Friday, May 31, 2013

Anne Leblanc's Pistachio Avocado

Per Nana~
Avocado, the delicious green vegetable that is so good in so many ways. 
Especially when mashed into a guacamole concoction sitting on top of 
nachos with melted cheese, sour cream and jalapenos. What's not to love ?
 This week's recipe, however, is for sliced avocado with pistachio oil. 
After reading various comments about the price of pistachio oil, I 
decided to use Dorie's bonne idee.  I improvised with some barbequed 
shrimp that I had marinated in olive oil, Italian spices and broiled in the 
oven. This dish is a "go to" dish that Tricia and I both use frequently.
 The marinade, when cooked with the shrimp, is delicious for dipping bread 
or adding to cooked pasta and topping with the shrimp. For this week's
 recipe I added a vinaigrette to the shrimp and used that with the avocado. 
The result was a very tasty salad.
Per Tricia~
I followed Dorie's instructions to a "T" for this non -recipe tip/combo. 
I luckily had read the P&Q's this week and followed Teresa's
 (of "One Wet Foot") advice to try a homemade version a la the
 Food&Wine link.  I am sure that actual pistachio oil is wonderful
 and that the Huilerie J. Leblanc version sublime....but this home-
made version was lovely. It was wonderful just to learn how to make 
this  and I will absolutely be using this on fish in the near future. 
We had not previously enjoyed an avocado served this way and the 
taste testers concurred that it was nice, but they could not seem to get 
their head around having only oil (pistachio or otherwise) as the garnish. 
Luckily they did not see Nana's pictures or I  would have gotten an earful 
about not using the bonne idee :) So not bad,but the great takeaway
 was the homemade toasted pistachio oil.  Always an adventure.....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Asparagus Soup

Per Nana~
A delicious soup that will be repeated again and again. 
I purchased two bunches of pencil thin green asparagus with the idea
 of making half the recipe and using the rest for dinner. However, it 
looked so good that I just kept going.  
Such an easy soup to prepare, I loved the combination of the leek and
 the white onion added to the asparagus. I did not have any sour cream
 or creme fraiche, so I grated some smoked cheddar that Tricia and I 
picked up in Vermont on one of our short holiday weekends. 
We truly enjoyed it. Sorry that I did not take too many photos,
 but all that matters is the end result  - and it was fantastic !
Per Tricia~
This truly was an easy recipe to prepare and the results delicious.
 We love soup in my family and all of my guys love asparagus, 
so this was a welcome combo.  

            I forgot to pick up fresh chives so decided to just go "au natural" with 
            the initial testing of this recipe, but look forward to adding garnishes 
            when I make this again. And I will be making this again. My younger
           son sat down and ate 3 bowls in a row- he loved it.  My husband added
           freshly grated Parmesan cheese and said he is looking forward to trying
           it served cold.  My older son James and I also gave it two thumbs up 
          and everyone agreed that they would like smoked bacon  crumbled on 
           the top next time since this makes just about everything perfect, no ? 

 Happy French Friday ~

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Food Revolution Day !

Dorista's choice in honor of "Food Revolution Day". Food Revolution Day is a chance for people all over the world to come together and stand up for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s a chance for people to come together in homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources. Food Revolution Day is a global day of action to raise awareness about the importance of good food and better food education for everyone.

The theme for this year’s Food Revolution Day is “Cook it. Share it.” – something all of us here at French Fridays with Dorie are passionate about already!

Per Nana~
Since this week is "cook's choice" I decided to prepare one of my favorite dishes. Roasted peppers are a perfect summer dish because peppers are in season. Hubby and I love them for topping a sandwich and they make a wonderful appetizer that I pair with anchovies.  I buy a small jar of anchovies that are marinated in olive oil with crushed red pepper. Dorie's recipe uses herbs, which I had never done before but the addition was fantastic. I broiled the peppers until they were blackened all around and then slipped them into a plastic bag to steam, so that the skins would loosen. 
When cool, I peeled the blackened skin, removed the stems and seeds and cut them into slices.  For my roasted peppers I use "Pompean" extra virgin olive oil. It has a flavor that just seems to work. Surprisingly, I never use that particular oil for anything else.  I am anxious to see what everyone else has chosen for this week's selection - I am certain it is going to be interesting !
Per Tricia~
Leave it to my schedule that the one French Friday where the theme is focused on coming together and sharing in cooking...and my family is spread out again. To make things fun (and logistically practical) I chose an uber easy recipe for Tzatziki. I had not made it at home but enjoyed it in restaurants and knew my guys would too. My older son agreed to make a version from his location as well - dual Tzatziki's ! The goal was to show him how truly easy it is to prepare such a yummy dip, and how fun it is to share it.  Mission accomplished. Happy bellies in all locations, with very little effort expended.
My version:
Easy and YUM.
My older son's results:
He reported that the dill and the garlic were too strong and he will cut back
 next time, but there WILL be a next time. Score one, Food Revolution Day ! 
He found it very quick and easy (would have been slightly harder if he had 
remembered to peel the cucumbers....:) and enjoyed serving it with the Naan. 
Great job James !!!
Happy Food Revolution Day  !

