Friday, February 28, 2014

Garbure from the Supermarket

Per Nana~
When I first read through this recipe I thought of the Alsace region and their
 specialty, Choucroute. I did not realize that the pork shoulder Dorie mentioned 
was fresh pork, so I purchased a smoked shoulder/butt. 

Also, when looking for garlic sausage I opted for garlic parsley Italian sausage. 
Since these would be undercooked, I baked them in the oven first. I think 
Polish Kielbasa would have worked a lot better but these sausages were still 
tasty. Instead of buying a whole cabbage I bought a bag of chopped cabbage 
used for making coleslaw. Even though there is a lot of prep work in the recipe 
as Dorie has it, it is well  worth every minute spent in the kitchen.   

After cooking everything for the first hour, I remember Mardi mentioning 
the vegetables becoming quite soft, so I tested them and they were "done".
 I decided to remove them from the soup and add them back later.
 When all was cooked I shredded the meat and then added the veggies
 to reheat. Hubby and I enjoyed this soup a lot, unfortunately the amount
 this recipe yielded was a bit much for us. I did freeze a few containers
 and hopefully these will be good when defrosted.
Per Tricia~
It is still cold and snowy(ing) in Pennsylvania so it was great to have
 this hearty French soup/stew on the menu. I also went with a smoked
 shoulder/butt and no, not because Nana bought it for me this week
 (but fair enough assumption) but because I thought it sounded delicious 
when I found it in the store. I added a D'Artagnan duck leg and my 
last batch of Wallingford Vermont cob-smoked kielbasa.
I love a Cassoulet type dish so it was no surprise that the garbure was a hit. 

The kitchen smelled amazing. My husband and I both enjoyed this and
 the kids will be able to test it since my freezer is now also full. 
Happy French Friday ~

Friday, February 21, 2014

Butter & Rum Crepes, Plain and Fancy

Per Nana~
I have never seen a crepe that I did not like, except my own. 
I prepared the batter, which was so easy and chilled it for a few hours. 
The problem is trying to cook them. I used a heavy duty frying pan 
and everything seemed to get too hot. I either burned the bottom or, 
when flipping it over, it fell apart. 
I attempted the recipe three times in the last week trying to perfect
 them for photos. (not too much of an effort since we enjoyed them anyway.)  
The sauce was really easy. I whisked the juices and the butter by hand
 and it turned out very smooth. When I first tasted the blend I thought
 there was too much of a lemon flavor, but then realized it just 
worked when served with the crepes. 
I served one crepe to Jim with nutella inside and drizzled some on top. 
He said he preferred the sauce I had made with the honey. That surprised
 me because he loves nutella. One of my fondest memories is my mother
 preparing crepes for us when I was young. They were served plain 
with a sprinkle of sugar on top. Simply delicious. 
Per Tricia~
This week brought together everything I love about French Fridays.
 The recipe for crepes was a classic French dish, one that my family 
and I love elsewhere but for whatever reason I had not been making 
at home, and one where Dorie's wonderful tips guided me in the
 kitchen and provided me more than just the "ingredients and instructions". 
I may never throw an orange peel away again- mixed with sugar it was pure gold. YUM.
Specifically ?  Her suggestion that to use your fingers to gently flip the crepes.
 While I have no pride about getting something done in the kitchen, 
I can clearly admit that this was not a technique I would have even 
thought of. But it worked like a charm. In fact, I feel quite confident it
 saved every crepe I made. So there I was, husband dying over the 
aroma of the citrus and crepes and patiently waiting to fulfill his role
 as taste tester - and I am bragging to him about how wonderful Dorie
is because she tuned me in to the using my fingers. 
I refilled my saved Laduree jar with the sauce. Nothing from Paris is ever thrown out in my house.....
"Check this out. 
It works perfectly.
 I never would have thought of this myself. 
This is why I love Dorie.
 This is why this book is fun."

