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Poulet Rochambeau

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Poulet Rochambeau (Chicken Rochambeau)

The tradition of Réveillon, the dinner parties held by the French on Christmas Eve is alive and well in New Orleans.  In order to stay awake until Midnight Mass, French families would draw out dinner right up till it was time to leave for church.

That means lots of good Creole-French food, of which Chicken Rochambeau is one of my favorites dishes. This is a great dish to make around holiday time because it calls for roast chicken, and there’s bound to be lots of roast chicken or turkey leftovers around many a New Orleans household at Christmas time.  Traditionally, this Louisiana Creole dish is half a chicken (breast, leg, and thigh), which is boned , leaving the skin intact. The chicken is then  roasted and served as a layered dish – first a slice of baked ham, followed by a brown, Rochambeau sauce made of chicken stock and brown sugar, with a final nap of Béarnaise sauce covering the chicken

Personally, I like to serve this dish with a rich  Marchand de Vin Sauce. which I used in this recipe. The  traditional brown sugar sauce is listed below, if you want to serve the dish in that  fashion.

Trying  to find the origins of this dish is just as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel.  Antoine’s,  the  oldest family-run restaurant  in the United States, established   in New Orleans, Louisiana  in 1840, is famous for this chicken dish. The story is that the restaurateur Antoine Alciatore,  a French immigrant and the restaurant’s namesake, created the dish to honor the Comte du Rochambeau.


The most famous Frenchman known in America was the Marquis de Lafayette, an American Revolutionary hero who has  parks named in his honor throughout the United States. However there is another French aristocrat who fought on the side of the Americans during the Revolutionary War and has been long neglected by history and his name was Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau (1725 – 1807). In 1780, he was was given the rank of Lieutenant General along with 7,000 troops to help George Washington defeat the British. Eventually his forces left Rhode Island for Connecticut to join Washington on the Hudson River. This culminated in the march of their combined forces, the siege of Yorktown, and (along with the aid of the Marquis de Lafayette) the defeat of Cornwallis.

Upon his return to France, Rochambeau was honored by King Louis XVI and was made governor of the province of Picardy. He supported the French Revolution of 1789, and on 28 December 1791 he and Nicolas Luckner became the last two generals created Marshal of France by Louis XVI. When the French Revolutionary Wars broke out, he commanded the Armée du Nord for a time in 1792 but resigned after several reversals to the Austrians. He was arrested during the Reign of Terror in 1793–94 and narrowly escaped the guillotine. He was subsequently pensioned by Napoleon and died at Thoré-la-Rochette during the Empire.

A statue of Rochambeau by sculptor Ferdinand Hamar was unveiled in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square, by President Theodore Roosevelt on 24 May 1902, as a gift from France to the United States. The ceremony was made the occasion 300px-comte_de_rochambeau_statue_dcof a great demonstration of friendship between the two nations. France was represented by ambassador Jules Cambon, Admiral Fournier and General Henri Brugère, as well as a detachment of sailors and marines from the battleship Gaulois. Representatives of the Lafayette and Rochambeau families also attended.

In 1934, American A. Kingsley Macomber donated a statue of General Rochambeau to the city of Newport, Rhode Island. The sculpture is a replica of a statue in Paris. It was from Newport that General Rochambeau departed with his army to join General Washington to march on to the Siege of Yorktown.

Ironically, Lafayette Square in New Orleans has neither a statue of Lafayette, nor one in Rochambeau’s honor, but the city does have a way of creating monumental culinary dishes. Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans is famous for its Poulet Rochambeau.

general rochambeau statue.jpg


Serves 4

4 slices French bread toast, 1/2 inch thick rounds, toasted under the broiler on both sides
4 large slices roast chicken
4 large slices boiled or baked ham
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
Dash Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Béarnaise Sauce
1 cup Marchand de Vin Sauce (See Recipe Below)
Parsley, finely chopped for garnish (See Recipe Below)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and fry the ham. Warm the chicken slices.

To assemble:
In the center of two heated serving plates, place the French bread rounds. Next, place the ham and top with a generous portion of Marchand de Vin. Place the chicken on top of the Marchand de Vin, finish the dish with a generous portion of Bearnaise. Garnish with the chopped parsley.


