Monday, August 15, 2016

Your Own French Onion Soup

 Soupe a` l'Oignon Gratinee
(Onion Soup Gratineed with Cheese)

"Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere," says 
Mesdames Beck, Bertholle and Child, 
"with the right instruction."  ~ Mastering The Art of French Cooking

Today I celebrated the anniversary of Julia Child's birthday by making Soupe a` l'Oignon Gratinee.   My husband said it was just as good (or even better) than the French Onion Soup that we love in Paris!  

You can find the recipe in 

It's also fun to actually watch Julia make the Onion Soup in her 1960's TV show The French Chef .  I found The French Chef DVDs at my local library and have been enjoying watching re-runs of the show.  They bring back such wonderful memories of when I was a young girl and watched The French Chef on visits to my grandmother's house.  Julia's episode of Your Own French Onion Soup is from Season 1, Episode 2

To make the soup, you need a lot of onions (as Julia says) and about 3 hours to make your own French onion soup.  The recipe instructions are very clear and it's easy to make.  The key to the best flavor is to use your own home-made beef stock or by using a very good pre-made bouillon like Better Than Bouillon Beef Base which is what I used because it's always in my pantry.   

So cheers to Julia for teaching us all how to cook in the French manner.  And as Julia would say at the end of every French Chef show...

Bon Appetite! 

(In the photos:  Apilco Lion Heads Soup Bowls purchased at Williams-Sonoma)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Old Fashioned Peach Skillet Cake

 Peach Skillet Cake

In season now:  peaches!

Peaches are a major crop where we live in the Yuba-Sutter area of California.  They are at perfection right now so I buy them every week either directly from the grower or at our farmers' market.  I love them for breakfast with Greek yogurt, in salads and, of course, in desserts!  I usually make peach cobbler every peach season, but this summer I'm trying out some new peach recipes. 

Freestone Peaches

 Today I decided to try the Peach Cake recipe in The Silver Palette Cookbook.  The recipe only requires three peaches and I just so happened to have three peaches on-hand.  

The cake recipe seems old fashioned to me since you bake it in a cast iron skillet.  I could see my grandma baking something like this back in her farm days.  The recipe is simple and most of the ingredients are pantry staples.  The recipe consists of a simple cake batter that you pour into a well greased skillet.  Then you top the batter with peach slices and bake the cake for 25 minutes.    

 Hot out of the Oven

Next you crumble a yummy topping (sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg) all over the peaches.  Then you bake the cake for another eight minutes and the cake topping will melt and spread all over the peaches.  The cake will be nice and bubbly and smell delicious when you take it out of the oven.  Trust me, you'll want to cut into it right away!

More, please!

Oh my gosh, this peach cake is so good; I am not sure I will ever make a peach cobbler again!  The Silver Palette recipe is wonderful, but I did make one addition.  I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the cake batter to give the cake more flavor.  

If you're thinking of making a peach cobbler this summer, make this peach cake instead.  I guarantee you'll love it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Clafoutis #trois

 Peach Clafoutis

It's Bastille Day and to honor my French heritage I like to make or bake something French on this French national holiday.  Last year on Bastille Day, I made a clafoutis (for the first time) with mixed berries and we loved it.  

 Freestone peaches

So this year for Bastille Day, I decided to make a clafoutis again.  I just love this simple and rustic dessert which couldn't be easier to make!

Julia Child describes the clafoutis perfectly in Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
  "The clafoutis is peasant cooking for family meals, and about as simple a desert to make as you can imagine:  a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven.  It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm."

This is my third time (#trois) making clafoutis and I chose peaches this time for my fruit since they are in peak season right now in the Yuba-Sutter area where we live.  I buy my peaches direct from the grower Sodaro Orchards at their farm stand.  Their freestone peaches are at perfection right now!

Peach Clafoutis Recipe

As for clafoutis recipes, I use a recipe that I adapted from Chef Daniel Boulud from a video where he made clafoutis.  Here is the video link to inspire you to make your own:  Maison Boulud's Clafoutis

And here is my printable version of my adapted recipe:  Clafoutis

Happy Bastille Day
Vive la France!

(In the photos:  Apilco Quiche Dish purchased at Williams Sonoma)