After seven, yes SEVEN, months of winter, summer has finally arrived. At least I think it has. It’s been glorious with bright blue skies and a bone-warming sun for the past week. We’ll see how long it lasts…. So another reason, along with 3 Bay Area friends in town, to have a dinner party and welcome in the new season. I’m cheating here as I am posting the menu and a recipe before then I will post the pictures on Sunday after the dinner so please check back for the visuals.

So now that summer has snuck in, all of Paris is outside soaking up the fleeting warmth. The parks are full and cafes are overflowing into the streets. I walked through the Palais Royal a few times over the past week and it too was full of smiling people, sketching artists, lounging dogs, and harried tour guides.

So back to the dinner… Rather than having traditional flower centerpieces, I love to decorate my table with the most gorgeous, vibrant food I can find. The peppers were so beautiful at the market that I decided to make the centerpiece simply a plate stacked with beautiful bell peppers, and a white eggplant flanked by a few flowers. I saved the big bouquets for the mantle.

Bonjour l’Ete! Hello Summer!
10 Juin 2006
Chez Laura

Champagne Aperitif avec Framboises
* Ruinart Brut de Rheims

Poivrons Roti Farci de Ratatouille et Couscous avec Chevre – Peppers stuffed with Ratatouille and Couscous with Goat Cheese
* Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru 2002, Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils

Bar de Ligne Roti Entier avec Fenouil et Caviar Beurre Blanc – Whole Roasted Sea Bass with Fennel in a Caviar White Butter Sauce
* Meursault Genevrieres Premier Cru 2001, Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils

Assiette des Fromages – Assortment of Cheeses: Blue Cheese from Gex, Comte from the Alps and Cumin Tomme
* Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru Les Vercots, Domaine Hippolyte Thevenot

Zabaglione de Marsala avec Framboises et Myrtilles – Marsala Zabaglione with Raspberries and Blueberries
* Vougeot Premier Cru 2000, Clos de la Perriere, Monopole

Mignardises de Patisserie Pinaud – Small Chocolates from Pastry Chef Pascal Pinaud

…so wish me luck, I’m going to need it!

Caviar Beurre Blanc – adapted from Julia Child

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp shallots, finally chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
10 oz unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
salt, pepper, lemon juice
1 small can caviar

1. Boil vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, salt, pepper until reduced to 1.5 tbsps. Remove from heat

2. Immediately beat in 1/2 the butter until it forms a creamy paste.

3. Set over low heat and continue beating in 1 oz of butter at a time adding the butter only when the previous piece is fully incorporated.

4. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed.

5. Gently stir in caviar and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Bonjour l’Ete! Hello Summer! 10 June,2006Cucina Testa Rossa


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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