French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake

In my opinion, chicken is one of the tastiest meats in the world. Also, you can do almost any dish with it. You can put it in pasta, paella, or curried dishes. Chicken meat makes for some of the most amazing soups, too. Now when you pair it with something as delectable as tomatoes drenched in olive oil and pretty rice cakes, they sound healthily chic. Well, here is a French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake recipe for those who might be having chicken and risotto cravings out there.  The recipe title alone would make you positively hungry, don’t you think so?

Serves: 4

CHICKEN

4 French breasts of chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp chopped thyme
Salt
Milled peppercorns
As needed, Olive Oil Tomatoes

ROASTED GARLIC EMULSION

1 cup garlic cloves
As needed, Giancarlo’s Brodo
2 Tbsp honey
1 oz butter, unsalted
1/3 cup white wine
2 shallots, minced
1½ cups heavy cream
4–6 Tbsp butter, unsalted, cold
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

RISOTTO CAKES

3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced and diced
1 cup raw short-grain Italian rice (Vialone Nano)
2½ cups Chicken Brodo, hot
2 Tbsp chopped basil
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
4 Tbsp whole butter, unsalted
4 Tbsp cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
As needed, clarified butter

ASSEMBLY

8 artichoke halves, prepared as in Grilled Sea Bass recipe
1/4 cup petite peas
2 Tbsp whole butter, unsalted
To taste, kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced fresh mint leaves
*Make the risotto cakes at least 3 hours or up
to 1 day before preparing the rest of this dish.

CHICKEN

1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the olive oil, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss to season evenly.

2. Chicken can be roasted or grilled to your liking. I prefer placing the chicken on a rack over a pan and roasting for 6 minutes at 425ºF, then another 8–12 minutes at 325ºF, until the chicken is just done and the juice runs clear. Keep the chicken warm.

ROASTED GARLIC EMULSION

1. Place the garlic in a small pan. Cover to three-quarters depth with the brodo. Add the honey and butter. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the garlic cloves are tender, 10–12 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and reserve the broth.

2. In a saucepan, simmer the wine and shallots until reduced to about 1 oz.

3. Add the garlic cloves to the wine reduction. Add the cream and 2 oz of the reserved broth. Simmer until the liquid is reduced in half.

4. Puree the mixture with a hand blender while slowly adding the cold butter. Do not allow the emulsion to break.

5. Strain the emulsion and season with salt, pepper, and the olive oil.

RISOTTO CAKE

1. Place the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the leek and cook until soft.

2. Add the rice and cook 1–2 minutes. Add half of the brodo, bring to a simmer, and cook slowly until all of the liquid is absorbed.

3. Add the remaining brodo and cook until it is absorbed and the rice is tender but still slightly firm.

4. Fold in the basil, parsley, Asiago, butter, and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on a small pan 1 to 1½ in. in height. Cool in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Cut the chilled rice mixture into the desired shapes. Pan-fry the cakes in clarified butter until golden brown on each side.

ASSEMBLY

1. In a saucepan, take the artichoke halves, peas, butter, and mint along with the remaining reserved broth and cook for 2–3 minutes until items are hot.

2. Place the risotto cake in the middle of the plate. Top with the chicken breast. Around the plate, distribute the peas, artichokes, and tomatoes. Lace the emulsion over the items on the plate from a squeeze bottle, or place spots of sauce around the plate.

Now this recipe is a bit tedious to prepare and would consume a lot of your time, too. To maybe remedy that, I suggest you read the entire French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake recipe once. That way, you would be able to estimate the work you might need to do. Then, make a list of all the ingredients you might need and make sure you have all of them before you start cooking. Lastly,  follow the recipe as it is written so that there’s less likelihood that you’d bungle the finished product.

Lobster Burger with Foie Gras and Yellow Tomato on Vanilla Brioche

One of the most beloved delicacies in French cuisine is foie gras while one of the most beloved foods in America is the burger. So what better way to introduce your friends to French dishes than to present them with this fusion dish. This is especially great for those who are reluctant gastronomic adventurers. And don’t worry, a healthy helping of  Lobster Burger with Foie Gras and Yellow Tomato Vanilla  Brioche will not disappoint, even those who are new to French cuisine.

