Artwork by Jacob

Artwork by Jacob

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Potato Gratin (Pommes Dauphinois)

This week on French Fridays with Dorie the group is making Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis.  I have yet to find these elusive Jerusalem artichokes and I am not organized enough to order them so I did a make-up instead.  We were having a dinner party and it actually rained that day in California so comfort food was in order.  I had seen Emily from Emily's Cooking Foray make this potato gratin lately so I thought I would try too.  

We don't have a mandoline so we used the food processor and that worked great, especially since we were doubling the recipe.  Potato gratin hit the mark at the dinner party.  Everyone liked the Gruyere cheese on top.  My husband and I thought the heavy cream was a little too rich for our tastes.  I would make it again but maybe with half and half or whole milk instead.  Reheats on the leftovers did not do well as the fat separated.  But it was a crowd pleaser and I am glad I made it.

To see Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis go here.  These recipes are part of an international cooking group working our way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Osso Buco a L'Arman

This week on French Fridays with Dorie we are diving into beef with osso buco a l'arman (page 270). All month long I have been checking the markets I shop at to see if they carried it and veal shanks proved to be hard to find.  My husband said we needed to find a butcher, something we never do.  My husband found a market that carried veal shanks in a neighborhood called little Persia.  I have to say that I was confused on the amount of veal to buy.  Jordon's market sold whole shanks so I bought one and they cut it for osso buco.  I ended up with 2 1/2 pounds of meat and more slices than I needed but I don't think they would have sold it by the slice.  I paid $18.99 a pound for the meat. Now with my $65 bag a meat I was determined not to screw up this meal, it would be an expensive mistake.


My husband was a big help with this meal, he is arguably the better cook when it comes to meat. He tied the beef up like Dorie suggested so it would stay together while cooking. I thought we dried the meat out but it was cooked perfectly.  All the vegetables were soft and flavorful.  We do eat all foods in our house but we are not big beef eaters so I don't think I would make this again. I do feel it was a badge of honor to make osso buco and it comes with bragging rights.  My book club came over to my house and saw Around My French Table out with the tagged dates.  One of my friends said "you made osso buco"?  Yes, yes I did.

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 with this recipe go here.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Palets des Dames, Lille Style

Today on French Fridays with Dorie we are celebrating Dorie's birthday with sweets from her new cookbook Baking Chez Moi.  With the release of her new cookbook, just 4 days away, Dorie has shared some baking recipes in advance.  Palets des Dames, Lille Style; Canneles; and Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone and Rose Filling.  My family picked  Palets des Dames, Lille Style for me to make.

This is a soft cake-like batter that needs to be chilled for a least an hour so planning is in order. Dorie suggests 2 teaspoons of dough per cookie.  I did not have this handy scoop size so I scooped 2 teaspoons and rolled into a ball.

The cookies cool to room temperature before icing.

Palets des Dames, Lille Style are very pretty cookies.  We enjoyed this vanilla cookie with a hint of lemon.  My son said that because they were so small that he could eat 8:)



See what others made from Baking Chez Moi.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shrimp and Double Carrots

We are back to fish Fridays on French Fridays with Dorie.  After my husband read "monkfish is so popular that it costs more than lobster", we decided not to look for it and go with a substitution.  I am getting better about reading the Bonne Idee and so we went with shrimp.

Cooking carrots in carrot juice is a new technique for me.  We really enjoyed this one and will probably make this again.  It was a fairly easy and could be made on a week night which is always a plus.  My son still prefers raw carrot sticks, sigh.  Monkfish and double carrots page 294.

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 with this recipe go here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Celery-Celery Soup

This week on French Fridays with Dorie we have stepped into Fall foods and made a soup, celery-celery soup (page 65).  I love the velvety texture of pureed soups so I was looking forward to this one.  When I bought the celery root, the produce guy said "making soup"?  I guess that is what it is most often used.


This soup includes celery stalks with leaves, onion, McIntosh apple, celery root, bay leaf, thyme and chicken broth.  Once everything has simmered and is soft enough to mash, it is pureed in a blender. Even though an immersion blender is easier I prefer using my regular blender to get the silky smoothness.  

I enjoyed this soup especially with addition of some heavy cream and croutons.  I think any soup needs crusty french bread as an accompaniment. My husband also liked it but made the comment that it tasted a little like applesauce.  I am not sure I want my soup to taste like applesauce.  

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 with this recipe go here.