Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cheese-Topped Onion Soup

Perfect for a cold winter's meal - though our winter has been quite mild.  This week we enjoyed temperatures up in the 60's.  Even in warmer weather, this soup was a winner ~

Per Tricia~
I have never made French Onion soup from "scratch",
 so this was a fun adventure.  I will say that there were a formidable
 number of onions and the chopping process was not for the weak. 
 Overall, a very simple and straight forward recipe. 
The biggest issue is having the kitchen time to watch those onions 
try to  caramelize- it took mine well over an hour or so, but
 Nana had given me the heads up as well as Dorie.
 And I was delighted to find that my favorite soup bowls did survive
 the that would have been one epic mess to clean up. 

 A nice soup, given rave reviews by all of my resident taste testers
 - who especially enjoyed the aroma and taste of that spoonful of 
cognac in the bottom  of each bowl.   It smelled amazing and
 was very "impressive looking" for company. 

Per Nana~
How is it that I love calf's  liver served with a pile of
 caramelized onions and bacon, and can not eat onion soup? 
 I love onions in all forms, including raw on a great 
hamburger, but onion soup ? No way. 
I made this delicious recipe on Saturday and knowing that I  
would not be eating any of it, I only prepared half the recipe.
Cooked the onions for over 1 hour and the aroma was fantastic. 
 That part of the preparation was the most time consuming
 of the whole recipe.  With the addition of the wine and broth,
the rest took all of 30 minutes.
I purchased a lovely fresh baguette and some Gruyere,
 which I grated coarsely as instructed.
Hubby was in his glory.  This has been his favorite soup always, 
and he ate it in every restaurant we visited in France.   
Believe it or not, he liked mine. Or should I say - "Dorie's". 
No critiquing whatsoever.   I can't believe it.
Seriously, it's a great recipe.  If you happen to have extra
 Gruyere  left, make some garlic bread with butter, garlic
 and cheese on top.  Absolutely fantastic.
I must say, the month of February had all the
 best  recipes, we loved all of them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Tartlet

Tricia's Turn ~
I never thought I would be unexcited about baking 
something chocolate, yet this TWD hit at a particularly
 busy time........and unexcited I was. 

Leave it to Dorie, however, to hand me a recipe that I ended up
 enjoying from start to finish.  I got a delicious chocolate tart AND 
and attitude adjustment, although for me - those two tend to go
 hand in hand....... regardless of who is doing the cooking :)       
It was a day of much "eating of words" in addition to eating tartlet.
  I planned to short cut as many steps and ingredients as I could to
 "knock this one out", but instead managed to make two separate 
trips to the grocery store and still maintain a smile on my face. 

Little Miss "I am going to microwave that chocolate and butter...." 
instead found it very peaceful and creative to turn those items into 
a glorious chocolate liquid treat and not get any steam 
burns in the process. (I was getting worried with this technique)
This truly was a delight of  recipe from start to finish for me.  
I am certain I will get much distance on that chocolate crust
 alone  and I am already formulating plans to use it
 for other delicious concoctions.
Overall - this was a knock out recipe and I am now even
 more looking forward to this whole TWD adventure.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mussels & Chorizo, with or without pasta

It is rarely a "without" pasta in our houses.  For this recipe, we both voted for "with".  A winner for both, with slightly different interpretations........

Per Tricia~
All three of my guys love mussels, yet I can barely take watching them
 being eaten....let alone think of attempting to consume one myself. 
 Since I enjoy consuming almost everything else on the planet, 
I did not think it necessary for me to struggle with adding to
 my repertoire.  But I did step up to at least clean and prepare
 the little devils all by myself this week.  And I only squealed once  
or twice by a surprise barnacle....
The results ?  
Overwhelming delight.
 My younger son had such an extreme reaction to this dish I literally
 thought he had burned his mouth on a mussel !  He tasted the first and
 immediately drew in air loudly with an accompanying "oooh" sound.
  I had a panic and asked if he was alright or had burned his tongue. 
 Nope- he was simply in awe of how amazing it tasted.  Phew. 
 This mussels recipe, served over fettuccine, was a two thumbs up
 winner in this household. The only complaint at all was that I had
 halved the recipe.  They wanted more......

Per Nana~

I have always followed the traditional Italian way of cooking 
tomato sauce for hours and I find it quite time consuming.  I often 
wanted to make these various quick sauces which tend to be 
simple and lighter, but hubby likes his the old fashion way.  

This week's recipe was definitely a winner.
I made one change, using shrimp instead of mussels. 
 Years ago, while traveling in Belgium,  we visited a 
restaurant in Brussels famous for their mussels.  
 Hubby must have eaten one that was not good and was 
ill for days.  He has not  eaten a mussel since that trip and
 that is the reason for my substitution.

