Tag Archives: MyParisKitchen

Weight Lifted

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been pretty few and far between lately. I just haven’t been feeling inspired to write, and I haven’t found the time to keep up with reading my friends’ blogs. My blog has felt more like a burden, when it was something I started for fun. The only thing that has kept me going this long is my participation in Cook the Book Fridays. I have decided to put my blog on hiatus. I may come back to it, I may not.

I do still enjoy participating in Cook the Book Fridays. Even though I won’t be blogging for the foreseeable future, I plan to continue cooking along. I will be sharing my results on Instagram. Follow me there if you would like to see what cooking (or other) adventures I am up to: karenfromscratch on Instagram.

Thanks for reading along all these years. Before I say goodbye, here’s a final catch up of everything I have made for CTBF since December. See you on Instagram!

Everyday Dorie

Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs:

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Potato Butternut Squash Chowder Lots of Ways:

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My Paris Kitchen

Christmas Cake (Bûche de Noël):

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Tangerine-Champagne Sorbet:

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Roasted Root Vegetables:

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Celery Root Purée:

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Two Books, Two Appetizers

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One of the things I like about participating in a cooking group like Cook the Book Fridays is that some decisions are made for me. I enjoy meal planning, but sometimes it’s nice to have a few less choices to make. For example, I know what Christmas dessert will be this year (you’ll have to wait until after Christmas to find out what it is!).

This past weekend we celebrated my daughter’s birthday (15!), and all of the appetizers were chosen for me. Last week, the group made Comté and Ham Wafers from My Paris Kitchen, and this week’s Everyday Dorie recipe was Roasted Squash Hummus. I rounded out the appetizer selection with gougères I had stored in the freezer.

Comté and Ham Wafers

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Comté and Ham Wafers were easy to throw together. It took more time to prep the ingredients than it did to mix them together. These savory cookies are chock full of cheese, chives, and crumbled ham chips (made by baking prosciutto until crisp). I made the dough a day ahead, then sliced and baked them the morning of the party. I put one log of dough in the freezer, which I will probably pull out for Christmas.

These were a hit! I mean, how can you go wrong with a cheesy, hammy cracker?

Roasted Squash Hummus

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Roasted Squash Hummus is not your typical hummus. The chickpeas are replaced with roasted squash (I used acorn) and flavored with the usual tahini, plus the unusual pomegranate molasses and za’atar. The hummus is served atop a bed of Greek yogurt and topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

This was a fun one to serve, because it is both visually appealing and intriguingly different. I enjoyed hearing everyone speculate about the ingredients, and they were all surprised about the roasted squash. It was also delicious!

I highly recommend Roasted Squash Hummus next time you are looking for a light(er) and different dip. It is delicious with crudites as well as pita chips.

Here is a bonus behind-the-scenes photo that my husband took:

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Have a great weekend!

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Bay Leaf Pound Cake with Orange Glaze

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Happy Friday! It seems that adding Dorie to the Cook the Book Fridays mix is keeping me on task (so far). Now that our cooking/blogging schedule is so busy, the fear of falling hopelessly behind is motivating!

I have been falling a bit behind with My Paris Kitchen, in part because we have a dessert on the schedule each month. I haven’t been making the desserts for several reasons, but a big one is that I have been “dieting” this year (I don’t like the term dieting, it implies that have been severely cutting back on calories; rather I have been focusing on getting fit and shedding extra pounds at a healthy, sustainable rate). Now that I am transitioning to a phase of maintaining my new current weight, I want to learn to enjoy treats and desserts in moderation. I have a serious problem with self control when there are fresh-baked treats in the house! But I can’t imagine a world where I can’t enjoy an occasional treat.

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Bay Leaf Pound Cake with Orange Glaze was a good choice for easing back into baking and treat-making. It was easy to whip together and easy to eat. The cake is flavored with orange zest, vanilla, and bay leaves. The simple glaze gets its flavor from orange juice and Cointreau. The orange added a fresh brightness, and the bay leaves added a subtle, but distinct flavor that I really enjoyed.

The day I made the cake, my daughter kept gazing at it longingly as it cooled. I assured her she could have a piece when she was done working with her tutor. She enjoyed her slice immensely!

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Altitude Adjustments

Regular readers know that I live at a higher altitude (4500 feet) and usually need to make minor adjustments when I bake a cake. These are the adjustments I made to Bay Leaf Pound Cake with Orange Glaze:

  • 1/8 teaspoon less baking powder
  • Added 1 tablespoon milk (higher altitudes can cause cakes to dry out and I live in a dry climate, so I always add a little extra liquid)

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Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche

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Happy Friday! This week for Cook the Book Fridays we made Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche from David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen. Sometimes when I sit down to write one of my “cooking club” posts, all I can think of to say is something along the lines of “it was good and I liked it”. But for this one, my head is swarming with ideas!

I could compare this quiche to the several we made from Around My French Table for French Fridays with Dorie (I like David’s thick and hearty quiche, but prefer Dorie’s crust; also, Dorie’s Spinach and Bacon Quiche will always be my favorite).

