Elle Jauffret

Legal Mind ~ Writer ~ Fork Handler

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The Writing Fork: Fiction You Can Taste (short order fiction written while I cooked)

Chicago World's Columbian Exposition 1893

Mar 28, 2015

Meal from THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY  by Erik Larson (Paperback 2004 Edition p. 98):

Filet Mignon à la Rossini; Fond d'Artichaut farci (stuffed artichoke heart); Potatoes à la Duchesse

  

 

FILETS MIGNONS À LA ROSSINI

3 tbsp truffle oil (or vegetable oil) + 4 shallots + 1 tbsp flour + 1 cup dry Madeira wine + 1/2 cup concentrated beef stock, fat skimmed off + truffles shaving/slivers + salt and pepper (according to taste)

Cook the filets mignons for 20-25 minutes in a 425°F oven (or more depending on their sizes and the desired on well done you want them).

Meanwhile, peel and chop shallots. Sauté them in 1-2 tbsp of truffle oil in saucepan over low heat. When they are soft, add the flour and the Madeira wine. Mix well and add the beef stock. Stir well and cook until reduced by half (the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).

Remove meat from the oven, and dress it with sauce and truffles shaving/slivers.

 

POTATOES À LA DUCHESSE

2 pounds potatoes + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 3 egg yolks + 1/3 cup heavy cream + salt, pepper, nutmeg (according to taste)

Peel, and cut potatoes in cube. Cook in boiling water.

Drain and mash potatoes. Add other ingredients and mix until well combined.

Place “purée” in a piping bag and pipe on a cookie sheet. Cook at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

Mardi Gras beignets: Bugnes

Feb 17, 2015

A Mardi Gras mask not only conceals one’s identity with splendor, but also creates mystery while allowing a complete lack of accountability for one's actions. Now… where did I put mine?

"Bugnes" (the "beignets" I used to make with my father during "Carnaval")
Mix together ingredients: 250g flour + 1 pinch of salt + ½ pack of yeast + ¼ cup sugar + 1 egg + 2 tsp lemon extract (or zest of 1 lemon) + 2 ½ tbsp butter (melted) + ½ cup of milk. The dough obtained should be elastic (not wet, not dry- add milk or flour to obtain an elastic texture). Cover with a towel and let rest for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough (1/8 inch thick) and cut shapes (lozenges with a slit in the middle or have fun making loose knots) and place in medium-hot oil until golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.  

 

Spaghetti and meatballs à la Spillane

Jan 14, 2015

Starting the year strong 

My boss told me not to judge a book by its cover when I see her. But what did I care? I don’t read anyway. When the broad came to my desk to start the job, bimbo was written all over her. She was squeezed into a tight red wool skirt with a white silk blouse showing her black brassiere underneath, and big blond hair topped her powdered face. She had gams that didn’t end, black stilettos that could kill a man and painted fingernails that matched her lipstick probably called ‘deadly passion’. All I knew is that when she leaned over, her knockers almost bouncing out, saying, “I am Barbie, I came for the job,” the blood had left my brain and it felt suddenly hot.

Within minutes, the entire office was standing at my door, all the gees wondering who the doll was. When I told them she was the Head of Accounts, they all thought it was bunk, joking that they all wanted to take her to the flop house for an hour before she returned to bake cookies for her john. Dumb corporate guys always thinking with their schlongs. But she showed them all. When thrown into the business ring, this dame knocked down all our competitors’ best guys. Numbers were her game and she was making grands for the company like noone before. Within six months all guys had to agree: this broad had balls.
 

The Log

Dec 24, 2014

 

The log was the gift of a complete stranger. The boy discovered it in the snow, at his little brother’s feet, upon waking up from their cold-induced nap.

“‘must be from Santa!” his brother said. But Thomas knew it wasn’t. He had stopped believing in Father Christmas the year his parents died, leaving him and his little brother behind, in the urban jungle of wintery London. He had lost faith in God and humanity, until that very day when a log the size of his brother was deposited next to their pan where five miserable pennies were freezing.

