Friday, July 29, 2011

FFWD Citrus-Berry Terrine



Fridays roll around very quickly these days! It could be that it's summer and the days go by so fast. Whatever the reason, here we are ready for this weeks French Friday recipe again. On the schedule for this week is Citrus-Berry Terrine. I was quite happy with this pick. I know gelatin salads have lost their favor in our modern culinary culture...but I love gelatin salads. I have a recipe for a Strawberry Jello Salad, served with a sour cream dressing, that is so wonderful. It was often requested when we had a buffet or pot luck dinners. I haven't made it in years. I just never think about it anymore. That is, until last night as I was making this terrine. I really enjoyed this recipe and it was pretty easy to put together. The most time consuming part was peeling and sectioning the oranges and grapefruit. After that it was a breeze!  You have to put the initial gelatin mixture in the fridge for about 2 hours and stir every so often so that it wouldn't gel too much. I forgot mine in the fridge for an extra 1/2 hour.  Definitely over jelled! I decided to microwave it for about 40 seconds. That worked great and was just enough to soften the mixture, so I could add the fruit. After adding the fruit you place the mixture into a loaf pan and refrigerate again for several hours or overnight. We really enjoyed this dish. It was light and perfect for a hot summer night! It might even redeem gelatin salads!

This recipe is from Dorie Greenspans book 'Around My French Table".  You could also find it here. To see how other Doristas did check out here.
Juice simmering with sugar

Gelatin softened with the water
Sections of orange and grapefruit


Gorgeous berries...I decided to add currants to the mix

Everything mixed and ready to be put into loaf pan
Just released from loaf pan...After standing overnight in refrigerator 

Delicious! 

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food...Number 8 Judith Jones, Her Lovely Summer Pudding

 Blueberry Summer Pudding...This was so yummy!


Judith Jones, is number 8 on Gourmet's list of the 50 Most Infuential Women in food. One of my favorites! She lived and worked in France after World War 2, then returned to the US to publish Julia Child's book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".  As the introduction to her book says, "the rest is publishing and gastronomic history".  One thing I didn't know about Judith Jones was that she played a significant role in bringing "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" to America. I read her book "The Tenth Muse" and found it to be a delightful and inspiring memoir. Besides Julia Child, she also worked with James Beard, Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey and Lidia Bastianich. Not to mention Edna Lewis, Marian Cunningham and Joan Nathan.  These were some of the most important and talented people in food. She writes about how M.F.K. Fisher was a mentor, friend and someone who taught her the art of eating, living and aging! I am in awe of this wonderful, talented women...At 87 she is still a senior editor and vice president at Knopf.  She has long been a major force in the cookbook world. In August of 2006 she received The James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a true ground breaker! 


I made Judith Jones' Summer Pudding from "The Pleasures of Cooking for One". I had never had summer pudding before. I have always wanted to try it, so this was the perfect time. It was pretty easy to put together and absolutely delicious! I added a full cup of berries because I  only had a 1 1/4 cup mold and it worked out great. My husband called it a keeper...Looks like I'll be adding this to my "go to" file. Judith suggests serving it with whipped cream but I went with vanilla frozen yogurt and it was perfect!


Summer Pudding

• ¾ cup blueberries, or other berries
• 1 tablespoon or more sugar
• 2 very thin slices white homemade-type bread (Judith’s note: “If you can’t find really thin-sliced white bread (such as Arnold’s), you can use the standard slice and cut it in half horizontally with a serrated bread knife—not an easy task, but if it breaks, you just patch the pieces back together.”)
Put the berries and sugar in a small saucepan with ¼ cup water. Set over low heat and let cook until soft, not more than 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste when cool enough and add more sugar, if needed.
Meanwhile remove the crusts from the bread and line a 1-cup mold with one slice of the bread, pressing it firmly into the bottom of the cup and up the sides. Tear off pieces of the second slice of bread to fill the gaps in the sides. Pour the berries and their juice into the lined mold and fold any overlapping bread on the top, then fill in the uncovered area on top with the remaining bread. Press down so the juices seep into all the bread, put a plate on top, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When you’re ready to eat the pudding, loosen the sides with a knife and then turn the mold upside down onto a plate. It should slip out easily. Enjoy with heavy cream, lightly whipped, if you wish.

