Friday, September 28, 2012

FFWD ~ Endives, Apples and Grapes

Endives, Apples and Grapes
On the road again! You know how that old song goes. It definitely reflects my life this past month. Our anniversary in NYC, a visit to our daughters family on Long Island, another visit with girlfriends into NYC to see the Katie Couric show, and now a visit to our son and his family in Atlanta.  Every October we head south to visit our son and his family. This visit will include kid sitting, while my son and daughter-in-law vacation in Europe for a week.  It’s my daughter-in laws first visit; and I know she will so enjoy herself. We get our grandsons all to ourselves for the week. Football games, baseball games, religion class and just plain old hanging out with them! Learning more about their likes, their friends and their lives.
Last week I missed my FFWD recipe because, I just couldn’t get it done with all the activities going on in my life.  This week however, knowing that we would be on the road Wednesday and Thursday, I made my Endive, Apples and Grapes on Tuesday for my lunch. I already knew my husband would not be partaking of this dish. After all these years, you just know things!
Since I’m a vegetable lover, I knew I would enjoy this one.  Endives sliced in half, apples quartered, and a few small clusters of grapes…all sautéed in salted butter.  Twenty minutes on one side, until nicely caramelized, then turn over and cook for another 20 minutes.  The ease of this dish made it possible to pack, do laundry, clean out the fridge and still have a delicious lunch! I am looking forward to trying Dories’ Bonne Idée, with wedges of pumpkin or squash. She suggests warm maple syrup drizzled over the top with some toasted pecans. YUM!!
I really enjoyed this dish and I know I will be making it again. I also know it’s something I would not have tried if it wasn’t for Dorie! Happy Friday everyone!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” and you can also find it here.  To see what my fellow Doristas are doing check it out here.

Loved this dish…would really like to try it with the pumpkin or squash

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cornbread Madeleines

 Cornbread Madeleines
A few months ago, while I was browsing through my favorite thrift store, I found a wonderful vintage madeleine mold. The mold had scallop shell indentations rather than the usual traditional shape. It was made in France and was of very good quality. at first sight! Not that I need another baking pan but, I seem to be a bit obsessive when it comes to things for my kitchen. I own several madeleine molds already but, they are all the traditional style.  Actually, I have been hunting for the scallop style, since I happened to see one in a Martha Stewart magazine years ago. I love hunting through thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets for the perfect little treasure! So, I brought the mold home! I really wanted to use it right away…and I had just the right recipe. Southern Living magazine had recently published a Cornbread Madeleine recipe that I wanted to bake. The perfect time to try it out!
These little cornbread Madeleines are wonderful.  Light and airy, and not too sweet.  Don’t expect them to resemble those lovely sponge cake Madeleines that Proust was crazy about. These are definitely cornbread consistency, and go perfectly with soups or any meal you would serve cornbread with. I enjoyed mine for breakfast.

My thrift store treasure
filled and ready to bake
Oh so lovely….a perfect accompaniment to soups and salads...
or just by themselves! 
Light, airy and not too sweet

Cornbread Madeleines
Southern Living MARCH 2012 

Yield: Makes 4 dozen
Hands-on: 10 Minutes Total: 1 Hour, 14 Minutes
2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar 2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°.
Whisk together cornmeal mix, flour, and sugar in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Whisk together just until blended. Spoon batter into lightly greased shiny madeleine pans, filling three-fourths full.
Bake, in batches, 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately. Serve hot, or cool completely on wire racks (about 20 minutes), and freeze in zip-top plastic freezer bags up to 1 month.
To serve, arrange desired amount of madeleines on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° for 5 to 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Orange-Rosemary: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 2 Tbsp. orange zest and 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary to dry ingredients.
Lemon-Thyme: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 1 Tbsp. lemon zest and 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme to dry ingredients.
Spicy White Cheddar: Reduce sugar to 2 Tbsp. Prepare recipe as directed, adding 3/4 cup finely shredded white Cheddar cheese and 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper to dry ingredients.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie ~ Whole Wheat Loaves

