Taste of France From a Chef to the Stars

What do Al Gore, Sidney Poitier, Sharon Stone and Cindy Lauper have in common?

They all love Dominique Crenn's cooking so much, they asked her to cater parties they threw!

You may know the native of Versailles, France from the Food Network hit, "Next Iron Chef."

But how did she do as "The Early Show Saturday Edition"'s "Chef on a Shoestring"?

She accepted our challenge of trying to prepare a three course meal for four on the measly budget of $40. And the "Shoestring chef" with the lowest ingredients costs will be invited back to whip up our year-end holiday feast as the winner of our "How Low Can You Go?" competition.

Dominique is chef de cuisine of the Luce restaurant, in San Francisco. It was awarded its first Michelin star earlier this year.

On the show, she made a traditional French bistro-inspired meal.

• Mixed Green & Goat Cheese Salad
• Pork Cassoulet & White Beans
• Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding

"Early Show" Recipes Galore!


Chèvre cheese: French for "goat," chèvre is a pure white goat's-milk cheese with a delightfully tart flavor that easily distinguishes it from other cheeses. Some of the better known chèvres include banon, bucheron, and montrachet. "Pur chèvre" on the label ensures that the cheese is made entirely from goat's milk; others may have the addition of cow's milk. Chèvres can range in texture from moist and creamy to dry and semifirm. They come in a variety of shapes including cylinders, discs, cones and pyramids, and are often coated in edible ash or leaves, herbs or pepper. Store, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Old chèvre takes on a sour taste and should be discarded. (Source: Epicurious.com)

Cassoulet: A classic dish from France's Languedoc region consisting of white beans and various meats (such as sausages, pork and preserved duck or goose). The combination varies according to regional preference. A cassoulet is covered and cooked very slowly to harmonize the flavors. (Source: Epicurious.com)

Gigante Beans: A large, flat, cream colored bean popular in the Mediterranean. (Source: GourmetSleuth.com)


Goat Cheese & Mache Greens Salad

4 ounces goat cheese
2 cups Mache and other Greens
4 slices French baguette
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Sea salt and pepper


Place slices of goat cheese on the bread slices and broil just until the cheese starts to melt. Do not let it melt completely.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sea salt and pepper and then add the greens, coating leaves with the dressing.

On a serving plate place the toasted baguette and the melt cheese and arrange the salad as you please.

Pork Cassoulet

4 pork sausages, sliced
4 ounces pancetta
2 yellow onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 cup + ½ cup of red wine
1 cup chicken stock


Sauté sausages and pancetta over medium to high heat to render the fat. Add 1 cup of red wine, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Sauté until onion and garlic are tender.

Add remaining ½ cup of red wine and deglaze for about 2 minutes.

Add chicken stock and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Serve over gigante beans using a slotted spoon.