Friday, December 28, 2012

FFwD - Go With Everything Celery Root Puree

Celery Root
I was skeptical about this one from the get go.  Not because of the celery root but because of the mashed potatoeness.  Mashed potatoes are kind of sacred around here.  I don't mess with mashed potatoes.  They should be loaded with butter and salt and pepper and be plentiful!  Additions, unless its bacon, are not appreciated by any of the men in my family!

Having said that I was interested in the celery root.  I've seen it in the grocery store but never tried it.  When I was checking out the grocery clerk wanted to know all about what I was doing with it and my cooking group.  Another convert for Dorie?  Maybe!

I went with another unknown, turbot, to serve with the celery root.  The fishmonger described it as a pretty mild, fatty fish that was very fresh.
Celery Root Puree and Pan Fried Turbot
It looks so good, I liked it, Gary didn't.
The conclusion - don't put celery in the mashed potatoes and leave the turbot at the market!

For Christmas I got a Krups citrus juicer.  If you don't have one of these you need to get one!  How did I live without it for so many years?  I found a recipe for a Citrus Tart and used all orange instead of a combo of citrus.  This tart is creamy and custardy with just the right amount of orange.  Gary says its the best custard he's ever had and it saved the meal in his eyes!
Citrus Tart
I'm still visiting everyone's blog all the way back to the chicken a la Normande!  I hope to get caught up soon:)  Happy New Year to everyone!  I have a good feeling about 2013 and look forward to cooking with each and everyone of you!  AND I resolve to use the title Around My French Table more often!  Here's where you can find all the French Friday results

Friday, December 21, 2012

FFwD - Cheez-It-Ish Crackers

Cheez It Ish Crackers

These didn't work for me.  Since I'm running late I peeked at what other French Friday cooks were saying on the FF website and it looks like I am in the minority!  Where did I go wrong?  The dough did NOT come together in the food processor or after kneading a few times so I added a tablespoon of water.  Maybe 2-3 tablespoons would have been better but I squashed and pushed and shoved it together, wrapped it in plastic and hoped for the best.

The next day I couldn't get the dough to stay together long enough to roll out so I kind of squished it together to form little crackers.  I guess no one will be surprised when I say the crackers were kind of tough.  The flavor was good though!  I don't know what went wrong for me.  Maybe some of the Doristas have suggestions.  I topped each cracker with either Red Sea Salt or freshly ground pepper.  I thought they just needed something!

It was an entire day of cooking today.  Pumpkin bread, eight loaves...yes I said 8 loaves!  And caramel corn.  Now I have my neighbor gifts ready to deliver tomorrow.

My time with my grandson was wonderful!  He is so much fun, you know that point between baby and little boy?  He's right there.  Starting to play and talk and show his own little personality but still cuddly and needy.  Love it!

Every year I think I will have a Christmas Party.  So many of the French Friday cooks have their act together and do amazing things.  I'm not one of those:)  BUT I did have a little cocktail party of my own with Cheez-It-Ish Crackers, herbed olives and the Barefoot Contessa's Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts.  And Sofia!  Love me some Sofia:)  I haven't given up.  Next year I'll have that party:)

Thank you to all who participated in the Christmas card exchange.  They have been such a bright spot in this holiday season.  So much sadness in the world lately.  I look at my cards and think of the wonderful bonds formed in our little community of cooks and feel more hopeful for the world.

Friday, December 14, 2012

FFwD - Chicken, Apples and Cream á la Normande

Less than two weeks before Christmas.  I imagine all the French Friday cooks are rushing around like crazy trying to make a happy holiday for their families.  So much to do so little time.  All of the wonderful Christmas cards are helping to keep my spirits bright:)
Chicken, Apples, and Cream á la Normande

Luckily for us this week's recipe was easy and delicious!  When my husband heard what the dish would be he said "Noodles!".  "I want noodles!"  Not one to stand between anyone and a pasta product I cooked noodles and I have to say it was a great call.

I followed Dorie's serving suggestion and made Lemon-Steamed Spinach.  Delicious pairing! 

