Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cocktail Nuts! FFWD

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts!
Made these for a holiday party we had at our house and they were a hit. I split these onto two baking sheets (covered with parchment which worked perfectly). One sheet was a little crowded and the nuts did not come out quite as well. They were a little chewy and maybe a touch soggy. The other tray was perfect though. So, next time-- do not crowd! The nuts pictures above are from the "good sheet". These are great and will, like many other Around My French Table recipes, be added to the list of regulars!

Friday, December 3, 2010

French Fridays With Dorie- Daube!

I missed two weeks of French Fridays with Dorie. Thanksgiving just got in the way and made everything difficult. But, I was cooking from the book-- just not the recipes assigned and I did not get on here to blog about the food. Major food blog fail. But, I made the Cauliflower Gratin (yum!), the chocolate mousse (yum!!!), and the mustard batons (easy, yum!). I will get myself together and post about all of those soon. But for today, My Go-To Beef Daube is up. It is just getting a little cool in Dallas, finally, and I have been dying to make something meaty and stewy for a few weeks.

How could this not be good? -- the meat is browned in bacon fat... and then braised in wine for 2.5 hours with the bacon. We ate this with mashed potatoes and were very very happy. I am already looking forward to the leftovers! This will be a go to recipe for me from now on.

No pictures this week. I got a new camera and have not figured out the camera computer hook up quite yet. Next week, potato and leek soup!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Turkey Meatballs with Pesto

I have been on a ground turkey kick lately. I am making turkey tacos, turkey burgers, Indian turkey kebabs, and of course, the old standby, turkey meatballs. I love meatballs! And I feel better about eating them pretty regularly when I make them with turkey instead of ground beef.

Here is what I do:

1 pound ground extra lean turkey
1-2 eggs (depends on my mood)
1/3 cup of Italian bread crumbs (less if only one egg)
1 tablespoon pesto (pre-made usually)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup grated parm
sprinkle of some oregano or other herbs that sound good
splash of Worcestershire

Mix together gently, form balls, and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 - 12 minutes depending on the size of those balls! Ha!

Ok, so, I like to add the pesto because I think it adds some nice moisture and flavor to what can be pretty boring balls. I am also careful to not over handle the balls. ;) But, really, you do not want to mess with it too much because they do get tough.

I serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce, of course. Nothing new or revolutionary here, just some good week night spaghetti and meatballs.

Potato Gratin- French Fridays with Dorie

In the oven:
After about 1 hour 15 minutes @ 350:

I should have taken another photo about 20 minutes later when much of that extra cream was sucked up into the potatoes. Next time I make this I will probably use a little less cream because there was still a bit too much at the end. It was a little soupy and messy on the plate. But, I mean really, too much cream is never the end of the world. I love the technique of infusing the cream with garlic. The top crust was delicious! Another good one from Around My French Table!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux- FFWD


In the Middle:

Ready to Eat:

Chicken Bread:

Fabulous! This is the method I will be using for all roast chickens in the future. And I have a feeling there will be a whole lot of them in this house. Thanks Dorie!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

French Onion Soup

We just got back to Dallas from a week away on vacation and it is suddenly fall here. The air is cool and crisp and I am so excited for all the yummy wintery food to come. In our house this means a lot of soups, stews and chili.

First up for the fall day, my husband's favorite soup - french onion. The recipe I use is adapted from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles recipe.

7-8 onion sliced (I use a mix of red and yellow)
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups broth (I use half chicken and half beef)
bouquet garni (sprig of thyme, bay leaf, spring of parsley)
1/4 cup red wine
1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 slices of bread
1 cup gruyere/ emmenthaller

I saute the onion low and slow until they are perfectly brown with just the butter and some salt and pepper. This takes almost an hour, but it is worth it. I always want to turn the heat up about half an hour in and my husband (who has way more patience than me) always stops me. And, he is always right about this. This process just cannot be rushed. I love making this soup on a lazy weekend. Sitting at the table, drinking wine, reading a book and taking turns with husband stirring the onions every 5 minutes or so, afternoon perfection.

Meanwhile, I heat the broth in my big soup pot. This time I had leftover beef broth from making Hachis Parmentier a few weeks ago. So, I defrosted and used that mixed with chicken broth. I let this cook with the bouquet garni for the last 15-20 minutes of the onion cooking time. When the onions turn that perfect shade of brown and are so sweet they can be mistaken for candy, you are ready to deglaze the pan with the wine and balsamic taking care to scrap up all those bits of fabulous. Then I throw the onion mixture in with the broth and let it all meld together for maybe 30 minutes (if we can wait that long).

And then, the best part. The soup gets ladled into the bowls. The slices of bread which have been lightly toasted are set afloat on top of the soup and it all gets covered in a mixture of the cheeses. It takes about 3-5 min under the broiler to get the cheese slightly brown and totally melty. Not much better than this! Except maybe mulligatawny soup- my all time favorite.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Marie Helene's Apple Cake via French Fridays with Dorie

I made this apple cake to follow the Hachis Parmentier when my brother and his family were visiting a couple weeks ago. Is this totally cheating as far as the French Fridays with Dorie group goes? I hope it is not too terrible of a crime that I have committed and that I will not be forcefully ejected from the group-- because I LOVE it. From now on I plan to cook the recipe on the proper week, but it just made sense to make some of these when there were more mouths to feed in the house. Moving on... these are the apples I used (note the hugeness)

My cake did not turn out very pretty. I used a 9 inch spring form pan. I think this makes a big difference. I am also using a new-to-me oven and I think it is actually heating up to a lower than advertised temperature. I need to add a oven thermometer to my grocery list. Also, my apples were huge and I ended up with a lot of barely cover apples once I mixed them with the batter.

I baked it for the suggested amount of time and took it out to cook. It was pretty rare looking- no picture because I was pretty sure it was going in the trash at this point. I stomped around the kitchen and called my mom to complain and to get her advice on how much meat people eat (see previous post). She suggested I put it back in the oven and see what happens. Thank goodness for Mom!

I ended up putting this back in the oven for another 15 minutes. At this point it looked way better- although still nothing like the picture in the book. Mine just seemed to lack the cakey quality. But, it tasted fabulous and I will be making this again. I saw on the P/Q thread people were 1.5-ing the recipe to fill a 9 inch pan and I will probably do that next time and pick more medium sized apples, as well. I served this with Haggen Dazs dulce de leche ice cream and it was a big hit!