Friday, January 25, 2013

FFWD Shrimp and Cellophane Noodles

Surprisingly good,  Shrimp and Cellophane Noodles
The recipe chosen for French Fridays this week was, Shrimp and Cellophane Noodles.   I must admit, I was not very excited about this choice.  In fact, if I hadn’t skipped lasts weeks Chicken Liver Gateaux, this would be the week I skipped. This recipe just wasn’t making me drool. After reading some of the comments on the FF site, I was even more unsure.  However, I’m a Dorista! I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone many times before, frequently with unexpected results. Sooooo, I decided to push ahead, albeit with reservations!
Yesterday I braved the very cold weather (8 degrees) and went to the grocery store to buy some shrimp, cellophane noodles, Chinese tree ear mushrooms (which my store didn’t have, so I bought dried porcini) and Chinese 5 spice. I needed those items for this recipe but, while there I picked up a few other groceries like milk, bread, fruit etc.  Today, as I was gathering up my ingredients, I realized I forgot to buy the Chinese 5 spice. I remember looking for it…aahh... but I got distracted by some lovely looking bread in the bakery department. Well, I wasn’t going back into town for one thing so, I googled Chinese 5 spice and made my own. It sure smelled good!
This dish called for adding tomato puree at the end.  However, on the FF site, most who made it with the puree were not happy with the results. I decided to skip the tomato puree. It just didn’t seem to go with the shrimp and noodles. I chose instead to add baby corn, water, and some soy sauce to the shrimp at the end. The results were a tasty additional ingredient and a lovely brown gravy. This dish really surprised me.  It actually tasted very good. Would I make it again?  Hmmm….

This recipe can be found in “Around My French Table"by Dorie Greenspan or  here.

Sautéing the onion, garlic, mushrooms with added corn 
Shrimp and five spice added to the pot
I then added 1+ cups of water with soy sauce to taste
Mixed with the noodles to serve
Sometimes your pleasantly surprised….this was one of those times

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

French Apple Tart ~ TWD

So pretty and delicious, too!
Well, here we are in January, and this is my first TWD post.  Most everyone else posted the Pizza with Onion Confit on January 8th.  I do plan on getting that one done but, it just wasn’t in the cards for me so close to the holidays. Besides, I had a refrigerator and freezer full of Christmas and New Years food. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

FFWD ~ Long and Slow Apples

The exquisite  Long and Slow Apples

This week, the recipe chosen for French Fridays is Long and Slow Apples.  Honestly, when I read the schedule, I thought we would be making applesauce.  This is no applesauce.  It’s a lovely layered dessert that presents beautifully.
This dish consists of thinly sliced apples, sugar, spices (Dorie suggests ginger and coriander) butter, and orange zest. It was wonderfully easy, but time consuming. You begin by peeling and slicing four firm apples. I chose Fugi! I tried slicing the apples by hand and realized it would take me forever so, I took out my mandolin. I guess my knife skills could use some improving!  The mandolin worked great, and made the job quite easy.  Assemble the dish by layering very thin slices of apples in ramekins, buttering each layer lightly, sprinkling the layer with the sugar spice mix, adding a touch of the orange zest and continue layering until all apple slices are used up.  Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap (Dorie says it won’t melt), and foil. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet, and weigh each ramekin down with another ramekin. Bake for 2 hours in a 300° oven.
The apples did shrink down considerably, making me a bit worried. Not to worry…they were perfect! They developed such a rich and luscious flavor.  I served mine with whipped cream, but I could imagine ice cream or lightly sweetened crème fraiche would be wonderful, too!
I loved this dessert. Simple and yet so elegant…delicious!! Something I could imagine eating in a fine French cafe.  
Would you believe my husband said, after eating this exquisite dessert, he preferred Apple Betty!  REALLY!! There is just no accounting for taste!  
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook, "Around My French Table” or you could find it here at the LA Times.  To see how the other Doristas did with their Long and Slow Apples, check it out here.
Sliced apples ready for layering
Ramekins layered to the top 
Wrap ramekins in plastic wrap and then foil…place on baking sheet
Weigh down with another ramekin 
After you take off the foil, you will see that they have shrunk….no worries!
Elegant enough for a dinner party
Look at all those layers of apple….yum
This was so lovely….even though some people prefer Apple Betty….I’m not one of them!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Tetrazzini

It can’t get much easier….Slow Cooker Chicken Tetrazzini
Winter has set in, which means it’s time for more comfort food!  Slow Cooker Chicken Tetrazzini is comfort food pure and simple! I found this recipe years ago in Family Circle magazine and, I’ve been making it ever since.  If you're looking for a great slow cooker chicken recipe, this one may be for you! I’m talking tender, fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth chicken, with a creamy delicious sauce.  So take out your Crock Pot, put all your ingredients in it, then take a break! Read a book, take a hot bath, go shopping or maybe take down those Christmas decorations! Just before you’re ready to serve dinner,  boil your spaghetti, make a nice salad, and pour yourself a glass of wine! Enjoy!!

All ingredients layered in crockpot
Towards the end of cooking…everything looks tender and delicious
And if this chicken had bones….it would be fall-off-the bone tender!!  I always sprinkle mine with Parmesan!

