Tag Archives: dessert

Wheat Berry Salad + Merveilleux

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It’s Friday! I will be sharing two Cook the Book Fridays recipes with you today. I had intended to make the dessert, called Merveilleux, for Valentine’s Day, but I was sick with a nasty cold that week and just didn’t feel up to making it. The Wheat Berry Salad is the “official” recipe of the week.

Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate

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Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate is just like it sounds. Cooked wheat berries are tossed with roasted root vegetables (I chose butternut squash because I found a bag of pre-cut squash that was just the right amount for the recipe), wilted radicchio, parsley, pomegranate seeds, and a citrusy vinaigrette. I made half the recipe and ate it for lunch over the course of two days.

So, Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate was only OK for me, but it’s not the fault of the recipe. This type of salad just doesn’t do much for me and I would have never chosen to make this one if it weren’t for Cook the Book Fridays. That said, it did make for a satisfying lunch.

Merveilleux

I mentioned above that I had planned to make Merveilleux for Valentine’s Day. Well, my husband’s birthday was the following week, so I made it for that special event instead.

This year’s birthday was a fun one because our daughter is finally starting to get excited about birthdays (hers and others). She had been looking forward to Daddy’s birthday, so I decided to capitalize on her interest and get her involved. I took her on a special outing to select Dad’s gift and card, then she helped me wrap the gift and signed the card. She was so excited to give him the gift on his birthday. And of course he loved receiving it from her.

Making Merveilleux was quite an involved process that took a good part of the day. I wasn’t really sure what I was even making. This recipe would have benefited from a photo of the finished product.

Basically, Merveilleux is two vanilla meringues filled with a coffee-flavored cream, then covered in that same cream, and coated with finely chopped chocolate. It was very messy to make and my finished products were not very pretty (I don’t think I got the cream stiff enough). The one pictured above was the prettiest and the rest were far less beautiful. The treat pictured below was a simplified Merveilleux that I made for my daughter.

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These were delicious! The coffee cream was so good, and I ended up eating quite a bit of it straight out of the bowl. I only made 4 filled Merveilleux, but I enjoyed eating the rest of the meringues on their own. BUT, I’m not sure it was worth the mess and effort. Perhaps Merveilleux is one of those treats best purchased from a pastry shop in Paris.

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You can find the recipes for Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate and Merveilleux in David Lebovitz’s book, My Paris Kitchen.

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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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Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

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Happy Friday! Well, it was a happy Friday until my day fell apart. It all started off well enough. I got some things done around the house while I waited for a yard guy to come and give me an estimate for some work. The guy came, I liked him, I started working on this blog post. While I was eating my lunch I got a call from my daughter’s teacher. There was a minor situation that required me to run up to the school. I had to reschedule an appointment with another yard guy because he was due to arrive before I would have time to get back. On the way to school, my car started acting up. Shaking and the check engine light flashing. I limped back home, and Google tells me it’s a cylinder mis-firing and that I shouldn’t drive the car until it gets fixed. Why do these things happen on Friday?

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Luckily I have the memory of this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe to keep my spirits up. We made Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse, and boy was it good!

The recipe starts off by having you make caramel. David’s instructions for the caramel were excellent; I knew just when to pull it off the heat. Next the chocolate is whisked into the caramel with a bit of fleur de sel. After cooling to room temperature, the eggs are folded in. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting 8 hours before eating it!

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The flavor and texture of this mousse is just fantastic. The salted caramel adds wonderful complexity to the flavors. It was a big hit with my family, and may become my new go-to chocolate mousse recipe (sorry, Dorie!).

My day is looking up. My husband is bringing his car home so I can drive my daughter to PT, and we have a fun evening and weekend planned. I’ll just ignore my car sitting out there until Monday…

Have a great weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

You can find the recipe for Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse on page 258 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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TWD: Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

Hi! How are you? I have been taking a bit of a blogging break. With the end of French Fridays with Dorie and a busy summer schedule, it seemed like the perfect time to take a break and focus on spending quality time with my daughter (who’s growing up way to fast!). But, I’m back briefly for Tuesdays with Dorie because I just couldn’t resist this recipe: Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta. I’ll be back to more frequent blogging in late August or September.

