French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 3 tablespoons dark rum
  8. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Instructions
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's fairly even.
  5. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
Notes
  1. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream (vanilla or cinnamon).
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Take it Slow by Lynn Dugan

Savor – Relax – Reflect – Connect – Cherish – Celebrate – Delight – Share

lynnblog1These words are often compromised in our fast-paced culture.  But last month, when I had the opportunity to visit my Great Aunt Angie in Italy, I was reminded of how important they are to remember to prioritize in our busy lives. Angie and my Uncle Gino used to own a neighborhood restaurant in Chicago.  After Uncle Gino passed, she returned to Lammari, her small Italian hometown in Tuscany.  In August, I was able to see her for the first time since she left Chicago twenty years ago!

Angie lives on a property that she shares with her sister Renatta, Renatta’s grown children, and their families. They invited my oldest daughter and I to their homes for dinner and we had the chance to meet and share a meal with Angie’s extended family for the first time.

We spent several hours at the alfresco dining table, surrounded by all of the family, greeting each other, eating, talking, laughing, and reminiscing. In fact, if it had not lasted several hours, we would not have been able to enjoy all of the delicious food they prepared for us. The first course was a hearty lasagna followed by a pair of salads – tomato with red onions and leafy greens. Next we were served plates of thinly-sliced roast pork and roast beef with gravy, and sides of oven-roasted potatoes and a zucchini frittata. Of course we enjoyed local wine and to top off the feast, we indulged in almond tart and coffee for dessert.

lynnblog3It was magical to be part this multi-generational meal; everyone brought a plate to the table that they had prepared in their own kitchen.  There was a little competition between everyone’s dishes, a little teasing of the presentation, but lots of love. It was remarkable to see the way they lingered at the table, even the young children, all enjoying each other’s company. There was not a single distraction during dinner from any electronics. I treasured the culture surrounding the meal and hope I can bring this Tuscan experience into my own family by slowing down at mealtime, allowing more time for conversation, and taking time to connect, relax, reflect, and celebrate.  Although an experience like this cannot be fully recreated, even a little change towards taking it slow would make a big difference. And now that my own kids are getting older, this is more doable than a few years ago!

As you try to do the same, enjoy this recipe for Renatta’s Zucchini Frittata.  Even more recipes from Tuscany will be shared at Marcel’s Midday “Tuscan Country Kitchen” that I am teaching on October 26th.   I hope to see you there!

Renatta’s Zucchini Frittata
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 5 large eggs
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  4. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  5. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 1 large onion, diced
  7. 1 pound zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and into 1/4–inch slices
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Crack and beat eggs in a bowl. Add grated cheese and season with salt and pepper, set aside. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté onion until it begins to caramelize - about 5 minutes. Add zucchini to the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until zucchini is tender but not soft, and excess liquid is cooked off (drain off any extra liquid if present when zucchini is finished cooking). Add parsley and basil. Drizzle remaining olive oil around pan and heat while evenly distributing pan contents.
  3. Give eggs a quick stir and pour into pan. Immediately reduce to low heat and cook until eggs are just set, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. To finish the cooking, slide pan 6 inches under broiler until the top is golden (1-2 minutes). Please be careful not to overcook.
  5. The frittata can be slid onto a serving plate after edges are loosened with a knife. Serve warm or cold, cut into wedges. Enjoy slowly, just as Renatta, Angie, and all of my family in Italy would do!
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

A Rediscovered Recipe by Julie Busteed

It’s that rare but valuable experience – where you set off in search of one thing, and find something completely different. Such was the case during a recent recipe search.  I was given a large cardboard box full of cookbooks.  Or so I thought…

The box with filled with items from a dear friend of mine who had passed away last year.  She was a wonderful cook who also had the gift of hospitality. I was blessed to receive her cookbooks. What a treasure!  

LemonBars1Upon looking more closely, I discovered that the box contained not only cookbooks but also three ring binder notebooks where she kept all of her recipes from food magazines like Bon Appetit and Food and Wine.  While leafing through the notebooks I found that she kept a list of every dinner party she had hosted, who was there, and what she served.  Her journal was a gold mine of 25 years worth of dinner parties, with notes about what worked and what did not. Since we were often guests at her home, my name reappeared many times… the earlier entries dating back to before I was married.  I, of course, don’t remember exactly what she served at every meal, but my memories were of delicious evenings feeling loved and cared for. 

I had also been looking for a lemon bar recipe that I used to make, but couldn’t find in my own files. It was such a surprise to find a copy of my recipe in her files!  I hope that you enjoy this rediscovered favorite recipe!

Lemon Bars
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Crust
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 cup butter
Filling
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1/3 cup lemon juice
  4. 1/4 cup flour
  5. 1/2 t. baking powder
Crust
  1. Preheat over to 350 F.
  2. Sift the flour and sugar and cut with butter until it clings together. Press with a fork into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
Filling
  1. Beat eggs, lemon juice and sugar together. Sift flour and baking powder and stir into egg mixture. Pour over baked crust.
  2. Bake for 25 more minutes.
  3. Sift powdered sugar over top when ready to serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Deviled Eggs Three Ways

Deviled eggs from Jill, Kelly and Dana!

