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 ~

Friday, March 13, 2015

Veal Marengo & Financiers

Per Nana~
A fantastic recipe, even though I made it with beef. 
Sautéing the small onions, mushrooms and potatoes in
 butter after cooking them was absolutely delightful. 
As we like to say, it gave it that extra "je ne said quoi".  
Because I used beef instead of the veal I had to add some extra cooking
 time, and a bit more liquid. Jim has already stated he would like this 
again, and I will definitely try to find a veal shoulder next time. 
Per Tricia~
I made this recipe last weekend after we had yet another snowstorm,
 and it was perfect comfort food.  I could not believe my luck at finding 
small onions (product of France, no less) in our local Acme Market.
 The veal came from the local butcher shop and was thankfully cubed for me. 
I had the pleasure of my younger taste tester being home for Spring Break 
and he gave two thumbs way up for this dish. In full disclosure, he is still
 getting used to both dorm food and then paying for other meals so he likely
 would have enjoyed any page out of the book. My husband and I also
 enjoyed it and liked the idea of a "stew" being changed up a bit. 
I also decided to do a make up recipe of the financier cookies. 
A financier pan is one of the few baking pans I have not treated myself 
to ......but I found the madeleine pans were a perfect substitute. 
They have gotten more play this week than ever before !
 The browned butter (beurre noisette) smelled heavenly and really added
 a wonderful flavor to this cake/cookie. I finished some in chocolate
 ganache and toasted coconut while others got a dose of the lemon 
glaze left from our recent Baking Chez Moi adventure. They were 
delicious and we all agreed the browned butter was a new favorite. 

Happy French Friday ~

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lemon Madeleines - Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana~
This week's recipe for Lemon Madeleines was so delicious, the texture so light. 
Last week I did a make-up for FFWD and chose the Honey-Spiced Madeleines
 - not realizing we were to do them again for BCM. After reading over the 
recipe for the Honey-Spiced version I realized the difference is in the amount 
of time used for whisking the eggs and sugars (plus the different spices, of course). 

The lemon cakes are beaten until they thicken, making them light and airy. 

My little cakes did not come with the "bump" that Dorie mentioned, but they 
looked pretty good. I wasn't too sure about glazing them, I had never attempted 
that before on these cookies, but the end result was wonderful.  All in all, 
Jim and I loved them and I definitely plan to try other variations. 
Per Tricia~
Lemon is one of my favor flavors.  I will never forget the dinner party when 
my friend Eva showed up at my door with a homemade 3 layer lemon cake 
with gorgeous blackberries on top. I have no idea what I served that night, 
all I can remember is that insanely gorgeous and delicious cake SHE made. 

Yes, these little cookies had a lot going for them. Having also done the
 Honey Spiced Madeleine make up last week I recognized how much more
 I preferred this little cookie/cake in the more traditional lemon version. 
I think it suits the lightness of the texture. 
Dorie's recipe made 12 cookies exactly for me but somehow I managed
 to mess up the thickness of the glaze because while tasting wonderful, 
mine was not as thick as it likely should have been. It soaked right into the
 little madeleines and was basically invisible. But tasted delicious.
 Next time I need to cool them longer or thicken up the coating. 
Or both. 
Because there will be a next time with these little lovelies. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles & Honey Spiced Madeleines

 Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles
Per Nana~
This week's recipe for cabbage and foie gras bundles was a bit of a challenge.  
Knowing I would not find the proper ingredients I considered skipping it 
altogether, but then I decided it was more important to learn a new technique. 
I knew that foie gras was out of the question but cabbage ? Wegmans had no 
Savoy or regular cabbage except this cute mini cabbage, which incidentally
 worked perfectly, size wise.  I paired that with a foie gras mousse. 
The recipe is simple and I served it at Happy Hour. Life is good..... 
I am sure with real foie gras it would be amazing. 
Per Tricia
I finished off the last of my stash of terrines from the Loire Valley,
 recalling wonderful memories in lieu of the cost prohibitive foie gras. 
This one had my curiosity piqued because it seemed like such an unusual pairing.
 Once I started assembling the little bundles I could not help but think that
 rice should have been added into the bundle. It seemed familiar and yet I 
could not place the recipe I was thinking of. I Googled and found that I 
ironically just enjoyed my first "Galumpkis" or stuffed cabbage roll in 
December while eating dinner in a NY City Deli across the street from 
where we were visiting Dorie on her book tour. Yes, there was a
 cabbage roll connection and Dorie was involved in both parts :) 
 Regardless of any preconceptions, the aroma was wonderful as these steamed. 
My husband and I were surprised by how tasty they were, though we did 
agree that a bit of rice would have been a nice addition for us since would 
have preferred them more as a main dish than hors d'oeuvre. 

