Friday, September 30, 2011

deconstructed BLT and eggs - French Fridays w/Dorie

Bacon makes everything better. This seems to be the motto at our house and with good reason. We were lucky to have beautiful lettuce this week from the CSA and still had grape tomatoes from our garden. Arugula is available, but we prefer the milder lettuce. Maybe a combo of the two, but I only got the lettuce and opted for spinach over arugula this week. How much can we eat?! About a month ago, I slow-roasted/sun-dried a bunch of cherry tomatoes and used those for the first time with this salad. I chopped the tomatoes and fresh basil to add to the dressing. This was a nice, light dinner and also loved that it was quick to make. Alan opted out of the mayonnaise (and it wasn't homemade), but I put the dabs on the eggs and I thought it added a nice, rich flavor to the whole salad. Another recipe that will be made often and I wouldn't bother looking at the actual recipe. It's really just the idea that is needed.
croutons fried in bacon fat 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

weekly CSA share

  • 1 bag spinach - sauteed w/ garlic
  • 1 head cabbage - maybe Spiced Indian Cabbage or Curry of Cabbage & Potatoes
  • 1 bunch cilantro - w/ cabbage? freeze some
  • 4 hot peppers - w/ cabbage?
  • 1 bunch radishes - sauteed
  • 1 bunch kale or collards - sauteed w/ garlic, kalamata olives, onion & pepperoni
  • 1 pint potatoes - mashed
  • 1 bulb fennel or 1 bunch turnips - chicken w/ double fennel
  • 1 head lettuce or 1 bag arugula - Dorie's deconstructed BLT salad
  • 1 head broccoli or cauliflower - baked w/ cheese
  • 1 bunch beets - roasted, greens sauteed with kale
  • 1 delicata squash - roasted w/ maple
  • 1 acorn squash - roasted w/ maple
  • Friday, September 23, 2011

    honey-spiced madeleines - French Fridays w/ Dorie

    I have to confess to never having had a real madeleine before and if the assignment wasn't for the spiced version, I would have started with the traditional to get an idea of what would be typical, then go to a good bakery and get an authentic one to compare to my attempt. However, not knowing what this should have been like, I can't imagine it wasn't exactly perfect - the taste that is. We'll get to the looks of them a little later.

    So last night I prepped the batter, as suggested, and left it to chill until morning. I had to give everyone a smell of the orange zest mixed with the sugar and think that's the most brilliant way to flavor a batter. I also measured the spices, rather than eyeball them as I sometimes do, but I used all the clove because we really enjoy this flavor. When I put in the butter, I realized when the melted butter solidifies, so would the batter, to a large extent. In the morning this made for a harder time "pouring" the batter into the mold.

    The mold. I had thought of calling a woman I work with to ask her to bring in a mold for me to use, since she has the most well stocked kitchen I know of, but wanted to make these before work and of course didn't plan far enough in advance. Knowing that other FFWD bloggers would be showing off some gorgeous treats, I didn't want to use a plain muffin tin. My first thought was to take cookie stamps, grease them up well and put them in the bottom of greased muffin cups. As I was getting these out I spied a cast iron cookie mold tray I had gotten for my daughter's Word World party a few years back. I had made cornbread in these and they were really cute, but I failed to remember the imprints with the cute designs faded with the puffiness of the bread. Well this experience was somewhat similar. The whole tray filled in with the batter and a very little bit leaked over the side. Not a big deal since I had it on a cookie sheet. That crispy spillover was so good I gobbled it right up as soon as I could handle it. I had to get my daughter to the bus stop and the cakes were so hot I just left them in the turned off oven for the day until I could deal with them. Not very French of me, but I wanted to meet my deadline. I can't imagine the taste could have been better, but I know it would be nice to heat the cakes up for a couple of minutes to crisp up the edges again.
    I now have to try the original recipe, with a real madeleine pan! I'm hooked, which is dangerous. These are far too simple to whip up on a whim. I'm going to make the honey-spiced ones to bring to my mother's for Yom Kippur. They'd be best for Rosh Hashana, and I'll suggest these to my mom, who also loves this cookbook!

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    cinnamon crunch chicken - french fridays w/ dorie

    Rarely do I use heavy cream anymore. Did last night and it was very worth it. I didn't think it would be too difficult to make my own crème fraîche, so I did, but not using Dorie's recipe. Instead I conferred with a couple of cookbooks I have and decided to go with the method that says to heat the cream and buttermilk. I had bought buttermilk but Dorie's recipe called for either buttermilk or plain yogurt and my yogurt was already open and the buttermilk wasn't so I used plain Greek yogurt.

