Artwork by Jacob

Artwork by Jacob

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake

This week on Tuesdays with Dorie we are baking Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake from Baking Chez Moi.  When this recipe was picked I casually checked the grocery stores to see if rhubarb was available and it was.  But as luck would have it the week I need to buy it I can't find it. My husband and I called several stores to find some and luckily store number six had some.  I am not sure what the problem is with rhubarb in California but suddenly our supplies ran out.

One pound of rhubarb and 1/2 cup sugar are marinated for 30 minutes to make a syrup. Then drained.
Butter is melted in a pan and 1/4 cup sugar is added then cooked until it starts to brown.  Then the drained rhubarb, butter and sugar mixture is cooked for about 3 minutes or until the rhubarb is softened.
The cooked rhubarb is put into the bottom of a buttered 9 inch cake pan.
My upside down cake came out perfect.  I opted to brush my cake with some melted apple jelly which did give it a nice glossy look.  I served it with Dorie's suggestion of strawberries and whipped cream.  The group really noticed the citrus flavor from the orange rind and liked it. I thought all the flavors worked really well together; rhubarb, orange, strawberries, cake and cream. What's not to like? I would definitely make it again.

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, May 22, 2015

Chicken in a Pot

Our last recipe in Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  Chicken in a Pot: the garlic and lemon version page 206.  This recipe was a big hit in our house and will be repeated, despite my few little mix ups.
This chicken dinner includes preserved lemon (I substituted lemon rind), sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and chicken of course.
So mistake number 1.  I used my dutch oven to brown my vegetables and chicken, I thought I would save on dishes.  Then it occurred to me that the dough to seal the pot would melt against the hot pot. Thanks to my husband's quick thinking he cooled the pot in water before we put the dough on.
Mistake number 2.  I added too much water to my flour and the dough was impossibly soft.  I kept adding flour to try and thicken it up but I got too impatient.  As you can see it was not a pretty sight when it came out of the oven.  Next time I will try the pizza dough idea.
Mistake number 3.  After I had jammed the lid on and put the pot in the oven I realized that I had forgot to put in the liquid.  Rats!  I took it out of the oven and added the liquid but any hopes of a pretty presentation in the pot were over.  Luckily it was not for guests.  I used chicken thighs because that is what I had in the freezer but it sounds like pieces are much easier to work with than a whole chicken.  Since the pieces were successful for us we will repeat that next time.  I smeared the garlic cloves on crusty bread that we served, I was the only one that liked it.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I wish I had found this group 3 years ago but I am so happy for the year that I have spent with you all.  I look forward to finishing the book even if it is by myself.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Marinated Strawberries over Pound Cake

I have had my eye on a new cooking group for a while, I heart cooking clubs (IHCC).  This group features 12 chefs. Two of the chefs that I have cookbooks for are Giada de Laurentiis and Yotam Ottolenghi.  I thought I would jump in this month with their current cooking challenge,  Mystery Box Madness Challenge.  For this challenge I selected Marinated Strawberries over Pound Cake by Giada de Laurentiis using the mystery box ingredients of strawberries, vinegar and vanilla.

To make this extra special I made my own pound cake, it came out perfect.  The strawberries are cut and macerated in balsamic vinegar and a little sugar for 20 minutes.  I made my own whipped cream which included vanilla.  It was a delicious dessert.  I was worried my 11 year old son would think the balsamic vinegar was weird but he didn't even notice.  The recipe got thumbs up around and I would make it again.  This recipe can be found in Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis (page 228). Looking forward to participating in the group.

Friday, May 15, 2015

French (Food Revolution) Friday with Dorie

Food Revolution Day Ambassador and Dorista, Mardi Michels states "Friday May 15th 2015 is the fourth annual Food Revolution Day – a day of global action created by Jamie Oliver and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about food and how to cook it." My son picked from the eligible recipes from Jamie's website, one-cup pancakes.

Learning how to crack an egg.  My son reminded my husband that he knew how to do this already.
We had breakfast for dinner so we included sausage with our meal.  My son is not a willing participant when it comes to pictures, so this is the best I could get.

We put blueberries in our pancakes and we loved it.  My son's current goal is to help cook dinner once a week.  My goal is to have a proficient cook by the time he goes to college.  Thank you Mardi for inspiring all our little chefs.  Now on to our last recipe for French Fridays with Dorie.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Nutella Buttons

Tuesdays with Dorie.  We are jumping into chocolate this week specifically Nutella.  This recipe had techniques that were new to me so a learning experience all around.
Dorie said the dough would resemble a paste which it did.  Confectioners' sugar, flour, baking powder and salt are combined.  Then you add the egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract and melted butter.
The egg whites are whipped separately and then folded in.  
I borrowed my neighbor's mini muffin pan, thank you Tracy!  I put about a teaspoon of batter on the bottom, a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of Nutella and then topped them off with the rest of the batter.
I decided to make the chocolate-dipped Nutella Buttons and I made the ganache (page 434).  This was the best ganache and it goes really well with ice cream too:)  I think the more chocolate, the better but the ganache made them a finger-licking dessert.  I could see leaving them plain next time. My buttons came out more muffin-like than cupcake.  I don't know if this was from over baking or not.  The family thought they got better 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, May 8, 2015

Almond Flounder Meuniere

This week the group is making Seafood Pot-Au-Feu (page 308) for French Fridays with Dorie. Since I do not like mussels and my husband does not like sea scallops we decided to make something else.  My husband picked Almond Flounder Meuniere (page 290).  I was not able to get flounder at my local market so I bought rainbow trout instead.

The trout is brushed with egg yolk.

Then dipped into a mixture of ground almonds, flour, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
The fillets are cooked in a skillet with butter until done.  My handy husband was the chef for this dish.
We garnished the fish with almonds and served with rice and sauted spinach.  This was deemed restaurant worthy food.  It is the first time I have eaten a whole piece of trout.  I always seem to order or eat other fish but this was quite good.  Trout is one of my husband's favorite fish so he was really happy.  I think we will be making this one again.
These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  Next week is Food Revolution day and then our final recipe.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cheesecake Tart

This week has been a sweet one for me, food wise and in life.  To begin with French Fridays with Dorie we are making a dessert!  Cheesecake tart page 469.
Dorie's sweet tart dough cooks up perfect every time.  A partially baked tart shell is scattered with raisins.  My son was wary of this dessert now even though he likes raisins.
In my food processor went drained cottage cheese, sour cream, egg yolks, sugar, salt, vanilla and a mixture of cornstarch and milk.  Whir together until smooth.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  I have learned to decrease baking times in Dorie's recipes.
Came out perfect without any burned bits.
I served mine with powdered sugar and my husband had some with jam.  We each liked our respective toppings.  My son said it was ok.  This is not a sweet dessert which was nice considering the week I had.
Last Friday was also my birthday.  I baked berry surprise cake from Dorie's Baking From My Home to Yours.  Don't you bake all your own birthday cakes?
This cake grew on me over time but I need to learn how to make a better genoise cake.  As I have learned in the past, frosting covers a multitude of sins.

Then 6 days later it was our 15th wedding anniversary.  This dessert, although not attractive, was very sweet and good.  This time I let others cook for me.

These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. We have 2 recipes left.