The next time I make this (and there will be many next times) I will either chunk the chicken or pound it (gently of course) into thinner pieces to help it cook faster.

I'm off to visit my grandson for a few days.  I know I'll be there for Christmas in just over a week but I need a visit NOW:)  Love that sweet baby!

Friday, December 7, 2012

FFwD - Creamy Cauliflower Soups sans Cream

How is it possible for a few vegetables and chicken stock to produce something so creamy?  So velvety?  So smooth?  So delicious?
Creamy Cauliflower Soup

We love cauliflower.  We love it in a gratin, boiled, mashed, roasted or fried.  I can't believe it never occurred to me to blend it into a soup.  That's why I need French Fridays.  That's why I'm thankful for Dorie's cookbook Around My French Table.

I topped my soup with bacon, thanks to a heads up from Cher and some fried thyme leaves.  I'd never fried thyme before but it is actually quite good with a bit of salt.  Just be sure its really dry before dropping the leaves into hot oil!

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season.  My out of country Christmas cards went out yesterday.  The rest will go today.  Thank you to everyone participating in the card exchange.  I LOVE Christmas cards:)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TwD - Baking with Julia - Gingerbread Baby Cakes

I'm back!  Its been a couple of months since I participated in Baking with Julia but I've been missing the baking lately so decided to jump back in this month.
Baking with Julia - Gingerbread Baby Cakes
While I really like these little cakes I think they should be called molasses cakes instead of GingerBread Cakes.  I love the dense, chewy texture and the spicy bite provided by the fresh ginger and pepper make for a very sophisticated taste combination.  This is NOT a children's gingerbread cake!

Alas they were not a hit with my husband but that's why there are so many different recipes, right?  So everyone gets what they like!  I paired this with a little scoop of Starbucks Chocolate Chip ice cream and it was divine.

All I had on hand was sorghum and I'm not going to get into the whole sorghum vs molasses debate.  If you're a southerner you know what I mean!  I had sorghum.  I used sorghum.  It was good.  End of story.

Sadly my mustard yellow hand mixer that I received as a shower present from a dear neighbor 41 years ago died recently.  While she was a work horse and wonderful kitchen companion my new mixer is amazing!  Technology has indeed changed!!!

I'm happy to be back and I'm planning some catch up baking.  Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories was the host for Gingerbread Baby Cakes and you can find the recipe on her site.  You can find all the bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Friday, November 30, 2012

FFwD - Cheekless Beef Daube with Carrots and Macaroni

No beef cheeks.  No Le Creuset.  This week's French Friday was chuck roast in a crock pot!  But oh what Dorie can do with chuck roast.  And now I can do it too!!!

Beef Daube with Macaroni

I would love to try this with beef cheeks sometime but not even our butcher shop can get them.    Chuck roast makes a delicious substitute though and this was probably the best pot roast I've ever made.

Since I'm not feeling well (head cold, ugh!) I decided after browning the meat to use the crock pot and it worked out perfectly.  My husband gave it two thumbs up, then added two toes:)  AJ tried it out and also gave his approval...and wanted more:)
AJ asking for another bite!
The secret ingredient, bittersweet chocolate, added depth and just a touch of sweetness.  Or maybe the sweetness came from the wine.  Or a little of both.  I had a zinfandel and a cabernet on hand and decided the cab might be too heavy.  The zin was a tad sweet which is odd because it was also dry but worked out well and was delicious served with the daube.

This was one of the best French Friday recipes so far and will definitely be made again at my house!

A couple of weeks ago we made Goat Cheese Mini Puffs but I didn't blog them.  I just didn't love them and for me they weren't worth the effort.  Maybe for a party they would be nice just because they are different but I'd rather have the goat cheese spread on a crunchy cracker.