Marchand de Vin Sauce
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely minced ham
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup red wine
Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.
Dash of Cayenne

To make the Marchand de Vin Sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the ham, scallions, mushrooms, and garlic over medium heat until the whites of the onions are translucent. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes. Add the beef stock and red wine  and bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Let simmer for about 40 minutes. The sauce should  be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set sauce aside until ready to serve.

Béarnaise Sauce
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon cold water

To Make the Béarnaise Sauce: Add the butter in a small heavy saucepan and let it melt slowly. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Heat the shallots, vinegar, peppercorns, salt and tarragon in another saucepan and cook until all the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat and let the saucepan cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and the water to the shallots.

Return the saucepan to the stove and stir the yolk mixture vigorously over very low heat. Do not overheat or the mixture will curdle. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place it on a cold surface. Add the melted butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. After incorporating the butter, remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

For the Chicken Rochambeau with Brown Sugar Sauce



Brown Sugar Sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup dry vermouth

Prepare the brown sugar sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until mixture is a caramel color.  Slowly whisk in the brown sugar ,salt and vermouth.  Increase heat to medium high and whisk constantly until mixture is  slightly thickened, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.

Prepare the  toasts, ham , chicken and Béarnaise sauce as indicated above.

To assemble:  Spoon a portion of the brown sugar sauce to the center of the  plate. Place the French bread toast on top of the brown sugar sauce and add the  ham on top of the bread. Top the ham with a generous amount  Béarnaise sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Thank you so much! Parenting Team FC Contributor Parenting Team FC Contributor

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St. Patrick’s Day Recipes & Ideas

From authentic Irish dinners to modern whiskey cocktails, Food and Wine Magazine has recipes and drinks and everything else you need to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Creamed Collard Greens

Great Greens Recipes
Food & Wine:   4 Delicious Irish Spirits That Aren't WhiskeyFood & Wine:  If You're Going to Drink Something Green on St. Patrick's Day, Make it Chartreuse
If You’re Going to Drink Something Green on St. Patrick’s Day, Make it Chartreuse

A Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake



Prep Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Servings: 1 medium ring, 8-12 servings
(For a crowd, double the recipe to make a large cake or two medium cakes)

1 package active dry yeast (¼-ounce/7 grams/2¼ teaspoons); 1 cake fresh yeast (0.6-ounce/18 grams); or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115°F for dry yeast; 80 to 85°F for fresh yeast)
1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115°F for dry yeast; 80 to 85°F for fresh yeast) or sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar (1.75 ounces/50 grams)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (½ stick/2 ounces/57 grams)
2 large egg yolks or 1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
2 teaspoon grated orange zest or orange blossom water (optional)
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour (9.5 ounces/275 grams)
1/4 -1/2 cup chopped candied citron, ½ cup chopped mixed candied fruit, or ½ cup golden raisins (5 ounces/140 grams)
Egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk or water)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3.75 ounces/105 grams)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1.25 ounces/35 grams)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt
2/3 cup chopped slightly toasted pecans (2.5 ounces/70 grams), or 1/3 cup pecans (1.25 ounces/35 grams) and ¼ cup raisins (1.25 ounces/35 grams)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (½ stick/2 ounces/57 grams)
1 pecan half, large bean, or other token (optional)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar (4 ounces/115 grams)
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (¼ stick/1 ounce/28 grams), or ¼ cup cream cheese, softened (2 ounces/57 grams) (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon almond extract
about 1 tbsp milk, buttermilk, fresh lemon juice, or water
a few drops gold food coloring or 2 to 4 tablespoons yellow colored sugar (optional)
a few drops green food coloring or 2 to 4 tablespoons green colored sugar (optional)
a few drops purple food coloring or 2 to 4 tablespoons purple colored sugar (optional)

Mixing bowls, flat surface for kneading and rolling, rolling pin, pastry brush, baking sheet, cooling rack


To make the dough: In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt, and, for a flavored dough (but omit this if you are using a filling), the spice or zest.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenBlend in 1½ cups flour.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenGradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft workable dough.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

On a lightly floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes.


A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenKnead in the citron, mixed candied fruit or golden raisins.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a kitchen towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

TO MAKE THE OPTIONAL FILLING: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the pecans. Drizzle the butter over top and mix until crumbly.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenPunch down the dough and knead briefly.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenIF USING THE FILLING: Roll the dough into a 16- by 10-inch rectangle, spread evenly with the filling, leaving 1 inch uncovered on all sides. If using a token, place it on the rectangle – be sure to warn your guests.




