Friday, April 27, 2012

FFWD Navarin Printanier

Yummy Navarin Printanier  (Lamb Stew)
Happy Friday everyone! It’s that time again! Our recipe this week for French Fridays with Dorie was for a lamb stew called Navarin Printanier. Being middle eastern, I grew up on lamb and, it happens to be a favorite of mine. I was really looking forward to this recipe. Although, I heard through the internet chatter or grapevine,  not all the Doristas were looking forward to this one.
We just returned home last night from a week away so, I sent my husband to the butcher to pick up the lamb. He called to let me know they had no shoulder meat and would it be ok for them to give me lamb shank? I’m thinking they would trim and cut the meat off the bone so, I said yes! Well, my husband came home with meat that was still on the bone. I told him 2 lbs. because there were only two of us. He didn’t compensate for the bones and, brought just over 2 lbs. home. You see where I’m going here. I was lucky to get about one pound of lamb meat, that cost me over 8 dollars.
I took my one pound of lamb and continued with the recipe. We live about 15 minutes out of town so, I didn’t want to make that trip again.  I browned the meat, added the flour, seasonings and broth. While it was cooking, I prepared the veggies. I used carrots and parsnips…I didn’t use the small onions. I cut a large onion and put it into the sauce with the garlic. I thought this recipe went together easily. It did take some time but, was not labor intensive.  The fragrance of this dish permeated my kitchen and family room and, left you longing to have dinner. After about an hour my stew was ready to eat.  All I can say is we loved it!! Definitely a keeper! Something I would make again, with more lamb, so I would get at least two meals for my efforts. Thanks Dorie for another great recipe!  

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook Around My French Table. 
To see what other Doristas are doing check it out here!

Browned lamb with broth added along with the herbs and garlic
Carrots and parsnips sautéing in frypan
Add the veggies to pot and cook 15 minutes longer on top of stove

Then put into oven for another 45 minutes….this is what it looked like when done
This looks like any other stew…don’t be fooled…the flavors are so incredible!
This will definitely be making many appearances on our dinner table!

Gourmet’s 50 Most Influential Women in Food # 45 Diana Kennedy--Torta de Cielo (Almond Sponge Cake)

Torta de Cielo translates to "Cake of Heaven”

Here we are at number 45 on Gourmets list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food The Grande Dame of Mexican food, Diana Kennedy. Diana is to Mexican cuisine what Julia Child was to French. 

She was born in Loughton, Essex, UK in 1923. During WW2 she joined the Timber Corps. It was an organization created to replace the men in the forestry department, who were serving during the war.  After the war she emigrated to Canada. In 1957 she left for Mexico to marry her husband, Paul Kennedy, a correspondent for the New York Times.  She then started traveling the country in search of recipes, cooking techniques and the history of Mexican cuisine. After she published her first book, The Cuisines of Mexico in 1972, she became a leading expert on authentic Mexican cooking. Since then she has published a number of books including (at age 87)  Oaxaca al Gusto An Infinite Gastronomy, 2010. When reviews of this book came out she complained “I’m 87 years old; be serious, I’m not going to live forever”.  Feisty to say the least!   An  interviewer from the Washington Post called her fiery! I would say she's earned the right to be a bit tempestuous. 

She was awarded the Order Of The Aztec Eagle, by the Government of the Republic of Mexico for her contributions to documentation of regional Mexican cuisine. The Aztec Eagle is the Mexican equivalent of Knighthood for the British.
Ms. Kennedy resides in Michoacan, Mexico. Now 89 still fit and, according to an NPR interview, still on the hunt for the perfect tamale. 
I decided to make Diana Kennedy’s Torta de Cielo which is an Almond Sponge Cake. I did take a short cut with this recipe. I decided to use a bag of almond meal purchased for another recipe, instead of using whole almonds. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo…this cake was absolutely awesome!  "A  keeper” according to my husband! 