Goat Cheese Mini Puffs 

Oh yeah, I've made my olives from last week but we haven't tried them yet!  I'll let you know.
Herbed Olives

Check out all the French Friday results!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

FFwD - Top Secret Chocolate Mousse

Some things cause me to pause.  The first leaves falling in an autumn wind.  My grandson making eye contact with me.  Eating raw eggs.  Call me an impaired gourmand if you choose but that's who I am.
Top Secret Chocolate Mousse
I thought about whether to skip this recipe but I wanted to make it.  Thanks to a new Whole Foods I was able to find pasteurized eggs.  End of dilemma right?  Nope.  Pasteurized egg whites will not whip up into a light and airy meringue!  Will not!  The picture below shows egg whites that look more like...I'm not sure what.

Pasteurized egg whites whipped for 3 minutes

So I switched to regular egg whites and voila...after 1 minute look what I had!

Egg whites whipped for 1 minute!

We loved it!  An easy and elegant dessert!  Its great eaten immediately but the next day its kind of like a chocolate truffle.  Nothing wrong with that!  Oh yeah...I would like to report no illness as a result of eating raw eggs.  I didn't expect there would be but we all have our phobias

There has been much cussing and swearing as I write this!  See how I can't get out of the photo box!  I give up!  ANNOYING!

Check out all the French Friday cooks!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

FFwD - Mushroom and Shallot Quiche

Many of the blogs I've read over the years talk about Nick Malgieri's pie crust so I decided to try it for this quiche. It worked great but it is quite different from a traditional flaky crust. It's more like a cookie crust which might seem odd with a mushroom quiche but somehow it goes together beautifully.

Mixing the quiche I was thinking it was a bit fussy with the sprinkle the thyme then the mushrooms and top with scallions and cheese so while I'm thinking about it being fussy I forgot to spread the mushrooms! Yes I forgot the mushrooms for the mushroom quiche! Luckily I wondered what was in the bowl on the counter...duh! I sort of dropped them on top and all was well.

I'll definitely make this again. I brought it to my daughter's in law house to share with her and we both enjoyed it. My son, the non mushroom eater wonders why I didn't substitute tomatoes... Maybe next time:)

I've just written my first post on my ipad. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one! Sorry but I don't know how to link back to the French Friday page. If anyone knows how I'd appreciate the info.

Happily so far all our NE Doristas seem to be in good shape. So sorry for all the folks with no power. Hope it will be back soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cranberry Coffee Cake

Pioneer Woman Nantucket Cranberry Pie
About a year ago, before I discovered pinterest, I came across a recipe for cranberry coffee cake while surfing the net and gave it a try for a ladies coffee date at my house.  We all loved it and I made it a couple of times before moving on to something else and it totally went off my radar.  Until I saw fresh cranberries in the grocery store recently.  Now I can't find the same recipe.

I found this one from The Pioneer Woman and tried it today.  Its good but its not quiet what I'm looking for.  But this one is worth a try.  The topping is a lot like a crumble with a delicate almond flavor.  The one I had before was a bit more like coffee cake.

If anyone has a recipe for cranberry cake, pie, or coffee cake please let me know!

FFwD - Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes and Soup Catch Up

B having breakfast with GiGi and Thunder:)

I know that's not a picture of Chicken Tagine or Spur of the Moment Soup but I can't resist the impulse to tell you why I missed last week's post.  He was at my house:)  Having our grandson spend a week with us without his parents was heavenly!  For us at least, not so much for his Mom and Dad.

B stayed at Camp GiGi Thunder (I'm GiGi, Gary's Thunder......I know, I know its weird but there's a story) while his parents settled into their new home.  A chance to know B more intimately was not just rewarding it filled our hearts to near bursting.  Being grandparents IS as wonderful as people say!!!  The problem is we miss him so much now.  We are going through serious baby withdrawal pain.
Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

The Chicken Tagine.  It was wonderful.  The chicken was moist and tender.  The prunes and onions almost melt in your mouth.  Sweet potatoes are always a hit with us.  I served it with rice because that's what I had but I would love to try it with couscous.  I might not make the recipe as is often but I will use the technique often.
Spur of the Moment Vegetable Soup
And last week's Spur of the Moment Soup - Loved it too!  I used carrots and potatoes, once again its what I had and it was quick and easy and delicious!  October has been a great month of Dorie recipes!

