French Fries Recipe |

Potatoes provide excellent health benefits. Potatoes are among the most versatile vegetables and the world’s favorite tuber crop. Potatoes are mounds of carbohydrates and contain little proteins too. This makes it an ideal diet for those lean and thins who desperately want to put on weight. The vitamins like vitamin-C and B-complex also help in proper absorption of this carbohydrate.

French Fries Ingredients

  • 3-4 big potatoes
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 250gm Vegetable oil

Method

Peel the potatoes.

Cut it in the shape of sticks.

Boil it in water for 5 minutes.

Let the potatoes be half- baked.

Now drain the water.

And put the potatoes on a tissue paper so that water will drain off.

Sprinkle salt on it and shake it well.

Heat oil in a pan on a high flame.

Put the potatoes slowly and cook it well till it turns brown.

Finger-licking French fries are ready! Serve it hot with Tomato Sauce!

Nectarine Shiso Ice Cream





One thing about motherhood I didn’t expect, was the friendships you make with other moms you meet along the journey. And one of those friendships, with wonderful Hiromi and her son Dylan, brought me one of my favorite herbs: shiso, fresh from her garden. Shiso, also known as perilla (more useful information on the herb here), is often served in sushi bars as garnish. It is a member of the mint family. When I describe its flavor, I say it is somewhere between basil and mint. But that doesn’t do it justice. It has such an elusive taste that seems to elevate the texture and fattiness of raw fish, but also flavors steamed rice wonderfully. Like lavender, it has a powerful scent, and I’ve been wanting to make ice cream with it for a long time. So when on a hot Tuesday, I met Hiromi in front of the organic fruit stand at the Farmer’s market and she handed me those beautiful shiso leaves from her garden… well, the idea for peach-shiso ice cream presented itself. Life is serendipitous that way sometimes. Or at least, a lot of recipes are.

Pablo had never had ice cream before, and I really wanted to make it homemade, as the ice cream sold in stores is so high in sugar content, and I am wary of sugar more than anything else. The amazing thing about babies and toddlers, is their ability to both enjoy very mild, subtle taste (plain yogurt, plain tofu), and very strong and flavorful things (olives, pickles, blue cheese) at a young age. But if we introduce an overload of sweet flavors at the outset, how can they possibly enjoy pure and subtle flavors, like a simple vanilla ice cream? Conversely, if we wait until they’re older to introduce what we consider to be strong or odd flavors, we take the chance they might reject them for being too unfamiliar. So my strategy has been, from the very beginning: 1/ to avoid anything too sweet (big fan of plain yogurt), 2/ to offer whole foods with every category of flavor (bitter, salty, sour, sweet and umami), without the preconceived notion that because he’s a baby, he won’t like it. Exposing him to those flavors (as well as their smell, since smell is an essential component of taste) while still very young (from 6 months on, depending on any allergy risk) has been a key part of my strategy. 3/ To get him to taste the foods pure first, 4/ To keep trying and offering over and over again if he doesn’t seem to like something.

I imagine his tastebuds as these very sensitive and delicate sensors, not to be overloaded or crushed, but to be challenged and exposed to a variety of things (I suppose you could say the same of raising a child, couldn’t you?)

This ice cream definitely fit the bill for exposing Pablo to the subtle flavor of shiso, combined with the known flavor of stone fruits and dairy. It has a very mild taste, it is not that sweet (the only sugar comes from the honey). You taste the fruit first, and the shiso stays as an aftertaste. The whole family enjoyed it, I gave it to Pablo for his afternoon snack (“le goûter”) with a couple of small oat cookies.

Nectarine Shiso Ice Cream

Age : 12 months and up (mostly because of the honey).

6 nectarines (or peaches, white or yellow, whichever are the ripest and sweetest, I mixed both for this batch)

20 leaves of shiso

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup honey + 1 tbsp for drizzling over the nectarines before roasting

Preheat the oven at 400°F.

Cut the nectarines/peaches in half (remove pits now or later), and place in a roasting pan, cut side up. Drizzle with honey. Roast until golden brown and tender, 30-40 minutes.

Let cool completely, peel the nectarines and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

In a large sauce pan, combine the shiso, cream, coconut milk and honey over medium heat, until it barely boils. Remove from heat, cover and let the shiso steep for about 10-15 mn.

