Artwork by Jacob

Artwork by Jacob

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis

My foodie friend and neighbor Tracy who runs the food blog tiny cook Big Appetite bought me some sunchokes at the farmers market.  Having never found the elusive sunchokes for French Fridays with Dorie I was pleasantly surprised. Tracy decided to make roasted sunchokes and I decided to make soup (page 76).  As you can see the California variety are very small.   
I scrubbed the sunchokes well but decided not to peel them.  Dorie said this was optional so I took the easy route.
This soup also contains onion, celery, leeks and garlic.
I love pureed soups and this was no exception.  Given the cool reception of Jerusalem artichokes by the group I had low expectations for this soup but happily it exceeded all my expectations.  I added heavy cream and the parsley coulis.  I had all the same troubles the group had in making such a small portion of coulis come out in a blender.  My husband and I could not taste the sunchokes particularly, it just tasted like a root vegetable soup but I would make it again.

To see Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis here.
To see Orange and Olive Salad here.

These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lamb and Dried Apricot Tagine

This week on French Fridays with Dorie we are making lamb and dried apricot tagine (pages 284-285).  We love Moroccan food so we were looking forward to this dish.  
Everyone loved this dish.  It was soft and flavorful and couscous was the perfect side dish.  I would make a few adjustments next time.  I found the apricots too soft and flavorless.  I think soaking them in the boiled chicken broth and also baking them took out all the flavor.  I would skip the pre-soak next time.  Also I thought 4 onions was a bit much, I would cut back by one or two next time.  But other than that we loved the dish, in-laws too, and would serve it again.

These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what others did go here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Rugelach That Won Over France

This week on Tuesdays with Dorie we are making rugelach and not just any rugelach but the rugelach that won over France from Baking Chez Moi (page 301).  After reading the discussion thread on the website I decided to make a few adjustments before baking.  I made the dough and chilled it in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Then I decided to make the circle version in Dorie's other book, Baking From My Home To Yours (page 150) it is easier for me to roll a circle than a square. I used a pizza cutter like Dorie suggested for cutting my tirangles, rolled them up and refrigerated again for 30 minutes before baking at 350 degrees. 

I tried to chop my ingredients fine and I pushed them in using a sheet of wax paper.

I cooked mine on parchment paper with the seam side down.  I found quite a lot of oozing and thought I had ruined them but alas they came out perfect and not burned.

These cookies won over my house too.  My husband and I happen to love chocolate, coconut and pecans, my son not so much.  As my husband says, "more for me".  Next time I would make less filling, it made too much and I have leftover.  

Tuesdays With Dorie is an international baking group working our way through Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what others did in this group go here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Speculoos

Today on French Fridays with Dorie, the group is making Tartine de Viande des Grisons which is an air-dried beef open sandwich.  I did not have time to find this specialty item so I made Speculoos (page 406) instead.  These cookies seasoned with cinnamon, ginger and cloves seemed great for the season.
The dough is divided in half and rolled out between two sheets of wax paper.  A technique I learned from this cookbook that I had not done before.
The dough is chilled for a least 3 hours and then cut into any shape you want. 
I thought this was a great cookie.  My husband said this is what a gingerbread cookie should taste like.  My son said they were plain, no chocolate or frosting.  Well if that is how you judge cookies then yes they were plain:)
We went hiking over the holiday weekend and enjoyed the fall weather.  We went to Mount Pinos in Frazier National Park in California.

These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what others did go here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cranberry Crackle Tart

This is my first official post with Tuesdays with Dorie.  I have been cooking along with French Fridays with Dorie since March of this year and I am looking forward to joining another Dorie group.  This week we are diving into the holidays with Cranberry Crackle Tart (page 135).  I am a seasoned baker but I had a few snafus with this one.  I can always learn more when it comes to baking.

I managed to over bake my tart shell.  I am not sure what happened as I usually don't burn things. I used parchment paper then my dried beans for weights, I usually use buttered foil which may have made the difference.


I also think I over baked my filling too.  I did the full one hour and probably should have done less but despite my snafus everyone loved the pie.  It was certainly unique and sophisticated, marshmallows and cranberries.  I would make this again, especially to see if I could get it right.

Tuesdays With Dorie is an international baking group working our way through Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what others did in this group go here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Storzapretis (corsican spinach and marjoram gnocchi)

I am going to bestow bragging rights for all of our November recipe selections on French Fridays with Dorie.  We have tackled osso buco, duck and now gnocchi.  As with the previous two recipes, I have never made gnocchi before.  I knew I needed some background information and help.  My son uses Youtube for everything so I searched for quenelle and found many tutorials.  I also Googled storzapretis to see if anyone else had made this recipe and low and behold there was.  Now armed with information I was ready to tackle this recipe.

Storzapretis are like cheese gnocchi.  They include spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, Gruyere cheese, marjoram and flour.  They are topped with tomato or marinara sauce and additional Gruyere cheese.

Making quenelle from the dough.  It looked much harder that it actually was.
I am not sure how necessary it was to go through the process of quenelle because by the time I dusted them in flour, stored them in the refrigerator over night and gently simmered them in water, they lost most of their shape.

It figures that the only picture I took of the finished product was blurry.  My husband loved these, he thought it tasted like lasagna because I used marinara sauce as my topping.  I liked them but not sure the amount of work to get the finished product was worth it.  I am glad I made it as I usually am with Dorie's recipes.  I am always happy to increase my cooking knowledge by learning new techniques.

These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what others did go here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Orange

I have been having difficulty finding fresh ingredients for our French Fridays with Dorie Fall selections.  Still haven't found the elusive Jerusalem artichokes and I couldn't find kumquats this week.  One alternate given for kumquats was tangerines which I couldn't find either.  We decided to stay simple and substitute with orange.  So really I made Duck A L'Orange.


I enlisted the help of my husband to cook the duck.  I did not want to make a mistake with our $13.99 per pound duck breasts.  I think he cooked the duck perfectly but since I haven't ever ordered duck before I am not much of a judge.  My husband was more critical of his skills but he orders duck much more often than I do.  I rather liked eating it and Dorie has helped me expand my food repertoire.

I was the sous-chef and made all the sauces.  For my orange substitution, I used the rind of the orange in the simple syrup, then peeled the orange of its white pith and placed slices of orange in the sauce. The flavors worked well together and my husband really liked eating the orange with the duck.  One complaint I have about this dish is the number of pans required and then you add on any side dishes that you made and you have a load of dishes.

I made mashed potatoes to go along with it because I had potatoes on hand to use up.  I also served carrot souffle because I had that leftover, I usually wouldn't serve two mashed items together.  I think this is another dish that comes with bragging rights.  I would make it again for a special occasion.

These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what others did go here