It’s not a secret I love France. I love everything about it. I love the food, I love the music, I love the culture and from the moment I met the cast members in Epcot (who all are from France) I knew I loved the people. In France they kiss on both cheeks when they meet. I’m a Francophile. (I didn’t know this word until my Godmother told me while we were in Epcot, but yes, I’m a Francophile – “A Francophile is a person who has a strong affinity towards the French language, French history, French culture or French people.” And I’m proud of it.)
When my family and I went to Disney for a week and during that time I spent 3 days in Epcot for the annual Food and Wine Festival the time I spent in the France Pavilion I felt perfectly at home. I knew I belonged there. I have no doubt someday I will go to France. Whether or not I get back on the plane to come home is yet to be determined 🙂 I love it!
Eric, the GM of the culinary team in France greeted my mom and me first thing in the morning and treated us to breakfast. (oh boy did he treat us!) He kissed me on both cheeks when I met him and told us that’s how French people greet each other and I didn’t care anymore that it was a gloomy rainy day. I was in FRANCE and it was perfect! (well, I was in Disney’s version of France, but it was still perfect!)
We sampled many items, but I loved the savory Tartine aux Fromage. I want to go back and have another one another for breakfast (Why is Epcot so far from Indy?! The salty gruyere cheese and the creamy sweet goat cheese with the earthy rosemary herbs on the flaky pastry were such a wonderful breakfast. My mom had a brioche with chocolate and almond creme! She barely allowed me to sample a bite, but we both indulged in the largest meringue I have ever seen. I was about as big as a child sized football. The pastry chefs then dip half of it in chocolate, and it’s equal parts breakfast and desserts and all parts sinful! We didn’t only eat it for breakfast. We nibbled on it all morning with help from the entire family.
Eric also talked to me about two chefs. One who helped inspire me, and one who inspires all French Chefs. Julia Child once came to Disney (during Food and Wine Festival) and he told me the story of when she came to Epcot and toured around the park with her escort Chef Paul. (Eric’s and France’s leading culinary icon) Monsier Paul Bocuse is considered the leading French chef in the world and the restaurant in Epcot is named after him. (he event shares my birthday!!!) I wish I was alive when Julia Child came to Disney World with Chef Paul – WOW! Eric then gave me a wonderful gift, a book of Chef Paul’s life and recipes! Merci! Afterward he introduced me to the Executive Chef. I told him I was looking forward to enjoying dinner with him that night in the restaurant!
In the afternoon I tried a sampling of their items from a special menu (for Food and Wine Festival). The croissant aux escargot with garlic and my iconic dish – Boeuf Bourguignon (and being recognized by some fans in the park — this was the first, but not the last time this would happen in the park, but it did make me giggle that I was getting Boeuf Bourguignon when it happened). I couldn’t wait to return for dinner.
That night we ate dinner in Chefs de France and everyone sampled each other’s plates (because the decisions were SO tough). I loved my mom’s Gratin de Macaroni. It was so creamy and delicious (and certainly not an average mac and cheese by any means) My dad’s Plat de côtes de boeuf au Cabernet (Beef Short Ribs) were so tender and the sauce was rich and meaty. My dinner, the salmon in a buerre blanc was exactly was I imagined: light, lemony, buttery and tangy. Perfect. Since I started with French Onion Soup I was soooo full and barely had room for the dessert, but it was included with my prix fix meal. The chocolate mouse was light and airy and I loved it. Illuminations was going on outside the windows and I enjoyed the music while we ate the entrees.
One of the days in Epcot my mom, Grandma and I enjoyed a special event called French Family Traditions. It was a special 5 course meal in Monsier Paul Restaurant. Eric was the host of this event and right away made me feel so special! Two of the guests were from the corporate offices of Le Creuset and he introduced me to them! I got to meet the Director of Marketing from Le Creuset and take my picture with them. What a FUN job they must have (I can’t imagine what their kitchens must look like!!!) They were there because the event was sponsored by them and the entrée course as served in a cocette!
