Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guest post: Marsi cooks with crème fraîche

Yesterday, Marsi from the FC group posted her recipe for homemade crème fraîche, along with some suggestions on how to use it in cooking. I want to thank Marsi for taking the time to write the post, for sharing her recipe (which I will make over the weekend), and also for the following recipes that call for crème fraîche as an ingredient. Merci Marsi!

Marsi writes:
"Now that you have your batch of crème fraîche, why not put it to good use in a couple of my favorite recipes? As Julia Child would say, “Bon appétit!”

Spinach and cheese quiche

1 prepared, unbaked tart or pie crust

1 5-oz. bag of baby spinach leaves
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp. butter (plus extra for the top, if you’d like)
1 c. crème fraîche
4 eggs
1-1/2 c. grated Swiss or Gruyère cheese
1 tsp. salt
A whisper of nutmeg

Line a pie dish with tart or pie crust dough and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat and gently sauté onions till soft and translucent. Do not allow them to brown or burn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and quickly blanch the spinach leaves, boiling for no more than one or two minutes — just long enough to wilt the greens. Drain well in a colander and allow to cool. Squeeze excess water from the leaves by hand, then separate the spinach into small clumps and place onto a clean kitchen towel or several layers of paper toweling. Roll up the towel and gently squeeze out the remaining water.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and crème fraîche, and add the salt and nutmeg. Fold in the cooled onions, the spinach, and 1-1/4 c. shredded cheese, reserving a small handful of cheese for the top of the quiche. Pour the custard into the prepared pie dish, and top with the reserved quarter-cup of cheese. If you’d like, dot the top of the custard with tiny dabs of softened butter. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean and the top is golden brown.

Broccoli and orzo soup

1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 heads of broccoli, broken into bite-sized florettes
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
A handful of dried orzo pasta (or other small pasta shape)
Crème fraîche, to taste

Warm the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat and gently sauté onions till soft and translucent. Do not allow them to brown or burn. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and pepper, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the broccoli. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir and add the pasta. Check the tenderness of both the broccoli and pasta after another 8-10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with a spoonful of crème fraîche to taste.

Tomorrow's post: Paris memories

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