Serves: 6

10 oz raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 oz sole
1 squeezed lemon
4–5 oz heavy cream
A dash of Tabasco Sauce
Salt or sea salt, to taste
Ground white pepper
2 tsp Spice de Cosette
1 lb raw lobster meat (small dice from whole lobsters or diced raw tail meat; see Note)
1 Tbsp chopped dill
1 oz shallots, diced and sautéed
6 slices foie gras
12 enriched vanilla brioche buns
12 yellow tomato slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz frisée
1. Place the shrimp and sole in a food processor and puree. Add the lemon juice, cream, Tabasco, salt, white pepper, and Spice de Cosette.

2. Remove the puree from the food processor and place in a bowl with the diced lobster meat. Add the dill and sautéed shallots, mix well, and let the mixture rest for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

3. Shape the mixture into 6 equal patties and grill 1–3 minutes on each side.

4. When the burgers are almost done, place a heavy iron skillet on top of the grill, pour some extra-virgin olive oil, and cook the foie gras in medium temperature.

5. Split the buns and place a slice of yellow tomato on the bottom of each. Place a lobster burger on top of each tomato slice and a slice of foie gras on top the tomato. Place some frisée on the foie gras and cover with the top half of the bun.

Note: Lobster meat can be difficult to remove from the shells. Plunging the whole lobsters into boiling water for1–2 minutes makes the job easier. The lobster should not be fully cooked for this recipe.

If you know how to use a food processor, a grill, and a skillet, then this recipe would be easy as pie to follow. Plus, you don’t have to scour the city for the ingredients because they’re quite easy to find in most supermarkets. The lobster and the foie gras might be a bit too pricey for an everyday fare though. More so if you’re only making it for yourself.  So I suggest you make Lobster Burger with Foie Gras and Yellow Tomato Vanilla  Brioche during those special occasions, especially when there’s somebody around you want to impress.

7 Most Famous Kinds of French Cheese

One of the things I love about French dinners is that cheeses actually have their own place in them. I mean, where else would you be served cheese between the main course and dessert? And you would be served not just one yummy French cheese, but four! I tell you, French dinners are delectablyly charminng. Obviously, I love cheese. Now, here are seven most famous kinds of French cheese.

1. Camembert

Camembert
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $8.80
Camembert is made from usually pasteurized cow’s milk. In France, however, they prefer to use raw unpasteurized cow’s milk. It is soft, gooey, and creamy inside with a white dry rind outside. It is said to have been invented in Normandy, in a town called Camembert. But some experts say this could just be a popular local myth. Another interesting tidbit about this cheese is that the famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali mentioned it was the inspiration behind his most famous painting of a runny clock entitled “The Persistence of Memory”. Experts say Camembert goes well with red wine.

2. Brie de Meaux

Brie de Meaux
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $19.99
Brie is made from whole or skimmed cow’s milk that could be pasteurized or unpasteurized. It looks a bit like Camembert and it also uses the same species of mold but it is more solid on the inside. If your Brie looks as gooey as a Camembert, it is most probably overripe, which you don’t really want. It was invented in Brie, the province for which it was named after. Although this type of French cheese is usually white, there is a type of Brie that has a brownish and drier rind called Brie Noir. It is drier and has a daker color because it is aged longer than the typical Brie. Like Camembert, Brie is served with red wine.

3. Roquefort

Roquefort
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $25.49
Roquefort is a popular blue cheese made from ewe’s milk. It is made, like most French cheeses, in rounds and is white in color with spots of blue green, which is actually mold, all over it. The production of this cheese is quite curious because it is aged inside caves that can only be found in Mont Combalou in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. Originally, the mold for this cheese was taken directly from the cave soil but now it is cultured inside labs. Moreover, technically this cheese can be made outside of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon but they cannot take the name Roquefort because the label is protected by French law. Quite snobbish, right? And in my opinion, so French. I read somewhere that Zinfandel goes well with Roquefort.

4. Boursin

Boursin
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $7.25
Boursin is a cream cheese that is made from cow’s milk mixed with salt, spices, and herbs. It was invented by, and named after, a French cheesemaker named Francois Boursin from Normandy in 1957. Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs, the original recipe only has milk, cream, salt, pepper, garlic, chives, and parsley. This variety continues to be the most popular one today. Most people eat this creamily delicious cheese with bread, usually a baguette. It goes well with a bottle of fruity red wine.

