Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Theme Nights--French Edition

My side of the family has been doing a Sunday theme night once a month where we choose a cuisine from around the world to focus on. For March, our theme was Irish cooking in honor of St. Patrick's Day. In February, our theme was French cooking in honor of Valentine's Day (because, as you know, French is "the international know...LOVE, the language of love"--Better off Dead).

We discovered a number of fun recipes. We had some savory crepes for dinner, with some lovely French side dishes and some melt-in-your-mouth cream puffs for dessert.

I must note, however, that home-made crepes (while heavenly) take FOREVER to make. So, we opted for the pre-made crepes that can be bought in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. They aren't quite as good, but they're still good enough and they save a ton of time!

I hope you like our French night recipes!

Chicken, Mushroom, and Olive Crepes



Note: If you don't have time to make your own crepes, you can find pre-made crepes in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.

1 1/4 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter


1 cup cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4 oz) sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup stuffed green olives, chopped, optional


1 cup cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated


For crepes, blend batter and chill for one hour. Brush skillet with butter and cook crepes, 2 tablespoons of batter for each. Reserve cooked crepes.

Combine all ingredients for filling. Use 1 tablespoon filling for each crepe, fold in thirds and place in pan, seam side down.

For topping, combine all ingredients; cover crepes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Nutrition information: 275 calories, 16 g fat, 788 mg sodium, 107 mg cholesterol.

Source: Deseret News recipe, submitted by Patty Howells.

Sausage-Filled Crepes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


1 pound ground pork sausage
1 small onion, diced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Sliced tomato


3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt



Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain well. Return sausage to skillet; add 1 cup Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and marjoram, stirring until cheeses melt.

Spoon 3 tablespoons filling down center of each crepe.

Roll up, and place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13x9 inch baking dish.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Stir together sour cream and butter; spoon over crepes. Bake 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese and parsley. Serve with sliced tomato.

Note: Crepes may be assembled and frozen. To reheat, let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Bake, covered, at 350 for 40 minutes. Proceed as direction.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Beat first 3 ingredients (eggs, milk, and vegegtable oil) at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Gradually add flour and salt, beating until smooth. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Coat bottom of a 7-inch nonstick skillet with melted butter; place skillet over medium heat until hot.

Pour 3 tablespoons batter into skillet; quickly tilt in all directions so batter covers bottom of skillet.

Cook 1 minute or until crepe can be shaken loose from skillet. Turn crepe over, and cook about 30 seconds. Place on a dish towel to cool. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Stack crepes between sheets of wax paper.

Makes 12 (7 inch) crepes.

Source: website. It is a Southern Living recipe from their November 1998 magazine issue.

Cauliflower Gratin

Prep time: 5 minutes.
Cook time: 50 minutes.

Notes by the author (Rebecca Franklin): This recipe makes extra Bechamel sauce, which is perfect for drizzling on steamed vegetables.

Creamy and comforting, this cauliflower gratin recipe features a classic Bechamel sauce punched up by just a little bit of fresh thyme. This gratin is a classic at Provencal tables, and is often served for the traditional meatless Christmas Eve dinner, gros souper.


1 large (3 pound) head of fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/3 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1/3 cup dry, seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish and set it aside. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 5-7 minutes, until the florets are just tender. Rinse them in cold water, drain, and arrange them in a single layer in the buttered dish.

in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually - 1/3 cup at a time - add the milk. Continue whisking an dcook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with salt, thyme, and nutmet.

Pour 2 cups of the Bechamel sauce over the steamed cauliflower and gently toss the florets to make sure they are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Bake the gratin, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir together the grated Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the gratin. Bake it for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the gratin is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the surface of the baked gratin with the ground pepper and serve hot.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Source:, French Food webpage, Author: Rebecca Franklin.

Lemon Parsley Risoni

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes


2 cups cooked risoni (substitute orzo pasta, if you can't find risoni)
3 tablespoons mustard vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Toss all of the ingredients together and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Variation: Add 6 ounces of canned tuna, drained, a 1 additional tablespoon of mustard vinaigrette to the salad.

Makes 4 servings.

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

Prep time: 5 minutes


1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 small garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil


Put all ingredients in a glass jar, seal with a lid, and shake until ingredients are well incorporated. Refrigerate leftover.

Makes 4 servings.

Source:, French Food webpage, Author: Rebecca Franklin.

Cream Puffs (Pate a Choux)


1 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted flour
4 eggs
Pastry cream (recipe follows)


bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to a rolling boil. Add 1 cup sifted flour all at once.

Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a smooth ball. Remove from heat. Quickly beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

Continue beating until mixture is thick and smooth. Dough may be shaped and baked at once, or wrapped in waxed paper and stored in refrigerator overnight.

Force dough through a pastry bag or drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake large puffs at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake 20-25 minutes longer or until golden in color.

Bake small puffs at 450 degrees F 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees F and bake 5 minutes longer, or until golden in color.

Remove to rack and cool.

Cut off tops and fill shells with pastry cream. Replace tops and sprinkle with sifted confectioners' sugar.

French Pastry Cream


1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sifted flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Scald 1 1/2 cups milk and set aside.

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup cold milk, stirring well.

Gradually stir in scalded milk. Wash double boiler top to remove scum. Return mixture to double boiler top and place over direct heat. Stirring gently and constantly, bring milk mixture rapidly to boiling over direct heat and cook for 2 minutes.

Place over simmering water. Cover and cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Vigorously stir about 3 tablespoons of this hot mixture into the slightly beaten egg yolks.

Immediately blend into mixture in double boiler. Cook over simmering water for 3-5 minutes. Stir slowly to keep mixture cooking evenly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cover and cool. Chill in refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups of pastry cream.

Variation: Follow the recipe above and...

Saint-Honore Cream

Follow recipe. Soften 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Dissolve in completed, hot French Pastry Cream, stirring constantly. Cool completely. Beat 6 egg whites until frothy and gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, beating well after each addition; beat until rounded peaks are formed. Fold beaten egg whites into cooled cream. Use to fill cream Puffs.

Makes about 5 cups Saint-Honore Cream.

Whoa...Did those cream puff fillings seem a little overwhelming? If so, try this much simpler cream puff filling...

Chantilly Cream (Basically Whipped Cream)


1 cup chilled whipping cream
3 tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Beat whipping cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters. Beat until cream stands in peaks when beater is slowly lifted upright.

Fold or beat confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract into whipped cream with final few strokes until blended.

Still too complicated?

You can simply use prepared vanilla pudding or vanilla ice cream as the filling for your cream puffs.

Source for cream puffs, French pastry cream, Saint-Honore cream, and Chantilly cream: These recipes were found in a very old cookbook that my mother had. It is called "The French Cookbook" compiled by Staff Home Economists Culinary Arts Institute, directed by Melanie de Proft. It is copyrighted 1955 by Book Production Industries, Inc.

I know! You're asking "What is her mother, who was born in 1958, doing with a cookbook that is older than she is?" The answer: "I have no idea, but I'm glad because those cream puffs were awesome!"


  1. It was also French month in honor of me being accepted to go to Paris!!! Those cream puffs were heavenly.

  2. Actually, when I made the cream puffs, I used the Chantilly cream recipe and added some cooled, cooked pudding from a mix. I was most lazy. But they turned out well. I knew the whipped cream wouldn't be enough and the other was too labor intensive. I didn't add the entire amount of pudding the pkg made, just til it looked right.

    And Emily is right. We were also celebrating her future trip to Paris.