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Blueberry Polenta Upside Down Cake

Blueberry Polenta Upside Down Cake

Easy Blueberry Polenta Cake is a lovely alternative to the traditional dessert. The polenta gives it a nutty taste and is lighter than you would expect. Share this with your friends

Flaky Tart Pastry

Flaky Tart Pastry

Adrienne gave me Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible for Christmas one year and afterward I abandoned all other recipes for flaky tart pastry.  This recipe takes all the guesswork out of making pastry and, though the process is a bit unusual, it requires […]

OMG Beurre Blanc!

OMG Beurre Blanc!

Many experienced home chefs cringe at the thought of making a beurre blanc sauce, as I did.  The first time I made it I didn’t have Adrienne by my side coaching me, I was on my own in my kitchen in New Jersey.  Adrienne and I didn’t start cooking together properly until I moved to Long Island.  But she assured me if I could make a vinaigrette – which I could – then I could make a beurre blanc.  So on a weekend night when the kids were with their Dad I took a deep breath and said ‘Tant Pis’ I want Beurre Blanc!

A beurre blanc is a warm emulsion, rather than a cold one like a vinaigrette.  The warmth keeps the milk solids in the butter suspended.  Too much heat will cause the emulsion to separate into solids and oily clarified butter.  But, thanks to Adrienne and Julia Child, I discovered it is easy to hold it over a very, very low heat while you finish cooking the rest of the meal and then dribble in a few tablespoons of very hot stock or cream before serving.  Do not to try to heat it up once you have it emulsified or it will be ruined and nothing but nothing will restore it.

Most cookbooks will tell you that you cannot re-use beurre blanc but that’s not true.  You cannot reheat it, however if you refrigerate any leftover sauce it will solidify since it is mostly melted butter.  When you want to use it again scoop out a spoonful and dollop it on hot fish or vegetables.  It will melt and no longer be emulsified but it will taste delish.

Beurre Blanc

August 14, 2017
: 1 cup

This recipe is not much changed from the one in Mastering French Cooking which Adrienne gave me in 1993 and has been my go to reference for all things sauce. Adrienne always used vermouth but white wine or lemon juice work just as well.

By:

Ingredients
  • Flavor base:
  • 2 ½ tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 ½ tbsp. vermouth, white wine or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced shallots
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Emulsion:
  • 8 oz. cold unsalted butter cut into 16 pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice
Directions
  • Step 1 Flavor Base: In a saucepan boil the liquids, shallots and seasonings with the butter until reduced to approximately 1 ½ tablespoons.
  • Step 2 Emulsion: Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in 2 pieces of the cold butter. As the butter creams into the liquid, whisk in another piece. Set the saucepan on very low heat. Continue whisking in successive pieces of butter as the previous one has almost creamed into the sauce until all the butter is incorporated. The sauce will be thick and ivory colored. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and taste. It will need salt and white pepper – so that you don’t have black pepper specks in the sauce – and perhaps a squeeze of lemon.
  • Step 3 Cover the pan and place it near a warm burner or pilot light, but not over direct heat, or set over barely warm water, until you are ready to serve it. Stir it occasionally to insure that it doesn’t separate.
  • Step 4 Just before serving dribble a tablespoon or two of hot stock or cream into the sauce to raise the temperature. You will be serving it on hot food so the sauce itself does not need to be piping hot.
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The chefs, the food and Adrienne

      The ‘New Cuisine’ Adrienne began travelling to Europe with her husband in 1960. The term ‘foodie’ had not yet been coined but Adrienne was certainly one of the first. Her pursuit of great food – in restaurants and at home – led her […]

Do you Chiffonade your basil?

Do you Chiffonade your basil?

The term chiffonade means to slice something into narrow ribbons, the way you would slice cabbage to make coleslaw. This video  will show you how to quickly chiffonade any leafy vegetable or herb into narrow ribbons.  The example we show in the video is with […]

Chop onions quickly without losing a finger!

Chop onions quickly without losing a finger!

Here is the first in a series of simple videos with tips and tricks I learned from Adrienne!  

Knife Skills: Chopping & Mincing Onions

Quickly chopping or mincing onions is a task you do over and over in the kitchen.  This video shows you some simple tricks that make this task easier and safer.  And you can apply this skill to all sorts of things: shallots, celery, carrots almost anything you want diced.

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The Cooking with Adrienne Book is Published!

The Cooking with Adrienne Book is Published!

A Story of Friendship and Food As I was writing Cooking with Adrienne book it became clear that in addition to being a cookbook this is also the amazing, often hilarious, story of a woman who became the American doyenne of French cuisine from the Sixties through the […]

Sauce Parisienne…Old School or Retro Cool??

Sauce Parisienne…Old School or Retro Cool??

  I recently had to replace my copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking because the spine had split  and the pages were falling out.   While flipping through my shiny new copy I came across a sauce Adrienne and I had never made: […]

Q&A with Michel Guerard

Q&A with Michel Guerard

One of Adrienne’s favorite chefs, Michel Guérard, is interviewed by Time Magazine, 40 years after he first appeared on the cover.  But Adrienne first tasted his food five years prior to that… she always was ahead of the curve!

