FFWD: Sardine Escabeche

Sardine Escabeche

Happy French Friday!  I’m sad to say, this is the first of the final four recipes from Around My French Table.  But, the French Fridays with Dorie crew has some fun “celebratory” weeks planned, so I will have to start poring through the book (and my old blog posts!) to remember my favorites.

This week was one of the “scarier” recipes: Sardine Escabeche. It calls for fresh sardines. Not something we see very often in the United States.

I had originally planned to make this recipe for my parents when I was visiting them in Seattle a few weeks ago. I thought it might be easier to find fresh sardines there, and I knew my audience would be more receptive. Wouldn’t you know, I couldn’t find the sardines (I didn’t look very hard, but I targeted my search to a likely source). At least I was still able to make them the delicious Salmon Tartare. Who would have guessed it would be easier to find fresh sardines in land-locked Reno? A fish guy at Whole Foods told me they keep them frozen in the back, so even if they aren’t on display they often have them.

Sardine Escabeche

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, even after reading through the recipe. The sardine fillets are dusted lightly with flour and cooked quickly on the stove. Then they are basically left to pickle overnight in a mixture that includes cooked onion, carrots and celery, olive oil, tomato paste, a few herbs and spices, and distilled white vinegar.

Verdict? I liked it! It made a satisfying lunch served with crusty bread to sop up the sauce. I am sure my parents would have liked it. The only problem is, I kept wanting to be sitting outside in the sun next to the Mediterranean with a glass of white wine while eating this!

Sardine Escabeche

If you decide to try this recipe and need to fillet your sardines, this video by Jamie Oliver was very helpful (thanks, Mardi for sharing!). It was a lot easier than I expected.

I will see you next week with the final dessert from AMFT. Have a great weekend!

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FFWD: Pork Roast with Mangoes and No Lychees

Pork Roast with Mangoes

Happy French Friday! This week for French Fridays with Dorie, we turned to a savory main dish called Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees.

I think the word “lychees” in the title of this recipe is the reason why it’s coming so late in the FFWD rotation. Until I actually read the recipe, I had a hard time envisioning something tasty.  Once I read the recipe, I knew it would be good!  Kind of a French-Asian infusion.

This recipe starts with a fairly small pork loin roast, which is browned in a Dutch oven. The braising sauce is built by first sauteing chopped onion and garlic.  Red wine vinegar is added, along with soy sauce, lime juice, honey, piment d’Espelette, a bay leaf, thyme, and fresh mango. I could not find lychees, fresh or canned, so I left them out. Put the pork roast back in the pot and gently braise for just under an hour.

Pork Roast with Mangoes

This was good!  The pork roast turned out tender and juicy, something that is not always easy to achieve with pork loin. The mango added a lovely flavor to the sauce that tasted delicious with the pork.  The Asian influences inspired my sides: sticky rice and Sesame Asparagus. I really don’t think we missed anything by not including the lychees.

If you are looking for something a little different to make with pork, give this recipe a try!

Have a great weekend!

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FFWD: Salmon Tartare

IMG_0177_edited-1

I’m a day late, but here is my French Fridays with Dorie recipe for the week.  I was visiting my parents in Seattle last week, so they were the lucky recipients of this delicious dish.  It was fun to take my photos with new props and a different location!

Salmon Tartare is a lovely dish made from raw salmon seasoned with lime, scallions, chives, mint, salt, pepper, and a splash of Tabasco. It is served on a bed of perfectly ripe avocado with similar seasonings, and topped with halved grape tomatoes. To add to the beautiful colors and presentation, Dorie has us layer the ingredients in a ring or ramekin (I used ramekins) for a structured look.

Salmon Tartare

This was a huge hit!  My Dad said it was “Goooooood”! We enjoyed it with white wine on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. I loved the combination of flavors and textures.  Having fresh ingredients is a must.

A note on portion sizes:  Dorie mentions that the portions are generous, so I cut the recipe in half.  Even then, the portions for three of us were generous for a starter.

I hope you are all having a nice weekend!

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FFWD: Waffles and Cream

Waffles and Cream

Happy French Friday!  I am going to keep this short and sweet because I am busy packing for a Spring Break trip to Seattle and we leave tomorrow morning. This week for French Fridays with Dorie, we made a tasty dessert called Waffles and Cream.

I decided to really go for it, and not only made the waffles, but I also made the ice cream and the caramel sauce.  I used the Vanilla Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Sauce recipes from the “Fundamentals and Flourishes” chapter of Around My French Table. The group isn’t officially trying to complete those recipes, but I am giving them a try when I have the chance to pair them with other recipes from the book.

