Tag Archives: Allrecipes.com

France Celebrates Bastille Day – And So Can You!

Bastille DayJuly 14 is the annual National Day celebration in France. The date marks the one-year anniversary of the famous storming of the Bastille and the end of the French Revolution which changed France from a feudal nation governed by a monarchy to a republic. Admittedly, there were a few sketchy years when Napolean was in charge.

Many French make a distinction between July 14, 1789 and July 14, 1790. As with any political change, particularly one that resulted in bloodshed and loss of life, there were hard feelings on both sides.

In 1880, French Senate Chairman Henri Martin explained why he believed France should adopt July 14th as its National Day:

“Do not forget that behind this 14 July, where victory of the new era over the ancien régime was bought by fighting, do not forget that after the day of 14 July 1789, there was the day of 14 July 1790. … This [latter] day cannot be blamed for having shed a drop of blood, for having divided the country. It was the consecration of the unity of France. … If some of you might have scruples against the first 14 July, they certainly hold none against the second. Whatever difference which might part us, something hovers over them, it is the great images of national unity, which we all desire, for which we would all stand, willing to die if necessary.”

For most French people, these distinctions have ceased to matter. Instead, the day is about parades and parties. To help the French celebrate (after all, they did help us out a whole lot during our American Revolution), here are some ideas for a kid-friendly, French-inspired picnic.

Cheese platter – You don’t have to pick fancy, stinky cheeses in order to enjoy a cheese platter with your kids. Pick what you – and they – enjoy. Ideally, try to get a variety of different cheese textures for them to sample along with a lovely grape juice.

Salade Nicoise – She may not be French but Martha Stewart is “la dame” when it comes to an American version of the famous French salad. Here’s her recipe for salade nicoise. Definitely splurge on the bottle of white wine vinegar; it makes a lovely difference!

Crepes – I love crepes either with sugar or nutella. Here’s a basic crepe recipe from AllRecipes.com you can try.

Baguette sandwiches – Take the humble ham and cheese sandwich and put it into a delicious baguette and you’re halfway to France! This easy sandwich is super kid-friendly. For an authentic feel, add cornichons, tiny French pickles, to the sandwich with either mayonnaise or mustard.

For more articles from KidCulture about France and French food, check out these links:

Soup’s On! French Onion Soup

French Food Made Fun

French Cooking Class for Kids

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Cookies 14: Cannoli

cannoliThe cannoli, which means “little tube” in Italian, originates in Sicily and was created as a treat before Lent began.

Today, cannoli are prepared – and enjoyed – year round, but the holiday season is a prime time to share this treat with family and friends.

This cannoli recipe is from AllRecipes.com. Why not make a batch to share with your “Godfather.”

Cannoli

Ingredients

  • Shells:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed

 

  • Filling:
  • 1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup chopped candied citron
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the shortening until it is in pieces no larger than peas. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg, egg yolk, Marsala wine, vinegar and water. Mix with a fork until the dough becomes stiff, then finish it by hand, kneading on a clean surface. Add a bit more water if needed to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Knead for about 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Divide the cannoli dough into thirds, and flatten each one just enough to get through the pasta machine. Roll the dough through successively thinner settings until you have reached the thinnest setting. Dust lightly with flour if necessary. Place the sheet of dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a form or large glass or bowl, cut out 4 to 5 inch circles. Dust the circles with a light coating of flour. This will help you later in removing the shells from the tubes. Roll dough around cannoli tubes, sealing the edge with a bit of egg white.
  3. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) in a deep-fryer or deep heavy skillet. Fry shells on the tubes a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Use tongs to turn as needed. Carefully remove using the tongs, and place on a cooling rack set over paper towels. Cool just long enough that you can handle the tubes, then carefully twist the tube to remove the shell. Using a tea towel may help you get a better grip. Wash or wipe off the tubes, and use them for more shells. Cooled shells can be placed in an airtight container and kept for up to 2 months. You should only fill them immediately or up to 1 hours before serving.
  4. To make the filling, stir together the ricotta cheese and confectioners’ sugar using a spoon. Fold in the chopped citron and chocolate. Use a pastry bag to pipe into shells, filling from the center to one end, then doing the same from the other side. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar and grated chocolate for garnish when serving.

