French Thursday with Dorie: Two Tunas

I’m a little jealous.  As I am writing this, my parents are actually in Paris, eating French food and pastries, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city.  I have to console myself by participating in French Fridays with Dorie.

As you may have noticed, today isn’t actually Friday.  I’m running almost a week behind.  Better late than never!

I have two recipes to tell you about: Tuna and Mango Ceviche and Tuna Confit with Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa.  The group has done two tuna recipes lately, and I decided to do them both in the same week.

Tuna and Mango Ceviche

Tuna and Mango Ceviche

Ceviche is a dish made of raw fish marinated in citrus juice to “cook” it.  This version is inspired by the cuisine of Senegal, which was once a colony of France.  The main ingredients are mango, avocado, red onion, and sushi-grade tuna.  They are seasoned with red onion and ginger, and marinated in lime juice, olive oil and rum.

I really liked the flavors in this dish, but they made me wish I were sitting outdoors in a tropical location, soaking up the sun!  I think it was the lime and mango that did it.

Tuna Confit with Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa

Tuna Confit

Tuna Confit.  Tuna submerged in olive oil and aromatics for a long marinade, then cooked slowly in the marinade.  The aromatics include preserved lemon (I made my own!), sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, white onion, celery, parsley, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.

After the tuna is cooked, Dorie has us serve it with a tomato salsa and a dollop of olive tapenade.  I decided to try her olive tapenade recipe and it was easy and delicious!  I served it all on a bed of mashed potatoes.

I used a lot of vegetables from the garden for this meal!  Cherry tomatoes, rosemary, potatoes, and even the sun-dried tomatoes.

Yummy, comforting meal!  I liked this one a lot.  It was a lot of fun to try, and it was great to make use of some of the garden veggies.

————

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an online group cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.  We don’t share recipes, but I encourage you to get the book.

For those of you keeping track, I only have 4 make-up recipes to go!  I can do it!

6 Comments

Filed under Cooking

WIP Wednesday: Lessons Learned

I am still working on the two projects I told you about a few weeks ago: a hat for my daughter and fingerless gloves using leftover yarn.  I have learned a few things while working on these projects.  In no particular order:

1. I prefer DPNs instead of magic loop.

Until I started working on my Roku Mitts, I thought I preferred magic loop, even though I have used both DPNs (double-pointed needles) and magic loop successfully.  I chose to do my mitts with magic loop mostly because I didn’t own any DPNs in the correct size.  But I discovered that I particularly dislike magic loop when there are not many stitches on each needle (32 total in this case).  I spent more time fiddling with the needles than actually knitting.  After I gave in and bought some DPNs I was knitting much faster!

Roku Mitts on DPNs

Roku Mitts on DPNs

Both methods have their uses, but I will no longer shy away from using DPNs!

2. Gauge is important.

I know, I know.  I already knew this.  But I was playing around with different gauges to adjust the size of my daughter’s hat and I gained a little more understanding about how gauge affects finished sizes.  My first hat attempt was WAY too small.

3. Trust pattern sizing.

My daughter has a small head.  And I want her hat to fit well and not be too big.  So even though I measured her head, and the pattern designer listed finished hat sizes, I started knitting a size smaller than I should have.  And guess what?  My second hat attempt was too small.

Yellow Hat - the correct size

Yellow Hat – the correct size

Third time’s a charm, and I am now making the size hat that matches my daughter’s measurements.  And wouldn’t you know, it fits!

Leave a comment

Filed under Knitting

FO: Larch

Larch

I finished my Larch shawlette last month. I love, love, love it!  It was really fun to knit, I love the yarn I chose, and it was very satisfying to make.  This would be a great pattern for anyone wanting to try lace for the first time.

I will probably mostly wear it like this:

Larch as Scarf

I am finding myself drawn to shawl patterns lately.  I have never been much of a decorative scarf wearer, so I have to make sure I will actually wear my shawls before I make any more.

Can we talk about the yarn?  This was my first time using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light and I am in love.  I love the subtle variations in color.  The photos really don’t do it justice.  I keep thinking about new projects I can make with it, and occasionally peruse the color options over at Jimmy Beans Wool.  Right now I am considering a sweater using the Mandala colorway.