Whole Wheat Loaves
Uh oh, here it is tuesday and I’m late for Baking with Julia ~ Tuesdays with Dorie!  I spent this past weekend in NYC celebrating our wedding anniversary.  We returned home this morning and, although I baked this bread several weeks ago, I never wrote the post!  So here I go, better late than never.  This weeks pick was Craig Kominiak’s Whole Wheat Loaves.  This was a lovely bread to make…everything into the mixer, let rise and bake!  Place the water, yeast and honey into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with dough hook and whisk the mixture.  Let it stand until the mixture becomes creamy...about 5 minutes.  Mix your flours together. When the yeast has proofed add the malt extract ( I used molasses ), oil and the flour mixture. That’s pretty much it for the mixing. Now place it in an oiled bowl and let rise.  After the first rise, deflate the dough, divide in half, shape into loaves and place into loaf pans and let rise again!  Bake for about 35 minutes at 375 degrees.  These loaves were wonderful…totally moist and delicious!  I used mine for toast in the morning with some butter and fig jam….Yum! I also made a few grilled cheese sandwiches using my panini maker.  This bread was a real winner and I will definitely be making it again and again!!
This weeks recipe was hosted by  Michele of Veggie Num Nums and Teresa of The Family That Bakes Together.  You can find the recipe for Whole Wheat Loaves on their blogs.  Thank you, ladies for hosting!

Creamy yeast mixture
Dough placed in bowl to rise
Rising in the loaf pans
Perfectly delicious
This piece is mine!

Friday, September 14, 2012

FFWD ~ Spice-Poached Apples or Pears

Spice-Poached Apples or Pears
This is a busy week for me.  Summer is winding down and fall is fast approaching. In fact, here in the northeast it already feels like fall.  Our overnight temperatures have dropped into the low 50’s, and our days have been in the high 70’s.  This weekend my husband and I will be in NYC celebrating our wedding anniversary. I’ve been very blessed in my life to have my husband by my side, sharing so many wonderful memories. He is truly my best friend! Soon we will be heading south for several weeks so, I’ve been trying to tie all the loose ends together before we leave.
The lovely fall weather has made this weeks pick for French Friday perfect!  Easy…yes…so it fit into my crazy week!  I chose to use Bartlett pears.  I prepared them late in the afternoon, planning on serving them for dessert! The syrup is very quick to create. Blend water, sugar, honey and spices together and boil.  The syrup also contains lemon and orange zest in large pieces, and the juice of both. That’s it for the syrup!  Peel and core the pears, or whichever fruit you choose, and add them to the pot for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove your fruit and continue to boil the syrup until reduced. Remix the fruit and syrup, and let cool before serving.
This dish was great! We ate them at room temperature and really enjoyed them.  Dorie suggests serving with Creme Fraiche, or plain yogurt, or maybe over ice cream.  I like them just the way they were…Delicious!! Happy Friday everyone!!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” and you can also find it  here.  To see what my fellow Doristas are doing check it out here.

Poaching syrup
Pears ready to be dunked
Poached pears
Poached pears with syrup

It’s a Good Thing!! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fig Jam with Grand Marnier

Beautiful fresh figs
Summer is such a wonderful time of the year. Besides the warm weather (which I love and thrive in) we also get an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Trying to save some of the wonderfully fresh produce, for our cold winter months. is something I learned as a child. All summer long, my mother and grandmother would spend days canning peaches and tomatoes.  My mom also put up tons of jam!  She would start in the spring by making black raspberry jam, with all the berries she didn’t use in her black raspberry pies. They grew wild around our property and, we would pick colanders full!  When my children were young, every June I would pack them up and make the trip from Long Island to New Jersey, so that we could help my mom pick.  My kids loved picking with my mom. They knew that pie would soon follow! Bees love berries, and an occasional sting was the price we paid for picking. But, generally it was just fun!  My mom made the best pie! However, making jam was her thing.  It seems I’ve inherited that gene! To this day, my favorite jam is black raspberry!