A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenBeginning from a long end, roll up jelly roll style.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

Then bring the ends together to form an oval. THK NOTE- ours ended up looking more like a circle. For an oval shape, you may wish to make a longer, thinner rectangle.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

Place on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenPosition a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the dough with the egg wash.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenBake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

IF NOT FILLING THE CAKE: Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 24-inch-long rope. Braid the 2 ropes together, and bring the ends together to form an oval, pinching the ends to seal.

OR TO MAKE A 3 STRAND BRAID: Divide the dough in thirds and roll each piece into a 16-inch rope. THK NOTE: We made a 3 rope version, which comes out slightly more like a circle than an oval if your strands are 16 inches. If you prefer an oval shape, the strands should be closer to 20 inches.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenBraid by first connecting the ends of the ropes at one end.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenAs you braid, be sure that you are are pulling the strands gently taut to make a neat and even braid, otherwise your cake may bulge in some areas.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenWhen you are ready to connect the ends, unbraid a few inches at each end, then braid them together by connecting the corresponding pieces. For example, center rope to center rope.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

Place on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenPosition a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the dough with the egg wash.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

TO MAKE THE ICING: In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar, optional butter or cream cheese, vanilla, and enough milk until smooth and of a pouring consistency.



A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen

If desired, divide the icing into thirds and tint each third with one of the food colorings. Or you can drizzle or spread the icing over the warm cake.


A traditional recipe for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenWhile the icing is still wet, sprinkle with the colored sugar.

NOTE: Decorating a King Cake neatly can be tricky, it is quite a messy process! We found the easiest way to do this neatly is to use a pastry brush to apply icing to each section, then sprinkle with sugar, let dry, and move on to the next section. For the braided cake, follow the braid pattern around the cake, using one color at a time and applying to each icing section directly after applying while still wet (the icing dries fast!). Then allow the icing to dry and gently tap off the excess sugar before starting the next color.


A traditional recipe and history for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History KitchenServe warm or at room temperature. After cooling, the cake can be wrapped well in plastic, then foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do not cover with the icing before freezing.



  • Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Beat 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese at room temperature with 1 cup (4 ounces/115 grams) confectioners’ sugar, ½ egg yolk (use the rest for the egg wash), and ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract. This can be used with or without the cinnamon filling.
  • HINT – To make colored sugar, in a jar shake ¼ cup granulated sugar with 4 drops yellow, green, or purple food coloring


Gil MarksGil Marks wrote about the history of American Cakes for, revealing the history and culture of the United States through its classic treat. An author, historian, chef, and social worker, Gil Marks was a leading authority on the history and culture of culinary subjects. Among his published books are James Beard Award finalist Encyclopedia of Jewish Food (Wiley: 2010), James Beard Award-winning Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World (Wiley 2004), and James Beard Award finalist The World of Jewish Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1996). He was also among the international team of contributors to the prestigious Meals in Science and Practice (Woodhead Publishing, 2009) and Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival (Ruder Finn Press, 2011). In January 2012, Saveur Magazine included Encyclopedia of Jewish Food in its “100 New Classics” as “an indispensable resource.” Gil also wrote articles for numerous magazines; served as a guest lecturer at the Culinary Institute of America, Hazon, the New York Public Library, and the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference; acted as consultant for various companies and organizations; and given presentations throughout the world. Gil passed away in 2014; Tori shared a tribute to his life and work here. Read Gil’s posts here.

See the full post:

