Tag Archives: CooktheBookFridays

Celery Root Salad with Mustard Sauce

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I sat down yesterday to write this post (on time!) and made a big mistake. I saw that my computer had updates, so I decided to update and restart my computer. Little did I know it was a big update and I spent my whole window of “computer time” updating! So, here I am writing my post a day late.

The Cook the Book Fridays recipe of the week was (thankfully!) an easy one: Celery Root Salad with Mustard Sauce. This is one of those recipes that I would have skipped over if not for Cook the Book Fridays. It’s hard to get excited about something called “celery root salad”.

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Well, thank goodness for Cook the Book Fridays! Otherwise I would have never known that celery root salad would be so easy and delicious. The mustard dressing was flavorful, but not overpowering. The celery root provided crunch and a fresh flavor. This is a great salad to make in the winter when fresh vegetables are not looking so fresh, but it would also be good in the summer as a sort of slaw replacement.

If you own My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, don’t skip over this recipe like I almost did. If you don’t own it yet, get it added it to your Christmas wish list!

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Buckwheat Polenta + Fresh Herbed Pasta

Happy Friday! Since mid-summer I have been feeling behind on my Cook the Book Fridays cooking. With this post I am officially caught up! (with the exception of the apricot kernel ice cream, which I may or may not get to). Let’s see what delicious things I made over the last couple of weeks:

Buckwheat Polenta with Braised Greens, Sausage, and Poached Eggs

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I have always liked polenta, but for some reason I don’t make it very often. This recipe gave me the excuse I needed.

There are a lot of pieces to this recipe: the polenta, the braised greens, the sausages, and the poached egg. I feel like I used every pot in the house to make it!

I made Buckwheat Polenta with Braised Greens, Sausage, and Poached Eggs on a chilly, rainy night, and it was a perfect bowl of hearty comfort. For my appetite, I don’t think it needed the sausage and the egg, but it was a delicious combination of flavors nonetheless.

Herbed Fresh Pasta

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I can’t remember the last time I made fresh pasta. It’s been years since I pulled out my Kitchenaid pasta attachment. Freshly made pasta is wonderful, but time consuming to make. Not the type of thing a mother has time to make very often.

I was happy to finally have an excuse to make fresh pasta! I learned several things with this particular recipe: 1) I have never been brave enough to add in any kind of herbs or flavoring to my pasta and this recipe taught me how (I used just parsley); 2) The recipe I have used in the past has no mention of using rice flour or semolina to toss with the freshly cut pasta to keep it from sticking together. Knowing about this is very helpful!; and 3) While the recipe itself didn’t teach me this, I researched and learned how to freeze fresh pasta for later use. I figured if I am going to go to the trouble of making pasta, I should at least get several meals out of it. More about how to freeze later.

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I spread the work of making this pasta throughout the day, so it didn’t really feel all that work intensive. I made the dough in the morning, cut it in the afternoon, and cooked it at dinner time.

Wow, so delicious! I served the pasta with Summer Tomato Sauce that I had in the freezer, which was made from garden tomatoes. What a treat in the middle of November!

To freeze fresh pasta: I portioned the pasta into single-serving piles that I tossed with extra semolina flour to prevent sticking. I left the pasta out and uncovered for a few hours to dry it slightly. Then, each portion of pasta went into its own freezer bag, and the smaller bags were put together in a larger freezer bag. Into the freezer it went! When it’s time to cook the pasta, don’t thaw it. Just cook it from frozen. I tried some of my frozen pasta this week and it cooked for the same amount of time as fresh. And it was just as delicious!

This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays, a group cooking our way through David Lebovitz’s wonderful book My Paris Kitchen. You can find today’s recipes on pages 158 and 230.

I wish all of my American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving! Everyone else, have a great weekend!

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Celery Root Soup + Some Catching Up

Happy Friday! I have some catching up to do! While I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping up with my Cook the Book Fridays cooking, I have been terrible about keeping up with the blog. Which means I have three recipes to share with you today.

