Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crab & Grapefruit Salad

An unexpected delight and an adventure for sure.......

Per Tricia~
Nana has done a valiant job in keeping our cooking up to date with the 
FF schedule but she drew the line on the combination of crab and grapefruit. 
Those who read our post last week learned that not only did I fail to pull 
my weight on creating my own Cocoa Sablés...but I managed to consume
 most of Nana's.  Needless to say, I was happy to jump in and carry the FF 
duty this week to relieve some guilt, even if I secretly had my doubts about
 this unusual combo as well.  Redemption was needed and redemption 
was served up for both Dorie and I - with no leftovers !

In full disclosure, I did make another speed call to Nana from the grocery
 store when I learned that the tin of jumbo crab meat was $29 a pound.  
She gave me her blessing to buy the $3.50 imitation version located
 next to it.  I know, I know - but at least I am being honest.  It was 
understood that whatever the results, we would presume they would have 
been that much better if I had forked over the difference for the 
better quality product. I bought fresh flowers instead.......

Each ingredient in the salad is a food that we enjoy separately in my
 house, including the much loved Tabasco sauce - but I can say with 
100% certainty that I would not have thought to combine these elements. 
 I was even a bit concerned to offer up the "Dorie food" to my family this  
week but as usual, Dorie was right and my guys loved the dish. 

I actually can not think of a FFWD where I had less faith in a recipe going 
over and my husband and younger son (the available taste testers this week)
 sat and ate the entire dish.  I could not believe it.  And this was after my 
husband commented "did you just add Tabasco to that stuff...." 
(sometimes I feel like I am doing a cooking show when they know I am
 preparing a FF recipe - at no other time does what I do in the kitchen
 stop traffic so they can watch).
This was a fun and refreshing dish and at a minimum restored the 
adventure of how fun new and usual recipes can be.  
We had to taste it to believe it.  
Thanks Dorie !

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cocoa Sablés

Per Nana~
Let's call this one "Nana's disaster"....

Somewhere between chopping the chocolate morsels, which ended
 up all over the kitchen,  and hitting the high button on the mixer  
after the last bit of flour mixture was added, I should have stopped.

I could not make the dough stick together and I
 thought the recipe was missing an ingredient.
After a quick call to Tricia (who suggested I check other recipes 
on the Internet) - I "googled" a few.
I did notice that confectionery sugar was being used rather than 
regular.  Also, egg whites were added to the butter and sugar mix.  

I decided to go with the addition of the egg white and that 
seemed to do the job, so I chilled the dough overnight.

Instead of the decorating sugar I used raw sugar purchased at 
Costco.... which will last me FOREVER.
Hubby and I did not care for these cookies at all, however, 
I don't know if it was my fault or the fault of the recipe.
 I will admit the taste of the chocolate was a bit overpowering to me.
After Hubby did the usual taste test, which did not go well,
  I called Tricia and asked if she would like to sample them.   Surprisingly, 
she and #2 son liked them.  At least the effort was not totally a waste.

I am anxious to see how the rest of the Doristas made out on this recipe.
One of the nice additions to doing FFWD is that I finally learned 
how to type french accents on the computer.  
Per Tricia~
My contribution for this week was not only to suggest Nana
 "Google" (yup, I was some big help - huh) when she tried the 
recipe  way ahead of me.....but also to make sure
 I ate basically the entire batch SHE made.  Fabulous with coffee.

 I loved these so much that I will absolutely make them myself,
(esp since Nana has all that Costco sugar left :)
 but unfortunately schedules conspired against FFWD this week. 
 I do want to make sure to put in my plug for these cookies because
 I thought they were off the charts spectacular.   Not sure why
 they didn't go over so well at  Nana's but I am not complaining. 
 And these were far from a "disaster" Nana :)
Thanks Nana.......and Dorie !

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cheese Souffle

Ooh la la.  Nothing says "French " like a cheese souffle.........

Per Nana ~

A very delicious recipe.
All week I kept thinking it was going to be a 
failure, but it turned out beautiful.
Seriously, the recipe is quite simple and easy, 
I used Gruyere cheese, which I love.

The amount of ingredients called for in the recipe actually
 filled (2) 6 inch souffle molds.
At this point I had to quickly prepare another.
After 30 minutes I had  to cover them with tin foil because of
them browning too quickly, and at 45 minutes
I removed them from the oven.
One soufflé collapsed, but the other was perfect.   I'm not sure 
why that happened, but it was delicious all the same.
As a leftover, I did not reheat any of it, but sliced it and it 
was as though I was eating cheese cake.

I will definitely make this recipe again and
 I'm anxious to try a larger size soufflé mold.

Per Tricia ~

Only because I have made souffle before was the shock 
value gone.  Otherwise I would have been blown away 
by how reasonable both the prep and cooking ended
 up for such an "intimidating" recipe.

