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This recipe came out of my need to get rid of a case of apples. Brian and I decided to have Ambrosia apples as favors at our wedding. Unfortunately, we ordered almost a full case more than we needed for our guests. After the wedding, we went on our honeymoon carrying around a case of apples. 


With almost 70 apples in tow, I decided that I would try to use them up by making a tarte tatin. However, I didn't feel like leaving the house (an AirBnB rental) on my honeymoon, so I made up this recipe based on what had been left in the fridge and pantry. As it turns out, it is the best tarte tatin I have ever made. What is that expression? Laziness is the mother of invention?



Apples
10 medium apples- cored and cut in half ( I use Ambrosia apples)
120 grams (generous 1/2 cup) of sugar
120 grams (1 scant cup) of maple sugar
80 g (6T) of butter
1/4 cup bourbon
4 pieces of Le Bon Garcon Butterscotch caramels (optional)


Pastry ( modified from King Arthur's Blitz Puff Pastry)
• 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup cold unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
• 1 egg

Method:

Pastry
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk the combination until it is a uniform mixture. Place in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into pats. Add the pats of butter to the flour mixture With the leaf attachment, mix the flour and butter combination for 1-2 minutes at medium low speed (You should see some large chunks of butter left in the dough). Add the yogurt. Mix together until it just holds together as a dough (It will be a shaggy mass much like a biscuit dough). Press together into a disc. Roll out into a rectangle about the size of a piece of paper. Fold the rectangle into threes like a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out again into a rectangle about the size of a piece of paper. Fold again into threes like a letter. Cover the dough in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for at least half an hour.

Apples
Caramelize sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Wait until the sugar starts to turn brown and then turn off the heat and let it come to color you want. Don't let it burn otherwise it will turn bitter. (Sugar starts to turn bitter when you see smoke coming off of it) When you are happy with the color of the caramel (I like a caramel about the color of a shiny penny), add the butter. Don't worry if the sugar becomes granulated. Add the bourbon. Add the maple sugar.

Cook for 3 minutes until it become fudgy and syrupy (like pralines) Add apples round side down.

Cook on med high heat for 5-6 minutes covered. Let cool on stove covered.

When the apples have cooled, place 4 pieces of Le Bon Garcon butterscotch caramel on top of the apples.  Roll out the dough into a circle that is slightly larger than the pan. Place the dough over the apples and tuck the extra around the apples so that the dough fits into the pan. Brush the dough with egg wash made with one mixed egg.

Bake for 30 min at 395 degrees Fahrenheit.

The tart is done when the crust has a nice dark golden color.

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The month of May is a great time for reflecting on the people that matter for most: moms and mentors. We asked Le Bon Garcon’s Chef Justin Chao to share with us the lessons he learned in and around the kitchen from his mom. Here are his top six.


1. EAT YOUR VEGGIES- We always had a balanced meal with meat, veggies and a starch. I never wanted to eat my vegetables because I thought that they tasted funny.  I'm glad my mom forced me to eat veggies because now I love them.
2. NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS - Nothing substitutes for the real thing. Use only the best ingredients. Use fresh ingredients and make it from scratch.
3. REAL BUTTER IS BETTER - When I was little, my pediatrician told my mom to give me a stick of butter a week. Needless to say, I was a chubby kid. But I did learn that a little bit of oil or butter does a lot to bring out the flavor in food.
4. MAKE FRIENDS WITH FOODIES -As a Chinese family growing up in the Ventura County suburbs, my mom had to be resourceful in order to find cuts of meat or ingredients needed to make special Chinese dishes. Every time my mom bought meat, she would go to the neighborhood butcher. After a while, the butcher got to know her and would get special cuts of meat--like pork spare ribs or ox tails--for her.
5. MEAL TIME = SOCIAL TIME – One of my fondest childhood memories was talking to my mom while she cooked. I looked forward to meal prep time as the time of day when we could catch up on what happened. At dinner time, we would all be seated at the dinner table. There was no TV allowed. Some of my best memories were around that table, I think that is why I ended up becoming a chef.
6. TURN UP THE HEAT - My mom was expert at searing meat and vegetables. She made sure to get the pan nice and hot before starting to cook so she could sear the surface of what she was cooking. Then she would add whatever vegetable or liquid to deglaze the pan. She probably learned this technique from her mom. I remember learning this deglazing technique in cooking school. I thought that it was amazing when I started cooking school that she just did these things instinctually.

ALSO THIS MONTH: A nostalgic flavor of the month with a “little twist” for busy and deserving moms - "Butterscotch Buzz" made with brown sugar and butter melted with Jack Daniels whiskey and Myers rum.! 

And look for photo contest announcement with a moms and mentors themes.



  

DATES TO REMEMBER 

Teacher’s Appreciation Week May 4th – 8th

Mother’s Day – Sunday May 10th

HAPPY MOTHER DAY, MOM.

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I learned this Scottish shortbread recipe from Elaine, the owner of Two Hillside Crescent, when I stayed at her B&B in Edinburgh. Located in a Georgian Townhouse--the room, service and food were unforgettable. One day after hiking in Holyrood Park, Elaine came out with tea and shortbread cookies. The cookies were perfectly crisp and buttery—they hit the spot. Luckily, she was generous enough to share the recipe with me. These cookies are incredible by themselves but even better as alfajores. I’m sure you’ll love this recipe!

