Monday, October 20, 2014

La Grenouille's Grand Marnier Souffle Recipe~

Recipe below~
La Grenouille, talisman from the age of NYC French bygones like Lutèce, La Côte Basque, and La a short limo ride away from 15 Central Park West where the global Ne Plus Ultra are acquiring condos for up to $88-million. Even the CEOs of the “too big to fail banks” bailed out by taxpayers, own multi-floor castles there. Highlights: (HERE). (HERE). 

"Fifteen" as its called, is the subject of "House of Outrageous Fortune. The World's Most Powerful Address" by Michael Gross. His latest is as highly entertaining as are all his reads. And here's the perfect dessert to go with it.

La Grenouille’s Grand Marnier Soufflé~

For the pastry cream: 

1/2 vanilla bean, split
1 pint whole milk
113 grams granulated sugar
6 medium egg yolks (reserve and refrigerate whites overnight)
34 grams custard powder or cornstarch
33 grams all-purpose flour
13 grams sweet butter

For the soufflé: 

Unsalted butter and sugar to coat ramekin
140 grams pastry cream (one No. 8 ice-cream scoop) 
30 grams Grand Marnier
50 grams egg whites
10 grams granulated sugar

Prepare the pastry cream a day ahead (it makes 6 servings, and will keep refrigerated for 3 days). Combine vanilla and milk in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low. Cream the sugar and eggs in large bowl. Add powder and flour, and mix until smooth.

Pour about a ladle of the hot milk into the flour mixture, and stir to dilute everything, then pour back into the milk and whisk. Bring back to a boil while whisking quickly. When mixture reaches a boil, turn off flame and add butter.

Beat mixture with a wire whisk or an electric mixer until pastry cream has cooled to room temperature. Store in refrigerator with plastic wrap applied directly to surface.

To make soufflé: Preheat oven to 400. Brush ramekin with butter, fill halfway with sugar. Spin to coat well, then discard remaining sugar.

Heat pastry cream in a double boiler over high heat, adding Grand Marnier when cream is warm. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together with a mixer until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the pastry-cream mixture, one half at a time.

Spoon into a soufflé ramekin (approximately 5 inches wide and 2 inches deep), and tap ramekin on counter to settle. Bake for about 8 minutes.

Remove with large spatula or oven mitts, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Billy Joel's "River Of Dreams"

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Spirit Of Beauty In A Famous Napa Wine Guy~

It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.
Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
 Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

I scraped my planned post for today on learning that the “Dean of California Wine PR” Harvey P. Posert Jr., a giant of PR for the California’s Wine Institute and also Robert Mondavi Wines--has died.  

He was among the handful that made California Wine a global standard. And like the Stanford educated Mondavi, Harvey was a bright light in the brains department, too. With degrees in English from Yale and the University of Chicago Law School, he also served in the Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps in Germany. 

I met the big hearted legend in 2007-ish when he was with his wife--and I was with my friend who was a multi-Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal winning Olympian…who also coached Olympic hopefuls.

We'd been out to an early film in San Francisco, where I lived. Afterwards, we tried to out "con gusto" each other by charging up The City’s infamous hills. I was an uber-fit runner then, and annoyed that my foot had been painful for weeks, and now I could barely walk. 

We whistled down a cab that whisked us to the UCSF ER for an X-Ray. Arriving in what appeared to be an exotic world bazaar that smelled faintly of grilled kebabs; we had the good fortune to take seats next to Harvey and his wife.

Within minutes, it was as if we were long lost buds in a swanky Upper East Side cocktail bar casting bon mots onto fair winds and following seas. Harvey whipped out a business card and scribbled his phone numbers on the back. “Come up to wine country for dinner. Any time.” He tapped the card with his pen…like a Magic Wand to conjure up that future witty scene with us laughing again; and despite our being surrounded with stretchers bearing folks who were retching fluids.

