Peach Frangipane Tart

Frangipane Tart with Texas Peaches

A frangipane tart with pears might be a classic recipe, but nothing makes it as exciting as stone fruit — peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, etc. Since they belong to the same prunus family, they pair with almond cream better. They belong to each other.

Texas peaches season starts in May and continues till September. For five months, we can enjoy different varieties of local peaches. Early ones are clingstones and have a refreshing tartness which disappears in late summer freestones. An acidic tang in the fruit empowers and balances the sweet creaminess of frangipane at the same time. That’s why now the best time for the frangipane tart with Texas peaches. They are perfect together.

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Guglhupf | Kougelhopf | Alsatian Brioche

Kougelhopf| Guglhupf | Alsatian Brioche

What we call brioche is a bread highly enriched with milk, eggs, and butter. The more eggs and butter in the ratio, the puffier the bread, the more tender its crumb, the longer it stays fresh and soft (read it as moist). Similar dough recipes exist in many cuisines and have different uses. Differently shaped and cooked, brioche is loved all over the world. Alsatian brioche can be less sweet and served with foie gras and Riesling and can be sweeter and served as a dessert with coffee.

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Smoked Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut and Cameron's stovetop smoker

This holiday season, add this healthy Alsatian delicacy as a side dish to your festive table!

Do you like sour cabbage served with smoked sausages or pork or poultry? Everything we enjoy eating WITH smoked foods will also taste outstanding when smoke-roasted. This rule works for me every time. Though I experimented with adding smokey flavors to some unconventional foods, sauerkraut didn’t come to my mind until my friend mentioned a restaurant serving it smoked. Now, after making it at home time after time, fermented cabbage with its distinct tang looks like an obvious candidate for roast-smoking.

With Cameron’s stovetop smoker, it takes 20 minutes to add a hickory smoke flavor to fermented cabbage and another 5 to saute it with onions and heavy cream. It is as easy and quick as impressive for its complexity of well-balanced flavors. In France, it is served with cooked white fish, sausages, pork, and various poultry. Enjoy and happy holidays season!

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Gourmet Duck Salad | aka Landaise Salad

Duck Salad

This salad is about duck. In France, if it is made of duck from Landes region (south of Bordeaux), its name is Landaise. My version features duck gizzards confit, cured and lightly smoked duck breast, and foie gras torchon or duck liver pate (depends on budget) slices on French baguette toasts. For greens I prefer a mix of sweet leafy vegetables and arugula, lightly dressed with classic French vinaigrette (EVOO, honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar). I tried different additional elements like tomatoes, asparagus, and hard-boils eggs, but the only one I really liked was cucumber. This salad is part of my Mosel & Alsace Menu.

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Flammkuchen | Tarte flambée

Flammkuchen (leeks, uncured smoked bacon, creme frache, cheese)

It is known as Tarte Flambée in France and as Flammkuchen in Germany. The dish is popular in both countries and there are many variations for the dough as well as for the toppings. Traditional basic version is made with thinly rolled rectangle of dough, which is covered with a generous layer of schmand/crème fraîche/20-30% butterfat sour cream, topped with onions and speck/lardons/small strips of lightly smoked uncured meaty bacon, seasoned with pepper and salt, and baked in a wood-fire oven. Flammkuchen was the first thing I wanted to recreate at home after my trip to Germany and France. The goal was to find the right recipe for the dough and the best local ingredients for the toppings. This recipe of flammkuchen is not final yet, it’s version 1.0, the closest to my favorite so far.

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Chicken Liver Pâté | Terrine de Foies de Volaille

Chicken Liver Pate

This recipe is classic French/European recipe for chicken liver pate, except for the first step with soaking livers in starchy ice bath. Most recipes include soaking livers in milk. “It is often said that milk improves the taste, purges blood, lightens the color, or affects some other property of the meat.” (“Modernist Cuisine” (Nathan Myhrvold, p. 147) Soaking lean proteins in cold water (or flavored liquids) mixed with starch is “velveting”, a technique used to prevent delicate foods from overcooking. I’ve heard about it first from my Japanese friend and then found more in Chinese Gastronomy by Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin.

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Poultry Hearts and Gizzards Confit

Duck Gizzards Confit

Oh, this dish sounds so romantic in French — Gésiers de Canard Confit — duck gizzards, slowly cooked in duck fat. When cooked confit, strong muscle of gizzard becomes a soft and plump morsel, full of flavor, with a hint of gaminess. Gésiers de canard confit is a specialty in South West France that pleasantly surprises many tourists who try it for the first time. Gésiers are respected ingredient in a variety of warm salads, including famous Landaise salad. They are gently fried in a little duck fat before serving. They are also very good with buckwheat, roasted potatoes, or sautéed winter squashes.

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