Friday, April 25, 2014

Green as Spring Veal Stew and a Make-up for French Fridays

It’s not easy being green….this weeks pick for FF’s is Green as Spring Veal Stew

It's not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

But green's the color of Spring.

And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.
by Kermit the Frog
Or Green as Spring Veal Stew!

This really was delicious, and Bill approved!
This week French Fridays went green! When I read through the recipe my first thought was….Bill’s never going to eat this!  However, I missed my post last week due to the Easter Holiday and hosting my three grandchildren for the week. It’s not easy trying to keep up with two six year olds and a ten year old…but we did it, and we had a lot of fun! I couldn’t miss another week! Besides, this group is supposed to be about learning and trying new things!  So I pushed my skepticism aside and jumped in! I did make a few changes to suit our tastes…I should say Bill’s taste.
The stew consists of veal cubes being stewed in a broth made up of chicken broth, water, carrots, celery, onions and garlic for about an hour and a half. Then the recipe calls for reducing the broth and adding a mixture of greens and herbs to the reduction. This mixture then gets pureed…I used my Vita-mix. The pureed mixture then gets put back into the pot, with the veal and some creme fraiche to thicken the sauce.  This is where I went a bit off track. My hubby is not a fan of greens, although he loves peas…so I thought…if I substitute peas for the spinach, and tell him it tastes like pea soup, he would at least try it! Not only did he try it, he totally enjoyed it! Two helpings later he told me it was delicious. However, he wished the gravy were brown…go figure! 
I served mine with simple boiled potatoes, and it was a perfect dinner for a lovely spring evening. Believe it or not, this one was a winner! We both loved the wonderful spring flavors. Despite the fact that the color is a bit of a turn-off, we enjoyed it! I also made my Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snap Peas and Garlic en Papillote.  Another green dish! This one I ate alone…quite tasty!  It’s not easy being green! Happy Friday everyone!

The recipe for "Green as Spring Veal Stew" can be found here, or in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table”. To see a recipe for the Baby Bok Choy you can find it here. To see what the other Dorista did with this one, check it out here.

Stewing the veal
If you can get past the day-glo green color…it is quite tasty
 This is my make up...Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snap Peas and Garlic en Papillote….another green dish! I really liked this one…Bill didn’t even try it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

FFWD ~ Quiche Maraîchère (French Vegetable Tart)

FFWD ~ Quiche Maraîchère
This week, our recipe for French Fridays is Quiche Maraîchère ~ a French Vegetable Tart. Quiches are a favorite menu item for lunching ladies, brunches, breakfasts or a light spring/summer dinner.  I even like adding a quiche or two, to a buffet table, during the holidays.  And although quiches get a bad rap…remember those famous words written by Nora Ephron, and spoken by Carrie Fisher, “Pesto is the quiche of the 1980’s”, in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”, they are as popular now as ever. Don’t you just love that movie? The scene in the deli is an all time classic, "I’ll have what she’s having”. Ok, I’m getting off subject! 

This one is a keeper 
When I first read the recipe through, for Quiche Maraîchère, it didn’t do anything for me. A vegetable quiche? It just didn’t sound unusual or special. However, I have learned never to underestimate Dorie’s recipes. I made my pastry in the morning, because the tart dough has to rest for several hours in the fridge before rolling. I shortened the fridge time to about an hour and a half. It was fine, and rolled out perfectly. Dorie’s recipe for tart dough is one of my favorites.  If you have a food processor, this dough is a cinch to make and so wonderfully delicious. It can even be made up to five days in advance, then wrapped well and refrigerated. The crust is then partially baked, and cooled before filling. I baked mine in a 9½ x 2 inch tart pan. 
Next, it was time to chop all the veggies, sauté them in the butter, and spoon them into the baked pie shell. Whisk the eggs and cream together, and pour over the vegetables. I baked mine for 20 minutes, then sprinkled on the cheese, and finished the baking for an additional 15 minutes. Two things I went rogue on…extra cheese and a lovely can of crabmeat. I had to do it! When I saw that lonely can of crabmeat sitting in my pantry, I knew it would be a perfect addition to the veggies in this quiche.  To say this quiche was delicious is an understatement!  It had a marvelous buttery crust that just melted in your mouth.  The filling was rich and creamy, loaded with all of those fabulous cooked veggies, and crabmeat.  Bill and I both loved this one! We enjoyed it as a light dinner with a spinach salad!  Another French Friday, another winner, and another quiche to add to my repertoire.  Happy Friday everyone!!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook, “Around My French Table” . It can also be found at where it has been published. To check out the other Doristas and what they thought of this quiche, check it out here.