Pour shiso-milk mixture through a colander into a bowl. Press the shiso leaves with a big spoon to let all the flavor out of them. Discard the leaves. Let cool and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

When the fruit and ice cream base are nice and cold, mash the nectarines grossly, add them to the base. (Note: You can also combine the base with the fruit when cool, but before refrigerating for a few hours or overnight, to let the flavors of the fruit steep even more into the base.)

Churn in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

If you like it very creamy, eat it right away. Otherwise, freeze and it will harden.

Alternative to shiso: You could use the exact same recipe with mint, for a peach or nectarine & mint ice cream.

PS: Just added “ice cream” to the food sign list, check it out!

French lemon tart recipe

Today’s your birthday. I call you, you’re playing with the kids. You’re

picking lemons, to make a tarte. You love making that lemon tarte, and we laugh because it’s the fifth week in a row you’ve made it. We’re excited about tonight’s meal, a new
restaurant, it will be fun. You wonder what dessert will be. You do have a seriously sweet tooth. Do you remember how you ate all 12 madeleines I brought you at the maternity hospital? 

Later, we meet for our weekly hike.  We talk about our children, their hair, their
mischiefs, their tantrums, their giggles. About our families. About Barbara and
the opera. About the children’s book you want to write. We talk about food, about last week’s meal, last year’s meal. We talk
about morning light over LA. We talk about being tired. About how hard marriage
can be. About past struggles and future travels. Not very much about future
struggles.  

I tell you about my blog. You
love the idea, you’re so supportive. You’re excited about it for me. I love
that about you, you take on other people’s joys and make them your own.

We talk about tonight’s plan. Our children spending an evening together,
growing up together. We laugh at the thought of being two old ladies, having
the same conversation.

Denial.

That day is a figment of my imagination. It’s unfair. I fume. Why
couldn’t I get that day? Why did this happen? How in the hell is it possible? I
want to scream. I don’t know to whom, so I don’t. I hate that you’re gone. Should have been me. I hate that good
things have happened since. I hate that good things come out of tragedy. It wasn”t supposed to turn out this way. You bailed on me. I’m pissed.


Anger.

What if it had been me? Less people would have gotten hurt. What if
circumstances had been different? If I try to be as good a friend as you were,
as open and giving as you were, as good a mother, sister, daughter as you were…
If I learn to share other people’s joys as genuinely as you did… maybe then you
won’t be gone, somehow.


Bargaining.

You are gone. We will not grow old together. I listen to songs that make
me think of you, with a lump in my throat. You meant more to me than I meant to
you. Terrible things happen. They will happen again and again. Nothing will ever be the same.
Time passes, fades things away. Details we desperately hang on to, to keep our head above water and not drown in sorrow. There’s that lump in my throat again. Sometimes it’s so heavy it goes right
down to my heart, pulling me down to darker depths.


Depression.

You are gone, and you are with me, every day. I go through the motions of beating
sugar and eggs, pouring butter, squeezing a lemon. Putting the tarte in the
oven. It’s strange. You went through the same motions in your kitchen, while kids were playing nearby, a long time ago.

Wonderful connections and friendships have occurred since you left us. Amazing
generosities and moments of true joy. It does seem terribly unfair it had to
happen that way. But I am grateful for them. You’ve taught me a lot of things.
Mostly unknowingly. But your final lesson is the most important of them all. Never
take life for granted, and cherish those you love. Nothing else truly matters.

With a heavy heart, I think of you today. I shall have a slice of my ever
imperfect tarte au citron. Perfection doesn’t exist. If it did, you wouldn’t be
gone.  With every bite, I am thankful for all you have brought into my
life.

Acceptance.

Tarte au citron – French lemon pie

Serves about 6

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 25 mn

Age for babies: 12 months above, because it is very sweet.

1 1/2 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup butter + a bit to butter the pie pan
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg
The juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven at 375°F.

Place 1/3 cup butter in a hot water bath to melt it (a ramekin in a pan with water will do – or in a pinch, melt in the microwave).

Meanwhile, make the dough (pâte sablée) mixing the flour with about 1/2 cup of soft butter. You can do this by hand or with a food processor (with dough blade). Add 1 or 2 tbsp of water to get it moist enough to form a workable dough.

Butter the pie pan (I used three smaller ones, you can use a larger one, 7 inch diameter for example).

Spread the dough in the pie pan(s) using your finger to even its thickness throughout. (Use some flour on your hands if the dough is a bit sticky).