Honey Spiced Madeleines
 Per Nana~
I have never made Madeleines before and the process was simple, but
 while going over recipes for future weeks, I realized that next week for 
"Baking Chez Moi" we will be making the lemon flavored Madeleines.  
Doesn't really matter, Jim and I thought these were terrific.
Per Tricia~
I have not made Madeleines in quite some time and evidently I am 
now making up for it. They are a fun cookie/cake and getting the pans
 out to do this week's recipe and prepare for the lemon version next
 Tuesday reminded me that I really should make them more frequently. 
From my memory I had recalled prepping the pans to be a bit of a fussy step.
 I am not sure that I haven't simply encountered more challenging recipes in
 recent days or what, but it didn't strike me as a big deal at all this time around.
 My husband liked the honey spice flavoring and they were certainly
 delicious, but I find that I am partial to the usual lemon flavored ones 
I have made before. So I am very much looking forward to this 
coming week and trying the recipe from "Baking Chez Moi". 
And my husband is looking forward to more Madeleines....
Happy French Friday ~

Friday, February 27, 2015

Riviera Fish Soup

Per Nana~
Okay, now I have to make a trip back to France.
 I ran out of my stash of Pastis. 
Is that a good enough excuse ? We think so......
Preparing this week's recipe of Riviera Fish Soup I used fresh cod 
instead of the Red Snapper that Dorie suggested. It smelled so delicious 
after just the first five minutes of cooking that I was already to dig in.  
I told Jim that I didn't want to puree the soup since it looked so good as is. 
Due to last week's miserable weather I used up all the little onions from 
the last recipe and in place of the fennel I used leeks. It worked, but I am sure
 that the fennel would have been a much better match with the pastis. 
The soup was quite good, perfect on a cold wintery day,
 but I am not sure I would make it again. 
Per Tricia~
I also came up with a substitute for the Red Snapper since my grocery 
store was out, and I went with Tilapia.  Not being a fan of fish, I didn't 
expect to enjoy this recipe. Down to my hubby and myself as taste testers
 I did the math to make a half portion. 
 I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious the recipe smelled while 
being prepared and was quite excited to give it a taste test. 
Like Nana, I also thought the soup looked wonderful when the cooking was
 finished on the stove and I hesitated to grind it all up, per the recipe. 
I split the difference and kept half of it "chunky" while putting the rest into
 the Cuisinart. The verdict is that we liked the texture of the chunky version
 better, but since I tend to like my soups ground finely (esp vegetable ones) 
I was happy to have tried the comparison. We were surprised that the distinct 
aroma of the fennel and Pernod did not end up with an overwhelmingly anise
 flavor - it was actually quite subtle. My hubby did not add any additional 
seasonings but I gave my bowl a few hits of Tabasco sauce for even more heat.
While not all are on "team anise", I personally have wonderful memories
 of my first sips of the sweet liquor Anisette while sitting on my Italian 
grandfather's knee. I was very lucky to have grown up with big Sunday 
family meals where there were many courses and no rush to finish.   Dessert 
always included fruit, among other options, and while I am sure there was a 
cookie or two involved in the ritual, my memories focus on the fork full
 of melon slice that I would enjoy while hoping for a sip of Anisette. 
Another fond memory involves a 2007 trip to Paris when my folks joined us 
as we took our young sons along on my husband's  business trip.  My folks 
were phenomenal tour guides and whizzed us all around the "City of Lights". 
I love this picture of my family ! (sans poor working hubby !)
With hubby at work, the rest of us explored the famed "Rue de Rivoli" and 
Louvre while  Grandpa- who had "been there, done that" reported he would 
catch up with us later. We later circled back to locate him and I will never 
forget my younger son's squeals of disbelief as he reported where he had 
found Grandpa. While peeking in the window of the fancy Hotel Regina, 
he spied Grandpa sitting on the fancy velvet settee in the marble lounge, 
enjoying a cocktail and snacks ! My son could not imagine being inside 
such fancy place, let alone sitting there and looking quite at home....
Pastis for Grandpa, Kir Royale for Nana and coffee for me. The boys only wanted the chips...
 And the drink ? 
Of course he was simply enjoying his afternoon Pastis :) 
We all went in to join him and enjoyed quite the moment and quite the memory ~

Happy French Friday ~