May 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm (Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, Family, French Fridays With Dorie, Mise en place, Techniques)
Tags: Around My French Table, brioche, butter, Dorie Greenspan, Eggs, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, mise en place, Mushrooms, Poached eggs
Although I haven’t been participating in French Fridays with Dorie (or any other bake- or cook-along group) recently, I happened by the website the other day, and this recipe was enough to pull me back in. Mushrooms, cream, and poached eggs (singing: these are a few of my favorite things) on top of toasted brioche — I mean, what’s not to love?
This recipe was as simple as it was delicious. Cleaning the mushroom caps and chopping the mushrooms, shallot, rosemary, and mint were the most time-consuming parts of the whole process. After that, it was just a matter of adding everything to the pan in the right order while Mom poached some eggs.
Once I had my mise en place, I began by heating olive oil and melting butter in a sauté pan. I dropped in the shallot and sautéed it for a few minutes, then added the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Once the mushrooms had given up their liquid and begun to soften, I added cream and let it simmer away for a few minutes while I sliced up the brioche and started toasting it. Finally, I removed the pan from the heat and stirred in rosemary and mint.
By that time, Mom was finished poaching the eggs (perfectly, I might add), and we plated everything. We put a slice of brioche on the plate, topped it with a nice spoonful of mushrooms and the poached egg, and then finished it off by spooning the mushroom cream over the top.
Everyone agreed that this was a perfect Sunday supper — simple, homey, filling, and insanely delicious.
I’m glad to be back cooking with my friends for French Fridays. I can’t say for sure how many recipes I will make, or if I’ll post many or any of them. But I have already made next week’s Coupetade. And I love both asparagus and avocado. So there’s a good chance I’ll be around at least for the month of May.
September 28, 2012 at 7:28 am (Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, French Fridays With Dorie)
Tags: Apples, Around My French Table, butter, cooked endive, Dorie Greenspan, endive, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, grapes, sauteed apples, sauteed grapes
Do you remember when you made Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup for French Fridays with Dorie? You can be forgiven if you don’t; it was almost a year ago. It was also the last FFwD recipe that I made before I dropped out of sight.
Well, I”M BAAAAAAACK!!!!
I was going to restart French Fridays in October. In fact, I read through the recipes and have already started buying the ingredients. But when I saw this week’s pick, I decided to jump in a week ahead of schedule.
I love sautéed apples, but I had never had grapes or endive cooked in butter before. OK, truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever had endive at all. But slow cooked with fruit and butter — how bad could it be?
This was a really simple recipe. Other than the fruit, butter, and endive, it contained only rosemary, salt, and pepper, all of which I tucked into a cast iron skillet over low heat.
After 20 minutes, I turned everything over to cook some more.
Another 20 minutes, and it was done.
I put everything on a plate, scraped up the buttery bits in the bottom of the pan, and poured that over the top.
I sprinkled on a little salt and pepper, and tucked into this delightful little dish. The apples and grapes were amazing. (If you’ve never had a grape cooked in butter, you don’t know what you’re missing.)
As far as the endive goes, I enjoyed it with bites of fruit, but it was too bitter to eat just by itself. I think if I were to make this dish again, I’d try to come up with something to use in place of the endive. Having a savory component to the dish is a great idea. But I wish I could think of something less bitter and with a bit more flavor on its own.
In any case, it’s good to be back doing French Fridays again. I’m not going to try to make every recipe — that’s how I got burned out last time. And some of my posts may be short and sweet, been-there-made-that kind of affairs. But at least I’ll be making recipes from Around My French Table again.
And after all that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
November 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm (Around My French Table, Bailey, Dorie Greenspan, Family, French Fridays With Dorie, Mise en place)
Tags: Around My French Table, Bailey, Citrus, Dorie Greenspan, fennel, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, garlic, Lemon, mise en place, orange peel, pears, pumpkin, pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin, Squash
When I posted the Twenty-minute Honey-glazed Duck Breasts this morning, I wasn’t planning on writing this week’s French Fridays post until next week. In fact, I hadn’t even made the soup yet, so posting it today seemed out of the question. But with the girls at school, J resting on the couch, Bailey napping wherever he could find a comfortable spot, and me off work for the day, it just seemed like a great time for some cooking. Add to that the fact that we got our first snow overnight, and soup was the perfect choice for the afternoon.
I started out by roasting a pumpkin.
It was only a 3-pounder, so I was surprised by how much meat I got from it.
Next, I did my mise en place. I’m a big proponent of using mise en place for cooking and baking, and I always employ it for soups, which tend to require a lot of measuring, peeling, and chopping but come together quickly once you start cooking. With all your ingredients in front of you, most of the work is behind you.
I sautéed onions in olive oil over low heat, then added fennel, celery, and garlic and cooked until the vegetables softened.
I added spices, the roasted pumpkin, homemade chicken stock, pear, and orange peel to the pot, brought it to a boil, then simmered for about 20 minutes, until the pear was mashably soft.