Here’s the menu we were served
Allumette au fromage (cheese stick)
Cocktail Le Presse (Grand Marnier Titanium, lemon juice, simple syrup, raspberries, sparkling wine)
Traditional Quiche Lorraine with Ham & Cheese
Vouvray, Val de Loire 2014
Plat de resistance
Blanquette de veau en cocotte Le Creuset
White veal ragout served with rice, carrots, mushrooms & baby onions
Chinon, Le Haut de Presle, Marquis de Goulaine, 2014
Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau de Ricaud 2012
The entire experience was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had, and the entrée (the Plat de resistance) was one best foods I have ever tasted. I didn’t want the (enormous) cocotte of creamy, rich wine sauce and succulent veal to ever end. (Eventually I was so full I couldn’t finish – I don’t know if anyone did.) After dessert (and before Eric handed out the goodie bags, he introduced me to the entire restaurant! I was so surprised and he joked that someday I would work there. That’s my dream!!)
The luncheon took 3 hours, and I was sad when it ended. Eric took me over to their ice cream shop for dessert. (I JUST ATE!) Their ice cream is famous because they serve it on macarons because Eric felt badly I couldn’t have the wine. I only had a cup of chocolate, but every time I see a photo of the macarons on Instagram I think about how it was the most decadent chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted. (Instagram = @artisandesglace and Twitter @ArtisandesGlace)
He’s really active on both! And the photos of their culinary team in action will make your hungry. If you ever go to Epcot, you MUST stop in!
My time in Epcot was a very special and celebratory time with my family. It was so much to fun to enjoy time there celebrating my experience on Food Network and being there during Food and Wine Festival. My time in the France pavilion was really unique and I learned so much just from eating, talking to the culinary team and meeting so many influential people. I feel really at home when I’m in France. I wore a beret in the parks, and I even bought Parisian inspired Mickey ears. Someday I will get to France, and until then, I will get to Epcot and go visit my friends. Eric taught me a saying A Bientot. – “see you soon” – yes, you will!
This week I am going to tell you a bit about what it felt like to get cut making a sandwich. It hurt. It hurt a lot. I cried, and I at first, was worried what people would think about getting sent home on a sandwich. Then I went out to eat at the most amazing store / restaurant / mecca — Eataly. My mom and I talked about the entire time so far in NY. We laughed (a lot). We cried (her more than me — moms do that). We ate I had shortribs with pasta — but I ordered it for sentimental reasons. The name was “Tagliatelle pasta with Shortribs and Parmigiano Reggiano.” The pasta I used with Faaaaaabio was Tagliatelle 🙂 (it’s not the most common shape pasta out there) and I LOVE to make short ribs for my dad. They’re his favorite food – next to Parmigiano Reggiano. After lunch we watched a million movies at the hotel (well, 3) and waited to hear who else made the finale. I was excited and nervous at the same time for my friends.
I thought over and over in my head what could I have done differently in my “Sandwich Challenge” – the answer. Nothing. I was given 20 minutes to make a French inspired Ham and Cheese Sandwich. Of course I was going to make a Croque Monsier. It’s a classic. It’s famous. It’s perfect. …and it takes time. Time I really didn’t have… but, I was known on the show for taking risks and for breaking the time barrier. (remember the Boeuf Bourguignon from episode 4?) Well this week I needed to make a ham and cheese sandwich and doing so with a French Inspiration of course means creating a Croque Monsier. The key to a great Croque Monsier is a good bachamel sauce. (which Jeff Mauro said I did a nice job of doing._ Once I master the sandwich — you know I will Jeff 😉 — I will post a recipe for it. Until then, here’s two links to help you out. One is for bachemel sauce. It takes time — lots of time, but knowing how to make a great bachamel is important, and if nothing else from Episode 5, I’m REALLY proud of my sauce on the show. Knowing one of the 5 French Mother Sauces will carry me forever. Here’s a recipe to help you learn how to make one.
Until I’ve mastered mine (and figured out how to do it in 20 minutes) I will post for you what I would have made had gotten to make any sandwich with a French inspiration. Here’s one of my favorites!
I hope you like it. I hope it proves I really can be the Sandwich Queen. 🙂
Filet Mignon Sandwich – Recipe from Sabrina Richard 20 minutes
2 Filet Mignon
1 pkg Boursin Cheese
Mushrooms (baby portabella and white) sliced
2 tablespoons butter
fresh loaf of French Bread – sliced lengthwize
Season all sides of the filet with salt and pepper to taste.
Place butter in skillet on high heat and melt.
Place filets in pan for 2 minutes each side.
Put 1 teaspoon of EVOO in another pan and brown the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. To quote Julia Child – “don’t crowd the mushrooms” (otherwise they won’t brown properly). Once browned, remove from pan into a bowl.
Once the filets are sizzling on both sides, place the entire skillet in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
In the same oven, place the French Bread open faced in the oven drizzled with olive oil (to warm for 3-4 minutes).