Here he reveals his current thoughts about haute cuisine, social media and what he wants for his last supper!

FRANCE-GASTRONOMY-GUERARD
French 3-star chef of the restaurant “Les Pres d’Eugenie” Michel Guérard poses on September 26, 2013 at his restaurant at Eugenie-les-Bains, southwestern France. AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS TUCAT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Michel Guerard Time Cover 1976
Michel Guérard on the cover of TIME’s European edition in 1976
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Mis en Place…What’s That?

Mis en Place…What’s That?

Everything in its Place ~ Mis en Place The French term mis en place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs) comes from professional kitchens and refers to the process of getting everything ready to cook.  Home cooks can take a page from the pros here because, although it […]

Michel Guerard’s Warm Tomato Tart

Michel Guerard’s Warm Tomato Tart

Michel Guerard’s recipe for a delicious and easy warm tomato tart is the perfect way to use up the last of the summer tomatoes and basil.   Adrienne loved Michel’s food and loved tomatoes – so this is a match made in heaven! I think plum […]

Tartare de Legumes or Cool Summer Vegetables

Tartare de Legumes or Cool Summer Vegetables

Adrienne gave me the recipe for Tartare de Legumes 20 years ago when I was complaining to her that I couldn’t get my kids to eat vegetables.  I didn’t make the recipe until just last night…Adrienne clearly didn’t understand what would and wouldn’t appeal to most young children…why would she!

The recipe is a take on guacamole and a wonderful way to serve fresh summer vegetables with very little effort.  It comes via Bistrot des Halles, a traditional French restaurant located near what was the old food market in ‘the belly of Paris’.  Good traditional bistro food served up with an occasional twist.

(more…)

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Marché Forville destination food market

Marché Forville destination food market

Ever since they started travelling to France, Adrienne had wanted a kitchen to cook the food she was drooling over in every market they visited.  Marché Forville was about to become her destination food market.  In the USA in the late seventies it was still […]

Foodie Friends and Piggy Weekends

Foodie Friends and Piggy Weekends

Every year beginning in 1988 six foodie friends got together for a weekend in The Hamptons and cooked their little foodie hearts out!  It was called the Dewey Lane Eating Club (DLEC) – after the location of the first event.  Adrienne was the architect of the menu and the head […]

Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This is a quickie version of the Tomate Provençal recipe from Cooking with Adrienne, Volume I.  If you are like me, towards the end of winter you are bored with root vegetables and the bounty of summer is a long way off.  But you can brighten up your meals with this trick for boosting the flavor of winter tomatoes by roasting them with vinegar.  It will definitely wake up your taste buds.20160319_175610

It was inspired by a vinaigre de miel that I brought back with me from the Languedoc.  I had never heard of honey vinegar so of course I had to taste it.  The agrodolce balance in this vinegar caught me completely by surprise. Unfortunately it is not something that you can easily get outside of France. However, I tested a bunch of flavored vinegars and found that the citrus ones work really well.  And if you ever find real vinaigre de miel buy it!

Serve as a side to grilled fish or chicken, I think it goes really well with Sea Bass.

(more…)

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Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

When this recipe from Ed Giobbi, author of Italian Family Cooking, appeared in House & Garden Magazine in the early Seventies Adrienne quickly made it her own.  It became a mainstay in her repertoire especially when she had to cook for a crowd, as she […]

A day without champagne is like a day without  foie gras!

A day without champagne is like a day without foie gras!

On one of my first trips to France with Adrienne and Martin in the early Nineties, we literally had champagne and foie gras at almost every meal!   Admittedly we were in the Champagne region for the first few days and then in Aquitaine but it all […]

Simple Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

Simple Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

We all know we should be eating more fish.  Especially after the holidays most of us are feeling a bit over indulged.  But many people feel that cooking fish can be troublesome: there is the smell, and the bones and the not overcooking it.  And then what do you serve with it so that isn’t boringly healthy?

I have two solutions to this dilemma:  Sea bass fillets and Sauce Vierge.

Sea bass fillets have hardly any bones and are wonderfully easy to cook using this ingenious method from Pierre Wynants, former chef at Comme Chez Soi restaurant in Brussels.  It all but eliminates the smell and takes the guesswork out the cooking time.

Sauce Vierge is an easy, Provencal-like sauce that is served room temperature and has no butter or creme.   It is made from fresh or tinned chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.  A simple yet delicious sauce.

In under 30 minutes you will have a  ‘Comme Chez Soi’ meal, which means as if the chef cooked for you at his home.  And if you are really pressed for time, try the Troisgros’ Tomato Vinaigrette Sauce which requires no cooking at all.

