Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2017:
* Use the Spiralizer at least once per week for healthy veggie-rich meals
* Continue to spin from the Wheel of Meals for recipe inspiration

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Third Day of Christmas

Anne's 12 Days of Christmas Recipes

 On the third day of Christmas, for my best friend, I cooked...

~ Three French Hens ~


 Anne presents...

Bouillabaisse de Poulet,
Garlic French Bread, and
Mousse au Chocolat



Three French Hens was probably the easiest of all 12 days.  A French chicken recipe.  Bouillabaisse de Poulet is basically Chicken Stew, or to be fancy, "Chicken Poached in White Wine with Provencal Vegetables, Herbs, and Flavorings."  We served it over rice.  This recipe was actually from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook, so I was feeling very Julie/Julia when I made it.  I stayed very true to the recipe, except for the addition of carrots to make it a little heartier.  A Bouillabaisse is traditionally a stew made with fish and shellfish, but in this case, chicken was used instead.  The most distinguishing characteristic of a bouillabaisse is the unique flavoring derived from saffron, bay leaf, fennel seeds, and orange peel.

As for the other dishes... We accidentally forgot to take the garlic bread out of the oven, so it was a little crispier than we'd like.  Oops.  The mousse was most excellent.  It took a lot of preparation, but it was totally worth it.  The first bite, I could really taste the alcohol from the Bailey's Irish Cream, but after that, I didn't notice, and we both agreed that it seemed to get better and better with every bite.   Yummmy!  :)

Anne's Fun Facts:
Cost of 3 French Hens (2010 Christmas Price Index) = $150
Cost of Saffron Threads (0.06 oz) at Pick n Save Grocery Store = $18

All About Saffron...
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.  Saffron comes from the stigma of crocus flowers.  Each strand of saffron has to be hand-plucked from the individual flower heads which blossom every autumn.  The flowers bloom only over a 2-3 week span.  The workers sometimes spend 19-hour days harvesting the open flowers and extracting the stigmas before they wilt.  They are then dried over heat and sealed as threads in packages to export.  There are 3 stigmas per flower, and it takes 70,000 to 80,000 flowers, or about 225,000 stigmas, to produce 1 pound of dried saffron.  One cooking recipe generally requires 5-6 plants.  At one time, the price of saffron per ounce was greater than that of gold (but the value of gold has significantly increased).

Price of Gold per ounce: $1,391.19
Price of Silver per ounce: $29.37
Price of Saffron per ounce: ~$300.00

Saffron is most commonly used in recipes for Bouillabaisse, Paella, and Risotto and provides the yellowish hue.  In past centuries, it had medicinal use for headaches, spasms, stomach upset, bubonic plague, and smallpox.  Ancient Egyptians used it as an aphrodisiac, an antidote for poisoning, and as a tonic for dysentery and measles. Today, clinical trials have shown potential as an anticancer agent.



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Recipes

Bouillabaisse de Poulet
Yield: 4 servings (Anne says: It made WAY more than that!)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup onions; sliced
1/2 cup white of leek, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced (Anne's addition--optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 &1/2 cups tomato pulp (~5 plum tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic
2 &1/2 pounds cut up chicken
salt to taste
1 &1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds; crushed
2 pinches saffron threads
2 inch piece dried orange peel
black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or a dash of Tabasco sauce
salt to taste

Directions:
Cook the onions, carrots, and leeks slowly with the oil in a heavy 3-quart covered pot, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender, but not browned.

While vegetables cook, prepare the tomatoes. (I pulped my tomatoes by dipping them in boiling water for 10 seconds which let me peel the skin off very easily.  Then, I squeezed the tomatoes over the sink, letting the juice and seeds squirt out so that I was left with just the pulp.)  When the vegetables are tender, stir in the tomatoes and garlic. Cover and cook for 5 minutes so that the tomatoes will render their juices. Uncover, raise heat and let juice almost entirely evaporate.

Salt chicken lightly and arrange in casserole, spreading vegetables around and on top. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, turning once.

Pour the wine over the chicken and enough stock or broth barely to cover the meat. Add the herbs and seasonings and bring to a simmer. Salt lightly if necessary.  Cover casserole and simmer slowly for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

To Serve:
Tip the casserole and skim off surface fat. Remove bay leaf and orange peel and carefully correct seasonings. Serve as is, from the casserole or arrange chicken and vegetables on a bed of steamed rice. Decorate with parsley sprig and pass the cooking liquid separately. 

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Garlic French Bread
8 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 loaf French bread, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley


Directions:
In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic.  Brush over cut sides of bread; sprinkle with parsley.  Place, cut side up, on baking sheet.  Bake at 350º for 8 minutes.  Broil 4-6" from heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Cut into 2" slices.

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Mousse au Chocolat

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup super fine sugar
1 &1/4 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream


Directions
In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pot of hot water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring. Remove from the heat and beat with a heavy wooden spoon until smooth. Return to the heat and 1 at a time, add the yolks, beating well after the addition of each. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.


In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until stiff.

In a third bowl, beat the cream until it becomes frothy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the Baileys and continue beating until it holds soft peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the chocoalte mixture until no white speaks appear. Gradually fold in the whipped cream, reserving about 1/2 cup for garnish.  Transfer to a large bowl (or individual bowls) and refrigerate until well chilled.  To serve, spoon the reserved whipped cream.

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Anne's 12 Days of Christmas Recipes  
(I will be posting one per day from Dec 26 thru Jan 6th, 2010)Feel free to comment!


1st Day: Partridge in Pear Tree             7th Day: Seven Swans a-Swimming
2nd Day: Two Turtledoves                    8th Day: Eight Maids a-Milking
3rd Day: Three French Hens                 9th Day: Nine Ladies Dancing
4th Day: Four Calling Birds                  10th Day: Ten Lords a-Leaping
5th Day: Five Gold Rings                     11th Day: Eleven Pipers Piping
6th Day: Six Geese a-Laying                12th Day: Twelve Drummers Drumming

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