Category Archives: creme fraiche

Green Vegetable Risotto

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Spring is in the air, well sort of. At least it is here in Belgium. And the calendar definitely says it is spring which means that the fresh baby vegetables are beginning to replace hearty root vegetables at the stands in the markets. So what better way to celebrate the new season than with this easy risotto that is filled with the best fresh vegetables that spring has to offer?

Marking risotto is more of a formula rather than an exact recipe. Rice is slowly cooked in a mixture of broth and white wine. When the rice is al dente, you stir in the add-ins of your choice which in this case is the freshest of the baby vegetables I found at the market. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you like or that look good. And the final touch is the creamy addition of both parmesan cheese and creme fraiche (you can substitute sour cream if you prefer) which adds a touch of tang while bringing the entire dish together.

Enjoy the risotto as a meal unto itself or alongside your favorite grilled meat. Just be sure to have the rest of your meal ready before you finish the risotto since it truly tastes best when eaten immediately.

GREEN VEGETABLE RISOTTO

3/4  c green beans, blanched and snapped into 1 inch pieces

3/4 c sugar snap peas

3/4 c asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 small shallot, minced

 

1 green onion – white part only- mince

1/4 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

top with sliced green onion  (Green part)

 

  • Fill a medium sized pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the green beans, snap peas and asparagus.
  • Cook for 30 seconds, drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Combine the broth and white wine in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the temperature but keep the broth mixture hot.
  • In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute until it is soft and golden.
  • Add the rice and stir to combine making sure each grain of rice is coated with butter.
  • Gradually add the hot broth to the rice by the ladleful, stirring to combine after each addition.  Continue to stir the rice often to keep it from sticking.
  • Continue adding the broth being sure to add the next ladle before the rice has cooked itself dry.  Repeat this process until the rice is tender to the bite.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Prior to adding the last ladle of broth, stir in the vegetables and the green onion to the rice and stir to combine.
  • Off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.
  • Top with sliced green onion.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Blueberry Muffins

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Muffins are a favorite breakfast treat at my house. Fresh from the oven they make for a warm and delicious meal on a lazy weekend morning yet they can easily be reheated for a quick breakfast on the go during the week. The options of what you put in your muffins are endless but my go-to ingredient time after time is blueberries.

This recipe from Boston’s Flour Bakery has become my go-to recipe for blueberry muffins. The muffins always turn out big and fluffy, filled with flavor and berry goodness. I always prefer using fresh to frozen but frozen berries will do in a pinch. If you can find wild blueberries, choose them as they are smaller and sweeter than their cultivated cousins. Yum!

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

3 ¼ cups  all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 ½ cups sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup milk, at room temperature

1 cup crème fraîche, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk until thoroughly mixed.
  • Slowly whisk in the sugar, butter, milk, crème fraîche, and vanilla until well-combined.
  • Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold gently just until the ingredients are combined.
  • Gently fold in the blueberries until evenly distributed. The batter may seem lumpy, but don’t try to smooth it out.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups until they are almost overflowing.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip.
  • Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.

Yields 12 large muffins or 24 mini muffins

Drippy Corn

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Summer isn’t quite over and there is still time to grab what I consider to be the quintessential summer vegetable–fresh corn on the cob. The best corn on the cob is picked and eaten within a few hours and it is so sweet that neither butter nor salt is needed. And if you have your own garden or easy access to a farm, you just might be able to partake in this freshest of fresh endeavors. But those of us who aren’t so fortunate needn’t despair since tasty fresh corn on cob is still available in most markets this time of year. Corn on the cob is tasty when simply boiled or steamed and is delicious when grilled with olive oil and fresh herbs. But if you want to dress the corn up further why not go all out?

I’ve adapted this recipe from The Splendid Table and this takes an ear of corn to a whole new level. The corn is drenched in melted butter as it is grilled which infuses the corn with a sweet and slightly charred flavor. A thick coating of tangy creme fraise helps  the freshly grated parmesan cheese adhere to the ears which are then dusted with chili powder. This corn is so good that it is often the main attraction on the plate. I like to serve it with a simple grilled meat that allows the corn to really shine. And as an added bonus the corn toppings are so delicious that they can turn a ho-hum ear into something fabulous. How can you not try this?

DRIPPY CORN

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed

1 /2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups creme fraiche

About 3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup medium hot chili powder

1 lime, cut into six wedges

  • Place the corn on a medium-high grill. Using tongs to turn the ears, grill the corn for 8 to 10 minutes, brushing generously with butter with each turn.
  • Remove the corn to a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the creme friche on a shallow plate and the cheese on another plate.
  • When the corn is cool enough to touch, roll it in the creme fraise, draining off the excess.
  • Roll the creme fraise coated ears in the grated parmesan cheese then sprinkle evenly with the chili powder.
  • Serve immediately with the lime wedges.

Serves 6

 

Zesty Lime Bundt Cake

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A rich lemony cake is good but switch out the lemon with lime and your cake moves to a whole new level. I love the tanginess of lime so that is exactly what I did with this rich bundt cake recipe from Yankee Magazine. Thanks to the addition of both buttermilk and creme fraiche, the cake is rich, moist and tangy and the lime is a fun surprise. If you can’t find creme fraiche, substitute a full fat sour cream. But do take the time to find lime oil, it is available in speciality baking stores or available online from retailers like King Arthur Flour. (I happened to have some on hand which served as the inspiration for this cake). The lime oil gives the cake the flavor punch that makes this such a great treat. So celebrate the season by baking up this cake. Enjoy!