American Cakes – King Cake

Happy Mardi Gras: The History of the King Cake

By Tori Avery

Tori’s Kitchen, 2014

King cake is an oval- or ring-shaped sweet yeast bread, sometimes containing a filling and typically decorated with vibrant purple, green, and gold sugar or icing. The roots of this fun treat hark back to Europe, but the current New Orleans version reflects numerous local modifications, rendering it a truly American cake.
Photo Credit: Tori’s Kitchen, 2014
The first light cakes in Europe made their way from medieval Moorish Spain to Renaissance Italy and from there eventually throughout Europe. The loose dough was baked in massive quantities in large wooden rings, each cake typically weighing six to twelve pounds. These treats were rich with white flour, butter, eggs, and imported sugar, dried fruit, and spices. Because the ingredients were expensive, these cakes were reserved for very special occasions, notably weddings, christenings, and Epiphany.
The Roman Catholic Church chose the twelfth day from December 25th as the Feast of the Epiphany (Greek for “appearance”), commemorating the magi -— magi were Zoroastrian priests (also the source of the word magic), but in Christian tradition came to mean “wise men” and sometimes mistakenly called “kings.” January 6th marks Twelfth Day and the evening of January 5th is Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night was celebrated with a host of customs, many dating back to the Saturnalia, including masquerades, clowning, social satires, and rowdy, frequently bawdy games. Among the most beloved and enduring Epiphany traditions was the special sweet yeast cake. Ancient Romans, during the Saturnalia festival, baked a fava bean, a symbol of fertility and the underworld, inside a ritual round barley bread. Around the end of the 14th century, this practice was readopted in Italy for the new Twelfth Night cakes. Whoever found the bean in their portion was supposedly assured of good luck for the coming year. The notion of “king,” derived from the token-finder and associated with the magi, gave rise to a special name for the bread – three kings cake or kings’ cake.
French and Spanish settlers (Creoles) brought to the Louisiana area their cuisines and holiday customs, eventually applied to the entire period from Epiphany through Mardi Gras. The last day before Lent, the forty-day season leading up to Easter, is Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in French), known as Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day in England and Martedi Grasso and Carnevale (probably “removal of meat”) in Italy. The date of Mardi Gras is determined by the lunar calendar and can occur anywhere from early February to early March. As it emerged in 13th century Italy, Carnevale — reflecting origins in ancient pagan spring fertility rites, notably the Roman circus-like Lupercalia and Bacchanalia — assumed an air of ritualized chaos, revelry, buffoonery, games, processions, masks, feasting, drinking, and sensuality.
The first official krewe (Carnival society), Mistick Krewe of Comus, was founded in 1857, which also staged the first organized and themed parade with floats, transforming Mardi Gras in New Orleans into a more controlled and safer environment. In 1872, the Rex Krewe adopted symbolic colors, those of Russia’s Romanov dynasty, for the festival -— purple (for justice), green (for faith), and gold (for power) — becoming the official colors of Mardi Gras. In 1875, Louisiana declared Mardi Gras a state holiday.
The name of gâteau des Rois eventually Anglicized to “king’s cake” or more commonly “king cake,” while the cake itself as well as its usage also changed. King cake in New Orleans, instead of noting the end of the Christmas season and limited to January 6 alone, marked the onset of Carnival and extended revelry. On every weekend from January 6th through Mardi Gras, groups, both small and massive, throughout the city held balls and parties, with king cake as the star — a pecan half sometimes substituted for the bean. Whoever found the token in their slice became king or queen and expected to throw the party or buy the cake for the following week. Following the French innovation, local New Orleans bakeries introduced various charms as the token for their king cakes. In the 1950s, small imported porcelain baby dolls from Hong Kong became a popular substitute for the bean -– according to local lore the result of a store purchasing too large of an order. When these proved a bit pricey, a 1-inch plastic doll was substituted –- today commonly inserted into the cake or arranged on top after baking. King cake is almost exclusively purchased from commercial enterprises and rarely homemade.
In 20th century New Orleans, a smaller braided oval or ring-shaped version of king cake about three-inches high, reminiscent of a bejeweled crown, became more prevalent. Formerly, the top of king cakes were bare or decorated with coarse sugar or dragees. More recently, the English-style icing became prominent. In addition, bakers began to sprinkle colored sugar (it adds a crunch) over the icing or tint the icing with the traditional purple, green, and gold hues. Beginning in 1972, an increasing number of bakers began filling king cakes with cinnamon-sugar -– transforming it into a large cinnamon roll. Other prevalent filling flavors followed, including almond paste, apple, chocolate, cream cheese (the most popular), lemon, and praline. A “Zulu king cake” — inspired by the Krewe of Zulu, famous since 1910 for passing out coconuts from their floats — features coconut cream filling (or cream cheese mixed with grated coconut) and dark chocolate icing.
The original gâteau des Rois has a more pronounced flavor of egg, a drier and lighter texture, and is less sweet (and, of course, lacks a filling). Modern king cake dough typically incorporates a little more sugar and less butter and eggs than standard brioche, resulting in a slightly firmer dough –- capable of holding a shape and filling — and moister bread. The amount of ingredients in the dough and fillings and the type and quantity of icing embellishment all differ from bakery to bakery. The size widely varies. Several fast food franchises offer individual serving sized king cakes (basically a cinnamon roll).
Only in the 1960s did king cake — with the growing repute and economic significance of Mardi Gras and the cake receiving exposure on television commercials and newspaper articles — shift from being an upper class ball extravagance to a treat enjoyed on a wide scale by every element of southern Louisiana society. In 1989, a local bakery shipped 400 king cakes (the newer filled type) to food critics across America, engendering a wave of national publicity and interest. King cake was no longer only a local treat.
Each year, just in time for January 6th, these sweet breads suddenly appear in bakeries, doughnut shops, and groceries in southwest Louisiana, churned out in mass numbers and swiftly and repeatedly purchased -— and numerous more shipped throughout the United States. For the following weeks through Mardi Gras, king cake remains a staple in the region, ubiquitous at parties, workplaces, schools, and assorted gatherings. Then, just as abruptly as they arrive, at the end of Carnival season king cakes vanish from the stores, not to be offered again until the following Twelfth Night.
A traditional recipe and history for King Cake from food historian Gil Marks on The History Kitchen
Photo Credit: Tori’s Kitchen, 2014

