Artwork by Jacob

Artwork by Jacob

Monday, March 23, 2015

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

This week on Tuesdays with Dorie we are making Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars (page 324) from Baking Chez Moi.  Dorie's cookbook states "This is what Rice Krispies Treats would have been had they been born in France."  My son still likes the original the best.
Dorie gave the option of making caramelized Rice Krispies (page 428) or plain Rice Krispies for the topping.  I wanted to go for the gusto and make the caramelized topping.  I managed not to burn them so I was off to a good start.
The directions were to bake the base for 22 minutes at 375 degrees.  I only baked my for 20 minutes and I still think they were a little too dark and over baked.  Next time I will bake even less.

I managed to cut my bars without any incident.  Chocolate is one of my all time favorite ingredients and I like any dessert that includes chocolate.  These bars were no exception.  My husband and I thought they were more candy-like than cookie but still good.  My son just wanted plain Rice Krispie Treats:)
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, March 20, 2015

Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

On my designated French Friday cooking day it was 90 degrees and the same was expected the next day.  Soup did not sound appealing.  My husband's concern about Cote d'Azur Cure-all Soup (page 70) was the eggs.  Since I still have 3/4 of the cookbook to do I thought it would be easy to find a substitution.  

I have liked Dorie's other recipes en papillote and they have the added benefit of easy cooking and clean up.  The salmon is laid upon a bed of basil and sprinkled with lemon zest, scallions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and topped with lemon slices and additional basil.  The foil packets are put into the oven and bake about 10-12 minutes.  I took the extra step of sauteing my tomatoes before baking to intensify their flavor like Dorie suggested.
This was a quick and easy dinner for a hot night.  I look forward to making this one again.
To see what others did with Cote d'Azur Cure-all Soup go here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Veal Marengo

This week on French Fridays with Dorie we are making Veal Marengo (page 264) or in my case beef marengo.  
This was a tasty dish and I was glad to finally get to use cipolline onions in a recipe.  I have often eyed those cute little onions but have never used them.  On the practical side, this recipe had too many separate components which created a lot of dishes.  I ended up making this on a Monday night and it was just too much fuse for a week night meal.  I should have cooked the beef longer since it was not as tender as veal but I was afraid of drying out the rest of the dish.  It really did not have much liquid.  I don't know where all that liquid comes from in the picture especially since you are suppose to drain the canned diced tomatoes.  I wish I had added that liquid.
On another day I made Not-Just-For -Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake from Baking From My Home to Yours.  It was deemed the best item I have baked from a Dorie cookbook.  I think this one will be making a repeat, maybe even for Thanksgiving.

Since I was joking with Mary about cemeteries, I thought I would throw one into the mix.  This cemetery is located on the island of Isla Mujeres off of Cancun, Mexico.  We took a vacation to Cancun in 2005 and came across this very colorful and quaint cemetery.

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, March 5, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie

While the rest of French Fridays with Dorie are making cabbage and foie gras bundles (page 193), we made duck breasts.  Twenty-minute honey-glazed duck breasts (page 229).  My husband is becoming an expert at rendering duck fat and I am becoming a fan of duck.  I am also looking for suggestions on how to cook some potatoes in the duck fat I saved.  I have about 2 tablespoons of fat. Suggestions much appreciated.

The duck breasts are cooked over medium high heat in a dutch oven to render the fat and make it crispy.  Then finished off in the oven, 250 degrees.  The sauce is balsamic vinegar, honey and the juice of a lemon.  The recipe calls for a lime but I forgot to buy one but it tasted good with the lemon.
I served the duck with Dorie's suggestion of broth-braised potatoes (page 358).  Fingerling potatoes were cooked in chicken broth with a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, a strip of lemon zest, bay leaf and thyme.
The end result was a fancy meal for a Monday night.  Our meals have definitely gone up-scale since cooking with Dorie.  The duck was perfect and we really enjoyed the sauce.  The potatoes surprisingly lacked the flavor from all that it was cooked with.  Dorie suggests serving the concentrated liquid over the potatoes but I did not want 2 sauces competing on my plate.  And to round out our meal I made sauteed spinach with a squeeze of lemon.
I also managed to make from Everyday Dorie from the Washington post, curried chicken parmentier. We loved this dish and found it to be very flavorful.  The chicken curry is topped with sweet potatoes and I needed an excuse to make sweet potatoes.

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Roasted Salmon and Lentils

The rest of French Fridays with Dorie are making Riviera Fish Soup (page 92).  We love fish but I was not sure about a fish soup with a tomato base.  I am not a fan of Manhattan Clam Chowder so I was worried about this one.  I look forward to see how it comes out for everyone. We decided on another fish make-up Roasted Salmon and Lentils (page 300).  Our favorite fish is salmon and we love lentils.

This meal was a hit for us, even on the leftovers, but I am not sure it counts that I made the dish. My husband was in charge of the salmon, which he cooked on the BBQ.  I made the lentils but I did not puree some of the lentils like the recipe called for. My husband likes whole lentils and not lentil soup so I was worried about the puree preparation. I also added extra carrots, celery and onions to the mix since I did not want to make a separate vegetable.  All in all it was a great meal and would make it again.
These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  To see more roasted salmon and lentils go here.  To see more Riviera Fish Soup go here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pink Grapefruit Tart

This week on Tuesdays with Dorie we are making Pink Grapefruit Tart page 138 from Baking Chez Moi.  I voted for this one because my husband loves grapefruit and I thought it sounded different. Armed with my 10-pound bag of Texas Red Grapefruit, I was ready to start baking.

My sweet tart dough turned out great this time.  I was mindful that is was covered in foil to prevent burning.
The lemon-almond cream also turned out well.  It provided a nice barrier for the cream and prevented a soggy crust.
I took the advice of Christie at goldenlifephx and used my hand mixer to whip up the grapefruit cremeux after it chilled, worked like a charm.  I did not add any Campari to the cream. I substituted another liqueur.
I would say this was a hit with all especially my grapefruit loving husband.  He called it a fancy Key Lime Pie.  My son said it was very tart but I was proud of him for trying it and finishing it.  I think it has a sophisticated taste.  The red grapefruit I bought was delicious and juicy.  I did not need as many grapefruit as Dorie called for as mine were so big.  A good time of year to be baking this.  This is a plan ahead dessert as there are many components and long chilling times but I would make this again. Update, my tart has held up well and was just as good the next day.
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, February 20, 2015

Vanilla Butter Braised Lobster

Happy Valentine's Day from French Fridays with Dorie.  We had a lovely dinner thanks to Dorie and the Doristas.  Vanilla Butter Braised Lobster (page 324) was the star.
We bought lobster tails which my husband was in charge of cooking.  He had trouble getting the lobster to 160 degrees in the butter.  We thought this technique was a little more complicated than it needed to be.  I couldn't get pass the amount of butter, we did not use 6 sticks of butter but 4. A pound seemed enough.  We also made lemon-steamed spinach (page 331) that Dorie suggested.  It was a great meal and enjoyed by all.
I made Liz's Red Velvet Brownies for my son.  For the rest of the week there were known as Reddies instead of Brownies.
Dories's Marquise au Chocolat from Baking Chez Moi served the second time around with strawberries.
Those of you on Facebook saw this picture already.  Mary is very organized and timely in her photos. We had a fabulous lunch hosted by the lovely Susan and John Lester.  I had a great time meeting fellow Doristas and I didn't want to leave.
These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  To see what the others did go here.