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

We love puddings and creamy desserts and Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta called my name. When I saw it on the TWD schedule I knew I had to make it. I have never made (or eaten?) panna cotta before, so I wasn’t quite sure what it was. It turns out panna cotta is an Italian pudding, thickened with gelatin rather than cornstarch or eggs. It is often served unmolded on a plate.

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta is served in a glass or bowl because of the layer of pureed mango. The mango is left uncooked, and flavored with a bit of lime juice and optional honey (I left the honey out, but wish I had used some to round out the flavors). The mango layer is topped with a rich and creamy vanilla bean pudding.

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

This dessert was delicious and refreshing! It is perfect on a hot summer night, but because you can use frozen mango, it would also be nice in winter when you are longing for summer flavors.

You can find the recipe for Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta in Dorie Greenspan’s latest book, Baking Chez Moi.

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FFWD: The Play-It-Again-Dorie Recipe

Happy French Friday! It’s our 3rd of 4 “celebration weeks” for French Fridays with Dorie. This week we are to share the recipe from the book we have made the most often.

First, a confession: I haven’t actually repeated many of the recipes from
Around My French Table. I have been so focused on completing all the recipes that I forgot to use the book for everyday cooking. Besides, I have all those other cookbooks on my shelves that needed some love, too. After poring through the book during these celebration weeks, I have a long list of recipes I want to make again. Now I just have to remember to actually use this wonderful book!

Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse

The Chicken for Lazy People I discussed a couple of weeks ago is one of the few recipes I have made several times. Another is Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse.

The Chocolate Mousse won our hearts when I first made it during the recipe’s assigned week. My husband declared it his favorite recipe yet, and I think he would still place it at the top of his list. I love it because it is delicious. But also because it is quick and easy to make (you can whip it up after dinner!) and doesn’t make a large amount. Perfect for when the two adults in this household want an indulgent treat!

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FFWD: Seafood Pot-au-feu + Cheesecake Tart

Happy French Friday!  It’s hard to believe how close we are to finishing Around My French Table. Just one more new recipe and four retrospective posts left to go!

This week I will be talking about two week’s worth of recipes: Seafood Pot-au-feu and Cheesecake Tart.

Seafood Pot-au-feu

Seafood Pot-au-feu

Seafood Pot-au-feu is the perfect dish for Spring! Light and healthy, and pretty too. This recipe is a lighted-up version of the classic French dish.

This light stew consists of a bright combination of vegetables and seafood.  The veggies include small potatoes, spring onions (which I actually found!), carrots, leeks, and sugar snap peas.  I left out the mushrooms because certain family members don’t care for them, and while I like mushrooms, they didn’t sound good to me in this particular recipe. For seafood, Dorie recommends mussels, salmon, and sea scallops. Due to family tastes, I used only salmon, and included three scallops just for me. Luckily, we all like salmon! I served the optional pesto as a garnish.

Reactions to the recipe were mixed.  I really liked it, but wished I had cooked the carrots and potatoes a bit longer. My husband enjoyed the salmon and veggies, but overall felt it wasn’t very cohesive (I think he specifically said it lacked “synergy”). We both agreed the pesto was a nice addition. My daughter ate her salmon as long as she had ketchup to dip it in.

Cheesecake Tart

Cheesecake Tart

Our final dessert, Cheesecake Tart, was kind of a dud for me. It’s basically a tart shell filled with a cheesecake-like filling and dried cranberries.

There was nothing particularly wrong with this recipe (except I felt the filling was a little rubbery), it’s just that I like some of the other desserts in the book so much better. The best thing this recipe has going for it, is that it gave me a chance to enjoy that wonderful Sweet Tart Dough recipe again. I may or may not have scraped away some of the filling to enjoy the shell unadulterated.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking group that has nearly finished cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

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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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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.

