Watch CBSN Live

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:

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:

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


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.


Gigante Beans

2 pounds gigante beans or white bean (picked over and soaked in cold water for 24 hours and drained)
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces bacon, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 garlic gloves, crushed
1 celery stock, diced
1 each carrot, sliced thin
1 cup of white wine
1 spring of thyme
4 cups of chicken stock
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
1 Bay leaf
4 tablespoons salt

*special equipment: Cheese cloth (for sachet)


Heat oil in a large pot and when the oil starts to smoke add bacon and render the fat out.

Add shallots, garlic, celery, carrot and cook until browned but not burned, scraping the bottom of the pan as the vegetables cook.

Deglaze pan with white wine and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Place all ingredients (except the beans) in cheese cloth and tie off with twine. Place the sachet back in the large pot.

Add beans and chicken stock and cook for 25 to 30 minutes at simmer (until beans are tender). Add salt at the last five minutes of cooking at a gentle boil.

Remove sachet and put beans in a container over an ice bath, keep beans covered in their own juice or they will peel.

When ready to serve, gently reheat the beans over low heat and add chicken stock if needed to keep moist.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding

4 cups whole milk
4 eggs
6 yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2.5 ounces 70% dark chocolate
12 ounces nutella


Bring milk to a boil.

Remove from the heat, add nutella and dark chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, and then blend together with a hand blender or whisk.

In a separate bowl, whip eggs, yolks and sugar together by hand until well blended. Temper hot milk mixture slowly into egg mixture while whisking. Make sure to add egg mixture slowly so they do not scramble.

Strain the mixture through a sieve and pour into ramekins and place them on a baking dish.

Create a water bath by filling a baking dish with hot water, half way up the side of the ramekins.

Cover the whole pan with aluminum foil; bake at 325°F for approximately 30-40 minutes or until just set.

Remove from the oven and let cool 30 minutes before refrigerating them.

So, how did Dominique do in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition?

Goat Cheese Salad
goat cheese $3.99
mixed greens $3.29
french bread $1.99
total $9.27

Pork Cassoulet
pork sausage $4.78
pancetta $2.49
onions $.63
garlic $.39
red wine $2.99
chicken stock $1.49
white beans $2.78
bacon $2.00
shallot $.16
celery $.65
carrot $.79
white whine $2.19
thyme $1.49
total $22.83

Chocolate Pudding
milk $1.09
dark chocolate $1.49
nutella $3.69
total $6.27

Grand total: $38.37

Did she make our leader's board?

1. Kelly Liken $37.20
Restaurant Kelly Liken

2. Stephen Kalt $37.40

3. Catherine Cassidy $38.21
Taste of Home

View CBS News In