In order to extend the season (and sales), some bakeries recently began offering king cakes with alternate icing tints for other occasions: Red and green for Christmas; red and pink for Valentine’s Day; green and white for St. Patrick’s Day; orange and black for Halloween; and school colors during college football season. King cake makes a tasty and merry (if a bit garish) coffeecake any time of the year.

For the recipe for a traditional King cake, click here for the link.


Molten Chocolate Pudding Cakes




This recipe is double chocolate perfection. With a rich chocolate center and a moist chocolate cake exterior this molten dessert will have you dreaming about rivers of ganache. Pair with a glass of bubbly for a delicious Valentine’s Day treat!

Serves 4

For the Cakes:
6 ounces high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
¼ cup flour, sifted
Kosher salt, to taste
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 cup cold ganache (recipe follows) plus more for serving

For the Ganache:
1 ounce heavy cream
1 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

For the  Ganache:
To make the ganache, boil cream in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Use a rubber spatula to stir until all the chocolate has melted. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

For the Cakes:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Coat the interiors of four 4-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray. Set aside on a baking pan.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, ½ cup of the sugar, and ¼ cup water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the chocolate, stirring to blend.

Place the eggs, yolk, and the remaining teaspoon of sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment, or use a hand held electric beater. Beat on medium-high speed until the eggs are thick and yellow.

Add the melted chocolate and continue to whip until thoroughly blended. Add the flour and salt, beating to incorporate. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or ideally up to overnight.

Fill the prepared ramekins halfway with the batter. Place a tablespoon of ganache in the center (make sure it is chilled so it is firm and does not ooze into the batter). Pour in enough cake batter to cover the Ganache. The ramekins should be about three-quarters full.

Transfer the cakes to the oven and bake until the sides are set and the tops are puffed but still soft, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes before inverting onto 4 dessert plates. Using a double boiler, reheat the ganache until smooth and spoon over cakes before serving. Parenting Team FC Contributor

Quail in Rose Petal Sauce


In   Laura Esquivel’s Novel,  Like Water for Chocolate, the reader is introduced to this recipe in Chapter 3, where the love sick character Tita, who is a cook, prepared an elaborate dish with a rose, a token of love, given to her secretly by her lover Pedro. She calls the dish “quail in rose petal sauce”. At the dinner table, the meal receives an ecstatic response from Tita’s family members, especially Pedro, who always compliments Tita’s cooking. However, a more curious affect is observed in Gertrudis, her younger sister, not long after eating the dish, who begins “to feel an intense heat pulsing through her limbs.” It appears that the meal serves as a powerful aphrodisiac for Gertrudis, arousing in her an insatiable desire. This turbulent emotion pulses through Gertrudis and on to Pedro. Tita herself goes through a sort of out-of-body experience. Throughout the dinner, Tita and Pedro stare at each other, entranced.