Waffles with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

What a tasty and decadent dessert!  I loved the waffles, they were light and crisp and rich all at the same time.  The vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce topped them off nicely.  I would like to try these waffles for breakfast some time too.  They would be wonderful with berries and whipped cream.

I will try my best to read the rest of your FFWD posts, but it is always tricky when you’re out of town. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and week!

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TWD: Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Happy Tuesday! My daughter is on Spring Break this week, so she helped me make this Tuesdays with Dorie treat. We made Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars.

The base of these bars is a simple, buttery brown sugar-based dough. It is spread in an 8″x8″ pan and baked until it turns golden brown.  I had the benefit of making these a week late, and learned that many people found their base over-cooked when following the baking times specified in the recipe.  I baked mine for 15 minutes and then checked it.  It was bubbling and golden brown, so I took it out early.

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Next, we sprinkled chocolate chips on top of the cookie base.  My daughter helped with this step, and only ate two of the chocolate chips! After the chocolate melted, I spread it evenly over the bars.

Next, the Caramelized Rice Krispies. Oh, those Caramelized Rice Krispies! You could make just the rice krispies and be perfectly happy.  I think Dorie knew what she was doing when she had us use only half the Caramelized Rice Krispies recipe. You wouldn’t have enough to cover the bars otherwise, because the cook would eat too many of the rice krispies before they made it onto the top of the bars!

Yummy Bar

These bars are really good!  My daughter had a little trouble eating these with the crispy topping, but once I picked the crisps off, she was was perfectly happy eating the chocolatey, buttery bar. Dorie suggests other toppings for these instead of the rice krispies, and I think coconut would be especially good.

So far I have loved everything I have made from Baking Chez Moi. If you haven’t bought it yet, go run out and get it!

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FFWD: Next-Day Beef Salad + Orange-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart

Happy French Friday!  This post marks quite a milestone! With the make-up recipe I did this week, I am now 100% caught up on French Fridays with Dorie! Bring on the final 7 recipes! (Sorry for all the exclamation points…can you tell I’m excited?)

So, we’re going to talk about two recipes today. This week’s recipe, Next-Day Beef Salad, and one from quite some time ago, Orange-Almond Tart.

Next-Day Beef Salad

Next-Day Beef Salad

For some reason I put off trying Next-Day Beef Salad because I thought it required leftover beef tenderloin from Boeuf à la Ficelle. Turns out you can use pretty much any leftover beef. I used top sirloin, but I can see how something a little more tender would be better.

This salad was created when Dorie made an attempt at clearing out a variety of leftovers.  She gives us a specific recipe, but also gives us permission to play around with it.

The recipe starts with the beef and a simple dressing of mayonnaise and mustard.  I added in green onions, Picholine olives, cornichons, grape tomatoes, and red bell pepper. Tossed together, I served my salad on a bed of mixed greens.

This was good!  I really enjoyed the flavor of the mustard dressing with the beef.  This is a great recipe to keep in mind when you have leftover roast beef and want to use it for something a little different.

Orange-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart

The group made Orange-Almond Tart way back in February 2011. I chose not to make it at the time because we just didn’t need to have a big dessert.  If I had known back then that I would be on track to complete every recipe from Around My French Table, I might not have skipped it.

Orange-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart is a riff on the classic Pear and Almond Tart.  It still has the pâte sablée crust and the almond cream, but the pears are replaced with oranges.

Why did I wait so long to try this tart? I knew I would like it because, you know, dessert. But I didn’t expect to love, love, love it! I loved the unexpected burst of orange juice. The flavor went so well with the creamy almond filling and the tender, sweet crust. Making this tart was a reminder how much I like Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough recipe.

There you have it!  I look forward to finishing the final stretch of recipes with 100% completion!  Have a great weekend!

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FFWD: Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup

Happy French Friday! This week for French Fridays with Dorie, we made a simple, wholesome soup intended to cure anything that ails you, from a cold to a hangover. It’s called Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup.

There isn’t much to this soup.  The main ingredient is a whole bunch of garlic. The cloves are thinly sliced and cooked in equal parts water and chicken broth for 30 minutes to soften and mellow it. A bouquet garni of fresh sage, thyme, and bay leaves is simmered along with the garlic. When the garlic is done, 3 to 6 egg yolks are whisked in with a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle each bowl with a bit of olive oil and serve!

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup

There isn’t much to say about this soup, except we liked it!  It isn’t really meant to be served as a meal, but I did anyway.  It’s really meant to sip when you are feeling under the weather.  It was much more flavorful than it looks, and very “warming”. I would definitely make this if we found ourselves fighting colds or the flu.

