Thursday, August 30, 2012

Minted Zucchini Tagliatelle with Cucumbers & Lemon

Per Nana ~
When I read this recipe I knew I would not like it.
First off,  it contained cucumbers which do not agree with me, 
and secondly, the thought of uncooked zucchini sounded awful.
I am not a fan of raw veggies, and I dislike grilled
 veggies because they never seemed cooked.

I know many people love to grill, I am just not one of them.
That said, I decided to only make 1/3 of the recipe.
 The preparation was simple and quick.
I chilled it until dinner time and it was certainly very pretty 
when  plated. However, hubby and I both agreed that the zucchini 
was much to tough.  I thought  if it had been blanched and then cut
 into smaller strips it might have tasted better.
I used the rest of the zucchini for my recipe for "Impossible Pie" 
made with Bisquick and is absolutely delicious.
Per Tricia~
We are in travel status and delivering kids to their appointed "deposit
 points"  so knocking out this recipe was going to be a challenge....until 
 Nana reported that she made it and threw it away after tasting it. 
 (Sorry Dorie )  That was all I needed to hear.
I will report that we thoroughly enjoyed the Impossible Pie
 that Nana delivered to my family, who promptly ate the entire
 thing in one sitting. Old habits die hard.

Happy French Friday !

Friday, August 24, 2012

Peach Melba

A surprising and timely trip down memory lane, even though
neither of us tried the recipe before..........
 Per Tricia ~
I casually mentioned to my older son, who is headed to his first year of
 college in a few days, that the "Dorie Food" would be Peach Melba. He
 said he thought he had tried this dish before and instantly the light 
bulb went off for me. Indeed he had. In the Tuileries Garden in Paris on
 the Fourth of July, 2007.  We actually joked about this because our 
family does not make routine  trips to Europe with the
 kids - as much as we would love to. We were very lucky that year
 and my husband had his one (and only) business trip to France. 
Luckily, Nana and Grandpa decided to take a Paris vacation at the 
same time so we all played during the day and caught up with my husband
 at night. We were enjoying the Tuileries that morning and particularly, one 
of those huge trampolines that gets set up for fairs. Louvre nearby, Angelina
 Tearoom across the street - my boys had eyes only for that trampoline. 
(Nana with the boys, below.....)
Until the skies opened and the ride closed.....
We took cover with Nana in one of those little enclosed restaurant/dessert
 places that you find in the larger Paris parks. Tough times require dessert...
My older son decided  his choice dessert would be  something he never tried 
before - Peach Melba.  When the dish arrived it was  HUGE !
He loved every bite. 

My younger  son (who also leaves home for Italy next week) 
 followed in his mother's footsteps and enjoyed Creme Brulee....
which thanks to Dorie ....we now also enjoy at home.
 (same view only one hour later....with time well spent on desserts)
So that was the Paris side of our trip down memory lane.  I decided to
 take a more local approach for the vanilla ice cream and go to a wonderful
 local manufacturer - Nelson's Ice Cream of Royersford, PA.  I am not sure 
whether Nana found this place first or we did, but over the years we have
 visited their little retail store in our neighboring town on many 
a hot summer afternoon. 


On this particular hot summer afternoon, I found the store closed.
  I decided to just try the attached factory (when in Rome......) simply
 hoping for 
advice on the nearest retail store - but they sold me some
 vanilla. What a treat and what an experience - I ended up seeing much more 
of the small factory and business office then I ever would have imagined.  
Added to the farm fresh peaches from down the road and the dish with 
Paris origins ended up having quite a local flavor.
And while all of these memories made this a very special dish indeed, 
the recipe and  flavors will stand on their own for anyone preparing it.  
My guys all adored it and this will certainly become a new summer favorite.  
And a great send off dish.....
Per Nana~

This was such a fun recipe, and following Dorie's suggestions
 for serving, really turns it into an elegant dessert.
A few days ago we drove to the farm stand for our supply of fresh corn, 
 tomatoes, and fresh peaches. I bought a tray of peaches and using
 Dorie's instructions for poaching, I poached all the peaches.
 I actually tripled her instructions for the sugar and water portion,
 left out the verbena leaves, and used pure vanilla extract.
I used Creme de Cassis from Nuits Saint Georges in the Burgundy
 section of France that we had purchased on one of our trips.  
One thing I did differently than Dorie was to separate the peaches before
 adding them to the syrup.  It is an extremely messy job and I think
 it would have been a disaster had it sat in the syrup.
The peaches turned out so tasty, and we loved them.
The next day I prepared the rest of the peach melba using the raspberry
 sauce, ice cream and topping it with whipped cream. 
A perfect dessert for a summer evening.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Café Style Grated Carrot Salad

Simple, fresh, easy (when you have a Cuisinart....) and with ingredients 
we always have on hand.  And did we mention it tasted great ?
Per Nana ~

I can't believe I actually had all the ingredients for a French Friday
 recipe without a trip to Wegman's.    I must be doing something right. 
About a year ago I purchased a new blender.   After researching for 
about two weeks I settled on a Cuisinart combination blender with 
a mini chopper added.  I thought this would be great for small jobs. 
However, I could not figure out how to attach the mini chopper so
 I forgot about it for awhile.  

