Happy New… Flammekueche!

Happy New Year my friends! I hope it’s a good one and thank you for reading this blog. Hoping to make it bigger and badder in the New Year.

So here i am in Aspen, Colorado, trying to survive a week of cooking, skiing… and attempted bombings. The New Year fireworks came a day late because of a bunch of bombs placed across town by some lunatic on New Year’s eve. Other than that, everything is just fine. How do you like the view from the big bossman’s house?

Here’s the real eye candy, a fine piece of cooking machinery with dual-convection ovens and digital everything. Let me introduce you to… THE BEAST! Can you hear it growl? Grrrrrrr…..

I didn’t read the manual yet but i’m pretty sure i can prepare a three-course dinner wirelessly from my bed with this thing. One day i’ll figure-it out. Now the ironic part is that have lots of picture of the brand new stove, but not very many of the food i cooked in it.

Let’s make a flammekueche, Alsace answers to pizza. This famous Alsatian specialty is a sort of flatbread pizza topped with onions, smoked bacon and creme fraiche and traditionally cooked in a really hot wood-burning oven, hence the name flammekueche or tarte flambee. No wood-burning oven here but let’s see if we can still pull it off in the digital age. I also made a catalan coca but i already blogged about it. Enjoy!

(serves 4)

For the dough:

  • 2 packets (1/2 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, gently warmed
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup plus 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the flammekueche:
  • 4 ounces French ventrèche bacon or German Black Forest bacon or smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup crème fraîche*
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*NOTE: To make crème fraîche, combine 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons buttermilk, stir, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, or until it has become very thick. Refrigerate, and it will become even thicker.
Stir the yeast and the melted butter into the warmed milk and let it rest for 5 minutes, add the beer. Add the flour and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine. Pour the beer-yeast mixture into the food processor and process for 1 minute, or until the dough is well-mixed. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425’F.
In a skillet, saute the bacon until crisp, reserve and add the onion in the remaining fat and cook until the onion is tender. In a small bowl, mix the creme fraiche with the flour and season with salt & pepper.
Divide the dough in four equal parts and roll out as thin as possible and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Divide the onions and bacon on each flammekueche and spoon the creme fraiche mixture on top of each. Place immediately in the very hot oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes – until the pastry is golden brown and the topping is also a little brown. Serve immediately and enjoy immediately, immediately.

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  • Manggy

    Happy new year Zen-man! Whoa, everything is breathtaking, even the horse's butt (er… kidding!). It's like lifestyles of the r&f here, but with even better food 😉 Somehow I'd feel like a schmuck taking pictures of where I am (New Jersey– but I mean no offense, few places are as mind-blowingly beautiful as where you are)!

  • Stacey Snacks

    S., is this tarte flambe? same thing? I love it.

    I feel sorry for you staying in such a dump with such uninteresting people. You should go over the mountain to the Holiday Inn, I hear they have a good brunch.

    I want to see some photos of you on the slopes Monsieur!
    Happy New Year.

  • Kristin

    As if I didn’t already eat enough bacon over the holiday. Now I have to make this. Thanks.

  • April in CT

    I’ve never seen such horrid working conditions. I agree with Stacey, Holiday Inn is calling you.

  • doggybloggy

    immediately, I will immediately ask you immediately to have a good new year….

  • Chicopea

    “How moo is that” My fave quote of the year so far! Glad you’re not working at the Doubletree. Now go take some pics on the slopes!

  • Jojo

    Ok you got me, what kind of range is that? I have never seen anything like it. That one looks interesting.

  • Jojo

    It is a Wolf. I found it on their website. What a difference in the design. Great range.

  • Peter M

    Stunning views, good gig while you have it and count on the Alsace-Lorraine to pull off such a dish.

  • My Sweet & Saucy

    The cabin I stayed in for the New Year’s wasn’t quite the same as yours….haha Hope you had a great time!

  • Mark

    o.k I am offically jealous. Not of you zen…….Big Bossman. He Eat well(thanks to you), lives well, what else could you want. at least You get to go along for the ride without having to pay the exorbitant bills. Enjoy.

  • Elle

    Stunning views! I could totally get used to waking up to that every morning.

  • Claudia

    You are an inspiration. Keep it up! That Flammekuche and the coca also are on my “to try” list. I want to use my sourdough starter though. For the creme fraiche, do you think whole milk yogurt, instead of buttermilk in the cream, will work as well?

  • Big Boys Oven

    wow such a view and stunning place to be especialy new year! I can only dream being there as we here only have warm and hot climate all year round! lol!
    Wish you a great and successful 2009! . . . . from us both Sunny & Sidney

  • We Are Never Full

    happy new year!! i can NOT get over that house. i heard about the bomber in aspen. i used to live in breckenridge for a few years and the mountain life can get to you after a bit of time… maybe that’s why he went crazy?

    anyways, i’m sure if you gave him some of the flammekueche, he would’ve been straight.

  • Bren

    oh my goodness! i think these are the absolute best pictures i’ve seen in a food blog all year! wow!!! my bro just came back from boarding a whole week in vale–loooovely!! this is awesome. kitchen in beautiful, ur room sucks and that massage table needs to go with the quickness. might not you sleep, you know!

    have a great stay and don’t brag too much more! :)

  • Mandi

    WOW, that is one fabulous house/view/life!!! Wanna trade????

