Week Six: Cooking for adults

In contrast to last week when « easy-to-prepare » and « kid-friendly » were the primary recipe criteria, this week I will make it up to you with four delicious recipes that are moderately more complicated than mashed potatoes and will certainly not be appreciated by the pasta- and white bread-conditioned palate of your resident toddler(s).

Which is all the more reason to forge ahead. Do not be discouraged by the defiant faces of your sweet children as they refuse to touch the amazingly beautiful dish presented before them.  The carefully selected ingredients, the hours of meticulous preparation, the love poured into each morsel of potato… There will be plenty of time for discouragement when your husband/wife/partner/spouse arrives home “later than expected” and your picture-perfect soufflé has long since collapsed into a cold soggy mess.

Just to clarify, while potatoes may not be making a big splash at our house, the apples are all the rage !

What Mama was busy making while Noah and his angel halo serial-attacked the apples:

Escalopes Normandes (Veal, cream, Calvados & apples)

Petits flans de carotte (Carrot flans)

Hachis Parmentier (Potato pie)

Heringtopf (Marinated Herring)

Escalopes Normandes (Veal, cream, Calvados & apples)

With a title like “veal, cream, calvados and apple”, how can you go wrong? This is a recipe for show-stoppers.  Forget it only if you are wary of open flames leaping up from a hot frying pan. Also I wouldn’t necessarily recommend preparing it when alone at home with toddlers. While a three-year-old could certainly handle holding the hot pan while you ignite the brandy, it might give that mischievous one-year-old the wrong idea. Also note that the recipe must be prepared in the evening hours when lighting can be appropriately adjusted for maximum effect. If an escalope is flambéed in a brightly-lit kitchen and nobody even notices, you’ve wasted your Calvados.

The recipe is from the cookbook Mille et une recettes maison.

Veal escalopes, 4 at 5 oz. (150 g) apiece (Here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for to test your local butcher. Does he/she know what an escalope is?)

Apples, 2

Flour, 1 Tbsp.

Calvados (apple brandy from Normandy), 2 Tbsp.

Heavy cream, 1 cup (20 cl)

Butter, 6 Tbsp. (80 g)

Salt and pepper

  1. Season and lightly flour the veal escalopes.
  2. Heat 3 Tbsp. (40 g) of butter in a frying pan. Brown the escalopes for 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Pour over the Calvados. Remove pan from heat. Flambé. (That means “light the brandy on fire”, if you’re a first-timer.) Cue guests to applaud wildly. If the effect was not sufficient or there is considerable demand for an encore, add more Calvados and more flame. Do not consider the eventual effects of too much flambéd brandy on your toddlers. Repeat as necessary.
  4. When the flames and the applause have died down, replace the pan on the heat and add the cream. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, peel and chop the apples. Cook in a small saucepan with the remaining 3 Tbsp. (40 g) of butter for 8-10 minutes.
  6. When the escalopes and apples are cooked, remove the escalopes from the pan. Add the juice of the cooked apples to the cream sauce. Season to taste.
  7. Serve the escalopes topped with the sauce and surrounded by the apples. Bask in the lingering glow of the flambé on your guests’ admiring faces.
  8. Accompany with sautéed potatoes or mushrooms.

Escalopes Normandes (Veal, cream, Calvados & apples)

With a title like “veal, cream, calvados and apple”, how can you go wrong? This is a recipe for show-stoppers.  Forget it only if you are wary of open flames leaping up from a hot frying pan.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Veal escalopes 4 at 5 oz. (150 g) apiece
  • Apples 2
  • Flour 1 Tbsp.
  • Calvados apple brandy from Normandy, 2 Tbsp.
  • Heavy cream 1 cup (20 cl)
  • Butter 6 Tbsp. (80 g)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Season and lightly flour the veal escalopes.
  • Heat 3 Tbsp. (40 g) of butter in a frying pan. Brown the escalopes for 3 minutes on each side.Pour over the Calvados. Remove pan from heat. Flambé. (That means “light the brandy on fire”, if you’re a first-timer.)
  • Replace the pan on the heat and add the cream. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, peel and chop the apples. Cook in a small saucepan with the remaining 3 Tbsp. (40 g) of butter for 8-10 minutes.
  • When the escalopes and apples are cooked, remove the escalopes from the pan. Add the juice of the cooked apples to the cream sauce. Season to taste.
  • Serve the escalopes topped with the sauce and surrounded by the apples.
  • Accompany with sautéed potatoes or mushrooms.