5. Reblochon

Reblochon
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $84.00
Reblochon is a soft cheese from raw or unpasteurized cow’s milk. It is aged in caves or cellars in the mountains of Haute Savoie. There is a charming anecdote regarding this cheese’s name and origin. The story goes that during the Middle Ages, farmers paid their taxes with milk from their cattle. But in order to pay less, the farmers do not fully milk their animals. (I guess nobody really likes taxes, even then. I sure don’t.) And after the tax collectors go, the farmers milk their cattle again. The much richer milk they get with the second milking is the one they use to make Reblochon. In fact, the word Reblochon comes from the French word “reblocher” which means “to milk the cow’s again”. Reblochon is said to have a nutty taste and a strong herby smell. Similar to Boursin, a bottle of fruity red wine would complement this yummy cheese.

6. Munster

Munster
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $13.99
Munster is a soft white cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk from cattle found in the mountain range in northeastern France called Vosges. It is said to have been first made by monks who lived in Munster Valley, who came from Ireland. Munster is rubbed by hand with a cloth soaked in a rock salt and water solution. Then it is left outside for a week. After a week, the cheese is brought inside the caves where they are left to age. However, the cheese is washed and brushed every two days. Munster cheese has quite a strong flavor and smell, and it is usually paired with red wine.

7. Pont l’Evèque

Pont l'Evèque
Product link: amazon.com
Price: $16.19
Pont l’Evèque is a pale yellow cheese with a white orange rind. It is considered to be among the world’s oldest cheeses. It is known to have been first produced during the Middles ages, around the thirteenth century. It was first known by the name of d’Angelot. Centuries later, it was mainly manufactured in a community called Pont l’Evèque in Normandy. And that was how it later adapted the name. It is often made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It is a soft creamy and buttery cheese with a rather strong aroma or odor. Some say it goes well with Pinot Noir, while others say it is perfect with Champagne. My advice? Try both and decide for yourself which one complements Pont l’Evèque best.

Is your favorite French cheese in this list? If it’s not, what is your favorite French cheese? What wine do you usually serve with it? Do you know any interesting stories behind your favorite French cheese?

 

7 Best Books on French Cuisine

ime of mine since high school. And when I grew older I collected more hobbies; such as photography, knitting, and of course cooking. So to be able to combine two of my favorite activities (and about a favorite subject, too!) is pretty much a great blessing. And what favorite subject is that? Why, French cuisine of course! So ladies, here are 7 books on French cusine that are “must reads” for any Francophile out there.

1. La Bonne Cuisine by Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange

La Bonne Cuisine by Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange
product link: amazon.com
Price: $29.20
It is one of those time tested books about French cuisine. It was first published in 1927 in French and was finally translated into English in2005. It contains detailed recipes, and cooking techniques and preparations of many classic French dishes. It is even cited as among the favorite books of famous chefs, expecially the renowned Ms. Julia Child. According to her, this tome greatly influenced her studies of French cuisine. And if you’re going to believe anyone about French cuisine, it would be the late Ms. Child, wouldn’t it?

2. Bistro: The Best of Casual French Cooking by Gerald Hirigoyen

Bistro: The Best of Casual French Cooking by Gerald Hirigoyen
product link: amazon.com
Price: $12.99
Bistro, according to the dictionary, means a small restaurant or bar. This means that the recipes here are of dishes that you could get from typical small restaurants in France. This book gives out simple cooking instructions of fifty-six recipes that are quite easy to follow. And it has full-color photos of dishes, so at least you know how they’re supposed to look when you’re done. Lastly, it has recipes for almost all parts of dinner, from appetizers to desserts. What more could you ask for?

3. La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking by Francoise Bernard

La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking by Francoise Bernard
product link: amazon.com
Price: $29.70
For those who love French cuisine, this book is quite a delightful treat. First off, it was written by one of the most notable names in the field of French home cooking, Madame Francoise Bernard. Second, if you are acquainted with Madame Bernard’s other books, you will know that she loved simplifying French cuisine, which means the recipes would be relatively easier than what most people think of typical French cuisine. Lastly, the book contains a thousand recipes, which would cover you for over two years of simple French homebcooking, and that is if you don’t find a favorite that you might want to make over and over again! So if you love French cooking as much as I do, this book is definitely a “must read”.

4. Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
product link: amazon.com
Price: $24.82
Dorie Greenspan is a great lover of French home cooking and she has quite the credentials for it since she lives in Paris some parts of the year. Actually, she has three houses, one in New York, one in Westbrook, Connecticut, and another one in Paris, France. She says she travels to the three homes often. Quite dizzying, don’t you think? Anyway, her book, which was just recently published, does not just contain 300 recipes but also some stories about her life in France. So this is sort of a double treat. You get to learn some French home cooking, and you get to read some stories of how it is to really live in France at the same time. Tempting, right?

