Friday, April 17, 2015

Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

Per  Nana~
I don't cook pork too often lately because I find it to be very dry, but using
 Dorie's method of braising the meat with the fruit makes such a difference. 
We both enjoyed it, and blending the fruit with all the other ingredients made 
a lovely and delicious sauce. I cooked rice as a side dish and with some of
 the sauce on top, it was really good. I know I overcooked the meat but I just 
can't eat pork unless it is cooked through. Thanks to Tricia for finding 
the lychees, which was a first for us, it definitely added to this recipe. 
Per Tricia~
This recipe had me intrigued from the start since I had neither 
eaten nor cooked with lychees before this "French Friday". 
 I was also simply delighted that I could find
 them in the off season in our suburban area. 
The sauce has some heavy hitters taste wise. 
Garlic, onion, vinegar, wine, honey. Wow. 
The sweet lychee along with the cut mangoes added quite a 
sweet/savory kick to the dish. Did we enjoy it - yes.
 I especially liked the combination of the mangoes
 with pork and I will likely revisit that portion again.
  It was comfort food with a kick, and a refreshing change from my 
usual pork with apples. It is always an adventure on Friday around here ~

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Limoncello Cupcakes ~ Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana~
If you love the flavor of lemon, then you will love these cupcakes. 
There are three parts to this recipe (cake, syrup and the frosting) and 
each has a bit of Limoncello added, giving it a delicious lemon flavor. 
I realized as I was preparing the recipe that I only had a mini cupcake pan on hand.
 Dorie suggests filling the cupcakes with an optional bit of orange or lemon 
marmalade but since I didn't have any on hand I just eliminated that step. 
With the syrup and lemon flavored butter cream on top, we really didn't miss it. 
This was a good recipe and will definitely be a repeat. 

Per Tricia~
I just love lemon desserts so was quite excited to try this recipe.  
Lemon cake, limoncello, lemon frosting. 
Oh yes, don't forget the lemon marmalade filling. 
 As expected, all that lemon-boozy-zesty-sugar was delicious. 
The frosting was the biggest surprise because I could not initially get the butter 
and confectioner's sugar to meld together. I was very successful at getting a fine 
layer of sifted white sugar all over every surface in close proximity to my mixer. 
I considered it an act of faith in Dorie that I kept going. 
And faith is rewarded :) 
I do tend to like a lighter cake batter so may not revisit this particular batter, 
but will definitely repeat the concept of filling the cupcake batter with a teaspoon 
of lemon marmalade, then brushing the top with syrup prior to frosting. 
I also liked the ratio of the smaller frosting portion, which Dorie explains
 is how the French would serve these cakes. Mind you the lesser frosting 
amount is going on a cake that was basted with a lemon sugar/syrup 
concoction when removed from the oven, so there is no lack of sweetness.

Another winner from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".

Friday, April 10, 2015

Salmon Tartare

Per Nana~
As pretty as this dish looks, there is no way I would eat the fish raw. 
I prepared the recipe using only a quarter of the ingredients
 simply because I did not want to add this to my make-up list. 
I used a biscuit cutter for the ring and that worked perfectly. 
I made sure I had the camera ready when I removed the ring,
 thinking it would fall apart. (It did not)
I will admit that I sampled a smidgen of the dish and surprisingly, 
I was more turned off by the lime flavor than the raw fish. For 
anyone that loves raw seafood, this is a beautiful presentation.  
Per Tricia~
I am not a fan of raw fish (possibly genetic :) and evidently I am
 also quite lazy, since the time consuming work on the limes was 
enough to sway me unfavorably against this week's recipe. 
That said, I could not get over how wonderful the aroma of the 
fresh limes, chives, mint and scallions was - not to mention 
how gorgeous all the ingredients looked as they got prepped.  
I was truly excited to give this a try. 
Unfortunately I did not care for the flavors. Not surprising, but I 
was surprised that my sushi loving husband also did not care for 
it, saying he did not like the lime/tomato combo. 
All was not lost as this recipe reminded me how much I love fresh mint 
and I now have plans to plant some fresh mint in my garden.....