Wilt arugula in the same pan the mushrooms were in by using 2-3 tablespoons of EVOO, salt and pepper to taste and covering with lid for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Once the bread is warm, construct the sandwich while the meat rests:
Spread the boursin on both sides of the French Bread loaf
Place wilted arulgula on the bottom
Slice the filet (at a 45-degree angle)
Top with the other side of the bread
Here’s a photo of me enjoying it with local Indy ABC News Anchor Lauren Casey (Indy RTV6) 🙂 and a video of when she came to my house and we cooked together.
Each week I will post #FrenchFriday and feature a French inspired dish. On Monday’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off Rachael’s the guest judge was Sunny Anderson. She challenged us to cook the dish that inspired our entire culinary future. For me, there was no question about what I was going to cook. The only question was, how was I going to pull it off?! Viewers of Kids Cook-Off know I LOVE Julia Child, and I first fell in love with her because of the movie “Julie & Julia.”
In the movie I learned that the first recipe that Knopf editor Judith Jones tried from Julia Child’s manuscript was Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s her most iconic recipe. It also takes about 6 hours. Who has that kind of time? I’m 11, I go to school. I’m a Girl Scout. I work at a museum. I don’t have 6 hours. I don’t have a Le Creuset dutch oven (yet) and – oh Sunny only gave us 60 minutes.
The first time Julia made this recipe on television was February 11, 1963 on the PBS show “The French Chef.” — my birthday is February 11. (see – I was born to make this dish!)
Well, with only 60 minutes, I had to take the essence of Boeuf Bourguignon and channel my inner Julia. Rachael even told me she was nervous about it, but we talked about things and my number 1 idea was to not use “chuck” as Julia does. (because it’s tougher) I needed to use filet mignon in my “Quick Boeuf Bourguignon.” Rachael liked my idea and liked my idea of using pearl onions instead. Phew! 🙂
Then I carefully layered each flavor from the dish. The beef, the bacon, the vegetables and the bouquet of herbs and built the richness of the stew to create the classic French dish to honor Julia and my culinary dream. During the show I talked to the food, I talked to the camera and I talked like Juuuulia. I leaned that doing all of these things helped me to relax and really helped to make me a better cook. (hey, whatever works!) Sunny and Rachael were actually laughing and I’m ok with that. (were they laughing with me or at me?!?) 😉
I’m really proud of my dish and I hope Julia would be too. I loved cooking in the Le Creuset they had on set (boy did I want to pack that beauty in my suitcase!) and I hope you’ll enjoy cooking this dish with your family as much as I enjoyed cooking it for my TV family of Rachael, Sunny, Juliana, Chris, Scarlett, Chandler, their parents, and my mom.
This episode was my favorite to film! I loved our guest judge, I loved the food and I felt really relaxed in the kitchen and everything was just “right.” Here’s a link with a few clips from the episode including the dish that changed my life — in so many ways! 🙂
“Quick Boeuf Bourguignon.” – Sabrina 60 minutes
6 1″ thick filet mignon steaks cut into cubes (salt and pepper each cube)
butter (1/2 cup – divided)
Carrots cut diagonally into 1″ pieces
1 cup frozen pearl onions, defrosted
10 mushrooms thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
a bouquet bundle of 3 thyme sprigs, 3 sage sprigs and in honor of my grandmother 1 spring of rosemary tied with a string. (so I can pull it out later)
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 cup dark red wine like pinor noir
butter (3-4 tablespoons)
Render the bacon in pan with butter- 3 tablespoons)
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in EVOO and 1 tablespoon butter for 2-3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside
Add the remaining butter to the pan
Saute the mushrooms with salt and pepper in the bacon grease (remember Juuuulia’s most famous tip “Don’t crowd the mushrooms, otherwise they won’t brown properly.”)
Add Carrots and Onion for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the pan and place on a plate.
Add flour to the pan and stir — once melted add browned filet pieces
Add wine and stir slowly
When the wine comes up to a bubble scrape up the pan drippings, add stock and herb bouquet to the pot and cover.
When the liquid boils again, reduce heat to medium (taste).
Cook covered 5 minutes, remove the lid, add back in the mushrooms, carrots, onions and bacon back to the pot.
Simmer without the lid, taste and remove the herb bundle.
During this final step, prepare in salted water egg noodles according to package directions. Stir together with butter (3-4 tablespoons) and fresh parsley. Serve in large bowl.