Fresh Herb Omelet

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Hawthorne Berries in Snow

It’s rare that a snow day happens on the perfect day. Usually there’s somewhere to go, or something to cancel, or some other inconvenience caused by the snow. Today, as I sit here writing this, the snow is softly falling and everything is white. Happily, we had nowhere to be today: no errands, no appointments, no obligations outside the house. Just a quiet day, snuggled at home, looking out at the winter wonderland. The perfect snow day!

Cook the Book Fridays is starting the new year with a simple recipe that I am sure I will make again and again. Fresh Herb Omelet is nothing more than a simple omelet dressed up with a mix of herbs and a splash of cream.

I make myself omelets all the time, but I decided to follow David Lebovitz’s recipe and instructions exactly, to see if I could learn anything new from the process.

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Fresh Herb Omelet before being cut in half

First of all, I don’t normally put herbs in my eggs. This time I used a mix of fresh thyme, marjoram, and chives. While I do whisk in a bit of milk when I make an omelet, I have never tried heavy cream. I happened to have some, so I used it.

The biggest difference between my normal omelet technique and David’s is that I usually use a 10 inch pan for a 2 egg omelet, and he has us use one that is 12 inches. I liked the thinner omelet I got as a result, partly because it felt more refined, and also because the “top” of the omelet cooked to my liking more quickly.

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Fresh Herb Omelet, Bacon, and a Salad for Dinner

Takeaways? Both my husband and I liked the fresh herbs in the omelet. It gave the eggs a little extra something that we both enjoyed. Next time I would spread the grated cheese (I used Parmesan) over half the omelet rather that just down the center; I like a little more cheese distribution. Finally, I loved the results of the using the bigger pan. Overall, this recipe was a winner, and made for a delicious, easy dinner.

If you are interested in trying your own Fresh Herb Omelet, you can find the recipe on page 133 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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Salt Cod and Potato Puree + Scalloped Potatoes

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Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe 2016 is almost over. It seems like it was just January, and yet when I look back on all that happened this year, it was a pretty long year.

Cook the Book Fridays is ending the year with an “Extra Edition” recipe. It’s a bonus Friday in the month where we tackle a recipe that is a little “scary” or harder to get excited about. This month we made Salt Cod and Potato Puree.

I had no idea if I would be able to find salt cod here in Reno. But the fish guy at Whole Foods who noticed me looking around fruitlessly led me right to it. It came in a cool little wooden box:

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The recipe itself was pretty easy to execute; you just need to allow enough time to soak the salt cod for 24 hours. After a good soaking, the cod was cooked with cubed russet potatoes, and then blended with heavy cream, black pepper, and a tasty olive oil infused with thyme and garlic.

I divided my puree in half. Half of it went into the freezer for a recipe you will be seeing here next month. The rest I split into two ramekins, for individual lunch servings.

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I had no idea what to expect with this recipe! I have never had anything like this before. It was very good, but I still have trouble wrapping my head around it being a main dish and not an appetizer. This is definitely one of those recipes I would have never made without participating in Cook The Book Fridays, but I am glad I did.

I also did a make-up recipe this month. I made Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic for Christmas dinner. It was decadent and delicious! It went perfectly with the prime rib roast I made. Definitely one to make again.

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Wishing all of you a happy and prosperous 2017!

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Pissaladière (Onion Tart)

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Today has been a lovely day spent decorating the Christmas tree with my daughter. It is her first official day of Winter Break, so it seemed like the perfect day to decorate the tree (that and the fact that the tree has been up for over a week and has been begging for ornaments). This year is the first time she has had any interest in helping out, so it was a lot of fun! Our house finally looks like it’s in the Christmas spirit.

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My daughter selected the placement for most of these ornaments. I love that the two duckies are together!

This week for Cook the Book Fridays, we made the Provençal treat known as Pissaladière. A lot like a pizza, it is topped with meltingly delicious caramelized onions, Niçoise olives, and anchovy fillets.

I successfully cut this recipe in half, and it made the perfect amount of tart. I had to add a little extra water to the dough, which may have been because of cutting the recipe in half, but was more likely because of my very dry climate. Because of the smaller size of my tart, I was able to bake it on my pizza stone.

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I loved this tart! The crust was perfectly crisp and the toppings flavorful and delicious.

The French Fridays with Dorie crew made a version of Pissaladière from Around My French Table. I honestly couldn’t remember what I thought of that tart. If you are as curious as I was, check it out: Pissaladière from AMFT. This sentence stuck out to me: “My husband and I both like caramelized onions, but we both agreed we could do without the whole anchovies and would use more olives”. It is interesting because when I was eating David Lebovitz’s tart, I thought to myself that the anchovies were essential.

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Despite my spotty memory, I am pretty sure that the Pissaladière from My Paris Kitchen has a slight edge over the one from AMFT. It is the one I will choose if I make it again.

I doubt I will be writing another blog post before Christmas, so I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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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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