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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Best (French) Picnic Dish

What do you usually pack for picnics? We bring cheddar and crackers and grapes, but sometimes we're in the mood for something more inspired. Well, Rachel of The Little Paris Kitchen agreed to share her delicious recipe for fresh French cheese, which would be a great twist on a summer day. Here goes...

The Best Picnic Dish You'll Ever Have
By Rachel Khoo, author of The Little Paris Kitchen

Literally translated, the name of this dish—cervelles de canut—means "silk worker’s brains." Fear not—no cannibalism, nor even carnivorism, is committed here. The recipe originated in Lyon, which was made the capital of French silk production by Louis XI in 1466. It is thought that by the nineteenth century the silk workers were treated with such disdain by high society in the city that they named this simple dish after them. This is delicious with fresh bread and raw vegetables like carrot sticks, peppers, and radishes.

More serving ideas: Sweet: a drizzle of honey or maple syrup or a sprinkling of sugar can be quite sufficient. Or serve with fresh or stewed fruit (berries are especially good). For a crunch factor, try nuts or granola. Savory: cracked black pepper, a pinch of chile, or freshly chopped herbs (chives, parsley, etc.)

Recipe: Cervelles de canut (Fresh Cheese with Shallots and Red Wine)
Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours

You'll need:
8 oz. fromage frais (to make your own, see recipe below) or cottage cheese
3½ tbsp. crème fraîche
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, finely chopped
½ clove of garlic, crushed to a paste
½ tsp. sugar
4 tbsp. finely chopped chives
Salt and pepper

Drain any excess liquid from the cheese. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, saving some of the chives for the garnish, and taste for seasoning. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the cheese for 2 hours.

Sprinkle the cheese with chives and serve chilled.

Can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.

Recipe: Fromage frais (Fresh Cheese)
Makes about 14 oz.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes–overnight

Fromage frais has a smooth, creamy taste and a subtle acidic note, making it less smelly socks and more freshly washed white linen. Of course, an additional plus is that it’s low in fat and cholesterol, but that doesn’t mean it’s low in taste.

You'll need:
2 qt. 2-percent or skimmed milk, preferably organic but not UHT or homogenized
½ cup plain live or probiotic yogurt, preferably organic
Juice of 1 lemon (6 tbsp.)
A pinch of salt or sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream (optional)

Pour the milk into a large pot. Heat very slowly, stirring gently, until it starts to steam and little bubbles form around the edge (it should not boil at any point). This should take about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before stirring in the yogurt and lemon juice. Leave to sit undisturbed for a further 10 minutes. Return the pot to the heat and bring the milk to a boil. Once it separates into curds (the solids) and whey (the liquid), remove from the heat.

Line a fine-meshed sieve with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel. Place the sieve over a bowl and pour in the separated milk. Scrunch the cloth tightly immediately above the cheese, like making a money bag, and twist to squeeze out any excess liquid. Now tie the corners of the cloth together to form a hanging pouch and thread a wooden spoon through the loop. Hang the cheese over a large bowl or jug (don’t let it sit on the bottom), and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. The longer the cheese hangs, the more the liquid will drip away and the drier the cheese will become.

To serve, twist the cloth as before to squeeze out any excess liquid, then remove the cheese from the cloth and season with salt or sugar. Serve as it comes for a firm version, or beat in a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream for a smoother, creamier cheese.
Yum! Thank you so much, Rachel!

P.S. More best recipes, including panzanella and cheesy mashed potatoes.

(Recipe by Rachel Khoo, author of The Little Paris Kitchen. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

24 comments:

Clémence said...

Woohoo I'm from Lyon!
And Cervelles de Canut is reaaaally nice!
It's great to hear about my city for once!

emilyvannah said...

Oh my that looks so yummy!

Emily
eageremily.blogspot.com

fortheloveofbookshops.com said...

Wow! I'm making this today, no question about it! Any idea what make of knife she's got in that top picture? It's lovely, too. Thanks! -- Erin

laurenfoode.com said...

This looks delicious! And I love Rachel Khoo! Her cooking show is one of the few I really enjoy.

Jenna | je na sais quoi said...

I went to Paris last august with my boyfriend and he bought me this book as a souvenir. I use it frequently!!

ale norris said...

fresh cheese is by far the best picnic dish ever. i usually bring some burrata with us on our picnics (my FAVORITE cheese ever) so this is a great contender!

Erika said...

YUM! I'll definitely have to try this out!

http://www.erikablogsalot.blogspot.com

Patricia Paramo said...

Lately when I read your blog I get super nervous that you are about to pop hahaha...

good luck on everything with the baby!


Brunette Letters Blog

thehumblegourmet said...

That sounds really incredible. I've been wanting to buy her cookbook for some time now, and I think I just found yet another reason to revisit Amazon. Yum!

Katherine said...

looks so so so so good!!!!!!!

Elise said...

We frequently enjoy what we call "wine dinners" that involve wine (of course), bread, cheese, fruit and chocolate. I can't wait to try making our own fresh cheese! We've been using Jim Lahey's INCREDIBLE bread recipe and making our own, bread, so homemade cheese will totally take it to the next level! Here's the bread recipe we use: http://www.plinnovations.com/our-favorite-bread/

Lauren Knight said...

Wow! Thank you for this! We'll be making it at our 4th of July bbq tomorrow!

Mary Keller said...

This recipe looks amazing!

Kris Nichols said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jm said...

This looks fantastic. I have always wanted to make this.

otilia stocks said...

oh my goodness that just looks delicious!
have pinned! http://pinterest.com/romanianmum

Judy said...

I have the most ridiculous girl crush on Rachel Khoo. I myself absolutely adore cooking, and adore feeding people around me. So, watching her show in her tiny kitchen in the smallest restaurant in Paris inspires me to the point of tears. Seriously.

Plus, she always weards red lipstick. :)

Rachel @ The House Always Wins said...

OMG, making this ASAP!

MartinCho said...

Got me hungry ...
http://overcomethegame.blogspot.com/

barbara l. hale said...

Bug spray... but I like your ideas better.

Madame said...

This looks so delicious! I've only recently discovered Rachel Koo and The Little Paris Kitchen. I still have to get my hands on that book! Thank you for the recipe.

Rebekah Kraft said...

This sounds fantastic! I'll definitely be saving these recipes.i hadn't heard of the Little Paris Kitchen before now, but I think we'll be fast friends :) thanks for sharing!

marykayabblett said...

I am in love with the show little PARIS kitchen and that inspired young lady RACHEL KHOO..I food blog and have online cookbook at marykayscatering.com on FACEBOOK and gave away her cookbook last month JUNE or the most likes..my fave FRENCH cookbook ever..sorry JULIA ..I just decided to cook my way thru one of her recipes a week and share it with my fans. I am new but my CHRISTMAS gift wrapping this year included fab wrapping of GRDKIDS gifts with DELISH local restaurants Scrambled Smoked rib eye over fresh spinach and tomatoes with onion garnish and watching all the PARIS kitchen shows in a loop..rachael you brought new kitchen twists to my life...you are the cutest too..your fashion sense and CREME de macaroon rule! Marykayscatering.com. On FACEBOOK . MARY KAY

Cpns Guru said...

thx Info CPNS 2014

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