Chef Marc creating a tart

Taste of Alsace Recipes

On July 25th, we continued the celebration of #FCIFlashback month with a demonstration to highlight the culture and cuisine of Alsace, France through with ICC’s Senior Director of Culinary & Pastry Arts, Chef Marc Bauer. Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces!

Below are the recipes that Chef Marc shared with us through his demonstration. He even shared with us his secret ingredient for his blueberry tart…polenta! Happy cooking!

Choucroute de Poisson, Beurre Rouge
Sauerkraut with Salmon and Beurre Rouge (yields 4 people)
Ingredients:

For the Sauerkraut:

  • 1 tbsp duck fat (optional) you can use any fat of your choice
  • 100g onions (ciseler)
  • 350g bacon cut in ½ inch slabs
  • 1 clove (press into the slab)
  • 1 kg sauerkraut (rinse 3 times in cold water and drain)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 ea.  Juniper berries
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 250ml Riesling (Alsatian wine) or a dry white wine

For the Beurre Rouge:

  • 1 shallot (ciseler)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 branch of thyme
  • 10 peppercorns whole
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 150 red wine
  • 30 ml H. cream
  • 250g. Butter cut in cubes

For the Final Presentation:

  • 4 pieces of 180 to 220g salmon filet, skin on
  • 8 ea. pommes chateau cooked  in water until a knife can pierce it. Hold.
  • 4 leaves of blanched savoy cabbage.
  • 8 ea. Fresh bay leaves
Steps:

Procedure for the Sauerkraut:

  • In a sauce pan melt the duck fat
  • Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes.
  • Under medium heat, place the slab on top, add the sauerkraut (drained), the garlic bay leaves, juniper berries, cumin, and white wine.
  • Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, and cook for about 1 hour in the oven at 325F (check towards the end to make sure there is enough moisture or it will burn).
  • Keep warm.

Procedure for the Beurre Rouge:

  • In a sauce pan reduce to 9/10th: the vinegar, red wine, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn, shallot
  • Add the cream and emulsify
  • Whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time to make the emulsion.
  • Add until the right balance of acidity and richness is achieved.
  • Season and strain.
  • Keep warm.

To Finish:

  • Dry the skin side of the salmon, season both side with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Under medium heat In a fry pan add 2 Tbsp of duck fat,
  • Once the oil reaches 350F, add the salmon, skin side down.
  • Lower the temperature and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until the skin becomes golden brown.
  • Flip and cook another 30 seconds.
  • Hold on a wire rack for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain, reheat the sauerkraut
  • Remove the bay leaves and garlic
  • Remove the bacon skin, dice into ½ cm cubes
  • Mix gently into the sauerkraut.
  • Place on a mold, on a plate
  • Add about 3 Tbsp of beurre rouge
  • Remove the mold
  • Add the salmon, (reheated)potatoes, and (blanched ) cabbage chiffonade.
  • Finish with fresh bay leaf garnish.
Tarte aux Myrtilles:
Blueberry Tart (yields 6 people.)
Ingredients:

For the tart dough:

  • 250g cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 90 ml water

For the custard:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 Tbsp of pastry cream powder
  • 150 g of sugar or honey
  • 400 ml of crème fraiche
  • 1 pinch of salt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For assembling the tart:

  • 2 Tbsp of polenta or cream of wheat
  • 1 quart of blueberries (washed, sort out the spoiled ones and dried)

For the Garnish: Crème Chantilly

  • 300 ml crème fraiche
  • 80 g sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Alcool of gewurtztraminer 1 Tbsp.

Procedure for the Tart Dough:

  • In a food processor add the flour, butter, salt.
  • Pulse until the flour and butter look and feel like sand.
  • Add the cold water
  • Pulse to homogenize
  • Press the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a round disk about 1 inch thick
  • Store in the refrigerator until needed.

