April 8, 2011 § 8 Comments
It’s Friday again which means another recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. This week’s selection (from the French Fridays with Dorie site) is a simple dish, but one I think I’ll make over and over. I love a good vegetable dish that isn’t too complicated, but isn’t just steamed, boring, fill-in-the-blank veggie. It’s a good accompaniment to something more intricate, a good, solid, supporting dish. She calls it Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli.
Basically, the recipe has you steam some broccoli, saute some garlic, and bread crumbs in butter (I used olive oil) in a separate pan, add salt, pepper, lemon zest, and parsley (I used cilantro, but it wasn’t overpowering), and then toss the steamed broccoli with all that aromatic loveliness. You then have Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli (doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it?). Serve immediately or eat half of it yourself (b/c it’s that good) and save the rest for later. Note: the latter option will result in cruciferous vegetable overload bloating. Just getting you ready…
**Again, the French Fridays group asks that I don’t post the exact recipes on this site, but if you want more specifics than I gave you above, leave me a comment and I’ll email them to you.
March 18, 2011 § 6 Comments
Fridays are a time for recipes from Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan’s most recent book. On the FFWD menu this week: Salted Butter Break-ups. What you do is basically make one giant slab of a cookie, bake it, and then bring it to the table, whole, so everyone can break off a piece.
The short, extremely basic ingredient list never gives you a hint of what you’ll taste when these things hit your mouth. Flour, sugar, salt, butter, water, and an egg yolk? They’re transformed into a complex, salty, creamy, caramel flavor that is ever so slightly (ok, highly) addictive. It’s a great, simple treat, but with a somewhat swanky flavor because of the coarse salt.
Another thing this recipe has going for it: it’s so easy. The hardest part of the process is waiting an hour for the dough to chill before you bake it. If you have a food processor, assembling the dough takes about five minutes. If you don’t and you blend the butter and dry ingredients with your fingertips (which is what I did), it’ll take ten. You probably have the ingredients in your pantry now, so go ahead. This is a good one.
(Head over to Serious Eats for the full recipe)
March 11, 2011 § 10 Comments
This Friday’s selection from the book Around My French Table is a dish with a name that’s a little misleading. It’s called beggar’s linguine, which could lead you to believe that it’s so cheap to put together even beggars can do it. Well, sadly for me, the name isn’t referring to the wallet size of those likely to eat it. The “beggar” in the title is just a reference to a traditional, French confection, called a Mendiant (beggar). A Mendiant was a chocolate disc containing different dried fruits and nuts, each representing a different monastic order. Now, however, when the term mendiant is used to describe food, it just means it was prepared with fruit and nuts: cakes, ice cream, or, in this case, linguine.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a pasta dish that had dried fruit in it . It sounded like it would be sickening sweet. Dried figs? I was a little wary, and judging from what a lot of other FFWD cooks have said about their experiences, I wasn’t the only one. This situation, however, was exactly why I joined that little cooking project in the first place: to make the recipes I would usually skip over. To make myself experience new flavors, even if I didn’t think I’d like them.
Well, happily, I was wrong and I think I can call it a true success. How could I have doubted that I would love anything that contains brown butter (that’s just butter cooked until brown, in case you are wondering)? And, you know, it wasn’t too sweet. In fact, thanks to the nuttiness of the butter and the grainy tang of the cheese, it was a great balance of salty and sweet. I should have known it would be: Dorie Greenspan just puts out great recipes.
Two more good things about this dish: it’s done in about 30 minutes, making it ideal for a weeknight meal or a last minute dinner with friends, AND my kids liked it. I was showing the kids the figs that were in the dish and trying to tell them they are the same things that are inside fig newtons. That, apparently stuck in my son’s head because when he was telling me he liked it he said, ”Especially, I like the pistachios, mom. And the fig newtons.” They kill me sometimes.
You can se the full recipe over at Dorie Greenspan’s site here, or you can let me know you want the recipe by leaving me a note in the comments, and I’ll email it to you. Have a great weekend!
March 7, 2011 § 5 Comments
Yes, I know. It’s not Friday. It’s Monday. But I’m just getting around to posting about this week’s FFWD recipe: savory cheese and herb bread. This blogging thing takes time and I’ve been feeling pretty deficient of free time lately. I may need to do some prioritizing. We’ll see.
