst dust storm in history brings with it a choice: Sugar must decide whether or not to return home, leaving the hospitality—and love—of Barmy’s inhabitants. A stunning Depression-era literary novel with a touch of magical realism, Beulah’s House of Prayer captivates until the very end.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Brick Mantel Books (July 12, 2016)

My Review:

Having read and loved both of Cynthia Graham's historical mysteries with Sheriff Hick Blackburn, I was excited to jump on the tour for her newest book. Although retaining the historical fiction and economically struggling small town setting of her other books, Beulah's House of Prayer departs from the mystery genre and instead is a short literary novel with a bit of magical realism skillfully woven in. It amazes me the amount of story and character-building that Graham accomplishes in a relatively short (200-ish) number of pages. Although I leave her books wanting more, I never leave feeling short-changed by the story told and the characters I meet. 

Barmy is a dusty, down-trodden place but there is hope and yes, magic contained in the towns and its citizens that give it a beauty that transcends its dusty appearance. Our story is primarily told by the daughter of Sugar Watson, who ends up in Barmy at the age of fifteen and wants to get out. Offered food and shelter in a ramshackle house by Beulah Clinton, an evangelical preacher, Sugar meets Marigold Lawford, left on the streets by the greedy son of her dead husband. Marigold's lack of backbone and innate goodness frustrate Sugar, who looks at everyone she meets in terms of what they can do for her and how they can help get her out of Barmy. Sugar finds herself attracted to Homer Guppy, the town's trouble-making teen and who the town looks at with a mix of fear, caution, and sympathy because of the frequent beatings he receives at the hands of his alcoholic father. Marigold is drawn to the local Sheriff, Joe Brownfield, but feels it would betray her dead husband to care for Joe. This ragtag group with their various quirks and flaws quickly worked their way into my heart while Beulah remained mysterious--a sort-of all-knowing, all-seeing guide, not afraid to offer her strong opinions, prayers and bible verses. 

There are times that magical realism can sway to the 'too much woo-woo' side, and take over a story. In Beulah's House of Prayer, it creeps its way in and it is just the right amount, adding a unique and special touch to this book. Although my anticipation built as the pages turned and the story began rushing to its climax, I wanted to stay with these characters and was sad to see it end. An overall charming and wonderful read--highly recommended!


Author Notes: Cynthia A. Graham is the winner of several writing awards, including a Gold IPPY and a Midwest Book Award for Beneath Still Waters, and her short stories have appeared in both university and national literary publications. She attained a B.A. in English from the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Cynthia is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the St. Louis Writers’ Guild, the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and Sisters in Crime. She is the author of two works of historical mystery: Beneath Still Waters and Behind Every DoorBeulah’s House of Prayer is her first foray in the land of magical realism. Connect with Cynthia via her website or Twitter


Food Inspiration:

Since we are in an economically depressed Dust Bowl town, there are not a lot of tempting food descriptions in Beulah's House of Prayer. There are mentions of coke and donuts, ice cream, canned beans, cornbread and soda crackers, a cinnamon candy stick, holiday dishes of turkey, chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes and pecan pie, cornmeal mush, a box of candy, and cotton candy. Still, at Beulah's house; "There was always a pot of coffee on the stove and there was always soup or beans for the downtrodden." Beulah was always in the process of making soup or baking bread to feed those who came to her door, so I thought a simple soup would be a good pairing.

There is a mention of vegetables in Beulah's soup and although there may not have been garlic, leeks and potatoes, that's what I was craving this week so I decided to make Jacques Pépin's Garlic Soup. Its comforting, nourishing and served with fried bread croutons on top (always a bonus!) as a nod to the bread Beulah baked.  

I did a vegan version and my changes to Pépin's are noted in red below. 

Garlic Soup
Adapted from Jacques Pépin via The New York Times
(Serves 6)

4 Tbsp olive oil 
2 medium-size leeks, trimmed of damaged or fibrous leaves, sliced & washed
12 to 15 cloves garlic, peeled, stems and any damaged parts removed & discarded
7 cups chicken stock (I used veggie 'non-chicken' stock)
2 lbs potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tsp salt or to taste
4 slices firm-textured white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes for croutons
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used vegan butter)

(I added freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley to garnish)

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pot and, when hot, add the leeks and garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften, then add the stock, potatoes and salt, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and boil gently for 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, make the croutons: Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. When hot, saute the bread cubes, stirring almost continuously, until they are browned evenly on all sides.