    2 cups heavy cream (I couldn't find organic, unfortunately) and 2 Tbsp. plain yogurt. Heat to body temp, move to container, cover and leave on counter in warm place. That's pretty much it.

    For the chicken I saw the artificial colors and flavors in the ingredients list for the suggested LU Cinnamon Sugar Spice Biscuits and, though I've never tasted the LU cookies, thought Biscoff cookies would be a good substitute. These are all natural and the main flavoring is cinnamon. I have a feeling the texture wasn't correct. These didn't stay crunchy.

    So the recipe is extremely simple. Just mix the cookies with the crème. Saute chicken strips in butter or oil and then mix the crème with the chicken. It smelled amazing and tasted wonderful too. I served with sauteed kale & garlic and a short brown rice that was extremely sticky and when mixed with the sauce, was almost like rice pudding. So basically dinner and dessert all in one!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Cottage Cheese Substitute

    While trying to find the ingredients for the cheesy rice from ffwd (I wasn't home with the recipe and wondered if I needed to go to the market), I stumbled upon a thread from where JoanN talked about a cottage cheese substitute for heavy cream. You just take cottage cheese and puree it. Cottage cheese happens to be one of the few foods I really will not eat plain. It's find in noodle kugel, but that's about it for me. Well I gave it a shot and what do you know, it turned into a great replacement for ricotta cheese. I haven't tried it in place of cottage cheese, but certainly will.

    For the test case, I had grilled eggplant and steamed broccoli. I pureed the cottage cheese with basil, garlic and parmesan cheese. Not a lot of parm, maybe a 1/3 cup to 1 1/2 cups of cottage.

    I then layered it with the vegetables and topped with some mozzarella cheese. It was watery, but I hadn't added any eggs as I would normally do with ricotta. Calorie breakdown:
    Part-skim ricotta - 1/2 cup = 140 calories, 9 grams fat
    Fat-free cottage cheese - 1/2 cup = 70 calories, 0 grams fat

    If the taste and texture are the same, which would you choose?

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    weekly csa share

  • 1 lb broccoli - baked with cottage cheese cream sauce (puree cottage cheese and use in place of heavy cream)
  • 2 green peppers - roast
  • 1 slicing cucumber - add to salad
  • 3 pickling cucumbers - pickle (along w/ last weeks)
  • 1 delicata winter squash - roast
  • 1 bunch beets - roast, saute greens
  • 1 bunch kale or collard - saute w/ beet greens & garlic
  • 1 bunch edamame plants - steam, salt, eat
  • 1 pint potatoes - home fries
  • 1 head cabbage - soup
  • 1 bunch black spanish or watermelon radish - thinly slice & make into a salad w/ lime juice
  • 1 bag arugula  - salad

  • Weekly Menu
    Wednesday - Fried cabbage, potatoes, onions, & garlic, fried egg on tossed salad, pancetta, french bread
    Friday - FFw/D dinner - cinnamon-crunch chicken, sauteed kale & beet greens, rice
    Sunday - baked broccoli, macaroni & cheese, cucumber slices
    Monday - poblano, peach & cheese quesadillas, roasted beets & squash
    Tuesday - edamame, firecracker salmon, rice
    Wednesday - soup

    Friday, September 09, 2011

    creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach - french fridays w/ dorie

    Talk about straying, but it was great anyway! Honestly I knew this was going to be so far from the printed recipe I almost didn't consider it a french friday dish, but it was so good, I couldn't not share it!

    I didn't have time to stop at the market so these are the ingredient alterations:
    I didn't use spinach, I used some collard greens and turnip greens.
    I left out the cream all together
    I didn't have chicken stock so used all water
    I only had white rice and brown basmati, so used the white
    I didn't have swiss, just cheddar and parmesan, so opted for the cheddar. It was a special Cabot aged cheddar that was only available at their Vermont stores. We got it on vacation and it is wonderful!

    The method I also streamlined because I had a meeting last night and had no time for anything really. That being said, what a great, quick dish for a weeknight meal! I cooked the onions and garlic in butter. Then added the greens and sauteed, covered, until wilted.
    In another pot I cooked the rice, as normally directed on the package - 1 cup rice / 2 cups water, salt.
    When the rice was cooked, I dumped in the greens & onions, then added about 1/3 cup chopped cheddar. It was nice, dry and crumbly. I added some more salt, mixed together and served. Everyone went crazy over it and it was done in about 1/2 hour.