Visit the French Friday website to see what everyone else did with the recipe.  Now we're on to November's recipes and it looks like another great line up.  Happy Halloween everyone:)

Friday, October 12, 2012

FFwD - Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

Its not pretty.  I want a dessert to be pretty.  When I bring it to the table I want people to gasp, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but I want the people eager for a taste.  This apple-almond tart looks okay.  It looks like the sturdy older sister of desserts that will be a perfectly adequate dessert but not a fun, flirty younger sister of a dessert that will leave you wanting more!

That being said it probably would have been prettier had I run it under the broiler (as Dorie suggests) to brown the apples up a bit.  I served it with Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream.  The recipe was in my new bon Appétite magazine and I was able to fulfill my goal of cooking at least one recipe from every magazine that comes in the house:)  Gary thought the ice cream was too sweet but I thought it was great and it will probably make an appearance at Thanksgiving to escort the pecan pie!  I might even add toasted pecans!

Aside from appearance this tart is good and very easy to make.  Gary's hoping I'll make it again soon!

I just took at peek at the other French Friday cooks links and it looks like everyone loved it!

Friday, October 5, 2012

FFwD - Hummus

Hummus from Around My French Table

Hummus may not seem very French but Dorie says its become popular and on the menu at many restaurants and in many homes.  If I were composing a book of recipes from 'around my American table' there would be things like ravioli and tacos and posole and other things not necessarily thought of as typical American food.

A friend came over and we shared a bottle of Grgich Hills Cabernet with our hummus.  Its a wine that is out of my typical budget but we split the cost making it fun and affordable for us both.  Grgich Hills was our favorite winery on our Napa tour.

Be sure to check out everyone's results with this easy and delicious recipe at  French Fridays with Dorie!

Friday, September 28, 2012

FFwD - NOT Endives, Apples, and Grapes

Thanksgiving Squash and Apples
Yes todays French Friday assignment  was for Endives, Apples, and Grapes but there was no endive in two grocery stores so I decided to go with Dorie's bonne idee and use squash instead.  I just happened to have 1/2 a butternut in the fridge since I had made butternut risotto a few days ago....remember the day the news came out that rice is high in arsenic?  Yeh, I heard that as I'm stirring my risotto.

Anyhow, we loved this and it will be making an appearance on our Thanksgiving table.  I served it with baked pork chops but I can imagine it with turkey and cranberry relish.  It was delightful to have something entirely new, a whole different set of tastes and textures.  And the smell?  Divine!  A raw grape will never again be quite as satisfying as one sauteed in butter with rosemary!  Tossing with toasted pecans is a must and completes the interesting textures going on!  I can't say enough good things about this dish!

Check out all the amazing French Fridays blogs and see what everyone is up to this week!

Butternut Sage Risotto

I just wanted to share a photo of my risotto because it was the best I've ever made.  The sage with the squash was extremely flavorful and paired perfectly with the creaminess of the rice.  It made a heavenly dinner followed by Tuesdays with Dorie nectarine upside down cake which I have yet to blog about.....but I will eventually.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fig Walnut Cake

I live in the middle of Oklahoma.  We don't have an abundance of fresh figs.  Gary and I love love them, though, so when I saw my fellow French Friday with Dorie cook, Andrea at The Kitchen Lioness, had baked a fig walnut cake I wanted figs and I wanted fig cake and I wanted it immediately!  Alas, I had to wait until figs made an appearance in my grocery.  When I found them at Forward Foods, a wonderful specialty shop in Oklahoma City, I hurried home to make Andrea's fig walnut cake.  

Fig Walnut Cake
I pronounce it a huge success!  The cake is basic and simple to make.  You add ground fresh walnuts and walnut pieces to the batter and Andrea stresses they should be fresh walnuts but I used all my luck finding the figs and had none left to help with fresh walnuts so I had to use packaged grocery store nuts.  While I hope to have fresh walnuts and fresh figs together one of these days I was happy with what I produced.

I will say using fig preserves as a topping with a touch of whipped cream makes all the difference.  The flavor of the figs in the cake is subtle and the preserves help highlight the figgyness.  

