Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beef Barley with Celery

I got this recipe inspiration from my first fun day at the Scottsdale Cordon Bleu's Master Chef Non-Professional Cooking Classes. It was great fun! I literally couldn't sleep the night before. I felt so COOL cooking with a Cordon Bleu chef! Sadly, when I was there I was not blogging and was not taking pictures or journaling about my food activities, so I don't have any visual to support my story. Anyway this is based on one of the recipes we did… at least how I remember it. I added the beef. 

Serves 4-6
Takes about 1 hour


In 1895, Marthe Distel, a French journalist, founded a weekly culinary publication entitled "La Cuisinière Cordon Bleu,” which was published over the next seventy years and became the basis and reference for what is now perhaps one of the largest recipe collections in the world. 

Barley - 4 cups (your choice of type - Pearl cooks faster, Hulled is better for you)
Celery - 3 cups chopped
Onion - 1 diced
Garlic - 2 cloves diced
Ground Beef - 2 cups
Bouillon Cube - 1, or use 2 cups broth
Water - 4 cups (if you use 2 cups broth use only 2 cups water)
Salt and pepper to taste


Wash your barley

Add your broth/bouillon cube and water

Add your celery (I had already diced celery frozen in my freezer so yay for me)


I am not a fan of celery so I like it a bit over cooked and dissolved in my food. If you enjoy celery, wait until your barley is almost cooked and then add your celery so that it keeps more of its texture and form. 

Onions and garlic

Ground beef (also something I usually have pre-fried and put in the freezer for last min meals)

Let it simmer and 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cordon Bleu Master Chef Class - Braising and Roasting

For my birthday, back in March, I treated myself to a Master Chef Class at the Scottsdale Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute.
It was about braising and roasting. It went by super fast and we had to rush to finish our recipes. This was the second time I did this. The first time I was much more impressed with the Chef/Proff's knowledge and expertise. Mind you the first time I did this was about 2 years ago (when the program first started). Now it is a more "regular" thing in the school. Perhaps they simplified it for us "average" people. Regardless it was lots of fun. I had my chance to ask all the questions I wanted during class. Practice de-boning a whole chicken for the second time there. Speaking of which- the first class the chef really taught us to his expectations how to de-bone the whole chicken. We had to take out the wish bone and everything. This time, the Chef didn't even ask us to do so. I asked if we should, and he said, "if you're good enough to do it go for it". But he hadn't even showed it to the class. That was a sign to me that, "ok, he is just getting us through the recipes". Like I said it was still fun. Below I have posted the recipe that came with the recipe cards they gave us as well as some pics of the results.

We made Chicken Fricassee

Ballotine de Poulet Grandmére with Mushroom Dressing

Roasted Chicken with Pan gravy. 

I posted the Chicken Fricasee recipe. Their recipe with an additive of what we did in class. The Ballotine was an experience, I don't think I will ever do it. It is a LOT of work for not that amazing of a dish. And the Roasted Chicken, well I think it's nothing special. Just a technique to learn for those who have not had that experience yet.


The class is 100$ for a 4 hour block, our class took 5. You get an apron, water bottles, recipe cards and if you participate, bring your own Tupperware or Ziploc bags to take home your food/left overs. It's nice to share with the family what you made with the chef.

(recipe Compliments of Chef Kathy Wessman from Le Cordon Bleu Campus Scottsdale)


Chicken - 1 (2.5-3lbs)
Salt to taste
White Pepper finely ground to taste
Butter - 1.5 oz
Onion - 3 oz brunoise
Flour - 1.5 oz
Chicken Stock - 24 oz
Bay leaf for sachet - a couple
Small piece of celery for sachet - about 1/3 a stock
Parsley stem for sachet - about 10 stems
Egg Yolks beaten 1.5
Heavy cream for liason - 4 oz
Lemon Juice - .5 tbs
Nutmeg to taste

Peas - about 1 cup
Carrots  - about 3 or 4 cut into 1/2 or 1 inch rounds
Mushrooms - quartered about 1.5 cup


Cut the chicken to 8 pieces. Season with salt and finely ground white pepper.
Melt the butter in a braizer over moderate heat.
Add chicken and onion. Sauté very lightly so that the chicken is cooked on all sides, but does NOT brown.

