Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back in Business!

After a little life-induced hiatus, I'm happy to say that yes, I'm still alive and back in business! Thank you all for your lovely comments and encouragement!

It's hard to believe, but after a year in the City of Lights, I'm back in Toronto the good to work on some exciting projects that I hope I can announce soon, so stay tuned!

I've got lots of posts planned but as always, send me your ideas!

My goal before leaving France was to collect mementoes from all my favourite places, as I have a feeling that I'll be back soon enough. If you find yourself heading over to Paris, feel free to send me an email or message me on Facebook for some suggestions!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hard to believe that GG has been around for a year already! Thank you everyone for your input and support! Please keep it coming!

My lovely lady made my favorite red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing based on this recipe from Epicurious (minus the berries). I never claimed to be a dessert expert too!

Sure I'm cheating with a recipe from Epicurious, but let's be honest, who makes their own birthday cake after all?

Don't forget the candle!


Monday, January 31, 2011

Better scrambled eggs

Eggs are a bit of a funny thing for me. Sometimes I love them and sometimes I can't bear the thought of eating them. What's great about them though is how many ways there are to prepare them (think Forrest Gump, just for eggs). Even better, MOST are pretty easy to do. Anyone can cook an egg right? That's what I thought before the last time I prepared myself a boiled egg as hard as rock, or worse yet, scrambled eggs as dry as the desert.

Like with 'undercooked' steak, I used to be really picky about my scrambled eggs not being too wet. Enlightening was the moment when I realized that I would not keel over after consuming raw steak or wet eggs, and that I actually preferred them this way.

The classic way to do scrambled eggs is in the pan. It can be done well if cooked on low heat, but unless you prefer those rubbery dry pellets, why not try the French way?

The bain-marie, or water bath, is a great way to heat foods that are sensitive to heat such as chocolate. It is an indirect method that involves boiling water under a bowl. You may know it as a water bath or double boiler, but for eggs, the improvised bowl method works well.

* Begin by bringing water to a boil in a pot
* Once boiling, turn down the heat and place a large glass or steel bowl directly on the pot
* Crack your eggs into the bowl and begin whisking
* Allow them to come together by whisking/stirring regularly but not overly (you'll see it)
* Once the eggs have started to come together, take them off the heat, fold in some cold butter, season with salt and pepper and top with chives!
* You can at this point also add any ingredients (salmon, sauteed mushrooms, etc) as well as a small splash of cream or creme fresh if you want it extra creamy


The Real Caesar

Even though I'm not the biggest fan of tableside service, from time to time I get a real craving for a good tableside Caesar salad (minus the show). Despite the hefty price you might pay for one at a restaurant, it's actually a pretty easy thing to make at home, with ingredients you may already have kicking around.

Of course real Caesar dressing has nothing to do with the creamy bottled stuff, and it also has nothing to do with traditional Italian food. It was however invented by an Italian-born Mexican/American restaurateur named Caesar Cardini. Apparently the story goes that the salad was concocted on the fly during a busy service when his restaurant was running short on supplies. I think he was on to something.

Here's what you need:

- 3/4 cups of olive oil
- A splash of Worcestershire sauce
- Teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1-3 anchovy fillets as desired (the original recipe may not have contained them)
- The juice of 1 lemon
- Head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and torn coarsely
- 1 egg yolk (coddled if you prefer - boil egg for 1 minute before cracking)
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper

* In a large wooden (preferably) bowl, grind the anchovy fillets and garlic together with the back of a spoon
* When almost in a paste, add the Dijon, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, lemon juice, yolk, and mix well with a whisk
* Next, slowly add the oil while whisking so that the mixture doesn't separate
* Season with black pepper and a very small pinch of salt (if needed), and add grated Parmesan
* Add the romaine leaves to the bowl, mix gently with salad spoons, and top with more Parmesan
* For some great homemade croutons, begin by cutting thin slices of a day-old baguette. Let them dry completely on a baking sheet and then rub the pieces with a garlic clove. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake until lightly browned

Make your salad right before serving... tableside


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Grilled Cheese's British Relative

During a recent trip to London, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Wolseley restaurant by some good friends. Built in 1921, the building was originally the home of the now defunct Wolseley Motor Company's car showroom. The rich (for lack of a better word) atmosphere, featuring large stone pillars, gold accents, and a grand staircase, really brings to mind the confidence that used to exist in the economy!

This lavishness may ultimately have contributed to Wolseley's downfall, but the space remained occupied by Barclays bank until finally becoming the Wolseley restaurant in 2003.

Despite the surroundings, the sad thing about all of this was that I was mostly just looking forward to finally trying the open-faced British relative of grilled cheese, the Welsh Rarebit... and for pudding no less!

My friend was also kind enough to pass along a recipe, which I think comes from Fergus Henderson. Here's what you need:

- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tbs flour
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 200ml Guinness
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 450g strong grated cheddar cheese
- 4 large pieces of toast

* In a pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux
* Continue to cook on low heat until it starts to brown slightly
* Add the mustard powder, cayenne, Guinness and Worcestershire
* Slowly incorporate the cheese until it is all mixed evenly
* Remove the mixture and let it set in a shallow dish
* You can now spread the mixture on toast and carefully broil it in the oven until brown

Looking for a French offering? Try the croque-monsieur!


Friday, December 31, 2010

Rose Water?

When I first saw the delicious little French macarons at Ladurée in Paris, I was immediately taken by their rainbow display of flavors. All the usual suspects were present: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, caramel, but one flavor in particular stood out: rose.

While I was aware that rose was often used in perfumes and occasionally in confectioneries like Turkish delight (which I also love), I had no idea that it was also used in baking. The flavor was so light and fragrant that it inspired me to investigate!

I wasn’t surprised to find out that rose water has been used in food for hundreds if not thousands of years in the Middle East and Asia and that it has cultural and religious significance for many. The water itself is a by-product of the production of rose oil, which is primarily used in perfumes and cosmetics.

After coming across a few recipes, I decided to try making some myself. Rose water and syrup can be a great addition to tea, and desserts like ice cream, rice pudding, crème brûlée, whipped cream, etc.

Here’s what you need to make a simple rose water or syrup:

- A large stainless steel pot with a rounded lid
- A brick (yes, a brick) or a Pyrex loaf pan
- The equivalent of a bag of ice
- About 4 or 5 cups of fresh, rinsed rose petals (depending on the size of your pot), slightly crushed or chopped
- A small bowl or ramekin

* Begin by placing the brick or Pyrex dish in the center of the pot
* Distribute the petals around the brick and cover with water to the level of the brick or higher
* Place the small bowl on top of the brick and place the lid upside-down on the pot
* Bring the water to a gentle boil and cover the lid of the pot with ice
* As the water condenses it should drip down the lid and collect in the bowl
* Check it every so often and collect what is your rose water!
* You can now make simple syrup by adding sugar (and more water if necessary) and reducing by simmering gently in a pan

Finish with a little red food coloring if you'd like to give it the rose look, but any other color would taste as sweet…


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Global Gourmand!

Thank you to everyone who's been following me this year! Your input and support is greatly appreciated! 

May your 2011 be a happy year of culinary experimentation!

Galeries Lafayette - Paris



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