Category Archives: French Cuisine for the Young and Broke

Cooking Demo at the Trident Bookseller Cafe in Boston

Standard

On January 29, around 30 people attended the cooking demo I made at the Trident Bookseller Cafe on Newbury Street.

Three recipes where demonstrated from scratch. Every step was showed, described and explained in order to achieve the elaboration of: the Salmon Tartar, the Pasta Salad and the Applesauce.

Here are the not so secret ingredients to accomplish this at home.

SALMON TARTAR made during the demo (slightly different than the recipe of the book as well as the picture shown below)


INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 cup of freshly diced salmon
  • 1 avocado 
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fennel
  • A little piece of ginger
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp. of mustard 
  • 2 tsp. of olive oil 
  • A pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Take your piece of salmon, remove the skin and cut the flesh in dices.

2. Chop the peel and chop the ginger and the fennel.

3. Remove the skin of the grapefruit and cut the flesh in small pieces. (Don’t panic if you find difficulty in cutting the grapefruit- it is very juicy.) 

4. In a large bowl stir with a spoon the olive oil, mustard, 1/2 lemon juice, and the pinch of salt

5.  Add the chopped salmon, ginger, fennel and grapefruit to the bowl and use a two large spoons to stir all the ingredients together.

6. Serve very fresh!

PASTA SALAD (Italian Style) 
INGREDIENTS: 
  • 12 Oz of penne pasta (350gm)   
  • 1.5 cup of diced prosciutto 
  • 1 cup of diced mozzarella 
  • 6 tbs. of olive oil 
  • 1tbs of balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbs. of vinegar 
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves 

1. Fill a large saucepan with water and let it boil with a pinch of salt.

2. When the water starts to quiver pour the pasta in.

3. Stir once in a while to make sure the pasta don’t stick to the bottom of pan.

Remove one minute to the cooking time from what is written on the box and your pasta will be perfectly al dente!

4. Shake the pasta around in a strainer to empty the water and let cold water run on the pasta to cool them down.

5. Put the pasta in a large bowl and add 3 tbs. of olive oil and stir.

6. Let the pasta stay at room temperature for half and hour and put te bowl in the fridge for 3 hours or even a day is fine.

7. Then, take the bowl out of the fridge, add 3 more tbs. of olive oil with a 1tbs. of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbs. of mustard and stir the pasta with a wooden spoon. It is easier to use your fingers – only if they have been cleaned and dried!

8. Add the mozzarella with the prosciutto and cut the basil leaves in the bowl.

9. Stir the pasta all together until it looks uniform.

FLASHLIGHT APPLESAUCE
INGREDIENTS:

  • Apples- count 2-3 per person
  • Optional: 1 tbs. of cinnamon powder
INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Peel the apples and cut them in quarters.

2. Put them in a large pan on low heat and cover with a lid.  Do not add any water or sugar: the apples are full of BOTH! 

3.  Cover the pan, and let the apples cook on very low heat.   Make sure to stir every 10-12 minutes.

4. If the apples are very smooth they are good. If they are still hard to pick, let them cook a little more.

5. To finish the recipe you can either mix the apples in a blender or you can use a fork to smash the cooked apples.

 

C’est la Chandeleur!

Standard

What is la chandeleur?

40 days after Christmas la fete des chandelles celebrates the holiday of the candlesticks.

The tradition of making crepes on that day is because there was a saying about wheat being decayed for the year if crepes were not made on that day…

Centuries later, the tradition has been perpetrated… and kids often wait for that day to arrive, as it is the only day of the year where their mom allows them to have crepes (and not only one!) as a meal…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here is my recipe …

I APOLOGIZE – THERE HAS BEEN A PRINTING/DESIGN ERROR IN THE BOOK WHERE THE INGREDIENT BOX HAS BEEN MIXED UP! (Don’t hold grudges please…)

These are the REAL INGREDIENTS that need to be used for the crepes!

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour (250 gm)
  • 2 cups of milk (or more if needed if your dough is lumpy or not liquid enough)
  • 2 tbs. of butter

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. In a bowl, mix the flour with the two eggs.

You can use a whisk but it is better to use an electric mixer or a blender. 

2. Add a cup of milk and keep mixing to avoid lumps in the dough.

3. Without stopping mixing, add another cup of milk.

4. The dough must be thick but smooth.

5. Melt the butter and add it slowly to the dough.

6. Stir again, only with your whisk.

7. The dough should be smooth and liquid with a slight thickness.

If the dough is too liquid, your crêpe will not hold to the pan. 

8. If you have time, let the dough sit in the fridge for an hour or more.

9. In a large warm frying pan, melt a tsp. of butter.

You can also spray with oil or use a sheet of paper towel dipped in canola oil to 

paint the bottom of the pan. 