Homemade Fig Preserves
My lovely sister-in-law in Memphis has a fig tree and gave me enough figs to make 6 pints of preserves.  They are our new favorite jelly!

Lately I'm on a roll with cakes, this one and a nectarine upside down cake, but Andrea has so many great looking cakes on her blog that I want to keep baking.  Unfortunately my jeans have requested a cake free week or two.  I'm taking it under consideration.....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

FFwD - Chicken Basquaise and Spice-Poached Pears

Chicken Basquaise
Delicious! We loved this one!  In fact we seem to be on a winning streak with Around My French Table.

This time of year the garden is winding down its pepper production but it was nice to use what I had and only supplement with a banana pepper from the store.  The tomatoes were a big disappointment!  I bought a 4 pack and two of them were molded by the next day!  I keep telling myself I'm taking produce back to the store when that happens but once again I didn't.  Luckily I had some cherry tomatoes to throw in.  And I didn't peel:)

Last week I was in Mill Valley, CA sharing a beautiful house with a friend.  We had a great time in Muir Woods and Sonoma and Napa Valley.  Great food and wine shared in a beautiful setting with a good friend.  Does it get any better than that?  But that's a whole other post...

One of the fun things about the trip was cooking in the gorgeous state of the art kitchen of the house we were in.  We made delicious breakfasts most days and a couple of dinners.  My spice-poached pears were a welcome dessert served with a piece of salted dark chocolate.  A perfect ending to a perfect day and a memory to cherish.

Spice-Poached Pears

Don't forget to go by the French Friday site!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Eggplant Tartine with Tomatoes, Olives and Cucumbers - FFwD

I've been a bad, bad blogger!  Its been a month of ups and downs...personally and FF recipes too.  I'm just gonna say it.  I did not like the carrot salad or the zucchini and cucumber salad.  The peach melba was a different (and better) story.  So with one thing and another I haven't posted in a month!  What kind of blogger is that?  I've decided to recommit to French Fridays.  I miss my blogging friends and neighbors and I want to see this project through to the end!

Eggplant "Tartine"
I love Dorie's creativity but how she figures roasted eggplant slices are kind of like bruschetta is a leap I can't make.  The tomato, celery, olive mixture on top is delicious though.  So while I'm trying to convince myself and Gary that the roasted eggplant is good the truth is we were wishing for a nice crunchy slice of bruschetta instead.  The eggplant really needs to be peeled completely as the strips Dorie suggests leaving were too tough to cut or chew.

A delicious use for any left-over topping - mix with a bit of mayo and spread on a chicken sandwich.  We agreed this was the best part of the meal.

Grated Cafe Style Carrot Salad

Here's proof that I'm just a bad blogger and not a bad FF cook!  I did the two salads and while I didn't care for them I expected Gary would.  He usually loves salads of all sorts but particularly 'not green' ones.  He didn't really like them either.

Just didn't work at our house but I bet it was just us.
Minted Zucchini Tagliatelle

I'm not sure how I've lost the peach melba picture but I did.  Where did it go?  I don't know but the Peach Melba was really, really good!

Check out the other French Friday posts at  The site is experiencing technical difficulties but will be up and running soon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

FFwD - Warm Scallop Salad with Corn, Nectarines and Basil

Port St. Joe
August 2012
My birthday at the beach with the entire family!  Does it get any better than this?  Surely not and yet it was and is a very difficult thing for me to adjust to being 60.  I'm not sure yet why other than the obvious that I'm getting old.  I don't really mind being older, though; in many ways it beats being young.  Partly its disappointment in myself.  I haven't turned out the way I would have liked.  Guess that's one good thing about 60, I'm not too old too change......I hope!

Warm Scallop Salad
Around My French Table
Dorie Greenspan

I didn't really get the 'salad' aspect of this recipe so I decided to turn it into a salad.  Instead of plating the components side by side I mixed them together with the scallops on top.  We loved the lime dressing with the corn and nectarines.  The tomatoes were lost in the shuffle.