    Welcome back and yes you were missed!!

    Please tell me those lovely Mermaids in your fridge werent Verve clicquot – if it is move over Im coming for a drink!!!!!

  • Anali

    Happy New Year ZC! That place is amazing!

    I would have never thought of putting beer or any alcohol in dough. Odd because I put it in sweets all the time. You have opened my eyes. I will be trying this.

  • Diane

    Ah you make me miss the mountains! And to think I had an opportunity to go to the pyrenees this holiday and passed it up. Thanks for the recipe, my honey really doesn’t appreciate my american pizzas as much as I think he would like htis. I am a bit confused as to the instructions…It says adnthe yeast and the to the milk. I assume you mean the butter? I haven’t ever added butter to my proof before but its the ony ingredient not accounted for in your instructions so I assume thats correct? ( I would usually add a bit of sugar, my mum always said it woke the little beast up *heh*)

  • Colloquial Cook

    Hourra pour la flammekueche! Vive l’Alsace! Enfin un plat tradi sans shiitake! I want the whole package please. The house, the chef, the slopes and the flammekueche. Ah, and the massage table in front of the view. On ne refuse rien à une birthday girl, merci d’avance.hn

  • dirtykitchensecrets

    What a way and what a place to welcome the New Year! You’re off on to a good start 😉 Happy New Year Zen Man!

  • Nina Timm

    Hello Zenman, I am also back from my holiday, but mine was spent in the most beautiful coastal town in the world…well, that is my opinion. Maybe you can persuade bosman to come to SA in the near future.

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    Are you kidding me? Really, are you? Is that house for real? You poor you, such a terrible place to spend new year… Now, why haven’t you mention this to me before? You could have taken me as your peronal massusse therapist :)!

  • The Short (dis)Order Cook

    Happy New Year. I’m really into that fl-fl-fl-pizza thing. Looks yummy. Must be the bacon.

    Too bad your accomodations were so horrid. No masseuse! The horror. I would demand extra compensation, even if that was a really really cool stove.

  • Catherine Wilkinson

    Freakin’ awesome. Especially the dead guy on the windowsill.
    Say, I’m thinking a nice little Scotch down at the Jerome sounds just about right…damn, I wish I was there!

  • One Food Guy

    Yeah, the views from the bedroom aren’t so bad, but da-ham! that stove is A-MAZING!!

    Happy New Year!

  • Helene

    Happy New Year!

    Who own this beautiful place? Can I be invited?

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures.

  • Manger La Ville

    What a sweet kitchen. The kitchen makes a house. It is my favorite room. Lucky you, you get to cook there.

  • breadpitt

    my dream kitchen, awww…. the view , the room , the kitchen ,chef’s luxury…wanna reach the position like u dude!!!! cool..

  • waliz

    i’m speechless…! not bcos of u zen but bcos of the beautiful scenary…hehe

  • Gloria

    Happy new year Zen chef!!! and “poor you” in these wondereful place, enjoy!!! Gloria

  • TavoLini


    I think that’s about all I am able to say.

  • Eralda LT

    Happy new Year! I have been nosing around your blog for a while now.

    How long would the creme fraiche keep for in the refridgerator?

  • Cakebrain

    I’m still salivating over your cool oven :) I love gadgets and food, and gadgets that make food– whoohoo! Those last pics with the flammekueche look yummy! what a life you have!

  • Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

    Love those Flammekuche! I have a postcard of the recipe carefully saved and stored in my recipe box from a trip to Alsace over 5 years ago. Brings back many tasty memories. YUM. Thanks to the beautiful tour, amazing views, and awesome oven – I’m now inspired to finally make Flammekuche myself. Happy New Year!

  • Cindy. Lo.

    Ah what a view!
    How’s snowboard!?! Did you hurt yourself???
    I went to Big Bear Resort the other day and my butt is….breaking up..yes..breaking up…..

  • Heather

    How rough you have it. I think you should have a contest for who can guess M. Bossman’s identity. The prize can be a little weekend at the cabin. He’d totally go for that, wouldn’t he?

  • glamah16

    Happy New Year. Can wetrade jobs.Please. What a wonderful workinh vacation you had.Nice tohear you arent working for Madoff or someone. I love sound of Flammekueche. Great after hitting the slopes.

  • AzAzura

    Zen! you are one lucky dude and i wish i could wake up to such a beautiful view.In the mid of making some olive bread here, and hope you are well.see you soon on my new revamped blog.. when i give it a new outlook mwah mwah.

  • Tartelette

    My daddy used to mkae Flammekueche every Sunday, no fail!
    One of my favorite things to eat!

    You know what I love about this post is that not only bossman earned all this working hard but that you are aware of all the goodness that springs your way from it all….because of your hard work.
    If you or him ever need a shoe polish lady, I am there!

    Happy New Year! All the best to you in 2009!

  • acey

    nice place your boss has! too bad, you cut his head off. i hope you enjoyed your working vacation. the place looks great.

    and the food! it looks perfect. (speaking of alsace, 1 of my friend’s named after that place. now i’m hungry and missing my friends…)

  • Nicole

    I’ve been making this Alsatian pizza with puff pastry dough. Yours looks much better than mine… naturally. I will have to try your dough next time.

  • Darius T. Williams

    OMG your life is great!