I pureed the soup with my immersion blender, then adjusted the salt and pepper. Most soups are oversalted for my tastes, so I had used very little salt while preparing the soup. I stirred in a little at a time until the balance was perfect. As I tasted the soup, I thought it might benefit from a little honey to help bolster the sweetness of the pears, so I stirred in about 2 tablespoons of clover honey.
I served the soup with a squeeze of lemon juice and crème fraîche.
The soup was creamy, savory, a little sweet, and spiced just right. The acid from the lemon juice gave it great balance, and the crème fraîche added a nice tang. I could just barely taste the orange peel, and it seemed like the soup would be really good with just a bit more orange flavor, maybe from some zest or a bit of juice.
But it was pretty close to perfect just the way it was.
November 11, 2011 at 8:06 am (Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, Eating local, Family, French Fridays With Dorie, Local farms)
Tags: Around My French Table, balsamic vinegar, Dorie Greenspan, duck, duck breasts, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, honey, lime
OK, so I’m a week late with this French Fridays with Dorie post. It’s a good thing, too, since I haven’t made this week’s Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup yet. But there’s always tomorrow. Hope springs eternal in the Divine kitchen.
This was a very simple recipe and was easy to throw together on a weeknight. Some of the other FFwD members had a difficult time finding duck breasts, and some of them paid quite a bit for them (up to $20/lb) once they located them. Fortunately, I have a local farm that was processing ducks this week, so for $4/lb and a bit of butchering, I had duck legs for confit, offal, the neck and carcass for stock, and two beautiful breasts for this recipe.
I scored the breasts to allow the fat to render as they cooked.
After preheating the oven to 250°F and heating a dutch oven on the stovetop, I put the breasts, skin side down, in the pan. I cooked them for 8 minutes, then turned them over and cooked an additional 2 minutes.
I realized when I turned them over that I should have cooked them slightly less time than the recipe called for, as the duck breasts were on the small side.
I wrapped the duck breasts in foil and put them in the oven while I made the sauce, which consisted of duck fat, balsamic vinegar, honey, and lime juice. I cooked the sauce for a minute or two, then put the breasts in the pan and heated them on each side for about 30 seconds.
I sliced the breasts on a cutting board, then drizzled some of the sauce on top.
The duck breasts were slightly overcooked for my liking, but were still juicy, tender, and delicious. I tried a piece before plating, and ended up eating both duck breasts (with the help of A, who had already had dinner) directly from the cutting board. The meat was savory and not at all greasy, and the sauce was sweet, tangy, and slightly sour.
I could eat these duck breasts any night of the week. And since this is such a simple recipe, I’m sure I’ll be making them again soon.
October 27, 2011 at 8:14 am (Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, French Fridays With Dorie, Recipes, Techniques)
Tags: Around My French Table, Buttermilk, creme fraiche, culture, Dorie Greenspan, fermenting, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, Heavy Cream, heavy whipping cream, whipping cream
I recently made blini with smoked salmon and crème fraîche from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. And, as always when I make a recipe calling for crème fraîche, I looked at the price of it in the store and decided to make my own. Dorie has a recipe for crème fraîche in her book, and there are lots of recipes available online. My method differs slightly from other recipes I’ve seen and is based on my experience making it numerous times.
I start with 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Most recipes recommend using pasteurized, rather than ultra-pasteurized, whipping cream. But because ultra-pasteurized is the only kind I can regularly find, that’s what I use.
I heat the cream and buttermilk to about 100˚ to 110˚F. I find that heating the ingredients gives the culturing process a jump start.
Next, I cover the container with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter for 36 to 48 hours, stirring once or twice per day.
I let the cream culture until it thickens and gets tangy. It won’t be quite as thick as sour cream, but it will continue to thicken in the refrigerator.
I put a tight-fitting lid on the container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for about 2 weeks and will continue to get tangier during that time.
For my money, homemade crème fraîche is every bit as good as store bought at less than half the price. Once you make it, you’ll find all sorts of things to do with it, like this:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- Heat cream and buttermilk in a small saucepan to about 110˚F.
- Put cream mixture in clean container, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to culture at room temperature for 36 to 48 hours, stirring several times per day, until thickened and tangy.
- Cover container tightly and store in refrigerator.
Yields 1 cup. Best used within 2 weeks.
October 21, 2011 at 8:00 am (Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, Flatbreads, French Fridays With Dorie, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Puff pastry, The Modern Baker)
Tags: Anchovies, Anchovy paste, Around My French Table, black olives, caramelized onions, Dorie Greenspan, France, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, Italy, Modern Baker, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Olives, Puff pastry, sundried tomatoes
I almost skipped this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, as I knew no one else in the house would eat it. But it sounded good to me, so I decided to make a mini version for myself.
Although this recipe comes from the Nice region of France, it’s very similar to Focaccia alla Barese, an Apulian specialty from Southern Italy. Both feature onions, anchovies, and olives baked on a yeast-risen dough. I’ll let the French and Italians fight over who first came up with this recipe. What I can tell you is that I enjoyed them both.