This recipe is a keeper except for the fact the scallops were $24.99 a pound!  I have to admit they were absolutely delicious and worth every penny!  Fresh and sweet!  And I live in Oklahoma!  Thank you Whole Foods:)

The downside?  The next day my house still smells like scallops!  Not so nice today.

Check out all the French Friday posts!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TwD - Blueberry-Nectarine Pie

Blueberry-Peach Pie ala Baking with Julia
I'm about to put a whole lot of angst onto one little recipe but this pie caused me to reconsider my participation in TwD.  What am I doing and why am I doing it?  I have an excellent pie crust recipe I've been using successfully for years and yet because of my participation in cooking groups I try others with varying degrees of success.  Why?  I guess the point is to grow as a cook by experiencing new recipes and techniques but when its a chore instead of a joy its time to step back.

I didn't enjoy this recipe.  Perhaps I did some mis-measuring on the crust as I've read other blogs that loved it.  It was too short for me and difficult to work with, almost a shortbread.  And why the cake pan?

The filling was fussy.  Why make a simple syrup to soak the berries?  I've made tons of pies with peaches or nectarines and blueberries, add a little lemon and put the fruit in the crust, mix sugar and flour, and top it with another crust.  Easy.

We love pie and this was a good one if not a pretty one but I can make one just as good and twice as easy.  In the future I'll be more discriminating in following the recipes.  I know many of the other TwD cooks use their experience and knowledge and often stray from the recipe and I'm going to do the same.

Guess I'm just a slow learner:)  Our hosts for this recipe were Lizzy and Hilary and they both had great success with the recipe which they give on their blogs!  See what all the other Tuesday with Dorie bakers thought of the recipe.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

FFwD - Salmon with Basil Tapenade

I HATE blogging!  There I got that off my chest.  I like being part of the blogging community but honestly sometimes the blogging part is SO much more difficult than the cooking part that it makes me CRAZY!  I am starting this post again for the THIRD time due to technical difficulties beyond my ability to understand or explain!
Salmon with basil tapenade minus the basil tapenade:(

I'm pissed that I left the tapenade off for the picture because it was really, really good and complimented the fish so nicely....and it was kind of a pain to make because the little oil cured black olives don't give up their pits easily.  As I was cutting out the little devils I was saying this better be worth it and it was!  If you're smart you'd just buy some tapenade from the grocery store and make everything so much easier.

When I went to the market to buy the salmon the farm raised was on sale for $4.99 a pound.  That caused me to stop and think.  Did I really want to pay $12.99 for the wild caught?  I mean the nutrition and flavor are so much better with wild caught (plus no dye) but how do I KNOW its really wild caught and that's quite a price difference.  In the end I went wild and I'm glad I did.  It was worth every penny and the flavor said wild caught!

Our French Friday moderator is on vacation but you can find some of the other sites on facebook.

Friday, July 13, 2012

FFwD - Blueberry-Mascarpone Roulade

Blueberry-Mascarpone Roulade

This is a perfect summer dessert!  Its light, not overly sweet.  You could use any summer fruit.  And the cake bakes in under 12 minutes so you don't run the oven too long, heating up the kitchen.  Bake the cake in the morning.  Prepare the berries and refrigerate them.  Make the filling in the afternoon, assemble the cake, let it chill for a few hours and you have a fantastic dessert that looks and tastes like you worked on it for hours.....and you did...but most of those hours were spent with a book, the components cooling and chilling and setting.

Our French Friday website is unmoderated lately but hopefully we'll be back on line soon! Go to Facebook to see what the other cooks thought!

Happy Friday the 13th:)  Be careful!

Our home away from home!
Do you think I can keep up with French Fridays in a travel trailer using a toaster oven and no fancy pans or equipment?  We'll see and I look forward to the challenge.  We just bought a 27 foot Slingshot and plan to give it a test run next week.  This has been a dream of ours for several years and we've begun making it a reality.  The lure of the open road and all that.......

Friday, July 6, 2012

FFwD - Crunch Ginger Pickled Cucumbers

Crunch Ginger Pickled Cucumbers
Around My French Table
We're off to a great start with our FFwD recipes for July!  These pickles are delicious, light, and fresh, everything you want in a summer side dish.