Details:

Pattern:  Larch.  It is available as a free download on Ravelry.

Yarn:  Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.  I used the “Alizarin” colorway and used pretty much the entire skein.

If you are on Ravelry, you can check out my project here.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking

Lentils, Mushrooms, and Zucchini Blossoms

Happy French Friday!  We are going to do some catching up today.  I mentioned last week that I had a couple of French Fridays with Dorie recipes to catch you up on.  Plus I also have this week’s recipe to tell you about.  I had hoped to get to the catch-up recipes earlier in the week, but that obviously didn’t happen…  Let’s get to it!

French Lentils: A Basic Recipe

The title of this recipes says it all.  It is a basic recipe for French lentils (lentilles du Puy) that can be used as a side dish or the base for a salad.  I served mine as a side dish with grilled chicken stuffed with sage and mozzarella.  I topped them with Honey-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from the book River Cottage Veg.

French Lentils

The combination of all these flavors was excellent!  I enjoyed this dinner very much.  While I liked the lentils, my husband merely tolerated them, so I will likely not make this recipe again, unless I find the perfect dish that needs lentils on the side.

Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts

Next up is a recipe the group made a few weeks ago called Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts.  I wasn’t able to find chanterelle mushrooms (though the guy in the produce department said they had them just the week before), so I used a gourmet mushroom mix instead.

Gourmet Mushroom Mix

This dish was a quick saute of mushrooms and Napa cabbage, garnished with parsley and chopped nuts.  It would be excellent as a side dish to all sorts of meats, especially grilled steak.

Mushrooms with Napa and Nuts

My husband was out of town the week I made this dish, so I served mine with a simple hamburger patty cooked on the stove.  I really, really loved the mushrooms!  The title of this recipe didn’t appeal to me, but you must look past that and make this if you like mushrooms.  A winner!

Shrimp-Filled Zucchini Blossoms

I finally got a few zucchini blossoms from my garden!!!  I harvested 3 of them and made myself these blossoms for lunch one day.

Shrimp-Filled Zucchini Blossoms

I tend to shy away from deep-frying things.  It seems hard, and wasteful, and stressful.  It really isn’t hard.  The hardest part (for me) seems to be getting the oil to just the right temperature.

In this recipe, we simply stuffed the zucchini blossoms with large shrimp, dipped them in a tempura batter, and deep-fried them until done.  I wish the recipe had specified what temperature the oil should be, because I think I had it too hot.  My blossoms cooked faster than the recipe suggested they should.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

These were fun to make!  I have never cooked with zucchini blossoms before, but I should since I have them in my garden.  And the deep-frying would be easier with practice.  Maybe next year I will try the goat cheese-tapenade variation!

Whew, I’m caught up (on the writing, at least)!  If you are interested in trying any of these recipes, be sure to check out Dorie Greenspan’s book, Around My French Table. On a related note, I finally pre-ordered Dorie’s new book, Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.  Now I will be ready to go when the group starts the new book!

11 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Curried Chicken, Peppers, and Peas en Papillote

Curried Chicken en Papillote

It may be Saturday, but today we’re talking about French Fridays with Dorie! I have several recipes to catch you up on, but right now I am going to focus on the recipe the group made this week: Curried Chicken, Peppers, and Peas en Papillote.

There are several “en papillote” recipes in Around My French Table.  This one is a main dish with chicken, red onion, bell peppers, and peas, seasoned with curry powder.

Chicken en Papillote

I had made this dish a few years ago, and remember liking it, but wished it had a creamier sauce.  I felt it was a little dry.  So I made a change this time around:  in place of the olive oil, I used 3/4 cup coconut milk.  Strangely, the creaminess of the coconut milk disappeared in the cooking process, but the flavor remained.  And the resulting chicken was very moist.

Curried Chicken and Rice

This was a delicious dinner the whole family enjoyed.  The packets of chicken and vegetables are the perfect portion.  I was happy with my addition of coconut milk. The flavors blended very nicely with the Balinese Turmeric Coconut Rice I made.

