Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Better Late Than Never….FFWD ~ Next-Day Beef Salad

FFWD~Next-Day Beef Salad
This past Friday, our French Friday group made Next-Day Beef Salad! I knew I would be on the road traveling, so I made, enjoyed, and photographed this dish while still in Florida. All that was left to do was write the post! But you know what they say about the best-laid plans…they often go awry!

One of the things I didn’t count on was, my I-pad not connecting while on the road…a small setback! Another, slightly more distracting set back was getting home on Wednesday, and hosting a dinner party, for visiting relatives from Lebanon, on Saturday! Don’t get me wrong; this was something that I truly looked forward to. The last time I saw my cousin was twenty-seven years ago. As fate would have it, his son is now married, celebrating the birth of their first child, and living in Pa.! Well you know how that story goes…you just can’t keep a grandma and grandpa away from those babies once they arrive!

Just as pretty as it is delicious!
So much has changed since his last visit. Most of the older generation of my family are no longer with us. All of the cousins are grown, have children that are now grown, and live in different parts of the country. Therefore, it was very important for me to host my cousin and his family. We had a terrific visit!

Back to French Fridays, and the Next-Day Beef Salad. When I read through the recipe I was at the beach, and knew I wouldn’t be making a roast beef. I looked for alternatives. Can you buy a roast beef ready made? Well, of course you can!  While shopping for my salad supplies, I found a package of ready to use, Hormel roast beef au jus. The answer to my problem! Did you know that Hormel makes several different roast beef selections? They are in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. 

I pretty much followed the recipe for this salad. Bill and I both thought it was a perfect light dinner for a warm day in Florida! I pulled the meat into bite size pieces, set it aside. Then mixed the dressing, a combination of mayo and mustard, and set that aside, too. Now to the veggies…chopping the scallions, cornichons, olives, grape tomatoes, apple, and red pepper. The veggies are mixed with the meat and capers,  and then dressed with the mayo/mustard dressing. I also added chunks of Gruyère cheese. The mixture is then served on a bed of baby greens. A great blend of texture and flavor! A perfect play of sweet, tart and savory! This salad could be a clean out your fridge type of salad. I would think many veggies and/or fruits would work.

Another winner from Dorie!

All the cut up veggies and beef…just dress and serve over a bed of lettuce 
This was truly a scrumptious salad…great for the warm days of summer!

Next-Day Beef Salad
From Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table"
Serves about 4

6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1½ tablespoons grainy mustard
(preferably French)
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

About a pound of cooked beef, cut 
into small cubes

1 to 2 spring onions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and finely chopped (scallions are fine)
20 green olives, pitted and cut into slivers
10 to 15 cornichons, drained and
thinly sliced
10 grape tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 to 2 red chili peppers, seeded and finely sliced)
1 tart apple, peeled or not, cored and diced
1 to 1½ tablespoons drained capers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula, spinach, or mixed salad greens, for serving
Olive oil, for greens (optional)

In a small bowl, stir mayonnaise and grainy mustard together. Taste dressing and, if you think you want a little more heat, blend in the Dijon mustard.

Toss all remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper into a large bowl and stir to mix. Spoon dressing over the salad and, using a rubber spatula, stir together well. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Line a serving bowl or plate with the arugula or other greens (there's really no need to dress them, although you can toss them with a little olive oil if you like to) and mound the beef
salad over it.

Dorie tells us she is sharing a “real” recipe, that we can make our own. A few suggestions are chunks of cheese, or maybe a sliced hard boiled egg.  I added chunks of Gruyère.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tuesday's With Dorie ~ BCM ~ Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Baking Chez Moi~TWD ~ Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

This week I'm writing my TWD post from my car....or I should say trying to! The keyboard on my I-Pad is quite sensitive, and is picking up every little touch on the keypad.  I will persevere! 
After spending a terrific weekend with my son and his family, happily attending baseball games, enjoying terrific lunches out, and proudly accompanying my grandson to his school for Grandparents Day, we are on our way back home.   
However, this post is about Tuesdays with Dorie, Baking Chez Moi! Our pick for this week was Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars. A scrumptious choice! I decided to make these bars while I was still in Florida. They were actually quite simple to put together! I had them out of the oven, spread with the chocolate and caramelized Rice Krispies, in plenty of time to take my walk on the beach. 

An easy delicious snack cookie…Yum!

