Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The hardest part about writing a blog is the opening line. This is my third entry, and I already know that. Blogs are just too informal. At least mine is, and this is something I don’t see changing any time soon, I don’t even think I would want to change this. The second hardest thing is trying to write when your husband is beside you surfing the web, I just forgot where I was going with this, you see want I mean? Oh yeah, now I remember, I always (all three times) have had the impulse to open with “so, this and that…” I’m going to have to dedicate some serious thinking to the opening line from now on.

In other news, I am happy to report, that I’ve gotten four comments on my newborn blog! I’m also happy to inform to my readers (all 14 of you!) that my dad is my biggest fan! thanks. I've been thinking about dinner all day, the thing is, yesterday I made pad thai (I’m going through an asian phase here), and we thought it was great, the pictures came out nice, everything was good, and then as I was about to start writing I realized that my last post was pho. And to go from lentils, to pho, to pad thai was just confusing, so I decided to swing back and forth and make something western first and then pad thai. (also Gob, gave a me what i am sure is a much better recipe today, that i might try tomorrow). So my recipe for today is ‘the frenchie’. Also, since my dad had such sweet comments for me, I’m using his favorite herb: tarragon, which I love too. I don’t use tarragon often enough. Tarragon is one of those few lucky herbs that are still great when dry. I don’t know about you, but for me most other herbs like basil and oregano, get a generic tea like flavor (mmm smell, I don’t try them after this stage) after a couple of weeks in the cupboard. It’s also a great herb to use during the winter when it is hard to find fresh herbs. So dad here it goes.

I made chicken (you can use veal too, or any meat that you like) topped with a creamy tarragon-mushroom sauce, you know the French love their champignons!, with caramelized carrots and a boiled potato with butter and salt on the side (so simple yet so good). Speaking of champignons I actually have a question about them. A few of us went out for crepes yesterday, and since it was our first day back from our summer vacation, we didn’t have the street crepes, we had a nice sit down lunch at a restaurant called ‘Suzette’ (appropriate don’t you think?) in Rue des Francs Bourgeois, in Le Marais (if you’re ever in town, you should check it out). They have this crepe (it’s actually a gallette, the ble noir version, dark wheat flour) with chicken, mushrooms and cream. Three people ordered this crepe, except for one of the guys, who got it without mushrooms, for no particular reason, other than they didn’t do anything for him. I had never heard of anybody not liking mushrooms!, even my sister who ‘doesn’t like any vegetables’ (her words) likes them, am I the only one who finds this bizarre? (I just love it when they say bizarre in French).

For my sauce, I heated a big pan, you want to heat it well, so that when you throw in the mushrooms, they cook fast and brown (if it’s not hot enough they will dehydrate and get mushy and chewy). Once the pan is smoking, put in about one tablespoon of olive oil with a couple of minced garlic cloves, let them sizzle for a bout 30 seconds and throw in about 500 grs. of quartered mushrooms. Move them around in the pan, don’t season until the end! Salt will result in a water problem again. When they brown, add one tablespoon of tarragon, and about half a cup of milk with one tablespoon of flour diluted in it (it’s hard to dilute flour in cold liquids, if your milk is cold, use a little bit if warm water of chicken stock to dilute the flour), it’s important to dilute de flour before, that way your sauce will come out creamy and smooth. Keep moving it, until it boils (this is when the flour will thicken the sauce) season with salt and pepper, and serve over pan fried chicken. If you want a richer sauce, finish with butter.
For the side dish, I sliced a carrot finely and boiled it until it was cooked (same water as the potatoes I just put them in when the potatoes where almost done). I drained my vegetables, put the potatoes aside, heated a small pan, and put in a tablespoon of butter + the cooked carrots + 2 teaspoons of brown sugar + salt. Gave it a minute, and done! This resulted in deliciously simple dinner and in pretty pictures too!


Mushroom Ragu

500 gr / 1 pound mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tarragon
½ milk
1 tablespoon flour
Salt and pepper
Butter (optional, but this will make it frenchier)
2 chicken breasts

Caramelized Carrots

2 Carrots sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Salt (no pepper)

* the potato was pealed and boiled, topped with butter and coarse salt


ivan said...

miam miam ! ( yummy ! )