ZESTY LIME BUNDT CAKE

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄ 2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening

1⁄ 2 cup unsalted butter, softened

Juice of 2 limes

2 1⁄ 2 teaspoons pure lime oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1⁄ 2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup creme fraiche

For the glaze:

1 1⁄ 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a bundt pan by coating  it with non-stick cooking spray and a dusting of flour; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer set on medium-high speed to cream together the Crisco, butter, lime juice, lime oil, vanilla, sugar, and eggs. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add half of the flour mixture, 1⁄ 2 cup buttermilk, and 1⁄ 2 cup creme fraiche to the lime mixture. Mix on low to combine, then add the remaining flour mixture, 1⁄ 2 cup buttermilk, and 1⁄ 2 cup creme fraiche. Continue to mix on low until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the pan, making sure the cake batter is level.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack.
  • Flip the cake onto the cooling rack and remove the pan. Allow to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, lime juice and lime zest in a medium bowl; whisking thoroughly until combined.
  • Pour the glaze over the cake and serve.

Serves 10-12

Gratin Dauphinoise

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So simple yet so delicious. That is the only way I can describe these cheesy and creamy potatoes from Food 52. So simply because you simply combine the ingredients, pop them in the oven and with the exception of a few stirrings, forget about them. And while the potatoes cook your entire house will fill with the fragrance of them roasting and bubbling away. It gives you the time to prepare the rest of your dinner—grilled steak is particularly good with this dish— or do nothing at all. In the end you’ll be rewarded with a delicious side dish that just make you want to skip the main course all together!

POTATOES DAUPHINOISE

clove garlic, peeled and halved3 cups milk

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin (a mandoline works well for this)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2teaspoons coarse sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper to taste

1 cup grated Comté or other aged hard cheese

1/2cup crème fraîche

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the inside of a large ceramic gratin dish with the garlic.
  • Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the dish.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs and salt then pour the mixture over the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle generously with pepper.
  • Bake, occasionally cutting the crust that forms on top and gently folding it into the potatoes, until the gratin is golden, about 55 minutes.
  • Remove the gratin dish from the oven and sprinkle with the grated cheese, then dab the gratin with crème fraîche.
  • Return the dish to the oven and bake until the top is very crisp and golden, about 15 minutes.
  • Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 Serves 8

Flour’s Midnight Chocolate Birthday Cake (Cupcakes)

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In the midst of my recent flurry of Thanksgiving preparations came my son’s birthday.  As a rising four-year old he had some very clear requests about his birthday menu.  Unfortunately it ran in direction of a four-year old’s palate —  bacon, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese, the orange kind out of the box and not mom’s homemade version.  And of course there is cake.   I love to bake but am not a cake decorator so I braced myself for what his might request.  Many people may opt to buy an ornately decorated cake but I believe in making something homemade with lots of love.  This year Sidney specifically requested a small chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Cupcakes I can do!

This recipe is courtesy of Boston’s Flour Bakery.  Two types of chocolate plus brown sugar instead of the usual white makes this cake moist and decadent with a level of complexity not normally found in a chocolate cake.  The milk chocolate butter cream is an added bonus which makes this cake both satisfying for the birthday boy and his parents.

The recipe makes one 8-inch 3 layer cake or 12 good-sized cupcakes.  I made the cupcake version by filling cupcake liners placed inside of a muffin tin and reducing the baking time to 30 minutes.  I made a half batch of the butter cream which was more than enough for generously frosting a dozen cupcakes with plenty left over for the birthday boy to eat right from the spoon.

FLOUR’S MIDNIGHT CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE (or cupcakes)

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup boiling water

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

1/4 cup creme fraiche

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

For the milk chocolate butter cream

12 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 egg whites

3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

To make the cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan (Or line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers) and set aside.
  • In a small heat proof bowl, combine the cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate.  Pour the boiling water over the chocolates and whisk until the mixture is completely combined and smooth.  Let cool to room temperature.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar on low-speed for 10 seconds or until mixed.
  • On low-speed, add the butter and continue to beat for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the butter is thoroughly combined and the mixture resembles dough.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and creme fraiche.
  • With the mixer on low-speed pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix to combine.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add in the chocolate mixture.  Mix to combine.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (for the cake) or 30 minutes for the cupcakes.

To make the butter cream:

  • Place the milk chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, scald the cream over medium-high heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan.  The cream should be hot but not boiling.
  • Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 1 minute before slowly whisking the chocolate and cream together.  Continue to whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  • In a small heat-proof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites to make a thick slurry.
  • Place the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan and heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is hot to the touch.
  • Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment.  Whip at medium speed for 6-8 minutes or until the mixture is a light, white meringue and is cool to the touch.
  • Turn down the speed to low and add the butter, a few chunks at a time.  The mixture will look chunky and curdled at first.  Increase the speed to medium and whip until the mixture becomes silky and smooth, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Change to the paddle attachment and add the cooled chocolate, vanilla, and salt.  Beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until the entire mixture comes together in a smooth butter cream.
  • Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for 1 day.

Yields:  5 cups

To frost the cake:

  • When the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and use a serrated knife to trim the top of the cake to smooth it.  Split the cake into three even layers and place the bottom layer in the center of a cake plate.
  • Using an offset spatula spread 1 1/2 cups of butter cream evenly over the top of the layer.
  • Repeat this process three times until you have three layers of cake with frosting spread between each layer.
  • Evenly distribute butter cream over the top and sides of the cake.  You can use a pastry bag and a fine tip to pipe a decorative design over the top of the cake.
  • If you are making cupcakes, evenly spread the butter cream over the top of each cupcake using a pasty bag and fine tip to decorate if desired.
  • The frosted cake can keep for up to two days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yields:  8-12 slices of cake or 12 cupcakes

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