Monday, July 31, 2006

Crème Fraîche

I was talking to my haiardresser about food at my last appointment and we ended up talking about creme fraiche, which is a heavy cream slightly soured with bacterial culture, not as thick or tangy as sour cream. I had never used it before, nor had I heard of it before my culinary education, at least, not that I can recall. We make and use it in the kitchen in our cheesecake and serve crème fraîche whipped cream with our strawberry shortcake. Anyway, she had asked me where she could find it, and my mother had asked this same question months before. It's easy to make, and very easy to incorporate into everyday cooking. It's refreshing, tart, and delicious. Though I did find some at my local Treasure Island store, I will share our recipe, and one I found in the Chicago Tribune (this is the general website. You may need to sign up to view the food section).

Crème Fraîche
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 quart buttermilk
2 lemons

Mix cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Refridgerate thereafter. Strain and use as needed.

It should smell like sour cream. If it has an off, cheesy smell, toss it.

Chicago Tribune

Crème Fraîche

Total time: 2 minutes, plus two days standing time and overnight refrigerating time
Servings: 16

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsps. cultured buttermilk

1. Heat the cream and buttermilk in a saucepan to 100 degrees. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a glass container. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a warm spot for 24 hours, until somewhat thickened.

2. Put the crème fraîche in the refrigerator overnight. Take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit in a warm spot for another 24 hours. This will further thicken the crème fraîche.

3. Put the crème fraîche back in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to 10 days refrigerated.

Nutrition information per each serving of 2 tablespoons:
104 calories; 1 gram protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 11 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 41 mg. cholesterol; 15 mg. sodium.



This recipe is also from the Chicago Tribune website.

Fingerling potatoes with crème fraîche and chives

Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from chef-owner Suzanne Goin of Lucques restaurant

Ingredients:
1 1/4 pounds small fingerling potatoes
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 Tbsps. butter ( 1/2 stick), cut into pieces
3/4 tsp. fleur de sel
1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
6 Tbsps. crème fraîche
1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsps. sliced chives, 1-inch long

1. Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least 4 inches. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced. Drain the potatoes and set aside, reserving a cup of the potato water.

2. Return the potatoes to the pot over medium heat and smash them slightly with a hand masher.

3. Add the butter and fleur de sel. Stir to coat the potatoes with the butter.

4. Add about 3 tablespoons of the reserved potato water to help coat and glaze the potatoes. Adjust seasonings and stir in the parsley.

5. To serve, place one-half cup potatoes on a serving plate. Top with a generous tablespoon of crème fraîche, a pinch of cracked black pepper and chives.

Nutrition information per serving:
308 calories; 4 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 61 mg. cholesterol; 238 mg. sodium.

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