Cooking with Avoir Chaud

The official food blog of Tastemade partner, Chef Avoir Chaud.

This is a fabulous cornbread dressing that you will enjoy.  This is one of many well loved southern dressing recipes you'll every try.

Cornbread Ingredients:

3 cups plain yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs slightly beaten
12 tbsp melted unsalted butter
4 tbsp veggie or canola oil

Dressing Ingredients:
12 oz pork sage sausage (ground pork sausage, not smoked)
1 to 2 sticks of celery diced
1 small red pepper diced
1 medium onion diced
4 tbsp dried sage
4 tbsp butter plus additional 4 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken stock
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs slightly beaten at room temp

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and in a cast iron or oven safe skillet heat 4 tbsp of oil while you make the cornbread.  The oil needs to be very hot when you pour the batter in the pan.

Cornbread Directions

1.  In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, being sure there are no clumps of baking soda in the mix.

2.  Add eggs, butter, and buttermilk and mix until smooth.

3.  Pour batter in the middle of the oil and smooth out.  Put the pan back into the oven and reduce the oven temp to 400 degrees F.  Bake 45 mins or until cornbread is brown, dry.

4.  While your cornbread is baking, cook the sausage in a medium skillet, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Once the sausage is done, remove and set aside.

5.  In same skillet heat 4 tbsp of butter, add red peppers and cook for 2 minutes, then add the celery and onions and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Then remove from heat and set aside.

6.  Once the cornbread is done, remove from the skillet and put into a large bowl crumbling the cornbread with a wooden spoon.  Add cooked sausage, veggies, sugar and all of the herbs and spices and combine.

7.  Add butter, eggs and half of the chicken stock and mix.  Once everything is well combined add the remaining chicken stock and mix until everything is well combined.

8.  Pour the dressing into a large greased casserole pan and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the dressing is brown and set.

9.  Remove from oven and allow the dressing to stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Here is a vanilla cake that is so moist and delicious that you wouldn't believe it.  You can whip these up in no time

3 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp.
2 large eggs at room temp.
1 egg yolk at room temp.
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk at room temp.
3 cups sifted cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1.  In a bowl, sift together cake flour, salt and baking powder and set a side.

2.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar (for about 7 to 10 min).  It won't be extremely light in color (don't panic).

3.  Add the vanilla, eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4.  Now add the flour and mix alternatively, starting and ending with the flour.

5.  Line a cupcake tin with cupcake paper and pour in enough batter to fill each cup just a little under the halfway point.  Then bake in a preheated 350 Degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean when tested in the center.  The cupcakes will be light golden brown in color.  Remove cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool sitting on a wire rack.  This will make 24 cupcakes.

I'm not a fan of traditional buttercream frosting which is butter, shortening, powdered sugar and milk or cream that are them creamed together until light and fluffy.  This frosting, in my opinion is entirely too sweet, and it's some what grainy texture is entirely too much for my taste buds to handle.  

I came across this frosting recipe in a book I have and it's a french roux buttercream frosting called "Ermine".  This frosting is easy to prepare, it starts off by making a blonde roux, instead of cooking the flour in the butter, it is slowly dissolved into milk that is heating on the stove.  Slowly dissolving this into the milk that is heating works like magic to help you avoid any lumps in this roux.

After the roux is prepared, it needs to poured into a bowl and covered with plastic wrap.  The plastic wrap must be pressed against the top of the roux, and then placed in the fridge to cool.  Pressing the plastic on the top of the roux, prevents the top of the roux from forming a skin on top.

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (5 tbsp)
1 cup of granulated sugar 
1 cup of whole milk (it must be whole milk or this will not work correctly)
pinch of salt
1 cup of butter room temp (not mushy but slightly firm) cut into 1/2 tbsp cubes 

1.  In a bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

2.  In a medium saucepan, heat the milk on a medium high flame.  As the milk beings to get hot while whisking, slowly add the dry ingredients about 1/4 cup at a time in the center of the pot.  Repeat this process until all of the dry ingredients have been added to the milk.  Add the vanilla and continue to whisk until the roux begins to thicken.  

3.  Change to a wooden spoon as the mixture begin to thicken and constantly stir the roux, being sure there are no uncooked bits of flour.  