10. Fill ¾ of a ladle with some dough and pour it to the pan.

Move your pan with a wrist movement in order to spread the dough all

over the bottom of the pan. If some dough remains on the top, it means that you 

poured too much dough, and your crêpe will be thick. Not good! 

11. Let the crêpe cook on medium-low heat for 2 minutes then flip it.

12. Repeat the same steps for the rest of the dough.

 Bon Appetit!
TOP 3 Crepe Flavors:
-  Nutella with coconut flakes
- Powder sugar with fresh squeezed lemon
- Salted butter with granulated sugar

Featured on the Boston Phoenix!

Standard
Plates from an Expat
 By Cassandra Landry

I’ll bet any one of you ten bucks that when you were 19, you were nowhere near as productive as Eléonor Picciotto.

Picciotto, an expat hailing from France and a recent Boston University grad, is the author of a new cookbook right up my penniless alley: French Cuisine for the Young & Broke.  When I graduated high school and packed my life into suitcases bound for college, my relatives gave me awkward dorm cookbooks, straight out of the 80s. They were full of ramen, rice and clever ways to use hot plates, which of course, are now banned. I wish she’d written this thing sooner.

The recipes, ranging from crêpes to croque monsieurs, read easy and don’t send me loading up on overpriced ingredients at Shaws–which is exactly the point, Picciotto tells me over the phone from New York in a clipped, elegant French accent.

“I’ve always loved cooking and eating good things,” she says. “When I arrived in the U.S. I was shocked at how badly people eat. But, the reason is because of a lack of knowledge, not a lack of money, which is what everyone thinks. If you know how to make a grocery list, which is the hardest part, you’ll be fine.”

After a skiing accident took Picciotto, a former member of the BU Ski Team, off the slopes and landed her in a cast for eight weeks, her friends suggested puttingtogether a cookbook to keep her occupied. She began to host dinners with friends, affectionately named “Supper Clubs,” during which she would create easy desserts or sauces, much to the amazement of her guests.

“People couldn’t believe the stuff I was making, and it was all very simple,” she says.

About a year and a half later, after impersonating a teacher to gain entrance into the BookExpo America in New York, finding a publisher, and revising her recipes seven times, French Cuisine has become a reality.

Though it’s easy to imagine that all French college students whip up pristine petit-fours for breakfast, Picciotto says the biggest difference between us and our cousins across the pond is a sneaky reliance on take-out.

“The big difference is that here, you are used to ordering in,” she says. “We don’t do that in France, because there aren’t really places to order from. No matter how late you are, how long a day you’ve had, you always cook. Even if it’s just pasta, because then you know what’s in it!”

Eléonor Picciotto will appear at The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough Street, Boston, samples in tow, on Thursday, January 12, 6:30pm-8:30pm. $5. To RSVP, call 617.912.0400.

Featured in the Boston Globe!

Standard

The recipe for a French cookbook

By Jane Dornbusch

<br />

When Eleonor Picciotto was laid up after a skiing accident, she did what any other Paris-born-and-bred young woman would do: She wrote a cookbook. “I was going crazy,’’ says Picciotto, who graduated from Boston University last January. “My friends said, ‘You love to write, you love to cook, you’re stuck at home. Write a cookbook.’ ’’ The result is “French Cuisine for the Young and Broke,’’ a self-published volume ($35), full of the author’s own photos, kitchen wisdom, and simple French recipes. Picciotto  says she was surprised, when she came to the United States to attend school four years ago, at her classmates’ lack of cooking knowledge and their dependence on take-out. “I tried to tell them that French cooking can be very easy.’’ With dishes such as crepes, croque monsieur, and chocolate cake, Picciotto hopes the book proves the point and provides students and others on a budget with an alternative to fast food. Eleonor Picciotto will be at the French Cultural Center, 52 Marlborough St., tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., serving dishes from the book. Admission is $5. Call 617-912-0400 for reservations (required). To order the book, e-mail frenchcuisinebyele@gmail.com. A $6.99 digital edition will available in a couple of weeks.

 

Featured on Stuff.com!

Standard
10912 Get Out

by Stuff Boston  |  January 09, 2012

Many 20-somethings survive on Easy Mac and microwavable taquitos. Not Eléonor Picciotto. This Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the freshly minted BU grad will school the rest of us on how to eat like the Sun King on a peasant’s budget with French Cuisine for the Young & Broke, a talk and tasting at the French Cultural Center (53 Marlborough Street, Boston, 617.912.0400). Now based in New York, the Paris-born Picciotto has been a regular behind the double burners since childhood, when her kitchen-phobic mother would routinely task her with preparing a delicious dinner for the family. Clearly, the blood, sweat and minced shallots paid off: Picciotto’s recently released cookbook of quick, cost-effective French fare (from which the event borrows its name) got props from Entertainment Weekly this December for boasting the “best name for a cookbook.” Not only can we expect an intimate glimpse into the genesis of Picciotto’s book (conceived after a college skiing accident placed her in a cast for six weeks), but also samples of its tasty recipes. Admission is $5 — a manageable cover for the tome’s target demographic, oui? Call the number above to reserve your spot.