I hope all of you out there have a wonderful weekend!

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FFWD: Veal Marengo

Veal Marengo

Well, I’m a few days late with this post, but I have a good excuse!  I enjoyed a lovely long weekend with my Mom and sister at Lake Tahoe.  We had a wonderful time relaxing, sightseeing, laughing, drinking wine, and eating.

I had been looking forward to making Veal Marengo ever since my Mom made the recipe in November.  It reminded her of a veal stew she had in France last Fall, and she loved it so much she made it again a month later. She gave me a great tip to use veal stew meat in place of the shoulder, which is harder to find.

Veal Marengo is a pretty simple stew, but I felt that the execution was a little fussy and used too many pots and pans. While the veal stew meat is simmering in a mix of onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, and herbs, the rest of the vegetables are each cooked separately in their own pots.  The cipollline onions were cooked until glazed with butter and the mushrooms sauteed until tender. The potatoes were boiled, then drained and coated with butter. After the veal is tender, the onions and mushrooms are added.  The potatoes are served on the side.

Veal Marengo

If I make this again, I will definitely streamline the recipe. I would cook the cipolline onions in the pot with the veal.  I might still saute the mushrooms, because I think they benefited from that extra step. My husband and I agreed that we would have preferred the potatoes cut into smaller pieces and mixed into the stew, so I would probably cook those directly in the stew too.

I thought this stew was delicious!  I loved the mild flavor of the veal, and mushrooms are a favorite of mine.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking group making our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  We only have 9 recipes to go!

Before I go, I can’t resist sharing this photo I took at Lake Tahoe the other day.  The lake was still and beautiful and the clouds were very dramatic!

Lake Tahoe

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TWD: Lemon Madeleines

Lemon Madeleines

Happy Tuesday!  I’m back with another installment of Tuesdays with Dorie.  This week we made Lemon Madeleines!  I was excited about this one.

These were a basic Madeleine recipe, with the addition of lemon zest in the batter, and an optional lemon glaze. Dorie taught us a few techniques to help achieve the iconic Madeleine “bump”, specifically, chilling the batter and pan, and preheating the oven with a baking sheet in it.

Lemon Madeleines

I left off the lemon glaze, mostly because I thought the little cakes would keep better without it.  The lemon flavor of the finished Madeleines was very subtle; I’m sure it would be more pronounced with the glaze.  I think you could easily leave out the zest and have a classic vanilla Madeleine.

I did not get the classic bump, though my cakes were nicely rounded.  They had a lovely, light texture.  I have to confess I have never had professionally-made Madeleines, but the texture and flavor of these was so nice, I have to think it was close to “the real thing”. These are by far the best Madeleines I have ever made.

Lemon Madeleines

Altitude Adjustments

I have mentioned before that I have to made adjustments to cake recipes because of my higher elevation.  I made two small adjustments to this recipe and they seem to have worked well (except for my missing the bump).  These are my changes for an elevation of 4500 feet:

  • Added 1 tablespoon flour
  • Reduced baking powder by 1/8 teaspoon

If you live at a higher elevation and need help with your cakes, I highly recommend the book High Altitude Baking: 200 Delicious Recipes & Tips for Great Cookies, Cakes, Breads & More.

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Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles

Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles

Happy French Friday!  We’re reaching the point in our French Fridays with Dorie journey where if you are hoping to go the distance and finish every recipe on time, you can’t skip any recipes.  I kinda wanted to skip this one.  But, I don’t want to let one recipe keep me from crossing the finish line, so here we are.

First off, I have to admit that I did not use the correct foie gras called for in the recipe. We were supposed to use foie gras terrine made from whole pieces of foie gras.  I used some leftover foie gras pâté that I saved from our last foie gras recipe. The type of foie gras Dorie specifically said not to use. I did this because finding the proper foie gras is probably impossible around here, and mail-ordering it would have been very expensive. I didn’t want to spend big bucks for a few bites.

Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles

So, this was pretty simple. Cabbage leaves (I only did two) were cooked in boiling water for a few minutes to soften them.  After they were cool enough to handle, I wrapped the leaves around pieces of foie gras to make little “bundles”.  The bundles were then steamed (I reduced the amount of time because of using the pâté) and plated.  Finish off with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Enjoy?

I had a hard time with this one (I didn’t even think about giving this to anyone else around here…). There isn’t much I won’t eat, but I could barely take two bites of this. I didn’t care for the flavor, but I really hated the texture. I am sure the texture would have been better if I had used the proper type of foie gras. I also couldn’t get past what it was I was really eating.

At least I get credit for trying, right?

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