Grated Carrot Salad

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After taking a month off from Cook the Book Fridays, I am back with a simple, yet classic, salad. According to David Lebovitz, you won’t find this salad in most traditional French cookbooks because it is so commonplace, it’s assumed that everyone knows how to make it.

Grated Carrot Salad is as simple as it gets: grated carrots are tossed with a simple dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, salt, Dijon mustard, sugar, and herbs (I used parsley).

We thought this salad was only OK. It lacked flavor, or something. Perhaps it was the lemon I used? It wasn’t the freshest…  My husband added raisins to his serving and liked it much better. I think it brought back memories of the carrot salad he grew up on.

On the plus side, this salad is easy and can be made ahead. It would be perfect for a potluck or picnic.

If you are interested in trying Grated Carrot Salad for yourself, you can find the recipe on page 123 of My Paris Kitchen. There are also a couple of variations on David Lebovitz’s web site. Here is one: French Grated Carrot Salad.

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Tuesdays with Dorie Rewind

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Well hello! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Tuesdays with Dorie post. I have baked a few things over the last few months, but never got around to writing about them. In honor of today’s TWD Rewind Week, I though I would briefly tell you about each of them.

Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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At first glance, this looks like a pretty basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but the addition of a generous amount of almond flour takes these up a notch. The almond flour adds so much flavor and a nice chewiness.

I did find that the cookies are best on the day they are baked. While the flavor is still wonderful the next day, they get a little too crunchy. I recommend freezing the scooped out dough so you can bake just enough to eat in a day, whenever inspiration hits!

These cookies were a big hit! So delicious, and perfect for the quintessential after school snack.

Custardy Apple Squares

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I was really looking forward to this recipe! So simple, but it sounds so good. Thinly sliced apples were tossed with a simple batter made from flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, whole milk, and a bit of melted butter. Pour into a baking dish and wait patiently while it bakes and cools.

Luckily, the reality lived up to my expectations! This was a delicious treat that both my daughter and I enjoyed. It’s a perfect snacking cake for any day.

Pear Tart with Crunchy Almond Topping

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I made this delicious tart for Thanksgiving dessert.

Dorie’s delicious Sweet Tart Dough was filled with lightly caramelized pears, and topped with a crunchy topping made from almonds, egg whites, and confectioner’s sugar.

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Everyone loved this tart! The Sweet Tart Dough recipe is one of my favorites and I am always happy to make (and eat) it. The filling and topping were simple but flavorful. My pears were perfectly ripe and full of flavor, which added to the deliciousness. Can you tell I liked this tart? It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving dinner.

If you are interested in trying any of these delicious baked goods, you can find the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking Chez Moi.

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A Tale of Two Socks

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Over the last couple of months, I have finished knitting two socks. As you can see from the photo above, they are not from the same pair. Some knitters like to knit their socks two at a time to avoid this exact scenario. I prefer knitting them one at a time because it makes the project more portable.

The sock on the left is Strie, Top Down, from the book Sock Architecture. This is my first sock with a flap and gusset heel and the fit is perfect!

The sock on the right is Cableship by Michelle Hunter. It was her October mystery knit-a-long, which is why I started it before finishing the Strie pair. I can’t resist a Michelle Hunter knit-a-long!

I can’t decide which pair of socks to finish first.

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On one hand, the Strie sock fits perfectly, and I love the colors, so I can’t wait to start wearing the finished pair. But the sock is kind of boring to knit.

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On the other hand, Cableship is more interesting to knit. Also, it has a couple of fit issues, and I am anxious to try a few things on the second sock to see if I can improve the fit.

I guess will just have to wait and see which one I am inspired to pick up and knit!

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Baked Eggs with Kale and Smoked Salmon

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Happy Friday! I am a couple of weeks late with this Cook the Book Fridays recipe, but I have a good excuse: I had a pretty big surgery the day before the post was due. I managed to cook the recipe before my surgery, but I was too busy preparing for surgery to get the post written.