Procedure for the Custard:

  • Add the eggs, pastry cream powder, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl
  • Whisk for about 15 seconds.
  • Add the crème fraiche

Procedure for the Crème Chantilly:

  • Hold in the refrigerator
  • Place in a pipping bag with a star tip
  • Whisk with a balloon whisk: the cream, sugar, vanilla and marc de gewurtztraminer.
  • To Assemble the Tart;
  • Roll out the pate brisee with a rolling pin to the side of a tart
  • Place into the buttered tart shell
  • Remove excess dough
  • Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add the blueberries
  • Sprinkle with the polenta or cream of wheat
  • Pour in the custard
  • Place in a pre heated oven at 400 F for about 20 minutes
  • Finish for about 40 minutes at 350 F.
  • When the custard is set and the dough is golden brown
  • Remove from the oven let cool down for about 10 minutes and remove from the mold.
  • Let cool down on a wire rack to dry out the tart crust.
Michael-Vinegar-Tasting-Event

Destination Vinegar

By: Wajma Basharyar

Photographer, Author and Podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell had his first acid trip at the age of 19 when famed Bostonian Chef Barbara Lynch gave him a cap full of something.  He shot it back and recalls having “one of the most profound sensory experiences” of his life up until that point. That spiritual explosion of flavor – sweet, sour, sapid – became his gateway to the world of acidity.

Erwin Gegenbauer, Gegenbauer Vinegar Brewery
Erwin Gegenbauer, Gegenbauer Vinegar Brewery

Fast forward 15 years, he found himself in Vienna, Austria on the doorsteps of Erwin Gegenbauer, the maker of that first shot and quite possibly the best vinegar-craftsman in the world.  While interacting with Gegenbauer, Michael learned the importance of capturing the purity of an ingredient and why it’s crucial in creating a great tasting vinegar.

“The majority of vinegar that I had tasted (up until that first Gegenbauer shot) was the kind that hits you in your chest, makes you cough; you can feel it on your tongue, but you don’t actually taste it,” says Michael.

Acid Trip book cover

 

 

 

While many people may associate it with bad grapes, during that trip, he realized that vinegar is actually made with the best grapes available.  His yearning to learn more about how ingredients impact the quality of the product led him on a global journey to study vinegar-making practices from the people and places that have evolved the craft.  He chronicled the expedition in a newly-released book, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar (Abrams, $29.99)

Through his lens, we’re transported to France, Italy, Austria, Japan and throughout North America to learn about the art and science of vinegar.  The photography brings to life the richness of the recipes, the insights from world-renowned chefs including Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura and April Bloomfield. The book captures the essence of why good vinegar is necessary for culinary arts while the how-to tutorials give the reader front-row access to making their own vinegar at home with bases, such as honey, apple cider vinegar, rice and wine.

plated dish
Sandre in Beurre Blanc

In France, Michael investigated the role of vinegar in relation to food techniques and the application thereof.  What he concluded was that it all comes down to the basic balance of acid and fat; both elements prevalent in French food and more specifically, French sauces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Italy, Michelin-star Chef Massimo Bottura, who runs the number one restaurant in the world, showed Michael an example of a balsamic vinegar that was unlike any balsamic he had tasted before.

 

Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana

Iio Jozo, shari, temakiAs a self-proclaimed Japanophile, Michael was elated to make the trip to Japan and find a producer who could explain the full cycle of rice vinegar from start to end. “Given how much rice is produced in Asia, it’s unsurprising that a remarkable range of rice vinegars can be found there, too. I am partial to the premium rice vinegars of Japan, which are exceptionally fresh and clean-tasting.”

 

 

 

 

 

Iio Jozo, shari, temaki

Earlier this month, the ICC’s California campus was honored to have author/photographer/ podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell, visit the campus. He spent the afternoon educating students, alumni and staff all about the vinegar-making process. He shared stories of his travel experiences meeting the world’s best vinegar makers and he brought with him a range of artisanal varieties for us to taste.

