Artwork by Jacob

Artwork by Jacob

Friday, January 22, 2016

French Fridays with Dorie Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

I was having family over for a meal and wanted to make something special but not a lot of work. Dorie's roast chicken for les paresseux (lazy people) seemed to fit the bill and also had many recommendations from the group.

Two pieces of bread were put on the bottom of the pan and the chicken placed on top.  Cooked at 450 degrees for 45 minutes, then I added the carrots and continued to roast for another 45 minutes. The chicken came out perfect and was really moist, everyone loved it. I thought the carrots were overcooked but my husband loved them. The bread at the bottom was supposed to be edible with the chicken livers but the bread was soggy and too greasy for me and the livers were just overcooked and dry. Overall a successful dish with minimal prep and clean-up. Definitely will make again.

The recipe can be found on page 200 in Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Friday, January 15, 2016

French Fridays with Dorie Spur-of-the-moment Vegetable Soup

It was a rare rainy day in California and me and my family were in varying stages of illness. I can't think of a better day to make soup.

I decided on vegetable soup aka stone soup the carrot version. This chicken broth based soup has carrots, onion, celery, garlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme and potato. Dorie gives the option of keeping the soup as is or puree it.  I decided to serve whole pieces which was nice as everyone was needing a broth based soup. The leftovers I pureed as Dorie stated was her preference but I preferred the whole version.

As to the picture, I blame my illness:)

Spur-of-the-moment Vegetable Soup can be found on page 74 of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lemon Squares, French Style

While I was reviewing the lemon squares recipe it seemed similar to The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart from Baking From My Home To Yours which I had previously made.

My comments were "french style is code for butter with a side of butter".

This recipe calls for a few steps and planning ahead. I served the squares at room temperature. The reviews were that they were very buttery. My husband thought the crust was too thick and too hard. I agree I think the crust could have been made with half the amount of dough. I ate one the next day cold from the refrigerator and liked it cold better.

I made these squares with limes since that is what I had on hand and they tasted just fine. I also did not add the "plus 2 tablespoons" to the curd or crust and it did not affect the recipe. So French style is just too rich for our tastes whether it is in a tart or a square.

You can find this recipe on page 326 of Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. We don't publish the recipes instead we encourage you to buy the book.

Friday, January 8, 2016

French Fridays with Dorie Chestnut-Pear Soup

Having just made Dorie's Chocolate Chestnut Tart with Vanilla Chestnut Syrup, I thought I would stay on the chestnut theme with Pear and Chestnut Soup. 

For this soup I sauteed onion, leek and celery in butter for 10 minutes. Then tossed in a peeled cubed pear, rosemary (or thyme), chicken broth and the cooked chestnuts. Simmer for 45 minutes until chestnuts can be mashed with the back of a spoon.  Puree the soup, I used an immersion blender. This soup was quite easy to make and I love a good puree soup. This got thumbs up from my husband and I would make this again.

This recipe can be found in Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan page 82.
To see what others thought in the group go here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chocolate Chestnut Tart with Vanilla Chestnut Syrup

When I hear the word chestnuts I think of Nat King Cole's version of The Christmas Song. Even though chestnuts seem synonymous with the holidays I have never had one until now.

I took one baker's suggestion to cut the chestnuts in half for easy cutting and eating. I also have finally learned to bake my tart crust at 375 degrees to prevent over baking.
Mine came out perfect and I was much happier with the crust on this one.
I had both vanilla and coffee ice cream on hand for my guests. Most chose vanilla but I really liked the coffee. We all enjoyed the vanilla chestnut syrup but thought it really wasn't necessary, it was also hard to taste the subtleties of the syrup since the chocolate and coffee ice cream are such strong flavors. Dorie's tarts are always a crowd pleaser in my house and this one was no exception.

Tuesdays with Dorie is an international baking group.  We don't publish the recipes instead we encourage you to buy the book.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Stained Glass Cookies

I inherited my mother's cookie cutter collection and it has brought back wonderful family memories to use them in this week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe. Stained Glass Cookies from Baking Chez Moi
I got out my box of cookie cutters and picked a few appropriately sized ones to use.
This recipe calls for Life Savers, sorted by color and then crushed for the stained glass effect. I decided to improvise with what I had on hand, candy canes.
I obtained valuable information from my fellow bakers who had already made this recipe. With that knowledge I decided to only crush one candy cane, make just a few cookies with the stained glass effect and use the smallest circle cut-out I had. Dorie's version uses a pastry tip for the cut-outs and then using it to funnel the crushed candy in to fill the hole. Some bakers had trouble with this step so I left it out. I also decided not to do the egg wash glaze and optional toppings.

The reviews were great. I loved these candy canes and all. A great butter cookie even without the candy. You must have time and patience to make these. I froze my scrap dough in between each roll out session. It did take quite a bit of time but it was much easier to work with the dough if it was well frozen. Not an everyday cookie but well worth it for the holidays. The melted candy canes stay crisp the next day too, no sogginess.

Tuesdays with Dorie is an international baking group. We don't publish the recipes instead we encourage you to buy the book. To what others thought go here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

We love asparagus soup and I have a go-to recipe from Food and Wine.  When I saw Dorie's version which included leeks I thought I would give it a go.  After carefully reading the recipe I decided I would use Dorie's ingredients but not her technique. Dorie  has you peel the asparagus, I never peel, put the asparagus in a cheesecloth and boil to make asparagus water.  Take out the asparagus and put in an ice water bath to stop the cooking.  The recipe goes on from here to what I thought was my typical cooking technique.

Here is what I did.  Put olive oil and butter in a pan.  Add leeks, onion, shallot, garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree soup in blender and serve.

To see what French Fridays with Dorie thought go here.
To see the Food and Wine recipe go here.

We don't print the recipes instead we encourage you to buy the book.