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pan bagnat – a delicious French sandwich

pan bagnat - a french sandwichLooking for new ideas to make interesting sandwiches your kids will eat? Pan bagnat, the street food of Nice, is the answer.  Think of salade niçoise and you have the portable sandwich version.  I have to admit my lunches were not that inspiring…sorry mom.  To be fair, though, she had to make four lunches so some days (usually after grocery day) those would be the best-packed lunches.  To my mom’s credit, they were usually healthy with at least two servings of fruit and dessert consisted of miniature canned fruit.  I liked peaches and apple sauce but if there was a can of mixed fruit (too many chopped pears for my liking), I’d use them as a bargaining chip with some of my school friends; one fruit cup for one bag of chips or whatever was on that day.   My youngest sister used to hide her lunches behind the furnace until one day my father smelled something a bit off.  What were your school lunches like? Continue Reading →

savory palmiers

savory palmiersThese delicate, but easy-to-make French pastries can be sweet or savory.  Palmiers, named so because they look like palm trees or the shape of an elephant’s ear, uses puff pastry for its base.  Traditionally, simple ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled over the pastry then folded, rolled, sliced and baked in the oven.  The festive season is just around the corner and these delicious morsels will take center stage when you present them at your next party. Continue Reading →

Pear Clafoutis

Pear Clafoutis by The Culinary ChaseClafoutis (kla-foo-tee) is a cross between a flan and a soufflé with batter similar to that of crepes.  Clafoutis is a rustic breakfast/brunch food that hails from France and the traditional recipe calls for fresh cherries but you can add whatever fruit you like.  I bought Forelle pears last week and they were taking the longest time to ripen.  Pear clafoutis is a cinch to make and most households have the ingredients already on hand.  You don’t need a fancy dish either!  One thing to remember, though, if you use berries that are tart to begin with, you’ll need to add sugar to sweeten it to your liking.

Serves 4 to 6
inspired by Joy of Baking

3 to 4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

forelle pears by The Culinary Chase1) Preheat oven to 425f and place the rack in the center of the oven.

clafoutis ingredients by The Culinary Chase2) In a bowl add flour, salt, eggs, sugar, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Using a whisk, combine until batter is smooth.
3) Butter a 9-inch heavy ovenproof skillet (at least 1 1/2-inches deep), dust with granulated sugar and add sliced pears (in a single layer). Pour batter over the pears and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed, set, and golden brown around the edges.

forellepears4) Serve immediately with a dusting of icing (confectioners) sugar or softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Do not open the oven door until the end of the baking time or the clafoutis may collapse. Oh and don’t worry, the clafoutis will deflate a little as it cools. Try it cold…it makes for a lovely breakfast treat. Enjoy!