First off, I’m fine! My surgery was not for a life-threatening reason and I am recovering well. I have more and more energy each day, but I do have to take it easy for a few more weeks. I will not be making the November Cook the Book Fridays recipes (but I will definitely make them up at a later date because they look delicious!). Since I need to rest more than usual, I have had extra time for knitting, so maybe you will see some finished projects!

One thing I was busy doing while preparing for my surgery, was making a bunch of meals for the freezer. It has been so nice to have easy, yet tasty, meals already prepared! If there is interest, I might share some of my techniques and recipes with you since I won’t be doing the CTBF posts this month.

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So, let’s talk about the recipe: Baked Eggs with Kale and Smoked Salmon. This was an easy, elegant meal. The eggs were baked on a bed of sauteed kale, along with smoked salmon, goat cheese, a little heavy cream, and the wonderful garlic bread crumbs (which I confess I ate quite a few of before even sprinkling them on anything). Like others, I found the eggs took longer to cook than the recipe suggests, but they did cook more quickly when I brought the eggs to room temperature before baking.

We liked this. My husband ate dinner later than me the night I made this, but it was easy to assemble his in advance and pop it in the oven when he was ready. I am not sure I would buy the ingredients just to make these baked eggs, but it is a good way to use up leftover greens or smoked salmon.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I look forward to catching up with my fellow Cook the Book Fridays friends!

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Butternut Squash Crumble + Sardine Rillettes

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Wow, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind! A mix of work and fun. The work: my husband was in trial for week followed immediately by him being out of town for a week. The fun: a “parents-only” trip to Yosemite and then a two night (very relaxing) family trip to the Lake Tahoe area. Whew!

I still found time to cook, as always. Being able to cook keeps me grounded when the rest of life gets crazy. I have two Cook the Book Fridays recipes to share with you this week: Butternut Squash Crumble and Sardine Rillettes (the official title in the book is “sardine spread”, but I like the sound of rillettes better).

Butternut Squash Crumble:

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Butternut squash is one of my husband’s favorite vegetables, so I knew this recipe would be a winner. I did have to make “his and hers” versions though. My husband is off grains, so I topped his version with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped sage. I topped mine with the cornmeal crumble topping as written.

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This was good! It made a great side dish to pan-roasted chicken breasts but would also be at home on a holiday table. I loved my version, my husband loved his version, and my daughter loved both versions. Can’t ask for more than that!

Sardine Rillettes:

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Sardine Rillettes were a very easy appetizer to throw together. Canned sardines are smashed together with cream cheese, butter, green onions, capers, lime juice, and a few spices. Spread on crackers or bread and enjoy!

I liked this very much. The flavors all went very nicely together. My daughter seemed to enjoy hers and my husband thought it was “fine”. Which means he will eat it, but not request it.

I packed up the rillettes-filled ramekin and took it with us on our Lake Tahoe trip. It was the perfect easy appetizer to enjoy while relaxing and playing games.

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Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts

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I have to admit that I have never been drawn to Gazpacho. The idea of cold tomato soup just isn’t very appealing to me. But, since this is Cook the Book Fridays, I willingly made this week’s recipe, Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts.

One thing that did appeal to me about making this recipe was that I was able to use home grown tomatoes. It seems like a recipe featuring tomato is the perfect match for garden tomatoes.

I made a change to the technique: rather that boiling the tomatoes briefly to peel them, and then pushing the tomato pulp through a strainer, I just ran them through my food mill. I’m not sure it saved me any time, but for some reason I find the boil-and-peel method to be tedious, and I also got to use one of my kitchen toys!

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The herbed goat cheese toasts were an interesting contrast to the goat cheese we made a few weeks ago. This was the “quick and easy” version, while the other recipe required at least 24 hours. Both versions were good, and both have their place.

