Dear customers,

I just came back from France where I gathered a lot of new recipes from the French Alps and the South of France…

Just below is a good example of a typical Brioche called “Saint Genis” filled with pralines…

While I am mastering the art of cooking Purées for my baby, I am glad to announce that I am back in business with a lot of tasty ideas to make your meals always better.

Looking forward to teaching or cooking for you,

A bientôt,

Chef Sophie

Dear customers,

My little bun in the oven is just about ready, so meal planning, cooking and more will have to wait until the flowers are in bloom.

A little hibernation for this new Momma, I’ll see you soon mes Amis!

Chef Sophie

Tasting Week, October 2012…

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail very interesting…

“Tasting Week invites chefs from famous restaurants in the Bay Area to come talk to students about taste and flavors, in order to encourage children to become exploratory eaters.The chefs came into the classroom for about 40 minutes to give a presentation of their choice.
We hope we can get your full support for this initiative.”

Rebecca Scholl-Barbier
(founder of Tasting Week and mother of four children in the PAUSD)

Of course I replied: Count me in!

Tuesday October 16, I went to the public scholl Walter Haynes in Palo Alto and I immediately enjoyed meeting some of these incredible and facinating kids!

I loved sharing my tricks to prepare French Baguette and explaining what really is the bread (organic flour / dry yeast or starter levain / salt / water) and how important it is to read  the ingredients list when you get some at the groceries store ;-)

Later in the week, I also joined the pre school “Les Petits Confettis” to share in French how to prepare “Le Flan parisien” with 3 years old kids. It was a lot of fun!

~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you to the kids and to Elisa De Martel, Helene Gsell and all the parents for these enriching opportunities.

See you next year!

Raspberries and Lime Tartelette for vacation

Dear gourmet…

I enjoyed baking these Summer Tartelette. First of all, I prepared a shortbeard biscuit called “sablé breton” with european salted butter and one fresh vanilla bean from Madagascar. At this point, depending wich texture do you prefer you can also prepare a sweet crust called “pâte sucrée” (more firm but also very tasty)…Next step: you prepare a red berries puree, not a confiture (more sweet) but really a fruits puree with just a little bit of sugar and a pintch of pectin. Last but not least, it is time to prepare the Lime Cream. I use the juice but also the zest… When I imagine a dish, I always think about the balance. Balance of flavours but also balance of textures and…colors (three colors most of the time)… At the end you sprinkle with some roasted pistachio on the top…This is a tasty combination, trust me!

If you would like to learn how to prepare from scratch these Tartelette and customize yours with your favorite flavours, schedule a pastry lesson with Chef Sophie, this is very easy… I take off for France July 20, but I come back on August 15…

Bon appétit et bonnes vacances,

Chef Sophie

Food and Wine pairing

Dear gourmet,

I enjoyed preparing from scratch the following Menu for an IT conference in the Bay Area last week. The oenologue Melissa Smith and myself were a great team.

“Wine and food matching is the process of pairing food dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience. The main concept behind pairings is that certain elements (such as texture and flavor) in both food and wine react differently to each other and finding the right combination of these elements will make the entire dining experience more enjoyable. However, taste and enjoyment are very subjective and what may be a “textbook perfect” pairing for one taster could be less enjoyable to another”. Our guests enjoyed the following Menu.

Chef Sophie’s Menu

Gazpacho Tomatoes, figs and cloud of fresh goat cheese

2010 Cantina di Gallura Vermentino di Gallura “Canayli”

Gambas Rhum Emulsion on skewers

Porc, mint and nuts spring roll

2011 Frisk “Prickly” Riesling Victoria

Squares of onion tart and blue cheese

French homemade Duck and pistachio Pâté

Sophie’s baguette

2010 Haden Fig “N°52″ Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Parisian Macaroons

Pièce Montée, the French Wedding cake…

…You may know this dessert by another name – Croquembouche (“crunch in the mouth”).

The classic piece montée is a high pyramid/cone made of profiteroles (cream-filled puff pastries) sometimes dipped in chocolate, bound with caramel, and usually decorated with threads of caramel, sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons.

