Friday, December 27, 2013

Dilled Gravlax with Mustard Sauce

Per Nana~
One of the most delicious brunch treats to me is a
 plate of lox, with cream cheese, thinly sliced onions, 
sliced tomatoes and a few capers thrown in.
Slice  bagel or bialy and just assemble it in any order, it really doesn't matter.
 So delicious.  Must be the New Yorker in me....
This week's recipe for gravlax made me wonder if I could trust myself 
to prepare it correctly. I still think in terms of "raw fish".  I mentioned it to Hubby,
 asking "if I leave it dressed for 72 hours it should be done, right ???". 
 We figured that since Tricia's husband enjoys Sushi, this can't be too bad. 
Well, 72 hours passed and out came the gravlax. It looked great. 
I sliced it very thin and prepared the sauce. 
I was very proud of myself at this point because I tackled a recipe
 I always wanted to try, but didn't have the courage to until now.  
Thank you Dorie.
It was truly delicious. Since Hubby does not eat lox at all, 
I sent some over to Tricia's family to enjoy.
Per Tricia~
This was simply outstanding. And it could not have been easier. 
warmed spices being crushed ~
The biggest challenge, in fact, was getting the Progresso soup 
cans acting as weights to stay in place and then find open rea
estate in the Christmas week refrigerator. 

pressed for 72 hours ~
I was a bit concerned about it "being done", but I could tell by the 
dark coloring that magic had indeed happened over the last 72 hours.
I am not a big fan of lox or gravlax, but my taste testers always 
enjoy it at brunch so I was delighted to try this recipe. 

 It was a huge hit. 

In fact, my younger son devoured the entire bagel in the photo -
after adding more gravlax and sauce to make 2 opened faced sandwiches. 
He said he liked how much more "fresh" it tasted than the usual lox.
My hubby tried the cream cheese version as well as the mustard
 sauce and was surprised at how much he enjoyed Dorie's sauce.  
Thankfully it turned out well because Nana had raised the bar
 when she sent her care package over earlier in the week.
 Expectations were high :)

This is a keeper and I look forward to making it for brunches
 or perhaps as a wonderful appetizer with drinks. 
If I can just remember to start it 3 days early......

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recipe Swap Onion "Carbonara"

Per Nana~
When I first read through this recipe my reaction was "yuck". Imagine eating limp onions and adding cream sauce. Gross. Well let me tell you - this was a shocker of a recipe. I started out trying to cut it in half but then couldn't figure out how to split an egg yolk.  At Hubby's suggestion I decided to make the whole recipe, with the understanding that it would go in the trash if it wasn't great.
Quelle surprise ! 
 We loved it.  
 I steamed the onions earlier in the day and covered them. Sauteed the bacon and then at the very last minute put the whole thing together. FANTASTIC.  As I looked on the counter I realized that I forgot to add the parmesan cheese to the dish. When I finally added the cheese it was over the top in flavors. The results look just like linguine pasta with carbonara sauce. Unbelieveable.

Per Tricia~
The collection of recipes in "Around My French Table" NEVER ceases to amaze me. I have dabbled in low carb and tried many a carb substitute type recipe, but I can assure you I never heard about onions in lieu of pasta. And to find that it was Patricia Wells who shared the recipe with Dorie. Wow.  Of course I don't imagine they had Dr. Atkins in mind when creating this dish but it was a low carb revelation nonetheless. I personally enjoyed it in a smaller dose and intend to try it as a topping for chicken breast, but my hubby could not get enough of it as main course.  
I also had to chuckle because I realized this week that he basically says "oh, this is good" to every dish. (I am very lucky that way).  But typing does not do justice to the delivery that these same words get...... depending on how he truly feels. Suffice it to say that this week's was more like:"OH ! This is REALLY GOOD !"  Which of course completely distracted me from the onion dish and made me wonder what he had thought about prior dishes declared "really good"  :)

Well played, Dorie. Well played.
Merry Christmas !

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mme. Maman's Chopped Liver

Per Nana~
Hubby was in his glory this week. I made him chopped liver.  We both love chicken livers and I prepare them often to serve over rice. Being from the New York City area, chopped liver was always easy to find and it was an excellent appetizer to go along with a perfectly chilled martini or a glass of wine.
Dorie's version is so delicious and since we can not find it here in the suburbs of Philadelphia too easily, I am happy to have found a recipe to our taste. 

After reading all the comments in the P's and Q's section, I know many of the Doristas are skeptical about the recipe, but after the cleaning part is finished, it really is simple to make.
If you like liverwurst, you will love this recipe. Dorie said to brown the onions but I think I overdid that part a little too much, but it still tasted fantastic. No martini this time around, but I enjoyed a sandwich with mayo instead.
This is definitely a keeper for me. 
Per Tricia~
I should have had a martini in order to prepare this one. In full disclosure, I can not stand the smell of cooked liver. Nana teases me because if I stop over her house when she has made chicken livers I make it about 5 feet in the door before I declare that I can't stay. We have an understanding that if my husband would like some liver, he is to go next door. But this week, with hubby's help in cleaning the little livers, I dug deeper and prepared the dish. The funny thing is that I enjoy pate and have loved liverwurst since I was very young. In fact, my classic elementary school lunch was liverwurst on rye, with mustard. Go figure.

This recipe was  truly easy and I was completely delighted that the aroma did not get to me until the end. Unfortunately it also permeated the house so the "aromatherapy" lasted longer than I would have liked. But it was worth it because my husband really did enjoy this and said he will gladly make it himself in the future. He will have to .......
Happy French Friday~

Friday, December 6, 2013

Almond-Orange Tuiles

Per Nana:
A complete disaster for me. I prepared the dough yesterday and put it in the refrigerator overnight. When I looked at it today I thought this would work beautifully since it had such a nice texture. I formed teaspoon size little balls and it all held together well.  However, when I tried to remove them from the cookie sheet after baking, it just did not cooperate.

The first two cookies fell apart immediately but I managed to get three decent ones (sort of) on the rolling pin. I left the rest of them flat. My second tray was even more of a disaster as I could not remove them from the tray at all. They completely stuck and at that point I just gave up. 
The sad thing is, they were really tasty and the three that were curved were really quite decorative.  I actually used whole almonds that I blanched and peeled myself, and then finely chopped them. There must be a knack for making this cookie, but I certainly didn't have it. I am anxious to see how the rest of my fellow Doristas made out with this one.

Per Tricia:
"La Rentree" after our Thanksgiving vacation was definitely a brutal one this week, and not a good time for a fussy recipe. Reading the P&Q's just added to the anticipated stress. Luckily, I had Nana to the rescue and she delivered me almonds that she blanched and peeled. Yup, kind of hard to complain about having a busy week :)
I used "Pam" non-stick spray and my metal cookie spatula
I literally did the grocery shopping for this cookie at 8pm on Friday night, threw the dough in the freezer for about ten minutes and said a quick prayer or two :)
I also leveraged all the amazing advice that the Doristas shared in the P&Q's and my recipe came off without a hitch.

They looked amazing, tasted amazing and smelled fantastic. I first loaded up a big pottery platter but then decided they also needed a photo on my "good china". These seem like lovely "fancy" cookies and I think they would really impress company.

My hubby and I enjoyed these immensely and I will gladly make them again. I also want to note that I enjoy all of the tips and stories that Dorie has shared in this book - "Around My French Table", but the one she told about getting this cookie recipe from the chef (along with a sample of the dough to cook at home) really touched me. For those that have had the pleasure of interacting with Dorie in person, this would have been an easy exchange to understand. She is that special, and so are these cookies.

Happy French Friday ~