The recipe features caramelized onions. This must be the week for it, since I made a Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Tart for Modern Baker Mondays, too. Unlike the Modern Baker version, which “enhances” the onions with sugar and balsamic vinegar, the pissaladière recipe calls for caramelizing the onions the old-fashioned way — with nothing but olive oil, salt, a few herbs, and lots and lots of time.
After almost an hour over low heat, the onions were beautifully caramelized. I stirred in anchovy paste (the recipe called for anchovies, but all I had was paste; more on that later) and freshly ground black pepper. I tasted the onions and decided they didn’t need any additional salt, as the anchovy paste was plenty salty.
I set the onions aside to cool while I prepared the crust. The recipe has instructions for making a yeast-risen dough, but Dorie also notes that it can be made with puff pastry. Since I had some puff pastry in the refrigerator, I decided to use it. I rolled it out nice and thin, trying to get it into a roughly rectangular shape but not worrying too much about perfection in that regard.
I spread the dough with the onion mixture, then slid it into the oven, which I had preheated to 425˚F.
I baked the pissaladière for 20 minutes, then took it out of the oven and added black olives and sundried tomato strips (in place of the anchovies called for in the recipe). I returned the pissaladière to the oven for about 5 minutes, just to warm the new toppings.
It has been almost a year since I made Focaccia alla Barese, but the pissaladière tasted just as I remembered the focaccia tasting, which is to say, delicious. The focaccia had a much thicker crust, but otherwise the two were very similar. The sweet tang of the onions played nicely off the saltiness of the anchovies and slight bite of the olives.
This is not a dish that I will make often around here, as I’m the only anchovy eater in the house. But I could see making it as an appetizer for a dinner party, or even a light lunch for my fish-loving friends.
October 9, 2011 at 8:00 am (Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, Family, Farmer's market, French Fridays With Dorie, Holiday Baking, Recipes, Techniques)
Tags: Around My French Table, baked pumpkn, bread cubes, cheese, Dorie Greenspan, Emmentaler, Emmenthal, Fall cooking, fall recipe, French cooking, French food, French Fridays With Dorie, garlic, Gruyere, Heavy Cream, jack-o'-lantern, nutmeg, pumpkin, Pumpkin recipe, Pumpkin roundup, recipe, Side dish, Thyme
My love of all things pumpkin is well known, so I don’t think anyone was surprised when I suggested a pumpkin dinner roundup, where everyone would make a different pumpkin recipe and post them all on the same day.
My contribution was this side dish, which I adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe. I made it the other night for dinner.
Don’t think big jack-o’-lantern pumpkin when you go to make this dish. A 2 1/2 pound pumpkin is pretty small and can be found with the “baking pumpkins” at the grocery store.
Preparing it for baking, however, is a lot like carving a pumpkin.
Once the goop is removed, it’s just a matter of filling it with stuffing and pouring on some spiced cream.
Then you put the lid back on and slide it into the oven for a bit.
The skin will darken and toughen up while the insides get bubbly and delicious.
(adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)
- 2 1/2 pound pumpkin
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4-5 thin slices stale bread, crusts removed and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 ounces each Gruyère and Emmenthal cheeses, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Cut the top off the pumpkin jack-o’-lantern style and remove pulp and seeds. Discard seeds or save for roasting. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin in a round baking dish, preferably one that’s just slightly larger than the pumpkin.
- In a medium bowl, combine bread, cheeses, garlic, and thyme. Season with a little salt and lots of pepper and toss well. Spoon filling into pumpkin and pack lightly. The pumpkin should be filled to the top but not overflowing.
- Stir together cream and nutmeg, then pour over filling in pumpkin. Put the pumpkin top on the pumpkin.
- Bake for 1 hour. Remove lid and continue baking for about 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the top nicely toasted.
- To serve, carefully (it will be very hot) reach inside the pumpkin with a large spoon and scrape the cooked pumpkin meat free from the sides. Mix the pumpkin with the stuffing and replace the lid. Carry the pumpkin in the baking dish to the table. When ready to serve, remove the lid and spoon directly from the pumpkin.
Yields 4-5 side dish servings
You’ll note that I sliced the pumpkin rather than mixing in the flesh like in the recipe. I didn’t care for it sliced as well. The skin was very dry and leathery, and it was difficult to cut, even with a good, sharp knife. And we were left to deal with it on the plate while eating. I made a note to mix it together inside the pumpkin next time.
This was such a delicious dish. I couldn’t wait to make it again. So, a few weeks later I decided to bake another pumpkin. My parents were in town, and I thought I would switch things up by replacing the bread cubes with rice and adding frozen peas.
We put the whole pumpkin on the table and served it by scooping out the filling, along with some of the pumpkin flesh. It was so good, we all agreed that we would add it to our Thanksgiving menu this year.
In addition to the pumpkin dinner roundup, this post is also part of French Fridays with Dorie.