5. French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David

French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David
product link: amazon.com
Price: $23.07
Elizabeth David was, according to critics, not just an expert on French cooking but also a really good writer. In fact, she won many awards ofr her writing. Now, in this book you would see that knowing the recipes was not the only concern of Ms. David. Aside from her deliciously simple recipes, she also included histories and traditions behind the said dishes. And her narratives for each region’s cooking style or recipe ingredient is quite delightful to read. It is also interesting to note that Ms. David was a contemporary of Ms. Julia Child. In fact, Ms. Child wrote forewords for two of Ms. David’s cookbooks, including this one. Clearly, these two great ladies were in agreement when it came to French cuisine.

6. The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan

The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan
product link: amazon.com
Price: $45.00
This tome is another unique treat for Francophiles out there. Why? Well, just like Elizabeth David’s book, this one not only talks about recipes, it also gives background histories about the dishes and the regions where they came from. And it doesn’t just have lovely photos of delicious dishes but also of everyday life in French villages, public markets, and homes. All in all, it is a delightful collaboration of Anne Willan, an award-winning cookbook author, and France Ruffenach, an equally award-winning photographer.

7. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set) by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck

product link: amazon.com
Price: $51.97
Now, who wouldn’t have this two-volume set in their list of great French cookbooks? These tomes are among the great cookbooks of French cooking in America today. It is no wonder these are among the bestselling cookbooks out there. Well yes, the set is a bit pricey. But these two books are worth every penny. Believe me. This set is a collaboration of three great women who were not only authors and cooking teachers but were also the forerunners of French cuisine in America and founders of L’école des Trois Gourmandes, a cooking school in France in the 1950s. The set has over 700 recipes of French dishes and cute illustrations of instructions on how to prepare them. If I were to buy these as a gift for a friend, I’d probably end up keeping them and buying my friend something else. Most probably!

Do you already own or are still planning to get one of these French cuisine gems? Or are you one of those who just recently discovered the interesting world of French cooking? Well, whichever one you might be, any one of these gorgeous cookbooks would be an excellent reading material for you.

Filets of Sole French Style

The French value fish and know how to cook it at home in the most delicious ways. In contrast, in America fish is largely a restaurant dish. Few of us are familiar with good fish recipes, yet we can learn from the French and make sole, trout, or salmon a delight of every Sunday dinner.

Let me share today my favourite French recipe where sole, a very popular fish in France with firm, white, and unquestionably delicious flesh, is featured as the main ingredient. Follow the recipe, do not skip the ingredients, and you will be rewarded with a flavour and taste of the real fish cuisine of Provence!

Filets de Sole Bonne Femme (Filets of Sole with Cream Sauce):

Sole if a fish readily available in our supermarkets. Shop only for very fresh filets that have not been frozen (frozen fish is mushy in texture and inferior in taste). Three filets of small Dover sole or two filets of larger Grey sole will be just right to feed one person. If you are lucky enough to also obtain fish heads, tails and skeletons from your merchants, grab them to make wonderful fish broth called in for this recipe. However, you can use home-made chicken broth instead of fish stock. Shrimp butter is another necessary ingredient – and I will teach you how to make it at home.

Butter a baking dish and evenly distribute 1 finely chopped onion on the bottom. Lay the sole filets on top of the onions without overlapping, bring several cups of fish or chicken stock to boil and pour over the fish. Immediately transfer the dish to an oven preheated at 300 degrees. Poach the sole pieces until they are tender, from 5 to 15 minutes depending on their thickness. When ready, carefully transfer the filets onto a heated platter, cover them with a piece of aluminium foil or parchment paper, and keep warm in the oven while making the sauce.

For the sauce, strain the stock into a large skillet and bring to rapid boil. Whisk in about 1 cup crème fraîche and 1 tbsp shrimp butter and continue boiling until the sauce has reduced to the consistency of thick cream (for about 10 to 15 minutes). Season with sea salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

To serve, pour the sauce generously over the sole fillets neatly arranged on individual heated plates. Sprinkle on finely chopped parsley. This dish goes beautifully with steamed red baby potatoes, rice, and colourful vegetables.

How to Make Fish Broth:

Place fish heads and bones into a large stainless steel pot, add 1 tbsp vinegar, cover with cold filtered water, bring to boil, and skim. Add 1 coarsely chopped onion, 1 carrot, and several stalks of celery. Tie together a few springs of fresh thyme and parsley and add to the pot together with 1 bay leave. Season generously with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 4 hours. When ready, strain fish stock into clean containers. It can be kept for about 4 days in the refrigerator or for about 1 month – in the freezer.

