Friday, June 29, 2012

FFWD~Corn Pancakes

Delicious Corn Pancakes
This has been a crazy week for me! With all the things I had to do, I pulled my neck while moving planters on my deck!  I have been fully functional most of the time but, the heating pad has become my new best friend! So, I was quite happy when I saw this weeks recipe for French Fridays! I’m thinking, one of the easiest we have made yet! 
Dorie tells us, she fell in love with these corn pancakes while visiting a French country inn years ago!  Years later, while out to dinner in the states, she saw them again prepared by now famous French chef Jean-Georges. When she commented on how she loved them, he told her with a shrug, “They’re something my mother made all the time”.
The batter for these little gems was very simple. It uses canned corn.  Can’t get easier than that!  I don’t  use a lot of canned veggies with the exception of canned corn, canned chick peas, cannellini and black beans (oops.. I guess I do use them ). These are staples for many dishes I make such as hummus!   No shopping or expensive ingredients for this recipe! I used my food processor and mixed everything in the bowl…can of corn, flour, eggs and salt.  Give it a whirl, and the batter is ready for the fry pan.  Drop tablespoons of batter into hot oiled pan and cook!  Very easy!!
I served mine with some beautiful lamb chops I had picked up for dinner. These corn pancakes were not only easy but,  delicious and a big hit with both my husband and myself! Another recipe I will be adding to my “go to” list!  Happy Friday everyone!!
You can find this recipe in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” or here where it is posted. To see what other Doristas are doing…check it out  here!

Corn Pancake batter ready to cook
Frying in my favorite fry pan…a Mother’s Day gift to myself…a de Buyer carbon steel pan  
Just out of the pan, placed on a paper towel
Very delicious!!
Our delicious dinner…Lamb chops and corn pancakes….Oh yum! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

I’m going on a Picnic and I’m Bringing Limoncello Biscotti

July is National Picnic Month. I’m celebrating with bloggers from all over the country and beyond, by joining Louise of  Months of Edible Celebrations in the Picnic Game.  Although this is my first time playing, Louise has hosted this game for several years now! This game is based on a children’s game where everyone chooses a letter and comes up with a picnic item that begins with that letter. In this case, each blogger will bring to the picnic a variety of virtual food to fill the picnic basket; starting with A and working through to Z!! Does it sound like fun? Let’s play!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

FFWD ~David’s Seaweed Sablés

David’s Seaweed Sablés
This week our recipe is for Seaweed Sablés. I was prepared not to like these cookies…PLEASE…Seaweed? Really??  I however thought, nothing ventured nothing gained.  With that in mind, I sent my husband to the store to buy me the Nori! Since I have never bought Nori before, I really didn’t know what to expect.  I told my husband where to find it, right next to the Tofu. That’s where my grocery store stocks it! Good thing I pay attention to things like that because, the stock person didn’t know where it was, or what it was!  I didn’t expect it to cost as much as it did, 8 dollars for a package. Wow! And I’m not even going to like them!  What we do for Dorie and French Fridays!
These cookies are from David Lebovitz.  Dorie writes that classic sablés are being made all over Paris with untraditional add ins such as olives, cheese, bacon, cracked spices or seasoned salt.  So, I thought these Seaweed Sablés are Tres Chic!! I still didn’t think I would like them!
Tres Chic
Our summer here has come in with a bang. Not even the end of June and we’re having a heat wave! So on this very hot day, I went into the kitchen and whipped up these cookies.  My butter was softening much too fast. I worked quickly creaming the butter with the Nori, fleur de sel, confectionary sugar, egg yolk, and A/P flour. The dough came together easily. I rolled it into logs and refrigerated overnight.
In the morning, with our heat wave going strong, I turned on my oven to bake these Seaweed Sablés. They really looked pretty good when they came out of the oven. With some trepidation, I decided to give one a try! And then another, just to be sure! They were amazing! I think they would be lovely served with a glass of wine or some iced tea. Or, like they do in France, served with cocktails while waiting for the main course!  I’ll definitely make these again. I loved the sweet, salty thing going on! Who knew? Dorie!  Happy Friday Everyone!!

The recipe for these sablés can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table”.  To see what other Doristas are doing with these wonderful little cookies check it out here!

Just out of the oven
So this is what I did on this very hot day….However,  I was drinking Ice Tea!!
Look at all that very expensive seaweed in those cookies…who knew?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie ~ French Strawberry Cake

Two times a charm

This weeks Baking with Julia recipe is French Strawberry Cake.  The base for this cake is Julia’s recipe for the Perfect Génoise.  Madeleines, also made with a basic Génoise batter, have long been a favorite of mine, and I make them quite often. So, I expected no trouble with this cake.  Wrong!!  I made this cake twice!  I found that my first had a hard, heavy layer on the bottom and it did not rise at all. The second was better but, still not as good as it should have been.  I put my cake together, with my beautiful just picked strawberries (it’s strawberry season in NJ) and took my photos!  Then I went back into the kitchen and made a third cake that came out close to perfect! There was no way I was going to quit until I mastered this recipe!  Before I made my last cake; I did some online research and watched a video I found of Julia Child and Flo Braker making a Génoise  Part 1 and Part 2 .  
Warming your eggs (still in the shell) in a bowl of warm water before using them, was something I always do or, I use room temperature eggs.  I also found that I needed to beat the egg and sugar mixture longer then the suggested 5 minutes.  Ten minutes gave me a perfect ribbon.  Lastly, the most important thing I learned was to sift the flour, in small amounts, over the batter and then fold it in.  I don’t think this recipe was clear about how to incorporate the flour. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

French Sunday with Dorie ~ Lime Honey Beet Salad

Lime Honey Beet Salad…delicious!

I was going to skip this weeks FFwD recipe. Not because I don’t like beets (I love them), but because I was visiting my daughter and her family for the weekend. We've been very busy with end of the year school activities.  First, we had a Flag Day ceremony at my granddaughters school.  She and her classmates did a wonderful job of honoring some of her towns local veterans.  My granddaughter did a great job giving a synopsis of one of the veterans they were honoring. She memorized her part and performed it with confidence! Watching this little girl grow into a self-assured, intelligent young lady was a thrill for me! Then we went outside to take part in her Field Day fun! Sack races and pizza were on the agenda for the day!  The following day, we attended a pre-school moving up ceremony for our twin four year old grandsons! It doesn’t get better for this grandma!
So, although I bought the beets and made the dressing, I never got a chance to post about it! This beet dish was very easy to put together! I bought ready cooked beets in the produce department, so that I could get them done with all of my time constraints! Mixing all the ingredients for the dressing took minutes! I then put the beets in the refrigerator for about an hour before we served them.  They were great with our dinner of grilled fish, couscous and green salad.  Although we rinsed the dressing off the beets for the kids, the adults really enjoyed them. The next day my daughter and I ate the leftover beets with our lunch. They had soaked up the wonderful flavor of the dressing and were even better than the day before! Even though I'm a little late, I’m so glad I got this one done. This beet dish is something I will make and enjoy over and over again!! Another winner!
The recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” or here where it has been posted on-line!  To see what other Doristas are doing with this dish check it out here!

Mixing the dressing

If you love beets…you’ll love these

Friday, June 8, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie ~ Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olive Oil Ice Cream

I know what you’re all thinking…Olive Oil Ice Cream??? Yuck! Well, that was what my husbands said when I told him what was up for this weeks FFWD.  I told him, trust Dorie;  rarely does she not  come through!
Actually, I was looking forward to this one. I think I even gave it a thumbs up for nomination! I’m always curious with new food combinations! I love trying new things and can tell you all, this did not disappoint! I could barely taste the olive oil, as it was very subtle! It was very custardy and rich! Are you wondering what my husband thought?  He loved it, called it a winner! Would I make it again? You bet!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie ~ Oasis Naan

 Oasis Naan
Bread baking is both therapeutic and stress relieving. It always gives me a sense of accomplishment! There’s something about working with yeast….something that, for years, I feared.  In the early years, I made loaves that a brick mason could use for building.  The more I baked, the better and more confident I became.  Now, I so enjoy a day of bread baking. It is something so basic and earthy! So this weeks pick for Tuesdays with Dorie was the perfect pick for me. It was also a nice change of pace from all the sweets we’ve been making lately! Our recipe for this week was Oasis Naan. I had never tasted or baked naan before so, I was looking forward to trying a new technique and tasting a new bread.

Naan originated in Persia, but is typical of breads that are popular in West, Central and South Asia. Naan is a type of levened flat bread. The recipe for the Oasis Naan used the same dough as for the Persian Naan.  They are shaped differently. Persian Naan is long and snowshoe shaped while, the Oasis Naan is round.