Chef Sophie can prepare especially for you your customized Pièce Montée for your Event. The piece montée is the traditional wedding cake in France. They are often served at baptisms and communions as well.

Congratulations to Danielle and Alexandre and Thank you to Beatrice and Paul for this exciting new opportunity!

French Bread Class…

I taught a French Bread Class last Friday and it was a lot of fun. Ladies, thank you for your great involvement, and I would like  to thank Maya for welcoming us and taking these pictures! We shared a lunch break together tasting the cheese souffle we just removed from the oven…

If you too, you want to plan you own French cooking class in the comfort of your place, please visit the page “lessons” on this website…

Galette des Rois Season

Happy New Year!

The celebration of Epiphany is celebrated in many countries across Europe and around the world; however, France has their own unique traditions in the celebration of Epiphany. In France, Epiphany is also referred to as La Fete des Rois as a tribute to the Three Kings (Melchior, Gaspard and Balthazar) the holiday celebrates. In France one of the most popular ways to celebrate the day is through food. The French prepare special cakes on or near the day of celebration aptly known as King cakes. The special cakes are baked across the country; however, different regions have unique variants on the recipe. In Northern France the cakes are traditionally made of a fine, puff pastry that is filled with an almond cream paste called Frangipane*. In the South of France by contrast the almond paste is replaced with a fruit paste. The cakes are also available as plain puff pastry. The Kings cakes are more than just delicious snacks as they also incorporate their own unique traditions. Each year, such a pleasure for me to prepare my own puff pastry and my own Frangipane Cream…

When preparing a batch of King Cakes it is traditional to include one bean or ceramic figure in the batter. This inclusion means that the bean or figure will be hidden in one of the pastries. Later on, when the cakes are consumed in celebration of Epiphany whoever finds the bean or figure in their cake is named King or Queen for the day and is rewarded with a paper crown. The fabulous thing about a Galette des Rois, apart from its deliciousness, is the family ritual that goes with it: the youngest child of the family hides under the table, an adult divides the galette in even slices, and the child calls out which slice goes to whom.

* Frangipane is a mix of almond cream (almonds, sugar, butter, eggs) made fluffy by the addition of pastry cream (milk, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, flour). The ratio of almond cream to pastry cream (classically: two parts almond cream for one part pastry cream) determines how rich and flavorful the frangipane will be.

An article was published regarding Sophie

Recently I enjoyed being interviewed regarding the usage I make of Olive Oil in my Cuisine. Here is the article…
Import Makes Friends with Domestic

By Mary Dautricourt
12/01/2011

EXPAT FRENCH CHEF DISCOVERS THE FLAVORS OF CALIFORNIA OLIVE OIL

Invited to a neighbor’s tasting party in northern California recently, I entered the house through the kitchen to see if I could help in any way. The chef was splashing water onto a tray in the oven which was emitting billows of smoke. She worked quickly, carefully eyeing what she was baking inside the oven. I worried about the smoke alarm going off, but she gestured in that direction and assured me she had turned it off the day she arrived six months ago, declaring “You can’t cook properly in this country!” In a corner of the room, I saw a mise en place clearly meant for an unusual appetizer: Comice pear, avocado, blue cheese and walnut bread. To the side were a few bottles of extra virgin olive oil. I suddenly realized these ingredients were meant for me and knew this was going to be a memorable evening.

Sophie Le Doré, French personal chef, cooking instructor, and author of the book Ce que nous devons savoir sur la pomme de terre (What We Need to Know About the Potato), moved to Palo Alto, California with her husband in 2011 and has already made a big impact in the area. She creates delicious, healthy and well-balanced dishes, always prepared with the freshest seasonal, local and, whenever possible, organic, ingredients from the farmer’s market, and from scratch. Taste is paramount, but it is her focus on presentation that sets Le Doré apart.

“I know we also eat with our eyes, so I pay special attention to the crafting and presentation of all my dishes,” said Le Doré. I could tell from the mix of quality ingredients, though, that she enjoys experimenting with the best ingredients just as much. Like her penchant for liberally using the best olive oils in her menu over the classically preferred French ingredient, butter.