Celery Root Soup with Horseradish Cream and Ham Chips

First up is Celery Root Soup with Horseradish Cream and Ham Chips.

The soup itself is pretty basic: leeks, celery root, butter, and some herbs and spices cooked until tender and then blended smooth. What makes this recipe shine is the garnishes! The horseradish cream is made from crème fraîche, horseradish, and a squeeze of lemon juice. The “ham chips” are thin slices of prosciutto baked until crisp. The final flourish is a sprinkling of chives.

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I liked this soup a lot, but the rest of my family thought it was only OK (actually my daughter only took one bite and moved on…).

Indian Cheese Bread

Next is Indian Cheese Bread. It’s basically naan stuffed with cheese.

I made a few of these with the cheese stuffing, and the rest I cooked plain. I actually preferred the plain ones, but I can’t quite put my finger on why.

The cheesy version:

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You can’t really see the cheese, but it’s there. Also, when I cook this type of bread, I can’t quite seem to find the fine line where the pan is hot enough to actually cook the bread, but not so hot that it gets charred.

The plain version:

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There’s nothing like a photo to point out that you should have wiped the plate clean before taking pictures.

Individual Chocolate Cakes with Dulce de Leche and Fleur de Sel

I saved the best for last! Individual Chocolate Cakes with Dulce de Leche and Fleur de Sel are decadent single-serving molten chocolate cakes. You might guess from the title that they each have a spoonful of dulce de leche and sprinkling of sea salt in the middle.

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These cakes are best eaten when they are still warm from the oven. As an experiment, I baked half of them right away and baked the rest the next day. They were just as good after an overnight rest, which means they are perfect for a dinner party: assemble early in the day (or the day before) and bake right before serving.

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Huge hit! We loved these! I love that these little cakes are flourless. My husband is eating grain-free and he loves chocolate, so this recipe will probably be my go-to decadent treat recipe.

All the recipes mentioned in this post can be found in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.

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Buckwheat Rolls with Seaweed Butter + Potato, Basil, and Feta Tortilla

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Happy Friday! At the time this is posted, I will be enjoying a fun weekend catching up with old friends. The fact that I’m saying “old friends”, makes me feel old… But seriously, I only see some these friends every couple of years, so it’s fun to catch up and laugh together.

Today I’m going to tell you about two Cook the Book Fridays recipes: Buckwheat Rolls with Seaweed Butter and Potato, Basil, and Feta Tortilla.

Buckwheat Rolls with Seaweed Butter

I had trouble understanding how this recipe fit into a book called My Paris Kitchen until I read the intro to the recipe. Turns out, it’s a knockoff from a trendy Paris crêperie with Japanese influences.

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We’ve made the buckwheat galettes before, filling them with savory ham and cheese. This time they were filled with butter and toasted, crumbled nori, then rolled up and fried in more butter until crisp.

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Interesting recipe! I can see how these would be quite tasty eaten in a trendy crêperie in Paris. I enjoyed the crisp, buttery exterior and the hint of salty seaweed flavor. I’m not sure I would make these again, but it was fun to give them a try.

Potato, Basil, and Feta Tortilla

A tortilla is the Spanish take on a omelet or frittata. It’s always filled with eggs and potatoes, and this version adds green onions, piment d’Espelette or paprika, and crumbled feta cheese. Like a frittata, a tortilla is easy to throw together. It makes a great weeknight meal with a salad on the side.

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I took a photo before removing the tortilla from the pan in case it didn’t go well…

Potato, Basil, and Feta Tortilla was met with mixed reactions in my house. I thought it was delicious even though I may have overcooked it slightly. I enjoyed it for dinner and had leftovers for lunch the next day. My daughter devoured her serving. My husband thought it was “fine”, but didn’t love it.

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Removal successful!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

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Baked Provençal Vegetables + Eggplant Caviar

Happy Weekend! This week for Cook the Book Fridays we are celebrating garden vegetables! I made two dishes for this week, and they both feature veggies we grew ourselves.