Nana had told me ahead of time about having excess batter
 so I opted for the larger size quiche dishes.  And I also 
had to do  the "foil tent" after 30 minutes.
 I mentioned I was going to knock out a cheese souffle
 for our "Dorie Food" this week and my 18 year old son actually 
said "wow, isn't that supposed to be hard?"
Which raised the question as to how he heard this. 
 I think it is actually from popular culture where there are jokes 
on tv regarding cooks pulling off the "elusive cheese souffle".
So two things got accomplished in my kitchen this French Friday. 
 My family ended up with a delicious souffle that they all raved 
about and we  debunked our urban legend regarding the difficulty
 factor.  If my boys end  up preparing cheese souffles or anything else
 from "Around My French Table", I will be one happy Mom :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

St Germain-de-Pres Onion Biscuits

Per Nana ~

When Tricia and I joined FFWD, the very first recipe
 that I wanted  to make was the Saint Germain-des-Pres
 onion biscuits.  We have been cooking for over
a year and I still had not made the recipe. 

I was happy to see them listed in the March schedule, 
I planned to make them for Sunday night's supper.

The recipe is very easy, and I was able to use my new biscuit
 cutters that I found in Wegman's housewares department.  
Mind you, I did not need these gadgets, but they 
will go very well with all the others in the cabinet.

The biscuits were not as flaky as some that I have made,  
but the flavor was wonderful with the addition of the onion.  

After I cut them out and put them on the cookie sheet I placed
 them into my refrigerator to be baked at dinner time.  
Maybe that is the reason they did not rise.  I look forward to
 seeing the results of the other bloggers on FFWD.

Hubby and I loved the biscuits and I know
 I will be baking them again soon.

Per Tricia~

This week was a reminder of how very much Nana and I enjoy 
"French Fridays With Dorie".  Fridays.

Even if I did not crank out these biscuits myself :)  
We had been challenged recently by the adding the "Tuesdays With Dorie" 
to our roster....and we tried valiantly to keep up with it all until the famed
 "Rugelach" recipe of this Tuesday.  Suffice it to say that you will find 
no Rugelach post on this blog :)

Madeleine Gely- famous handmade umbrella shop on Bldv StG-D-Pres. Note the cute sign.

So I have enjoyed a wonderful "vacation" week of cooking neither the 
complicated (though I have no doubt they would have been insanely
 good........) cookies that no one in this house actually needs, nor struggling
 to get through the posting and commenting whose time far outweighs 
that involved in the cooking. In fact, I got so lazy  I did not 
even cook the biscuits !  But I am sharing a few "St. Germain de Pres"
 photos from our trip last year.  Ah, the memories.
Nana and I have gotten a huge kick out of not only the recipes in
 FFWD, but in the sharing of comments with this group.  
We are hugely touched by the kind and funny words that are shared 
with us and we look forward to having the time and energy to 
continue this journey.  And cutting out that Tuesdays deal will help :)

The famed "Deux Magots".
Happy French Fridays all ~

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Roasted Salmon & Lentils

If we learned anything from this week's recipe, it was to get our "A game" on when it comes to shopping for the French Friday ingredients......
Per Nana~

Unfortunately this recipe was off to a bad start when I could
 not find the French green lentils, known as lentils du Puy. 
 I was absolutely certain that Wegman's would carry them in
 their international section, but the best I could find were organic
 "green lentils" which looked exactly the same as the bag of Goya
 lentils but cost twice the price.  I have eaten lentils
du Puy before and they are much better tasting.

That said, cooking the lentils with the vegetables and clove were
 really not to my taste.  As a matter of fact, they were tasteless.  
I cooked them the required minutes and discarded
the black liquid as Dorie states in the recipe, but they turned to
 mush.  Hubby and I enjoy lentils, I cook them often, but we
 were not pleased with this recipe.
I baked the salmon as instructed and that was really delicious.  
The combination of lentils and salmon is nice, however, if I had the 
French lentils it would have turned out better.

Per Tricia~
I have had really good and really bad lentil dishes, so I was 
curious to see where this one would land.  And like mother, like daughter -
 I failed to get the requisite green lentils as well.  In Nana's defense, 
she did talk me out of buying the split peas which were located next to 
the standard lentils and looked oh so amazingly as though they would 
pass for green lentils.  When I called Nana from the "lentil aisle" she 
talked me out of this madness.
As I prepped the recipe I did find that it seemed to be a bit tedious
 in the number of steps, but that is usually directly related to how tired 
I am at the time and how close I am to the Dorie deadline.  But I will say 
that by the time I had to fish the cooked veggies OUT of the lentil broth
 to isolate them and chop them up.....I was beginning to wonder who 
thought up this whole process in the first place.
Other than the number of dirty kitchen items involved, the results 
were the next surprise.  I expected my husband to be quite impressed 
but he was disappointed in the lack of taste.  Surprised even.  He said he
 could not believe how bland the dish tasted after the wonderful aroma.
  Incredulous, he even added that with the amount of onion in the dish he 
at least expected to taste that ingredient.
On the other spectrum, my younger son who had announced as he saw
 the "Dorie ingredients" that he hated lentils...sat down and ate an entire plate.  
I didn't dare question him while eating for fear of distracting him. 
 But I did ask him if he would like me to make it again and he said definitely.
  Go figure. 
 I personally enjoyed the texture of the lentils with the salmon 
and would consider revisiting this one.  Especially since I have all this fresh 
parsley left over because I forgot to use it......