Sophie’s “Fougasse,” home-made bread from southern France, was perfect – crispy on the outside, light in the inside; and served hot, straight out of the oven. Many other dishes – appetizers to dessert – had been prepared for the tasting party, almost all featuring olive oil, one of her very favorite ingredients.

“Everyone knows a good product speaks for itself and it is exactly the case with olive oil. I remember vacations in Italy: just pasta al dente and olive oil, and il mondo è meraviglioso!” she declares. “Since moving to the U.S., I have been pleasantly surprised by so many great Californian Extra Virgin Olive Oils. They have been a great discovery for me!”

Sophie Le Doré’s dishes were all delicious and beautifully presented, but I was most struck by her not-so ‘secret ingredient’ – a contagious enthusiasm for her craft and joie de vivre. She is also a strong believer in the importance of spending quality time à table to enjoy food and the company of others. The feast, accompanied by Le Doré’s passionate radiance and lively explanations, taught me much about the real ingredients that make the meal. Le Doré may be discovering the wonderful value of domestic olive oil in her kitchen, but she shared an equally important ingredient with me.

In honor of her first Christmas in California, Sophie Le Doré created this recipe for The Olive Oil Source:

Holiday Amuse Bouche
Roasted Sea Scallops, served with black olive tapenade and bacon powder

 

For the bacon dish:
-3 slices of organic bacon

For the tapenade dish:
-12 pitted Kalamata olives
-1 small clove of garlic
-6 basil leaves
-6 unsalted pistachios
-pinch of fleur de sel
-1 tablespoon of crushed dark, red and white peppercorns
-1 tablespoon of strong olive oil such as The Olive Oil Source Italian Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the scallops dish:
-6 large fresh sea scallops
-1 tablespoon mild olive oil such as The Olive Oil Source Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 tablespoon salted butter

Preheat the over to 400°.
Place the bacon on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.

With a mortar and pestle, crush and grind the bacon into a fine powder and set aside in another bowl.

Put the dark olives, garlic, basil, pistachios and olive oil in your mortar and crush them with the pestle until they are blended into a smooth paste. Taste and add fleur de sel and peppercorn to taste.

Prepare the scallops:
Pat the sea scallops dry on a paper towel. Put some olive oil in a hot pan and cook the sea scallops for about 3 minutes on each side. Add some salted butter in the pan and baste each sea scallop with it.

Arrange the 3 elements of this amuse bouche on small, warmed plates.

Enjoy!

And, by the way, she was only kidding about the fire alarm.

First Tasting Session…

“If you love fresh, delicious, and elegant food, but would rather someone else did the cooking, I would like to introduce you to Sophie Le Doré, a wonderful French chef who has recently arrived in Palo Alto and has opened a personal chef business (by referral only).  I recently enjoyed one of Sophie’s exquisite meals in her home.Sophie is having an intimate tasting party at her downtown Palo Alto home Friday November 11— just in time for holiday party planning.”

Sophie said : “I am committed to cooking entirely from scratch using fresh and seasonal ingredients. I believe we also eat with our eyes, and as such I pay special attention to the crafting and presentation of a dish, with the intent to make food as exciting as possible.  All menus or buffets are created seasonally and personally customized for each special occasion.”

Menu’s French Tasting

French bread, « Fougasse from South of France » prepared in live

Tartine : Walnut bread with goat cheese, Parma Ham and figs

Tartine : Walnut bread with blue cheese, avocado and pear Comice

Angel Eggs (with paprika on the top…)

French pâté, « Terrine Yvonne »

Quiche Lorraine

Sardines dip with almond, « Rillettes de sardines »

Houmous from Lebanon

Blond lentils salad with butternut and smoked bacon

French potatoes salad (Dijon mustard, tarragon, curcuma…)

Sweet time…

Rosebud Tart with apple and salted butter caramel

Chocolate Tart for strong chocolate lovers

Pistachio Parisian Macaroons

Salted Butter Caramel Parisian Macaroons

Coffee Parisian Macaroons