Jill’s Deviled Eggs
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Ingredients
  1. 8 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
  2. ¼ cup mayonnaise, or more as desired
  3. 1/8 t. cayenne, plus more for sprinkling
  4. 1 T. horseradish
  5. 1 ½ t. dry mustard
  6. 1 t. poultry seasoning
  7. ½ t. celery salt
  8. a few dashes worcestershire
  9. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks into a bowl. Mash yolks and add remaining ingredients. Taste and season as desired. Fill each egg white with a generous spoonful of the egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle with cayenne.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/
Kelly Sears' Deviled Egg Base
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. ¼ cup Dijon
  3. 1 t. salt
  4. 2 good grinds pepper
  5. ¼ cup buttermilk
  6. ½ t. smoked paprika, if desired
  7. mashed egg yolks
Instructions
  1. Mix together mayonnaise, Dijon, salt and pepper in a jar. To this add buttermilk. Shake or stir until completely combined. To this add smoked paprika, if desired.
  2. Mix this base with mashed egg yolks to form the basis of your deviled egg filling.
Notes
  1. Add-ins: crumpled bacon and chile with adobo, smoked salmon and dill, shallots, chives, etc.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/
Dana's Deviled Eggs
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Ingredients
  1. 8 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
  2. Deviled Egg Base (see Kelly's recipe above)
  3. La Boite B Marlene seasoning
  4. celery salt
  5. salt and pepper
  6. capers
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks into a bowl. Mash yolks and add enough deviled egg base to form a creamy yolk mixture. Add seasonings to desired taste..
  2. Fill each egg white with a generous spoonful of the egg yolk mixture. Top with capers
  3. Hard Boiled Eggs: Place eggs in sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Plunge in cold water until eggs are cold. For best results, do not use eggs that have just been purchased.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono (Greek Egg & Lemon) Soup
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 whole chicken breast, split
  2. 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  3. 1 small onion, quartered
  4. 6 cups water
  5. 1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
  6. 1 t. salt
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  9. ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  10. Thin lemon slices for garnish
Instructions
  1. Simmer chicken breast, celery, and small onion in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Skin and debone chicken, shred. Strain stock. Add enough water to make 6 cups.
  3. Combine stock, rice and salt in saucepan. Heat to boiling, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Beat eggs in bowl until frothy. Slowly add lemon juice in a steady stream. Beat constantly to prevent eggs from curdling. Stir in 2 C. hot stock and rice mixture into eggs, whisking constantly. Gradually pour back into soup.
  5. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in shredded chicken and parsley. Garnish each serving with lemon slices.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Let Italians Save Your Dinner: A Recipe for Pasta Carbonara by Robin Nathan

It’s dinner-time and you’ve been running all day. The kids will be home in a few minutes, your other half is right behind them, and all they want to know is “what’s for dinner???”  Allow me to introduce you to your new dinner best friend … pasta carbonara.

“Carbonara?” you say. “I’ve been eating that for years. What the heck is so special about that??” Well, my friends, you only think you’ve been eating it for years. If you order it in a restaurant and one of the ingredients is heavy cream, it’s not an authentic carbonara. The classic, authentic Roman creation contains only 4 ingredients – pasta, eggs, romano cheese, and bacon. That’s it. For many of us, these are ingredients that are always in our fridge and pantry. Welcome to dinner. Or brunch. Or midnight post-party snack.

The first time I had this dish was in the kitchen of a former Italian boyfriend, and man, was it a revelation. (The pasta, not the boyfriend.) So simple, so soulful, so satisfying.  (Again, the pasta, not the boyfriend.) Just cook the pasta (I love it with fettucine or pappardelle), cook the bacon. Drain the pasta, put it back in the pan with a tablespoon of bacon drippings. Pour in beaten eggs and grated Romano cheese, and use a tongs to toss and stir. The heat of the cooked pasta turns the beaten egg into a thickened, satiny sauce in about a minute. Tumble in the cooked bacon, tong it through. Pile into bowls with loads of grated Romano cheese on top. The boyfriend is a memory, but the pasta remains. Dinner is served!!

Pappardelle a la Carbonara
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. Pappardelle
  2. 5 Strips thick cut bacon, cut into ½” dice, cooked slowly until crispy-chewy and rendered
  3. 5 eggs, beaten to blend
  4. 2 T. Grated Pecorino Romano cheese (plus more for garnish)
  5. 1 T. reserved bacon drippings
  6. Black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until barely al dente. Cook the bacon while the pasta cooks. Scoop out the cooked bacon pieces and discard all but 1 T. of the bacon drippings. Beat the eggs with the 2 T. grated cheese in a bowl. Season with black pepper.
  2. When the pasta is barely al dente, drain it and put it back into the pot. Pour in the warm bacon drippings, and quickly toss. Add the egg mixture all at once and toss with tongs for one-two minutes, until the egg mixture becomes slightly thickened, satiny and clings to the pasta (This must be done off heat, otherwise you’ll have scrambled eggs and pasta. No bueno.) Tumble in the cooked bacon pieces and toss once more.
  3. Tong into serving bowls with a generous handful of grated Pecorino Romano. Buon Apetito!
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/