Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Clafoutis Deux

Cherry Clafoutis

Thank you Daniel Boulud for your wonderful clafoutis recipe!  We loved your mixed berry clafoutis so much that I couldn't wait to make another one.

 Farmstand cherries

And when I saw these beautiful cherries at the farm stand, I knew I was destined to make a traditional clafoutis with cherries, just like the famous ones from the Limousin region of France.

To fill 

Over the past few weeks, I've learned a lot about this French dessert clafoutis.  For example, I learned that the ancient word clafoutis translated, means "to fill".

So this time, I made a large clafoutis.  I filled a large round Apilco oven-proof dish with cherries (I pitted mine even though the French do not) and batter.  Then I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes until it was set and golden brown around the edges. 

Ready to Serve

Once baked and out of the oven, 
a clafoutis becomes a puffed and delicious French custard cake.  Trust me when I say, they are delicious!  Traditionally you serve a clafoutis warm, cut in wedges and dusted with powdered sugar.  


You can find my printable version of Daniel Boulud's recipe by

Clafoutis recipe

Monday, July 20, 2015


 Mixed Berry Clafoutis

Want to impress your guests...
make a clafoutis!  

I've wanted to make Julia Child's clafoutis for years.  Last week, on Bastille Day, I decided  a clafoutis would be the perfect ending to my French themed dinner so I finally made one.

I've tasted many French desserts but I've never had clafoutis.  From my research, clafoutis is the best known dessert of the Limousin region in France.  This rustic dessert is traditionally made with cherries in a buttered dish and covered with a thick crepe-like batter.  They are also called fruit flans as seen In Mastering The Art of French Cooking, where Julia Child calls them fruit flans.  

In my usual manner, I researched and compared recipes for my clafoutis.  In the end, Daniel Boulud's clafoutis recipe won out!  His recipe includes almond powder (almond meal) which traditional recipes do not.  The batter made enough that I could experiment and make two individual sizes as well as one large clafoutis, too.

Here's how simple a clafoutis is to make:

Step 1

 Fill your buttered and floured oven-proof dish (or dishes) with fresh fruit, of your choice. 

(This dessert was perfect for my petite Emile Henry pie dishes.)

 Step 2

Pour in the thick crepe-like batter.  Bake slowly till golden and puffy. 

 Step 3 

Let cool on a wire rack. 
They will deflate a little...just like a souffle!

Sprinkle on confectioner's sugar and serve. 


You can get the Maison Boulud mixed berry clafoutis recipe and watch Chef Daniel Boulud make it on this video from YouTube.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Feeling French

My Salade Nicoise

Today is Bastille Day
the perfect day to be a little French and celebrate France's National Day.

One of my favorite meals to prepare on Bastille Day is a nicoise-style salad.  I've tried several recipes over the years (including Julia Child's) and generally combine the ideas and ingredients for my nicoise salads.

According to Jacques Pepin:  "Even in Nice, salade nicoise is put together in different ways and with different ingredients.  Conventionally it will always have canned tuna, tomatoes, and the small olives that are grown in that region."

Here are a few of my tips, that I've gathered over the years, for a delicious nicoise-style salad...


It wouldn't be a nicoise salad without tuna.  Buy the best quality tuna you can.  Most recipes tell you to get high-quality tuna packed in oil.  This year, I lucked out and had tuna which was fresh-canned by my husband's family on the Oregon coast.  

Something's Fishy

Anchovies are also a staple in a nicoise salad.  I love anchovies but my husband does not.  So this year I found an anchovy vinaigrette to use so I snuck them in.  Yes, I can be a bit sneaky now and then!

 Also a tip from Julia Child, be sure to use the very best quality oil and vinegar for a superior vinaigrette. 

Anchovy Vinaigrette

My favorite anchovy vinaigrette is by Jeanne Kelley from her recipe Salad Nicoise Un Peu Classique.  Her recipe makes about 1 cup of vinaigrette.  You can find the complete recipe in her wonderful book Salad for Dinner .

I found a site for Jeanne's recipe, so here you go:

Bon Appetit!

Whether you serve your nicoise salad on a platter or a plate don't forget theses staples: oil-packed tuna, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, capers, nicoise olives, haricots verts, parsley and a bed of lettuce.  Anchovies optional. 

And if you want to make your Salade Nicoise Julia Child's way, you can watch her version from her televison show,  The French Chef.  It's really fun to watch!

As Julia would say:  
"Bon Appetit!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


The  Farmstead Garden

Nothing beats a summer day in California's wine country connecting with great friends, 
farm-to-table cuisine and world class wines.

A few days ago, we gathered with a group of friends at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California.   (Farmstead is on Main Street, right street across from Tra Vigne.)   The property features a demonstration garden, a cute farmers' market stand, a general store, wine tasting room and the Farmstead restaurant.  

On our visit, we enjoyed lunch out on the patio.

Farm Fare

And, of course,
everything tastes better when shared with friends.

 Bay Area Artisan Cheese Board

You can't go wrong with farm fresh fruit, honey and cheese.


Long Meadow Ranch organic beets from the little farmers' market stand next to the garden and restaurant. 

 Farmstead Beet Salad

My farm-to-table salad:  
Caramelized beets with sky hill goat cheese crema, greens and chimichurri.


Farmstead is a great place to gather and eat.  I can't wait to go back!

738 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Feeling Patriotic

 Red, White and Blue

Here's my my farm to fork dessert 
for the 4th of July,
star-shaped shortcakes with farm fresh berries!

All the credit for this patriotic dessert goes to Martha Stewart. I saw her idea of using star-shaped cookie cutters for shortcake biscuits many years ago.  This 4th of July, I finally made the dessert and ended up using a shortcake recipe from Fine Cooking but used Martha's idea for the star shapes.

Here are a few of my tips on making this dessert:

Farmers Market Berries

Use farm fresh berries.  

There's nothing better than farm fresh berries.  So first thing this morning, I hit the farmers' market for berries.  Once home, I cleaned the berries and sweetened them up with a little sugar and orange juice.  The orange juice idea is also from Martha Stewart.  Next it was time to make the stars.


The star-shaped shortcakes are made with  a 3" star cookie cutter.  

To make the dough, I used my food processor which makes cutting-in the cold butter a breeze!  I  kneaded the dough gently by hand, rolled it out to about 3/4" thick and then cut out the stars.  Then I followed Martha's baking instructions and baked the shortcakes in a 400 F oven for 14 minutes.  

Shortcake, anyone?

This dessert was easy to make and received rave reviews!  I think it's a perfect all American dessert to make for the 4th of July holiday.  Just as Martha inspired me, I hope, that perhaps, I have inspired you to make it sometime. 

You can find the Fine Cooking recipe here:
and Martha's recipe here:

Happy 4th of July!