I started this cookie by first caramelizing sugar and adding Rice Krispies. This technique requires all your attention. Once the Krispies are caramelized, place them on a cookie sheet lined with foil, and break apart. Let cool. 
The first layer is a brown sugar shortbread cookie, made by creaming the butter and sugar till light, and fluffy. Then add the vanilla and flour, and mixing till incorporated. Dorie advised that this dough might be hard to handle, because it is quite sticky. I scraped it into the pan, and used wet hands to pat it into place. After the base comes out of the oven, sprinkle the chopped semi-sweet chocolate over the hot cookie layer. As it melts, spread it over the cookie with a rubber spatula. Then scatter and press the caramelized Rice Krispies over the top of the chocolate. I placed mine in the fridge for about 30 minutes, to harden the chocolate. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

FFWD ~Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup

French Fridays ~ Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup

For French Fridays this week, it’s all about the soup...French Riviera style! According to Dorie, this soup is served all over the Côte d’Azur, and is the French answer to our chicken noodle soup. A cure all recipe that is even good for hangovers! The recipe was given to her by one of my favorite bakers, Nick Malgieri, who worked on the Côte d’Azur when he started out in pastry.
Now, I trust both Dorie and Nick, but when I read this recipe through, my thoughts were Ugh…garlic soup with eggs…really?  Still, I was determined to try it, and I’m so glad I did! 


First, you take a whole head of garlic, separate the cloves, take out the germ of each clove, and slice into slivers. Tie the herbs together, and place in the pot along with the garlic, salt, and water or broth, whichever you choose. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.  
At this point, it’s time to add the egg yolks. Place the yolks and cheese in a bowl and whisk together. Then add some of the simmering soup to the egg mixture, slowly whisking all the time. Whisk the egg mixture into the pot, and continue to whisk until smooth. I used 5 egg yolks, trying to thicken it up.  Although this soup was really terrific, it was a little thin for my taste. Both Bill and I enjoyed it…what a surprise! I served mine with some hearty bread!
We are in the final count down! Our last ten recipes for French Fridays, and I plan to be in on all ten! Through the last few years, I've missed a handful of picks, many I will try to make up before the end of our adventure. However, there are some I just can’t wrap my palate around. To be quite honest, I’m sure they’ll never make it to my table!

As you read this post, we are leaving sunny Florida, heading back north to yet another snowstorm.  I feel as though the weather Gods are smiling down, and saying “NO SPRING FOR YOU”!  Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Around My French Table”.  Dorie has shared it several times, so I've shared it below! To see what the other Dorista’s thought of this soup, check it out here.

Surprised at how really good this one was!
I’m thinking of adding potatoes to this wonderful soup next time…and puree to get a thicker soup!
Good bye…beautiful Gulf Coast….good bye, Pelicans!
Au revoir Seaside!

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup
Adapted from "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan
Difficulty: Easy 
Total Time: About 1 hr
Makes: 6 servings


10 medium garlic cloves (about 1 large head), peeled
6 fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
2 large thyme sprigs
6 cups water, or 3 cups water and 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
6 large egg yolks
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving


Halve each garlic clove and remove the germ in the center; discard the germ. Thinly slice the garlic and place in a large saucepan.
Tie the sage, bay leaves, and thyme together with butcher’s twine, or bundle them in a piece of cheesecloth tied closed with twine. Place the herb bundle in the saucepan, along with the water (or water and broth) and the measured salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Discard the herb bundle. If you want to puree the soup, this is the time to use an immersion blender, blender or food processor. Nick points out it is traditional not to puree. I pureed! Bring the soup back to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
Place the yolks and cheese in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add a few ladlefuls of soup to the cheese mixture and whisk until smooth. While whisking the soup in the saucepan, gradually add the cheese-soup mixture in a steady stream (the yolks will thicken the soup somewhat). Remove the pot from the heat and whisk for 1 minute more (if you keep it over the heat too long, the yolks may curdle). Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of olive oil over each portion.

Friday, March 13, 2015

FFWD ~ Veal (Beef) Marengo

Veal Beef Marengo

Our recipe this week for French Fridays is the classic Veal Marengo. It is a veal stew from the Provence, with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, olive oil, and Provencal herbs. According to Dorie, this dish was created in 1800, by Napoleon’s chef, in honor of the General's success at the Battle of Marengo. Dorie’s version was given to her by a friend, and comes from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. This is one of those dishes that can be found on menus all over France. Obviously, withstanding the test of time!

