Thursday, January 31, 2013

Brown Sugar Squash & Brussels Sprouts en Papillote

This combo had us enjoying "Fall in February"........

Per Nana ~

Whenever I cut a recipe in half for the FFWD selection of the week I am
 always sorry.  This was so delicious and would have been great for leftovers.
 The recipe was so simple and easy to make, and was cooked to perfection
 in just under 35 minutes.  I decided to use a small Cuisinart roasting pan 
and tent the tin foil on top.  It worked beautifully.
Out of the oven-
  This is a great side dish  for all the working Moms to prepare ahead of time 
and just pop in the oven for dinner.  I would love to try this concept with
 other root veggies - such as turnips, sweet potatoes, etc.

Per Tricia ~
Since we enjoy all these ingredients, the final result
 ended up no surprise.  We liked it.
This was one of those weeks where the AMFT recipe reminded me
 of  the simple techniques that I simply had not used in a while. 
As Nana noted, not only did we enjoy the dish - but it left me wondering 
how else I could play around and get creative with similar veggies and spices. 
 "Autumn" flavors, but still very welcome during these cold winters days.
PS- I had to share these little birds who surprised us this week
 outside my bedroom window. I don't ever recall seeing this many 
- we had up to 8 at one point. What a treat ~
 (and no, thankfully, the kitten was none the wiser....)

Happy French Friday ~

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shrimp & Cellophane Noodles

Surprised to be finding this "Around My French Table".......

Per Nana~
Nana says: "I prefer the chicken liver gateaux."

Sorry, I was really looking forward to this recipe but it just didn't work
 for me. I researched for the tree ear mushrooms and finally ordered them
 from I-Gourmet a few weeks back.  The rest of the ingredients were 
easily found at Wegman's.
I have never cooked cellophane noodles before and after soaking them 
per package instructions found them to be quite gross.  A bit too slimy
 for my taste. I stir fried the onion and garlic, added the mushrooms and just
 knew this was  not good. I could not take the aroma but was not certain 
whether it was the mushrooms or the sesame oil.

I added the shrimp, a bit of tomato puree and it looked better but
 decided not to combine the noodles with the shrimp mixture. Instead I
 prepared a single serving for photos. Hubby was trying to be nice but 
after the first taste he said he truly disliked it. I picked out the shrimp and,
 sorry to say, tossed out everything else.
After reading the P & Q's earlier in the day I thought the problem
 was going to be the tomato puree, but I was wrong.......

Per Tricia~
This was something different, that is for sure.
As usual, I was spoiled rotten and Nana delivered the exotic ingredients 
she tracked down and brought them right to my door.  While the special
 mushrooms were indeed a coup to have delivered, one of the most
 valuable things Nana shared  was the yellow post it note telling me 
to actually read the "P's and Q's" this week.  
She said there was some issue involving the tomato puree.

By the time I finished reading, I decided to go rogue and exclude it 
completely.   My taste testers liked the shrimp and mushrooms well 
enough,  but complained that these noodles were too "neutral". 
 Overall no one wanted a repeat.  The cellophane  noodles were a very
 interesting texture and I had to take one photo showing them without 
the topping, as they do indeed look like cellophane.  

Always an adventure....... 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chicken Liver Gâteau With Pickled Onions

A true adventure this week ~

Per Nana~
If you like chopped chicken liver, you are going to love this recipe. 
Believe it or not, I was not anxious to make this because I thought 
it would turn out like an aspic. However since the chicken livers 
are so inexpensive, I decided to give it a try and if we didn't like it, 
I could always chuck it.  How wrong I was.

Hubby's first reaction was "it has no flavor", but when we added
the onions it really kicked it up a notch.  I served it for dinner as a
first course and added some sliced petite pickles on the side.

I think pickles and liver or liverwurst just go together.
The gâteaux was so good, we could not stop raving.
I would love to make this for a dinner party but I don't know
if I could get a crowd.  Tricia, for sure, would not be interested.

This was one recipe that I'm glad I did not cut in half.
I had such a laugh reading the P&Q comments this week 
so I'm anxious to see the results from all the Doristas. 

