Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas and all things Dorie

I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted. I still have gorgonzola in the fridge waiting to be mixed with my pumpkin into something tasty.  Hopefully soon.  I have been busy preparing for Christmas.  Cabbage rolls are in the oven as I type.  Pierogies, lasagna and more cookies to come.  Besides our turkey feast on Christmas day I'll be making dinner for my aunts, uncles and cousins to be served at my mom's house on the 29th.  The previously mentioned cabbage rolls and pierogies will be served along with ham, schnitzel and Dorie's pommes dauphinois.  In the meantime I've been busy with these little goodies.  Sorry I did not get them posted during the past couple of weeks.

Let's start with leek and potato soup, topped with cheddar cheese.  This was my first successful homemade soup.  It was delicious, but does not photograph that well.

Next up were the Speculoos.  I took Dorie's suggestion and sandwiched some of these with Nutella.  Yummy!  I didn't have a small cookie cutter so these are rather large and my son really wanted the reindeer shaped ones.  Let me tell you, this dough was hard enough to work with let alone try to make fancy shapes, but they are the epitome of all things a Christmas cookie should be.

And as a little extra treat I made Dorie's World Peace cookies, which can be found in one of her other cookbooks, Baking - From my home to yours. 
Make these cookies!!! 
Mine were made with a mix of dark and milk chocolate.  For my next batch I plan on trying some orange chocolate.  There are many, many batches in my future. 

If you get a chance Dorie has a wonderful story about these cookies here
Merry Christmas, everyone.  Enjoy the holiday season, the wonderful food and most of all, spending time with those you love!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

roast chicken for les paresseux

This was a great roast chicken!  I don’t know about the ‘for les paresseux’ part as I made this on a Monday night after a long day at work and had to have dinner ready before the family started heading out the door for various activities.  Dorie calls this chicken for lazy people as you put it in a Dutch oven and just forget about it until it’s done.  While the prep was easy, ½ a head of garlic in the cavity and ½ in the bottom of the pot along with some herbs and wine, followed by a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper on the bird, I didn’t have a Dutch oven so I used our normal Pyrex dish (which does not have high sides).  This normally works well but I guess with the addition of a bit of oil in the pan the bird was really splattering and popping, making me check it often for fear of a fire.  I finally took some tin foil and fashioned sides for my Pyrex dish and that seemed to do the trick.  I did add the shallots at the ½ way mark but skipped the veggies as D requested mashed potatoes that night and I don’t like cooked carrots. 

The chicken turned out very crispy and juicy.  Actually L commented that it wasn’t done because it still had juice running from it.  I said the juice just has to be clear.  The crisp skin of a chicken is one of my favourite parts but I declared that night that L does not respect the skin!  He doesn’t eat it so while carving this chicken for me he let it flop around in the pan juices thus loosing some of it’s crispness.  It was still good but I think I’ll take care of that part next time. 

The best part of this for me was the pan drippings.  Yum!  While the chicken was really very similar to how we normally roast I don’t usually add garlic, shallots and wine to the pan.  I did add some more wine while reducing the drippings and turned this into gravy with the addition of a bit of flour and water.  Delicious! 

I’ll add that I liked the bread trick but I’ll leave it up to those readers that don’t have Dorie’s book, Around my French Table, to pick themselves up a copy and find this recipe and all the other wonderful ones.

Who knew one could talk so much about chicken!

Friday, November 12, 2010

FFwD - caramel-topped semolina cake

Oh caramel…you are quickly becoming my arch-nemesis.  I decided to double the caramel after reading others comments about the recipe not producing very much.  The first attempt looked good, but wait, “Poof!”…too dark.  I had better taste to see.  Why do I keep sticking my fingers in hot caramel!  Yuck.  Second try.  Doubled the recipe again.  Stirred it into a frothy mess trying to keep it from burning.  Stirred so much that most of the sugar just crystallized around the sides of the pot.  Didn’t even get enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.  Third attempt.  Kept the recipe as is and voilà!  Perfect. 