 Welcome to French Fridays in my kitchen :) 
The crepes were served with the wonderful honey citrus sauce and 
I filled several with some homemade whipped cream. And all along
 I wondered why I had not made these in such a long time. I can't wait 
to make them for the boys when they are home. Crepes = love. 

These shots are from the 2007 trip we took to Paris with the boys. Nana and my 
Dad were there as well so it was a very special vacation memory for all of us.  
And there was no shortage of crepes.

 At 20 and 17 now, you can imagine that a lot has changed in the last 7 years.  
One thing that has not - their love of crepes. 

Happy French Fridays

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hèléne's All White Salad

Per Nana~

A big hit in our house.
 This week's all white salad turned out better than I expected.
 I'm not a fan of cabbage so I replaced the Napa cabbage with
 thinly sliced Romaine lettuce (white portion only).   
                         Thinly sliced white mushrooms and sliced celery worked perfectly. 
I thought about using thin slices of onion in the salad but decided to use only
 the ingredients Dorie suggested and leave my additions for another time.
The vinaigrette was so easy to prepare using my mini food processor. 
I have made fresh mayonnaise before and it can be a problem, but this was
 so easy. Yogurt is not something I enjoy but when blended with all the 
other ingredients, it made a wonderful dressing.  Hubby and I both 
enjoyed this wonderful little salad. 
Per Tricia~
Opposite reaction in our house, though I did find the dressing 
easy to make. Unfortunately we just were not fans of the overall taste.
 I used the Napa cabbage along with the other listed ingredients 
and the whole combo seemed to tart for us. 
Short and sweet, now on to next week's crepes. 
Spoiler alert- those crepes could be filled with Napa cabbage
 and we would still enjoy them - we love crepes !!

Happy French Friday
 Happy Valentine's Day !

Friday, February 7, 2014

Boeuf à la ficelle

Per Nana~
This week's recipe of beef on a string is quite interesting. 
 I will admit that I took the easy way out and used broth from a container.
  Perhaps if the weather was a bit nicer I might have considered 
shopping for all the ingredients to prepare the bouillon, but I don't
 even know where to buy oxtails or veal bones on a good day.
I used  a total of two and a half containers of broth and cooked the veggies up.
 I did not find any celery root while shopping so I decided to use parsnips 
instead. This combination of vegetables added such a lovely flavor to the 
broth. I poached the beef tenderloin for 20 minutes and it was still too rare
 for us to eat. I sliced a few pieces to use for photos and then sliced the rest to
 cook a bit more in the broth. To garnish, I used horseradish and mustard, 
and served "Hélène's All White Salad" on the side. 

Per Tricia~
Luckily this week's recipe was quite a cinch compared to the Paris Brest 
pastry of last week. Even more so if you used ready made broth like 
Nana and I did. The aroma in the kitchen was out of this world as the
 tenderloin poached and my husband, who prefers his meat rare, 
was in his glory. I decided not to tell him how much I spent on the
 piece of meat he was raving about. Why be a kill-joy..... 
In addition to enjoying this "lost recipe" as Dorie refers to it, I very much
 enjoyed her tale of trying to get the cut of meat at the Grand Epicerie
 in Paris. This one really hit home as when Nana and I have stayed in
 Paris the last few times our preferred location is about a block away. 
We often would stop by La Grand Epicerie, which is really an
 amazing food hall/court/ grocery store that is part of a department
 store- Le Bon Marche. We would enjoy ogling the fine pastries, meats
 and French specialties - as much as chuckling when we saw "American" 
food (ketchup, oreos) on the very fancy shelves. At very fancy prices. 

I love to get tote bags as souvenirs and have been using  one
 from this very store for years now. It is by no means fancy
 but it does the job and puts a smile on my
 face as I bring lunch and supplies to work. 

And Nana was spot on with it not being weather to go hunting oxtails in.
 We have had severe weather in PA, with snow that was followed by an ice
 storm. We woke up earlier this week to our tree taking out a neighbor's car. 
All is well but this winter has been quite an adventure. 
And it is far from over.
Note my feathered friend in the river birch outside my window ~
Happy French Friday ~