 

 

 

 

http://stuffboston.com/stufftonight/archive/2012/01/09/010912-get-out.aspx

 

Featured on BU Today!

Standard

Featured on BU Today !

By Amy Laskowski

Eléonor Picciotto says when she started writing her cookbook, she “had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the more I wrote, the more ideas I got, and it became a real, concrete project.” Photo courtesy of Eléonor Picciotto

Eléonor Picciotto’s love affair with French cuisine and all things culinary began as a child. Growing up in Paris, she had a mother who didn’t like to be in the kitchen and would put her in charge of dinner. The experience came in handy when Picciotto (COM’11) arrived at BU. Undeterred by the lack of a kitchen in the dorms, she managed to whip up angel hair pasta, couscous, and tabbouleh armed with only a hotpot. Now living in New York, she has a kitchen of her own and has graduated to more advanced dishes like cured bresaola and Nutella roulé.

Picciotto’s culinary inventiveness and her love of fresh, healthy, French-influenced food inspired her to write French Cuisine for the Young and Brokea cookbook of fast, easy, and healthy recipes, which she self-published earlier this month. It’s already gaining attention: Entertainment Weekly singled the title out in its December 9 issue as the “best name for a cookbook,” and over 200 people
attended the cookbook’s launch party in Manhattan.

French Cuisine takes readers through the entire dining experience—from appetizers to desserts—and provides easy-to-follow instructions for 150 recipes using minimal, inexpensive ingredients and equipment. In addition to tried-and-true recipes such as marinated chicken, Picciotto writes step-by-step directions for French crepes and a shockingly simple 10-minute soup.

Picciotto says her experience at BU helped motivate her to write the book. “My friends and I formed a supper club at BU where we would take turns hosting dinner every week,” she recalls. “One night I was running really late and I was in charge of dessert, so I rifled through my fridge to see what I could find, and all I had were apples.” Mashing cooked apples with a little bit of cinnamon, she rushed off to the party. Her friends raved, to her  surprise.

“I found myself observing how my friends ate, and they didn’t seem to have a sense of how to combine and prepare ingredients,” Picciotto says. “When someone orders a pizza, it’s $12, but for the same price you can have an amazing meal, and you don’t need unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. It doesn’t take hours to create a dinner.”

Picciotto began writing the cookbook after she tore a ligament and broke her femur as a member of the BU ski team during her sophomore year. Doctors prohibited skiing for the next 18 months and ordered her to rest for six weeks in a thigh-to-ankle cast. She soon went stir-crazy.

“I’m an energetic person, and if I didn’t start a project soon I was going to kill someone,” she says, laughing. “My friends reminded me that I love to eat and I love to write, so they suggested that I write a cookbook. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the more I wrote, the more ideas I got, and it became a real, concrete project.”

The book took a year and a half to complete. Writing the recipes was tedious, Picciotto says, because she had to remind herself to make every step as clear as she could. Her friend Ben Timmins (CAS’11, COM’11) took photos for the book and another friend helped design it.

Many of Picciotto’s recipes are inspired by her day-to-day diet, family and friends, and the great restaurant meals she has had. A lot of times, she looks through her fridge to see what ingredients she has, and improvises with those. “Within a week I try to get down the right measurements, ingredients, and taste,” she says. “It usually takes about three times to get the perfect recipe.”

She blogs about cooking from home, and is currently working as a marketing intern for a well known Manhattan-based jeweler, but will be moving to Geneva soon for a full-time job with a Swiss watch company. But for now, she cooks dinner almost every night and is on call for friends who need dinner ideas.

“Whenever I’m tired, I remind myself that I shouldn’t have to spend money on something that is less good than what I could make,” she says. “I want to know exactly what I’m putting in my mouth.”

 

French Cuisine for the Young and Broke – Book Launch

Standard

Last Tuesday,  French Cuisine for the Young and Broke was officially launched at  Jadis Restaurant in the Lower East Side.

After four days of intense shopping, cutting, cooking and baking, 16 recipes directly taken from the book were offered to avid palates eager to discover home-made deliciousness. Eighty-five people were expected, but two hundred people in and out showed up.

All of them were able to leave with their little gift bag with a custom-made glass jar filled with cookie samples – from coconut rocks to brownies, chocolate or honey madeleines, short bread or cat tongue cookies) as well as a custom wooden spoon – THE necessary utensil to succeed in making most of the 132 recipes portrayed in the book.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.