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Archive for March, 2010

Hey, I’m baaaaack.  I hope for good until my vacation in mid June.  Mother is doing better and my heart is lighter and my soul bright.  The other day I had a call from my friend in Wisconsin and she had a recipe that called for Bechamel Sauce.  She asked if I knew what that was.  I straightened my oversized sweater and puffed out my large chest.  “Why yes,” I responded, “I do indeed know what Bechamel Sauce is.”  Deeny was an eager learner as I unloaded my boundless knowledge of French cooking.  I know, you scoff at me, and you probably have a right to.  But, Deeny, being the innocent that she is took it all in and was grateful for the education she received. 

After getting off the telephone I thought, as I often find myself doing, what I could do with such information.  Of course, a light bulb went off immediately in my bloggers brain and I knew I had to write a short note on the base sauce used in the making of many, many other French sauces.  Given that the French are so saucy in the first place, this should come as no surprise to my readers.  As evidence of this see the pictures below–talk about saucy.

Pic courtesy of:  http://a.images.blip.tv/Katie-SexyFrenchMaidMagicTheMagicBag837.jpg

 

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Picture courtesy of:  http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v434/nataliegracie/oliver.jpg&imgrefurl

 

Lord Jesus.  Be still my elderly, overly fast paced heart.  Talk about a saucy man.  Spank me, spank me, spank me.  I need the spanking to get my heart back into rhythm.  🙂

Anyhoo, you may have now forgotten that our topic is Bechamel Sauce.  The French use Bechamel Sauce, also known by the French as the “Mother” Sauce as a sauce for many of their more delicate dishes such as eggs, chicken and vegetables.  I personally use Bechamel as a base and add spices to the sauce to make incredible variations of white sauces.  Bechamel is beautiful and you will learn to love it quickly.  It is relatively easy to make and you can impress your French friends with your knowledge of their culinary culture.  So, hold onto your hat, tighten your seat belt and let’s go!

Bechamel, My Lovely Mother Sauce

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 small sprig of fresh thyme

2 tbsp chopped onion (very finely chopped)

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

4 tbsp unsalted butter

6 tbsp flour

Preparation:

Combine milk, chopped onion, nutmeg, thyme and white pepper in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil.  Immediately take the pot from the heat and add a cover and set aside for 12 minutes.  In a heavy saucepan melt butter over low heat.  Once melted remove saucepan from stove and, using a wire whisk, stir in the flour.  Return saucepan to stove top on low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until mixture begins to foam and froth.  Pour in the milk mixture and beat vigorously with the wire whisk until very thoroughly blended.  Increase the heat to medium and, stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil until it thickens.  Reduce heat to as low as possible and simmer softly for no more than 15 minutes.  Don’t forget to stir the mixture.  Take the sauce from the stove.  Many cooks use as is and some prefer to strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the thyme and chopped onion.  Serve with your favorite recipe requiring Bechamel sauce.  

Don’t forget to explore the use of Bechamel sauce to make other French sauces and as a massage rub for those quiet evenings you spend with your “French” boy friend.  Ah, being French never tasted so good! 

 

 

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I’m slowly coming back folks.  My mother has had a health crisis and my hands are full.  I will be posting another French spice recipe shortly.  In the meantime, take a look at my Etsy Sellers You Must See page for a brand new group of etsy artists.  Wow, you will be blown away.  Please stop by and support the handmade movement.

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This image complements of:  http://www.banlieusardises.com/wp/media/img/fines_herbes_agneau.jpg 

 

Sorry, I know the title is corny.  But, as promised, here is a special recipe for your own Fines Herbes French spice blend.  Fines Herbes was a blend developed and used most often in egg dishes.  Now, however, it has broader uses.  And, as with most other common blends each user can have his/her own special recipe.   Granted, Gilles Marini won’t be in your kitchen or dining with you over a delicious omelet sprinkled with Fines Herbes, but we can dream.  Ah, yes we can.

