”The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” ~ Dione Lucas
Good morning, sweet friends. First, let me apologize for my tardiness as my February ‘At Table’ post is a week late. February has truly moved right past me. That said, today I would love for you to join me on a little trip to Louviers, France where we will meet up with an American ~ Chef, Susan Herrmann Loomis.
Loomis was born in Orlando, Florida and her father was career military. Her childhood years were spent traveling, due to her father’s career, throughout the United States and abroad. However, Seattle, Washington is the place she referred to as home.
After graduating from college and working a year in public relations, Loomis decided that if she was going to write about food, she should learn how to cook. She located a cooking school for English-speaking students in Paris and they agreed she could work at the school in exchange for tuition. Therefore, in 1980 at age 25, Loomis moved to France, where she met her mentor, Patricia Wells, a food writer for The New York Times. Loomis agreed to help Wells test recipes, thus the two developed a long working relationship. And, a personal friendship.
After several trips back and forth to the States, living for a few years in Seattle, Loomis made the decision to return to France permanently. And, France has been her home since 1993.
Chef, Susan Loomis ~ Photo, readmeblogsite
Currently, Loomis divides her time between Paris and her restored convent in Louviers. She is the author of nine books and her latest is Nuts in the Kitchen. Additionally, she has become an internationally-recognized expert on food and owns and operates ‘On Rue Tatin’ where she teaches cooking classes. She also serves as a guest instructor at various cooking schools in the United States.
Now that you have met Susan Loomis, I feel certain you must be curious about a few of her recipes. The recipes I am sharing are from her book On Rue Tatin and they have been tested and approved by Mike Lambiotte, (official taste tester at ‘Maison de Jardin’). I hope you will give them a try.
The first recipe is ‘Braised Chicken in White Wine and Mustard.’ This recipe is from Monsieur Richard, who was ‘the’ butcher in Louviers. And, it produces a perfectly crisp chicken in a marvelous sauce, wonderful over mashed potatoes.
Braised Chicken in White Wine and Mustard or Poulet Braisé Au Vin Blanc et à la Moutarde
1 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
3 Tbls. Dijon mustard
2 Tbls. olive oil
4 or 6 nice size chicken thighs ~ skin on
2 medium onions, cut in thin slices
salt and pepper
A little chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, whisk together wine and mustard, set aside. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Once the skillet is hot, brown the chicken on both sides. Turning only once and this will take about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and add onions to the pan. Stir and cook until they are tender and turning slightly golden. Return the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the wine mixture over the chicken and place the pan in the center of the oven, bottom shelf. Then bake for 1 hour at 375. Transfer the chicken to the serving pan. Pour the sauce over the chicken or into a separate serving dish. Recommended Wine ~ Red Burgandy.
Simple Family Omelette or L’Omelette Familiale
This is one of Loomis’s go-to recipes when “dinnertime sneaks” up on her. She serves this with green beans and a large salad. Recommended wine ~ Sauvignon Blanc.
Notes: This omelette (French spelling) is not folded over, but is served “in the round,” like a pizza. It is lovely on the plate, with a garnish of fresh parsley or other garden herbs. Also, French omelettes are runny. If you prefer your eggs cooked through, you may want to cover the pan so that the egg cooks on top as well as the bottom. Before you do that, though, try an ‘omelette’ the French way, because you are likely to find it scrumptious.
I use Yukon Gold potatoes and do not peel them.
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-½ tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces slab bacon, rind removed, cut into ½ x 1-inch (1.3 x 2.5cm) pieces
8 ounces waxy potatoes, cooked, skinned, and sliced ( about 2 medium)
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs until they are just blended. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.
Melt the butter with the bacon and the potatoes in a 12-inch (30cm), nonstick omelette pan over medium-high heat until the bacon and potatoes are sizzling and the butter is foaming. Cook the bacon and the potatoes until they are beginning to turn golden at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. If the bacon gives up a great deal of fat, then drain off all but 2 tablespoons, then add the egg mixture to the pan and stir, then let the egg mixture sit. Working all around the pan at least twice, bring the cooked edges of the egg toward the center so the uncooked egg runs to the edges, meanwhile spreading out the bacon and the potatoes.
Crumble the goat cheese over the potatoes and the bacon.
Mince the chives and sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of them over the potatoes and the bacon.
When the omelette is generally set but still somewhat liquid, or when it is cooked to your liking, place a large plate on top of the pan, and turn the pan so the omelette falls onto the plate. Garnish it with more chives and serve immediately.
Pear and Honey Clafoutis or Clafoutis au Poires et Miel
Note: If you want to prepare something truly lovely and special, I highly recommend this fabulous dessert.
Preheat oven to 400. Butter and flour an 11-inch round baking dish. (Do not use a smaller dish.)
Arrange pears in an attractive pattern in a baking dish. Drizzle evenly with honey.
Separate 3 of the eggs, reserving egg whites. Whisk together egg yolks and the whole egg, add milk and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and the salt.
Make a well in the center and gradually add egg and milk mixture, beating until you have a smooth batter. Quickly but thoroughly, whisk in melted butter.
Whisk egg whites with a small pinch of salt until they are foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and continue whisking until soft peaks form.
Fold egg whites into the batter, then pour batter over pears. Bake in center of preheated oven until the clafoutis is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
To make the caramel, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the water in a small, heavy saucepan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally to evenly distribute the sugar, until mixture turns a deep golden brown, which will take 3 to 5 minutes.
Don’t stir sugar, which might encourage it to crystallize; just rotate the pan so sugar and water caramelize evenly. When the sugar has caramelized, drizzle it over top of clafoutis. Wait about 5 minutes so the caramel hardens, then serve. We enjoy this with a dollop of Crème fraîche.
“The art of cooking ~ it’s when you mix craftsmanship at the highest level with creativity.” ~ Chef, Eric Ripert
Many thanks for your visit and I hope you have enjoyed our time together. Susan Loomis is an amazing and talented chef. Perhaps, if you were not familiar with her, after today you may decide to research her and her books a little further. I don’t feel you would be disappointed.
Wishing you a lovely day and happy times ‘At Table.”
Images: via tumblr, Pinterest, and French Cottage ~ Victoria Magazine
Note: All wine suggestions are from Susan Loomis.