Blueberries, sugar and water...boil for about 5 minutes

Lining the mold with the bread...blueberries ready to add

Ready to refrigerate

Delicious...and so summery!

Mary of  One Perfect Bite has organized a group of fellow bloggers to cook through Gourmet's list. 
Check out what she and others chose to make on their very lovely blogs!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Potato-Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers and My Technology Catastrophe

Summertime and potato salad seem to go hand and hand. Ever since I can remember, potato salad has been a big part of our summer table. Not just any potato salad but my mom's potato salad! She could whip her salad up in a heartbeat!  However, the potato salad I'm writing about today is not my mothers potato salad and is not so basic. It takes a bit more time and is definitely worth it!
This recipe has been adapted from Southern Living Magazine and has become part of my summer table. I've been making it for several years now and it always generates plenty of ooh's and aah's! Most importantly it is delicious!
   
Potato salad stuffed red bell peppers....Yum!



Potato-Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers
adapted from Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients 

  • large baking potatoes (about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
  • large red bell peppers
  • (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese 
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika  

  • Preparation
  • Pierce each potato 3 to 4 times with a fork, and place directly on oven rack.
  • Bake at 450° for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
  • Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, cutting through stems and keeping intact. Remove and discard seeds and membranes; rinse and pat dry. Set aside.
  • Cut baked potatoes in half. Scoop out pulp into a large bowl, discarding shells. Add sour cream and next 6 ingredients to pulp, blending well with a fork or potato masher.
  • Spoon potato mixture evenly into bell pepper halves. Sprinkle with paprika.
  • Grill peppers, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 18 minutes or until peppers are blistered and potato mixture bubbles around edges. Serve immediately.


  •  
    This was to be my post for last week when a technology catastrophe hit my house. The week started out innocuously enough. My son-in-law dropped my grandchildren off at my house to spend a few days. My 7 year old granddaughter J and her twin 3 year old brothers N and L were here at Camp Grandma. Things were going well...we were having fun! J and I went to a Tea House for a grandma/granddaughter lunch. We all hit the zoo and the Land of Make Believe, an amusement park geared towards young children. We had picnics and made ice cream...all and all a wonderful exhausting week!


Enjoying the ice cream we made!
Riding the rides at the Land of Make Believe
Excited to see all the animals at the zoo
Lunch at the tea house with grandma...such a grown up thing!
N taking part in a play at the Land of Make Believe

 Then it happened, the first of my techno problems. My cell phone found it's way into my cooler bag, where ice had been melting! After spending 24 hours in a bowl of rice...it is still not working. I will be making my way to Verizon today! However, the worst was yet to come. As I was using my computer, it got "hung up" and I could not get it to shut down. I tried to force quit to no avail. I shut the computer off and when I tried to start it up again I got the dreaded blinking question mark! So I went to the Apple Store where they told me my hard drive had died! Oh no!! My computer is fairly new and I wasn't backing up...BIG mistake! Now, after a week and a new hard drive, I have my computer back. Although some of my pictures are missing, it could have been a lot worse!  A stressful week but, I'm back on the grid!

Friday, July 15, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie Cold Cantaloupe Soup

This was so lovely and refreshing…Bon appetit!

I've been trying to think of what I could say about Cold Cantaloupe Soup. I could say, I wasn't excited about making it..but it's French Friday and you have to broaden your horizons!  Because I'm part of a group that steps out of our comfort zones, I decided to step up to the challenge. I'm really glad I did! I guess I never thought of soup as cold and fruity! I  really can't think of this as a soup. It's more like a fruit drink with melon balls. The biggest challenge I found with this soup was finding a nice cantaloupe. Dorie said, "buy a cantaloupe that is dead ripe". The melons my store carried were not only not ripe but, kind of sad looking.  I went to a second grocery store and found that they also had very sad looking cantaloupes.  The prices were high and the quality low, so no one was buying them!  Finally, I took a chance and stopped at the farm stand. I know they bring in fruit from out of the area until ours is ready to pick. Voila! A really nice ripe sweet cantaloupe! I happen to love cantaloupe so the taste of this dish was very delightful and refreshing. It was also quite easy to make. I used rasperries from my garden instead of strawerries.  And I also added the sweet white wine when I served it.  It was a very nice addition. I now have a new summer favorite that I look forward to trying again!


