Friday, November 29, 2013

Sugar-Crusted French Toast

Per Tricia (& Nana)
It is appropriate that this recipe ended up on Thanksgiving week, as
 the results warranted much "thanks-giving". It was a vacation week of
 friends, family, new activities and old memories, all of which generated
 tremendous feelings of gratitude that wove into the results of this dish. 
The recipe is a fairly straight forward one for French Toast, with the
 biggest difference here being that you coat the outside with sugar
 as it is fried in the butter. I used a larger grained sugar -
 "Royal Duchess NatuRaw" natural cane sugar and it was perfect. 
That step of sugar crusting the toast really put the final results over
 the top. GENIUS.  This is my new favorite recipe from AMFT. 
I literally declared this to be "creme brulee bread" and the
 whole family heartily agreed. We had our local syrup out and ready to go, 
but the dish was so sweet there was no need. I only wish I had some
 strawberries or raspberries to have served along side. Next time ~

 What made it so extra special ?

  • Cooking it WITH Nana, as we enjoyed our vacation week in Vermont
  • Using eggs that happened to be sold by my favorite potter- Brian Flecker of "Two Mountain Pottery". We stopped at his home studio to visit and buy some great new pieces, and since he sells brown eggs we were all set for this recipe as well. Their coloring was gorgeous.
  • Adding the yummy Lagrima vanilla received at the IFBC into the batter. We also packed up the rest of those amazing Sahale snacks and Brookside chocolate covered Pomegranate seeds, Acai with Blueberry so we could share them this week (and not eat them all myself at home :). These treats brought back memories of the Seattle fun we had with the Dorie and the Doristas.
  • Sharing the French Toast with ALL our taste testers, and thanking goodness it was not the Salty-Sweet Potato Far week. Disclaimer, I had been the one who actually liked that recipe....but am not sure my taste testing sons would have prefered that over the French toast that we had all hands on deck for. 
  • My older son's 20th birthday is TODAY ! Happy Birthday Mr. Boston U ~
This was an especially fabulous French Friday. Nana and I hope
 everyone is having the happiest of French Fridays as well !

Friday, November 22, 2013

Salty-Sweet Potato Far

Per Nana:
When I first started to read this recipe I was excited. Bacon, potatoes,
 flour and egg batter.  Then came the prunes and raisins. Although 
I had all the ingredients, it took me a week to decide whether or not
 to prepare the recipe. I thought about leaving out the fruit but 
decided to go for it. The recipe is really very simple to make and since 
I was too lazy to take out my food processor, the hardest part was
 grating the potatoes on a box grater. 

Hubby enjoyed it and I did taste the far (after picking out the fruit) and 
it wasn't bad. That said, Hubby is on his own with the rest of it. It baked
 up quite nicely and the aroma was wonderful. I would like to make this again
 sometime, but I would use other ingredients instead of fruit. I also think
 cheese would make a wonderful addition. I am anxious to see what
 everyone else thought of this recipe.

Per Tricia:
I kept an open mind to this one, in part because I could not
 begin to guess how this was going to taste. That helped the cause.
Oh, how I love my Cuisinart......
Utterly no clue how this one is going to end....
 Hubby and I have been enjoying baked and mashed cauliflower 
lately so I thought it would be fun to do a "side by side"
 comparison and prepare this both ways. 
Potato Far
Cauliflower Far
The results ? I did enjoy the cauliflower as much, if not more. 
I simply simply substituted almond flour in lieu of regular.  I had to
 add a bit more liquid than the potato version, so used half and half. 
Potato Far
The results very much reminded me of a sort of warm raisin bun or scone, 
and it was a unique combo that we enjoyed and will absolutely make again. 
Cauliflower Far
This is officially getting file under the "who knew ?" category. 
My favorite category :) 
 And as usual, Dorie knew. That's who.

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chestnut & Pear Soup

Per Nana~
I can remember traveling through Burgundy, France, near the little village of Beaune, and in the back of the hotel where we stayed was the most beautiful private garden full of leeks and cauliflower so big - it was unbelievable.