Friday, May 10, 2013


Per Nana~
I am definitely not a fan of bread pudding. 
 When Hubby and I were married in 1954 and returned from our honeymoon
 in Upstate New York, we found that my French mother had turned our 
leftover wedding cake into bread pudding. Back then, people did not do
 much in the way of freezing foods and my Mom never wasted anything.....
Also the texture of wet bread is GROSS. 
 If I order a Philly cheesesteak, it had better not be soggy.
For this week's recipe I decided to use panettone, an Italian specialty cake
 that was in from freezer from Christmas.  Since there are raisins and dried
 citron pieces in this case, I only added dried apricots. Panettone has a distinct 
flavor all it's own and I should have added the full 2 1/2 tsps of vanilla.  
The aroma while cooking the French toast was wonderful and the rest was 
easy enough to put together.  I baked it for 1 3/4 hours and Hubby tasted 
it when it had cooled a bit. He thought it was good, but he prefers my
 bread pudding made with panettone and crushed pineapple.

Personally, I prefer Texas style French toast with butter and syrup
 whenever we go to the diner. Not exactly healthy, but oh so good !  
I look forward to seeing how the rest of the Doristas made out with this one.
Per Tricia~
I am very lucky (or maybe cursed ?) since the "Le Bus" bread company
has it's only outlet across the street from my office.  For this dish, I
bought both challah and  brioche, but tested the recipe with the challah.

The trickiest part of the dish had nothing to do with the recipe and everything
 to  do with my not being able to get the heat consistent for the French toast.  
In hindsight I should have grabbed my griddle.

The already golden bread got a further suntan in the oven. I think the shape
 of  the  my bread ended up with too much exposed and this led to too much 
browning.  Next time I will watch it more.  Luckily I tested before the 90
 minute  mark and took it right out. I have no taste testers in the house so
 enjoyed a slice  myself. Lovely but there was no way this wasn't going to be
 with those ingredients :) All taste testers will be home tonight from college
 and elsewhere and this is a  wonderful  treat to remind them of what
 adventures occur in the kitchen each French Friday  ~

PS- that was the first I ever heard about the wedding cake being
 "repurposed"  by my own Nana.  Very cool and very funny.

Happy French Friday !

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Creamy Mushrooms & Eggs

Per Tricia~
Sorry to report that we have no lovely photos to share, as unfortunately we had to cancel our trip the day of our flight. Nana had a particularly bad flare up of knee arthritis and this would not have worked with our grand plans for touring. 

Very disappointing indeed but luckily we have both been to Paris and the countryside on a few other trips together (Nana has several more trips under her lucky belt than I :) so please do not feel badly for us.  She is feeling much better but had a challenging few weeks, so it was clearly the right decision. And let's not forget that I have a son attending Boston University- yup- right in the midst of all the tragedy in that town we would have been miles and time zones away. 

Things do have a way of working out, no ? So we took a much needed "staycation" and recuperated all around.  We are refreshed and looking forward to catching up with our fellow Doristas.  Nana even managed to make last week's dish but when she reported the results, I took a pass :)                                         Sorry Dorie.
This week's creamy mushrooms and eggs, however, were a big hit. My guys love everything in this dish. I substituted Rhodes frozen dinner rolls as my market did not have brioche and they were the closest substitute (and I was not baking brioche this week.....).
My younger son said he would love the mushroom sauce on a burger with swiss cheese. Sounds like a plan....

Per Nana~
This week's recipe of creamy mushrooms and eggs were so good. I used English muffins instead of brioche and it worked out well.  The mushroom sauce was easy to prepare and the shallot gave it such a wonderful flavor.
Hubby and I both love poached eggs so putting this all together was a perfect light supper. I served a tomato salad on the side.  I will definitely be making this again and think it is perfect for a Sunday brunch. 
Since I did not post last week's swiss chard pancake recipe I will include it here as a make up.  
As much as I enjoy swiss chard, I was not pleased with this particular dish. The combination of onions, shallot and garlic was not one I cared for.  I filled the crepe with an old Italian recipe called Jambort/Gianbort (sp ??).  It consists of fried Italian peppers which are stewed in crushed tomatoes with seasonings.

I was very pleased that I made my very first crepe and now that I see how easy it is, I plan to make a regular crepe batter and top it with a sprinkle of sugar. When I was growing up my French mother often made sucre crepes and they are still one of my favorite desserts. 
 Happy French Friday~