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg, until it’s white and foamy.  Whisk in the 1/3 cup melted butter, and the lemon juice.

Pour the lemon mixture into the pie pan(s) with the dough. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the crust is crumbly. Put another 5 minutes in the broiler to brown the top. (Note: the lemon filling will remain very soft and almost liquidy. It firms up some when it cools down).

Let cool, and enjoy with some mint tea and good company.

Chicken with French cheese recipe

This week, we made our way from Greece to Lille in Northern France. Talk about a change of scenery! From 90° to 65°, from sand & white to red brick, from Mediterranean to northern food. As good an opportunity as any to share with you some thoughts I’ve had on adaptability.

Traveling with a 16 months old has definitely been a lesson in
adaptability for everyone involved. I should say I am very lucky and grateful to have a
toddler that falls asleep in 3 minutes in any bed, takes naps in the car when convenient,
and will eat, or at least try, just about any food, which has made me incredibly proud.

Adaptability has got to be
one my top priorities for Pablo. I think it’s a key component to becoming
a happy, flexible adult. Being adaptable is another, less poetic way to
say open-minded. It means accepting the world around, looking at it, letting it
in, as opposed to trying to bend the world to what we already know. And nothing
like traveling, to teach open-mindedness and adaptability, whether it is with
food, environment, people, weather, activities, schedule. And as much as I expect Pablo to adapt to this new life while
traveling, starting with Greece (a place where rhythms are very different than
in the US, eating dinner very late, napping mid-day), I have also learned to
adapt to a different schedule and a different type of vacationing with a
toddler. I have been more lenient with table manners (oh how I missed the high
chair in Greece…), Pablo wandering around with his 18 months old cousin Margarita, eating
a piece of tomato here, a piece of bell pepper there… There was way more
snacking than I would allow back home. But I adapted, because I didn’t want to be
stressed and spoil both our time. What kind of lesson would I be teaching him
in adaptability if I couldn’t myself be open-minded and flexible?

I think young children can be incredibly resilient, and we may often times underestimate their ability to handle change and transitions and new environments. Perhaps it is us adults who sometimes have a hard time with change and pass on our discomfort to our children. Just like many foods, if we expose them to it very young, it will become part of their world. And when you think about it, life is nothing but changes and transitions, isn’t it? The world is there to be experienced, and home is where love is, and I think this is one of the essential lessons Pablo is getting out of this trip, as we go from friends to friends, all with different styles, and different lives, but all with the warmth of friendship in their smiles as they welcome us into their homes.

I would like to share a specialty dish from Northern France, made with a local cheese called Maroilles, which may be substituted for another strong cheese in your area. I still remembered this wonderful dish from a few years ago when my friend Linda made it for me on my last visit to Lille. And Pablo had to have a taste this time as well. It is ridiculously easy to make, and just delicious, though admittedly not the lightest of meals… But once in a while, you’ve just got to succumb to cheese and cream… Pablo certainly did, and he loved this dish.

Chicken au Maroilles

Age for babies: Depending on the cheese you use, especially if it is raw milk cheese, I would wait until after 12 months.

Serves 4

12 oz of Maroilles cheese (or other strong cow milk cheese, such as epoisse, reblochon)

1.5 lb chicken breast

8 oz crème fraîche 

1 shallot

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

 

Fresh tagliatelles or linguine

Cut the chicken breast in bite-size pieces. Remove the rind of the cheese and cut it in cubes.

In a frying pan, melt the shallot with a bit of olive oil, until translucent. Add the chicken and sauté over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of hot water, and let simmer until the chicken is cooked and the water has reduced, about 10 minutes.

Bring a pot of salted water with a drop of olive oil to a boil.

Over medium heat, add the cheese cubes and mix until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Once the cheese is melted, add the cream and stir well. Keep warm.

Add the fresh pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook for a few minutes, as instructed on the package.

Serve in deep plates: pasta first, chicken and cheese sauce on top.

You can serve this with a simple endive salad (endive is also a specialty Northern France) with a walnut vinaigrette (1 part red wine vinegar, 2 parts olive oil, 1 part walnut oil, 2 tsp of mustard, salt & pepper). The bitterness and crunch of the endive and tanginess of the vinaigrette will compensate the saltiness of the cheese.