With my name finally called, I brushed off the cobwebs and limped through double-doors to learn I had a stress fracture, then re-emerged hobbling on crutches with a cast to my knee. Harvey regaled me for having taken on San Francisco’s infamous hills with a broken foot and against a Gold Medal Olympian. I felt as if I’d just won an Oscar for Best Chutzpah.

Today is Friday—named after the Germanic goddess Freya, twinned with the Roman Aphrodite of romance, beauty, laughter, joy, and festivity. A stark contrast to the cranky dark cloud I’ve felt with a horrid case of EMF Radiation “dis-ease.” 

But then, I read about Harvey, saw his photo, and was laughing all over again. What a gift a memory like that is. Yes, the world's gone bonkers. But why not try to Aphrodite It Up, like Harvey? One of the Golden State's very best friends. Cheers!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Most Beautiful Village In The French Alps~

The flowery, medieval village of Yvoire on Lac Lehman (Lake Geneva on the Swiss side), is one of the official Most Beautiful Villages of France. Just one square mile with 800 residents--and summer crowds gone--it's perfect for an off-season getaway with lower prices, historical sites, spa towns, and vineyards nearby: 

Two for a Road Trip: (HERE). Gorgeous Lake Annecy: (HERE), Montreux Riviera  ... Aix-les-Bains ...the posh ski resort of Megève to name a few. 

Mrs. Clooney's back to work with George perhaps home fixing dinner to: Pavarotti and Barry White: My first, My last, My Everything...Michael Bublé - Everything
Happy Thursday....Thank you so much for stopping by...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sipping Champagne Happily Ever After~

Close pal, Brad Pitt, had hinted that they would honeymoon where Brad and his wife had in the Seychelles. In reality, Mr. and Mrs. Clooney, movie star and human rights lawyer, had purchased a 17th-century Mill House, 40 miles outside London, on a four-acre island on the River Thames in the fairy-tale village of Sonning-on-Thames. 

And there, they sipped champagne in newly wedded bliss...enjoying the last laugh over Paparazzi crews who at that very moment were binocular-ing out of rented helicopters as they scoured ritzy spots from Madagascar to Mauritius near the Seychelles for the glammy duo. A switcheroo worthy of Danny in Ocean's 11. 

Clooney was charmed by the area of their new home, not far from the estate where filming for TV's Downton Abbey took place, and where he shot scenes  for The Monuments Men. Their private island features a gym, spa, cellar, boathouse, guest cottage, and library...
And worthy of the Clooney library is the new sepia-toned, Midnight At The Pera Palace. Author Charles King presents a riveting 20th century account  of the Near East via its exotic gateway city along the Silk Route.

Hugely entertaining. Few places were as colorful as Istanbul between the wars and Professor King captures all the chaotic brio and contradictions of a city, and a culture, reinventing itself.” ~Joseph Kanon, author of Istanbul Passage.

Istanbul was the capital of four empires: the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). And advanced Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, prior to the Ottomans transforming it into an Islamic stronghold.

Charles King's tale centers in the elegant wreck of the Pera Palace that reflects the intrigue of crumbling magnificence. A story with Clooney film script written all over it.

Clooney has penned his own romantic adventure with his life. Now adding a Happy Ever After ending to every fans' delight...

Shape of My Heart Sting, Josh Groban, and Chris Botti. Cinema Paradiso  by Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Botti: (HERE) To your restorative Sunday. Thank you for stopping by~

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chic French Wine Country Chateau With Recipes~

Château de Bagnols is a luxury five-star château-hotel set in vineyards 17-miles from the artsy city of Lyon, and originally built as a Medieval fortress between 1217 and 1221

In 1466, following The Hundred Years War, and death of Saint Joan of Arc in 1431, the arrival of the Medicis gave rise to Lyon as a banking powerhouse and to its artistic Renaissance. And its prominent textile industry, the Grande Fabrique de Lyon, which outshone even Italy.