Baked Provençal Vegetables

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It was perfect timing to make Baked Provençal Vegetables this week: I had tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and thyme ready to harvest. We have been enjoying roasted tomatoes this summer, and this was a great recipe to take our roasting up a notch.

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This was delicious! It will be something I make every summer to highlight the garden vegetables. Even my daughter enjoyed this one, although she adeptly avoided the zucchini.

Eggplant Caviar

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I waited to make Eggplant Caviar until I had enough eggplants from the garden to make it. This is a simple eggplant-based spread made with eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, and chopped basil (also from the garden).

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I enjoyed this one too. I served it to myself with fresh garden tomatoes and cucumber for a light dinner. I loved the smokey flavor from the paprika. This would be a great make-ahead appetizer.

Have a great weekend!

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Buttermilk Ice Cream

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Happy Friday Saturday! It seems like a while since I’ve been here. Summer was a whirlwind! I guess it’s technically still summer, but school has started where we live, so the carefree part of summer is over. Which means I’ll have more time for cooking and blogging!

This week the Cook the Book Fridays group made Buttermilk Ice Cream. As far as ice creams go, this recipe couldn’t have been easier. Heat up some heavy cream with sugar and corn syrup to dissolve the sugar, then cool thoroughly. Once cool, add buttermilk, then freeze in an ice cream maker (though I hear there are techniques for making ice cream without an ice cream maker).

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Buttermilk Ice Cream is refreshing and delicious. The tang from the buttermilk gives the ice cream a flavor that reminds me of cheesecake. I am sure it would pair well with all sorts of things, from fruit to chocolate cake. I served it with fresh peaches and it was delicious!

If you would like to try Buttermilk Ice Cream, you can find the recipe on page 299 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

I am glad to be back, and I hope you will be hearing from me more regularly in the months ahead. Have a great weekend!

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Multigrain Bread + Coffee Crème Brûlée

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I don’t make bread very often. It always feels like it will be too hard and labor-intensive. But really, all you need is time (mostly inactive) and practice. This week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe gave me the chance to flex my bread-making muscles and it was fun!

Multigrain Bread is a delicious, crusty loaf of bread. It uses mostly bread flour, with a touch of whole wheat pastry flour, plus pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, millet, flaxseeds, and poppy seeds for interest. I was happy for the bulk section at Whole Foods this week!

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This was great bread recipe. Everything worked for me as written, except I had to add a bit more water to my dough (not unexpected as I often add water to bread recipes due to my dry climate). I really like the technique of baking the dough in a Dutch oven; it give the bread a nice crust.

My bread turned out great! One of the best loaves of bread I have ever made. It is delicious toasted and was also nice for sandwiches. I will definitely be making this one again.

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I also caught up on a recipe I missed a few weeks ago: Coffee Crème Brûlée. I love Crème Brûlée but don’t make it very often. I think the last time I made it was for French Fridays with Dorie back in 2011.

What makes this Crème Brûlée special is the addition of coffee and Kahlúa to the custard. It tasted like a cafe au lait! Add that caramelized sugar topping and I was in heaven.

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This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays, an on-line cooking group currently making our way through David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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Frisée Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Garlic Toasts

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We enjoy eating hearty main-dish salads for dinner fairly often. I usually just wing-it, using ingredients we have on hand or that need to get used up. Sometimes it’s fun to actually follow a recipe, discovering delicious flavor combinations along the way. This week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe gave me a change to try one such salad recipe.

Frisée Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Garlic Toasts, also known as salade lyonnaise, is classic French fare. It’s a salad made with (you guessed it) frisée, bacon, poached or hard-boiled eggs, and garlic croutons, but it also includes potatoes and a tasty vinaigrette.

I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, with a couple of small exceptions: I mixed in some Romaine lettuce with the frisée, and I left the raw garlic out of the vinaigrette (but I did include the fried garlic clove from making the croutons). My husband assembled his own salad, personalizing it to his own tastes. He left out the potatoes and croutons, added grated cheese, and used blue cheese dressing instead of the vinaigrette.