Per Tricia~
I have enjoyed liverwurst since I was little, but not actual liver-
 I can't even take the aroma. My hubby has to go visit Nana if he 
wants any.  I was getting squeamish, sad but true, just at Dorie's
 instructions to trim any veins, fat or green spots. Egads. 
Luckily, Nana dropped off the trimmed liver ready to go. 
She even supplied a few more ingredients and basically did everything
 but turn on the Cuisinart :)  The prep and cooking were very easy, and 
while I fell for the "Saran Wrap in the oven" last week - I opted out of 
putting paper towel in the water bath.  Luckily my results turned out fine.
 They smelled lovely, plated up easily and the family enjoyed them.  
I did have to chuckle because the one thing my younger son mentioned
 was that he was disappointed that it was like a "liver dip" because his host 
family in Italy had surprised him with cooked livers and he enjoyed them.  
I guess he will have to head over to Nana's for the real deal....... 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Long and Slow Apples

Perfect for a cold winter's day, though perhaps not a January one 
filled with any diet resolutions.....
Per Nana~

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this recipe but the
 end result was a big surprise.  It was so simple to prepare and I 
was expecting almost applesauce.

I loved the flavors in it and that was a nice change from the 
usual combination of apples and cinnamon.

When I removed all the covering I could not believe how 
much they were reduced into an elegant little dessert.

Since I cut the recipe in half, I will admit I did not bother with 
making homemade whipped cream but turned to the ever trusting 
cool whip in the freezer.
Per Tricia~
Thanks for all of the post flu well wishes.  
It is testament to how easy this recipe is that I was able to knock it
 out last night and get it posted.  That said, I do not plan on revisiting 
this one in the future.  The aroma and taste were great but adding that 
much sugar and melted butter to the innocent little apple slices actually
 made me feel guilty.  It is strange because I would not have felt guilty
 indulging in creme brulee, but since apples are already sweet, simply 
adding those items while baking seemed like I was looking for trouble :) 

 And of course the funniest part of the whole experience was that my
 Saran  Wrap DID, of course, melt !  What a mess.  

All over the bowls and then mixed on top of the apples.  
See below-
the sparkling center is melted plastic.....

As I read Dorie's directions that "Don't worry, the plastic won't melt"....
I actually decided that this was so clever and how did I not know that
 you could put Saran Wrap in the oven at 300 degrees ??  

Yes, Dorie has clearly risen to the level of BLIND TRUST in my kitchen - 
which rather than being disappointed in the melted Saran Wrap, 
simply reminds me how much good advice and wonderful recipes 
she has shared to get her into a position where I would believe anything :)

And my guys did love them. I just didn't mention the part about
my having to fish out the plastic wrap.....
Happy French Friday ~

Friday, January 4, 2013

Herb Speckled Spaetzle

Comfort food at a perfect time for it .......

Per Nana~

A perfect start for the New Year.

Many years ago hubby and I drove through the Black Forest, 
Germany and Austria. The food was incredible, and the portions
 were immense. Thank goodness that trip was only a little over 
 two weeks because I can honestly say I was tired of eating. 

The dinner plates were larger than most of the serving platters 
I have at home. However, that did not stop me from ordering spaetzle 
whenever I saw it on the menu. When we came home I knew I had to
 buy a spaetzle maker and learn how to prepare this dish.
This week's recipe of herbed spaetzle was so good.

I didn't realize that finishing it in the fry pan would make such a difference. 
  Normally I serve it with butter and fresh parsley without that additional 
step. The mixture of herbs, as well as the mushroom, really make this a 
delicious dish that goes well with almost anything.

Per Tricia~
Happy Flu Year ! 
 Guess who came down with the flu last week last weekend and missed 
New Year's as well as a week of life ?  The same person who will be first in
 line for a flu shot next year, that's who :)  I am only logging in right now to 
 share Nana's spaetzle exploits. I am looking forward to catching up
 on recipes and comments - all the best and stay healthy Doristas !!