French Week

 Jeremy teaching a new group of Kid Chefs

 After a weekend at the lake, boating, tubing and lounging, it was time to get French week under way. It was early Monday morning and C’est si Bon was welcoming another group of Kid Chefs. Chandler (the other intern), Yvonne (chef), Trevor (once intern now returning chef), Dorette (co-owner and chef) and I set up the drinks, cutting boards and greeted all of the new kid. They got a tour of the kitchen and then a lesson in knife skills.

 Rich gives a lesson on Taste and Smell

 I was assigned to three kids and we immediately began to collect our “mise en place” (prep items). We proceeded to make a chilled carrot, cantaloupe, and anise soup with a lentil salad (capers, walnuts and mint) and both amazing an delicious. On Tuesday my group was in charge of the dessert which was lavender ice cream with lemon balm shortbread, carrots and cornmeal. The shortbread came out great but sadly the ice cream did not have enough time to chill, so we let it freeze over night and had it later in the week.

 Trevor helps Kid Chefs prepare the shortbread

 Ready to go into the oven

Another dish we prepared for the day was a spinach and egg quiche, we decided to surprise the kid chefs by adding duck and goose eggs into the Quiche. They devoured the quiche not knowing of our secret ingredient. When we told them what type of eggs were used in the quiche they didn’t seem to mind and actually kept eating the quiche (I don’t blame them, it was delicious). The duck and goose eggs are deeper in color and have a more distinct flavor then regular eggs. On Wednesday Trevor gave a demo on how to start the Fougasee Bread. Fougasse is a French ladder bread with oval slits. (looks like a ladder)

A Kid Chef chopping garlic

Also on Wednesday my group got to make the legendary Beef Bourgignonne! We also made a vegetarian Bourgignone which consisted of a variety of mushrooms, carrots, onions, vegetable stock, and herbs. Wednesday had a lot of great dishes; the Kids made Provencal pasta with tomatoes, basil and Swiss chard, broccoli and avocado salad, St.Germain pea soup (with bacon) and a flour-less chocolate gateau. Thursday consisted of French onion soup, grilled tilapia with a citrus persillade, and puff pastries with the lavender ice cream. My group made mushrooms stuffed with rice, cabbage, raisins, more mushroom, grilled eggplant and squash.

 Kneading dough

Jeremy demonstrating techniques for the Kid Chefs

Friday came before we knew it and that means Iron Chef Day! Dorette explained the rules, divided the kids into teams and I gave a demo on slicing cabbage. The two teams had to make pizza, one with marinara and a salad while the other made pesto and dessert. It was the same concept as last week but with a French influence.

The Iron Chefs of C'est si Bon

Team marinara made a delicious salad of spinach, cabbage, romaine, sliced apples and cucumbers with goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. Team Pesto made a tart with pastry cream, leftover spiced apple filling (from the beginning of the week), topped with meringue and blackberries. Both pizzas were unique with toppings such as proscuitto, pepperoni, peppers, olives, pecorino, mozzarella and basil.

 One of the Iron Chef Pizza's
 An amazing salad creation

Team Pesto's delicious tart 

At the end of the day it was Team Marinara that won and French week was over. It was another great week and I was very excited to see a new group of kids inspired and excited to cook!! The Teen Chefs are arriving on Sunday and I will begin my last week at C’est si Bon, stay tuned for next weeks blog.
Keep on Cooking!!

Here are two of my favorite recipes from the week!
Gnocchi au fromage a la parisienne (gnocchi with cheese)
from the C’est si Bon kitchen

500 ml water
125 g butter
250 g flour
8 eggs
50 g gruyere, grated

Bechamel sauce
70 g butter
70 g flour
1 liter milk

100 g Gruyere, grated
50 g butter
1 bunch parsley, minced
salt, pepper, and nutmeg

In a large saucepan combine butter and water and bring mixture just to a boil. Add sifted flour all at once, stirring briskly until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Transfer to a large bowl, let it cool for five minutes and stir in eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely. Add Gruyere.  Bring six inches of water to boil, and lower to a simmer. Drop walnut- sized ovals of the paste into the water and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes. Transfer the Gnocchi with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water. Drain well in a large colander. To make Béchamel sauce heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until a smooth consistency (white roux). Cook over medium heat until he mixture becomes a light tan color. 6 to 7 minutes. In the mean time, put the milk in a separate pan and heat until it boils. Add the hot milk to the white roux 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring sauce to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Set-aside until ready to use.
Arrange in one layer in a buttered gratin dish, pour the béchamel sauce over them, dot with butter and sprinkle with the Gruyere. Bake in a preheated 425 oven for ten minutes, then brown under broiler until golden. garnish with chopped parsley.

Flour-less chocolate gateau (cake)
from the C’est si Bon kitchen

Each cake serves 12

For the cake:
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup liquer such as grand marnier or coffee or orange juice
5 eggs
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 9 inch spring-form pan. Line the bottom with a cut circle of parchment paper. Set pan aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-able bowl for 1 minute 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and whisk until butter and chocolate are incorporated well. Whisk in the cocoa and the liquor (or coffee or juice.)

Beat eggs and sugar in an electric mixer, such as a kitchen-aid or other similar type until the mixture has tripled in volume. Fold in the chocolate mixture. 

Pour and scrape batter into pan, spreading out to the edges.
Bake for 40 minutes in the oven till the top forms a crust and the interior tests, for the most part, clean with a few moist crumbs.
Cool cake on a wire rack for about 5 minutes then, if necessary, scrunch the crust down to form an even layer, release the cake from the spring-form and invert on the rack. Peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely.

For the ganache:
¼ cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons liquor, coffee or juice

Heat the crème in a small heavy saucepan. Simmer, but do not boil.  Add the chocolate and the 6 tablespoons of cognac. Stir until chocolate is melted and well combined with the cream. Set aside for 15 minutes then spread over cooled cake.

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