    I served it with the burgers I had froze from a couple weeks ago and we steamed up some edamame from our CSA share. The burgers were served on Pepperidge Farms Goldfish sandwich buns! Talk about sophisticated.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2011

    weekly csa share

    • 1 pint potatoes - these are so good, I don't have trouble finding something to make. 
    • 1 cabbage - nice cole slaw recipe in the Langwater Farm newsletter and roasted cabbage w/ turnips & garlic
    • 1 bunch kale or collards - cheesy, garlicy, spinach rice (french fridays)
    • 4 pickling cucumbers - still have some left from last week but still good (pickles?)
    • 2 slicing cucumbers - slice and eat
    • 1 head garlic - use it in everything!
    • 1 bunch edamame plants - isn't this cool? We love these steamed & salted.
    • 1 green pepper - on pizza
    • 1 bunch cilantro - salsa
    • 3 hot peppers - salsa
    • 1 eggplant - grill and freeze, some on pizza
    • 1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes - salsa
    • 1 onion
    • 1 pound broccoli - steamed & topped w/ garlic, parmesan bread crumbs
    • 1 bunch Hakurei turnips - roasted cabbage w/ turnips & garlic


    Salsa: Yesterday we made salsa. CSA share again - lots of tomatoes (looks like it's nearing the end), cilantro, peppers, and garlic. I grilled the tomatoes and peppers and think it was worth it. I'd never made salsa before, but have eaten gallons over my life, so feel I have a good idea of what would work. I used Rick Bayless' recipe. How could I go wrong? Well the peppers that were "mildly spiced" were way hotter so Shara, who was such a big helper, couldn't eat it. But that's not the kind of thing that bothers her anyway. If it were chocolate cake, that would be a different story!

    Shara's Happenings: Sister's chicken

    Shara's Happenings: Sister's chicken: My sister Jill raised several meat chickens and I was lucky enough to get a couple. I roasted this using Dorie's method from Around my Fren...

    Saturday, September 03, 2011

    Weekly CSA Share

    Thought I posted this, but forgot...

    • 1 green pepper - grilled in quesadillas
    • 1 bunch cilantro - salsa
    • 1 bunch kale or collards (choice) - corn/potato/kale hash
    • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes - salsa
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes - eat in salad
    • 2 slicing cucumbers - eat in salad
    • 4 pickling cucumbers - eat
    • 1 onion
    • 1 pint potatoes - corn/potato/kale hash
    • 3 hot peppers - salsa (Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa
    • 4 ears corn - corn/potato/kale hash
    • 1 eggplant - steamed w/ asian dressing
    • 1 bunch baby leeks - roasted baby leeks w/ thyme
    • 1 bunch turnips - roasted w/ chicken

    Thursday, September 01, 2011

    French Fridays w/ Dorie - corn soup

    As I read the recipe for this soup I wondered if Dorie was the person who made these flavor combinations so popular or if they've always been so popular. I've been making corn chowder with bacon for several years, often adding potatoes. I sometimes put in chicken or clams. I've never tried scallops (raw or cooked!).

    I had shucked corn in the freezer from earlier this summer and thought this would be a great use. I also read the recipe a few times, but apparently skimmed it because I never noticed her saying to use the cobs to flavor the milk. Oh well, as you can see by the first picture, I got very clever, not wanting to create more dishes to wash, and put the milk in the bag of semi-frozen corn and then proceeded to microwave it up to temperature. She wanted boiling and then steep the cobs. I was lucky not to have a microwave full of corn scented milk, so I quit while I was ahead and settled for warm.

    I actually sauteed the onion in the butter and watched it so it wouldn't color. I tend to brown because I'm off doing other tasks. But this time the onions were still white and then I added the other vegetables, though I didn't have celery. I made up for the celery by having a couple of small, and even one teenie, carrots from the garden. I can't believe the carrots grew and aren't bitter! I don't have to gush over nice brown and crispy bacon because we all know it's a most amazing addition to several of Dorie's recipes. In fact, until FFWD, I never cooked so much bacon. Now I'm quick to add it to a salad and was happy to have leftovers, for a salad. Was going to move ahead and to the deconstructed BLT, but then read the ingredients and have to wait. Anyway...

    The scallops really took this from being a standard, but good, corn soup to a special meal, which, as most good meals do, required a glass of wine. I have a very good seafood truck that is on my way home from work and I think the woman's husband catches the fish in the morning. It's always super-fresh so I had no problem serving these raw. They certainly were like buttah!

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