The night was falling as steadily as the snow. The boys retreated to their shelter in the back alley of the toy store. From there, they could see the ornate Christmas tree, wrapped presents and a multitude of toys through the store’s window, giving them the illusion of owning them all. Thomas dragged the heavy log to their corner and hoisted it into the wire burn barrel he had found in the dumpster a day before. He covered it with trashed newspapers and pamphlets, which he lit with his lighter – the only inheritance he had received from his father. His little brother and he watched the yellow flame devour the paper, consuming it with red and blue hues.

Thomas tucked his brother in, under the stained and ripped blankets that were making their bed. He slid next to him and held him close, hoping the log was big enough to last 5 hours- time after which they were guaranteed a place in the orphanage.

He fell asleep, his heart filled with hope that they would make it to the next day alive. Christmas was the season of giving and that log had been all he had hoped for.

---------------------------

Christmas Log/Bûche de Noël: chocolate cake filled with chocolate-orange blossom mousse, covered with with white chocolate swiss meringue icing. 

 

 

Post-Thanksgiving Shutdown

Nov 28, 2014

 

 

Not getting dressed. Not answering the phone. Just plugging the grill in and virtually saving the world.

 

[Post-Thanksgiving paninis: turkey, cranberry sauce (with cognac), arugula, blue cheese, rustic bread]

 

 

Clueless meets Friday-the-13th

Oct 30, 2014

Text message: 

O-M-G! Jason Voorhees-Lecter asked me to go to the lake with his family this weekend! I so can’t believe it! I know you think he’s creepy because he wears his hockey mask all the time. But FYI, guys love sports as much as girls love shopping! (hint on why you are single). BTW, Jason has a KILLER body. Have you ever seen him swim? Drooling! I can’t believe he asked me out again. Our first kiss was so awkward. And so was the 2nd and the others after that. I still can’t figure out why my lips bled every time… must be my stupid braces! But tonight’s going to be different.You know what? Jason’s going to take me to dinner at CANNIBAL, his mom’s avant-garde restaurant where they serve the best Cajun stew EVER. And who cares if it’s Friday the 13th? Oh, I almost forgot. Jason wants us to get matching tattoos. He’s got all the knives and needles to do it at the lake. That’s going to be EPIC!
Happy Friggatriskaidekaphobia! Love you!

 

The Taste of Victory: Bitter Sweet Lemon Custard

Sep 16, 2014

Joan's War

Joan brought her sword down with all her remaining might, inflicting a deathblow on her opponent, and watched the last of her country’s foes collapse. 

Exhaustion made her knees wobble. She stumbled toward her nation’s flag, fighting hard not to collapse, and rose from the field of corpses, holding onto its flagpole.

An eerie silence hung in the air.

She was the last soldier standing.

She waited for victory’s sweetness to reach her soul, but all she experienced was the acridity of battle and the metallic taste of the blood that ran from her forehead to the curl of her split upper lip. She shook her hand free from its gauntlet and wiped her face, caked with mud and blood.

She expected feelings of relief and euphoria, not grief and sorrow. Triumph was supposed to be savory. Triumph was not supposed to feel this way.

She drew a deep breath and questioned the ashen grey sky, but obtained no answers.

The rising sun splashed its warmth, illuminating the land around her in a bright yellow drizzle as it fought to pierce the smoke-heavy clouds.

From the east to the west and as far south as her sight could reach, the ground was dark red and silver, strewn with the remains of loyal soldiers. Fluid ruby red splatters had hardened and darkened with each passing hour, turning the dew-covered human cadavers into vulture-pleasing carrions.

Behind her lay the smoking ruins of the citadel she had sworn to defend, its cathedral was standing in its center – intact, like she was, by God knows what miracle.

She swept the fields with her eyes, wondering whether a divine or demonic influence had allowed her to survive and led her to victory. Witnessing all these wasted lives, broken family lines, and mayhem – the product of humans loathing their kind- didn’t taste like victory.

 

BITTER SWEET LEMON CUSTARD

 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar (for dusting)

 

Butter 4-6 custard cups with unsalted butter. Set aside.

Whisk egg yolks + sugar until almost white and fluffy; mix in the flour + zest+ lemon juice +milk. Set batter aside.

