Friday, November 23, 2012

Herbed Olives

So simple and so special ~

Per Nana~
There is nothing in my book that makes a house smell so delicious 
as olive oil and garlic warming on the stove. Add a few coriander 
seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper corns, what's not to like.
This almost seemed to me to be more of an Italian specialty
 than French. Either way, we loved it. I used what was available in 
my pantry, stuffed green olives and a can of pitted black olives.
Now that I tried and loved the recipe, I am going to try some pitted 
Kalamata olives and other types of olives to vary the recipe.
This would make a wonderful addition to any anti pasta selection.
It also reminded me of the little dishes of olives that were served to 
 us in Portugal along with some delicious breads.

Per Tricia~
Loved everything about this. 
Simple, easy to find (or have on hand ingredients), great aroma 
when preparing, keeps for a while and tastes delish. I was surprised
 to read that the spices were to be warmed in a dry pan. 
I re-read that part of the recipe several times. Just as Dorie said,
 the warmed dry ingredients created a lovely aroma.
 A winner all around. And with a busy Thanksgiving week-
 the ease of this recipe was especially appreciated.  
Hope all the Doristas had a lovely holiday !

Friday, November 16, 2012

Goat Cheese Mini Puffs

Lovely and delicious !

Per Nana~

This week's recipe from "Around My French Table" is goat-cheese 
mini puffs. Much practice is needed on my part to perfect a cream
 puff that looks like a puff, but I am going to keep trying.
The recipe was fun  and the filling was so delicious.
I used a garlic flavored goat cheese mixed with the cream
 cheese and cream. Even though my puffs came out in different 
shapes and sizes they were good.

After filling about 24 puffs, ( a messy job all by itself)  I decided to 
share some with Tricia's family.  As much as we loved them, I could 
not see eating that many.
These little morsels would be great to serve with a glass of wine, and 
the delicious herbed olives selected for next week's entry.

Per Tricia~
Spoiler alert. Nana made these ahead of time and shared them with
 my guys. My older son declared-"wow. I like these way more than I should"
...which struck me as an odd, yet very positive declaration on a Dorie recipe.  
Needless to say, I was then on the hook to make some myself this week. 
 The recipe is a few steps but if I would get  organized and keep some of 
these in the freezer ready to bake, it would really be a spectacular treat.  
I would definitely make these for company (but ahead of time)
 since they were yummy as well as impressive looking.
I am also sharing belated photos from our recent trip to Vermont - 
at least the "foodie" side, plus our new addition........

Cafe Provence in Brandon, Vt- amazing restaurant with cooking classes.

Small town ambiance. And great French food !

The kitchen where my son and I took a class. Each demo was so delicious we then went to the restaurant for a full meal :)

Cider Donuts en route to Saratoga New York. A fall "must".
Can't get  'em any fresher !

The Orchard was packed- we lucked onto a true cider donut destination at the height of the season !

Orchard treats

Functional and adorable signs at local farms, showing their wares.

Amazing local market- best bacon ever, and ham, and cob smoked kielbasa...and so on. Love.

Recent addition- "Oliver"

Curious pug- note the protective eye gear for kitten greeting :)
                                        Happy French Friday !

Friday, November 9, 2012

Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse

A particularly good week for a little indulgence ~
Per Nana:

Chocolate mousse!  What's not to like.
I think if all of Dorie's recipes were dessert, Hubby would
 be in seventh heaven, because he just raved over this.

Thank goodness I only had enough to fill  three ramekins, 
but that was okay.  We need more chocolate like we need
  a hole in the head. With the confusion of which day to celebrate
 Halloween in our neighborhood, either Wednesday or Friday, 
we had a total of only 8 children trick or treating.
 That left a lot of candy to be consumed by two retirees 
with nothing better to do. I had never made mousse before and 
was surprised  how easy it was to prepare. When you first read
 Dorie's recipes they sometimes seems difficult but her instructions 
are clear, with many  options, and most turn out to be easy. 
This was  a great recipe and I will certainly make it again.

Per Tricia:
I loved Dorie's comment about being welcomed to the club 
when a friend finally shared that this well loved dessert came
 from the back of a box. Hence the recipe name.
 This recipe was a cinch but I have my 24 year old  Kitchen Aid 
mixer to thank.  I bought this toy investment right out of college.  
I knew it would be a great investment but is still wonderful to see
 it paying off....especially when I need foamed egg whites. 
Note the French bowl of "medium" size. Moyen is not my last
 name - it means medium in French :)
 Between  the mixer's brawn and Nana providing me the chocolate
 (yes, I  even had the one piece handily cut in half by her to make the
 3.5 ounces....) I had an easy time of it this week. 
 Which is particularly appreciated since we added to our family with a
 kitten  found in between storms, in a parking lot late one evening. 
No houses around,  freezing conditions, and a Nor'easter en route.  
Turned this dog family into a more diverse household.

 And yes, the recipe was a huge hit with the family. 
 Happy French Fridays all ~

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mushroom & Shallot Quiche (Plus Chicken Tagine)

First, Nana and I wanted to thank our fellow Doristas who reached out to check up on us after Hurricane Sandy. We experience a strong feeling of community as we post and comment each French Friday, but these recent gestures really amazed us - what a great group we have ! And we are 100% OK. Feeling even a bit guilty that we made it through so totally unscathed.  Our thoughts are with those who did not and we again thank everyone for their well wishes ~ 
Per Nana: Mushroom & Shallot Quiche

With a combination of mushrooms and shallots I knew this week's
 recipe would be tasty. Unfortunately, I did not have fresh herbs so
 I used dried thyme instead.  According to the package instructions to
 substitute dried for fresh was 2 tsp. of dry for each tbls. of fresh herb.

I personally thought that a bit too much.

The recipe was easy to make.  I made my tart crust the day before 
and put in the freezer.  Having frozen tart crust is a great way to make a
 quick dinner, especially for working mothers. I also find that my 
crust bakes well when they are frozen. The addition of the scallions on 
top not only tasted good but made  for a lovely decoration.

I will definitely be making this again.

Per Nana:
Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes & Prunes

I can honestly say that this week's recipe for chicken tagine 
was terrible. Even though I love all the ingredients in it, I think
 the spices turned me off. I am thankful that I prepared only half 
the recipe, using chicken thighs and one sweet potato.
Hubby and I truly disliked the flavor of the pan juices,  entirely too sweet. 
In order to salvage the dish as best as possible, I removed the 
chicken, potatoes, and prunes and simply added them to chicken broth.
I  cooked some couscous and added that to the broth as well.
The recipe is certainly easy enough to prepare, unfortunately,
 it just wasn't to our liking. I am looking forward to the recipes for November,  
 great choices that can be worked into some of the holiday meal.
Per Tricia-
Sorry all - I am WAY behind after a business trip last week.
 I did not even get time to post Nana's Chicken experiment last week 
and feel so guilty that I'm hurrying to post both of hers now :) 
  I wonder if she has any more tart crust in her freezer ..........