Friday, August 26, 2011

Cafe Salle Pleyel Hamburger

Per Nana ~
Our recipe for this week was "Cafe Salle Pleyel" hamburgers.  
Since Tricia is traveling, I borrowed some of her food tasters
 and we all enjoyed a lovely dinner.
This was a really good hamburger. The filling mix consisted
of sundried tomatoes, capers, cornichons and herbs - which
 gave it a wonderful flavor.  I made the onion marmalade
 and used sandwich slices of dill pickle cut into strips.
My only complaint was that it was too much meat
 for each hamburger.  It looked more like a mini meatloaf.
 Hubby and I only ate half of the burger,
but they were delicious.

My method of cooking was pan frying, but I know
this would be great on a grill too.  

I served the  Barefoot Contessa's "Sagaponack Corn Pudding"
and a mixed salad with this recipe.
Per Tricia ~

I missed out on this one but my guys enjoyed it - big time.
 I was in Buckhead/Atlanta for the week and enjoyed
 many lovely restaurants.  Not surprising, my favorite
 ended up being the "Varsity"  near Georgia Tech.
It is the worlds' largest drive-in restaurant and
showcases hotdogs, burgers, fries, chiili and similar goodies. 
  One of their claims to fame is the standard "what'll ya have"
that the cashiers holler out to encourage people to
 step up and order.  It is hilarious - you hear a continual
chant of this from behind the counter. 
They had arguably the best onion rings I have ever tasted
 (and I have tasted a lot.....)and their "naked dog" and
 "slaw dogs" were amazing.  That said, I still wish I was
 home to taste the "Dorie Burgers"........

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eggplant Caviar

Phew. Summer used to be the slow time of the year, but this summer has been jam packed with activities and commitments.  Nana and I decided to take turns for this week and next - she was out this week and I travel next week, so I experimented with the "Eggplant Caviar" without her expertise.  Next week, she is up at bat :) 

Per Tricia:

I am actually embarrassed to say that I have never tried caviar.  But I have tried eggplant.  I am not certain that the results of this dish resembled either, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was a bit of  a "user error" on my part.

I got to this recipe late on Friday after a particularly
hectic week.  Having only read over the recipe and
not the FF blog tips, I thought the dish seemed pretty
straight forward, so I asked my 17 year old to
 run for the groceries at dinner time......on Friday ! 

 He did a wonderful job, though it appears he focused
 a bit too much on the "firm" portion of the eggplant
description and less on the "1 1/2 pounds each".  I am
 still not complaining because it was a real luxury
 to have someone else run out for the items. 
 That said, I have a sneaking suspicion that my ratio
of eggplant to onion and tomato ended up making a difference.

The recipe was very easy.  Thankfully :)

 It was also fun to roast and then use only the inside
 of the eggplant - I had not prepared one this way before. 

The recipe smelled lovely and looked lovely (a bit of a
surprise  given the color scheme involved....) and we
 tested it on little toast crackers.  My hubby said he
 officially "liked" it....I think he was afraid I would not
make it again unless he made it clear that he enjoyed it. 

But he did say that he tasted a bit too much of onion. 
 The kids were troopers again for Dorie, who gets them
 to eat what they would not try for me alone. 
They do not care for eggplant but willingly tried it
and declared that they "did not dislike it", but it
 wasn't their favorite either. Given the fact that
 they don't eat eggplant, I actually considered
 this a victory.

We sent a "taste test" package over to Nana and
 Grandpa, but they  were not fans.  It was still well worth
the trip next door to deliver them a sample, since now
we will be  expecting a care package of the
"Cafe salle pleyel hamburgers" next week......

Happy French Friday ~

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Salmon in a Jar

This was a banner week for us ~ and not just due because of the "Salmon in the Jar" adventure. 

Nana celebrated her 80th birthday this week - yay !!  One of the most special surprises of her big day was an extremely lovely comment on our blog - left by none other than Dorie Greenspan herself  !! (check out last week's post) 

I had contacted Dorie to give her a heads up about the special occasion, yet I was still astounded that she emailed us directly to send warm wishes and then put an utterly lovely comment on our blog.  We already believed that Dorie was a talented and special person, and this act proved it beyond the shadow of any doubt.  Lovely.

Per 80 Year Young Nana :

I tried to find some quart size jars for this recipe but the
only option was a case of canning jars.

I was not in the mood for a trip to the mall, so I improvised.  
With all the different bowls and crocks 
that I have collected over the years, my Le Creuset
pate terrine ended up being the best choice.

When it was completed I thought it looked quite elegant
and I could not wait to serve this dish.

The salmon was very easy to cut up  and I then coated it
 with the salt and sugar.  After about 24 hours I rinsed it and
proceeded with the rest of the recipe.

I cooked the potatoes as instructed and layered
 them as I did the salmon.

I put both of the dishes in the refrigerator for another
 day and then  served it as an appetizer.  

I did try one slice of salmon but I was very apprehensive
about eating raw fish and since Tricia's family loves
 sushi, I decided to let them enjoy this.
Believe it or not, I do love bagels and lox,  
and knowing that whoever prepares
the lox knows what they are doing, it does
not bother me to eat it.

Per Tricia ~

I made it through a birthday dinner for Nana (which did
not involve salmon in a jar.......) and then hit the road
again for work.   A few days in DC foiled any chance for the 
salmon recipe experiment but my family was delighted that
they got to eat Nana's results.  They all adored it and it appears
 I will have to block out some time to try this one myself. 

Happy French Friday all and Happy 80th Nana !

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Nana and I were more than ready to "slow down" after a hectic few weeks, and this recipe fit the bill perfectly.  Another "non-recipe" French Friday with ingredients that we both had on hand ~ yet the results far from ordinary.
We both enjoyed these right out of the oven and just as much as leftovers, accompanying chicken and pasta.

Per Nana ~

I liked this method of cooking tomatoes -slow
 roasting, as it really brought out the flavor.  It reminds
me of sun dried tomatoes, except the flavor is milder.

The recipe takes no time at all, (except for the
three hours in oven).  I did not use fresh herbs but
instead used dried rosemary and garlic salt (sorry Dorie) .  

After 10 minutes in the oven Hubby
was going nuts with the aroma.

I made this earlier in the week and served it
 with baked pork chops and we loved it.  
Another night I served the leftover tomatoes
 on pasta and it was delicious.

This is definitely a recipe to be used again.

Per Tricia ~

                               I was absolutely delighted to see how simple this
 week's recipe was, and even more delighted when it
 delivered unexpected wonderful results.

  While I was a little incredulous of having the oven on for
 3 hours (225 or not.....) I followed Dorie's instructions and
even made a double batch.  Boy, am I glad I did.   

I went with dried Thyme, since I had it on hand, and used fresh
 pepper, fresh garlic, Maldon sea salt and Extra Virgin Olive oil. 
The family + a visiting teen (recall the rhubarb tester ?)
gave a big "thumbs up" and proclaimed the tomatoes
to be "sweet". What's not to love ?