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.
January 29, 2011 § 5 Comments
My friend Susan and I were sitting around looking at this book, by my new best friend Dorie Greenspan (I’m positive we would cook together all the time if I lived in Paris, NYC, or Connecticut!), when I started telling her about an online group that cooks through DG’s newest book one recipe at a time. It’s called French Fridays with Dorie, and they do one recipe a week and post about their efforts on Fridays. Susan said, “That’s great and all, but let’s just do it ourselves. We can cook through the book together and you can start a blog and post about what we are cooking.” I said “yeah, that would be fun…..” thinking, “we’re never gonna do that”.
Well, if you say to Susan, “we should do that…” she will call you the next day and say, “well, what do you think about doing it today? I’m on my way to the grocery store to get all the ingredients we need.” Somehow the immediacy threw me and I said “ok”. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it’s just that I tend to say no to things when it’s not my idea. It’s an annoying trait, I know. Anyway, I’m so glad she is the way she is because she pushes me to do things that I would want to do, but would put off forever.
So, she showed up an hour later with the ingredients for Chicken B’stilla, and both this blog and cooking through Around my French Table began. This was the dish the online group was doing this past week, so we started there. I still may join the online group for when Sus moves back to California and we can’t cook together anymore. Sniff. If I do I’ll have to keep hogging the library’s copy of the book or break down and buy one for myself. I’m sure I’ll just hog.
So, the dish. Oh yes, the dish! Chicken B’stilla is widely cooked in France, but has been adapted from Moroccan cuisine. It’s full of aromatic spices like ginger, coriander, cinnamon and saffron (we actually skipped the saffron) that you use to marinate chicken thighs. You cook the thighs in broth and shred the meat which is then mixed with an excellent lemon-honey sauce. It’s somewhat like an exotic chicken pot pie with a crust made of phyllo dough and dusted with cinnamon sugar. It’s not your average American flavors, and I was pleasantly surprised how the flavors fit together so well.
I’m not going to post the actual recipe as this is the first time I’ve seen someone ASK that you not post entire recipes from the book, but if anyone out there (is anyone actually out there?) is interested in the recipe, I’ll email it to you. Just leave me a message in the comments. Overall, I would give this recipe a ” very good”. It’s a project, for sure, but a very tasty and beautiful one that smells of cinnamon and spice and feeds your family, too. It’s not like cleaning out the garage can say that for itself!
Sus and I definitely felt like we’d done a lot of work for dinner that night, but agreed the experience of cooking something so different was good for both of us. I think we are on again for this week, so I’ll report back on “Basque Potato Tortilla” in the coming week.
**As a side note, these pictures were the first ones taken with a blog in mind and I was (even more than I am now) trying to figure out where any good light could be found. Bear with me.