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I could talk about how my quiche took quite a bit longer to cook than the recipe suggested it would, so I made a last-minute change to my daughter’s dinner so she could eat at a reasonable time, which caused a bit of a meltdown (anyone with a child with autism who has trouble with flexibility will understand…; best quotes from the ordeal: “Mom, you made the wrong dinner!”, and “You accidentally cooked a hot dog”).

Or, I could discuss the fact that some people had trouble with the crust, but others didn’t (I am one of the lucky ones who had no problems).

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Instead, I’m going to talk about Food Revolution Day (which is today!). Mardi of eat. live. travel. write, one of our CtBF members (and also a French Fridays with Dorie alumni) is an ambassador for Canada for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. The idea of the revolution is to improve access to healthy, nutritious food for children everywhere, improve knowledge about food and nutrition, and to teach people how to cook.

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This year, Jamie’s focus for Food Revolution Day is a “starter pack” of 10 recipes that teach cooking skills and provide nutritionally balanced meals. Mardi chose the quiche for us to make as a “starter” French recipe.

For me personally, I am so thankful that I can cook (and actually enjoy it!). I am thankful that I have the means to provide nutritious meals to my family every day.

If you are interested, here are the 10 Food Revolution Recipes: Food Revolution Recipes.

By the way, the Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche was delicious. And my daughter loved her slice when we had the leftovers for dinner the next night.

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Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich

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In the introduction to this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe, Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich, David Lebovitz talks about how the croque-monsieur is one of those things he occasionally craves and then he’s “gotta have it”. This got me thinking about the things I crave and “gotta have”. Why is it that the things we crave are generally less healthy? The only time I crave a salad is when I’ve been on vacation overindulging. One of the things I find myself craving occasionally is a burger and fries. When I get that craving, I find it’s best to just give into it so I can be satisfied and move on to healthier choices (assuming I don’t get that “gotta have it” craving every day!). What foods do you crave?

After making Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwiches this week, I can see why Mr. Lebovitz sometimes craves them. This is not your ordinary grilled ham and cheese sandwich. There are two things that make this sandwich special: the béchamel spread on the inside of the sandwich, and the melted Gruyère cheese on top. Hearty sourdough bread, prosciutto, and additional Gruyère complete the sandwich.

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I made croque-monsieur for myself for lunch two days in a row. What a delightful, buttery, cheesy, decadent treat! Not something you want to eat every day, but definitely worthy of a “gotta have it” craving.

You can find the recipe for Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich (aka, croque-monsieur) on page 137 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil

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My Mom has been quietly participating in Cook the Book Fridays behind the scenes. She already owned a copy of My Paris Kitchen, so I when I suggested she cook along with me, she enthusiastically agreed.

This past week I was visiting my parents in Seattle, so my Mom and I got to make the recipe of the week, Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil, together. It was pretty awesome because she let me do the fun stuff while she did the more tedious tasks of pitting the olives, draining the artichokes, and cleaning up after me. Moms are the best!

Another great thing about cooking at my parent’s house is my Dad’s garden. This time of year there isn’t much to harvest except herbs, but that suited this recipe just fine. I used freshly harvested rosemary to make the rosemary oil, which made it extra delicious.

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The recipe for the tapenade couldn’t get much more simple: toss canned artichoke hearts, green olives, olive oil, capers, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper into a food processor and puree until smooth. It is drizzled with a generous amount of homemade rosemary oil and served with bread or crackers.

The tapenade was a big hit the night my sister and her family came to my parent’s house for dinner. We pretty much devoured it. And we all agreed we would make it again.

A few suggestions: 1) I let the tapenade rest for about an hour before serving and I felt the flavors were able to mellow and blend a bit. I’m sure a longer rest would be even better; 2) The tapenade was pretty garlicky. I didn’t mind, but if anyone is sensitive to garlic or prefers less, I recommend only using one clove; 3) Don’t leave out the rosemary oil!

If you are interested in trying this wonderful recipe, I encourage you to buy a copy of My Paris Kitchen. I also found the recipe online: Artichoke Tapenade Recipe.

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Cook The Book Fridays: Winter Salad

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Happy Friday! I am very excited to announce a new project/feature on my blog: Cook the Book Fridays!

Ever since French Fridays with Dorie ended, us former Doristas have missed cooking together each week. There had been some discussion about starting a new book together, and finally Katie of ProfWhoCooks took the plunge and got us started. Thanks Katie! Our first book is My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Since we are just getting started, this is a great time to join in if you are interested. Check out the “official” site for the recipe schedule and rules: Cook the Book Fridays. The more the merrier!

Our debut recipe is a simple salad called Winter Salad. A thick dressing is made from crumbled Roquefort cheese, Greek yogurt, chives, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss it with sliced Belgian endive, and top with a few more chives.

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I haven’t eaten Belgian endive very often, and when I tasted a bit of it I was a little unsure of a whole salad made from it. But the dressing did wonders for the flavor and I really enjoyed the salad. My husband thought the salad was “too blue cheesey” and he likes blue cheese, so I would say this salad is for blue cheese lovers only.

The one issue I had with the salad is that the dressing was very thick, making it difficult to toss with the Belgian endive. I’m wondering if others ran into the same problem.

You can find the recipe for Winter Salad on page 98 of My Paris Kitchen. I encourage you to buy the book!

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