Thursday, October 30, 2014

Osso Buco à L'Arman



Per Nana~
Osso buco is one of our favorite meals. When I first read the recipe in
 AMFT I was a bit apprehensive. This recipe called for a definite flavor of
 orange and I knew that would not go over well with my taste tester,
 so I decided to cut the recipe in half.  Tricia supplied me with the veal
 shanks from her trip to the Phoenixville Farmer's Market. 
They were delicious. The one change I made to the recipe was to use a 
whole can of San Marzano tomatoes instead of adding the fresh tomato. 
Plus I used dried herbs, so I guess that is two changes. I have never used 
Dorie's method of covering the inside of the pot before, but I liked the 
results of a thicker sauce.   When Hubby says "you can do this again" it 
is a pretty good compliment in my book. Comparing this recipe with my
 regular Osso Buco, I found them to be equally good and the orange
 flavor in Dorie's was not strong at all. 
Per Tricia~
I enjoyed sourcing my veal from a local farmer we recently met -
 Sue Miller. She is literally one of the loveliest people and that, 
combined with the fact that her Birchrun Hills Farm cheeses are 
delicious, keeps us checking in her farmer's market booth each week.
  This was my first time preparing Osso Buco and I found it to be quite simple.
The kitchen smelled amazing with the orange aroma added to the savory ones. 
I served the dish over brown rice and it was both filling and delicious. 
Dorie's trick- put parchment on top, before the lid and putting it in the oven. Genius.
All taste testers were pleased and are expecting to see this one again. 
 I also prepared the bonne idée of "orange-basil gremolata", which was 
sprinkled on top before serving. Delicious comfort food just in time for 
the cooler weather. In other news, we have just bought a new house and
 will finally be unpacking. The move has taken more months than planned 
and I can't wait to finally find the cooking supplies that have been in storage.
 Gadgets here I come !

Happy French Friday ~

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dorie's Birthday Celebration ~ Cannelés



Per Nana ~
This week the Doristas are celebrating three big events.
The first and most important is Dorie Greenspan's birthday.
Second, her latest book - Baking Chez Moi- will be released. 
This is something we have been anxiously anticipating.
And third, we are marking the 4th year of cooking together 
from her book "Around My French Table". 

It has been a delightful journey, one that has taught us many new 
techniques, learned about different products which had been 
unfamiliar to us, and added many new spices and cooking 
utensils to our kitchen. 
For Dorie's birthday I have prepared the Cannelés from Baking Chez Moi.
 It only took three attempts to get them right, but I was determined. 
Jim and I enjoyed these delicious little cakes with a delightful cup of 
espresso and since I am not able to share these with Dorie in person, 
I am sending her a photo.

Happy Birthday Dorie.  
Enjoy your special day and I wish you many, many more !

Per Tricia ~
Happy Birthday Dorie !
And Happy Anniversary Doristas !

We have had a lot of anniversary celebrations around here lately and
 while the blogging anniversary is only number 4 - that is quite a milestone.
 Weekly blogging (ok, I do have a few make ups to do :) since 2010, 
nearing the end of cooking an entire book of recipes, and taking a journey 
that would lead us to gaining friends from around the world - including 
the fabulous Dorie Greenspan herself- continues to utterly amaze me. 
Canellé molds- my kitchen is happier with them added.
When I first heard of cannelés it was from a co-worker whose wife 
is a foodie. She did copious research and learned that a farmer's market 
on the Philadelphia Main Line, not far from us, supposedly had a vendor
 with amazing skills at making this pastry. She was on the hunt. I had 
never heard of them before and her verdict was lukewarm. She was a 
skilled baker and tough critic and went back to making them at home. 
And likely dreaming of a trip to Paris. I am still in touch with these 
friends and report on my weekly recipes tested, especially the baked treats. 
half way mark- I have already decided the big one on the left is mine....
Now when I think of that farmer's market I instead think of our Boston
 area Dorista- Betsy- and how Betsy has a sister somewhere near there...... 
so gee, wouldn't it be fun to get Nana and all meet up the next time
 Betsy is in town ??  Yup.  Because that is what Doristas do when they 
are not cooking cannelés in their own kitchens.  And because that is what
 cannelés mean to me after four years of cooking with this group. 
So how actually were they ?  
Fabulous.
 Utterly fabulous.
 I picked up tips (and many a calorie) from Nana's delicious test runs and
 aimed well at time in the oven. The aroma was amazing and the taste 
was utterly delicious.  The tops that puffed out while baking became
 a chewy sort of crispy consistency and my taste testers went NUTS. 
 I was already looking forward to Baking Chez Moi but this sealed the deal.