 

 

I

ngredients for Shortbread:

 

 

  • 12 oz (2.5 cups) Plain flour 
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) Soft butter 
  • 4 oz (1 cup + 1 Tbsp) granulated sugar 
  • 2 oz (5 Tbsp) cornstarch 
  • 8 oz of dulce de leche (store bought or home-made)

Method:


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream the butter and sugar together until it turns pale. Mix the cornstarch and flour well with a whisk. Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture into a bowl. Mix the creamed butter and sugar mixture with the flour and cornstarch mixture until uniform. Knead the mixture together just until it comes together as a dough.

Roll the dough into an even cylinder. Put a ¼ cup of turbinado sugar on your working surface and coat the outside of the roll with the sugar. Cover the roll with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Take the roll and cut into ¼ inch discs. Bake the cookies on parchment paper or on a Silpat at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 – 35 minutes until the cookies start to become pale brown and crisp.

Let the cookies cool. When the shortbread is cool, spread the dulce de leche in between two cookies and press the cookies together like a sandwich. Repeat for all cookies.

Recipe makes around 15 alfajores.

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On April 2, people around the world support “Light It Up Blue” in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. 

Autism reaches us at home in our Le Bon Garcon family. This is why we are joining the “Light It Up Blue” campaign by donating the proceeds of ALL sales from this month’s flavor of the month, "Blueberry Pancake" caramels. These caramels are made with blueberry, maple and mascarpone. Proceeds of sales will go directly to Autism Society Ventura County.

 Firsthand account and words on Autism -

“It is a struggle to watch my child emerge and become more aware of their surroundings. This brings a struggle with wanting to fit in, but there is an invisible challenge stacking the deck against them. Others can't see the difference but know there is one. It makes others feel uncomfortable and they are not sure why. This makes an already challenging social experience even more difficult for your child. As they become more aware of their differences and hidden challenges, you have to help them find and have pride in their strengths, while learning to accommodate their challenges. Most importantly you need to facilitate mutual friendships with kindred spirits who help them belong.” - Stephani Bercu, Le Bon Garçon

What Can You Do?

  

  1. Learn more and get involved –   Autism Society and Autism Speaks
  2. Wear Blue on April 2nd
  3. Eat Blueberry Pancake Caramels all month long!!
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Do you know what day April 5th is this year? If you said Easter, you are right. But it is also National Caramel Day!! Yipee, let’s celebrate caramel!!

It maybe hard to think of caramel especially during a time where chocolate bunnies and eggs prevails but we going to do our best to honor caramel all month long with fun facts, trivia and some flash promotions.

In the meantime here is a little caramel history:

National Caramel Day - Le Bon Garcon Caramels 

 Americans began making sugary syrups in the 1600s, but the delicious chewy caramel we know and love today was a more recent innovation. Caramel candy emerged during the 18th century and quickly became one of the most popular sweets on the market. In fact, Milton Hershey’s first business was the Lancaster Caramel Company!

Le Bon Garcon’s salted caramels are inspired by French traditions dating further back in history. In 1343, King Philip VI of Valois established a national salt tax known as ‘la gabelle’. Salt thereafter became a luxury that only the wealthy could afford.


This meant that salted butter became unsalted – except in the “free counties” which were exempt from the tax (Brittany, Vendée, Artois, Flanders, Lower Navarre, Béarn and Aunis). After unification with the Kingdom of France, Brittany insisted on retaining its privileges, meaning that the county remained free from the salt tax.
Henri Le Roux from Brittany is credited for being the creator of salted butter caramels. Educated in Switzerland, Henri Le Roux became France’s best chocolatier and caramel maker. In 1980, salted butter caramel was voted best candy in France. Henri’s passion for sweet flavors started at an early age. His father, Louis, was one of France’s most legendary pastry chefs; he prepared the dessert served at Franklin Roosevelt’s election banquet in 1933 at the Biltmore Hotel in New York.

More caramel trivia to come. In the meantime, enjoy our flavor of the month "blueberry pancake" caramel made with blueberry, maple and mascarpone. We picked blueberry to support “Light it Up Blue” a national campaign for Autism Awareness. For the month of April all proceeds from the sale of this month’s flavor of the month will go to Autism Society Ventura County.


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Show us your caramel gold inspiration and win!!

What is Caramel Gold? – Moments, images and inspirational words that inspire the sensations.

#caramelgold

 

 

 

Caramel Gold can be:
A. Smooth
B. Rich
C. Sweet
D. Golden
E. All of the Above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Enter:
On Twitter and Instagram: Use hashtag #caramelgold on your posts
On Facebook: Post your caramel gold inspiration to our page.




We will pick THREE of our favorite caramel gold moments to win –
4 oz.each of Le Bon Garcon's flavor or month and original salted caramels.

That is 8 ounces of caramel gold, baby!

Winners will be selected Friday April 3rd, 2015.


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  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1-1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 8 oz of almonds
  • ½ cup of syrup
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch of cayenne

Combine the water, sugar, salt and honey in a pan. Heat the syrup. Let the syrup boil for 3-4 minutes until it thickens up slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the almonds, the syrup, and the spices in a bowl. Place a Silpat or parchment paper on a sheet pan preferably with a lip on all four sides so that the sugar does not spill onto the bottom of your oven. Pour the almonds and syrup on Silpat or parchment paper.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven. Stir the nuts on the pan in order to coat the nuts with the caramelized syrup on the pan. Separate the nuts on the pan with two forks. Be careful not to burn yourself. Coat the nuts with a little bit of oil to keep the separated nuts from sticking to one another. Pour the nuts into a bowl or onto a plate to cool off. Store in a dry, airtight container so that the nuts don’t get humid and sticky.

Note: You can play with the flavoring--I like to use a little bit of sesame oil and some Japanese furikaki to make a Japanese-inspired snack. You can also use olive oil, salt and Parmesan to create a savory snack.

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