I was pleasantly surprised by the gazpacho! It was very flavorful, and the olive oil and my San Marzano tomatoes added a richness I didn’t expect. My husband loved this soup, and has requested it a couple times since I made it last weekend (alas, we don’t have enough garden tomatoes for it right now). I gave a small bowl to my daughter and she liked it too. I still don’t think I will ever crave gazpacho, but I now see it as a nice way to enjoy tomatoes from the garden.

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Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce

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Who doesn’t love meatballs? We sure do. This week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe was a delicious take on meatballs.

Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce are David Lebovitz’s attempt to recreate the flavor of merguez sausages at home. These are heavily spiced meatballs: the spices include fennel seeds, coriander, cumin, cilantro, garlic, paprika, Sriracha (or harissa), cinnamon, allspice, and sumac. The recipe suggests ground beef or lamb, or a combination of the two. I used lamb, but I am sure beef would be delicious too.

Despite all the herbs and spices, these meatballs were quick to put together. I appreciated that there was no “filler” like breadcrumbs since we have a non-grain eater in the house. I also like that Mr. Lebovitz gave us several options for cooking the meatballs (pan, grill, or oven). I took the easy way out and baked these in the oven.

The Sriracha Sauce was even easier to make than the meatballs. Simply mix together mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce and there you have it!

I served Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce with roasted cauliflower for a simple dinner. The flavors of the meatballs were a little too sophisticated for my daughter, but my husband and I loved them. I will definitely make them again, with beef or lamb.

This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays, an online cooking group making our way through David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen. You can find the recipe on page 74 of his wonderful book.

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Tuesdays with Dorie Rewind!

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It’s rewind week at Tuesdays with Dorie. That means we can try a make-up recipe, or remake an old favorite. I am choosing to catch up on a couple of recipes I made over the last month but haven’t had a chance to write about yet: Cornmeal and Berry Cakes and Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups.

Cornmeal and Berry Cakes

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During a particularly stressful week early in the month, I decided to take a break and bake Cornmeal and Berry Cakes. It was very therapeutic to get out some flour, sugar, and eggs and bake something! And these sunny little cakes are just the thing to brighten one’s day.

These cakes are are simple olive oil cakes, gussied up a bit with fine cornmeal, lemon juice and zest, and berries. I made two small changes: I made cupcakes rather than the 4 small loaf cakes Dorie suggests, and I used blueberries instead of raspberries.

Cornmeal and Berry Cakes are delicious little snacking cakes. Mine turned out a little heavy, but I think it’s because I did not adjust for altitude at all (I usually do when making cakes). I always enjoy the flavors of lemon and blueberry together. I froze half the cakes for future snacking, and they froze well.

Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups

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When Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups showed up on the Tuesdays with Dorie schedule, I knew I would be making them! These are fudgy little ice pops with flecks of dark chocolate. What makes them only for grown-ups? The addition of liqueur!

To make these pops, we first made a chocolate mousse, mixing in tiny bits of chocolate at the end. I used Dorie’s favorite crème de cassis as my choice of liqueur because I had some on hand, but Kahlua would be wonderful as well. The mousse is simply spooned into popsicle molds and frozen until solid.

Yum! My husband and I have been enjoying these adult treats each night after my daughter goes to bed. They are the perfect size: a sweet treat that leaves you wanting just a tiny bit more. I will definitely make these again and it would be fun to experiment with different liqueurs.

If you are interested in trying either of these recipes, you can find them in Dorie Greenspan’s delicious book Baking Chez Moi.

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Cook the Book Fridays – August Recipes

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Happy Cook the Book Friday Tuesday! My daughter is back to school, so I hope to be back to more regular blogging, at least for now. The next few months will be pretty hectic for my family, so my blogging may be sporadic for the rest of the year. I’m OK with that, but I hope to keep up with my Cook the Book Fridays cooking. We do have to eat after all!