Ready for the custard…note the crabmeat 
Just out of the oven…filling my kitchen with a wonderful aroma
This was utterly delicious….a winner in my house!
 Bon Appétit

Friday, April 4, 2014

FFWD ~ Visitandine

French Fridays pick….Visitandine
This week, for French Friday, our recipe is for Visitandine. Dorie explains that “The Visitandine is a very simple white cake with an elegant small grain crumb, a lovely springy sponge, and a pure butter and sugar flavor.”  It is a 17th century cake that gets it’s name from the order of cloistered French nuns, who created it. It’s perfect plain or paired with jams, citrus curds or fruits. Since the photo in the book looked so tempting, with the strawberries and cream, and since I had fresh strawberries and whipped cream in my refrigerator, I thought I’d give it a try!   

Dorie was so right about this cake.  Beyond beating 4 egg whites till stiff, the cake was very easy to make and baked in about 35 minutes. The batter of flour, sugar, salt, butter and vanilla are whisked together, and then folded into the beaten egg whites.  I think this will be my cake of choice this summer. I see a lot of fruit shortcakes in my future. The next time I bake it, I’m going to give the browned butter a try. I love the rich nutty flavor it adds to baked goods. I baked my Visitandine in a 9½ inch fluted quiche pan. This cake was everything it was supposed to be! We obviously ate it with strawberries and cream…WOW…my new favorite quick cake! The big surprise came later, when we each had a slice sprinkled with powdered sugar, for an afternoon snack with our tea and coffee. It was delicious.  This cake is not just another keeper from Dorie, it’s an outstanding basic cake, to serve anytime!  Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook "Around My French Table” or here at Bitten Word. To see how the other Doristas did with this one, check it out here.

Spring is finally here…this is the perfect dessert to give it a welcome 
An outstanding cake….
Plain delicious!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pistachio Sables

Utterly delicious Pistachio Sables
Tempting and addictive is how I would describe Pistachios. You can never eat just one! Through the years they have become my preference for eating and baking. I’ve used these brilliant little gems in breads, cakes, cookies, and in my Baklava!  I even throw them into salads and cereal! Give me a choice of ice cream…I’ll always pick Pistachio! So it makes perfect sense, when it comes to cookies, I lean toward recipes that have pistachios listed in the ingredients, or add them to the cookies that don’t! 

Loaded with pistachios 
Since my husband’s been on South Beach, pistachios have become a staple in our house. You can usually find a bag or two hidden in my pantry. As I surveyed my pantry recently, to see if I could find some inspiration, I spied a large bag of salted pistachios! I immediately thought of a recipe I found about a year ago for Pistachio Sables.
I’ve only been baking Sables, since I’ve been cooking with French Fridays. It’s a classic French butter cookie, the name “Sable" is French for “sand", referring to the sandy texture of this delicate shortbread type cookie. The traditional shape is round. You roll your dough into a log, refrigerate several hours, then slice and bake.  I’ve made Dorie’s Cocoa SablesOlive Sables, and Seaweed Sables…for FF’s, and thought they were all quite amazing! Believe it or not, the Olive Sables were sensational.
Now I have a new Sable to add to my repertoire! These Pistachio Sables are melt-in-your- mouth delectable! They’re also full of intense pistachio flavor, and a salty-sweet taste due to the salty pistachios. Hope you’ll give them a try! 
And save those shells! I can’t believe all the things you can make with pistachio shells! Check these out on Pinterest! Very interesting, lol!

Another wonderful Sable added to my Repertoire 
Perfect for Easter….or anytime!!
Especially with my cup of tea!

Pistachio Sables
makes about 35 cookies
adapted from Desserts Magazine

2 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg white
½ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped (I used salted)
green food coloring (optional)
sanding sugar 

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour and the salt.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg white and beat on low speed until completely incorporated. Add the pistachios and 1 or 2 drops of green food coloring, if using, and beat on low speed until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Using lightly floured hands, form the dough into a 15-inch log about 2-inches in diameter. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar and gently press it into the dough with your hands. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Using a chef’s knife, cut the dough crosswise into slices about ¼ inch thick. Place the cookies on the prepared sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
  4. bake until the edges of the cookies feel firm to the touch, but have not taken on any golden color, 14-17 minutes.
  5. Transfer the cooled cookies to a wire rack, until completely cool about 30 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.