4.  Cook on a medium high flame constantly stirring.  It is important to scrape the entire bottom of the pot to prevent roux from burning.  Cook for approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is extremely smooth and shiny.  

5. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to cling against the top of the roux.  Doing so will prevent the roux from forming a skin.  Allow to chill 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.

6.  After the roux has chilled, pour the roux into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.  Slowly increase the speed to high and allow the roux to whip for about 2 minutes.

7.  After the roux has whipped for 2 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer on medium.  Add the butter 1 cube at a time.  After the cube of butter has completely mixed into the roux, add another cube of butter.  Continue to do this until all the butter has completely whipped into the roux.    Scrape the bowl down after adding half of the butter.  Once completed this frosting is ready to use.  Add food coloring if desired.  If the frosting is too soft due to your room being hot, simply place into the fridge until the frosting firms up a bit.
I've had many meatloaves before but many of them were just ok.  They had a lot of flavor and extremely moist, so moist that they were falling apart into awful mess.  I have never been fond of a meatloaf's texture being soggy.  I like a semi-firm texture that is still extremely moist but also firm enough that your meatloaf sandwich won't turn into a horrific mess.  It's extremely easy to prepare, I used fresh herbs from my herb plants, you could use dry herbs.

The taste of this meatloaf is amazing the sweet glaze on top while the meatloaf it self is absolutely fantastic!  The use of the sauteed peppers and onions with fresh herbs is enough to call this meatloaf a winner.

2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
2 tbsp hot sauce

(Optional- saute in 1 tbsp unsalted butter + 2 tbsp olive oil)
1 small green pepper and 1 small onion diced

2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh oregano

1/2 cup bread crumbs

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Use your hands to mix everything in, mix for about 5 to 6 minutes.  If you are using a leaner ground beef, mix for only a couple of minutes.

Pat out mixture into a 9x5 loaf pan, bake until the internal temp reaches 150 degrees, about 50 minutes.  (it is not done yet)

1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup ketchup, mix together in a bowl.

Spread glaze on top of the meatloaf and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven, uncovered; until internal temp reaches 160-165 degrees F (about another 25 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drain the fat out of the pan and allow the meatloaf to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Serve how to desired, this will serve approx 6 to 8 people.
I wanted to come up with a basic recipe that could help you avoid all of the mishegas of trying to fuss with dough for a long period of time.  This is a full no fail recipe (if followed correctly), I highly recommend using all purpose flour.  Also, always use the best brand possible of plain all purpose flour.  I would suggest avoiding using organic flour as the cut and grain of the flour can be different and your recipe may needs some twerking to help you come up with the perfect recipe.

Here's what cha need
1 cup of room temp water (or lukewarm)
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus a little more dusting and etc

If you're new to handling dough I suggest you watch my video that's on my channel and listen to it fully and also read my blog post The Magical World of Baking here.

Now here is how easy this recipe is, in a bowl mix together the flour and salt using a wooden spoon.  Then mix in the water, the dough may seem a little dry at first but that's normal.  Once you are unable to mix the dough with the spoon, use your hands and pull the dough completely together.  If the dough seems a little sticky, thats ok too, you can always add more flour in while kneading the dough.

Lightly dust the surface with flour, knead until the dough is just a little sticky, slowly adding more flour as needed.  Knead the dough for no longer than 5 minutes, shaping it into a ball with the the dough pinch and tucked on to the bottom.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap while it's sitting on the surface, dusting access flour from under the dough before hand. 

Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes undisturbed.  Cut the dough in half and on a slightly floured surface rolling the dough out as thin as possible but not too thin, you want it to be slightly thinner than a pie crust.  Dust the top of the dough with flour after it's rolled out, and cut into even desired size pastry strips, make sure the dough is completely dusted with flour and transfer the cut up pastry into a tray lined with parchment paper dusted lightly with flour.  

Once you have finish transferring one layer of pasty noodles to the tray and dusting the top of the noodles with flour.  Then place one sheet of parchment paper on top of the first layer of noodles, dust and repeat process completely with remaining half of the dough.   Allow the noodles to sit for at least 20 minutes in a room that isn't sweltering hot.  Perfect idea temp is roughly 65 to 70 degrees.  

You can cook this straight away or wrap the tray with plastic wrap and stick into the freezer until frozen solid, then at this point you will need to transfer them from the tray into a bag.  Remember to use a good amount of flour if you are planning to freeze these, because the freezer creates a moist environment and these will tend to stick to the paper if not properly dusted.  You could also dust these with cornstarch instead of flour if you desire.