As you can see the turn out on to the plate did not go so well either but that’s ok, I was just happy to have it done and to see some delicious looking caramel sauce.  The ‘cake’ itself was very easy to make and I’ve been enjoying the cream of wheat as my morning meal for a couple of weeks now.  I skipped the raisins, as I didn’t have any on hand. 
I am glad I was eager to taste this as it turns out I really enjoyed it while it was still a bit warm but once it came to room temperature it was too eggy for me.   Looking forward to trying Dorie’s roast chicken for les paresseux (lazy people) this weekend…and with the mess of pots full of hardened caramel sauce waiting for me in the kitchen it sounds like the type of recipe I need!

Friday, November 5, 2010

FFwD - pommes dauphinois

There was a hotel I stayed at several times in Baton Rouge that had a steak restaurant next door that delivered room service.  Yummy steak.  The first time I ordered however I was shocked that I had no choice of potato.  It was a fully loaded baked potato or nothing.  French fries being the only kind I really enjoy I thought I was going to have to just eat steak that night.  Boy was I wrong.  Turned out I like love potatoes when you cover them in butter, cheese bacon and what other yummy ingredients might have been in there.  Turns out I also love potatoes sliced thin and baked in heavy cream infused with garlic and topped with cheddar cheese (I used a white cheddar as that's what I had in the house).  I will not be making these again anytime soon.  Yes you read that correctly.  These were too good.  I had another helping before bed; I had them for lunch the next day.  If I make them too often I'll weigh a tonne!

Friday, October 29, 2010

FFwD - Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake

It's Friday already.  This sounded like a quick and easy recipe to attempt at the end of a busy week.  Who knew it would take me over 1/2 an hour to peel four apples!  The rest came together without a problem.  Thanks to for her suggestion to brown the butter.  I could not stop sniffing the stuff!  I bought a 9 inch springform pan for this as that was all I could find but as soon as I had the batter poured in I could tell that wasn't going to work, not enough to fill it all, so I switched to a regular 8 inch pan.  Better...but... to get it out of the pan!?  I did my best.  I was impatient and did not let this cool all the way.  My first bite I thought ok, a little too much of a rum taste but after letting it cool properly I did enjoy it. 

Happy Halloween everyone!  I've got a bat girl costume to put together tomorrow, should prove to be interesting!

Friday, October 22, 2010

FFwDorie - hachis parmentier

This is a dish my mom would like.  Similar to the shepherd’s pies she tried to get me to eat as a kid.  She never succeeded.  I would not even try them.  Why?  My utter dislike of potatoes.  As a kid I only ever ate the French fried variety, or raw with salt!  I spent many a night sitting at the table staring at the little mash of potatoes on my plate, refusing to eat them.  They are even worse cold!  I’ve grown to like them a little more.  Serve them mashed with lots of gravy or cheese sauce and they aren’t so bad.  So you can understand I was a little hesitant with this dish.  I was not overly familiar with the cheeses suggested so I googled each one and my hesitation grew even more when I saw the descriptions of nutty and smoky.  I bought a cheese a few years ago like this and I really did not enjoy it.  I decided on a French emmental hoping it would be mild.  In the end it turned out well!  The potato topping, with it’s crispy crust and just a hint of cheese, was the best part.  I was a little disappointed in the meat filling.  I expected more of a meaty flavour.  That may be attributed to the cut of beef I used.  I still have not figured out if the stewing beef I used is the same thing as chuck.  Anyone? 
Oh..the three year old would only try the potatoes, which he loved.  The fifteen year old wanted nothing to do with it and L gave a shrug and an “it’s ok” but I did notice he ate two portions and just finished off the left overs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Hello out there!  So, I have made the decision to blog along with the French Fridays with Dorie group.  Why you ask?  Well after a Thanksgiving dinner which involved burnt caramel sauce, seized caramel sauce (second attempt), stuffing dropped on the floor, two burns on my hands, a log of those store bought crescent rolls that would not unroll, and a three year old who started screaming when the gravy he poured all over his mashed potatoes dared to touch his corn, I decided to torture my family some more with my cooking attempts.  Hmm … actually the dinner itself was delicious so maybe I'll just be torturing myself.  We'll see!