Crème Fraîche

Crème fraîche : is a soured cream containing about 28% butterfat and with a pH of around 4.5. (Wikipedia)

I’ve had crème fraîche in restaurants, usually spooned on top of desserts or in soups and naively thought it was a fancy version of whipped cream or a version of yogurt. In terms of taste, it tastes in between yogurt and sour cream. I’ve discovered since making it from scratch how wrong I am.  Crème fraîche is basically a soured cream, a result of combining a substance containing high lactic acid content with one that contains high-butterfat (the layer skimmed from the top of milk prior to homogenization). Why use crème fraîche instead of yogurt or sour cream? It’s because it does not curdle when heated and has a creamier texture and richer flavor than sour cream.  This is also why it pairs well with fruits and any desserts that requires yogurt.

Making crème fraîche

Making crème fraîche

Crème Fraîche

1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk

Combine both ingredients in a non-reactive container and stir well. I combined them in a mason jar and shook it until it was combined. Allow the mixture to sit in room temperature for 12 hours or until the desired thickness is achieved. The initial thought of leaving dairy products outside of the fridge bothered me but it’s important to do so the mixture can ferment properly.  Stir well and store in refrigerator – can be used up to 10 days.

Tip #4 – How to boil a perfect egg

boiled egg : eggs (typically chicken eggs) cooked by immersion in boiling water with their shells unbroken. (Wikipedia)

There’s an art to boiling the perfect egg and once you get the timing down pat, it’ll be a breeze. The key to boiling any egg regardless of the wellness of the egg is timing, hence there is a purpose to all the cute little egg timers you see in kitchen stores besides looks.

Soft-boiled eggs 

Eggs

Eggs

The trouble with soft boiled eggs is that many people boil the eggs too long, resulting in a hard boiled egg that is hard to peel, grey coloring around the yolk and dry. Soft-boiled eggs entails having the yolk solidify with the yolk runny. To achieve a soft boiled egg, you must first let it sit out at room temperature prior to boiling. This prevents the egg from cracking under the change in temperature. Usually 20 minutes is suffice or you can always run the egg under warm water. Don’t use too fresh of an egg as they will be difficult to peel. Next using a small pot that is big enough to fit the number of eggs you are boiling, add enough water so it just covers the entire egg. The smaller the pot the better as it leaves less room for the eggs to bounce around and hit each other and the sides of the pot. Bring the water to a boil and gently lower the egg into the water using a slotted spoon or something similar. For large eggs, boil the eggs 4 minutes for a runny yolk and 3 minutes for a medium sized egg. Once the time is up, remove the egg from the boiling water and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. As the yolk will be runny you will want to place the egg in an egg cup holder and then tap the egg with your spoon to crack it open or slice off the top with a knife.

Hard-boiled eggs Just like soft-boiled eggs, you want to start with eggs that are at room temperature. However, the difference with hard-boiled eggs is that you can add the eggs at the start of the process when the water is cold. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the egg simmer between 10-12 minutes. When the time is up, run the egg under cold water as this will help make peeling the egg easier as it creates steam between the shell and the egg due to the temperature difference.

Chicken Noodle Soup

al dente [ælˈdɛnteɪ]: pasta and (less commonly) rice or beans that have been cooked so as to be firm but not hard. (Wikipedia)

Chicken soup is a comfort food that is easy to make. Using home made chicken stock only intensifies the flavor of the soup and is something people turn to when sick.

Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups chicken stock
Cooked chicken shredded (I used the meat from making the broth and added a few chicken thighs)
Uncooked pasta
vegetable oil
2 medium sized carrots, finely diced (or reuse the carrots from making the stock)
2 celery ribs, finely diced
1 white onion diced
1 Meyer lemon, juiced
parsley roughly chopped

Chicken soup

Chicken soup made out of chicken stock

In a pot, heat up a splash of vegetable oil and add the vegetables.  Saute until soft and then add the meat, stock and pasta.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the pasta is al dente. Before serving, add the juice of one Meyer lemon (I really love the addition of lemon in this soup). Serve and garnish with parsley.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom with Tomato and Boccocini Cheese

marinate: A sauce made of oil, vinegar, spices, herbs, etc., in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking to flavor or soften it(Wikipedia)

John made an excellent portobello mushroom salad a while back which I took and modified slightly. The key to this dish is to marinate the portobello mushroom with a splash of balsamic vinegar before grilling.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom

Grilled Portobello Mushroom with Tomato and Boccocini Cheese

Grilled Portobello Mushroom with Tomato and Boccocini Cheese

1 large portobello mushroom
Balsamic vinegar
1 shallot
1 tomato
Boccocini chesse
Fresh dill

Begin by cleaning the mushroom with a damp paper towel or mushroom brush. Remove the stem by giving it a firm twist.  Finely chop up the shallot and mix in the balsamic vinegar.  Place the mushroom cap side up and drizzle the mixture evenly over the mushroom.  Feel free to brush the mixture on to coat it evenly.  Allow the marinate to sit for a couple hours before grilling.  Over a hot grill, grill the mushroom, cap side up for approx. 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Slice and plate, adding slices of tomatos and boccocini between the slices. Sprinkle chopped dill on top and add additional boccocini cheese and tomatos for garnish.