There are no measurements involved with rolling the dough out making this recipe super easy to just eye ball everything and adds a sense of something rustic and homemade to your dish.

To cook these noodles, simply have at least 5 to 6 cups of broth or stewing sauce that has been brought to a rapid boil.  Add the noodles a few at a time, stirring after adding the first half of the noodles.  Once all of the noodles have been added, stir and lower the flame to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes covered stirring every 5 minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of your pot.  You may have to cook the noodles longer, depending on how thick they are and how much you worked the dough.  The longer you work the dough, the tougher it will become and the longer it will take to cook.

I will start off by saying this blog will be very lengthy and may bounce all over the place, mainly because I am excited and a little nervous about typing my first really detailed blog of fear of backlash of comments from angry readers who may not agree with my blog, but I digress.

Orange Petite Cakes
Before I start this blog, I will share with you the little knowledge that I have about common types of flours used in baking, importance of your oven temps, why you should use self rising flour, and why you shouldn't cake flour substitute (homemade).
It is important to understand the differences in the type of flour you use and how it will affect your baking.  On the upcoming blog The Magical World of Baking (Part 2), I will explain the magic of bread baking, yeast types and proper liquid temps.

When baking your recipe will call for specific type of flour that can be easily found unless you’re baking a good that requires a special type of flour.  There are many types of flour, but the most common types are:

All-purpose flour
Self-rising flour
Cake Flour
Pastry Flour (can be extremely difficult to find & can be ordered online)

These types of flour can also be found in bleached and unbleached variations.  Unbleached flour has to mature for a very long period of time in order for it to soften.  This process can take months at a factory that uses a machine to move the flour around.  If the flour isn’t moved around, bugs can form in the flour. 

Bleached flours are bleached with a chemical powder, which lightens the color of the flour and it also speeds the maturing process up, forcing the flour soften quickly. They are also used for appearance when baking something that requires to be dyed with food coloring, making the colors pop even more.  Although, it may have to use a lot of coloring depending on what you're making due to the yellow tinge from the eggs.  I will discuss more about this in another blog.

Higher end brands of unbleached will be expensive, mainly because of how much it cost to keep the machines running to stir the flour over the required amount of time it takes to soften. 

Flour contains proteins…  The proteins in the flour are natural and when liquid hits the flour and then mixed, gluten is then formed.  When you begin to mix the dough or batter, the gluten strands becomes stronger and tougher creating an almost solid structure that are perfect for breads and certain types of cakes.  When baking a cake with all-purpose flour, you have to be very careful of over mixing the cake batter.  Over mixing the cake batter can make the crumb of your cake extremely tough and it will cause your cake to dry out.

Protein count highest to lowest
Bread Flour
All-purpose flour & self-rising Flour (Please read the details about these two flours below.)
Pastry Flour
Cake Flour

Bread Flour: This flour has the highest protein count and it's gluten count is usually 13 to 14 percent gluten content.  It's perfect for making breads, pizza crusts and pretty much any type of bread that contains yeast.  When you’re making yeast bread with this flour, your final outcome will be amazing if the dough is kneaded properly.  When the dough is kneaded, the gluten strands of the dough because stronger and finer.  This will make your bread rise correctly and the crusty exterior will be perfect.

All-purpose flour: The protein count is medium and is on average at 12 percent gluten content.  This flour is perfect for breads, cookies, pie crust, and some cakes.  All-purpose flour has a slightly lower protein count than bread flour.  If you have a bread recipe that calls for bread flour and you don’t have any on hand, you can use all-purpose flour in place of the bread flour. You may need to knead the bread a few minutes longer  due to the missing 2 percent gluten content.  Also in my opinion baked products due come out different when you use bleached or unbleached flour.  It is best to use unbleached flour, the end result will give you a better texture and flavor.  It is better to only use bleached flour for cakes or some cookies.

 Self-rising Flour:  This flour is the same as all-purpose flour except it has baking powder and salt added to the flour.  This flour should only be used for baking things like biscuits, pound cakes and etc.  When baking with all self-rising flour, you will need to omit the salt and baking powder in the recipe.  Also you should only use unsalted butter until you are familiar with how sweet your end product turns out.  If it's too sweet, use salted butter instead.  I prefer not to use self-rising flour, when self-rising flour sits on the shelf, the baking powder becomes less "potent" and your baked products may not rise properly.  

