A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

July 25, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Culinary Tour de France, Main Dishes, Other

We’re coming to the last day of the Vegetarian Tour de France and it’s been a long month of cooking. That’s why I’m still looking for simple recipes. This is a unique soup and is a great use for the summer cucumber crop. The next time I make this, I may play around a little with the amount of butter, cream and egg yolk that is in the soup. I think it could be made much lighter…which means it can be eaten that much more often. (And, that also means no worries about having to schlep extra poundage around on your weekend bike ride!)

Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)
adapted from Celtnet.org.uk

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp long-grain rice
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Do not peel the cucumber, as the skin is essential for this recipe. Chop both the cucumber and shallot then melt the butter in a pan. When hot add the cucumber and shallot and fry lightly until soft and slightly browned.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

Season well and add the rice to the pot.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

Fry for 1 minute before adding the stock.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

Take off the heat and allow to cool a little before liquidizing in a food processor.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

Return the liquid to the pan then add the cream and slowly whisk-in the egg yolk. Allow to warm through, but do not boil (otherwise the egg and cream will curdle).

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Cucumber Soup (Crèm Doria)

(Note: Even after processing in the blender, I still had bits of seeds and skin. If you don’t like that…then strain them out before serving.)

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English Pea Pancakes with Colorful Vegetable Saute and Basil Butter

May 12, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

I am so in love with the Cafe Flora Cookbook. It’s written in a style that feels like a friend giving you advice in the kitchen. Each recipe comes with an excellent description, suggestions for garnishes, complimentary side dishes and instructions on what order to prep things so that the dish is completed at it’s ultimate peak of deliciousness.

The English Pea Pancake recipe is no exception. These pancakes came out perfectly fluffy and not overly filling. It was suggested that they be served with a Colorful Vegetable Saute and topped with Basil Butter.

If making the meal together, the cookbook suggests that you start on the basil butter well ahead of time. Then prep all the vegetables for the saute. Then cook the pancakes, keeping them warm in the oven while you finish up the vegetable saute because it only takes a few minutes and should be served as soon as possible because they “lose their sparkle” if held too long.

English Pea Pancakes
Cafe Flora Cookbook

(Note: I reduced this recipe so that I made only 2/3 of the pancakes. The full recipe is outlined below. Be forewarned, you will end up with about 18 5-inch pancakes if you make the full amount.)

3 cups shelled English (or shelling) peas, fresh or frozen and defrosted
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 T finely chopped fresh basil
2 2/1 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
Vegetable oil for the griddle (I used cooking spray)

english peas

Make the pancake batter. In a blender, puree the peas with the shallot, mint, basil, and milk.

english peas

english pea pancakes

Add the eggs and butter to the blender, and blend until combined.

english pea pancakes

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and sugar into a medium bowl. Add the pea mixture to these dry ingredients, and stir just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overbeat.

english pea pancakes

Cook the pancakes. Heat a lightly greased driddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, drop 3 tablespoons batter per pancake onto the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form, about 3 minutes, and then flip to brown the other side, about 1 minute.

english pea pancakes

english pea pancakes

Stack the pancakes on a plate, cover with a damp towel, and keep warm in a 200-degree oven until all the pancakes are done. (Note: I set my toaster oven to “warm”, then stacked the pancakes on the little baking pan, covering them with a damp paper towel.)

english pea pancakes

To serve individually, place 3 pancakes overlapping in a circle on a warm plate. Put 2 slices basil butter on them, and top with some of the sauteed vegetables.

Basil Butter

May 10, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Other

The basil butter recipe comes from the Cafe Flora Restaurant cookbook.  It was very easy to make and so good that I think it would make cardboard taste delectable.

You can spread this butter over some fresh bread or, as suggested in the cookbook, over some hot corn on the cob. Or, make it for a colorful vegetable saute or English Pea pancakes.

Basil Butter
Cafe Flora Cookbook

Note: The amounts below reflect the recipe cut in half. I have a small food processor and really didn’t need to have the equivalent of two sticks of butter. One stick is plenty for my uses.

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small shallot, minced
2 T finely chopped Italian parsley
5 big basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
A few cranks of freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

Basil Herb Butter

Process until compeltely mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if neccessary.

Basil Herb Butter

Shape the butter. Roll the butter into a log about 2 inches in diameter using plastic wrap or parchment paper to help you roll it. Twist each end tightly, and refrigerate until firm. (About one hour.)

Basil Herb Butter


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