Every time I need a few leeks for a recipe, I always see them in bunches of 3-4, way too much for whatever recipe I am making. Last week I was surprised to see them at Wegmans, nicely washed and cut into pieces, packaged and ready to go. How great is that ?

Unfortunately, I did not like this soup, cleaned leeks or not. I tried and only made half the recipe for the two of us, but it was still a bit too bland.
I had some deliciously fresh blue cheese that I added to the soup as a garnish, however it just didn't work for us.

That said, I have not given up on creamed soups.

Per Tricia~
Guess where I got my leeks ? Yup, lucked out. (Thanks Nana !) I also lucked out because I did not get to the soup as originally planned..... which worked quite well for my little pears, which ended up accidentally and perfectly ripe to perfection on the day I did knock out the recipe.

My husband and I loved this one. The taste and the texture. Which was great since I did not think of halving the recipe and instead had a nice big pot of it.  One thing I know I will tweak the next time around is to tone down the amount of fresh rosemary. 

I think my sprigs were a bit large and the flavor came dangerously close to overpowering the other ingredients. My husband commented that he didn't taste chestnut flavor at all. Since there was an almost $10 jar of that pot of soup, this did make me think twice. 
my little Turkey Day place setting pear candles got in the themed shot !
Nonetheless, perfect time of year for a warming soup and we enjoyed the novelty of the flavor combo.
Happy French Friday !

Friday, November 8, 2013

Compote de Pommes Two Ways

Ended up just "one way" for us ~the easy route !

Per Tricia~
I am not sure how I raised two boys without making homemade 
applesauce, but I am even more embarrassed after learning this 
week how utterly easy it is. And tasty.  I chose Empire apples.
I was pleased with the brown sugar and vanilla flavors
 and will plan to make the again with my next pork dish - I 
just love apples with pork. 
Per Nana~
As simple as this recipe was to make, I chose the easier option
 by preparing the chunky applesauce. I really like the flavor, the
brown sugar and vanilla were perfect. 
I actually had some apples that were just hanging around since we seem
 to be on a pear kick right now, so this was a perfect way to use them up. 
 I served it with a dollop of cool whip and it was wonderful. 
This is an excellent way to use up apples or pears before they
 start to get too soft, and it makes a perfect little dessert. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hurry Up & Wait Roast Chicken

Per Tricia~
This was another week that was more technique than recipe, but an
 adventure regardless. Flipping that spitting hot chicken from side to
 side at 450 degrees is probably not going to happen again in my kitchen, 
but that combined with the upside down resting did create a juicy bird.

I stuffed bay leaves under the skin, seasoned the outside with 
olive oil, salt and pepper - and put garlic cloves in the cavity.  
Not surprisingly, the house smelled amazing.

Hubby enjoyed it and said his favorite take away from this week was 
the sauce "recipe" Dorie included. Agreed. I usually don't make
 a sauce from the pan drippings and it was a delicious change. Yum.
Per Nana~
If you have ever visited the markets in Europe, especially France, you will
 see rotisserie trucks with racks of chickens broiling away. Hubby and I
 would start out early in the day to visit these markets and within two hours 
the trucks would be empty. I have often wondered why anyone would bother 
to roast a chicken when these are so readily available.

I purchased an organic chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds, a perfect size for 
the two of us. I put a few cloves of garlic in the cavity, added some Zoe's 
flavoring and gave it a rub of butter and oil, plus an additional sprinkle of Zoe's.

I roasted some small potatoes in the Dutch oven with the chicken and
 served a mixed green salad on the side. The potatoes had such a delicious 
flavor from the melting chicken skin, but the chicken did not seem to 
brown as expected. I was disappointed that the back did not seem to cook
 at all, so I used my broiler to give it some color.

The end result was a tasty, juicy chicken that was so delicious. 
Even Hubby, who is such a fan of Popeye's crispy chicken, said this was good.
 Wonders never cease.........