If you have a recipe that calls self rising flour, you can make your own by simply following the recipe below, this makes 1 cup, if you need more simply double or triple etc. this recipe:

Self-rising flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt.  

Sift together all of the ingredients and voila!  The only thing you'll have to do is create the amount of self-rising flour you'll need for the recipe and use this as a substitute for self rising-flour and your recipe will turn out perfect. 

If at any point you only need 1/2 of cup extra of self-rising flour, cut the recipe in half:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Then sift together.

Pastry Flour: Pastry flour is weaker than both bread & all-purpose/self-rising flours.  It's protein count is lower and it's gluten content is on average 9 to 10 percent.  This flour is perfect for making cookies, pie crust, scones, and sometimes croissants (depending on the recipe).  This flour comes from the soft part of the wheat and visually, you can see the texture is finer than bread and all purpose flour.  When baking with pastry flour, you still have to be careful with over mixing, you still have a chance at building the gluten strands that may make your end product tough.

Cake Flour:  This is also made from soft wheat, but it is the weakest.  It's protein count is the lowest and the gluten content is normally 7 to 8 1/2 percent.  This is perfect for baking cakes and the crumb of your end cake is absolutely perfect.  I also learned from friend and Pastry Chef Jenni Field you could use cake flour to make scones or biscuits for an even lighter texture and a higher rise.  I took it a step further and made buttermilk biscuits using pastry flour, the results were amazing!  They were a mile high, light, buttery and flakey.  I couldn't stop eating them!

Why you shouldn't make your own cake flour

The worst thing in the world is making a substitute "cake flour", which is usually all-purpose flour and cornstarch.  The gluten percent is still strong from the all-purpose flour alone, your end product will have a chance of drying out the next day or it would have a dry, crumbly, corn bread texture cake.  The only chance you will have for this not to happen, if the recipe contains buttermilk, a high amount citrus or by stop mixing the batter the moment you see the four disappear.  You may need to lower the temp of your oven to allow the cake bake slower.  If a recipe suggest you should bake a cake at 325 degrees fahrenheit and you decide to make your own cake flour, lower the temp of your oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.  The sugar content is usually high in cakes and when they are baked, they begin to brown.  The browning comes from the sugar and proteins in the cake (all dairies are high in protein count).  

I mentioned previously, some recipes may call for butter milk or some source of citrus.  These are acids and in some recipes if the amount called for is high enough; it will break down the gluten and your end cake will have a tender crumb.  If you don't have cake flour, just use all purpose flour and use a low oven temp (not to low).  Also, make sure all of your ingredients are room temp.

Although it may not be required, I found when baking cakes, it is best to have all of your ingredients at room temp.  I don't know the reason why except perhaps maybe, when you put cold eggs and milk into a creamed butter and sugar mixture (of course the butter is at room temp), the fat in the cold eggs doesn't coat the sugar grains as the butter would.  Adding cold eggs to a creamed butter and sugar mixture may cause everything to curdle a bit, causing your cake batter to look grainy and your end cake will either be too dry, or extremely oily.  Trust me, I know from experience and have ruined many pound cakes and cookies from using butter that was either too cold, or putting cold eggs into the sugar and butter mixture.  The only time you do not really need to worry about using cold eggs in a cookie recipe are mainly chocolate chip cookie recipes.  The cold eggs firms the butter up a bit and when the heat from the oven hits the cookies, the cookies won't spread out to be super fat and thin due to the batter being so cold.  Also using bleached all-purpose flour will make your cookies spread very far too, for some strange reason.  Perhaps, maybe from the extra chemical thats in the flour, the bleach.

That's all for now everyone, I do apologize for all the typos (if there's any).  I hope all of you find this blog extremely helpful.  Feel free to leave questions or comments below.  Stay tuned for part two of this blog coming in a few weeks.

I am so excited to announce that I've reached 4,500 subscribers and that means the Kitchenaid giveaway has ended.  If you are already subscribed to me on YT, then you still have a chance at winning by simply joining the contest.  For rules on how to join the contest please read this post.  Thank you all for being apart of this contest, I have another contest coming up next month for your chance to win an amazon gift card.