 

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Cookies 13: Biscochitos

biscochitosBiscochitos are anise-flavored cookies commonly found at celebrations like Christmas.

Biscochitos were probably introduced in Mexico in the 16th century by the Spanish but – like all recipes that continue to be prepared – it has changed over time.

Here’s a biscochitos recipe from AllRecipes.com for you to try!

Biscochitos

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lard
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Mix in the anise seed, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the sifted ingredients and brandy, and stir until well blended.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 or 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. The traditional is fleur-de-lis. Place cookies onto baking sheets. Mix together the 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the tops of the cookies.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.

 

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Cookies 8: Mandelbrot

mandelbrotAs Hanukkah draws to a close, try this delicious and easily adapted cookie.

Unlike many cookies, mandelbrot, “almond bread” in Yiddish, are twice-baked. The result is something very much like Italian biscotti.

In addition, you can easily adapt the mandelbrot recipe to incorporate your favorite treats: chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, and more.

Here’s a mandelbrot recipe from Edna Weisberger by way of AllRecipes.com.

Mandelbrot

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)

3/4 cup chocolate syrup

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into an electric mixer’s mixing bowl and mix well; blend eggs and 1/2 cup oil into mixture. Pour orange juice and orange zest into mixture; mix well. When the mixture becomes very thick take the mixing bowl out of the mixer and continue stirring with a wooden spoon (at this point the mixture is so thick that it could damage an electric mixer).

Separate dough into thirds. Roll (or spread with your hands) each chunk of dough into a rectangular shape. Sprinkle the chocolate syrup onto the center of each rectangle. Fold the sides of each rectangle into the center to form a loaf shape. Work with the loaf until there is no longer a crease that could break open while baking. Each roll will be approximately 12 inches long. Brush the outside of each roll lightly with oil. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of the rolls.

Bake on a nonstick cookie pan for 20 minutes. This is a firm, cake-like cookie. If you would rather a crispier cookie toast the cookie another 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled cut the loaves to form semi-circle shaped cookies.


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Cookies 6: Goro

The goro, Norway’s “affluent” cookie, is very similar to the fattigman, or the “poor man’s cookie.” The one big difference is that the goro is baked and not fried in fat.

The goro is also prepared using a special iron to give it a distinct shape.

This goro recipe was posted by Jennifer on AllRecipes.com.

Goro

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup butter, melted

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

Directions

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thoroughly blended. Mix in the cream and melted butter. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and cardamom; stir into the egg mixture. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

Heat goro iron and lightly coat with grease. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into circles to fit your goro iron using a paper pattern. Place onto heated iron, close and cook, turning once, until golden. Carefully remove from the iron, and cut into thirds while still warm.

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The Secret of Tandoori Chicken

Overwhelmingly, I was informed that as much as people liked the Tandoori Chicken piece I wrote the other day, I fell short by not including a recipe.

Well, here’s the secret:  I made it from a box!

You heard right.  While dashing around the grocery store with no list and an empty stomach, I broke the cardinal rule of budget-conscious home chefs. I impulse-shopped! (By the way, doesn’t Gourmantra sound like a delicious island?)

Fortunately, it turned out well for me. I enjoyed the meal, got to try something new, and even got to brag about it to my friends.

But true to the old verse, “Pride goeth before a fall” I know I have to confess that I used the ultimate shortcut and lose what little kitchen credibility I’ve been building.

Still who knows? It may be that sometimes you have to cut some corners in order to accomplish the real goal of introducing new tastes, ideas, people, stories, cultures, music, and languages to yourself – and your family.

If a box mix helps us make that happen from time to time, I’m OK with that. But if you’re not, here are some links to “real” Tandoori Chicken recipes.

Food NetworkEmeril Lagasse’s Tandoori Chicken

Allrecipes.comIndian Tandoori Chicken (I agree with one of the posters, don’t bother adding the artificial dyes)

Cooking Light Tandoori Chicken

Better Homes and GardensTandoori Chicken

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