Amid an atmosphere of vast wealth, Geoffroy de Balzac, adviser to the King, acquired Château de Bagnols. The marriage of his daughter resulted in the creation of one of France's most famous tapestries: The Lady with the Unicorn, which today is in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

Other families would add to property's allure until the end of the 1700s when it fell into centuries of decay.

Rescue came in 1987 with new owners who employed over 400 craftspeople to restore elegance to the romantic estate in the Beaujolais countryside. A video tour: (HERE). Tour in Lyon: (HERE)'ll see Lyon's Medieval Old Town that dates to when the chateau was originally constructed.

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail:

1 oz Gin
½ oz St Germain Elderflower Liquer
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz simple syrup
3 oz Veuve Clicquot

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker, shake well, and pour in a rocks glass. Top off with more Veuve Clicquot champagne as desired.

Dark Chocolate And Cherry Cookies~

This decadent cookie recipe from Katie Lee via Goop makes about 4 dozen.

2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 t. pure vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (high-quality chocolate with more than 60% cacao)
1 cup dried cherries coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375º F.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

With a hand-mixer, beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

On low speed, add the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate, cherries and pecans.

Scoop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto nonstick or greased cookie sheets. Bake until golden and chewy, about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets after 6 minutes.

Transfer the cookies to a rack and repeat with the remaining dough.
Inside Lyon's world famous Paul Bocuse restaurant: (HERE). Interview with Chef Bocuse: (HERE). Classic--Anthony Bourdain in Lyon: (HERETo your Happy Weekend! Thanks so much for stopping by~

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5th Annual Global Champagne Party~

Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby singing "What A Swell Party It Is"
from "High Society" Grace Kelly's last film before her marriage...

"You're Sensational" Sinatra and Grace Kelly~
Oui, October 24th is the 5th Annual Global Champagne Party instituted by the French who produce 349 millions of bottles of bubbly annually, valued at 4.4 billion euro. Their top party export markets are: the UK, US, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Sweden.

Quaff the best in Paris at the three Michelin star L’Ambroisie restaurant in the chic Places des Vosges. So good for the heart and brain. Or, celebrate French Champagne with a party at home. Unrivaled recipes and a fabulous champagne related book: (HERE).

Research shows that health benefits can result from the phenolic compounds in a couple of glasses of Champagne a week that can protect the brain against loss of cognitive and memory functions. Adults who drink light-to-moderate amounts of bubbly are also less likely to develop heart disease than people who drink heavily; or not at all.

Classic "Biscuit Roses de Reims" To Serve With Champagne~

This biscuit was created in Reims, Capital of Champagne, in 1691 by Maison Fossier bakery, which still exists there. Although the brand was acquired by Dijon, which has been acquired by Kraft Foods. Bake your own with quality ingredients from the original recipe:


4 large eggs (separate the yolks from the whites)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
drop of natural red food coloring
powdered sugar for dusting the cookies


Preheat the oven to 300°F (180°C). Mix the yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl using a hand blender with a whisk attachment, on increasing speeds over a period of 5-6 minutes. Beat in 2 of the egg whites for another 2 minutes. Beat in the remaining 2 egg whites and the natural food coloring for an additional 2 minutes until the mixture begins to form stiff peaks. 

Sift the flour, cornstarch and baking soda into the bowl, folding in gently with a spatula. You want a smooth consistency, with color uniformity, and fluffy volume. Scrape into a pastry bag with 1/4-inch smooth tip.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper greased with either butter or non-stick spray. Squeeze out strips of the mixture that are 1/4-inch wide and about 3 inches long. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Let the cookies stay pink, and not brown. Take the biscuits out, quickly neaten up the edges with a sharp knife to create even rectangles. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar and place them back in the oven for another 12-15 minutes. 

Serve with a semi-sweet Champagne and tea.

Fascinating on Dom Perignon: (HERE). Excellent wine short: (HERE).
See you on Friday. Cheers! (HERE)... Thanks so much for stopping by...