How to Make Shrimp Butter:

Place about 2 cups tiny cooked shrimps in a food processor to form a coarse paste. Add 1/4 cup butter and process until well blended.

Dill and Butter Sauces

A proper sauce is an indispensable addition served with French appetizers, salads, and main courses. Various types of French mayonnaises and marinades feature raw or gently heated ingredients and add valuable enzymes and a heavenly taste to vegetables, meats, and fish dishes.

Creamy Dill Sauce:

This refreshing sauce goes wonderfully with cold roast beef, poached salmon, cold cooked ham, or salmon mousse. Beat 1 egg and combine with 1 tbsp grated onion, 4 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp finely chopped dill, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 cup crème fraîche or piima cream. Check for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if desired. Serve immediately.

Beurre Blanc (Butter Sauce):

This is a classic French sauce served with fish dishes. Place in a small pan 6 tbsp minced shallots, 6 tbsp dry white wine, and 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Bring to boil and reduce to about 2 tbsp. Piece after piece, add 1/2 cup butter cut into small cubes, whisking thoroughly after each addition. Sauce should thicken and become frothy. As soon as all butter has been melted, remove the sauce from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve right away with cold or hot fish.

Béarnaise Sauce:

This wonderful sauce is a great complement to grilled meats or fish. The taste is fantastic, but making it requires some mastering. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots or green onions, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried tarragon, and 2 tbsp each of white wine vinegar and white wine or vermouth. Bring to boil and reduce to about 1 tbsp. Piece after piece, add 1/2 cup butter cut into small cubes, whisking constantly until all butter has been melted. Slowly, drop by drop, add 5 beaten eggs yolks, whisking the sauce constantly until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and add a bit of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve warm.

French “Guides Rouges” Names Tokyo the Most Delicious Place on Earth

In accordance with 107-year old and world famous “Guides Rouges”, a food connoisseurs’ bible published by the French company Michelin, the capital of Japan is ranked the best gourmet city of the world, leaving behind Paris, New York, and London. The first Michelin Guide for Tokyo lists 150 Tokyo restaurants, all of which are rewarded with at least one star and eight are given a high three-star estimate. This impressive amount of stars beats total restaurant ratings listed in the guides for such “gourmet cities” of the world as London and Paris, which officially makes Tokyo the world leader in fine cuisine and dining.

Such gourmet triumph of Japan’s capital should not be surprising – the country is famous all over the world for its biggest fish market, fresh seasonal produce, best-quality foods, and long-established love of the Japanese for exquisite and perfect dishes. Interestingly enough, about half of all TV programs is Japan are somehow related to food and the total amount of registered restaurants, canteens, sushi bars, and other eateries in Tokyo alone is over 190,000!

The initial work to create a list of the 1,500 most popular Tokyo restaurants was accomplished by a group of five food inspectors – both Japanese and European. During the second stage of evaluating, Michelin inspectors for 18 months were paying anonymous visits to the selected restaurants to taste the food and rank the service and interior.

Over two thirds of the Michelin list of fine Tokyo restaurants mention traditional Japanese dining, yet classic French cuisine is also well represented, especially among three-starred dining establishments. According to Michelin, the best French restaurants in Tokyo are: Joel Robuchon, L’Osier, and Quintessence.

Michelin’s turn towards Japan reflects this bible of French gastronomy’s desire to modernize its a bit heavy old-fashioned image and broaden its range of international culinary experience. Besides Japan, the guide has been recently expanded to 21 countries, with the latest published list featuring the finest dining locations of Los Angeles.

French-Style Caesar Salad with Creamy Dressing and Duck Cracklings

French-Style Caesar Salad:

This salad is a traditional appetizer in the Auvergne region of France. It closely resembles a classic Caesar salad (actually, it is a precursor of the Caesar salad), but features a different type of dressing. To make the salad, take a large head of very fresh romaine lettuce, remove tough outer leaves, slice off the end, and open up to rinse out any dirt and impurities in cold running water. Pat dry and slice salad leaves across at about 1-inch intervals. Using the large-holed side of a grater, grate 1 once good quality Parmesan cheese, preferably Reggiano or Gran Padrino (do not use supermarket-bought powdered Parmesan). Toss the sliced lettuce leaves with the grated cheese, a handful of warmed crumpled duck cracklings (see below), and a generous amount of creamy dressing (see below). To serve, add on top 1/4 cup salad croutons (see below). Enjoy as an delicious appetizer for lunch or supper.