Beat egg whites until a peak forms. Add to batter and mix thoroughly.

Divide batter among 4-6 custard cups and cook in a bain-marie* in a 350 degree-oven for about 20 minutes (until top is lightly brown and fluffy.) Serve war, at room temperature, or cold. Dust with powdered sugar.

 

*Bain-marie: place the custard cups in a baking dish that you filled with water (the water should reach half to ¾ up the sides of the cups.)

 

 

The White Cathedral from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Aug 9, 2014

 

“The White Cathedral was a cavern of alabaster quartz…. Its walls were damp and bloomed with mushrooms, salt lilies, toadstools shaped like stars. It was buried deep beneath Ravka...” SIEGE and STORM by Leigh Bardugo p.427.  “…in the White Cathedral, people were careful not to stray too far from the passage that curled around the main caverns. Strange sounds echoed through the dim warren of tunnels, groans and unexplained rumblings. RUIN and RISING by Leigh Bardugo p.1

 

Dish: Croquembouche made with “cavernous” and filled cream puffs.

Filling: fig crème patissière, rose crème patissière, almond crème patissière.

 RECIPE

 

PASTRY PUFFS

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter;  6 eggs (large); 1 teaspoon sugar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt butter in 1 1/2 cups water with sugar and salt. Add flour and mix vigorously for about 3 minutes- best with a wooden spoon until the dough is homogenous (a light film should form on the bottom and the side of the pan.) Remove from the heat. Add 6 eggs, one at a time, and beat until perfectly incorporated. Use a pastry bag to pipe out the dough in mounds (about 1 inch high and wide) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg glaze (1 egg beaten with some water). Smooth the tops (with a wet finger.) Bake for about 20 minutes – until puffs are puffed and golden. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE BAKING if possible. Let completely cool before filling with cream.

 

BASIC PASTRY CREAM

6 large egg yolks; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup flour; 3 tablespoons unsalted butter; 2 cups milk

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add the flour. Continue whisking. Add hot milk and melted butter. Place mixture in a saucepan and over high heat. Stir until mixture boils and thickens. Continue stirring until homogeneous. Remove from heat. Let cool completely before piping it in the puffs. For chocolate pastry cream: add 2 ounces of melted chocolate to the mixture. For other flavors: add about 2 teaspoons of a chosen extract (lemon, almond, lavender…)

 

CARAMEL

2 cups sugar; 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pan (do not stir) and boil until any crystals are dissolved. Uncover. Boil a few more minutes - until syrup is amber brown. Remove from heat. Use immediately.

 

ASSEMBLY OF THE CROQUEMBOUCHE

Pipe the pastry cream in the puffs. Dip the bottom of each puff into the caramel and “glue” together in a pyramid.

 

Happy Fourth of July with Cherry Pies

Jul 1, 2014

 

 

 

I spy with my little eyes

Something beginning with P

It could be traditional

With apples and double crust

Or with blueberries oozing

Through a spongy crumble top

But the one I crave and see

S’made with dark and sweet cherries

 

 

 

 

CHERRY PIE

Pie crust dough (homemade or store bought- pate brisee best) – enough to make two 9-inch-crust pies (1 for the bottom crust, 1 for the top or lattice)

2 pounds fresh sweet cherries (pitted) or 1 3/4 pounds frozen cherries (partially thawed)

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (soften)

Filling: In a bowl, combine sugar + cornstarch + salt + vanilla + butter + cherries.

Pour mixture in crust-lined pan. Then, cover with second crust or lattice.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1h 30.

 

(Pate brisee: 2 1/2 cups flour +1 teaspoon salt + 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces + 1/4 + cold water. When done, chill for 1 hour before using.)  

Fête de la Musique - Music Day (June 21)

Jun 16, 2014

Do not forget to celebrate the "Fête de la Musique" on June 21.

Eclectic

I want you to seduce me,
Languorously wrap me with sultry Jazz,
Captivate me with your deep crooner voice
Hypnotize me with your eyes.