Friday, September 7, 2012

FFWD ~ Eggplant “Tartine” with Tomatoes, Olives, and Cucumber

Eggplant “Tartine” with Tomatoes, Olives, and Cucumber
This weeks French Friday recipe was for Eggplant “Tartine”. I wasn’t sure what it was. Was it a salad or a sandwich?  Well, whatever you call it, call it delicious!
What is a tartine, you ask?  In France, a tartine is an open-faced sandwich topped with spreadable ingredients.  For me this was more of a salad (an absolutely wonderful salad) with roasted eggplant as the base.  I used one small eggplant because, yet again I would be the only one eating it. My husband doesn’t do eggplant.  I ate this wonderful “Tartine” for lunch and, had a few pieces of eggplant leftover which I finished for dinner.
It consists of an eggplant, peeled and sliced crosswise. Then the eggplant slices are brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and roasted.  The eggplant is served with a lovely tomato salad (more like a salsa) spread over the top. It contains cherry tomatoes that are quartered, olives, Vidalia onion, garlic, capers all mixed together with an olive oil, vinegar dressing.  With the ingredients combined and plated, scatter the dish with sliced cucumbers dressed with a dash of olive oil.  This was fabulous, and I know I will serve it again...even if it is just for my lunch!  Happy Friday, everyone!!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” or here. To see what my fellow Doristas are doing check it out here.

Beautiful tomatoes from my garden
Sliced  eggplant ready for the oven
The roasted eggplant
The tomato salad
Viola!!  Delicious and very pretty!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TWD ~ Baking with Julia ~ Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake

My beautiful Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake 
Scrumptious served with my home made vanilla frozen yogurt!!

For this weeks Baking with Julia  challenge, our hosts are Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery 
Our recipe was for Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake. This was a perfect recipe to serve to friends over the Labor Day weekend…and it was perfect! Although summer is quickly coming to a close, nectarines are still in abundance at our farm stands and in our grocery stores. My nectarines were wonderfully sweet and perfect for this cake.  I was making it for a Sunday afternoon barbecue so, I knew I had to make mine on Saturday. That proved to be a smart move because, the cake took more time then I thought it would.
You start with the topping.  Melt the butter in your springform pan…this recipe called for a 10x3 inch pan.  After you melt the butter, sprinkle dark brown sugar over the butter, arrange your nectarine slices over the sugar, set the pan aside.
Melting the butter in springform
 Topping ready for the batter…pretty!!

The next step is making the streusel…not difficult…just time consuming.  Toast your almonds, then add  all the other ingredients for the streusel to the food processor then spread it over a cookie sheet to toast in your oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Now for the chiffon cake. Sift your dry ingredients, separate your eggs, whisk the yolks together with the oil and lemon juice.  Then add the yolk mixture to the dry ingredients.  Beat your egg whites until soft peaks form.  Now fold a third of the batter into the yolk mixture to lighten the batter, then turn the yolk mixture into the whites and fold gently.
Yolk mixture and dry ingredients mixed together
Egg whites beaten just right
Oh Nooooo!
I was on a roll…until it was time to pour the batter over the nectarines!  I happen to have several springform pans…two 10 inch pans!  I learned something very important this weekend.  Not all springform pans are created equal!  I chose the springform pan that I grabbed first…a glass bottom pan.  I melted my butter in it, sprinkled it with the brown sugar and arranged the nectarines on top.  I then poured half the batter over the fruit…sprinkled on the streusel, and then poured on the rest of the batter.  OH NO! In my head, after a few curse words fluttered through, I started to blame the recipe.  I was darn sure all my springform pans were 3 inches high…NOT!! Mine was 2½ inches!  In retrospect, I should have removed some of the batter, but I didn’t! The cake rose beautifully and then the middle sank….OH NO! The truth is, no one could tell when I served the cake. It was scrumptious, and enjoyed by all! An absolutely wonderful cake that I will make again and again ( with my 3 inch springform pan )!!  If you want the recipe it will be posted on our hosts blog.  Thanks ladies! Happy Tuesday, everyone!!

Loved the lemony flavor  
The texture was lovely even though it fell a bit in the middle