This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans new cookbook "Around My French Table". Check out how other Doristas did with this recipe here!      



Melon balls

Ready to puree
My melon soup and fresh raspberries from my garden


Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food # 6 Marcella Hazan-Semifreddo di Cioccolato


Beautiful and Delicious…Marcella Hazan's Semifreddo
Recently, Gourmet Live published a list of the 50 most influential women in food or "game changers" as they called them. While I think most of these women deserve their place on the list; I must admit when I first read the list I was a little bothered (I take this stuff way too seriously)! They left out some of the most creative, talented women in food. They chose Ree Drumond, who is a very successful blogger, and Julie Powers, who cooked through Julia Childs cookbook, over Marion Cunningham, who edited and rewrote the Fannie Farmer cookbook. Learn more here! And what about Dorie Greenspan? I cook with her on French Fridays! She's written some amazing cookbooks.  Not to mention Clementine Paddleford! Her book How America Eats was considered groundbreaking in 1960, but now mostly unknown and out of print. Read more here about Clementine! Or what about Rose Levy Berenbaum, a baking genius!  While Ree has a wonderful blog, her cooking is very basic and for me does not qualify her to be on this list. Julie's blog certainly inspiered many woman to start blogs themselves, but again a game changer...I don't think so. I just think so many really prominent women were left out. Was it because they chose women on their popularity or is it more that the editors of Gourmet are not quite up on their culinary history?  I'll never know…agree or disagree it's the list!
Last week, as I was browsing some of my favorite blogs, I came across Mary of OnePerfectBite.
Her idea was to cook her way through each of these 50 women, one each week! I thought it sounded like fun so here I am with # 6 Marcella Hazan. She is an Italian food writer who writes in English. Her cookbooks have introduced people, in the United States, to the techniques of traditional Italian cooking. She is widely considered by many in the food industry to be one of the foremost authorities on Italian cuisine. 
Since it is very warm in my part of the country, I decided on Marcella's Semifreddo di Cioccolato. Semifreddo is a very traditional Italian dessert. It means half cold and is a class of semi-frozen desserts. It is the texture of frozen mousse. This recipe was so easy and absolutely delicious! A wonderful dessert for a hot evening!

                           Marcella Hazan's Semifreddo di Cioccolato 

  • 2 cups very cold heavy cream
  • 1¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  •  4 ounces very finely grated semi sweet baking chocolate
  •  6 egg whites
  • Whip the cream. Before it begins to stiffen and while it is still the consistency of buttermilk, add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time and continue whipping.
  • When all the sugar has been incorporated and the cream is stiff enough to hold peaks, mix in the grated chocolate.
  • Beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry; fold them into the cream and chocolate mixture. (Because the egg whites are not cooked I bought pasteurized eggs).
  • Line a loaf pan of 1½ to 2 quarts with wax paper and pour the mixture into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. To serve, unmold the loaf onto a platter, remove wax paper and slice.


Mixing the grated chocolate into the whipped cream

Plastic wrap lined loaf pan

Folding the cream into the beaten egg whites

Put mixture into loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze


Please visit these other wonderful blogs and see how they chose to honor Marcella Hazan. If you would like to participate with this group visit Mary at One Perfect Bite.

  
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Kathy - Bake Away with Me 

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Katie - Making Michael Poland Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Lovely Day in New Hope, Pa.

This summer we will not be going away on vacation. This is by choice. I really love to stay home during the summer. I think the weather in the north-east is glorious. Days are long and your senses overload with scents, sights and sounds. Essentially, my garden needs someone to look after it. Making sure the birds don't eat all my berries is a tough job. Last year I left for 2 weeks in August and came home to a mostly dead garden. I have decided this summer to be a day-tripper; so that I can take advantage of my beautiful NJ and the surrounding states. I live in the north-west corner of the state…known for mountains, lakes and we also host the State Fair. Two to three hours south is our wonderful coast line. The Shore, Atlantic City, and beautiful victorian Cape May!
Today my husband and I took a day trip to New Hope Pa., about 2 hours south of where we live. It is such a pretty drive through small quaint towns and beautiful farms that dot the Delaware River.     


Welcome to Beautiful New Hope Pa., one of the oldest towns along the Delaware River!
You could ride the rail for a scenic view of this beautiful part of Pa.
My favorite place to eat

Follow the brick path…


This is such a lovely place to eat…the view of the Delaware is amazing and the food is very good

In the fall and winter they have inside dining with fireplaces…so cozy!
My lunch...A Waldorf Chicken Salad…Delicious!