 In English, French, or Spanish
Whisper softly to me Soul and Ballads,
Serenade me under veiled moonlight,
Then embrace me in a Waltz.

 But, please, love me in silence,
Your breath’s rhythm entangled with mine.
African drums of the rising heat,
Mighty jolt of Latin beat.

 In your arms, I feel no Blues
No Heavy Metal, Punk Rock kind of stress
In my mind, joyful Pop and Bagatelle
How to rock my world you knew.

 Hold me tight, never let go,
Savor our Love song a little longer
‘Till the marche funèbre’s doom, at the door
Knocks a little louder. 

 

Beignets de Courgettes / Fried Zucchini 

For the batter: 3 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, salt, chopped fresh parsley.
Slice zucchini, dip in batter, and fry in vegetable oil.

 

 

 

SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo - a three-course meal

May 13, 2014

Among the several dishes mentioned in SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo, we chose the following three: Brandied Cuckoo, Mushrooms Baked In Cream, Honey Mousse  (SIEGE AND STORM, Hardcover p.196-197)

Mushrooms Baked In Cream  (Hardcover p.196)

1 lb mushrooms (baby portabella best)

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion (finely diced)

3 garlic gloves (finely chopped)

1 tbsp flour (all-purpose flour)

1 cup sour cream

¼ tsp paprika

¼ tsp nutmeg

salt and ground pepper (to taste)

Wash and dry mushrooms. Slice in half or quarter (depending on size- but not too small). In frying pan, melt the butter with the olive oil. Sauté the mushrooms until golden and tender (about 5 minutes. Add the onion and the garlic. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add flour, paprika, nutmeg, salt, pepper and heavy cream. Stir and pour in a shallow dish. Bake in a 350 degree-oven for 10 minutes

 

Honey Mousse  (Hardcover p.197)

6 egg yolk

3/4 cup of honey  (130 ml)

1 ½ cup heavy cream   (250 ml)

Beat the honey with the egg yolks until very thick and pale (about 10 minutes). Set aside. Beat the heavy cream to soft peaks. Add to the honey mixture and fold gently until well combined. Pour into small cups. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or freeze for 2 hours depending on desired consistency). 

 

 

Rooftop Secret Garden

Apr 25, 2014

Lilly sneaked out the window and stepped on the frigid platform of the fire escape. She climbed up the stairs, cautiously but quickly, leaving behind the prints of her small soles and toes in the April snow. The roof was empty but for a green house made out of plastic bags and dry-cleaner hangers under which Lilly had planted a few seeds that had sprouted and grown. A few blocks away, the sharp glass building dominating the urban landscape came to life, jutting out of the darkness. A bright digital ribbon displayed the time in flashing green digits. 5:48. Lilly was just in time. She lifted the fragile plastic curtain, exposing the growing zucchini plants to the rising sun and watched its delicate yellow flowers open up in a slow graceful show. Lilly stayed there, seated under the humble tent of her vegetable garden, smiling and grateful to be alive in this ruthless world. Because for a few minutes a day, Lilly felt like she had it all.

Stuffed zucchinis

Ingredients: zucchinis, seasoned minced meat (sausage without casing), onion, garlic, fine bread crumbs, olive oil, fresh herb, salt and pepper.

Scoop the flesh out of the raw zucchinis (as if carving canoes). Chop finely all the other ingredients (including the zucchini's scooped out flesh). Fill "canoes" with mix. Dress with a few drops of olive oil and bake at a 350 degree-oven.

 

 

The Mermaid

Mar 25, 2014

She cried the tears of a mermaid
Longing to see the sun
Frightened by the likely burn
His heart: the goal of her crusade

Opening every shell
From oysters to mussels
Haunted by the comforting taste
Of his dried giving lips

Reaching as high and far
From down deep and below
Gathering all her strength
Forgetting her fresh scar

His soul she breathed, her core he touched
Despite the forbidden
and the impossible
By the rock of love: crushed.

O mermaid, can't you see?
A fantasy you are
No right man could love you
Release his memory

With white wine and black pods
Succulent bright orange
More than a mere mortal, attract
All of the oceans' Gods.

(Mussels cooked in white wine)