When the soup mixture is cooked, push the mixture through a food mill or puree in a food processor. To puree in a food processor, strain the soup first through a fine sieve, Place the solids in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, then combine with the reserved liquid. (If too much of the liquid is processed with the solids, the mixture becomes foamy, yielding a soup with a frothy texture like baby food.) (Note: I strained the soup and put the solids in my high-speed blender with a little of the broth, then stirred the purée back into the broth so the soup was not frothy and remained smooth and velvety.)

Stir the butter into the hot soup and serve with the croutons.

Notes/Results: This is a velvety and rich soup with a delicious garlic flavor. It might seem like a lot of garlic but the flavor is mellow, not sharp and biting and it balances nicely with the sweetness of the leeks. I am always a fan of crispy warm croutons on top of soup and here they add great texture to the smooth puréed soup. It is similar to Pépin's Potato Leek Soup that I have made before, but I think I like this one a little better due to the garlicky flavor. I wanted to make this soup vegan and dairy free so I used a vegan mock-chicken stock and a vegan butter substitute. You could leave out the butter but it does add to the richness. This hit the spot on a rainy night. I would happily make it again.

I'm linking this Jacques Pépin soup up at this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs Monthly Featured Chef Event post. Normally I include a roundup of my favorite recipes for the featured chef but Jacques Pépin has so many great recipes, I will just include a link to my recap post with my Top 10 favorites from when we cooked with him last year. You can see what Jacques Pépin recipes everyone made this week by clicking on the picture links on the post.

It's a rare two-soup week so I am linking this one up to this week's Souper Sundays post here at Kahakai Kitchen. If you aren't familiar, Souper Sundays is my weekly soup tribute that includes sandwiches, and salads and is open to anyone and everyone who wants to share a soup, salad, or sandwich post that week. You can see the details for joining in on the current weekly post or here--we would love to have you!

I'm also linking up this review and recipe to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Beulah's House of Prayer" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jacques Pépin's Brie with Pistachio Crust

We finally started getting Jacques Pépin's cooking show Heart & Soul here on PBS a few weeks ago and I have been DVRing them (and of course I had to buy the companion cookbook Heart & Soul in the Kitchen on sale, with a coupon). On the first episode I got around to watching, Chef Pépin made simple and pretty Camembert with Pistachio Crust. I love an appetizer that tastes delicious and looks fancy--but is really low-effort to make and this one fits the bill with just four ingredients, plus whatever you serve it with.

My local grocery stores didn't happen to have Camembert rounds but the brie rounds were on sale and I think it makes an excellent substitute.

Jacques says, “I have always enjoyed a good Camembert, especially the raw-milk varieties from France. To make this version a bit more elegant, I moisten the cheese with honey, cover it with chopped pistachios, and serve it garnished with dried cranberries.

Camemebert with Pistachio Crust 
Adapted from Jacques Pépin
(Serves 4-6) 
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
1 Camembert cheese round (about 9oz) (I used an 8oz round of Brie)

1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries

crackers, for serving

Process the nuts in a food processor until pulverized but not ground into a powder—small pieces of nuts should still be visible.

Unwrap the cheese. If you object to the crust, you can scrape it lightly; I leave it on. Brush the top and sides of the cheese with the honey. Sprinkle a layer of nuts on top of the Camembert and, holding the cheese round in one hand, pat more nuts around the sides with the other hand, pressing lightly on the nuts so they stick.

Put the remaining nuts in the center of a serving platter and place the cheese on top. Sprinkle the cranberries around the cheese and serve at room temperature, with crackers.

Notes/Results: The combination of the creamy cheese, with the toasted nuts, tangy cranberries and sweet honey is delicious. This is a quick and easy dish to put together although I had a challenge getting the ground nuts to stick well to the sides of the cheese wheel--not sure if my honey was too runny to coat thickly but I did try Pépin's "hold the honey-brushed brie on one hand and turn it while patting the nuts on" method. Oh well, I think it still looked pretty. I served it with cracked pepper table water crackers--I like the little bite they give. This makes a great replacement or addition to a cheese plate and you could use any combination of dried fruit and nuts. I will make it again.

This simple appetizer is linking up at I Heart Cooking Clubs. It's Potluck week, the chance to make any recipe from the current or past IHCC featured chefs. You can see what chefs and recipes everyone chose to cook from by checking out the picture links on the post.

Mele Kalikimaka,