Artwork by Jacob

Artwork by Jacob

Monday, June 20, 2016

Yogurt Parfaits with Blackberries and Vanilla

Fresh and fruity is the theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I chose these yogurt parfaits as blackberries are in season. 
To macerate the berries you add seeds of half of a vanilla bean to 1/4 cup of sugar and blend with your fingers. Add two cups of blackberries and one cinnamon stick and let sit for 35 minutes to one hour. Divide the berries between 4 glasses and top the berry mixture with 2/3 cup of plain yogurt. I did not have 10 ounce jars as the recipe calls for so I had leftover macerated berries as it would not all fit. We enjoyed these on a hot summer day.
The recipe is available on page 199 of Good Food, Good Life.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pan Bagnat

This is the recipe that my husband chose for Father's Day lunch. Given that it was a hot summer day, a cold sandwich seemed to fit the bill.

"Pronounced phan-bahn-yah, the ingredients in the Nicoise-style sandwich are a good match for soft, crusty ciabatta bread". We had a fresh tuna steak so we grilled that for the base of this sandwich instead of canned tuna. The spread is made from mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh basil, lemon zest and juice. The other lovely fillings to this sandwich are: kalamata olives, capers, arugula, radicchio, hard boiled eggs, Persian cucumbers and red onion.

The recipe states this 14 ounce loaf of ciabatta bread would serve 4 but we thought that was too much so we made 6 servings from this loaf. It was delicious with many layers of flavor and texture. The fresh tuna was a nice touch. It was given thumbs up by our guests.

What I would change about the recipe is the amount of lemon juice in the spread. It calls for the juice of one lemon which can vary highly. I used the whole lemon then tasted the spread and it was very lemony and thin. I would recommend adding lemon juice one tablespoon at a time. It also calls for the juice of a whole lemon in the tuna but I left it out afraid that it would be too much lemon flavor. Of  course the sandwich as a whole was not overwhelmingly lemon so my fears were not realized. I was also afraid to add to much spread but due to the thin consistency it was quickly absorbed into the bread. I used maybe half of the spread but I guess I could have been more generous as my guests said it would be good with mayonnaise.

This recipe is available on Curtis Stone's website and in Good Food, Good Life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Risotto with Shrimp, Arugula, and Lemon Cream

This week's cooking assignment for IHCC is surf and/or turf, I chose to surf it with this shrimp risotto from Curtis Stone's Good Food, Good Life cookbook. I chose this recipe because it has some of my favorite ingredients; shrimp and arugula.
This is more than a 30 minute recipe but well worth the effort. We have not made risotto before so a new technique and a new recipe. My husband and I loved it and would make it again. We decided not to make the lemon cream that goes on top as the dish seemed rich enough without. Highly recommend this recipe.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Quick-Braised Spring Vegetables

This week on I Heart Cooking Clubs we are cooking local and seasonal. My dish is not farmer's market fresh but it is seasonal. Armed with my list, I headed to my local Trader Joe's as I figured it was my best bet to find all the ingredients for this vegetable dish.

I tried to take a picture before my husband got to the cheese. It looks like a snow capped mountain, sigh.
This recipe is available from Curtis Stone's website. The vegetables include scallions, garlic, asparagus, sugar snap peas and English peas. I couldn't find any escarole but had I done my research before I left home I would have known that endive is a form of escarole which Trader Joe's did have. For the escarole and spinach I substituted a bag of  baby kale, baby chard and baby spinach. To round out the rest of this recipe are basil, lemon zest, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.

This was served as part of my Memorial Day feast with friends. It was all gone and given thumbs up by my guests. Would definitely make this again, delicious.

This recipe is also available from Good Food, Good Life page 127.

Friday, May 27, 2016

May Potluck!

Sometimes it takes a recipe to make something so simple that tastes so good. Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Rice Pilaf from What's For Dinner by Curtis Stone.
The recipe calls for whole chicken legs but I just had thighs so that is what I used. Coated with olive oil, salt and pepper the chicken is cooked at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Then you add brussels sprouts trimmed and halved with olive oil to the pan and cook another 20 minutes. Viola dinner is done. There is supposed to be shallots with the brussels sprouts but I did not have any. I also just made rice in my rice cooker, my favorite kitchen gadget, instead of making rice pilaf. Super easy, super delicious will definitely make again.

We also made Asian Beef and Vegetable Lettuce Cups from What's For Dinner. This dinner requires a fair amount of fresh ingredients while it tasted good because of it I had a lot of left overs. The recipe is available at this blog. While we enjoyed having something new and different this one will not be made again.

To see what others made for Potluck Week head over to I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tarte Tropezienne

This weeks baking assignment for Tuesdays with Dorie is Tarte Tropezienne from Baking Chez Moi. This is a brioche cake with a pastry cream filling. This cake has quite the legend and you can read more about it at La Tarte Tropezienne.

I have one rule for baking and that is to decrease the liquid in the recipe. I always have trouble with baked goods that are too wet if I don't. Unfortunately, I broke rule number one but I just added additional flour and the dough came together.

I also had some issues with the pearl sugar. I went to my go-to bakery supply shop and asked if they had pearl sugar, the proprietor said no but that she had sugared pearls. Huh? I wasn't sure the difference but I bought them anyway. I was glad they came out and didn't melt.

The results: this was a show stopping cake, impressive and delicious. We really enjoyed the pastry cream. The down side to this cake is the time involved. It really is an all day project due to the yeast dough rising and cooling times. As for me I prepared it over two days. I think the next I eat tarte tropezienne will be in Saint-Tropez. The recipe is available from Food52.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Morning Toast with Melted Raspberries

Breakfast during the week usually consists of cereal in our house; it's quick and convenient for getting out the door on time. I decided to mix it up this week and make this Morning Toast recipe from Curtis Stone's Good Food, Good Life cookbook.

This recipe is definitely doable for weekday breakfast. I used brioche bread as I had a loaf in the freezer. The bread is spread with butter and broiled until toasty. While the bread toasts, I warmed 1/4 cup maple syrup, 6 ounces fresh raspberries and 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Serve the melted raspberry syrup over the toast.

My chief complainer said the following: the raspberries are too tart (he eats raspberries all the time), he doesn't like hot fruit (but he eats pie) and don't make this again. So much for mixing it up for breakfast. My 12-year-old just needs to move out and come back with a better attitude;)

My husband on the other hand was grateful for the fun food Friday. He made coffee, I made breakfast and it was almost like the weekend. We didn't think the broiler method was necessary. It crisped the outside but still kept the bread soft which in turn was a bit mushy with the syrup. I would just toast the bread next time. Also 2 teaspoons of lemon zest was a bit much. I think that is what turned my son off. Anyhow we have extra syrup left over which will go nice with some ricotta pancakes we have in the freezer. We always have something in the freezer.

To see what else members made for breakfast/brunch head over to I Heart Cooking Clubs.