The view from The Landing restaurant…On the Delaware River…I can see NJ from here!
Love the iron work

A very old church, now a restaurant

Indian Logan...In the 1820s a ten foot tall Native American weathervane was crafted of heavy sheet iron by Samuel Cooper and painted by Joseph Moon. Acccording to folklore the Chief of the Lenni Lenape Indians exchanged names with James Logan, secretary and family steward to William Penn. This pole with the Indian figure atop has been a familiar New Hope landmark for many years.
This is the Perry Mansion built in the 1784…one of the loveliest and oldest homes in New Hope.
 Such beautiful old architecture…This was by the old ferry landing
This theater is curently closed due to the owner defaulting on his loan. It was always buzzing with activity and drew tourists to New Hope with productions going on all summer long. My husband and I saw  "Phantom of The Opera" there a few years ago. The future of this theater is in question at the moment. It would be a tragedy if it does not reopen.
They have started  a Conservancy to try and save the theater and reopen it.  
The theater’s history is long. A local group, including Broadway producer Moss Hart, who lived in Bucks County, opened the playhouse 72 years ago with a production of “Springtime for Henry” featuring Edward Everett Horton. The theater had been the venue for some Broadway tryouts, but more significantly, a place that developed a litany of future and current stars of Broadway and Hollywood including George Scott, Ruth Gordon, Robert Redford, Helen Hayes, Colleen Dewhurst, Claude Raines, Shirley Booth, Grace Kelly and Walter Matthau ( from article by Curt Yeske for NJ.com ).


The old Stockton Inn is just a few miles north of New Hope on the NJ side of the Delaware River




We have stayed here a few times and it is such a lovely place
The Glass Dining Room!  This was once the original Stockton Inn patio. It is now an enclosed glass dining room, the stone floor has many US Silver Dollars embedded in the concrete between the flagstones. The Silver Dollars date back to the late 1880s and 1890s.


During the Depression several artists stayed at the Stockton Inn and painted this mural for room and board. The Primary artist was Robert A.D. Miller. The painting began about 1929 and finished in early 1935. It encompassed several rooms.


Lorenz Hart, musical collaborator with Richard Rodgers, wrote the song, "There's A Small Hotel" while staying here. (You could listen Here!) This famous song was inspired by the Stockton Inn and it's tranquil garden setting. The song was originally intended for the Broadway Musical Jumbo produced by Billy Rose. Because of the length of the production, the song was pulled just before opening and later appeared in another of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Harts collaborations, a 1936 Broadway hit, On Your Toes.


So that's it! Time to go! Hope you enjoyed the visit! Oh wait!! One more stop before we go home...no trip to New Hope is complete without a stop at Dilly's Corner for ice cream!  It is on the Pa. side across the river from Stockton.

Friday, July 8, 2011

FFWD Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

This was so yummy!
It is French Friday again and, we are making Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote. En Papillote refers to a method of cooking, a technique where food (vegetables or fish usually) is placed in a packet made out of parchment or foil to cook in the oven. This technique actually steams the food. It is really very simple and quick. Dories recipe calls for some basil leaves in the center of a 12 inch square piece of foil. Then salt and pepper the leaves and place salmon on top. A bit of olive oil over the fish, some grated lemon zest, a handful of grape tomatoes on the side and, a sprinkle of lemon juice. Finish it off with a few slices of lemon, and herbs. I used rosemary and some chopped scallions. Add a bit more olive oil and close the packet. That's it…this cooks for about 10 minutes and is absolutely wonderful! Another winner from Dorie! I so enjoyed the easy cooking technique. It is hot and humid here and no one wants to spend hours preparing dinner! No messy cleanup either…the foil gets tossed! I served a nice salad and some french bread on the side. I had never tried this method for cooking fish before but, I will be using it from now on. Loved the juice that surrounds the fish when it's done cooking. Aromatic and so delicious!

If you haven't gotten Dories book Around My French Table yet, you should check it out! And check out what other Dorie cooks did with this one!




This is so beautiful



Ready to wrap

Enclose in foil…leave room for fish to steam…and bake at 475° for 10 minutes or longer if you like your fish done well.