We loved this dish…and even though it didn’t call for carrots…they were delicious

Right from the start I ran into a problem! There was no veal to be found on the Florida panhandle! Of course, I only checked three stores…but considering it was a beautiful day for beach walking, I didn’t want to spend it driving from grocery store to grocery store.  I settled on beef, knowing that I would have to cook my Marengo longer than the 40 minutes Dorie suggested for the veal.  At first, I decided to leave it in the oven an extra 20 minutes. It seemed fork tender, however when served it was still a bit tough. I left the remainder in the oven for another 20 minutes, while we ate. The next night it was perfect!

Just out of the oven and the aromas were terrific! 

The dish consists of the meat being coated in seasoned flour and browned in oil, then removed from the pan. Now the onions get sautéed and simmered with the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, and herbs. I added my mushrooms and cipolline onions at this point, rather then wait, and add them later. Cover the pan, and place in the oven to finish the cooking.  This dish gets served with boiled potatoes on the side. My hubby is on South Beach this week, so I chose carrots. I boiled them and added them to the pot at the end!

This classic French dish, was absolutely a winner in my house! I am determined to try this one again, with veal, when I get home. Happy Friday everyone!!

To see what the other Dorista’s thought of this recipe check it out here. The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Around My French Table”.  You can also find it here!

This was a winner in my house...
Delectable…Bon Appétit

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#Blogger Clue Society~~Irish Brown Bread

Blogger Clue Society~~ Irish Brown Bread

I’m happy to be back this month for the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society. My schedule is finally slowing down, and that gives me a chance to catch up with several blog commitments I previously made.  
I was delighted to meet my blogger assignment for the month; her name is Jean of Lemons and Anchovies. Jean is from San Francisco, one of my favorite cities, and a great place for a foodie to live! She also rivals me with her cookbook collection!  As I perused her lovely blog, I saw many recipes I would love to try. However, first up was finding a recipe that fit our theme for the month of March, and that happened to be “potatoes".  If no potatoes…maybe something starchy! I couldn’t find a potato recipe on Jean’s blog, but I did find a wonderful Irish Brown Bread! Starchy??? Maybe not! But since March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day I decided to bake myself a beautiful loaf of this very tempting bread! 
Although I bake Soda Bread quite often, I have never tried Irish Brown Bread. It has always been on my radar. When I saw it on Jean’s blog, I just couldn’t pass it by.

I’ve been to Ireland several times, and the one thing that impressed me most was the fabulous bread that would be served at each meal. This brown bread was reminiscent of those delicious meals in Ireland!

I made Jean’s bread just as written, and it was fantastic! It has a perfect crumb, and was moist and flavorful. And although I didn’t plan on serving it with my dinner, it went exceptionally well with my French Fridays pick this week, Veal Marengo.  Thank you Jean, for a wonderful recipe! I plan to add it to my quick bread repertoire!
Molded and ready for the oven

Moist and flavorful
I happened to have a jar of my fig jam on hand…it was a perfect accompaniment 

My new favorite….perfect for breakfast with some butter and jam

Irish Brown Bread                                                                                               
from Jean @ Lemons and Anchovies                                                                                                                                    
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (You can also substitute some or all of this with whole wheat, your choice)
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or Odlums Coarse Wholemeal flour)
  • 3 tablespoons wheat bran
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 425ºF.  Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture has the texture of fine meal.  Stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough.  Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface, form into a ball and score the top of the dough.
Transfer to a baking sheet or a round pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for about 40 minutes or when a tester inserted into the bread comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack before serving (I can never wait that long).    

Check out the other bloggers participating in Blogger C.L.U.E...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TWD ~ Baking Chez Moi Lemon Madeleines

TWD~Baking Chez Moi Lemon Madeleines 
This week, for Tuesdays with Dorie~Baking Chez Moi, we are baking Lemon Madeleines! I am crazy about Madeleines! They always remind me of sitting in a pretty little Paris café, while enjoying a cup of coffee! The perfect little French cake! Perfect with my morning cup of tea, lovely as an afternoon snack, and ideal with a glass of wine in the evening!

Madeleines and I are not strangers! I’ve definitely baked my share! Many are posted on my blog. Here are two lovely examples, Chocolate Madeleines, and Dorie's Earl Grey! I’ve baked them for showers, weddings, and ladies luncheons! I own several Madeleine molds, but I’m in Florida without any of them! A little trip to the outlet mall was necessary, so that I could bake along today! I guess you can never have too many Madeleine molds! 

