Belated Bastille Day

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

So I’m a week late for Bastille Day, but I love the transition from the Canadian and American July holidays to the French holiday.  The colors just simply work and are so festive for mid-summer.   I have to admit, I’m a sucker for French cuisine, fashion, style, decor…you can never have enough fleur de lis in my opinion.

Barefoot Contessa’s French Mussel Bisque

1 750-ml bottle dry white wine, divided
3 pounds fresh mussels, cleaned (I used 4 pounds)
6 T (¼ stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1 large leek, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
½ tsp. saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
2 T minced fresh parsley or dill (I used dill)

Bring 1 ½ cups water and 1 cup of the wine to a boil in a large, shallow pot. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the mussels open. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, separate the mussels from the shells and set aside, discarding the shells and any mussels that didn’t open. Strain the cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl and reserve.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions, leek, carrots, garlic, saffron, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute.

Add 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid (discard the rest) and the rest of the wine, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the reserved mussels, the half-and-half, and the cream. Heat until just heated through but not boiling. Stir in the parsley or dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

JESSICA’S CRUSTLESS SPINACH QUICHE (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Makes 8 servings, 231 calories per serving

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (use just the white parts of the onions–depending on the size of your green onions, this should give you about 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped onions)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of an additional veggie or two, optional (try sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or mushrooms)
  • 4 eggs, beaten (if adding extra veggies, use an additional egg)
  • 1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup crushed croutons for sprinkling on top (instead of using crushed croutons, Jessica just sprinkles some bread crumbs very lightly on top, about 1/2 Tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9″ pie plate or quiche pan.

Place thawed spinach in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft. Remove from heat and drain off any remaining liquid. Stir in green onions, other veggies if using (optional), eggs, cottage cheese, and Cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with crushed croutons (or bread crumbs). Return to oven and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggs are set (if you are adding extra veggies and an egg, your baking time may be a little longer).

Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fat-free egg substitute
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups shredded nonfat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Spray 9″ pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, melt margarine.
  4. Add broccoli, onions and mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
  6. Add egg substitute and milk; mix until smooth.
  7. Stir in the broccoli mixture and cheese.
  8. Transfer into pie plate.
  9. Bake until the top is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes clean, about 35 minutes.

Crepes

This French recipe is the ideal Bastille Day party food, as it can be savored with fruits, vegetables, meat as well as desserts like pudding and chocolate mousse. For 8 servings of this Bastille Day food, you’ll need the following ingredients.

2 eggs
2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
A pinch of salt
Procedure:

1.Blend milk, eggs and all-purpose flour. Add salt and oil to it.
2.Process the mixture till it turns smooth.
3.Cover the mixture (or crepe batter) and keep it in the fridge for an hour.
4.Brush a skillet with oil after heating it over medium heat.
5.Add 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the pan such that it coats the surface of the pan.
6.Cook for 5 minutes till the crepe batter turns golden.

Guide to traditional Bastille Day foods

– Salad greens with Gorgonzola cheese, diced apples and topped with raspberry vinaigrette dressing

– Vichyssoise

– Peach and nectarine soup

– Beef Bourguignon

– Chicken Cordon Bleu

– Chocolate Mousse

– Peach Melba

– Puffed pastries

– Eclairs

– And my favorite Chocolate Croissants

Of course a cheese platter is in order as well. With over 1000 varieties of French cheese there are plenty of options. Grapes and fresh berries can accompany the platter. A baguette adds the finishing touch. A bottle of champagne or wine is the perfect complement to the perfect cuisine.

I could live on a French Baguette and Cheese…

Ahh…..The Beauty of French Cheese and Baguette

“I find cheeses from the Auvergne Region utterly sublime, don’t you”

One of the most important things to understand about French cheeses is the concept of terroir (THE WAHR).  Some define it as “the taste of place” because of the combination of soil, climate and cheese making traditions influence the taste and character of the cheeses.- from Cheese of France

A Bit on French Wine

French wine is world-famous for its smooth feel and its pleasing tastes and smells.  There’s so much to learn about wine, but my favorite way to learn is to taste. Check out this French Wine Guide.

“Wine is the intellectual part of a meal, meats are merely the material part.”
~ Alexandre Dumas

Whether it is a picnic or a party, just enjoy the Bastille Day with great food, wine and have fun with your friends and family members.

Maureen

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