Thanks for everything Dorie and hope you have a spectacular birthday !

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tuna Rillettes, Salmon Rillettes and Smoked Salmon Waffles



Per Tricia~
The week of anniversaries continued as Hubby and I celebrated 
our 25th this week. With a busy week of family and friends, I was 
thankful to find an easy recipe - even if it did not involve Jerusalem 
artichokes. We are set to pick those up in the morning at the local farmer's
market, along with the veal shanks that I ordered from a local artisan 
cheese/dairy farmer we met at the recent farm to table event. After checking
 multiple stores this week and last, Nana and I decided to do a makeup
 week and not fight nature and the oncoming season of "sunchokes".
  Like Nana, I chose a make up rillette recipe - going for the tuna. 
The first thing I liked about this recipe is that the ingredients are
 items that I always have on hand. If no crème fraîche, 
Dorie explains that you can use heavy cream.
 Tuna, a few spices and a whir through the Cuisinart and you have
 a "company worthy" little treat. I think that I unfortunately
 gave mine a whir too much (or perhaps a dollop too much of the
 crème fraîche) because it was a bit smoother than I had hoped for. 
But consistency aside, the taste was fabulous. Curry is not a spice 
I would have added without Dorie's suggestion and it was fabulous.
This made a perfect addition to a cheese platter we noshed on 
one night and my son polished off the leftovers as a snack. Yum. 

Per Nana ~
I am posting two recipes, both using smoked salmon, which I prepared
 a while back but did not post. The first is salmon rillettes.  
We have made three different rillettes recipes while participating in
 "French Fridays with Dorie" and each one was made with a different 
ingredient to bind it together.   The tuna had crème fraîche, the sardine 
used cream cheese, and now this smoked salmon version called for butter. 

I loved the combination of the poached salmon mixed with the smoked - it gave
 it a wonderful, chunky texture. Perfect on crackers with a glass of wine. 

My second make up recipe is the smoked salmon waffles. 
Unfortunately, I do not own a waffle machine.
 Then I remembered that we had some old items in the basement
 that had belonged to Hubby's mother. 

I came across this 1950/1960 vintage Toastmaster Waffler. 
It originally had a two year warranty on it. No lights, buzzers, directions, etc. 
I cleaned it, gently plugged it in and hoped for the best.

I was really surprised that it actually worked. I tested the machine with
 three waffles before actually adding the salmon to the batter. 
The end result was a perfect little snack that we enjoyed.

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, October 10, 2014

Monkfish and Double Carrots

This is a big week for us. 
And not just because this recipe was so wonderful. 

Nana and Grandpa Jim,taste tester extraordinaire, 
celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary !  
Congratulations ~


Per Nana~
Monkfish is also known as the "poor man's lobster". 
The first time I heard that expression, many years ago,  
I thought my friend was joking. 
When Dorie used the same wording I decided there must be 
something to it. Not knowing what to expect, I purchased a 
small filet to try. For some reason I did not think Hubby 
was going to like it and I was right. 
Cooking carrots in carrot juice is also something new to me
 and I was amazed at the results. The flavors were exceptional. 
Serving the fish with the carrots and topping it with the prepared 
sauce was simply delicious. I did add the bacon to the dish but
 I am not sure it was needed. 
Even though Jim did not care for the fish, I loved it and found 
that it does have the texture of lobster.  Instead of a salad I 
served baby spinach sautéed in olive oil, with a 
touch of garlic and red pepper flakes. 
Per Tricia ~
I originally thought the title of the recipe referred to an abundant 
amount of carrots added to the fish. I was surprised and delighted 
with the suggestion of cooking the carrots in carrot juice, providing
 us the "double carrots". This is precisely the type of tip I have 
enjoyed getting as we journey through "Around My French Table". 

The results did not disappoint. I had no idea monkfish was so lovely 
since I don't think I have prepared it before. But my taste testers loved it. 
Bacon is a welcome addition to any savory dish in our house, so you
 will not find me saying I don't care for it... but in honesty this recipe 
could have survived quite well without that addition. 

A winner no matter how you slice it, I will be enjoying both monkfish 
again as well as using the "double carrots" technique for sauces and sides. 

