Friday, May 1, 2015

Cheesecake Tart


Per Nana~
Being a die hard New Yorker, when it comes to cheesecake there is only one.
It must be extremely thick, not light and fluffy. 
When I read the ingredients for this recipe - cottage cheese and sour cream- 
I was sure the consistency would not live up to my standards. 
Oh, how wrong I was......
Starting with the sweet tart dough that came together so well, and 
then the filling, everything turned out perfectly. 
I did not put any fruit in the mix for a change but used an apricot glaze
 on top. This was one of the most delicious tarts I have ever tasted. 
Two thumbs up for Dorie on this one. 
Per Tricia~
It has been a great "Dorie Food" week around here - first with the 
wonderful CoconutTapioca and now with this crazy good tart. 
My husband has been in his glory.
I tend to like just about any cheesecake, ricotta cake or such but don't recall 
using cottage cheese ever before. While I don't dislike cottage cheese I was
 curious to how this would fly. My answer came when the Cuisinart food 
processor turned the ingredients into a rich, creamy yellow consistency. 
It looked fabulous and only got better with each step. 
I was even able to salvage it when I forgot to throw the dried berries 
in BEFORE adding the filling (yes, they sink- all was well)
This one is a true keeper.  In my opinion the "company worthy" results
 far exceeded the effort involved. Frankly the toughest part of this for me 
was keeping the partially baked tart crust from getting too brown when it cooked 
with the cheese mixture inside. Quickly crafted foil protectors did the trick.
We enjoy strawberries with our cream cheese so in lieu of raisins 
I opted for dried strawberries, then added strawberry jam on top. 
Doris suggested the tart could be served without the glaze and simply 
have confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top. I opted for the red glazing 
and loved how it looked and tasted.
My husband thought it was fabulous. It is basically a rich butter cookie with 
a dense filling and fruit glaze. It is a wonderful rich, crazy good dessert. 
This one is going on my "go-to" list of keepers.  LOVED IT.

Happy French Friday ~

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coconut Tapioca ~ Baking Chez Moi



Per Nana~ 
This week's selection of Coconut Tapioca pudding was 
so simple to make and the results were delicious. My taste
 tester declared it a winner and I have to agree. Perfect.  
This was my first time using coconut milk and when I first opened the 
can I thought there was something wrong. I did not expect it to be solid inside, 
but it melted nicely when mixed with the other ingredients. 
A quick and easy dessert that will be a repeat. 
Per Tricia~
Dorie shares in this recipe that she didn't have an affinity for 
tapioca pudding when young, and only changed her opinion after 
tasting Pierre Hermé's wonderful rendition in Paris. No surprise. 
For me, tapioca has been a favorite for years - it is the 
coconut that I have come around to enjoying as an adult.
 I can say with certainty that I would not have made tapioca with coconut 
milk if not for this recipe. Simply would not have put two and two together. 
Boy am I glad Dorie did. 
It was a lovely contrast and along with the vanilla extract, really gave 
my usual tapioca a run for its money. And in my opinion, the large pearl 
is the only way to go. We loved this recipe and can't wait till the kids are 
home from college so I can make it for them. A double recipe at least :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sardine Escabeche


Per Nana~
After all the fish recipes that were recently completed, I am sure that most of the 
Doristas were not looking forward to making this dish containing fresh sardines. 
Surprisingly, Jim loves sardines and I really wanted to make them for him.
Unfortunately I had to use Dorie's bonne idée and go with the 
shrimp version since we could not find the sardines anywhere. 
The preparation was simple (with the shrimp version) - slicing the 
vegetables was a bit time consuming but it all came together in about an hour. 
I covered it and left it overnight in the refrigerator so the flavors would blend together. 
Eating this dish when it is chilled is definitely the way to go and we both loved it. 
Per Tricia~
I am not a big fish fan and did not hold out a lot of hope for loving the fresh 
sardines, but I have to admit I did want to actually try them. That has been half 
the fun of this cooking adventure. Try new ingredients, try old ingredient new 
ways, and surprise yourself.  Or on some occasions, confirm your suspicions :)  
I could not believe it was this difficult to find fresh sardines. I called many fish
 mongers, even becoming a bit more interested as the doors continued to slam. 
I ended the hunt with the call to the fish store about 45 minutes away and considered
 that the wake up call. A few told me they only get fresh ones in certain seasons. 
I had know idea. 
The good news however is that this recipe was simply lovely with the shrimp 
substitute. My husband and I both enjoyed it and I would not hesitate to 
make it again. In sardine season.....

