There is more to French cuisine than French Fries of course and I've learned how to make a few recipes for this Bastille Day -- the cheap$kate way, of course. So read on to see scrumptious videos and food photography, that I hope inspires you to try a recipe or two. And click on any recipe name to go to my blogpost with all the yummy photo and delish recipe instructions.
This French holiday is celebrated as the turning point of the French Revolution on July 14, 1790. Hey, this sounds like a fine excuse to celebrate French cuisine, to me! So I'll start with one of my favorite ones, a hearty Cassoulet casserole.
One of my early L.A. jobs in the Biz was as a videotape editor. Lunch was often in a neighborhood restaurant run by a charming French couple. My favorite dish was a comforting plate of Cassoulet. It reminded me of a rustic home cooked all-in-one dish: a bean casserole version of Mom's Cajun rice dish, Jambalaya.
A classic Cassoulet is made with confit duck legs, sausage and white beans. I've yet to find duck for 99c or less a pound but chicken quarters from a local Latin market do fine; as for sausage, 99c only Stores always carry it.
A French mirepoix of veggies includes: onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot and celery. They will sweeten this stew with slow cooking on the stove top and in the oven.
In fall and winter months I make a Cassoulet almost every few weeks, and always have leftovers to enjoy and share.
French Onion Soup uses half a dozen roughly sliced onions, that are cooked down until caramelized to a sweet brown hue.
I get them from my local Latin market anywhere from 4 pounds for a dollar. Go ahead and use the least expensive white or yellow onions.
French Onion Soup comes together with red wine (cheap is okay,) a fave broth, butter, and a little flour to thicken it. A pretty simple recipe, but oh so delish, especially when it's finished off topped with cheese and a slice of crusty bread.
My favorite fries are double-fried French Fries, and that's a tasty mouthful. Soggy fries were the norm until McDonald's came on the scene and changed forever the way Americans look at French Fries.
It became all about the crunchy outside and fluffy inside. Andy anyone can do it if you follow my method in the video below. But you have to go to the end of the video for my French Fry tutorial, as the first part is all about British-style beer battered fried fish.
You would think a world-famous French chef would do French Fries right? Wrong -- I reviewed Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Fried Chicken Truck.
You can get French Fries with his fried chicken. Maybe it was an off day, but the fries were limp and soggy. I'm willing to try again when I run across the truck. Maybe they are great, just not when I was there. So check out my Cheap$kate Dining Review for French Chef Ludo's Fried Chicken and French Fries Truck to see for yourself.
But Chef Ludo Lefebvre did turn my head around for his French Cheese Omelet. Man, is it tender and so good. The French method is to whip eggs first, then lightly scramble them with butter until almost done, but eggs still slightly moist. You finish by adding cheese and gently folding the egg into an omelet shape.
My omelet experience is with middle American diner-style where the eggs are solid and a bit dry. Now I make my omelets the French way, and you can too if you follow my recipe video below.
I grew up watching Julia Child cooking French food on her Public TV cooking show. And show literally wrote the book on French cooking called "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
Her personality was larger than life, and I had to do a video in her honor, after she passed away. My recipe homage is a bit silly, but it is done with heart. Check out my version of Julia Child's Crepes Suzette -- done by her nephew, Julian Child!
Beef Bourguignon is a classic French stew, at least until the Cheap$kate Cuisinier gets ahold of the recipe. Beef is too expensive, but pork is the right price, so I turned the recipe into a Pork Bourguignon.
All the other classic ingredients are included like: mushrooms, onions, tomato paste and of course, cheap red wine. To get that rich beefy flavor I include beef stock.
So do click on any recipe name to see my original blog post recipe, and dig in!
Viva la France and bon appetit!