These pickles are super easy to make.  A little ginger, a bit of vinegar and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Leave the in the fridge for a couple of hours and voila, your cucumbers are pickles!  I used a hot house cuke and I definitely recommend it.  The milder flavor lets the ginger shine!

A friend and I took a road trip to Memphis to spend a few days with another friend.  I LOVE spending time with my favorite girls!   I made these for our 4th of July cook out.  Everyone enjoyed them and I'm already wanting another cucumber so I can make them again.

My friend decided Memphis has the best margaritas...or at least the best margaritas are at the Jones's house...or wherever Mr. Jones and his margarita shaker might be!

We went to the Peabody to see the ducks, walked on Beale Street and spent time floating in the pool.  The most fun of all, though, was spending time with my friends.  A special few days well worth the 8 hour drive:)

I hope everyone enjoyed the pickles and the 4th as much as I did.  Check out all the French Friday posts!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

TwD - Hazelnut Biscotti

Hazelnut Biscotti
Baking with Julia
I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!  We have so much going on here that I didn't get these made in time for posting last Tuesday.  Its okay, though, because I ended up making them while visiting a friend and it was fun to share my baking project!

These were really delicious and easy to make.  They were especially easy since my friend took care of removing the skins from the hazelnuts!  Thank you DeLynn!  Next time I might leave the skins on.  Doesn't seem like it would hurt anything!

I can't wait to make biscotti with other additions.  The possibilities are endless!  Our hosts for this recipe were Jodi and Katrina.  Be sure to go by the Tuesdays with Dorie site and see what the other bakers thought of this recipe!

They were especially delicious with a cup of tea!

I hope you had a happy 4th of July and that your summer is going well:)

Friday, June 29, 2012

FFwD - Corn Pancakes

Corn pancakes
We have a special occasion recipe in our family fondly called Funeral Corn.  Its the dish my aunt always takes to the bereaved for a funeral supper and over the years we adopted funeral corn as the name instead of corn casserole like she calls it.  

When Gary tasted these corn pancakes he said, "MmmHmmm!  Tastes like funeral corn!".  I didn't expect to like these, thought they'd be bland.  Instead they're delicate.

I added the kernels from an ear of fresh corn for the texture and freshness.  We topped the pancakes with a dollop of sour cream and a salsa made of avocado, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime.  We loved these and will have them again and again. 

I'm kind of obsessed with ice cream lately so for dessert I made strawberry frozen yogurt from 
David Lebovitz.  Perfect ending!

Don't forget to check out all the 
French Friday cooks!  This is another wonderful recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

FFwD - David's Seaweed Sablés

David's Seaweed Sables
What is there to say about seaweed in a sweet cookie?  When biting into it the first taste is the sweet butter cookie flavor, then the saltiness kicks in.  After that its kind of a 'what was that?'   My husband says some ingredients should NOT be mixed.  My friend and frequent French Friday taste tester said they were interesting, she kind of liked them.

Toasted nori is hard to chop by the way!  I ended up using scissors and didn't get the pieces as small as I would have liked.  After slicing the cookies pink Himalayan salt was sprinkled on top for color and crunch.

 I don't think I'll be making them again.  They might be trés chic in Paris but just don't play with the Oklahoma cocktail party crowd!

See what the other French Friday cooks have to say!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TwD - French Strawberry Cake

French Strawberry Cake

This recipe was a lesson in fear.....coping with it.....avoiding it.  I swear, I think I need to stop reading the P&Q section of our TwD website.  I'll admit it.  After reading some of the P&Qs I was nervous.  I feared the genoise!

...and with good reason!  Genoise batter is a bit of a diva.  She has a list of demands that must be met!  We didn't use the traditional bain marie to heat the eggs so when I took the eggs out of the fridge I left them in a bowl of warm water a bit longer than usual so they were nice and comfy warm.  I double sifted the flour, sugar, salt combo then sifted it into the egg and sugar.

