Kitchen Liberation Organization's
2004 Valentine's Dinner


Croquettes De Couscous Et Pois Chiches

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread sunflower seeds on a baking tray. Remove any shells or discolored seeds. Bake 5-7 minutes until seeds smell nutty and darken slightly. Grind seeds in a food processor for 30 seconds until coarsely chopped. Add chickpeas and process until well mixed. Keep mixture in the food processor.

In a heavy, 1 quart pot, combine couscous, tomato juice and red wine. Stir & bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid. Let sit 5 more minutes. Add cooked couscous to chickpea mixture along with remaining ingredients except oil. Mix well, stopping the processor and scraping down the sides once or twice, until smooth.

Lightly oil your hands. Shape 2 to 3 Tbsp of chickpea mixture between your hands to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture until you have 24 balls. Flatten balls to form patties about 2" wide and 1/2" thick. Brush croquettes with olive oil and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the croquettes over, brush with oil and bake another 10-12 minutes.

These may be served in a sandwich, as an appetizer or as a main dish with pasta and tomato sauce.

French Fantan Rolls

Combine milk, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Stir until the butter melts. Cool mixture to 105 to 115 F, use a thermometer.

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk mixture, eggs, butter extract and lemon extract (if used). Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. I usually start out with 5-1/2 cups and add more until the dough is no longer sticky and is soft and silky. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (or let your mixer do the work), about 5 minutes.

Place dough into a large greased bowl, turning to coat the top with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough to get out the air bubbles. NOW, you can either make the "fan-shaped" rolls (I don't, they take too long) or any shape you'd like. I usually make "clover" shaped rolls. If you'd like the "fan-shape" directions, let me know and I'll post that later. You can make one small lemon sized ball per roll or make 3 walnut-sized balls per roll (for the cloverleaf rolls). Place one ball of dough or 3 walnut-sized balls per roll into LARGE greased muffin cups. If you'd like (it's not necessary), roll the balls of dough in the melted butter before putting them into the pans.

Cover and let rise in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size. The rolls will "balloon" in size once you put them into the oven, don't let the risen size fool you, they DO get BIG.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Fan-Shaped Rolls: After the first rising, punch down the dough and divide it in half. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Roll EACH half into a 12" x 6" rectangle. Brush 2 Tbsp butter over top of each rectangle. Cut each rectangle into six 1" strips. Stack 6 strips of dough (or lay them side-by-side, it's easier to me), butter-side up on top of one another. Cut each stack into 12 pieces, about 1" wide. Place stacks of dough into well buttered LARGE muffin cups (sideways). Follow rising directions in the recipe.

Fricassee de Poulet au Chablis

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook them in a hot butter in a saucepan broud enough to hold them in 1 layer. Turn the pieces to brown them lightly on both sides. Sprinkle the chicken with the flour and garlic. Moisten with the chablis and stock. The chicken should be just covered with these liquids. Add the shallots and the bouquet garni, cover and cook in a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Arrange the chicken on a deep serving dish and keep them hot. Reduce the sauce to about half over high heat and thicken it, off the heat with the egg yolks beaten with the heavy cream and butter. Add the lemon juice and the cooked mushrooms. Reheat, taste for seasoning and serve the chicken with the sauce and rice.

Stouffade de Pommes de Terre (Smothered Potatoes)

In a heavy bottomed covered pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots, the ventreche, bacon, or ham, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir and let cook about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until brown.

Add the potatoes, broth or water, salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover the casserole and let cook slowly about 45 minutes, stirring often to keep it from sticking.

Serve on a warm plate and garnish with chopped parsley.

Medaillons De Veau En Croute

Veal and Sauce: Cut the loin of veal into 6 slices 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Flatten the slices slightly with a cleaver or knife blade. Pat the slices dry and sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Dredge the slices in all purpose flour, shaking off any excess to leave a very light coating. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of butter over high heat. Add the meat (work in batches if necessary) and saute until golden, shaking the pan occasionally and turning the slices once, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to a platter and pour off all but 1 Tbsp of butter from the skillet. Add shallots, raise the heat, and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits in the pan, and boil until reduced by half. Add Veal Stock and any juices from the veal and boil until reduced by about 1/3. Strain the sauce and set it aside. Chill meat, covered.

To Assemble: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out about 1/3 of the puff pastry into a rectangle, 1/16" thick. Cut 6 pastry ovals roughly the shape of veal medallions but somewhat larger, to leave a generous border. Roll out remaining pastry to large rectangle about 1/8"h thick. Cut out 6 slightly larger pastry ovals, reserving trimmings for another use.