Dripping with rose-scented sweat, Gertrudis goes to the wooden shower stall in the backyard to cool off. Her body gives off so much heat that the wooden walls of the shower stall burst into flames—and so do her clothes.Running outside, the naked Gertudis is suddenly swooped up by one of Pancho Villa’s men, who charges into her backyard on horseback.

“Without slowing his gallop, so as not to waste a moment, he leaned over, put his arm around her waist, and lifted her onto the horse in front of him, face to face, and carried her away.”

The escape of Gertrudis serves as a foil to Tita’s stifled passion. The intensity of the former’s reaction to the meal serves to communicate the potency of the passion that the latter possesses but is unable to express directly. With her primary form of expression limited to food, Tita takes the illicit token of love from Pedro and returns the gift, transforming it into a meal filled with lust. The manner in which Gertrudis is affected by the food and later swept away on a galloping horse is clearly fantastical, and the vivid imagery like the the pink sweat and powerful aroma only exemplifies the novel’s magical realism.

To  be carried away so gallantly,  in a moment of passion……… magic!

And with that being said, this would be the perfect dish to make for someone you love, especially for a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day.



Serves 2

4 quail (or 6 doves or 2 Cornish Hens)
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup dry sherry
6 peeled chestnuts (boiled, roasted, or canned)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red prickly pear fruit puree (or substitute raspberries or red plums)
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 teaspoons rosewater
Petals of 6 fresh, organic red roses (optional garnish)



Heat the serving platter in an oven set to low. Rinse the quail and pat dry. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and lightly brown the birds on all sides. Add sherry and salt and pepper to the quail. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn the quail, cover, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove the quail when done to your liking and place on a heated platter.

Combine the remaining ingredients with pan juices, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pan and simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, and/or honey. Pour the sauce over the quail on the heated platter.  Sprinkle with the rose petals, for garnish, and serve hot.

Cook’s Notes:
The original recipe for this dish calls for rose petals, but you don’t want to use petals from conventional flower shop roses—those are treated with fungicides. Still, if you have some organically grown roses in your backyard, or know where to buy them, feel free to use them to garnish the finished dish.

If you cannot find any rose petals, 3 bags of  Tazo Passion Hibiscus Tea is a great alternative to use as well.

You can find rosewater at local Middle Eastern stores.

The original recipe calls for cactus. In this version red prickly pear fruit puree or juice is used and can be found at most health food stores—or substitute frozen raspberries or even use 2 large red plums that have been pitted and skinned, for the red prickly pear.

If you have a dove hunter in the family, try this with dove instead of quail. In fact, doves may be an even more romantic choice, if you don’t mind picking a little birdshot from your teeth. Cornish hens also work well, as a substitute for the protein in this dish. Parenting Team FC Contributor

Peras al vino tinto



This is a very typical dessert served in Spain on special occasions and during the holidays. It is a favorite among home cooks, mainly due to its ease of preparation and simplicity of ingredients that can found in the pantry.

442-2TIn addition there are many different varieties of pears, being available in your local markets throughout the year. Note that the winter pears are thicker with a rough skin that is golden yellow with brown flecks in color. They also tend to be more aromatic and acidic flavor and the texture of the pulp tend to be grainy. To make this dessert, the best pears are bell-shaped, such as the Bartlett variety that is tender and juicy, or the Abate Fetel that is found in Spain and Italy.

A favorite native variety of Italy that was bred by a group of monks in the 15th century, the Abate Fetel pear is a very special delicacy. Tall and slim with an attractive yellowish brown russet over green exterior, it has a rich sweet taste that is much more pronounced than the more common Anjou and Bartlett varieties. Usually eaten when just barely soft, the Abate Fetel pear has a slightly crisp yet melting texture. It is excellent for baking as well as eating out of hand.Usually available from Argentina between April and May, always choose fruit that is hard to firm with no external stem punctures or bruising. Keep refrigerated as Abate pears will ripen very quickly at room temperature.

