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French Cuisine

Chocolate Yule Log – This Bûche de Noël Only Looks Difficult

If you’ve never made a Yule Log because you thought it would take a lot of time and effort, then you probably made the right decision, since it does. But, if you haven’t tried this classic holiday dessert because you thought it required advanced baking and pastry skill, then get ready to bûche, since the techniques required are actually quite …

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Baked Potato Puffs – A New Way to Pomme Dauphine from a Potato Fiend

The hardest line cook job I ever had was working the broiler station at the Carnelian Room, where on a busy night I’d prepare over 250 steaks and chops, which wasn’t even the most difficult part. No, the biggest challenge was actually frying these potato puffs to order, to go on all those plates. It was a lot of work, …

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Summer Tomato Tart – Better Than a Nude Beach

One of these days Michele and I will travel to the south of France, where we’ll make it a point to eat this amazing tomato tart at least once a day. It’s going to be hot, since we’ll have to go in the middle of summer, so we can enjoy the best possible tomatoes, but that’s fine, as long as …

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Bourbon Pepper Pan Sauce – Learning a Skill That Always Thrills

Mastering pan sauces is one the easiest things a home cook can do to raise their culinary game, since it allows one to produce dishes most people only see in restaurants. And not just any restaurants. The really good ones. By the way, if you’re still looking for a Father’s Day gift, a nice bottle of bourbon, with a little …

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Frangipane Tart – Have Your Cake and Eat Pie Too

Not only is this simple frangipane tart a perfect way to enjoy fresh summer fruit, but it’s also great for those times when you can’t decide whether you want cake or pie. This sort of seems like both to me, and unlike many fancy looking pastries, this one is not at all complicated to make. Even made free form, with …

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Easy Cheese Soufflés – Sorry, Béchamel

It’s not often that you cut a step or two from a classic recipe, and it actually comes out better, but that’s what happened with this cheese soufflé experiment. I was actually working on something I was going to call “cheesecake soufflé,” and since I was adding cream cheese to the base, I decided to skip the classic white sauce, …

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Seafood Sausage – Behold, the Rarest of All the Sausages

This seafood sausage recipe is one of those dishes you learn in culinary school, and then never make in a restaurant, the rest of your career. Unlike your more common meat-based sausages, which are made from assorted scraps, and you really don’t want to know, these seafood sausages need pristine product to shine, thereby eliminating the money-saving incentive of making …

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Chocolate Croissants – But Just Barely

I’ll admit to being pretty underwhelmed the first time I had a chocolate croissant, or “pain au chocolat,”as I’d mispronounce it; but eventually I realized the relatively sparse amount of chocolate wasn’t any kind of stinginess, but rather the true secret behind this amazing pastry. Properly done, this should ride that line between sweet pastry and a savory bread, so …

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Lobster Thermidor – Not Your Parents’ Thermidor

I don’t remember that much about the lobster thermidor I ate in culinary school in the early eighties, other than not really being able to taste any lobster. Instead of the nice, light sauce I used here, the meat was hidden in a thick, eggy, cheese sludge, which looked great broiled to a bubbly, golden-brown, but wasn’t the best method …

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