Wednesday, July 18, 2012

La Soupe de Fruits Rouge (« Red Fruit Summer Soup »)

This midsummer dessert is delicious and cool and easy to make. There is just enough sugar to enable the real flavor of each fruit to remain in full bloom while bringing the three together in harmony. I served this yesterday with some cookies after a large meal, but you can also pour it over ice cream or sorbet or both.


1 pound fresh strawberries
1 pound fresh raspberries
1 pound fresh cherries
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
3 glasses of sweet white wine
Juice of one lemon
1 cup sugar


Wash the fruit with cold water without leaving it to soak. Dry off excess water with paper towels.

Take off the stems and cut strawberries in quarters. Leave the raspberries whole. Take the stems off and the pits out of the cherries, cutting them in half (or quarters).

Place the fruit in a large serving bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar, wine and chopped mint. Mix gently.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recipe: Onion Quiche

My sister-in-law, Marie-Jose and I have had a friendly competition going for the last 30 years on who makes the best quiche. The sole and unique judge is, of course, Gerard, her brother and my husband. I have been on the losing side of this battle for all of these decades as I slavishly followed Cordon- Blue, Famous Chefs’ and even Julia Child’s recipes. This week I put my own twist on it, and got rave reviews from the judge- so I will lay the gauntlet down on the following (easy) recipe.

One pie crust (You can make your own, but I find Pillsbury’s just as good for this recipe).
4 small-medium sized yellow onions finely sliced
¼ cup butter
½ lb bacon slab (you will discard almost all of the fat)
6 -8 slices of cooked bacon (precooked for microwave is fine)
3 eggs
½ cup of milk
½ cup of light cream

Roll out the pie dough onto a 9” pyrex pie plate. Pierce with fork prongs in at least 6 spots. Freeze.

Pre heat oven to 400F.

Trim off almost all of the fat, and cut the remaining bacon first in slices and then dice into what the French call “lardons”.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onions until they are slightly golden and tender (do not allow to brown). Remove the onions and pat dry to remove excess fat.  Fry the lardons in the same pan. Dice the precooked bacon and add to the lardons. Put the onions back in with the bacon.

Beat the eggs with a fork and stir in milk, cream and the onion mixture. Add salt and coarse pepper.

Remove the pastry shell from the freezer and fill with the mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375F and bake another 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and golden brown. Serve hot with a green salad. 


Last week one of our readers (he signs his email as “Avid Reader”) wrote asking for a recipe for scallops, so I thought it would be a good idea for this week.  Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and relatively low in calories, scallops are an incredibly healthy and lean source of protein. The secret to preparing them is to never take your eyes off of them while they are cooking. When perfectly cooked they are succulent, juicy and plump- overcooked they become rubbery. You may use sea scallops or bay scallops in any recipe, but bay scallops are smaller and more delicate requiring much less cooking time.  Most fish shops discard the pink part (the reproductive organs) as we Americans are a bit prudish about that sort of thing, while the French, of course, consider it the best part!  Either way, here are two different recipes, both very easy and both very good!

Pan Seared Scallops
(For 4 people)
16 dry sea scallops (small side muscles removed)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Salt and pepper both sides. Add the butter and oil to the pan on high heat. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes until they form a golden crust on each side. Serve immediately.

Roasted Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Shrimp
(For 4 people)

12 large dry sea scallops, trimmed and well drained
12 jumbo raw peeled deveined shrimp, (16 to 20 count per pound)
12 slices center cut smoked bacon, each cut in half
¼ cup Lime juice
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Pinch of Coarse black pepper
3 scallions, very thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place shrimp and scallops in a shallow dish or bowl. Salt and pepper each on both sides. Drizzle first lime juice and then sesame oil and turn each shrimp and scallop to coat each with the juices.  Wrap each shrimp and scallop with a half slice of bacon. Fasten bacon in place with picks. Arrange the scallops on a broiler pan with slots or on top of a grill on a pan to allow the bacon fat to drain while the bacon crisps up. Roast scallops for two full minutes and then add the wrapped shrimp to the pan and bake until shrimp is pink, scallops are opaque and bacon is crisp. Arrange on platter and sprinkle with chopped scallions.