Chicken Tetrazzini
Makes: 6  servings
Prep   20 minsCook  4 hrs  to 5 hrs  In slow-cooker on HIGH or on LOW 9 to 10 hours
  • medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounce package sliced mushrooms
  • boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • teaspoon dried thyme
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 13 3/4 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounce jar chopped pimiento, drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • pound spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)


1. Layer the chopped onion, green beans and mushrooms in the bottom of a 5- to 5-1/2-quart slow-cooker. Arrange the chicken thighs on top. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth.
2. Cover pot; cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, or on LOW for 9 to 10 hours, or until the chicken and green beans are tender.
3. At end of cooking, stir together flour and the 1/2 cup water in small bowl until smooth. Stir 1 cup of cooking liquid from slow-cooker into flour mixture until smooth; stir into slow-cooker. Cook, covered, on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened. Stir in sherry, heavy cream and pimiento; cook, covered, on high power another 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
4. While chicken mixture is cooking in step 3 above, cook spaghetti following package directions. Drain.
5. Transfer spaghetti to a platter and top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Friday, January 4, 2013

FFWD ~ Herb-Speckled Spaetzle

Herb-Speckled Spaetzle…true comfort food!
Happy New Year to all my fellow Doristas!! Our first recipe for 2013 is Herb-Speckled Spaetzle! The perfect cold weather recipe! Comfort food at it’s best, and so delicious!!
This one was a first for me. I had always wanted to make homemade noodles or spaetzle.  I remember as a young child, standing near the stove, watching my mother making what she called "Hungarian Noodles" or dumplings.  The recipe was one that my Hungarian grandmother made all the time.  My aunt wrote, and translated, many of my grandmothers recipes for my mom, who loved learning this new cuisine.  This was the food my father grew up on.  Having learned to make Chicken Paprikash, and Poppy Seed Rolls, I never attempted Hungarian dumplings aka noodles. I think of them  as a cousin to the German spaetzle, meaning “little sparrow”.  Spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg.  This dough was soft.  Once mixed, it is forced through, in my case a flat grater, or if you have one a spaetzel maker, into a pot of boiling water.  In Germany, it is served as a side dish, much like potatoes or rice.
Dories' recipe called for sautéing mushrooms and onions in butter and oil, then adding the spaetzle to the sautéed mushrooms. The Spaetzle was easy to make, and quicker then I thought.  I served mine with broiled lamb chops. I really enjoyed the dumpling texture, which is a bit chewy. I will definitely make these again. Maybe next time add them to a soup.  Happy Friday, Everyone!!

Dorie’s recipe can be found in her cookbook “Around My French Table” or  here on Epicurious. To see how the other Doristas did with their spaetzle, check it out here.

Rosemary, parsley and thyme chopped
Batter ready to be used
I used a flat grater to make my spaetzle
One batch boiling away
Cooked and ready to add to mushroom mixture
Sautéing the mushrooms
Spaetzle and chicken broth mixed into the mushroom sauté 
Dinner is served….yum!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Accidental Eggnog Rum Cheesecake

My Accidental Eggnog Rum Cheesecake
Are you ready for one more cheesecake? When I asked my sister-in-law, what could I bring for Christmas dinner, she replied “Cheesecake…any kind”.  So I pulled out my cheesecake file (yes I have a cheesecake file, doesn’t everyone)?  I chose a recipe for a no crust Kahlua Cheesecake. It’s one of my favorite cheesecakes to bake. It has just enough of a “boozy" flavor and, is just plain delicious!
It was late on Christmas Eve when I finally got around to baking this cake.  I opened the fridge….Oh No….no heavy cream. Very annoying, now what?  I scoured my fridge for a substitute.  Sour cream…noooo!   Half and half…not enough!  That’s when I spotted the container of Eggnog…hmmmm.  This could work!  Instead of Kahlua Cheesecake, I’ll do an Eggnog Cheesecake! A little nutmeg, some rum in lieu of kahlua, and the eggnog to replace the heavy cream. Sounded good to me.  Quite honestly, I was running out of choices!  So...Eggnog Rum Cheesecake it would have to be!  The reviews were great, everyone enjoyed it and, I now have a new cheesecake to add to my cheesecake file.  Hope you enjoy!!

Some whipped cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg….viola!
A perfect holiday dessert
Very yummy!! 

Eggnog Rum Cheesecake

4  8 ounce packages of cream cheese - softened
¾ cups sugar
5 eggs
1 cup eggnog
4  tbsp. flour
1½ tbsp. vanilla
½ cup rum
¼ tsp. nutmeg


Beat cream cheese in large bowl of electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir 3/4 cup sugar, flour, nutmeg in a bowl. Beat sugar mixture into cream cheese until smooth; beat in eggs one at a time. Slowly beat eggnog into cream cheese mixture, followed by vanilla extract and rum. Pour cream cheese mixture into a 10 inch greased springform pan. Tap pan lightly on a work surface to release air bubbles.

Bake in a 350° degree oven for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for another 35-40 minutes. Chill at least 8 hours before serving.