Kitchen tools I like

When it comes to being in the kitchen we all have our favorite knife to cut with, the mug or glass we drink in and of course those fun tools/gadgets/small appliances.  I thought I would share some of mine with you once in a while.


micro grater with parmesanBy now mostly everybody is using a micro grater and you can find them in speciality kitchen /cooking stores as well as discount and outlet stores.  I use my micro grater mostly for grating parmesan, nutmeg and for zesting citrus but also when I need a fine grate for chocolate, ginger and even garlic.


citrus press with limes and lemonsWhat did I do before I had this tool in my life! Squeezing by hand with a fork into the flesh of the lemon or lime, having to deal with straining to get rid of the seeds.  This press gets the most juice out of the fruit and the seeds never make their way out.  Again one of those gadgets that you can find basically in all food and kitchen related stores.  They are also sold in the fruit section of grocery store next to the lemons and limes.  Just make sure when you purchase one that it is not made out of plastic but out of metal, as you will get more leverage when pressing.


thermapenThis is my most expensive tool.  I got it as a gift from my husband one year and was shocked when I discovered the price! About $100 and they are not sold in discount stores!  But you can sometimes find them on amazon or on their site at a reduction for around $89.  All that to say that it is a great tool to have in the kitchen, one of those tools that makes you think : how did I live without you? It is especially great when you need that precise moment when your sugar has to reach that perfect temperature for making caramel.  The reading is instant so great for roasting and grilling meat.  The fact that they now come in different colors makes you wish you could own more then one.

I have a few more tools and appliances that I will post about in the coming months – hoping this will help you in your kitchen.  What are your favorite tools?

from my kitchen to yours

CK, la fille du boucher

Berry Coulis

dirty spoonHere is a simple little recipe when you have a surplus of berries.  This time of year I make it with berries frozen from last summer’s bounty.  You can make it with one kind of berry but I like a mixture.  It keeps in the fridge for about a week but again in this house it’s gone before you know it! I like it mixed with yogurt for breakfast but it can be used as a sauce on ice cream, poached pears, pound cake or simply on its own.blueberry


  • 6 cups of mixed berries: blueberry, strawberry and raspberry (frozen or fresh )
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup red winestrawberry

Stir all the ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool down to room temperature, serve or pack in a glass container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

berries in sugarNOTE:  For a refined sauce transfer the mixture into a fine mesh sieve, place over a large bowl and press all the solids until you end up with a smooth sauce and all you have left in the sieve are seeds and pulp.  Store and serve in the same way as above.berry coulis

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucheryogurt and coulis

Chocolate Truffle Cake

chocolate chunksWhen we think of love the following icons come to mind: flowers, pink, red, Cupid and…. let’s not forget,  Chocolate!  For this Valentine’s day I offer you Chocolate Truffle Cake.  Flour-less, part cake, part truffle, it is the easiest cake ever! The hardest part is to get it out of the pan!  This cake has been part of my go-to dessert repetoire for 20 years and is always a great success, especially with the chocoholics in my life.  It came from the Maida Heatter’s Best Dessert Book Ever and the recipe is said to come from the famous Hotel de Crillon in Paris.   It is so rich it can easily serve 12 to 16 guests.  Served with a soft whipped cream infused with your favorite liqueur it will be the perfect ending for that romantic dinner come Valentine’s day.chocolate cake ingredients


  • 8 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, each stick cut into four pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.  Prepare an 9 inch round cake pan by buttering the pan liberally and by lining the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.  Butter the paper and dust with a mixture of 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder.  Set aside.cake pan

In a double boiler melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together over medium heat.  Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth with no trace of grains of sugar  Remove the top pan from the double boiler and off heat beat the eggs one at a time with a whisk making sure the mixture stays smooth.

Transfer the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan.  Place the pan into a sheet pan/jelly roll pan and place in the oven.  Add a couple of inch of hot water to the pan and bake for one hour.melting chocolate

Carefully remove the cake pan from the hot water and let cool completely.  Once cool, loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about 3 hours or overnight .

