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Sunday, February 9, 2014

A tool to have in your kitchen: Moulinette

     The right tools are essential to successful performance in your kitchen.  The French excel at this of course, and have invented dishes to satisfy every possible accoutrement.

     This weekend I tried two recipes that require the use of a moulinette or food mill.  I was able to get my hands on, after much searching and comparing, one of the best moulinettes on the market, made by European manufacturer Paderno.  Made entirely of stainless steel, it is used in major restaurants.  It is the secret to wonderfully creamy soups, sauces and preserves.  



     I admit it is pricey, but it is a tool that will last forever and you will find yourself using it more and more.

     The first recipe I tried was from fellow Francophile Laura Calder, who found it in an old recipe notebook: Confiture de carottes – or carrot jam.  Yes, you heard right.  Carrot jam.  It is as delicious as it is unusual and so simple to make.  Keep it in mind for the next time you need to make a nice house-warming gift.  It should be eaten with slices of baguette or bâtard bread smothered with slabs of cold, salted butter.


Confiture de carottes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pd. peeled carrots
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 2
  • 10 whole chopped or slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. Cognac
Preparation:

     Slice the carrots and put them in a saucepan along with the water until they are just covered.  Boil until very soft, then run through the moulinette to puree.  Put the puree back into the saucepan and add the sugar, the lemon zest and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Cook until “glassy” and “jammy”.  



     Remove the pan from the heat and add the almonds and Cognac.  Cool and spoon into a sterilized jar.  Keep in the fridge.

     The other recipe I tried was a soup.  What with the cold winter we are having here in Florida, a nice creamy pea soup is a welcome meal any time.  This recipe is classic of a typical French brasserie.  It even carries the name of the trendy 6th arrondisement – Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  It freezes wonderfully, so make double the recipe and stock up!


Pureé Saint-Germain

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. split peas
  • 2 oz. lardons
  • 1 cup veal stock
  • 1 bouquet garni: thyme, leek, bayleaf, celery
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup butter
  • Croûtons and crème fraîche to serve 
Preparation:

     Soak the peas for 2 hours in cold water, then drain and boil in 4 cups of lightly salted water, skimming off the foam.  When the peas are ready, drain (keeping half the water) and sieve through the moulinette.

     Sauté the lardons in a pan, removing the grease.  Add the sieved peas, pour on the veal stock and the liquid and add the bouquet garni.  Simmer for 15 minutes at a very low temperature.

     Remove the bouquet garni, season with pepper and pour the pea soup into a preheated tureen or serving bowl, stir in the butter and add the crème fraîche and croutons separately upon serving.



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