Egg yolks whipped into the whites
Batter after nut mixture was mixed in...
It does look heavenly…
and tastes delectable! Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
Almond Sponge Cake

Torta de Cielo, translated “Cake of Heaven”
Slightly adapted from a recipe by Diana Kennedy

Almond Sponge Cake

8 oz raw whole almonds (I used 1¾ cups almond meal)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs, separated
2-4 Tbsp.  cognac

1 tsp almond extract

1Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

First, cover the almonds with boiling water and let soak for 4 hours undisturbed. After the almonds are done soaking, remove the skins by gently pinching. Dry almonds thoroughly and grind in food processor until they are very fine, but not powder.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare 9” cake pan or a similar size  baking dish by buttering the bottom and sides of the dish, then lining with parchment paper, then buttering the top of the parchment paper. Set aside. 

Separate the five eggs. With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add the salt and continue beating until they are stiff. Add the yolks one by one and continue beating until incorporated.

Mix the dry ingredients together including the almonds and beating at low speed, gradually add them to the egg mixture.

Add the cognac and almond extract, mix well and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 60-75 minutes in the middle of the oven. Let cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.

You can top the cake with powdered sugar or some fresh whip cream.  

Here’s what we've been up to with our 45th Game Changer.....

Mary of One Perfect Bite 
Susan of The Spice Garden  
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed   
Heather of Girlichef   
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney  
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living   
Linda of There and Back Again  
Barbara of Moveable Feasts  
Nancy of Picadillo 
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits  
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen  
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook  
Alyce of More Time at The Table  
Amrita of Beetle's Kitchen Escapades
Martha at Simple Nourished Living  
Jill at Saucy Cooks  
Sarah at Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Annie at Most Lovely Things  
Sue at The View from Great Island 

Friday, April 20, 2012

FFWD Coconut Friands

So very yummy!
Well, as much as I’d like to say I missed last friday because of the sardine rillettes, that wouldn’t be totally true. It happens that April has been a crazy month for me and, I just couldn’t bring myself to make something I would not eat or enjoy!  However, this week I am more than happy to participate. Coconut Friands…oh my! I love anything with coconut in it!
This recipe is much easier than I would have thought when I first saw it as a French Friday pick! We are in Georgia for my grandsons First Communion so, I made these wonderful little cakes the day before we got on the road. Everything gets mixed by hand into one bowl. Beat the egg whites till smooth and frothy. Then add the other ingredients in order. Coconut is added instead of the traditional ground nuts. Dorie states that Nick Malgieri suggested she try making these with coconut. When it comes to pastry I would trust anything that Nick suggested. He is one of my favorites! These were absolutely wonderful! Very easy and, will definitely be made again and again! Happy Friday Everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans new cookbook “Around My French Table” or you can also find it here at  Patty’s Food
To see what other Doristas are doing check it out Here.
Egg whites whisked
Oven ready 
These were so easy to make….a new “go to” recipe.
Bet you can’t eat just one…I couldn’t!
These little gems are full of flavor 
Stays well for several days in a tin

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food # 44 Nigella Lawson—Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey
Nigella Lawson is number 44 on Gourmets list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food. I’m sure there is not a foodie around who has not heard of her. She came to fame in the U.K., with a  flirtatious personality and a relaxed approach to cooking, which has won her fans from all over the world. She has said of herself, "I am not a chef.  I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater.”
Nigella was born in 1960. Her father was the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and her mothers family owned the J. Lyons and Co. empire.  After graduating Oxford University, she started to work as a book reviewer and restaurant critic. She later became the literary editor of The Sunday Times. 
Lawson published her first cookbook in 1998, How to Eat. It sold 300,000 copies and became a bestseller. Her second book in 2000, How to be a Domestic Goddess, won her the British Book Award for Author of the Year.
In 1999 she began to host her own cooking series, Nigella Bites. The Nigella Bites series won Lawson a Guild of Food Writers Award. She came to the U.S. to host the food Network’s Nigella Feasts in 2006, followed by a three part BBC Two series, Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen, in the U.K. Later she did yet another series for the BBC Two called Nigella Express. This show was still being produced in 2011.
Between her cooking shows, cookware sales and her cookbooks; Nigella has built a multi million dollar business.  She has sold more than 3 million cookbooks worldwide! 
I decided to make Nigellas Hokey Pokey, also called Honeycomb Candy. I made two batches of this in less then 30 minutes. It came out quite good.  If I wasn’t watching my weight this week I could have eaten it all!