Now, on to party. 
 Happy French Friday ~

Friday, October 3, 2014

Celery-Celery Soup


Per Nana~
Soup is a perfect comfort food, great on a chilly winter day, and it can be made 
from just about anything you find in your refrigerator. This week's choice of 
celery-celery soup was no exception. The flavor from a celery root is absolutely 
wonderful and when added to celery stalks, onions and apples- it is amazing. 

The preparation was easy, except for trying to peel the celery root, it all 
went together nicely and cooked to perfection in about 45 minutes. 

I am on a fig and goat cheese kick so I prepared a lovely salad of mixed baby
 lettuce topped with the sweetest figs you have ever tasted. I served the soup 
with a dollop of sour cream and a side of dark bread made from spelt grain 
that Tricia gave to us from her farm to table dining experience last week. 

Simply delicious. 
Per Tricia~
The cooler temperatures have hit so I was delighted to be making a soup this 
week. This is my second foray into cooking with celery root and we loved the
 first, which was the celery root puree - also from "Around My French Table".  
I have to admit that each time I prepare that gnarly, tough looking root 
the same thought crosses my mind - "Who on earth first thought this 
root would be great to cook with ??".  But great it is. 
And pairing it with the apples, celery, onions and spices was just lovely. 
I used my immersion blender to finish it off in a snap. Quick and easy- 
this got rave reviews from my taste testers when I served it with
 the crème frâiche on top. It will be a repeat for sure. 

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, September 26, 2014

Vanilla Vegetable Salad



Per Nana~
Our recipe selection for this week is vanilla vegetable salad. 
Dorie suggests using mixed greens or mesclun and topping it with thinly 
sliced curls of summer squash and carrots. The dressing is a combination 
of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and a touch a vanilla. 
I used my mandoline to slice the squash and a vegetable peeler for the carrot. 
Whenever I have to use the mandoline I make Hubby do the work, I am so afraid 
of those blades. It does a wonderful job and was perfect for this salad. The salad 
was very pretty and made a lovely presentation but unfortunately I did not care
 for the dressing because of the vanilla flavor. I did like the slivers of summer 
squash. They are quite tasty and I will definitely add them to other salads.

Per Tricia~
I was intrigued by this recipe since I adore vanilla but do not use it for savory dishes. 

The taste and the aroma is a favorite of mine but I couldn't get my head
 around using it as a vinaigrette in a salad. As expected, the aroma was
 fantastic- fresh and light when mixed with the lemon juice and olive oil.  

The verdict on taste ?  
Unfortunately none of us cared for it. 
My husband stated it looked fabulous but was "not something I would
 serve at a dinner party". It was bland with a strong perfume. That said, 
we enjoyed the adventure - even if this will not be a repeat. 


Happy French Fridays ~

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuna & Mango Ceviche

Or shall we say "shrimp and mango ceviche" ~
Per Nana ~
I decided to skip the tuna version of this week's recipe and use Dorie's 
"bonne idee" of seared shrimp. The ingredients for this dish did not 
impress me at all. I am not a fan of mangoes, lime or ginger. I could
 not even imagine pairing mango with avocado, onions and lime 
so I made half the recipe and decided Jim could enjoy it all. 

How very wrong I was. 


I sprinkled salt and pepper and a few drops of Tabasco sauce on the shrimp 
and then seared them for a few minutes. That few drops of hot sauce really 
gave it a great flavor.  After I plated the salad mixture I added the shrimp
 and a bit more of the vinaigrette and garnished it with cilantro leaves. 
A perfect appetizer. 

After four years of cooking with Dorie, I don't know why I ever 
doubt her combination of ingredients. She fools me every time. 

Per Tricia ~
I also opted out of the sushi grade tuna and went with shrimp instead.
I tried a type of domestic avocado - a "slimcado" from Florida which I 
do not recall seeing before and I will definitely buy again. The taste, 
size and texture were wonderful and they were a breeze to prepare.


The actual recipe, however, was not such a breeze and took a bit of prep
 work to get the ingredients chopped and ready to go. The results were 
absolutely delicious but my poor fingers had a few cuts and the intensive 
lime prep - zesting, de-segmenting, chopping and then juicing was a bit rough. 

That said, we all went nuts for the results.  The combo was unlike anything I had 
prepared at home and the well balanced sweet and savory, crunchy and
 soft textures were delightful.  I would make this again in a heartbeat.

Happy French Friday ~