French Creamy Dressing:

Mix together in a small bowl 1 tsp Dijon-type mustard and 3 tbsp raw wine vinegar. Slowly add 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a fork until the oil is emulsified. Add 1 tbsp expeller-pressed flax oil. Stir in about 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, basil, thyme, or oregano. As a last touch, blend in with a fork 1/4 cup crème fraîche, and serve immediately with French-Style Caesar Salad.

Duck Cracklings:

In order to render duck fat and make cracklings, cut pieces of duck skin and fat into small chunks and cook them in a heavy-bottomed pan for about 30 – 40 minutes, until the pieces have turned golden and a lot of fat has been rendered. Remove cracklings with a slotted spoon, pat dry with paper towels, and store in a refrigerator. Prior to serving with the salad, cracklings should be gently heated.

Salad croutons:

Take 3 slices whole grain bread (preferably sprouted or sourdough), trim off crusts, and spread on top a mixture of 1 clove mashed garlic, 1 tsp French-style herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, etc.), 6 tbsp butter, and a pinch of paprika. Bake the bread slices in an oven at 250 degrees for about 1 hour, until they are crisp. Allow to cool, and cut into small cubes. Salad croutons can be stored in a container with a lid without refrigeration until needed.

Climate-Friendly Wine from Bordeaux?

French Bordeaux will soon become the first region of the world with unique, carbon-reducing, vineyards. Winemaker Remi Lacombe from Medoc, who is working in collaboration with ClimatePartner, a German green group, is planning to launch a climate-neutral wine project in order to cut harmful for the environment carbon emissions. Traditional production of wine, including the natural process of yeast fermentation, emits to the atmosphere about 1.7 kilos of carbon dioxide per bottle, or about 639 tonnes annually from four chateaux (vineyards), which Lacombe runs in France.

To cut emissions of CO2 during wine production, ClimatePartner has suggested to replace wood-burning stoves by devices powered with the solar energy. Lacombe’s own climate-friendly ideas include automatically switching exterior lights and an innovative cooling system of circulating water, which will keep wine temperature within the optimal range of 20 to 28 degrees without harming the environment.

In addition to investing his personal time and efforts into the project, Lacombe has already spent about 14,000 US Dollars (10,000 Euros) on renovating his chateaux, and he now hopes that consumers will choose his wines with carbon neutral labels, the cost of which will be no more than that of other ordinary wines – about 10-12 US Dollars (seven – eight Euros) per bottle.

Lacombe’s wines from Bordeaux will become the first wines in the world that will carry a climate-neutral label. The winemaker plans to produce annually about 380,000 bottles of environmentally-friendly wine, thus spreading the message to save the planet from carbon dioxide pollution.

Chicken & Duck Liver Mousse with Truffles

French is a homeland of many delectable recipes. Today, we are featuring a delicious French appetizer which would be especially suitable for a Sunday dinner or a gourmet party reception – Chicken & Duck Liver Mousse with Truffles. Traditionally, it calls for fresh chicken and duck livers, about 1 1/2 pounds each, 1 or 2 tbsp truffles (very finely chopped), 1 cup crème fraîche or piima cream, 2 cups clarified beef or duck stock, 1/2 cup dry white wine of cognac, 2 tbsp each of butter and extra virgin olive oil, 2 eggs, and salt and pepper to taste. The best stock for this recipe is home-made, while crème fraîche or piima cream, as well as indispensable duck livers and truffles, can be purchased from European gourmet markets. Although making this appetizer might be quite costly and time-consuming, we guarantee the fantastic result!

Sauté whole livers in small batches in a mixture of olive oil and butter until they turn brown. When all are ready, return them to the pan and pour over wine or cognac and 1 cup stock. Boil rapidly until almost all liquid evaporates and let cool. Carefully mash together the livers with 1 cup cream and 2 raw eggs until they reach a creamy consistency (you can use a food processor for that). Transfer the creamy mixture to a bowl, season generously, and stir in the truffles.

Pour the mixture into a buttered loaf pan, spread the top smoothly (best to use a 1-quart pan that will be about two thirds full) and cover tightly. Place in a bigger pan of hot water and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the mousse from the oven and let cool. Open and pour over the remaining 1 cup stock, cover again, and chill well in the refrigerator.

To serve, slice the cold mousse thinly and arrange the slices neatly on top of French croutons or sourdough bread and decorate with pickled cucumbers. Makes a perfect starter for any great occasion!