Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TwD - Irish Soda Bread - Baking with Julia

Irish Soda Bread is good and its easy to make!  You don't need specialty ingredients, unless you consider buttermilk a specialty ingredient and I don't but then I keep it in my freezer in one cup containers.  After years of throwing away unused buttermilk I had an 'aha' moment and realized I could freeze it!  I have used the dried buttermilk powder with good results but  I have a prejudice against dried milk products.  Maybe I need to get over that...

Cathy and Carla are our hostesses this month and you can find the recipe on their blogs.  All of the bakers in Tuesdays with Dorie have interested stories to tell so check them out!

This made a nice breakfast bread and I used the rest of my apricot lekvar from our rugelach experience.

Spring has come early to Oklahoma and we are loving it!  I have potatoes planted but I'm afraid I've waited too long to get my other cool weather veggies planted.  We've had storms the past couple of days but this morning everything is wet and beautiful.  Could our drought be ending?  We're hopeful!

Friday, March 16, 2012

FFwD - Cheese Souffle

Cheese Souffle - Not a good picture!  
"I thought it would be good."  That's what my husband had to say about my souffle!  Where do you go from there?  We're visiting family in Memphis so I did my French Friday cooking in my sister-in-law's kitchen.  I thought I would wow her and my niece and my mother-in-law with my cooking skills.  Thankfully, my niece's boyfriend, Jeff was also there.  He was the only one who liked it.  Thank you Jeff!

Jeff felt Frenchiefied!  I've decided Jeff's a keeper.  I'm not sure about the rest of them:)

The recipe is good.  Maybe I needed a stronger cheese.  I used Emmentaler.  I think the souffle was good.  You can see it had good rise!  Maybe if I'd served it with a nice salad for lunch.  Maybe we needed more wine. They wondered if sugar would help....

 It was a beautiful evening in Memphis.  The redbuds and dogwoods are in bloom.  A few of the azaleas too.  Its good to have time with family.  Next time I'll make them hamburgers!

Maybe the souffle was more appreciated in other French Friday kitchens.

Friday, March 9, 2012

FFwD - St. Germaine-des-pres Onion Biscuits

Onion Biscuits
An easy recipe!  A pleasure since I've had a few challenges lately, some IN the kitchen some not!  Its kind of surprising how mild the onion flavor is in these.  I've made them twice and enjoyed them both times.  And they freeze so nicely.  After cutting the biscuits out I froze them on a cookie sheet then bag them up and bake as needed.

Dorie's right, they make a delicious nibble with champagne or a cocktail and can be ready at a moment's notice.  In my fantasy world,  friends, fascinating people all, stop by for stimulating conversation and cocktails.  I turn on the oven and pop in either these onion biscuits or Dorie's Mustard Batons, two of my favorite Dorie recipes because they are easy, tasty and freeze and bake so easily.

And of course, I have fabulous cocktails at all times. How can I be an amazing hostess without a fabulous cocktail?  My current favorite drink is a wine cooler.  This one is made by adding a splash of ginger ale and a splash of orange juice to an inexpensive cabernet.  The recipe called for simple syrup but I like to coat the rim of the glass with raw sugar instead.  A party in an instant!

That's what's going on in LolaLand.  Stop by French Fridays with Dorie to see what's happening in the rest of the world!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TwD - Rugelach - Baking with Julia

My husband joined the Air Force after college.  His first assignment after pilot training was at Beale AFB in California.  It was a long way from home.  Gary and I were in our early 20s and very naive.  On his first day of in processing a very nice major befriended him and showed him the ropes.  The major, Norm and his wife, Lori, became our good friends and mentors.  They made being so far from home much nicer and eased us into the Air Force way of life. And Lori taught me how to make Cream Cheese Cookies.
Lori's Cream Cheese Cookies
This has been our favorite cookie ever since.  The dough is much like the rugelach dough in Baking with Julia.  The cookie dough is rolled after chilling and cut into whatever shape you desire.  Put a dollop of your favorite jam, fold the dough over the filling and bake.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool and enjoy!  Which we did with Norm and Lori again and again.

After many years and many moves and a divorce (them, not us) we lost contact with Norm and Lori.  A couple of years ago Lori found me and our friendship picked up right where we left off.

 Sadly we didn't have much time together.  Lori was sick and died last year.  Many times we talked about meeting again but she lived in North Carolina and I lived in Oklahoma and it wasn't until her daughter called to say Lori was in the hospital and wasn't going to make it that I hurried to see her.  Her daughter said "Mom open your eyes and see who I brought you."  Though she was in a drug induced state she opened her eyes and saw me.  Tears fell, hers and mine.  She didn't look at me again and died the next day.

Prune Ruglach 
These wonderful rugelach brought all that back to me.  The dough is easy to make.  I used the food processor and mixed the dough like a pie crust.  Next time I'll use the mixer and cream the softened butter and cream cheese like a cookie dough.  Still it wasn't difficult and it came together easily using a technique known as fraisage, smearing the dough against the countertop using the heel of your hand.

I made prune and apricot lekvars and both were delicious!  I think the prune is my favorite though. The filling was raisins, figs, and apricots.  I rolled and sliced one batch and the other I made into crescents.  Both worked easily and held the filling quite nicely.
Apricot Rugelach

I love this baking group and this cookbook.  We are in our 2nd month and I've learned so many new things.  The hosts for this recipe are Jessica and Margaret.  Stop by TwD to see what everyone experienced with this recipe.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

FFwD - Roasted Salmon and Lentils

Roasted salmon and lentils
It has been 37 years since I cooked lentils and I thank Dorie for bringing them back into our lives!  I was a young bride and my husband was going through pilot training in the Air Force.  We had never had lentils but I found a lentil soup recipe and served them to my husband the night before a big flight.  We weren't aware of the potential digestion issues and all I'll say is he survived he but told me to NEVER serve him lentils again.  And I didn't.  Until now.  And he loved them.  Still he has bad memories of his previous lentil experience so didn't eat too many of them.  Tomorrow we'll know if this can become part of our regular dinner rotation or if its a once every 37 year meal!

We both loved this!  I have a chile pepper infused olive oil that I used to coat the salmon before roasting.  So very, very delicious!

Stop by to see what all the French Friday cooks thought of this recipe.