Ingredients for the Hokey Pokey…I used Lyle's Golden syrup
Sugar and syrup bubbling up…now whisk in the baking soda
Pour onto parchment paper to cool
Broken up pieces of Hokey Pokey
This was so delicious!

Hokey Pokey (Honeycomb Candy) - Nigella Lawson


    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 4 tablespoons golden syrup or 4 tablespoons dark corn syrup
    • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda


  1. Stir sugar and syrup together in a cold pan. Put over medium-high heat; from this point, do NOT stir, but only swirl the pan. Cook until golden and thick, and bubbles are beginning to mount.
  2. Turn off heat and add baking soda. Whisk vigorously. Pour onto a silicone liner (Silpat) and let stand 15 minutes. Smash into large pieces.


These are the very talented bloggers who are on the quest to blog through Gourmet’s list of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food…Make sure you stop by and check them out!

Heather - girlichef 
Nancy - Picadillo

Monday, April 16, 2012

Coconut Flan and My Dinner Club

Oh man….was this amazing!

Dinner club dinners, Easter, birthdays, a wedding, a first communion, grandchildren visiting and visiting grandchildren...all seem to add up to a terribly busy April! Even though I decided to skip last fridays pick (Sardine Rillettes) for French Friday; it really had more to do with the crazy month I was having and not my aversion to sardines(yuck).
So I’m looking forward to May. Things should be a bit quieter and I might actually have some time to get my garden started. First though, I will be heading south this week for my grandson’s first communion!

Last week my dinner club got together for our monthly, or almost monthly dinner. Our hosts this month chose a Caribbean theme. Their son just got married to a lovely girl from Trinidad and she had given them a Caribbean cookbook. They made a fantastic traditional “pelau" for our main course along with a pork dish. One of the other couples contributed a delicious creamy corn chowder soup and the appetizers. My assignment was a dessert to compliment our dinner. Something tropical. Something that had Caribbean written all over it!  Ahh what to make? I found some really delicious looking recipes; however, I happen to love flan! So, when I came across a recipe for Coconut Flan I had to make it! The recipe was from Goya and not labor intensive. That alone was a good reason to give it a try.
Melting the sugar for the bottoms of the ramekins was the most time consuming, but it still only took about 10 minuets. I swirled it continuously so that it would not burn. As it turned golden I removed it from the heat and poured it into the ramekins. I then beat the eggs with the rest of the ingredients and poured it over the sugar. I put them in a large pan and poured enough hot water into the pan so that it came  halfway up the sides of the ramekins. The water bath is very important to a flan. It defuses the heat of the oven to gently cook the custard. This is what gives the custard its smooth texture.
Oh, and something else! I decided to toast some coconut so that I could sprinkle it over the top of the flans when I served them. I learned a few things that I never knew…first coconut burns very fast….very, very it carefully! Secondly, I found out my oven (which I have had for at least 8 years) has a built in fire alarm….who knew?

Continue to shake pan until it turns a golden color
Sugar browned just right!
Put ramekins into pan with hot water and bake
Coconut toasted just right

This is what you don’t want to do!! 
Smooth, creamy and so delicious! 
If you are a lover of flan…this one is for you!
Delicious Pelau

Coconut Flan                                                                                             From Goya Foods

serves 8

Prep time: 15 min. 
Total time: 1 hr. 30min., plus cooling time

1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 cup cream of coconut
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract


1. Heat oven to 325°F. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Using a wet pastry brush, wipe off any sugar that sticks to the sides of the pan. Cook, without stirring, swirling the pan, until the syrup turns golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour the hot caramel into eight 4 oz. ramekins; set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, using a whisk, beat the eggs until completely combined. Whisk in the cream of coconut, condensed milk, coconut milk and vanilla until smooth. Divide the egg mixture evenly among ramekins.

3. Place ramekins in a shallow baking dish and place in the middle rack of the oven. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins; cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the Flan is set but still wiggly in the center, 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes. Using tongs, carefully remove the ramekins from the water. Transfer to refrigerator to cool completely.