  • Acetaia Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar – a very special blend of balsamic vinegar aged for up to 25 years with the finest grapes
  • Acetum Mellis Mead Vinegar – a honey vinegar with a golden, translucent color that has a delicate and fresh taste with a spark of acidity
  • Pojer e Sandri Dolomiti Italian varieties in Cherry, Quince and Black Current – each has a distinct flavor and taste to represent its base ingredient Sparrow Lane, California Citrus Vinegar – a light, fresh and flavorful melody of orange, lime and lemon incorporated in fine barrel-aged chardonnay

At first glance, Michael Harlan Turkell may appear to be just another Brooklynite with a barrel of beer in his backyard.  We came to learn, however, that he started working in kitchens as a young kid at the age of 15 in his hometown of Westchester, New York, and dreamed of becoming a full-fledged chef.  Interestingly, when he later moved to Boston for college, he ended up dropping out of school to again work in restaurants. It wasn’t until he entered the high-end food scene in Boston that his palette was awakened to something new.  Today, he is an expert in at-home vinegar making.  He was proud to tell us that he even spent two years reverse-engineering one process and figured out the secret to making a great beer vinegar in his Brooklyn backyard!

Vinegar from the tasting at ICC
Vinegar Varieties

According to Michael, generally, two kinds of vinegar have found their way to our dinner tables today; either the balsamic poured on salad or the apple-cider vinegar (ACV), touted for its health benefits.  He explained that he aims to change that paradigm by broadening our acidic horizons and expanding our palettes to offer a more varied selection of vinegar that brings a harmonious balance of flavor to our everyday meals.

For a perfect summer treat, try a fresh take on the Negroni.

BALSAMIC NEGRONI, FROM DAMON BOELTE, GRAND ARMY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

MAKES A 48-OUNCE (1.4-L) PITCHER, SERVES 4 TO 8

16 ounces (180 ml) of CAMPARI

16 ounces (180 ml) COCCHI VERMOUTH DI TORINO

16 ounces (180 ml) GIN, BEAFEATER preferred

½ pint (165 g) STRAWBERRIES, sliced

½ ENGLISH CUCUMBER, sliced

ICE

½ cup (120 ml) BALSAMIC VINEGAR, DOP

In the pitcher, mix together Campari, vermouth and gin.  Add the sliced strawberries and cucumber, let sit for 30 minutes for all the flavors to mingle, then top with ice.

To serve, put a few ice cubes in a rocks glass, pour in 6 ounces (120 to 180 ml) of the Negroni, and float 1 tablespo0n of the balsamic vinegar on top.

Chocolate

Where Health Meets Decadence… 7 Reasons Why Dark Chocolate Can Be a Healthy Choice

Written by: Trees Emma Martens, Owner of Emma’s DelightsEmma

2013 Chocolate Candy and Confections Class

Emma’s Delights’ owner-chocolatière, Trees Emma Martens, was born and raised in Belgium and like most Belgians, she grew up with fine chocolates. Her mom was a great cook and a fabulous baker-pâtissière, and from a very young age, Emma spent countless hours helping her mom measuring and mixing ingredients in the family kitchen, and most importantly taking care of the ‘quality assurance’ of the finished product by tasting it at all the different stages of production. No wonder she claims that crafting chocolates must be ingrained in her DNA. 

Emma has been experimenting daily in her own kitchen since her college years. After moving to the Bay Area in 1996 with her family, she eagerly included a variety of culinary elements from the many cultures surrounding her into her own recipes. Emma’s Delights continues that tradition.