(more…)

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Mousseline de Saumon

Mousseline de Saumon

Adrienne made these lovely menu cards for many of her dinner parties in the late Sixties and Seventies.  As I looked through them I noticed there was a dish that appeared regularly but which Adrienne and I had never made together: Mousseline de Saumon. After a bit of digging […]

Pissaladière Niçoise

Pissaladière Niçoise

I first had a Pissaladière Niçoise at the restaurant Le Nid d’Aigle, in the mountains above Nice. I loved it and not just because of the picturesque moment captured in the photo!  When I returned (solo) from my escapade I made it  for Adrienne and it became one of our favorites. […]

Fluting Mushrooms on the bidet

Fluting Mushrooms on the bidet

I had never heard of ‘fluting’ mushrooms until  Adrienne’s husband told me this story.  In the late Sixties Adrienne took a series of cooking lessons in Paris with Simca Beck, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  One day she taught  Adrienne how to flute a mushroom, even though the practice was long out of style. Fluting involves carving a design into white button mushrooms so that when they are cooked they look decorative on the plate.    It takes a lot of practice in order to get it right but Adrienne loved mushrooms.  On her way back to the hotel she and her husband were staying in on the Left Bank she bought a pile of white button mushrooms.  With no kitchen sink to practice in, Adrienne perched on the edge of the bidet fluting away!  I can just picture the young and earnest Adrienne not wanting to make a mess but so determined to learn the technique!

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Craig Claiborne

“In my next life I want to come back as Adrienne and Martin!”  Craig Claiborne was the food editor and restaurant critic for The NY Times and got to know Adrienne and her husband after repeated meetings at restaurants, on airplanes, in cooking events all […]

Ratatouille in winter

Ratatouille in winter

Making ratatouille in the winter may sound perverse but when the ingredients are seasonably available in the summer the last thing you really want to do is spend the afternoon in the kitchen standing over a hot stove.   But now as the days are shorter and the […]


My Diary

The chefs, the food and Adrienne

 

 

 

The ‘New Cuisine’

Adrienne began travelling to Europe with her husband in 1960. The term ‘foodie’ had not yet been coined but Adrienne was certainly one of the first. Her pursuit of great food – in restaurants and at home – led her to develop a wide network of chefs, restaurateurs, critics and writers. Adrienne’s inner circle included Michelin three-starred chefs Gérard Boyer, Alain Chapel, Michel Guérard, Frédy Girardet, Jean and Pierre Troisgros (and later Michel), Roger Vergé and Pierre Wynants; the late restaurateur M. Vrinat of Taillevent, restaurant critic Craig Claiborne and food writer, critic and personal friend, Gael Greene.

Many of the chefs were in the throes of developing a ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ which revolutionized restaurant cooking during the Sixties and Seventies.   In later years the term was hijacked to represent small servings with a multitude of decoration which had no relationship to the food.  This was far from the founding chefs cuisine.

During the early days of the ‘new’ Cuisine Adrienne was honing her palate in their restaurants and learning how to reproduce their food in her kitchen. All the while working as a successful investment portfolio manager for a large bank in NYC.

Adrienne and I began travelling together in 1990.  Over the next two decades we became BFFs – Best Foodie Friends – dedicated to growing, cooking and eating the best food possible.

We were an unlikely culinary duo.  She was a smart, sexy Elizabeth Taylor look-alike who flirted her way into the inner circle of the great French chefs to become an accomplished cook on her own.  I was a small town girl with limited exposure to haute cuisine. But dessert was my passion and pastry was my forte.

Adrienne now has a form of Frontotemporal Degeneration dementia called Primary Progressive Aphasia which affects her ability to speak or execute complex tasks.  She can no longer cook a meal.  But she still enjoys eating and never hesitates to offer criticism or praise with a wink or a frown.  A portion of the profits from the sale of my book ‘Cooking with Adrienne, A Story of Friendship and Food’, will be donated to finding a cure.  Find out more here.

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Quick and Easy

Michel Guerard’s Warm Tomato Tart

Michel Guerard’s Warm Tomato Tart

Michel Guerard’s recipe for a delicious and easy warm tomato tart is the perfect way to use up the last of the summer tomatoes and basil.   Adrienne loved Michel’s food and loved tomatoes – so this is a match made in heaven! I think plum […]

Tartare de Legumes or Cool Summer Vegetables

Tartare de Legumes or Cool Summer Vegetables

Adrienne gave me the recipe for Tartare de Legumes 20 years ago when I was complaining to her that I couldn’t get my kids to eat vegetables.  I didn’t make the recipe until just last night…Adrienne clearly didn’t understand what would and wouldn’t appeal to most young […]

Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This is a quickie version of the Tomate Provençal recipe from Cooking with Adrienne, Volume I.  If you are like me, towards the end of winter you are bored with root vegetables and the bounty of summer is a long way off.  But you can brighten […]

Simple Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

Simple Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

We all know we should be eating more fish.  Especially after the holidays most of us are feeling a bit over indulged.  But many people feel that cooking fish can be troublesome: there is the smell, and the bones and the not overcooking it.  And […]