4. When ready to serve, gently run butter knife around edges and invert onto serving plates. Garnish with raspberries and mint leaves, if desired.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gourmet’s 50 Most Influential Women in Food # 43 April Bloomfield….Deviled Eggs a la The Spotted Pig

 The Spotted Pig in the West Village NYC
Wow! Here we are at number 43 on Gourmet’s list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food.  The Game changers, and April Bloomfield certainly is a game changer! 
April was born in Birmingham, England in 1974. She was a big fan of Cagney and Lacey and decided she wanted to be a cop. When she missed the sign up date for the police academy, her mother asked her what she planned on doing with her life.  Her sister was going to Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies at that time, and April thought she would give “cooking a go”.  "But when I walked into college, and saw the kitchens and smelt the spices, I knew I would give it 110%. I was just blown away.” 

Her first job was at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham.  She didn’t want to stay in Birmingham and knew she wanted more. She took on extra hours and worked very hard to get the experience she needed to further her career.  Six months later she left for a job at Kensington Place,  followed by a job at Bibendum. Her next job was at Roscoff in Northern Ireland. Where next? "I used to lie in bed thinking about the River Cafe, because I'd watched their TV programme. I remember watching Rose [Gray, the restaurant's co-founder] cooking cavolo nero. She pureed it with the best olive oil and cheese. I went to work the next day and immediately made it.”

April had a friend who worked at the River Cafe. She gave her friend a call, and told her she was looking to move on. "They told me to come in, and I loved it from the moment I tasted the food. It was this pasta… I had to peel these walnuts. I'd never seen a wet walnut. My fingers were burning, but I was so happy. We made a sauce from the walnuts, some bread, the water I'd blanched them in, some pesto and some spicy oil. Tossed it into some tagliatelle. When I tasted it, my palate moved to a higher consciousness. I actually thought: what have I been doing for the last 10 years? I was so worried I wasn't good enough to get a job there.”

A few years later she was called by Ken Friedman who was looking for a chef to help him open a restaurant. He was hoping to get Jamie Oliver, who turned Friedman down. He recommended  April, who he had worked with at the River Cafe. She came to the US and took a job for the summer working at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse, to familiarize herself with american ingredients. Then she headed to New York, where April (who is the executive chef) and Friedman opened The Spotted Pig.
April Bloomfield came into the spotlight in the fall of 2005 when her small and casual West Village gastropub, 'The Spotted Pig’, received a highly esteemed Michelin star in the first Michelin Guide to NYC restaurants.  In 2007, Food and Wine magazine named her one of the best new chefs of the year, stating that her menu “infuses modest British dishes with spirit and sophistication.” 
This week April Bloomfield’s cookbook "A Girl and Her Pig” hit the stores and I’m sure it will be a huge hit…just like April herself! 

Oh so yummy deviled eggs
I decided to make The Spotted Pig’s Deviled Eggs. I actually had an abundance of hard cooked eggs in my fridge due to the Easter bunny leaving way too many. What a great way to use them up! The recipe is quick and easy. These eggs were creamy, buttery, smooth and tangy….all the ingredients just came together so deliciously!

These were a hit…even with my husband
Creamy and tangy….so good!

A Girl and Her Pig

adapted from one found at The Fifth Tine

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (The Spotted Pig makes these with home made olive oil mayonnaise)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Peperoncino red chili flakes, put into a spice grinder
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • Olive Oil for drizzling


Place eggs in medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, remove eggs from heat and cover the saucepan. Let the eggs sit in the hot water about 15 minutes.  Drain eggs, and submerge in ice water. When cool, peel and carefully slice eggs in half.
Place egg yolks in bowl of food processor. Add olive oil, mayonnaise, mustard, and both vinegars and process until smooth puree forms, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Season to taste with salt.
Transfer mixture to pastry bag fitted with large tip or to plastic zip-lock bag with corner cut off. Select 12 best egg white halves (reserve remaining egg whites for another use), and pipe filling mixture into the eggs.
Sprinkle eggs with sea salt, Peperoncino, and chives. Drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

These are the very talented bloggers who are on the quest to blog through Gourmet’s list of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food…Make sure you stop by and check them out!
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed 
Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef 
Nancy - Picadillo
Annie - Most Lovely Things 
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook