Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dinner with Debbie

My friend Debbie has a beautiful kitchen, and she has no qualms about sharing it. Several days ago she invited me over for a cook-a-thon. Our menu began with Petits Choux au Fromage, we had made these cute little cheese puffs at Jardins des Thevenets on our Cooking Holiday and thought they would be a nice beginning to our dinner.
Debbie had just bought a large cast iron Dutch Oven from Chef Central. Of course we had to use it What could be better than Boeuf Bourguignon on a rainy, autumn evening in White Plains? I brought my Mastering the Art of French Cooking and we went to work.
While we were at Jardins des Thevenets, Lynn had given me a cookbook, Delectable , written by a friend and fellow South African Marlene van der Westhuizen.
In it was a recipe for Molten Chocolate Puddings with a White Center. It fit the bill for the perfect chocolate dessert. They are too die for!
So we began by putting together the Bourguignon, then started in on the chocolate cakes, finished up preparing the Petits au Fromage.
When we handed a "straight from the oven" Cheese Puff to Nick.......well, you can see what happened!We began cooking for 5 people, but by the time dinner was ready the guest list had grown to nine, five teenagers and four adults. It had become quite a party.
While making the cakes, I was separating the egg yolks with my fingers. A trick taught to me at the CIA. Debbie opened a drawer and pulled out this nifty egg separator!
It was a snap to use and even sat on the edge of the bowl. I loved it! How cute is this? The perfect stocking stuffer......hopefully one of my kids is reading this.
She also had a candle we had bought at the candle maker in Charroux. Randy, another friend and fellow traveler remarked that they look like a "Girl Scout project"! Having been a leader for more years than I care to count, I have to agree. They may be short on looks but it was long on fragrance!
As the aroma of Boeuf Bourguignon filled the house, the kids began to arrive. We cracked open a bottle of Saint Pourcain that Debbie had bought for her husband Nick at Cave Famille Laurent.
Rich and flavorful, it brought back memories of eating, drinking cooking at Jardins des Thevenets.
It complimented the Bourguignon perfectly!
The teens ate, laughed and enjoyed themselves. This is Nick, Liz and Stephanie.
Emmet, Tino and Nick. They all agreed the food was wonderful.
Everyone was waiting for the Chocolate Molten Cakes.To make them, we whipped up the batter. Filled the souffle dishes halfway and placed two pieces of white chocolate on top.
We then filled the dishes with the rest of the batter.
When they came out of the oven they looked similar to souffles.
Debbie and I couldn't wait to try them.
Since we had only made eight, we decided to share one.
It was luscious! A wonderful conclusion for a eventful French Cooking vacation. Having all the kids around made it very special. With half of them leaving for college next year, how many times will we all be able to have dinner together again? To quote Nick, Debbie's husband, "Isn't this what it's all about? Everyone enjoying food, conversation and company?" Yes, Nick, that is what it's all about! Thanks for sharing your kitchen!
Petits au Choux Fromage
Boeuf Bourguignon
Molten Chocolate Puddings with White Chocolate Centers

All texts and pictures are property of The Gypsy Chef


  1. Oh my, what a menu! I'm dying for one of those little cheese puffs...not to mention the beef. Incredible. Sounds like such a lovely way to spend the day, cooking with a friend and enjoying all the fruits of your labor with loved ones!

    Hope you get the egg separator for xmas...that thing is cute!

  2. I love cooking with someone else. Your menu sounds fabulous. Next time you're in Belgium, you're welcome to cook with me!

  3. Thanks Ladies. Hungry Dog, I hope I get the separator too. It was a wonderful day, almost a repeat of our time in France
    Kate, it's a date! Would love to cook with you.