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Petits flans de carotte (Carrot flans)

The cookbook Toute la cuisine au fil des saisons suggests that one serve this charming dish as the first course of three for a meal between friends (entre copains). The main course would be Maquereaux au lait de coco (mackerel stuffed with coconut and peppers), and the dessert is Compote de pommes meringuée (apple compote with meringue). These three dishes together will guarantee that you will be friends for life, so choose carefully who you serve them too. If your friendship needs a little boost or if you’re planning to ask for free babysitting, the recommended wine is Marsonnay, a Pinot noir from Burgundy. (Though only for the petits flans, of course. The mackerel must be served with a white Côtes-du-rhône. You could serve the apple compote with a Jurançon, but you do want your friends to make it back home…)

Carrots, 1 lb 10 oz (750 g)

Eggs, 2

Milk, ½ cup (10 cl)

Sour cream or crème fraiche, ½ cup (10 cl)

Butter, 1-1/2 Tbsp. (20 g)

French parsley or chervil, a few branches

Sugar, 1 cube

Nutmeg

Salt and pepper

  1. Peel and rinse carrots. Slice all but one carrot into disks. Cut the remaining carrot into thin sticks.
  1. In a pan, bring salted water to a boil. Add the sugar cube. Cook the carrot disks for 15 minutes. Add the thin sticks and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Drain carrots. Set aside half of the disks and the sticks. Roughly chop the rest.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Butter 4 small individual casserole dishes. (You do have these, right? Weren’t they on your wedding gift registry of cute things you absolutely need and will for sure use time and time again? Yeah, right there, in the back of the bottom corner cabinet, just behind the juicer and the pressure cooker… If you don’t have 4 small individual casserole dishes, or as the French say “petites cocottes”, you could use small oven-safe bowls or coffee cups.)
  1. Cover the bottoms and sides of the casserole dishes with the cooked carrot disks.
  2. Beat together the eggs and the milk. Add the chopped carrots. Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  3. Pour into the prepared casserole dishes.
  1. Place the dishes into a larger baking pan and add water to the pan to create a bain-marie.
  1. Bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Place the sour cream in a small saucepan. Add salt. Reduce the cream by half over high heat.
  3. Turn the carrot flans out onto serving plates. Cover with the sour cream reduction and the thin carrot sticks.
  4. Give a few twists of fresh ground pepper and decorate with the French parsley that you searched in vain for at five different specialty stores..
  5. Serve immediately.

Petits flans de carotte (Carrot flans)

The cookbook Toute la cuisine au fil des saisons suggests that one serve this charming dish as the first course of three for a meal between friends (entre copains). The main course would be Maquereaux au lait de coco (mackerel stuffed with coconut and peppers), and the dessert is Compote de pommes meringuée (apple compote with meringue).
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Carrots 1 lb 10 oz (750 g)
  • Eggs 2
  • Milk ½ cup (10 cl)
  • Sour cream or crème fraiche ½ cup (10 cl)
  • Butter 1-1/2 Tbsp. (20 g)
  • French parsley or chervil a few branches
  • Sugar 1 cube
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Peel and rinse carrots. Slice all but one carrot into disks. Cut the remaining carrot into thin sticks.
  • In a pan, bring salted water to a boil. Add the sugar cube. Cook the carrot disks for 15 minutes. Add the thin sticks and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Drain carrots. Set aside half of the disks and the sticks. Roughly chop the rest.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Butter 4 small individual casserole dishes. If you don’t have 4 small individual casserole dishes, or as the French say “petites cocottes”, you could use small oven-safe bowls or coffee cups.
  • Cover the bottoms and sides of the casserole dishes with the cooked carrot disks.
  • Beat together the eggs and the milk. Add the chopped carrots. Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  • Pour into the prepared casserole dishes.
  • Place the dishes into a larger baking pan and add water to the pan to create a bain-marie.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Place the sour cream in a small saucepan. Add salt. Reduce the cream by half over high heat.
  • Turn the carrot flans out onto serving plates. Cover with the sour cream reduction and the thin carrot sticks.
  • Give a few twists of fresh ground pepper and decorate with French parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

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Later this week :

Hachis Parmentier (Potato pie)

Heringtopf (Marinated Herring)

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2 Comments

  1. In addition to being the basis of some wonderful dishes another use for potatoes is making vodka, if I am not mistaken. This addition to the palette could make some of the other kitchen creations taste even better.

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