So, the cheese and herb bread: The recipe from Around My French Table was savory cheese and chive bread, but since I was fresh out of chives, I decided to do rosemary. I think next time I would try thyme as it’s not as assertive as rosemary (it can taste soapy), but I think you could pretty much do any herb you had on hand. This principle goes for the cheese as well. I used cheddar, but you could use any number of cheeses. Hard cheeses would be best, I think, but there’s white cheddar, swiss, gruyere, gouda, and lots of others that I think would be interesting. The recipe also called for walnuts. I skipped them and was sorry I did. I definitely wanted a little crunch in the bread.
I’m sure the original recipe is exceptional because even with all my changes it turned out really well. It’s was best warm, just out of the oven, but it’s good at room temperature, too. When I had a few slices left over the next day, I toasted them on a baking sheet at 350 degrees and made them a little crunchy. Spread with goat cheese, this toasted version was my favorite way to eat it! And I think, toasted, it would be a great little bite with white wine or champagne (if you wanted to get really fancy).
Again, as with all the recipes that the FFWD group does, they ask that you don’t post the actual recipe, so if you think you want to try this, don’t hesitate to leave me a message in the comments and I’ll email you the recipe. I can highly recommend the book, but I know how it is.
March 4, 2011 § 3 Comments
I made these the other day, but, the week got away from me, and here it is, already Friday. Thankfully, I participate in an online cooking group called French Fridays with Dorie. Since this is from her cookbook, Around My French Table, and since it IS Friday, this will be MY French Friday with Dorie. (just a note: the group recipe for this week, Savory Cheese and Chive Bread, is on it’s way…and it’s a good one. I hope the online cooking group doesn’t kick out chronically late people!)
Anyway, a little background on this recipe is in order. Financiers originated in a Paris patisserie in the 19th century near the Paris Stock Exchange. The traditional shape of a financier is in the shape of a little gold bar to appeal to the money men who came in for quick treats (as you can see from the pictures, you can use a mini muffin tin if you don’t have the special bake ware of French patisseries).
I know what you are going to say when you read the recipe. Almond flour? That’s not easy! Well, I had it left over from making the almond orange tart from a couple of weeks ago. So, cut me some slack. But, really, if you don’t just have it laying around, get some almonds without their skins (aka blanched almonds) and puree them in a food processor or blender not letting it go too long (or it will turn into almond butter). You can also get really fancy and do both as seen in this dreamy video. The flavor is totally worth it.
Henry, my five-year old, LOVED these things. He is ready for the next round of “muffins”. He even said, “Hey mom, we should put some of the lemon skin inside the muffins next time, not just on the outside. That would be REALLY good!” He loves his lemon skin, what can I say?
Financiers with Lemon glaze (or Muffins with Lemon Skin)
adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
I added the lemon glaze to the plain Financier recipe. They were really good as written (hello, brown butter) but, I wanted to see what the lemon would do and we like it (see quote above).
***This batter needs to be chilled after mixing for at least an hour. Mixing it before bed and baking in the morning would be great, but it keeps, refrigerated, for 3 days, so you could make way ahead of time if need be.
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup almond flour (or meal)
6 large egg whites
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (sifted if you want to get fancy)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan and bring it to a very gentle boil over low heat. You want the butter to become golden in color. The deeper the color, the better the “hazelnut” flavor, but you shouldn’t let it go too far. The milk solids can burn quickly once you are at this point, so keep a close eye on it and remove from the heat when it has a nutty aroma. Take the pan off the heat and put it aside.
Mix the sugar and almond flour in another saucepan over low heat. immediately add in egg whites and stir, again, not leaving the pan unattended. Stir for about 3 minutes or until the mixture looks whitish and runny and is hot to the touch. Take that pan off the heat and mix in the flour. Gradually mix in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into a heatproof bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pushed down on the surface of the batter. Put into the refrigerator and chill the batter for at least an hour (overnight is fine and it will keep in your refrigerator for 3 days).
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and butter your pan (whatever shape you are using). Place the molds on a baking sheet. (Bake in batches if you don’t have enough pans, but make sure you let them cool before you refill them.)
Fill each mold almost to the top and. Bake for around 13 minutes, or until golden and springy when you touch them. They should be easy to pull away from the sides of your pan. Remove the financiers immediately from the pan, transfer to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.