A French classic… Salmon with sorrel

When I was about four years old, my uncle had a community garden where he grew various vegetables. Memory works strangely, doesn’t it? I don’t have a linear recollection of the garden or the time I spent there, only flashes, experiential stills if you will. Unearthing radishes to be bit into with butter and salt. The sun hitting us and the soil. And the tangy taste of sorrel. He would let me pick it myself and chew on it, and I remember vividly its wonderful lemony flavor.

Sorrel isn’t very well-known here and can be hard to find. So when I found some planted sorrel at a farmer’s market a few months ago, I was very excited to plant some along with my other herbs, thrilled to have history repeat itself (in a good way in this case) and see the look on Pablo’s face while chewing on a sorrel leaf.  I guess that’s one of the things food can do for us. Help us come full circle, infuse some of who we are and our past, into our children, via their taste buds. It is such a visceral meaningful way for different generations to connect. In the garden, in the kitchen or at the table.

But moving on from the nostalgic, childhood, soulful part of this post to its practical side…
When I first started looking into baby food in the US, I was baffled at the lack of variety available in baby food jars in stores, even high-end stores. Hoping to find ready-made Brussels sprouts puree? Never mind… And those strange mixes of ingredients (how is baby supposed to get familiar with the subtle flavor of vegetables if they’re always overpowered by apricot, which seems to be sneaked into the ingredients of most baby food brands?), and the absence of fish. In any French supermarket, you will find baby jars with “Cod with spring vegetables”, “Salmon with green beans” (sans apricot), and many others. And it actually tastes good! This is one of the reasons why I knew I would have to cook everything myself for Pablo. Had I been living in France, I might not have… Necessity is the mother of invention, so yay for the apricot flavored veggies, because this adventure in cooking for baby has been so fulfilling and interesting!

Numerous nutritional books and experts will tell you the many health benefits of fish (especially the right kind, the smaller fish, low in mercury), it is rich in omega 3, DHA and all kinds of great nutrients and vitamins. Yet some ob/gyns advise against eating fish at all during pregnancy. I had a pediatrician tell me not to eat fish while nursing, and then some even say to avoid giving it to baby the first year. It has been shown that fetuses start “tasting” what mom eats around 21 weeks of pregnancy (interesting story on this at http://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth). It’s hard to expect our children to like fish if we don’t try to expose them to its flavor early on (plus it’s so good for them!)

I started Pablo on fish and meat at the same time (one at a time, of course), around 8 months. I try to make sure he has it at least 2 to 3 times a week, and that he eats a good variety of fish (mostly I use salmon, Dover sole, cod, and sardines).

The tart sourish flavor of sorrel (which, by the way, is extremely high in vitamin C and A, as well as in iron and fiber) complements the fattiness and richness of salmon very nicely. (Salmon in a creamy sorrel sauce is a standard in most traditional French restaurants.) So give this very simple recipe a try and see if it wins over your child! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

Salmon with Sorrel Puree

Age: Around 8 months depending on when you started solids, check with your pediatrician. (If your child hasn’t had salmon nor sorrel yet, you can start with a Salmon with Kale puree for example, provided you have given him kale puree by itself beforehand.)

This recipe makes approximately 4 x 2-oz jars, which you can then freeze and feed to your baby later.

1 salmon filet of approx 100 g / 3.5-4 oz** (I try go get Sockeye or Coho wild caught and fresh if possible. Even if you find it previously frozen, you can refreeze safely once it has been cooked)

Wash the sorrel (you can even leave the stems), peel the potatoes and cut them up.
Place the sorrel, potatoes and salmon fillet in your steamer and steam for about 12-15 mn, until the potatoes are cooked through. (I use the Babycook from Beaba, which steams and mixes. If you use that, it’s water level 3).

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor, with a bit of the cooking juice to obtain the desired consistency. You can make it very smooth or chunky depending on your baby’s taste and age. Enjoy! (Or freeze…)

*For an older toddler, you can make the sorrel potato puree (steam together and mix with a bit of the cooking juices to get the desired consistency), add pieces of salmon on top.

** A quick note on protein quantities: researching various French nutritional sites and literature for babies, I found it is usually recommended to start off with about 10-15 g (1/3 to 1/2 oz) of fish or meat per meal at 8 months, and then slowly work your way up to 25 g (0.8 to 1 oz) per meal at 12 months. Adjust the weight of the salmon fillet you use according to your baby’s age.

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