My biggest concern was when I opened a new bag of grocery store brand sugar the crystals were large.  I mean they were huge.  I mean they didn't go through the sieve I was using as a sifter.  Since I had no other sugar I pressed on and I think it did have an impact on the cake texture.

The beat eggs tripled, the flour folding was accomplished and I considered leaving out the melted butter.  After researching the web I learned that's an American addition and the rest of the world doesn't usually use it.  Then I decided I'm American, the recipe calls for it, fold IT in!  I did and all still went well.

I was gratified when the batter filled the pan almost to the top!  Maybe I would have a tall lovely cake.  Maybe the cake goddess was toying with me.  The cake fell!  But it left a nice rim that I filled with strawberries and topped with whipped cream.

It was a hectic evening and the kids came for dinner (red beans and rice) and I didn't get a good picture.  The cake was so much sturdier than I expected.  Not delicate at all once baked.  We liked it and I'll make it again but this time without the butter!

Thank you Dorie and Julia for pushing me out of my comfort zone!  Our lovely hosts for this recipe are
Sophia and Allison.  You can find the recipe on their blogs.  All the other Tuesday bakers can be found at the TwD website!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

FFwD - Honey Lime Beet Salad

I love beets!  I didn't know that I love beets until Dorie showed me how good they are when we made the Icy Beet and Onion Salad last year.  Until then all I'd had was the canned stuff, and they're not very good.  Nothing like a fresh beet cooked at home.  I guess you could say that about most foods though.
Honey Lime Beet Salad

The Pioneer Woman's grilled flank steak accompanied the salad.  The marinade was a bit too salty and next time I'll use low sodium soy sauce.  All in all it was a delicious meal topped off with Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop.  Wonderful!
The Perfect Scoop - Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
You'll want to check out what all the French Friday cooks thought of this week's recipe!

Friday, June 8, 2012

FFwD - Olive Oil Ice Cream + Catch Up Recipes

Olive Oil Ice Cream!
My husband is a bit obsessed with ice cream.  Vanilla is his preference.  He thinks it lets the simple basic ingredients and the very concept of ice cream combine into perfect deliciousness.  He's tolerated my monkeying around with ingredients, coconut milk ice cream, almond milk ice cream until he finally asked why can't we have just regular ice cream.  When I told him I was making ice cream I didn't mention the olive oil.

"Yummmm!"  those were his exact words when he tasted it!  When I told him about the olive oil he liked it.  I'm taking it to a dinner party and I bet everyone agrees!

All has turned out well but there were a few bumps along the way.  The burner was too high and I turned my back to check on the baked chicken.  When I went back to the ice cream to give it a quick stir it looked kind of like oatmeal.  It was curdled to a point I've never seen before!  I tried straining but it was entirely curdled so there was only about 1/4 cup of liquid.  I was upset over the wasted ingredients and was about to throw it all away but thought I'd google curdled ice cream saves first.  Blending was recommended.  I blended and the texture was smooth and silky immediately!  Seriously it went from cottage cheese to ice cream in a few seconds!

We taste tested the ice cream topped with toasted pecans and coconut.  Perfect!  I bet the other French Friday cooks did some interesting things with this.

Faux Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad

You might notice those are black eyed peas instead of lentils.  Instead of preserved lemons I used jarred jalapenos.  That's why I call this 'faux lentil, lemon and tuna salad'.

Since I had my doubts about liking this dish I didn't want to run all over town looking for ingredients.  I decided the French home cook and I hope Dorie, would approve of using what I have in my pantry.

The results were surprising and I actually think we will have this again!  See what the other cooks did with this recipe.  FFwD - Around My French Table

lyonnaise garlic and herb cheese

I didn't get a picture of this one.  We didn't like it.  We didn't eat it.  It was a waste of ingredients.  I'm thinking how could Dorie think this is good?  Then it occurred to me it was the quality of the ricotta.   Typical grocery store ricotta just doesn't work here.  It is simply too bland.  I've made something similar using bits of leftover cheeses grated and blended with cream cheese and herbs.  Its not boursin but pretty good.  Several of the French Friday cooks liked this recipe.  Check them out!

I'm almost caught up now!  Sardine rillettes are calling my name!