While they are cooling you can mix the lemon juice and zest with the confectioner’s sugar. Mix until smooth. Spoon a bit on each cake, making sure a little zest is on each one.
Yields about 22 mini muffins.
February 11, 2011 § 7 Comments
Round three of our French Fridays with Dorie left me wanting a do-over. I’d never had anything like an orange almond tart, and, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that sure I was going to enjoy it. Oranges in a baked dessert just sounded kind of mushy or mealy or something strange on the tongue. I live in Florida. The only way I eat oranges is fresh from the peel, a lot of times off someone’s tree. But, I went with it because I trust DG‘s experience (take a gander at who she has worked with here).
Anyway, Susan (my friend and trusty FFWD cohort) and I made it as written except for one thing: the recipe calls for almond flour. I didn’t have any so we used finely ground almonds. I’m not sure how it affected the recipe since I’ve only made it once, but Sus wondered if we used official “almond flour” if the resulting tart would have been lighter (any pastry people out there know?).
So, why (I know you’re asking) did I want a do over? A couple of things: the crust was overly brown by the end (you have to pre-bake this one) making it mildly unattractive and too hard to eat in some places. Not what you want in a crust (totally my fault, though). Second, the almond flavor dominated. This is great when making an almond cake, and it wasn’t a bad thing here either, but why bother with oranges if you aren’t going to taste them? She suggests poached pear slices as an alternative, and I want to try them next time.
I say “next time” because even though this tart didn’t turn out perfectly, I really liked the way it tasted. The almond cream is nutty and not too sweet and the whole thing has a bit of a salty, caramel flavor that is, just, sorry to do this, YUMMY. (I feel like Rachel Ray saying “YUMMO!!” You’ll have to make it and see what descriptions you can come up with!) It’s perfect with ice cream, It would be dreamy with whipped cream. What more do you need?
** The French Fridays group asks that I don’t print the entire recipe in my posts about the book (trying to SELL books. I get it.), but if you think you want to give this or any of the FF recipes a try, leave me a note in the comments and I’ll email the recipe to you.
***I no longer am monopolizing the local library’s one copy of Around My French Table because my dear childhood friend, Erynn, sent me my very own copy. I’m excited that I’ll get to cook through the whole book and not feel like I have to hurry before my book turns back into a pumpkin. LUXURY! Thank you, friend.
February 8, 2011 § 5 Comments
I know, you’ve been dying to hear about last week’s French Fridays with Dorie Recipe. Dying! It’s Tuesday. I don’t know how you waited. (If you are thinking “What IS she talking about?? See this post.) I somewhat liked the Basque Potato Tortilla that was on the schedule, but this was June’s response:
That was after I told her she had to eat three more bites. She had finished the bread and had nothing else to look forward to in the meal. It was only Basque Potato Tortilla ahead. I’m not trying to be insensitive, but doesn’t that kill you? She looks so full of angst!
So, what is a Basque Potato Tortilla? The Basque region, where this dish is very popular, straddles France’s border with Spain (hence the spanish “tortilla”). In this case a tortilla is basically a thick omelet, or you could think of it as a crustless quiche, a frittata, etc. The original recipe calls for potato, but we decided to make another one with mushrooms in the filling. This is part of why I like DG’s books. She offers ideas for variations in almost every recipe. She’s so good at showing the flexibility that exists in cooking. Flexibility works for me.
Anyway, we cooked down the ingredients for our fillings (potato or mushrooms, onion, rosemary, and garlic) in a skillet until soft, mixing together nine, yes, NINE eggs in a bowl while they were cooking. You remove the filling from the pan, clean the pan (because you are going to use it to cook the tortilla), mix the filling mixture and eggs together, and pour everything back into the skillet to cook. After a few minutes you throw it in the oven, under the broiler, to brown the top and finish cooking.
Although they were super easy, the tortillas didn’t bowl me over. I liked it, but didn’t love it, Susan says she enjoyed it, even though it had a simple taste, our husbands put hot sauce on it (but did eat several helpings), and I think the picture of June sort of sums up my kids’ responses to it. They were just glad there was bread.
Next up on the FFWD recipe schedule: Almond Orange Tart. After a very practical one, a fancier one feels about right. I’ll keep you posted.