Savory Suppers & Crispy Cookies

Escoffiers and starched white tablecloths are what usually come to mind when thinking of French cuisine—often noted as the finest in fine dining. But there’s a lovely earthiness to French fare as well, especially when it comes to the seasonal and succulent produce found at any of the country’s daily farmers markets or street-corner stalls. You can experience the wealth of this culinary bounty on your River Ship, or while on shore.


Stuffed Onions, Tomatoes, and Zucchini

This recipe for les petits farcis, or little stuffed vegetables, is both delightfully rustic and wonderfully filling. You may sample it on our Burgundy & Provence to the Cote D’Azur or The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles cruises. Top-rated Program Director and self-proclaimed foodie Beatrice Braverman—whose father owned a charcuterie—shared her family recipe for this savory supper with us.

Ingredients:

6 tomatoes
6 zucchinis

For the stuffing:
2 onions
1 1/2 c. bread
1 c. ham, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 c. veal shoulder, cut into small pieces
3 eggs
2 c. milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
Olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Preparation:

  1. Cut the top of each tomato (with about a half-inch at the top), and scoop out the flesh with a melon baller. Save the top of each tomato and reserve the flesh cut off.
  2. Cut the tops of the zucchinis off and hollow out the center with a melon baller, being careful not to make a hole at the bottom. Cook the zucchinis for 15-20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Stuffing preparation:
Soak the bread in a bowl of milk. Coat the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil, and cook the garlic with the onions at medium heat, until the onions soften. Add veal and cook until it's brown on all sides. Remove the veal mixture and then cook the ham by adding oil to the same pan. Then grind both meats together in a food processor, and set aside. Separately, process the soaked bread with the excess milk squeezed out in the food processor until you get a smooth texture. Combine the three in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato flesh, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Assembly:
Stuff the tomatoes and zucchinis. Coat a large, oven-proof dish with olive oil and place the stuffed vegetables in it. Put the tops on the tomatoes, and drizzle vegetables with olive oil, salt, and peppers. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes in a 400-degree oven, until the vegetables are soft but still holding their shape.


Serves: 6


Palmier cookies

Crispy, buttery, and sweet palmiers—“elephant ear” cookies in the States—are much easier to make than they look. Because the cinnamon version is very common as a holiday treat, you’re likely to find them on our Christmastime on the Seine River Cruise, although they’re delicious year-round!

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. sugar, divided


Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine butter, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup sugar to make a cinnamon glaze.
  3. Dust a clean work surface with half of the remaining sugar.
  4. Place the unfolded puff pastry dough on the sugared work surface, and roll it out to be approximately 10x12 inches.
  5. Brush the surface of the dough with the cinnamon glaze, then sprinkle remaining sugar on top.
  6. Using your fingers, roll up the dough halfway to the center point, like a scroll. It should be approximately six inches in length when halfway rolled. Then, roll the other side in to meet the first side. Roll each side as tightly as possible.
  7. Push the sides together so they touch, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate on a baking sheet for a half-hour.
  8. Upwrap the dough, slice into 1/2-inch slices and place at least an inch apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. (Check on the cookies halfway through cooking to make sure they don’t unroll. If they do, roll them carefully back up with two forks.)

Makes 20 cookies