I have a couple more French Fridays recipes to catch you up on…hopefully you will be seeing those in the next few days.

11 Comments

Filed under Cooking

WIP Wednesday: New Beginnings

Welcome back to WIP Wednesday!  I recently finished two knitting projects that I am very excited about.  I will be sharing them with you soon.  In the meantime, it is time to start thinking about what I will knit next.

I have a bit of yarn left over from one of my recently finished projects.  Enough to actually make a little something.  In a fit of frugality (or something!), I became determined to use it right way rather than stick it away in the stash and never look at it again.  I found a pattern for fingerless gloves that looks like it should fit the bill.  It uses two colors  and close to the amount of yarn I have left.  As you can see, I am not very far along:

Roku Mitts in Progress

I am making Roku Mitts in a size small.  This is a risky project because I might not have enough yarn. And I won’t know until I finish the first glove.  The suspense might kill us!

Here is a photo of me using my new ball winder for the first time (well, I’m not actually in the picture, but I’m sure you can imagine me standing right there winding my yarn):

Winding Yarn

A few readers who are related to me can guess that this yarn will be used to make something for my daughter.  I had such success with her fingerless gloves last year that I thought I would see if I could get her to wear a hat made in her favorite color.

Caked and Ready to go!

I am using the Knitted Hats for the Whole Family pattern.  It should be a quick and easy knit, perfect for taking with me to my daughter’s weekly OT appointments.

What do you do with your leftover yarn?  Do you use it right away?  Does it ever get used?  Please share!

Leave a comment

Filed under Knitting

Couscous Salad + Tomato-Mustard Tart

Happy Friday!  I kept my promise and made two French Fridays with Dorie recipes this week!  I’m feeling motivated because I only have six back-log recipes to complete.  Most of them are good Fall/Winter recipes and I plan to hit them this year, so I don’t miss my final window (the group will be finishing the book around April or so next year).  So, what did I make?

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad with Chicken

The official recipe of the week was Couscous Salad.  It was a pretty easy recipe.  Quick-cooking couscous was cooked in a mixture of chicken broth and spices along with raisins.  After it was cooked and fluffed, it was tossed with diced cucumber, red bell pepper, carrot, sugar snap peas, and chickpeas.  A simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil, and a sprinkling of cilantro, and it was done.  I served it with the optional Lemon-Grilled Chicken to make it a full meal deal.

I don’t quite know what to say about this recipe.  We liked it well enough.  I just think the flavors are not favorites of ours.  I thought I would eat the leftovers for lunch the next day, but I couldn’t quite muster the enthusiasm for it.  So, we didn’t hate it, but we didn’t love it either.  I won’t be making this one again.

Gérard’s Mustard Tart

Tomato-Mustard Tart

Gérard’s Mustard Tart goes way back.  It was the second recipe the FFWD group made back in October 2010 (before I joined in the fun).

The recipe in the book is Dorie’s friend Gérard’s take on the traditional mustard tart with tomatoes.  Since we have gorgeous garden tomatoes right now, I knew I had to make the original version of this tart, which Dorie helpfully includes instructions for.

This truly is a mustard tart.  The filling consists of lightly beaten eggs, heavy cream, Dijon mustard, and grainy French mustard.  I topped it with two sliced tomatoes and a sprinkling of thyme leaves (my addition).

We really enjoyed this tart!  The flavor of the perfectly ripe tomatoes was delicious against the piquant flavor of the mustard.  This one I ate the leftovers!

What will I make next week?

10 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Roasted Peppers + Tomatoes Provençal

Happy Friday!  The first week of school has come to a successful close.  I enjoyed having some time to myself and got a few things done that I just didn’t have time for over the summer.

Now that I have a little more time, I am going to try to hit two French Fridays with Dorie recipes each week for a while.  I missed a few over the summer, and I really don’t have many of the older recipes to catch up on, so I want to start cranking them out!

This week I made two easy and delicious summery side dishes: Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes Provençal.

Roasted Peppers

Roasted Peppers

We love roasted peppers.  My husband buys jars of them all time time for snacking on.  I don’t know why I don’t make them more often, because homemade tastes so much better and they really aren’t a lot of work.