Fines Herbes Spice Blend Recipe

1 tbsp. dried Tarragon

1 tbsp. dried Parsley

1 tbsp. dried Chives

1 tbsp. dried Chervil

1 tbsp. dried Basil

2 tsp. dried Sweet Marjoram

As always, place all ingredients in a spice of coffee bean blender and blend until powdered.  Place in glass jar with lid tightly sealed.  Keep away from heat, light, and moisture.  Now, you are ready to enjoy an incredible egg dish.  See my recipe page for a suggested omelet made with Fines Herbes.  Oh, don’t forget to visit my Etsy Sellers You Must See page to get a look at my wonderful new etsy photographers.  Talk about taking your breath away!  Almost as good as Gilles Marini in my kitchen, cooking, ……naked. 🙂

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Alright everyone.  These are some incredible photographers.  Please take a look at my Etsy Sellers You Must See page.  And, tomorrow come on back for a spice mix recipe for Fines Herbs !  What more can you ask for — art & food.

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O.K. followers.  Please see my recipe page for a wonderful Royal Herbes De Provence Chicken recipe.  Better, even, than Gilles Marini.

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Good very early morning blog fans and passers-by.  I know you are waiting, breath held, for my Herbes De Provence spice mix recipe.  This recipe contains culinary Lavender.  It is said by the French and many American chefs that the American palate doesn’t like the light floral bitterness that Lavender provides.  However, a true Herbes De Provence recipe will include Lavender.  If you prefer to not add the Lavender it is up to you.  Hold on to your beret because here it comes.

Herbes De Provence Spice Mix Recipe

3 tbsp dried marjoram

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1 1/2 tsp culinary lavender buds

1/2 tsp dried, powdered Lemon peel (no white of the skin allowed)

1/2 tsp dried sage

3 tbsp dried summer savory

Place all ingredients in a spice or coffee bean blender and pulse until powdered.  Place in glass container and seal tightly.  Keep away from heat, light and moisture.  All you need now is a delicious recipe, which I will be posting soon on my recipe page.  If you’re not careful with all this French spice and herb schooling you might end up talking in a French accent–now wouldn’t that be an ugly moment.  Adieu.

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Hi my fellow blog travelers.  I am back from surgery and a bit under the weather.  Tonight, however, we will be learning the basic spice blends used in French cooking.  As I mentioned in my first post on French cooking, spices and herbs tend to be used in groupings and food is flavored from the sauces made from the combined herbs and spices.  And, as with most blends every maker has his/her own recipe and proportions.  So, let’s get started, shall we?

Bouquet Garni.  Bouquet Garni is a lovely blend of herbs and spices that are often found in beef stew and chicken soup.  Bouquet Garni is made from basil, marjoram, rosemary, summer savory, Greek oregano, tarragon, dill week, Dalmatian sage, and thyme. 

Choucroute Garni.  Believe it or not, Julia Childs is the one credited for the development of this lovely blend that is most often found in chops, roasts and sausages.  Choucroute Garni is composed of a mix of white pepper, bay leaves, cloves, mace, nutmeg, paprika, thyme, allspice, savory, and cinnamon.

Fines Herbs.  Fines Herbs is a delicate balance of chervil, parsley, chives and tarragon.  It is most often used in egg dishes.

Herbes De Provence.  This all around delicious French blend can be used in nearly every dish you choose.  It is composed of culinary lavender, rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, summer savory, fennel and marjoram.  In my etsy shop (http://www.adultindulgences.etsy.com) I have a wonderful Herbs De Provence spice blend that will rock your socks.  So don’t forget to stop by and shop!

Pot Herbs.  Pot Herbs are just as described.  They are usually bundled together and thrown into the pot to season a sauce, meat, chicken, or lamb dish.  Pot Herbs are a special blend of parsley, chives, chervil, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaves.

There we have it spice lovers–the five very basic French spice blends.  I know they aren’t as delicious as Gilles Marini, but they will substitute when you don’t have Gilles in hand.  Don’t forget that tomorrow I will be posting a lovely and simple Herbs De Provence spice mix recipe.  You won’t want to miss it!

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