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, April 3, 2015

Waffles and Cream

Per Nana~
If I made the batter for waffles but ended up making crepes,
 does it still count as completing this week's recipe ?
Only kidding, of course. 
I used the old waffle iron that had belonged to Jim's mother, purchased 
around 1950/1960. I had used it for the first time only a few months ago 
when we made the waffles and lox recipe and had no problems. 
Unfortunately, after I poured the batter in this time, it lost power and quit. 
Since I had used only one ladle of the batter I had to think fast
 before the egg whites collapsed. Out came the crepe pan which
 I heated quickly and made five lovely and delicious crepes. 
 I am going to order the waffle plates to go with my Cuisinart panini 
griddle so I can enjoy this delicious batter as waffles next time. 
Per Tricia~
These waffles were not good. 
They were amazing. 
Dorie shared that she was lucky enough to get a copy of this 
recipe from the chef of the Parisian restaurant where she first enjoyed
 them. And it was then it was lucky for us that she shared it as well. 
I served mine with homemade whipped cream, golden sugar and
 then small bowls of warm caramel sauce for dipping. Delicious. 
Typically these recipes have inspired me to use ingredients in a new way 
or to try a new technique but for this week I got a well needed reminder
 at how wonderful it is to enjoy waffles at home. Especially with this recipe. 

PS- I am going to make a deal with Nana to lend her my waffle iron (LOL, which
 she of course gave me.....) if she will make me some of those crepes. YUM !!!

Happy French Friday ~

Friday, March 27, 2015

Next-Day Beef Salad

Per Nana~
On Sunday I prepared a pot roast and used a portion of the top round 
to make this delicious salad. The dressing mixture, using mayonnaise 
and two different types of mustard is really good.  
As delicious as it was when freshly made, it was even better 
the next day when all the flavors had blended together.  
This would be a wonderful addition to a summer barbecue, or any dinner 
for that matter. It is really refreshing. Jim gives this one two thumbs up. 
Per Tricia~
This one was another of Dorie's "non recipe" recipes. 
She basically was sharing a wonderful medley she came up with based on 
left overs. Roast beef cubes, capers,  green olives, tomatoes, tart diced apple, 
pickled peppers, cornichons, etc - on a bed of greens. I chose baby spinach.  
We enjoyed the prescribed combo very much but just as importantly, 
Dorie once again inspired me to be re-think using what is on hand - 
showing just how appreciated left overs can be when you are creative.  

 Happy French Friday~

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars ~ Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana ~
This was an incredible dessert bar and so easy to assemble. 
Definitely a little dessert that can be put together quickly, having 
most of the ingredients on hand. As Dorie mentions, when the
 chocolate is spread on the base, your toppings can be varied. 
When I was cutting them into squares the aroma of the 
chocolate was so strong, I could not resist tasting a piece.
 Absolutely scrumptious. 
Definitely a repeat recipe to be experimented with. These
 would be a great addition to any cookie recipe collection. 

Per Tricia ~
Crazy yum. 
I can not stop raving about this book- Baking Chez Moi- because every 
recipe (granted, all desserts.....) has been a distinct winner. And even 
among that competition, this recipe may have taken the lead. 
Rice Krispy treats are almost an embarrassing love of mine. 
Not many people are impressed if you list them as your favorite food but 
the truth is, I just love the treat. I did not expect to get any tips 
involving Rice Krispys from Dorie's book not only provided the bar
 recipe but tips in the back about prepping the cereal with sugar on the stove.
 Genius. Pure sugar genius. 
I used bittersweet morsels typically for making chocolate chips.  
This dessert bar is basically like a chocolate chip cookie separated in bar 
form - plain cookie, then chocolate coating, then sugar coated Rice Krispy on top. 
Winner, keeper, two thumbs up.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup

Per Nana~
This week's recipe reminds me of Stracciatella, except for the added garlic. 
A simple soup to make, the most tedious part was prepping the garlic, removing 
the germ and thinly slicing it. When the soup was completely cooked, I thought 
about removing the garlic pieces but used a blender to puree them instead. 
As delicious as this soup was, and we both enjoyed it, the after taste of the garlic 
was a bit too strong. I use garlic all the time for cooking purposes, but not in 
such quantity. That said, I do not think this will be a recipe I will be repeating.

Per Tricia~
I got a kick  out of this recipe because I had utterly no idea what to expect. 
A "cure-all" is not typically synonymous with "yummy" and with these ingredients
 ....I frankly set the bar pretty low. Basically you slice up lots of garlic, add 
water with a very few herbs and later add an egg yolk/Parmesan cheese 
mixture to thicken it up. Nope, this was new territory for me in the kitchen. 
I had shredded Parmesan on hand and went with that.  I was happy 
to give the soup a taste test and very pleasantly surprised by the results.  
The kicker is that if I simply was making soup, I would not reach for this recipe. 
If I needed something while recouping from a cold or hangover ,which is the point 
of this one, well then count me in.  And since I always have the ingredients on
 hand, it has a fighting chance to actually be made :)
 My hubby tasted it (without me exposing the ingredients) and while he guessed the
 garlic, he kept saying it tasted buttery and very creamy. We had fun with this one.

Happy French Friday ~