The lemony flavor is luscious, and the glaze makes them moist and wonderful
To make Dorie’s Lemon Madeleines, the batter is prepared and refrigerated for at least one hour. I made mine late in the afternoon and baked them the next day. When you’re ready to bake, grease and flour, or spray your molds with bakers spray (I love bakers spray…no need to flour). Fill the molds and refrigerate for at least one more hour, then bake by placing the molds on a heavy baking tray that was preheated in the oven first. It will help your Madeleines to rise in the middle, so that you get the characteristic hump.

These Madeleines were one of the best I’ve ever made. The texture was light and spongy! Rubbing the sugar with the lemon zest is a trick that Dorie has used before, and it works perfectly to bring out the lemon flavor, and was quite aromatic while baking. The recipe yielded me 18 Madeleines…although the book indicated it would make 12.

The most wonderful part of these Madeleines was the light sweet-tart glaze. It definitely enhanced the already wonderful flavor of these luscious Madeleines. Dorie’s technique of dipping the Madeleines in the glaze, and then putting them into a 500° preheated oven, for one to three minutes was brilliant!

I do think, I just baked the perfect Madeleine! Thank you Dorie!! Happy Tuesday everyone!

To see what the other BCM bakers thought of this recipe, check it out here. The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, “Baking Chez Moi”. Dorie has shared this Madeleine recipe on NPR. You can find it here

Just out of the oven after being glazed
Perfect for an afternoon snack with a glass of wine
Loved these little light and spongey French cakes…perfect anytime! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Almond Pound Cake with Limoncello

Almond Pound Cake with Limoncello

A few weeks ago, I hosted the lovely ladies of my Bunco group for our monthly get-together. In my pursuit to find a dessert, that would dazzle them, I came across a recipe for a marvelous Almond Pound Cake with Limoncello.  I clipped it from an old Bon Appetit Magazine. My intention was to bake it immediately…that was way back in 2006! Normally an almond pound cake wouldn’t have garnered my attention, but this one had “limoncello” in the title! It also had almond paste added to the batter! I’m a sucker for anything with limoncello. Hence my Limoncello Biscotti!

As I glanced the ingredients list…almond paste, olive oil, limoncello...I was in!! Believe it or not, I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Since almonds are also a favorite of mine, I always have a can or two of almond paste hanging around!

Notice how lovely the crumb looks

The cake batter is pretty straight forward, beating the sugar, olive oil and butter until light and fluffy, then the crumbled almond paste gets added to the mixture. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture and bake. I would not have classified this cake as a pound cake. It has a lighter crumb than what I would consider pound cake although; the almond paste does make the cake a bit denser.

After the cake is baked and cooled, sprinkle with the limoncello, and powdered sugar. I served mine with a dollop of whipped cream, but ice cream, or maybe some berries would be amazing! However you choose to serve it, this cake is luscious! The Bunco ladies loved it, and I didn’t even get a chance to garnish it with berries! The next day the cake was still wonderfully moist, as Bill can testify!  Since many have asked for the recipe….here it is!! Hope you give it a try!  Enjoy!

A little side note…I saved one piece of this delicious cake for a few more photos with berries! I searched high and low, but couldn’t find it anywhere….Hmmmm!  I think there’s a mouse in the house named Bill!

Looks beautiful right out of the oven
Photos taken in haste without garnish…oh no!

But moist and luscious all by itself….you will love this cake!! 

almond pound cake with limoncello 
Bon Appetit, March, 2006
Serving Size: 12

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
10 1/2 ounces almond paste — 1 1/2 tubes, finely crumbled (I used one 8½ ounce can)
2 tablespoons lemon peel — finely grated
4 large eggs
1/3 cup limoncello liquer
2 teaspoons powdered sugar — for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. In a bowl whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Using a mixer, beat the 3/4 cup of sugar, the oil and soft butter until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the almond paste and lemon peel. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture; stir to blend. Transfer to prepared springform pan.
3. Bake cake until golden brown on top and cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Cook cake on a cake. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and store at room temp.
4. Remove sides from cake. Brush top of cake with limoncello and sprinkle top with powdered sugar. Store at room temp, covered. This cake will keep about a week, if it lasts that long!