Add the flour and stir so that it combines with the fat to make a roux. Cook anther 2 min without browning.

Gradually stir in enough stock to cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sauce thickens.

Add the sachet. Cover and place in a 350F degree oven. Cook until tender and the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 F.

Remove the chicken from the sauce and keep it warm in a covered pan.

Degrease the sauce. Reduce it over high heat to proper thickness. Strain through chinois.

Combine the egg yolks and cream. Temper with a little hot sauce, and add the liason to the sauce. Bring to just below simmer Do not boil. (or the grease from the cream will separate and you will get little round textures in your sauce. not good).

*SAHAR'S NOTE* blanch peas, carrots, and sauté mushrooms. Once blanched reserve half add to dish and allow to simmer. then once ready to serve add the other half on top so that the color is bright and fresh. You don't want a mush of your veggies.

Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve hot.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Sucre à la Crème - Sugar and Cream Squares

This is a traditional Quebecois recipe that is very simple, however difficult at the same time. I watched as my mother-in-law make it to learn from the pro! We had to make it 2 times before we understood my microwave and the exact point RIGHT before it hardens. She use to make batches and batches of this for my husband and my brother-in-law when they were teenagers. I still hear his friends talk about her sucre à la crème they would feast on. My husband was craving a few things from his childhood and this was one of his requests. I asked my belle Maman to do it as I watched and decided to include it in my May posts in honor of mother's day. :) Merci Maman!


Brown sugar is not actually better for you than white sugar. It is still refined sugar that has just some percentage of molasses added to it along with some other chemicals to make it what we know as brown sugar. 


1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar packed 
1 cup cream (35%)

Add your light brown sugar packed

Mix in your white sugar

and 1 cup cream.


Place in your microwave for 7 1/2 min (varries between microwaves. Set between 6-11min)

let sit for 30 min.

Prepare your pan by layering it with wax paper in both directions.

This is the tricky part. Use an electric blender to blend until it starts thickening. JUST BEFORE it gets hard, while STILL liquid, pour into your 4x4 prepared mold layered with wax paper. Pour and spread in your mold.

While still malleable form evenly in mold.

IF YOU DO IT WRONG: this is what happens. You can use it as sugar to cook with, snack on, mix in your tea… but you'll have to start over.

When cooled and hardened a bit (not completely) cut into desired shapes.

Let cool and 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pine Nut and Feta Cheese stuffed Chicken Breast w Prosciutto

This recipe was made and given to me by my mommy. She made it super quickly. It was delicious, quick, easy and looks SUPER fancy and beautiful. In honor of mommy's day, even though she taught me everything I know, this is a new recipe she gave me for all of us to enjoy.


Try buying air chilled chicken. The difference between the regular chicken and the air chilled is that the regular chicken is soaked in ice cold chlorinated water. The chlorine gets absorbed into the chicken, and we eat that. Just a thought to make us realise that we don't really know everything about what we are being given to us as consumers.


Chicken Breast - 3 
Pine nuts - (4.5 tablespoons)1.5 tablespoons per chicken breast 
Spinach - about 1.5 handfuls finely chopped (about 4 oz)
Feta Cheese - 1 inch thick by 3x3 inch block cubed 
Prosciutto - 6 slices
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Serves 4
Takes about 1 hour to make.


Chop your Spinach

Cube your Feta Cheese

Roast your pine nuts (stay above them because they burn VERY quickly)

Stuff your chicken breast 

Wrap in prosciutto and place in your greased pan. 

Top with remaining spinach.

 Cover with foil and let it cook in 350 oven for 30 min.

Serve with pasta, rice salad.. whatever makes you happy and ENJOY!