Now, is the hard part: to remove the cake from the pan, run a very thin knife around the pan to release the edges.  Run some hot water in the bottom of the sink and let the pan stand in for a bit; not too long as the cake will melt.  Cover the pan with a cutting board and turn the pan upside down and bang the pan a few times.  The cake will finally come out.  The cake will be very thin, about 2 inches.  Put back in the fridge without removing the parchment paper until ready to serve.chocolate cake

When ready to serve, peel the paper from the cake.  Do not worry if the cake looks messy and wrinkled, that is when the cocoa powder comes handy.  Transfer the cake to a serving plate or platter and, with a fine mesh sifter, sprinkle the cocoa powder covering the entire surface of the cake.  Let sit 30 to 45 minutes before serving.

Serve with a soft whipped cream sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoon confectioner sugar
  • 2 tablespoon rum , you can also use Grand Marnier, Kahlua or Cognac

In a cold bowl and beaters from an electric beater, beat the heavy cream and sugar until it holds its shape.  You want more of a “sauce” then whipped cream.  Fold in the liqueur of your choice and refrigerate until ready to serve the cake.chocolate cake slices

NOTE:  should you have cake left, you can cut into individual pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze as you would chocolate truffles.  Just bring back to room temperature before eating.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucherroses

Hard boiled eggs

hard boiled eggs with saltA post on boiling an egg? Well, yes.  I love hard boiled eggs – a good hard boiled egg that is.  Believe me it’s an easy thing to “mess” up.  I don’t want it boiled to a pulp, none of that grey ring around the yolk.  Funny enough the fresher the egg the harder to peel! We get our eggs from a local farm and I wait a week if I want to make hard boiled eggs.  They will keep it in the fridge for 4 to 5 days but in our house they don’t make it that long.  Egg salad for sandwiches, chopped in a bed of greens or simply on their own with some finishing salt they are SO delicious.

HARD BOILED EGGS  (for 6 eggs)

Put the eggs in a single layer in the bottom of a saucepan.  You don’t want to crowd the pan or have the eggs on top of each other, they will crack.  Cover the eggs with cold water, covering them by about 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil.  Just as it starts boiling, take off the heat and let sit covered for 17 minutes.

Drain the eggs and run under cold water.  The eggs will peel easier if cold.  Put them in the fridge and peel when ready to use.

A little “styling” trick: when making deviled eggs and you want the yolk right in the middle of the egg, let the carton sit in the fridge on its side overnight, you will have perfectly centered yolks.egg shells

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher


calzone with sauceCalzones always reminds me of my children when they were little.  I did not always want to make pizza, and calzones where a good compromise where I was also able to “sneak” in some vegetables.  The wonderful cheese filling always made me feel that they were having a good dose of calcium.  When it comes to calzones, using the freshest ingredients will make all the difference.  I use hand crafted ricotta and mozzarella and end up with a very fluffy calzone.  If like my daughter you are a purist, making your own dough can also be an option.   They can be made ahead of time, put in the fridge and baked later in the day.  Our family likes them served with a good helping of tomato sauce. Add in a big tossed salad and you have dinner!fresh cheeses

CALZONES (makes 4)

  • 1 lb pizza dough 
  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 lb ham chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • cracked pepper
  • egg wash : with a fork mix one egg and one tablespoon of milkcalzone filling

Let the dough come to room temperature (out of the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes).  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  On a floured surface roll each piece into 6 to 7 inch rounds.

In a bowl mix the ricotta, mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the parmesan .  Break the egg in the cheese mixture and carefully mix it in with a fork.  Fold in the ham, basil and a turn or 2 of cracked dough

Divide the mixture equally between each piece of dough, brush the edges with the eggwash, and fold into a half moon making sure to seal the edges very carefully by pinching the dough together. To make a stronger seal push the edges of the calzone with a fork as you would for a pie.filling the calzone

Put the calzones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a couple of tablespoons of corn meal scattered on the paper.  With a knife or scissors, cut 3 small holes in  each calzone ( this will prevent the calzones from bursting).  Brush each calzone with the egg wash making sure it does not drip heavily on the sides or the calzones will stick.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan on top of the calzones.

Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.calzone

Serve with your favorite sauce.

NOTE:  Thanks to my daughter Maya for the addition of the egg wash and parmesan, she is now the calzone expert in the family.  You can replace the ham for cooked sausages or 1 cup cooked spinach and onion – but make sure all the moisture is gone from the spinach or you’ll end up with a soggy calzone.

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du bouchercalzone