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Salade Niçoise – The Perfect Al Fresco Lunch August 12, 2013

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Classic Salads, Recipes.
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Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

There are a lot of fun things to do al fresco, although some things, which we might have done in our college years, may seem less appropriate now.   But, who knows, after trying this salad with a cold, crisp white wine, anything could happen.

My wife has suggested that I stop daydreaming and fantasizing and get on with it. (more…)

French Bread – The Classic Baguette January 8, 2013

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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French Bread – The Classic Baguette

The French arguably have the best cuisine in the world.  They may well be the best wine producers and everyone agrees that they are the most prolific producer of fine cheeses.  They are also a little quirky.  For example, if you want to produce wine in the Burgundy area, you can only use Pinot Noir grapes for red wine and Chardonnay grapes for white wine.  In the Bordeaux region, only Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes are allowed for red wine.  Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region.   These food and drink rules even apply to the everyday baguette, which we commonly call French bread.  Actually, “French national law dictates that ‘French’ bread should contain only combinations of flour, yeast, salt and water” (Foodimentary.com) (more…)

Back to the French Classics – Pain Perdu or French Toast June 23, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Classic French Toast

Sometimes we call something by a certain name for so long that we really forget what it is all about and the name bears no resemblance to the real thing.  For example, I call my wife “sweetheart”.  French toast is another good example.  We have to peel away the layers of alteration and adulteration in order to find the true essence.  This is what Bravado chefs do – we constantly seek truth and beauty (and a good Cabernet); we want to stop the silly meddling with the classics and get back to basics. (more…)

Steak Au Poivre – The Classic French Recipe May 17, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Steak Au Poivre

This is the eighth in our series of French classics.  We will do 12 in total and then move to Italia.  Previous posts were:

You really need to go back and try some of these before proceeding onward.  They are the great dishes that everyone needs to be able to make.  These are the dishes that will give you something to talk about and make you a true Bravado chef.

Now we turn our attention to Steak Au Poivre, which you and your fans will love.  The ingredients are simple – meat, peppercorns and a little butter, onion and beef stock – and, of course, some Cognac.  The result is a perfectly elegant dish.  Serve it with Pommes Anna and the crowd will go wild. (more…)

Pommes Anna – A French Classic from the Time of Napoleon III May 13, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Pommes Anna

Earlier in our tour of French classics, we did a famous potato dish called Gratin Dauphinois.  This famous dish is made with potatoes, cheese and, of course, butter.  Possibly an even more famous French potato dish is Pommes Anna, which is even simpler – potatoes, butter, salt and pepper.  This has been a favorite for over 150 years since the time of Napoleon III. (more…)

Classic Coq Au Vin March 24, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Classic Stews, Recipes.
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Coq Au Vin

The French – love ‘em or hate ‘em – are very cool.  They use wine in everything – and why not – they are still the best producer of quality wines in the world.  They have also somehow convinced us use the names of their dishes without any translation – like Coq Au Vin.  This is a classic chicken dish cooked in red wine with a sexy name that we all know.  Maybe the sexy name helps, but – make no mistake about it – this dish really is a classic and the audience will go wild when you serve it to them. (more…)

Classic French Onion Soup March 19, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Classic Soups, Recipes.
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Classic French Onion Soup

Bravado cooking is about a number of things, one of which is a respect for the great classic dishes.  There is a reason why we have classics – because they are dependably good.  I was reminded of this a few nights ago when I took a dessert to a dinner party.  I could have made a classic Tarte Tatin and wowed the crowd, but then, I thought, they have had that before so I’ll try something new.  I experimented with a recipe from Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef).  It was coconut banana bread with a mango and yogurt topping.  It was really not very good and afterwards I said to myself “stick with the classics”.

In recent weeks we have been exploring the great French classics and there are few better than French onion soup.  This is the gold standard of soups and any worthy Bravado chef needs to be able to make this great dish. (more…)

Gratin Dauphinois March 8, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Gratin Dauphinois

We continue our series on French classics with this famous potato dish.  As with most of the French classics, you can find a good recipe for Gratin Dauphinois (pronounced gra-tan’ doe-fee-nwa’) in Julia Child’s “The Art of French Cooking” (p. 523).