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Green-as-Spring Veal Beef Stew + Visitandine

Happy Friday!  I’m not feeling like the words are going to flow easily today, so we’ll see how this goes…

For French Fridays with Dorie this week I am doing yet another double post.  This week’s recipe was a green stew called Green-as-Spring Veal Stew, except I used beef.  I also made a recipe from earlier this month, a simple cake called Visitandine.

Green-as-Spring Veal Beef Stew

Green-as-Spring Veal Stew was unlike anything I had made before.  It calls for veal stew meat, but I used grass-fed beef chuck roast instead, which I cut into 2-inch cubes.  The main reason I made the substitution is that I had the chuck roast in the freezer just waiting to be used.  It sounds like several FFWD participants made substitutions for the veal – I can’t wait to see what the others used and how it turned out!

Green-as-Spring Beef Stew

So, back to the recipe…  First, the stew meat is boiled for just a minute or two, then drained and rinsed.  This rids the meat of any impurities that might cloud the sauce – very clever!  Next, the meat is simmered in broth with a variety of veggies and seasonings until it is tender.  When the meat is done, it is removed from the broth, and the veggies and seasonings are discarded.  Here’s where it gets interesting (and how it gets green):  After the broth is reduced a bit, a bunch of fresh greens and herbs are added (arugula, spinach, dill, parsley, and tarragon).  After cooking briefly the whole thing is pureed (minus the meat!).  Whisk in some creme fraiche and squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, and the sauce done!

Green-as-Spring Stew

I liked this a lot!  I was concerned that the flavor of the beef would be too bold for the sauce, but it was not at all.  The sauce was fresh-tasting and delicious!  I can imagine using it for many different meats, including chicken.  It’s also a good way to sneak spinach and arugula to wary eaters!

If you are curious what other meats were used, check out the “LYL” on the FFWD site:  LYL: green as spring veal stew.

Visitandine

I am always amazed at how many wonderful things can be made from just a few simple ingredients:  eggs, flour, sugar, and butter.  Visitandine is a perfect example.  This simple cake is easy to make and easy to eat!

Visitandine

This cake is made with whipped egg whites, and the recipe is similar to Coconut Friands and Financiers.  Because it is a simple, vanilla-flavored cake, it is very versatile and can be served many ways.

I made this for Easter dessert and served it with whipped cream and strawberries.  Kind-of like an unlayered shortcake.  While I enjoyed it served this way, I liked it even better the next day eaten out-of-hand as a snacking cake.  I loved letting the simple flavors shine on their own.

If you are looking for a last-minute dessert made with ingredients you have on hand, give this delicious cake a try!

I guess the words flowed OK…maybe too well!

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Butter and Rum Crepes

Butter and Rum Crepes

Happy Friday!  You will be happy to hear that my family is feeling much better this week.  Thankfully our colds were pretty mild and we recovered quickly.

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was a real treat!  We made crepes!  The official name of the recipe is Butter and Rum Crepes, Fancy and Plain.  I believe the “fancy or plain” designation comes from whether you make the sauce or serve them plain.  You can also optionally fill the crepes with lemon curd (I did not).

Rather than making basic crepe batter, this recipe gives the crepes a bit of flavor with the addition of lemon and orange zest, and a splash of rum.  The sauce is made from honey, orange juice, lemon juice, and butter.  I served the crepes with vanilla ice cream, just because it sounded good.

Crepes

I loved these crepes!  I enjoyed the subtle citrus flavor of the crepes, and the honey-citrus-butter sauce was so delicious.  I even got to dust off my hardly-used crepe pan!  Eating these made me wonder why I don’t make crepes more often; they are easy to make and so yummy.

My husband thought these were OK.  I think he would have liked them better with chocolate sauce rather than the honey-citrus sauce.  My daughter ate one plain (with a bit of sugar) and she really enjoyed it.

Semi-off-topic question:  How do you all take photos with spoons in them and NOT catch yourself in the reflection of the spoon?

I hope you all have a great weekend!

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