FOOD + DRINK, RECIPES + menus | May 1, 2007

Thumb up for French Food at Home with Laura Calder

French Food at Home with Laura Calder at Food TV Canada

I have been busy lately so I only caught up this week end with one of the latest addition on Food TV Canada. I watched French Fast Food, the eleventh episode of French Food at Home, season 1.

French food holds a special place in my heart. As a French Canadian, it is part of my heritage. But the main reason is that I learned how to cook when I was a university student with French cuisine.

French food has evolved with our quest for healthy foods; it is not as rich as it used to be. So there is no reason why you should not enjoy French culinary delights.

French cuisine may seem hard for many. One reason it seems so complicated is that the French have named every possible techniques. A slight difference in the technique and you got to learn a new name. French transformed cooking into an art.

It is a fact that the best French chefs use harder and certainly longer cooking techniques. But this is not the case in the French family kitchen. They use the basic principles and simplify the process. From what I have seen, this is what French Food at Home is all about.

Laura Calder is charming on camera. Although I do not agreed with every single things she does, I am pleased with her recipes. I can wait to try them, which is a good indicator of a show success for me. Therefore, French Food at Home got my thumb up.

Laura Calder is born in Eastern Canada. She lived seven years or so in France and she worked as a food writer. Laura published a cookbook called French Food at Home in 2003.

Stainless steel strainer by OXO

To help you demystify the basics, French Food at Home’s microsite published a speedy course on Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques for French Cooking. In the French Fast Food episode that I watched, Laura Calder showed us how to make Crème Fraiche; your eight year old kid can do it.

Laura talked about the strainer in the equipment section. A strainer is a cook best friend in my opinion. A few years back, a friend of mine asked me how I could make such a smooth raspberry coulis. Simply passing it through a strainer is the secret.

I wanted to make a post about strainers for a while but never got to it. So now is my chance.

I think every kitchen must have a colander and three stainless steel strainers: a 3- inch, a 6-inch and an 8-inch diameter. OXO makes long lasting, dishwasher safe strainers and colanders.

Having different mesh sizes is important. You need a fine one to prepare a smooth fruit coulis, a medium size for your crepe and so on.

The new silicone strainers, like the green DRIP collection by Silicone Zone shown here, seem to be more small colanders to me. I am not sure if I can prepare a smooth coulis with these cool kitchen innovations. I have to see one for real to judge it. But they must work well because the DRIP collection won a 2007 red dot award. If you have seen or used DRIP, I want to know what you think of them.

I still prefer the stainless steel strainers since I used them for years. One thing that is important when you buy a strainer is that it must be able to sustain heat since you will also use your strainers with cook vegetables and warm sauces.

Link: Strainers and colanders made by OXO
Link: DRIP strainers by Silicone Zone
Link: Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques for French Cooking by Laura Calder
Link: French Food at Home series on FoodTV.ca – Thursdays at 7pm ET / 4pm PT

2 Responses to “Thumb up for French Food at Home with Laura Calder”

  1. 1 Dee Belsterling said:

    I wish to congratulate you on your wonderful taste! Ha Ha I just found Laura Calder and I tape every show! I’m 66 and love to cook like Martha Stewart, but this gal blows Martha out of the water! I have been making every single thing she has made, every week! I must find out how I can make creme fraise! I am currently soaking honey in Lavender flowers to make her Fleur De Lys cookies!!
    I went on e-bay and got the cookie cutter already! She rocks!!
    Dee Belsterling
    Mesa AZ

  2. 2 Nancy Hurt said:

    As much as I love Laura and her food, right now I am obsessing over her kitchen and its decor. Love the open shelving (seems to be more accepted in Canada than in U.S., where it seems that those designers on HGTV shudder when they see them), all the pretty containers and dishes (no plastic there!) and that wonderful white wall-mounted kitchen sink… I have been on ‘Net trying to find one like it. No can find. Anybody out there know where to find one? Probably have to hit the architectural salvage places, huh? One other thing I love and would like to know where to find is that white ceramic rectangular dish she uses for a sugar container. Love it. Again, cannot find… Guess I need to hit the antique warehouses when the weather gets back to normal!