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

Per  Nana~
I don't cook pork too often lately because I find it to be very dry, but using
 Dorie's method of braising the meat with the fruit makes such a difference. 
We both enjoyed it, and blending the fruit with all the other ingredients made 
a lovely and delicious sauce. I cooked rice as a side dish and with some of
 the sauce on top, it was really good. I know I overcooked the meat but I just 
can't eat pork unless it is cooked through. Thanks to Tricia for finding 
the lychees, which was a first for us, it definitely added to this recipe. 
Per Tricia~
This recipe had me intrigued from the start since I had neither 
eaten nor cooked with lychees before this "French Friday". 
 I was also simply delighted that I could find
 them in the off season in our suburban area. 
The sauce has some heavy hitters taste wise. 
Garlic, onion, vinegar, wine, honey. Wow. 
The sweet lychee along with the cut mangoes added quite a 
sweet/savory kick to the dish. Did we enjoy it - yes.
 I especially liked the combination of the mangoes
 with pork and I will likely revisit that portion again.
  It was comfort food with a kick, and a refreshing change from my 
usual pork with apples. It is always an adventure on Friday around here ~

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Limoncello Cupcakes ~ Baking Chez Moi



Per Nana~
If you love the flavor of lemon, then you will love these cupcakes. 
There are three parts to this recipe (cake, syrup and the frosting) and 
each has a bit of Limoncello added, giving it a delicious lemon flavor. 
I realized as I was preparing the recipe that I only had a mini cupcake pan on hand.
 Dorie suggests filling the cupcakes with an optional bit of orange or lemon 
marmalade but since I didn't have any on hand I just eliminated that step. 
With the syrup and lemon flavored butter cream on top, we really didn't miss it. 
This was a good recipe and will definitely be a repeat. 

Per Tricia~
I just love lemon desserts so was quite excited to try this recipe.  
Lemon cake, limoncello, lemon frosting. 
Oh yes, don't forget the lemon marmalade filling. 
Yum. 
 As expected, all that lemon-boozy-zesty-sugar was delicious. 
The frosting was the biggest surprise because I could not initially get the butter 
and confectioner's sugar to meld together. I was very successful at getting a fine 
layer of sifted white sugar all over every surface in close proximity to my mixer. 
I considered it an act of faith in Dorie that I kept going. 
And faith is rewarded :) 
I do tend to like a lighter cake batter so may not revisit this particular batter, 
but will definitely repeat the concept of filling the cupcake batter with a teaspoon 
of lemon marmalade, then brushing the top with syrup prior to frosting. 
I also liked the ratio of the smaller frosting portion, which Dorie explains
 is how the French would serve these cakes. Mind you the lesser frosting 
amount is going on a cake that was basted with a lemon sugar/syrup 
concoction when removed from the oven, so there is no lack of sweetness.

Another winner from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".



Friday, April 10, 2015

Salmon Tartare


Per Nana~
As pretty as this dish looks, there is no way I would eat the fish raw. 
I prepared the recipe using only a quarter of the ingredients
 simply because I did not want to add this to my make-up list. 
I used a biscuit cutter for the ring and that worked perfectly. 
I made sure I had the camera ready when I removed the ring,
 thinking it would fall apart. (It did not)
I will admit that I sampled a smidgen of the dish and surprisingly, 
I was more turned off by the lime flavor than the raw fish. For 
anyone that loves raw seafood, this is a beautiful presentation.  
Per Tricia~
I am not a fan of raw fish (possibly genetic :) and evidently I am
 also quite lazy, since the time consuming work on the limes was 
enough to sway me unfavorably against this week's recipe. 
That said, I could not get over how wonderful the aroma of the 
fresh limes, chives, mint and scallions was - not to mention 
how gorgeous all the ingredients looked as they got prepped.  
I was truly excited to give this a try. 
Unfortunately I did not care for the flavors. Not surprising, but I 
was surprised that my sushi loving husband also did not care for 
it, saying he did not like the lime/tomato combo. 
All was not lost as this recipe reminded me how much I love fresh mint 
and I now have plans to plant some fresh mint in my garden.....

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, April 3, 2015

Waffles and Cream


Per Nana~
If I made the batter for waffles but ended up making crepes,
 does it still count as completing this week's recipe ?
Only kidding, of course. 
I used the old waffle iron that had belonged to Jim's mother, purchased 
around 1950/1960. I had used it for the first time only a few months ago 
when we made the waffles and lox recipe and had no problems. 
Unfortunately, after I poured the batter in this time, it lost power and quit. 
Since I had used only one ladle of the batter I had to think fast
 before the egg whites collapsed. Out came the crepe pan which
 I heated quickly and made five lovely and delicious crepes. 
 I am going to order the waffle plates to go with my Cuisinart panini 
griddle so I can enjoy this delicious batter as waffles next time. 
Per Tricia~
These waffles were not good. 
They were amazing. 
Dorie shared that she was lucky enough to get a copy of this 
recipe from the chef of the Parisian restaurant where she first enjoyed
 them. And it was then it was lucky for us that she shared it as well. 
I served mine with homemade whipped cream, golden sugar and
 then small bowls of warm caramel sauce for dipping. Delicious. 
Typically these recipes have inspired me to use ingredients in a new way 
or to try a new technique but for this week I got a well needed reminder
 at how wonderful it is to enjoy waffles at home. Especially with this recipe. 

PS- I am going to make a deal with Nana to lend her my waffle iron (LOL, which
 she of course gave me.....) if she will make me some of those crepes. YUM !!!

Happy French Friday ~