After reading all the recipes for this month I thought this would come
 in handy, especially for the basil coulis and the chopped carrots.
 Along comes hubby who just sets the chopper on top of the blender
 base and " voila"  it works. When I finally got over my frustration, 
 I was in my glory.  I grated the carrots and chopped  the walnuts and also 
mixed the salad dressing in the mini Cuisinart.  Worked beautifully. 
I'm not sure if this was the way to grate the carrots. 
My original thought was the box grater to give them a slivered look, 
but hubby insisted that was not the correct way.   (I guess I will have 
to wait and see how the other Doristas did theirs.)

To be honest I did not care for the recipe.    I'm not exactly sure why,
 but it didn't work for me.  Hubby said it wasn't too terrible. 
 That means don't bother making this again.....

Per Tricia ~
I had the treat of trying Nana's version earlier this week 
(yes, she is ALWAYS done before me....) and as she described- it
 was not something we were rushing to try again. I considered not 
even making it but since I have passed on a few dishes lately, the guilt 
 got me.   Plus, it was a simple recipe and I had the ingredients on hand.
  The best ingredient in my opinion, silly as it sounds, 
was the Cuisinart.  This is because while the salad tastes lovely,
 if my Cuisinart had not been there to prepare the carrots perfectly
 and instantly.... I am not sure I would re do this one if sweat equity 
were involved. Instead I ended up amazed that my little machine took 
a few carrots on hand and when tossed with a very simple vinaigrette
....made a dish that was basically "company worthy". Or darn special
 for a weeknight at least.  
While I will be losing many of my Dorie "taste testers"
 soon enough to college and study abroad, I enjoyed having all forks 
on deck tonight -and even a visiting friend. We all grabbed forks and 
tested the platter accordingly- savoring the company, the experience
 AND the carrot salad.  Everyone gave it a hearty thumbs up !

Happy French Friday !

P.S. - I sent a sample over to Nana and she gave it two thumbs up.
 It was all in the cut of the carrot, though my "Savannah Bee Co"
  honey worked wonders too :)

P.P.S. - We are headed back to France.  Nana and I booked a trip
 in late October. Paris and the Loire Valley.  Ooh la la !!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Warm Scallop Salad with Corn, Nectarines & Basil

Per Nana~
Although both Hubby and I do not care for scallops, I was 
 determined to try this recipe without substituting another 
type of fish. With that thought in mind I made only
 1/3 of the recipe.I prepared the lime dressings the night before, 
as well as the basil coulis.
This was the first time I made coulis, and even though we did not
 eat this dish, I tasted the leftover coulis which was excellent. 
  I definitely have to try making some pesto with my fresh 
basil before the season is finished.

Since I have never worked with scallops before, I followed Dorie's 
 cooking instructions to a "T" hoping they were thoroughly cooked.
After assembling the dish I called Tricia's son to see if he 
would like to try some scallops.  He arrived quickly and 
enjoyed it before going off to work. Hubby and I thought the 
presentation was lovely, even though neither one of us tasted it.
Per Tricia~
Another week, another recipe behind.
  But how lucky am I (and my older son) to have this 
created a la Nana for us ??  My husband was away and my 
younger son was ill with what thankfully was NOT appendicitis....
so it was all the more appreciated to have a plate of wonderful 
"Dorie Food" created especially for us.  While the younger son
 did not partake in the meal due to tummy issues, he was on hand 
as we unveiled the tin foil over the plate. 
You would have thought it was a sterling silver plate cover-
 I can not over emphasize how decadent and gourmet this plate looked.  
 There were 3 audible gasps, followed by "wow".   I declared that no one could 
try a bite until I got a photo of the gorgeous plate and ran for my camera.  
My older son sat right down and ate all but nectarine and half a scallop. 
 He adores scallops and thought they were "incredible".  He continues to
 rave over this meal and there is no doubt I will be making it in the future. 
Perhaps on a special trip home from college :)
  Thanks, Dorie for giving him a reason to come and visit.......

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tomato Cheese Tartlets

Per Nana:

This week's recipe started the month of August off easy.
The tartlets are so simple,  especially using the puff pastry dough. 
  I rolled the dough according to the instructions from Dorie
 and cut out  four  6"  rounds. I set the timer for 15 minutes but
 after removing the top cookie sheet the rounds were not very
brown so I left them in the oven a few minutes longer.
Not wanting to waste the trimmings,  I sort of rolled them
 up and baked them also.  Hubby saw them after they were 
removed from the oven and out came the butter.   These 
little snacks were delicious.
The tartlets were covered with a layer of tapenade
 and then slices of tomato and mozzarella cheese. 
I planned to broil them for a few minutes so I held off 
on the rest of the seasonings.
They turned out lovely, a little burnt, but tasty just the same.
  I drizzled  oil on top and added  basil for the topping.

A word of caution to anyone using parchment paper, 
it does not work under the broiler.  It can catch on
fire very quickly if not watched carefully.    (Perhaps I am the 
only dummy that did not know this)
Hubby declared the tomato-cheese tartlets a winner  and I have
 to agree with him. I am adding a picture of the soup made with
 the leftover barley from last week's recipe, which was absolutely
delicious. I am also adding a photo of our newest farm animal, 
and unlike the rabbit, I don't think this one would make a great stew.   
No recipes needed.....

Per Tricia: 
I am posting Nana's results from a hotel room, as I have been on 
business trip all week.  I look forward to getting home and trying this 
one myself.   Happy French Friday~