In keeping with tradition a red wine  from the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain is a favorite wine to use in this dish. Ribeira Sacra DO (Denominación de Origen) is a winegrowing zone at the heart of Galicia, north-western Spain. Its boundaries are marked roughly by the Mino and Sil rivers, both of which flow down from the Cantabrian Mountains en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Thousands of years before the lucrative global wine economy of today, Romans carved terraces on slopes in Ribeira Sacra that rose at precipitous angles from the rivers below. They planted vines to keep themselves supplied with wine. Over the centuries, monks expanded and maintained the network of vines during the Middle Ages, which was farmed by the church and by locals, for whom grapes were just one of many subsistence crops.The name Ribeira Sacra means ‘Sacred Shore,’ which most likely references the numerous monasteries in the area.

The landscape of the region is dotted with Romanesque architecture, and the steep slopes and canyons overlooking the two rivers are dominated by beautiful banked terrace vineyards. Here, gradients can reach up to 85 percent, making vineyard work laborious or heroica (heroic), as it is known locally. The Ribeira Sacra area, which today covers around 1200 ha (2965 acres), was accorded DO status in 1996.

Unlike most Spanish reds, these are cool-climate wines, defined as much by the 220px-Uva_Menciarainy, temperate Atlantic coast as the soils, the slopes and the people who farm them. The reds are made predominantly of the mencía grape, which is also the basis for the reds of the Bierzo region to the east. But where the Bierzo wines tend to be denser and burlier, the best reds of Ribeira Sacra epitomize juicy freshness. These are lively, graceful wines, with the same sort of aromatic loveliness and lissome body that draws people to Burgundy and Barolo.

Ribeira Sacra excels at making wines, like the  the 2012 mencía from Algueira, which is spicy and wild, with a slatelike minerality. At $16, it the best value for a good quality of wine for this Spanish wine.


Pears poached in wine takes full advantage of any left over wine that is far too precious to pour down the drain. The fruit absorbs alcohol in the wine and the sugars produce a homogeneous taste and are intertwined most deliciously. When you eat the poached pears your palate will convince you that you are are drinking wine, and when you taste the syrup, you will taste the very essence of the fruit, itself. This dessert is simply divine and you must try it.



Peras al vino tinto
(Pears in Red Wine)

Serves 4

3 cups of red wine (pinot noir or similar red wine)
1 cup sugar
3 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 strips of lemon peel, without the pith, 1/2-inch wide
1 strip of orange peel, without the pith, 1/2-inch wide
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Bartlett or Bosc ripe, peeled pears split half and cored
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Boil over high heat the wine sugar, peppercorns, cloves,lemon peels, orange peel and the cinnamon stick in 1/2 cup water in a large pot for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook slowly for about 2 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced.

Add the pears and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are tender and a knife can slide easily in the Center. The pears should take on the dark deep rich re color of the wine. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears in a large bowl and set aside.

Remove and discard the cloves, peppercorns, lemon peels, orange peel and cinnamon stick. Continue cooking the liquid over a medium-low heat, for about 30 minutes until the liquid has the consistency of a thick syrup.

Return the pears to the liquid and spoon the syrup over the pears, coating completely with the syrup hot for 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla extract and turn off heat.

To serve the dessert, place pear halves in the center of each plate Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of syrup and garnish with just a pinch of nutmeg.

Cook’s Notes:
This dessert can be eaten warm or cold according to taste, but the most typical way is to eat them are at room temperature, once they have cooled in the refrigerator. The syrup is gently re-heated and served over the fruit

Another option is to make several vertical cuts and presented as if it were a half-open ladies fan. An ideal garnish is a dollop whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, with a drizzle of the syrup.

Cheese and Pomegranate Stuffed Figs


Robiola-Stuffed Figs with Pomegranate
Photo Credit: Maxime Iattoni, 2011

Simple, sweet, and totally indulgent, these figs will be the talk of your party… even though they will be the easiest appetizer to make! Pungent robiola cheese can be substituted with brie, ricotta, or any other soft cheese in this simple no-cook appetizer.

Makes 15 Individual Figs
1 pint fresh figs (about 15 figs), stemmed
8 ounces of soft cheese, like robiola cheese, rind removed, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh  pomegranate seeds
Dill sprigs, for garnish


Working from the stem end of each fig and using a paring knife, cut an “x”, about halfway toward the base; set aside. Mix robiola, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Spoon filling into a piping bag with a plain 1⁄2″ tip; pipe about 1 teaspoon into each fig. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and dill sprigs and serve. Parenting Team FC Contributor