We‘ve all heard the saying, “dark chocolate is good for you,” and there are many studies claiming just that. Here are my top 7 health benefits attributed to a high cocoa percentage dark chocolate*:

  1. Fights Free Radicals: Dark chocolate contains plenty of antioxidants that reduce free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells).
  2. Protects Your Skin: The flavanols, a plant-based nutrient, found in dark chocolate absorb ultraviolet rays thus protecting your skin against their damaging effects. Please note that it’s still good to wear sunscreen!
  3. Improves Blood Flow: Dark chocolate is said to lower blood pressure and may even improve brain function by increasing blood flow, which can help you perform better on intellectual tests.
  4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease: Dark chocolate (together with exercise and a healthy diet) can lower the risk of heart disease because it raises the HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases the oxidized LDL (meaning “bad” cholesterol has reacted with free radicals).
  5. Increases Productivity: Dark chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine (a blood vessel widener), but at a low enough level to not keep you awake at night.
  6. Reduces Stress: Apparently, dark chocolate also helps reduce stress hormones that can lead to collagen breakdown (wrinkles) and excess oil production (acne).
  7. Lose Weight: Eating a piece of dark chocolate as a snack will lower your craving for sweets and fatty foods and reduces feelings of hunger. This will make it easier to stick to your regular diet plan and help you to reduce body weight.

* If 90% cacao mass is too bitter for you, try a 70%. Just make sure that sugar is not the first ingredient listed and that your plain dark chocolate is truly dairy-free.

If all these scientific reasons cannot persuade you to include dark chocolate into your diet, just think of how good eating a piece of chocolate can make you feel… to indulge without guilt!

With Emma’s Delights, my goal is to handcraft high quality chocolates in small volume with emphasis on the uniqueness of Belgian chocolates. I want to stay as close as possible to the original art of Belgian ‘praline’ making, using traditional molds and soft fillings. I am also passionate about eating healthy so I use only ‘real’ ingredients for my fillings. I avoid any coloring or preservatives, I never use glucose or any other sugary syrups, and I only use organic cane sugar for caramelized fillings. Many of my customers are also happy to know that my fillings are dairy free and all are gluten free. In staying true to my motto, “where decadence becomes healthy,” I offer a large selection of gourmet products made with 70% cacao mass Belgian chocolate, nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

While Emma’s Delights is mainly an online store that concentrates on “order only,” you can also find me at holiday markets and corporate pop ups. As a small business owner, my job description includes everything from janitor to CEO. In one day, I can go from purchasing ingredients and developing recipes to, fulfilling customer orders and making my chocolates and fillings. There is also a lot of administrative work and marketing involved, i.e answering emails and sending out quotes, writing newsletters, taking pictures for Instagram and, of course, there is always a lot of clean up.

Although maintaining such high standards for my products takes much effort, the “farm to table” movement has always been a way of life for me. In fact, I grew up eating healthy meals cooked from scratch, using fresh vegetables and fruit mostly grown in our own garden. I also have fond memories of assisting my mom every Saturday, baking cakes, pastries, and pies that we would deliver to our neighbors on Sundays as gifts. Even though my mom was an amazing amateur baker/pâtissière, the dessert ‘par excellence’ for me was definitely chocolate, and more specifically our famous Belgian chocolates.

Growing up in Belgium, we always had chocolate in the pantry and after moving to the United States, I especially missed those Belgian ‘pralines’ (hard shell chocolates with soft fillings). One particular year, my craving for them was so great that I decided to make them myself. I did a lot of research online, bought some chocolate molds, and started making my own chocolates. My first attempts didn’t always work out well, but I was intrigued by the process and wanted to learn more about tempering and the whole chocolate making craft. I began taking some amateur classes and became hooked. Since I wanted to really master the art of chocolate making, I was fortunate that the ICC was offering a 5-week course and eagerly signed up for it. Meanwhile, I had to practice a lot and shared my first results with friends and family. Even though my chocolates were still far from perfect, they were a big hit and people often encouraged me to start a business. I knew it would be tough, but the idea of becoming a chocolatière was appealing to me because I saw a niche for it: Belgian chocolates made by a Belgian in the Bay Area, using Belgian couverture chocolate.

Learn more about Emma’s Delights on her website [http://emmasdelights.com] and be sure to follow her on Instagram @emmasdelights!