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Leftovers for Lunch

We loved this salad! The combination of flavors was perfect. I liked the extra heartiness the potatoes added, and I LOVED the croutons (why don’t I make croutons more often?). My husband enjoyed his version as well. I had enough leftovers for a delicious lunch the next day. I am sure I will be making salade lyonnaise again.

This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays, an online group currently cooking our way through David Lebovitz’s book, My Paris Kitchen. This week’s recipe can be found on page 99. Join us!

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Salted Olive Crisps

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Happy Friday! I have sat down several times today to work on this blog post, but I seem to be struck with a case of writer’s block. It’s not that the Cook the Books Fridays recipe of the week wasn’t interesting. In fact, I found it fun to make and I enjoyed the results. I just can’t think of anything interesting to say about it…

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I have generally shied away from making cracker-type recipes. They seem like a lot of work with results that just aren’t quite as good as store-bought. This might not be true, but it’s my perception. Salted Olive Crisps defied my expectations, turning out delicious crackers that were very easy to make.

The dough for Salted Olive Crisps comes together very quickly. Faster than quick bread! It is baked in a loaf pan for 30 minutes, just until the center is set. After the loaf is cool enough to handle, it is sliced as thinly as possible. The resulting slices are baked again to crisp them up.

The ingredients are a flavorful, savory mix. Whole wheat flour adds some heartiness, while herbes de Provence and dry-cured olives provide the flavor. I substituted the almonds with pistachios since I have a recently-discovered allergy to almonds.

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I had a lot of fun making Salted Olive Crisps. The resulting crackers are delicious and are a nice late afternoon pick-me-up. They would be a welcome nibble with cocktails or wine at a dinner party. I did find that the crackers lost some of their crispness after the first day (that’s not stopping me from eating them), so keep that in mind if you wish to serve them to guests.

Look at that! I found something to say after all. I guess the lesson here is “just start writing”.

You can find the recipe for Salted Olive Crisps on page 42 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

Have a great weekend!

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Green Beans with Snail Butter + a Tart

Happy Friday! For the last two weeks I have been caught up in the vortex that is Spring Break. Whenever my daughter is on break from school, the routines get disrupted such that I feel like I only accomplish the bare minimum. In fact, I feel quite lucky that this post is getting written at all. It helped that the recipe of the week for Cook the Book Fridays was an easy one.

A large part of Spring Break was spent visiting my family in Seattle. It has become a bit of a Spring Break tradition for my daughter and I to spend some time there. We had a lovely visit and I even squeezed in a CtBF make-up recipe!

First we’ll talk about the recipe for this week, then we’ll discuss the make-up.

Green Beans with Snail Butter

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Green Beans with Snail Butter had a hard time making on to the Cook the Book Fridays schedule. I think people took one look at the title and thought the butter was made from snails, but in reality it is the garlicky butter generally put on snails. Big difference!

This was a great recipe. Steamed green beans are simply tossed with a generous amount of butter, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. It couldn’t be easier and it couldn’t be more delicious. This was a hit with my whole family and may even be my new favorite green bean recipe.

Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart

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I think I have mentioned before that my Mom is cooking though My Paris Kitchen with us behind the scenes. Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart is one of the few recipes neither of us had made yet, so we took the opportunity to make it together for a family dinner while I was in Seattle.

We had one problem with this recipe: the chocolate filling was very jiggly when the baking and resting time was finished. I decided to turn the oven back on and bake the tart for an extra ten minutes or so. That did the trick, but it also caused the dulche de leche to bubble up and parts of the chocolate filling to crack. Later, when we sliced the tart, I noticed that the distinct layers shown in the book did not really exist in our tart.

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No worries, the minor problems we experienced did not diminish our enjoyment of this dessert. The tart was delicious! We chilled the leftovers and found that the filling got fudgier. I think I liked it even more the second day than I did the first. Another winner!

Both these recipes can be found in the cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz.

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