The technique is pretty basic. Place tepid water in a bowl, add yeast and stir to dissolve.  You then add 3 cups of the flour to the water-yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to get a smooth dough. I then transferred the dough to my stand mixer and, using my dough hook, added the rest of the flour.  When the dough comes together, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead it vigorously until the dough becomes smooth and easy to handle.  Now place in an oiled bowl and turn so that both sides of the dough are oiled. Let rise for about two hours.

When the dough has risen, it’s time to shape. This was different then any bread I’ve made before. It was definitely a new and fun project! Divide the dough into eight pieces and, roll each piece into a 5 or 6 inch round ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with a little water. I did this by wetting my fingers and tapping the dough. I then took a fork and pricked each circle leaving a 1 to 2 inch edge. Sprinkle on the scallions, coarse salt, and cumin or caraway seeds. I used caraway seeds!
Traditionally naan is baked in a Tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking.  I used a baking stone and set my oven at 500°. The naan baked very fast, about 8 minutes and they were nicely browned on the bottom and slightly browned on the top. Perfect!
Now for the taste test…all I can say is Yum!! These were sooo delicious!  Both my husband and I enjoyed them and could have eaten them all (if I had no self-control) while I was cleaning my kitchen but, decided to freeze five of them for later.

Thanks to our hosts this month…Maggie at Always Add More Butter and Phyl at Of Cabbages and King Cake. You will find the recipe on their blogs.  I also found a two part video of Julia Child with Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid making the naan. 

Happy Tuesday Everyone!!!

Yeast mixed with water
After the 3 cups of flour were added
Kneading the dough
placed in oiled bowl
 Deflate…then ready to go
eight pieces
Baking stone in oven at 500°
My first batch…Ohoo were they good!
So wonderfully delicious!
We really loved these…I will be making these again
I couldn’t even wait till they cooled
I made two Persian loaves…just because!

Friday, June 1, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie ~ Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad

Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad
I don’t know if it’s because I’m mediterranean and it’s in my genes, or maybe just because! I have almost always loved lentils!  When I was growing up, my grandmother made a lentil dish called Imjadara (Lentils and rice) every friday. Catholics remember those meatless fridays of years gone by.  When I was very young I really was not a fan. But as I grew older so did my taste buds. This dish (which I considered a disgusting bowl of mush as a small child) became a favorite! While I was pregnant, it was the comfort food I craved along with yogurt!  So, I was very happy to see our pick for the week was Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad. I purchased some French lentils at Whole Foods, while visiting my son in Georgia, and saved them for one of my Dorie recipes.
I made this dish in two parts. The first day, I cooked the lentils as Dorie suggests.  Cooking them in chicken broth, along with cut up carrot, celery, a mashed clove of garlic and a whole onion with a clove inserted into it.  I then drained and refrigerated it. Once the lentils were cooked, putting the salad together was quite easy.  I removed all the veggies from the lentils and, added lemon zest and a squirt of lemon juice, to make up for the preserved lemons, which I did not have. I then added the scallions, and made my dressing- grainy mustard, black olive tapenade (bought), red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Add the can of tuna and Voilà!!  A delicious lunch! I truly enjoyed this dish and have plenty for another lovely lunch today! This is one dish that I didn’t even offer to my husband. He considers lentils as I did when I was a small child! I guess his taste buds haven’t aged!

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

Starting the lentils
Lentils cooking…almost done
Adding scallions and lemon zest
Mixing in the tuna
My very delicious lunch!

Gourmet’s 50 Most Influential Women in Food #50 Julie Powell ~ Flan Des Isles (Pineapple Custard)

If you LOVE pineapple,  you’ll love this!
We are now at the end of our journey. Julie Powell is #50 on Gourmet’s list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food.  For those of you who don’t know who Julie Powell is, she is the author of the Julie/Julia Project, a blog chronicling her endeavor to cook through Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  

Julie was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She graduated from Amherst College in 1995 with a double major in theater and creative writing. After graduation, she and her soon to be husband Eric Powell, moved to NYC. He became an editor for Archeology Magazine.  She began working for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.  Hating her job, and feeling like she was at a dead end, she started her Julie/Julia Project trying to find a voice for herself. Her blog quickly acquired a large following, and Julie was offered a book deal with Little Brown and Company.  The book titled “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen”, was published in 2005. 
Julia Child was not a fan of Powell’s blog. Child’s editor, Judith Jones, said in an interview: Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn't attractive, to me or Julia. She didn't want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn’t like what she called 'the flimsies.' She didn't suffer fools, if you know what I mean.