The Bravado chef must have a “go to” potato recipe.  When the chips are down, you have to have something that is guaranteed.  This recipe fills the bill.  Make it once and you will be quickly enchanted by this magical preparation.  It leaves the wannabes – the “scalloped potatoes” commonly found in the U.S. and UK – behind in the dust.  Just as every Italian cook can make pasta e fagioli, every French cook has his or her own special version of Gratin Dauphinois.  Feel free to make your own additions – slices of red peppers is one good choice.  Some even add anchovies. (more…)

Beef Bourguignon – Another French Classic March 1, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Classic Stews, Recipes.
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Beef Bourguignon

What started as peasant fare made with inexpensive cuts of beef that were braised all day long in local red wine has become one of the most famous dishes in the world.

Beef Bourguignon was first made in the Dark Ages –  about 400 AD when wine culture in the burgundy region of France was established.  In the 1700’s, it was discovered by the French elite and it has remained high on the list of “haute-cuisine” ever since.  Let’s thank Julia Child for introducing this wonderful dish to the U.S. in her 1961 classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  Check out Julia on YouTube showing us how to prepare the dish.  The Bravado recipe is simpler to prepare than Julia’s and is closer to the technique of Ina Garten, the great Barefoot Contessa.  Our recipe is, in our humble opinion, better because we have more carrots and onions and we cook our dish ALL DAY LONG. (more…)

Coquilles St. Jacques February 23, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Appetizers, Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Coquilles St. Jacques

Bravado Cooking is about cooking with flair and élan – converting the preparation of a dish into a “food event” that your guests will remember.  Sass and swagger are words we like.  Bravado Cooking is also about making things from scratch – like piecrust, pizza crust, wine vinegars, mayonnaise, yogurt and breads.  We’re also into making classic dishes.  Bravado chefs don’t clip cute recipes out of magazines before they have perfected some of the great recipes of the past.

There is nothing more classic than the French and we’ve been doing a mini-series on French cooking.  We recently announced our choice of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, as one of the top three cookbooks of all time (Best Cookbooks).  We told you about the “Julia Child Night” that we did for a charity event.  We’ve had a couple of posts about the Tarte Tatin, which we served for dessert that night.

We served another great favorite as the appetizer that night – Coquilles St. Jacques (pronounced “ko-kee san zhak”). This literally translates into St. James Scallops. (more…)

The Classic Tarte Tatin November 4, 2011

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Desserts, Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Tarte Tatin

Bravado cooking is about many things – making things from scratch, taking whatever time is required because your guests really are important, finding ways to drink good wine while you cook and – the subject of this post – showing respect for the classics.  If we can’t remember, understand the history and prepare the classic dishes, we are nowhere.  One of the classic desserts of all time is the Tarte de Demoiselles Tatin and it starts with a paté brisée, which is the same thing as our One-Handed Pie Crust, which you might want to review now – without repeating some of Howard’s antics (see Use Extreme Caution). (more…)

Pâte Brisée – The One-Handed Pie Crust September 23, 2011

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Recipes.
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Homemade Piecrust

Late one night – about 1:00AM – I was awakened by an urgent knock at the door of my hotel room.  It was Bob in only his Jockey shorts.  He claimed he took the wrong turn coming out of the bathroom and ended up in the hall without a key.  I was with him earlier and drinking should be mentioned as part of the background.  His room was on a different floor and he had to take the elevator to my room – luckily he saw no one.  I gave him some clothes – but no shoes – and he trundled off barefoot to explain things to the front desk.

Well, many of us would rather be caught in a hotel corridor in our underwear rather than attempt to make a piecrust.  Nothing could be sillier since it is very easy to do and very Bravado.

I learned to make piecrust, or pate brisée, from Julia Child – from her book, that is.  She suggests making the piecrust with one hand like the true connoisseurs in France.  The very first time I tried this technique, I realized what Julia was really thinking. (more…)

Rustic Cassoulet September 3, 2011

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic French Dishes, Classic Stews, Recipes.
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Woman swooning over rustic cassoulet

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