Dorie’s version is pretty classic.  Roasted peppers drizzled with olive oil and scattered with garlic and fresh herbs.  The big difference is the cooking method.  I have always charred my bell peppers under the broiler, but Dorie has us roast them in a 425°F oven.

Roasted Peppers and Chicken

These peppers were tasty!  I used basil from the garden, but you can also use parsley, rosemary, and/or thyme.   I served mine as a side dish to Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken (except I had to roast the chicken due to an unexpected thunder storm).  A delicious dinner!

Tomatoes Provençal

Tomatoes Provençal

The FFWD group made Tomatoes Provençal last month.  I chose to wait so I could use garden tomatoes.  It was worth the wait!

This is a very simple, but impressive, side dish.  Tomatoes are halved and placed in a baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, top with diced garlic and herbs (again, I used basil from the garden), then drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in the oven until tender and delicious!

If you look at the picture above, you can see that I served these tomatoes with leftover Roasted Peppers, as well as a chicken salad made from the leftover chicken.  Another winner of a dinner!

13 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Gâteau Basque

Gâteau Basque

Happy Friday!  Believe it or not, today marks the last day of summer vacation for us.  My daughter’s school district began a new school calendar last year and school now starts in early August.  Summer went so fast!  We have a few fun things planned today (lunch at a favorite restaurant and a trip to the Discovery Museum) to mark the occasion.

I am running a week behind on French Fridays with Dorie due to a fun vacation and other out-of-town activities.  I had actually hoped to get this post written before I left for my vacation, but it didn’t work out.

We only have a few desserts left to do, so we have been spreading them out a bit.  The group recently tackled Gâteau Basque, a specialty of the Basque region of France (and I suppose it’s common in the Basque regions of Spain too…).

Gâteau Basque

I am always amazed at the wonderful and different ways to use a few basic ingredients:  flour, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  This time they came together as a soft cookie-like shortbread cake with a sweet filling of cherry jam.

I didn’t get a lot of help eating this one.  My daughter enjoyed her piece quite a bit.  My mother-in-law ate a piece while babysitting (I never heard if she liked it or not).  My husband usually doesn’t consider a dessert without chocolate worth eating, so he didn’t have any.

Good thing I liked this cake!  I loved the buttery, vanilla-y cake layers.  The jam I chose was a little too sweet for my taste, but I enjoyed the mix of flavors.  While the cherry jam is traditional, this would be wonderful with other jams too, particularly apricot or strawberry.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking group cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful book Around My French Table.  If you would like to try making Gâteau Basque you can find it in Dorie’s book, or here.

3 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Provençal Vegetable Soup

Provençal Vegetable Soup

Happy Friday!  Here we are at the last French Fridays with Dorie recipe of July already.  Does anyone else feel like this summer is flying by?

This week we made Provençal Vegetable Soup.  Soup seems like an odd thing to make in the middle of summer, but this one is chock full of summer vegetables.

What vegetables are in this soup?  Here is the long list:  onion, garlic, carrots, potato, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh corn.  Add to that some pasta and cannellini beans, then top with pesto, basil, and Parmesan cheese.  For an all-veggie soup, this one is quite hearty!

Provençal Vegetable Soup

I was able to use several herbs and veggies from our garden:  rosemary, potato, tomatoes, and basil.  Even the pesto came from last year’s garden.

Now, we’ve been having some hot weather here in Reno.  We had a couple weeks over 100°, and soup really doesn’t sound appealing when it is that hot out.  Thankfully, early this week we had a patch of cooler weather, and the day I made my soup it was a little cloudy and rainy, with a high of *only* 85°.

We loved this soup!  To me, the pesto really makes the soup.  Even though the corn is non-traditional, we felt that it really added a nice flavor and texture.  This soup is a winner for sure.  Maybe I’ll make it again in the Fall when the weather is a little cooler?

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, and online group cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  If you would like to try Provençal Vegetable Soup, I highly recommend getting this wonderful book!

14 Comments

Filed under Cooking