The last couple of weeks I have struggled to get it together enough to make consistently decent meals. I blame the change in our after school schedule. Last week was particularly bad. I have always been a meal planner (I usually plan a week at a time), but last week I just didn’t plan well. I failed to fully appreciate just how little time I would have to cook on Wednesdays now, so I resorted to a box of tomato soup. Also, two of my planned meals relied on cherry tomatoes from the garden, but the tomatoes did not cooperate, so I had to wait until I had enough. Hence this late post for the the Cherry Tomato Crostini.

Before we talk about the crostini, let’s discuss the first CtBF recipe for August:

Apricot Crumble Tart

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Apricot Crumble Tart is a wonderful recipe! I loved the technique for making the pastry dough; it was more like making a cookie dough than pastry. And the crumble topping is fantastic! I have a fondness for crumble toppings, and this one may be the best I have ever had.

Rather than making a giant tart, I used my 6″ springform pan. I used half the pastry dough and froze the rest. I cut the filling and crumble topping parts of the recipe in half. It worked out perfectly!

That photo up there of my apricot tart looks delicious, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t. My apricots were not very good, and they were super tart, ruining the rest of the dessert. My Mom had good luck making the tart with peaches, so I took the extra pastry dough out of the freezer and remade the tart with peaches. Much better!

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I may just make this with peaches from now on.

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese

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Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese it a great way to celebrate the best of summer tomatoes.

The cherry tomatoes were roasted simply with olive oil, garlic, herbs (I used rosemary and thyme), salt, and pepper. I allowed them to sit for most of the day to concentrate the flavors.

The homemade herbed goat cheese was fun to make! I found a wonderful, semi-locally made, whole goat yogurt that was thick and creamy. After draining it for 24 hours to thicken it even further, I mixed in herbs (chives, thyme, and basil), minced shallot, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt. The result was delicious!

The combination of flavors here is fantastic. The sweet, rich tomatoes, against the piquant goat cheese was delicious. I was very impressed by the homemade goat cheese. It was good on it’s own, and I even scrambled a couple of tablespoons with eggs to make a tasty breakfast.

All in all, August was a delicious month! September looks like it will be pretty good too. If you would like to join in the fun, check out the September recipes: September Schedule.

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Cook the Book Fridays – July Recipes

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It’s summer! That means school’s out, fun activities, and running around town. It also means less blogging (for me, anyway). Not only do I spend more time with my daughter (a good thing!) and less time on the computer (also good!), but my routine is disrupted. Even if I have the time, I have trouble fitting blogging into my summer reality. I have come to terms with all this, but I do miss checking in with my Cook the Book Fridays friends.

I am back this week with a double post of both CtBF July recipes! I was late on the slaw because I wanted to make it on the Fourth of July, and then didn’t getting around to writing about it until now.

First, let’s talk about the Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing:

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I love this recipe because it is more of a formula than a recipe. David lists a bunch of different veggie options and gives us an idea how much we should end up with at the end. Use what you like, leave out what you don’t like! Also, it’s a great way to use up the random leftover veggies languishing in the fridge.

When I made this recipe, I used a combination of cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and radishes. I was going for more of a classic slaw. It would be fun to experiment with different combinations.

I liked this slaw and will definitely make it again!

Next up, Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese, and Egg:

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The name of this recipe pretty much tells you what you need to know. First I made crêpes out of buckwheat flour (they are technically called galettes when made out of buckwheat). I got to pull my little-used crêpe pan out of the pantry for this! It definitely made the job easier. My pan is only 8 inches rather than the 10 inches the recipe calls for, but I found that using the full 1/4 cup of batter was the perfect amount. 

After the crêpes are made, then they are filled with prosciutto, grated Emmenthal cheese, and an egg. We were instructed not to break the yolk, but I prefer my yolks cooked through, so I blatantly disregarded the instructions and broke my yolk! The sides of the crêpe were supposed to be folded over the filling, but because of my smaller crêpe size I was not able to do that. 

I made this savory filled crêpe for my lunch one day and enjoyed it. I am not sure I enjoyed it enough to make crêpes just for this, but I would certainly make it again if I had leftover crêpes.

I hope you are all having a great summer!

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