Thursday, June 23, 2016

Les Saint-Jacques à la Nantaise

Les Saint-Jacques à la Nantaise
Here is my first attempt at translating and adapting a French recipe. I decided to make coquilles St.-Jacques because I wanted to start with something easy (I don't know what I was thinking because it was not easy to translate). Instead of the creamy white sauce, this recipe is from Nantes which is a northwestern French city on the banks of the Loire River.  It is made with white wine and lots of parsley.  I have translated and adapted the recipe from Le Tour De France Gourmand by Julie Andrieu. The first challenge was ingredients I live in Missouri (far from an ocean) and do not have access to scallops in their shells. My solution was to buy the scallops and shells separately. The recipe called for rose shallots, I used regular shallots.  You should find the freshest scallops available and use large sea scallops. I used a dry french white wine, fresh parsley from my garden, fresh garlic from the local CSA (thank you Fair Share CSA), and freshly made bread crumbs. I filled in some of the details that I thought would be helpful. Spoiler alert-- I thought this was an absolutely incredible dish. My husband thought that this was more appetizer size than entree size.  We ate two each.

Les Saint-Jacques à la Nantaise


3-4 Scallop Shells
6 Large Sea Scallops, Quartered
2 Shallots, Finely Diced
4 Tablespoons (50g) Salted Butter, Divided
2.5 Ounces (7 cl) Dry White Wine
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/2 Bouquet of Parsley, Chopped
1 Slice of Bread Without Crust
1/4 Cup (10 cl) of Milk
Bread Crumbs
Sea Salt (Preferably Fleur de Sel), To Taste
Pepper (Preferably Freshly Ground), To Taste


Rinse and pat dry the scallops. Place the scallop shells on a cookie sheet. Preheat broiler.

Melt 2 tablespoons (25g) of the butter in a medium skillet over low heat.  Add the shallots and cook over low heat for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the wine and slightly raise the heat. Cook for 5 more minutes.
The shallots cooking in butter-- what a lovely smell!
Meanwhile soak the bread in the milk. Mash with a fork and drain. Add the minced garlic, parsley and the drained bread to the skillet. Cook approximately 2 minutes.
Added the garlic, parsley, and wine.
Add scallops to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes.
Added the scallops
Remove from heat and divide between the shells. Top with bread crumbs, lightly salt and pepper, and top with the remaining butter.

Ready for the oven
Place under the broiler 3 minutes to brown.  Carefully watch the scallops (you may need to take them out early) so they don't burn.

Will I make this again? Yes, best scallop dish ever. (Really-- I am not kidding).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lavender Sorbet

My lavender
The ice cream in France (and Italy) is out of this world good.  What struck me about the ice cream in France (other than the incredible yumminess) was the number of flavors-- seriously Baskin Robbins has nothing on France.  I would like to devote a significant portion of my life to eating French ice cream.

58 glorious flavors
 I barely made a dent in trying the different flavors of ice cream.  Having typed that one of my favorite flavors was lavender.  Yes, lavender ice cream; it was crazy good.  I grow lavender and right now I have a lot of flowers so I decided to recreate it at home.  I decided to make sorbet instead of ice cream for several reasons.  Sorbet is lighter than a heavy custard ice cream and a lot easier to make.
The inside of the store with 58 flavors.

Some of the choices- yes olive is a choice

More Choices- cactus was amazingly sweet 
Lavender Sorbet


1 Cup (200 grams) of Sugar
2 Cups (237 ml) of Water
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lavender Flowers
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
1-2 Tablespoons of Vodka (this keeps the sorbet from freezing solid; adjust the vodka depending on how firm you want the sorbet)


You are going to make a simple syrup by dissolving sugar in water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the sugar is dissolved slightly raise the heat and add the lavender flowers.  

Lavender flowers from my garden
Bring the mixture to a boil (stirring constantly) and then lower the heat so that the mixture simmers for 5 minutes. 

Remove from the heat, cover and let the lavender flowers steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl and add the lemon juice and vodka.  You are adding the vodka to keep it from freezing solid. 
Straining the lavender
I covered it and refrigerated until chilled. Once chilled, add to an ice cream maker and voilà a taste of France.
Finished lavender sorbet- delicious