There are above 400 sorts of cheese in France. They can be made of caw, goat, or sheep milk, with or with pasteurization -- but more often than not, without. This means that the milk was not heated over 37°C. "This way, it keeps all its properties, although lose certain pathogenic bacteria which can prove dangerous for human beings", the International Cheese Institute explains.
The milk used to make pasteurised cheese is heated up to 72°C, for 20 to 30 seconds, which kill any harmful bacteria. Then, a pure culture of lactic bacteria are added. "Is it a crime to take the main bacteria out of milk and to replace them by others, which are selected and standardised in laboratories? Is it a good thing to add to this milk other synthetic ingredients?" asked Pierre Androuet, a famous creamery owner in Paris, long time ago. His question has not been answered yet.
Fricassée is French stew of poultry, game, or seafood, which are first fried in butter, then stewed with mushrooms, white wine, egg yolks, heavy cream, and vegetables. For example, a basic Chicken Fricassée recipe calls for:
1 oz butter
2 tb flour
3 cups chicken bouillon or stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 parsley sprigs
1/2 lb mushrooms
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
Salt, black pepper
Fish Fricassée ingredients:
500g fish fillet
250ml white wine
500ml beef broth
3 leek leaves
Salt, coriander, pepper, Liebstoeckl, Oregano
Fricassée of Clams Instructions:
Clean one pint clams, finely chop hard portions and reserve soft portions. Melt two tablespoons butter, add chopped clams, two tablespoons flour, and pour on gradually one-third cup cream. Strain sauce, add soft part of clams, cook one minute, season with salt and cayenne, and add yolk of one egg slightly beaten.
French civet generally is a dish made of hare, red wine and the sauce of the animal's blood. However, it's possible to cook a simpler dish using rabbit marinated in wine, garlic and peppercorns. The recipe preparation is rather complex - the ingredient list alone can give you an idea:
1 Carrot, sliced
1 Onion, sliced
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Whole cloves of garlic
1 Bouquet garni *
1 pt Dry red wine
3 tb Cognac
1 tb Vegetable oil
3 oz Butter + 1 oz melted butter
3 tb Flour
2 lb red or white potatoes
36 Pickling onions
1 tb Sugar
5 oz Green bacon **
1 tb Olive oil
8 oz large mushrooms
3 white bread crusts
3 tb Chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
* Bouquet garni consists of herbs including parsley, thyme, and bay leaf that are put into a cheesecloth bag to infuse flavor to the cooking stock
** Green bacon is unsmoked bacon, a rather old term still used in French cooking
If you stop by the salt shelves in a regular French supermarket you'll probably be confused by the overwhelming number of brands, most of them being sea salts. You can find sea salt boxes picturing meats separately from poultry, fish separately from shrimp or crabs.
Sea salt is considered healthier than table salt, since it lacks artificial chemicals used in processing. True or not, gourmets think of sea salt taste as being superior to ordinary table salt, which tastes just what it is - simple sodium chloride.
It is advised to use anywhere but especially in salads to make lettuce and other vegetables crisper or in poultry or fish to "crust" the skin.
9-inch chocolate layer cake
8 oz White fondant (icing)
2 lb Semi-sweet chocolate
2 c Whipping cream
- Cut cake into two layers and place one layer in a 9 inch springform pan.
- In a double boiler, melt chocolate and fondant.
- Heat 1/2 cup cream to lukewarm. Beat the remaining chilled cream; set aside.
- Combine warm cream with fondant and melted chocolate.
- Stir until ingredients are evenly blended.
- Beat the soft chocolate mixture and gradually fold in the whipped cream.
- Spoon one-half of the creamy chocolate mixture over cake.
- Top with second layer of cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for 8 to 12 hours.
Bouillabaisse (from bouillir, to boil and abaisser, to reduce - together meaning 'to reduce by evaporation') is a traditional French fish stew or thick soup originating from Marseilles. The most distinguishing characteristic of a bouillabaisse is the unique flavoring derived from saffron, fennel seeds, and orange zest. A famous French food writer, Curnonsky, called bouillabaisse soupe d'or, 'soup of gold.' The preparation time is 1.5 to 2 hours and instructions are very complex . Cooking require special kitchen utensils but here's the list of ingredients to give you an idea of the dish.
3 red mullet, descaled
450g/1lb of monkfish fillet
1 x 900g/2lb sea bass, descaled
12 raw large tiger prawns
5 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
1 bulb fennel, finely chopped (reserve the tops)
675g/1½lb tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp tomato purée
1 small bunch freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 strips orange peel
500ml/1pt fish stock
2L/3½pt bottle mineral water
1 tsp saffron stamens
2 tbsp pernod, or similar
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|