Place the thinner set of pastry ovals on a large ungreased baking sheet. Brush the pastry lightly with egg yolk mixture, then place chilled veal medallion in the center of each oval. Spread a layer of cooled duxelles stuffing on each, mounding it slightly and dividing it evenly. Top each medallion with one of the thicker pastry ovals, smoothing it gently without stretching. Press edges of the pastry together firmly to seal. Brush pastry with egg wash. With a large round cutter or knife, trim off the edges of the pastry, leaving a 1/2" border. Use a small knife to trace a leaf pattern in the top of each pastry; score a few lines along the sides. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or longer.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Bake veal en croute on the center rack until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat sauce, reducing it further if necessary until it coats a spoon lightly. Serve veal surrounded with some of the sauce and garnished with watercress sprigs; serve remaining sauce separately.

Duxelles Stuffing

Soak the calf brains in a bowl of cold water with 2 Tbsp of vinegar about 30 minutes. Drain and carefully remove as much of the membrane and veins as possible from the brains. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine 3 cups of cold water, the remaining 2 Tbsp of vinegar, a little salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently add the brains and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Let the brains sit in the liquid, covered, for 8 minutes, then transfer them with a slotted spatula to a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and stir until nearly dry, about 8 minutes. Add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add cooked brains, and stir, breaking up the brains, until mixture is almost pureed. Add 1/4 cup of reserved Veal Stock to the mixture and simmer briefly until thick. Remove from the heat, stir in parsley and adjust seasoning. Cool mixture completely, then chill, covered.

Veal Stock

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put the oil in a roasting pan and heat briefly in the oven. Add the bones to the oil in the pan, toss to coat and roast for 35 minutes.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, leek, garlic and parsley, tossing them all to coat with fat. Roast 30 minutes longer.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the bones and vegetables to a clean stockpot. Drain off as much of the fat as possible.

Place the roasting pan over medium-high heat (use 2 burners if necessary), and add 2 cups of cold water and boil briefly. Scrape up all of the browned bits into the water. Transfer the liquid to the stock pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring slowly to a boil, skimming off all of the froth that forms.

Lower the heat and add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, cloves and salt. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours adding water as necessary just to cover the ingredients. Skim whenever necessary. Add peppercorns for the last 15 minutes of the simmering.

Strain the "soup" into a large bowl through a colander lined with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth. Gently press the solids to extract all of the liquid, and discard the solids.

Pour the stock into containers for storage and label and date them. The stock will "keep" for up to 3 days in a refrigerator, and up to 6 months in a freezer.

Ratatouille Nicoise

Peel zucchini and eggplant; cut in bite-sized pieces. Cut tomatoes and onion in bite-sized pieces. Remove seeds and membrane from green pepper and cut into bite-sized pieces.

The vegetables are browned separately, sauteed in oil over medium to high heat.

Start with the onions and peppers. Once each is browned, combine them together into one pan and continue to cook slowly, covered. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper at this time.

Cook eggplant next, followed by the zucchini, then the tomatoes with the garlic.

In large pan, combine all ingredients and cook for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

NOTE: Cooking time is approximately a half-hour for all the vegetables. They are cooked separately to keep them from getting water-logged. Ratatouille should not be mushy.

Chocolate Dream Crepes

Filling: Combine chocolate chips and butter in the top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring often, until chocolate melts. Remove from heat. Add confectioners' sugar, Karo, creme de cacao, water, and vanilla, and stir until smooth.

Spoon about 3 Tbsp ice cream down the center of each crepe; fold sides over, and place seam side with on serving dishes. Spoon warm chocolate sauce over each; sprinkle with pecans.

Crepes: Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt. Add milk and almond extract; beat until smooth. Add egg and beat well; stir in butter. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Brush bottom of a 6" crepe pan or heavy skillet with oil; place over medium heat until just hot, not smoking.

Pour 2 Tbsp batter into pan; quickly tilt pan in all directions so batter covers the pan in a thin film. Cook 1 minute or until lightly browned.

Lift edge of crepe to test for doneness. Crepe is ready for flipping when it can be shaken loose from the pan. Flip the crepe, and cook about 30 seconds on the other side. (This side is rarely more than spotty brown, and is the side on which the filling is placed.) Place crepes on a towel to cool. Stack between layers of waxed paper to prevent sticking. Repeat until all batter is used.

Chocolate Almond Torte

Preheat oven to 350 F and place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Place the sliced or blanched almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. Once completely cooled, place the nuts in a blender or small food processor and process until finely ground.

Note: The almonds need to be at room temperature before grinding to prevent them from clumping. If you find the almonds still clump when you ground them, add about 1 Tbsp of the sugar from the recipe. The sugar will help prevent clumping as it absorbs any oil exuded from the almonds.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 F and line an 8" springform pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Separate the cold eggs, placing the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until they reach room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat.

Meanwhile place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated white sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the yolks and sugar until pale and thick (about 2 to 3 minutes). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Fold in the ground almonds.

In a clean bowl, place the egg whites and whisk until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until stiff peak forms. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake has a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust. Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the sides. If not serving immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature. Dust with powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar.