Friday, February 22, 2013

Cheating on Winter Pea Soup

A pea soup adventure with Dorie AND with the Barefoot Contessa...........

Per Tricia~
I have to admit that I am not normally a fan of pea soup.
 This week was different because we tried Dorie's and then
 at the last minute (Thursday night) I whipped up Ina Garten's
 version from her latest cookbook - "Foolproof". Why ?  
Because Nana and I had just had a Barefoot Contessa
 adventure- that's why !
if you knew how far back our seats were, you would really be impressed by these shots :)
We had planned to get signed copies at our local Williams-Sonoma 
last Fall, but were to be in France when the date came around.  
We figured we had a better offer so were not losing sleep - till France 
got cancelled. Hurricane Sandy ended up hitting on that date and I forgot all 
about  ever getting the cookbook.  Till this week when I went to look for it. 

I Googled Weds. morning, intending to buy the book, and learned she 
was doing an onstage book interview and book signing about two hours
 away with a local chef ----that NIGHT. I quickly secured tickets for us
 and the adventure began ! It was a very different experience than standing
in line at the store to get a copy signed and we had a great time.  As I peeked
 at the recipes I noted she had a pea soup one as well and thought it would
 be fun to compare. Basically her's included a second bag of peas in lieu of
 the romaine.  She also presents hers with a big piece of roasted Prosciutto
 on top. We tried a smoked Prosciutto and regular and while we enjoy
 this treat- next time we are going for bacon and definitely crumbling it.
Overall my guys enjoyed both soups.  
I had strained Dorie's pretty hard, per the instructions and it was
 MUCH thinner than the Ina version that I just put through the blender.
 This is personal taste only but our family liked the thicker version, which
 I can accomplish on Dorie's next time. My husband insisted that Dorie's 
was surprisingly sweet to him and he is convinced that it is due to the 
romaine. I'm not sure it wasn't the peas but was glad they were happy
 and  given the freezing temps we have had this week - I was just 
 happy to make any soup for FFWD.

Per Nana~
There isn't much to say about this recipe except that it lacked
 some flavor.  First, I prepared only half of the recipe and
 for that I am happy. I ended up with only two small bowls
 for us and no leftovers. 
I enjoyed all of the ingredients separately, but I thought it 
was a rather weak soup. After putting it through the Cuisinart,
 I eventually had to strain it. I turned out very smooth at this point 
and when we reheated it, I topped it with a dollop of sour cream.
 I added my Tabasco sauce to kick it up a notch. 
It's too bad because I truly love the cream soups we have
 been making, but this just didn't work for me.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

coeur `a la crème

Can't think of a better choice to celebrate Valentine's Day.
This was love on a plate and we ALL loved it !

Per Nana~
I guess I don't read instructions well because I didn't realize Dorie's
 mold had holes on the bottom and that we were supposed to drain this. 
(Yes, using the cheesecloth should have been the clue) 
 I creamed the cheese and added vanilla and creme de cassis and at 
this point it looked and tasted delicious.  After whipping the heavy cream 
and folding it into the cream cheese, I poured the mixture into the bowl 
lined with cheesecloth.  I thought that when left overnight in the refrigerator
 it would firm up but was surprised that it was still pretty soft. However
 when I sliced the first piece it did stay together. 
 I served a small piece to Hubby with Penzey's "Raspberry Enlightenment"
 sauce, then another  slice with Sarabeth's Cranberry relish and
 for myself, I drizzled chocolate  sauce on top.  Sorry to report that it 
was only Hershey's chocolate, but it was delicious all the same. 
 Dorie said this would keep in the refrigerator for a few days but I 
decided to try freezing individual portions for another time.
  I'm not sure if this will work out, but I have frozen cheese cake and
 whipped cream before so we will see if this works.  I will certainly 
make this again- it is so delicious. 

Per Tricia~
Love love love love love.
And that is not just because it is Valentine's Day. 
 This dish was off the charts. Like cheesecake, but lighter. 
Seriously quick and easy (especially if you let the Kitchenaid whip up
 that heavy cream) and with few, common and inexpensive ingredients. 
I got some fresh raspberries and then also made a raspberry coulis from 
frozen  berries.  The sauce was a huge hit as well and I am glad I tempted
 the god's  by using Splenda instead (I was not sure how this would fair on 
the stove top) and it turned out fabulous.
  This is one of the best recipes I have tried in a long time, FFWD 
or otherwise.  A new all time favorite. My hubby loved it and my
 younger  son and his girlfriend gave it two thumbs up with many
 questions about "isn't there anything else in it ?"  No one could
 believe anything so easy could taste so good. Enough said.

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

The aroma from the cut oranges and zest would encourage
 us to make this again - a winner !
Per Tricia~
Nana and I have the cutest story to share this week.
  Great minds think alike.  
Turns out we had both noticed that fancy new Martha wrap that
 some of the other Doristas mentioned last week. I thought it would be
 nice surprise during the winter doldrums to get some via Amazon 
and surprise her.  I was delighted to see it arrived after work on the same
 day she asked me to stop by her house because she had something for me. 
Granted, she also had a cheesecake for me that she had handmade- but
 she presented it in an "Amazon" box for traveling.  Along side were the 
gift contents she was surprising me along with the cheesecake - my 
very own Martha wrap.  I pulled mine out of the bag in my hand and 
we had a nice long laugh.  So it was a pretty nice week all around. 
 And that pork was lovely as well.  I was a bit concerned with the 
amount of onions -since the aroma of citrus took quite a hit once those
 got added - but the prep (sans all that orange chopping and zesting...) 
was easy and my guys really enjoyed this one. 
 I didn't get the color on my pork that Nana did so I will
 probably shoot for that next time. Because there will be a next time.
 Or perhaps I will cook them in parchment with my new Martha wrap :)
Per Nana~
We enjoyed this recipe, it was simple to prepare and absolutely delicious.  
I actually cut this in half, using only one small pork tenderloin- knowing
 that too much left over pork is never great.  I used four small medallions, 
2 oranges and one small onion.  I was surprised to hear Hubby say it 
needed more onion as I thought it was perfect as is.  After reading all the
 P&Q's for this week I was afraid there would be too much liquid but
 this was the perfect amount.