That said, this was one fantastic meal.
I only made half of the recipe, using about a dozen shrimp 
served over 1/2 pound of angel hair pasta.  The combination 
of  chorizo sausage and shrimp was so delicious that I know
this will be revisited again.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nutella Tartine

An easy week for sure, yet these basic items came together to 
create a surprisingly wonderful treat we all enjoyed.
Per Tricia~
My younger son has been a huge Nutella fan for years.
 On occasion we buy the very large containers that are sold
 in double packs at our local Costco. While no one "needs" that
 much Nutella, it is a fun treat.  It's not that the rest of the family 
doesn't like's just that he LOVES it. 
 Needless to say, I was delighted to see this week's recipe and
 knew that I would hit a home run with one family member.....
as well as have  a very easy recipe and clean up :)  Win win. 

We used the yummy Sarabeth's Orange Apricot Marmalade 
and I enjoyed recalling my trip with Nana to their 
NY store last year.  We are due for another NYC trip to restock -
 and from the results of this recipe, we will need more !

Simple to make - another "non recipe" FF, yet I would not have
 thought to combine salt, marmalade, butter AND the Nutella. 
We hit a home run for the whole family - we all loved it !
  Dorie is a genius.

Per Nana~
Peanut butter and jelly it's not.  But oh,  so good.
I only made the recipe to keep up with the rest of the Doristas,
 but  I was certain this was not for me.
I truly do not like Nutella, although hubby loves it.

However, I believe the combination of the butter, marmalade
 and the nutella gives it a whole new flavor.   

I used challah bread, as well as a delicious marmalade from 
Hediard in Paris, thanks to Tricia, that is superb. 
 (Nutella from Costco).

My bread is a little too brown, and I only had it under 
the  broiler for a few seconds, but it was delicious. 
I can truly see this as an afternoon snack for children, 
as just one slice is quite filling and substantial.
I think this is a winner.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie (Our first !) ~ White Loaves

This is the first time we have posted on other than a Friday !
Today marks the inaugural posting of the newly re-launched "Tuesdays with Dorie".  They made it through the first book and are now starting up again with Dorie's wonderful "Baking with Julia".  
Nana and I are cautiously optimistic that we can keep up with the schedule, but to hedge our bets we decided to truly take turns with the Tuesday recipes.  Fridays will continue with the dual posts (notice I did not call it a "thrown down" :) but we are definitely spacing out the baking efforts and calories on this one.......

Per Nana:

A few years ago, Tricia and I both had bread machines 
which were the big rave then, but it is not quite the same as
 when you see your  own dough rising from scratch 
and become a beautiful loaf of bread.
I have to admit the size of the pans were too large
 for this recipe, but the result was great.  
Dorie mentions in her instructions to turn the bread out 
of their pans about 10 minutes before they are ready to come 
out of the oven, and believe me it makes a big difference
in the finished color of the loaf.  

It was difficult to wait for them to cool before slicing
 into the loaf, but well worth the wait. 

The first thing hubby wanted was a grilled cheese sandwich.
  I'm considering some French toast, which I love.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gorgonzola Apple Quiche

Expectations matched results, for both of us.  And expectations were high......
Per Nana:

Excellent recipe.
Hubby and I really enjoyed this wonderful combination of ingredients.  
Onions, apples, and Gorgonzola cheese.  

I used the recipe for tart dough that Dorie recommended, however, 
every time I make this dough there does not seem to be enough to
 make even this 9" tart.  I'm wondering if other Doristas are having the
 same problem or perhaps I'm doing something wrong. 
 I rolled the pastry out and to have it fit perfectly, it is so thin 
and hard to handle.  Any suggestions?

As for the quiche, the flavor was spot on.  
I usually make a traditional quiche with Swiss cheese and bacon, but 
this is definitely a nice change and will be repeated again many times.   

Per Tricia :
I have yet to meet a quiche I didn't like, and was very 
excited to try the Gorgonzola-apple combo.  While we have had 
many dishes with pear and blue cheeses, I had not
thought to incorporate the fruit/cheese combo into a quiche.  

While high expectations usually spell a death knoll for my results
 - they did not this time.  This recipe delivered and then some.

Only my younger son was able to taste test this one and
 although he loves blue cheese (has since he was small - go figure !) 
he only wanted a "tiny piece" to taste after I told him what was in it. 
 He promptly declared it delicious and went back for a huge piece
....after declaring it wasn't as "sweet" as he feared it would be. 
 Yay ! 

I can't rave enough about this combo. 
I am racking my brain to think of another FFWD recipe
 that I liked better than this.  Granted, I love creme brulee....
but that was more of a fun experience to learn you could make
 it at home than a "favorite new recipe".   And that is what this 
one is for sure.  This was a new take on an old favorite, which I
 would not have tried were it not for French Fridays.  I can not
 wait to make this again for family and friends - it is off the charts 
delicious and very, very simple. Thank you Dorie !