Friday, May 18, 2012

FFwD - Double Chocolate and Banana Tart

Double Chocolate and Banana Tart
Yes, you read that right, double chocolate!  Yum, yum, yum!

This week's recipe leant itself well to adaptation.  I loved the idea of caramelized bananas and chocolate but I knew we would not be able to eat the tart in one day and once cut I wasn't sure how well the bananas would keep.

So I tried Dorie's bonne idee and made the chocolate shortbread crust (pressed in, how easy is that?), a layer of Nutella, and then the chocolate ganache.  I caramelized a few bananas to use as a garnish along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I would pronounce it just about perfect.  It would have been perfect if I had toasted some hazelnuts to scatter on top but I couldn't find any in my local grocery store and decided I wouldn't drive all over town looking for them!

The tart has kept well in the fridge and will definitely be added to my collection of easy recipes to make with things on hand...except for cream...i don't always have cream.

Our son who lives in Dallas made a last minute business trip to OKC and he pronounced it DELICIOUS!

Ice cream waits for no man or woman to snap a photo but my ice cream started melting when we discovered a baby blue jay was out of the nest a tad early and we were concerned the neighbor's cat would find him before he figured out how to get off the ground.  All ended well with the baby hopping into a shrub and my husband scaring off the cat!  Sorry kitty kitty!

Don't forget to check out all the French Friday cooks this week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TwD - Pecan Sticky Buns - BwJ

Pecan Sticky Buns
I want to say up front that we loved these!  Yes, there is an obscene amount of butter in the recipe but not too much sugar so they are very rich but not cloyingly sweet ( remember Hungarian Shortbread?).

This is a fairly straight forward brioche dough and came together beautifully.  Yes, 15 minutes is a long time for the mixer to knead but my Kitchen-Aid soldiered through it fine.  My dough needed almost another 1/3 cup of flour to come together but come together it did into a silky and elastic mass of loveliness.

My only possible complaint was the sticky topping.  Its very sticky!  I wouldn't mind something less sticky but it was delicious!

I saved the second roll of dough in the freeze to make brioche or something. Our hosts for this recipe are Lynn and Nicole.  Thanks for posting the recipes ladies.  Be sure and check out all the TwD cooks and see what they thought!

I've been reading Real Food, What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck .She tells us fat is not our enemy.  Given all I ingested with these sticky buns that's good news!  Now if I could just find raw dairy from grass fed cows and free range chickens that don't cost $20 a bird I'd be a happy cook:)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Mom

My Mom

I had a complicated relationship with my mother.  She was a complex woman with many secrets.  When she died two years ago my sister and I tried to walk the line between private and secret.  Its a difficult balance.

 I hope my Mother knew how much I loved her and how much I was shaped by her.  I miss her.

I wrote the following in September 2009.  She was very touched by it and happy that I had written something about her.  She shared it with her friends.  It makes me happy that I was able to give her this.  It was the last birthday we shared and I'm so thankful that I made the effort and drove the 6 hours to spend that day with her.

Mom's Birthday Apple Tart

At the center of my mother's life has always been food. From a grandmother who died of malnutrition in the Depression to a beloved aunt who taught her how to love with food, to mothering five children.......... in her adult life she worked in a brownie factory and managed a restaurant........... my mother was a foodie before foodie was a word. On September 12th she turned 79. These days her food obsession runs mostly to the Food Network and food websites. I swear in her heyday she could have originated and run the Food Network. She was a tireless and inspired task master!

Mom didn't ask for much on her birthday but she wanted an apple tart and she loves the one Jacques Pepin's mother used to make. He gives the recipe in his autobiography, The Apprentice. I think its not so much the tart, though it is good, as the fact that its Jacques's mother's recipe and my mother loves Jacques and his story and his devotion to his mother.

We woke up early the morning of mom's birthday because we were hot. The air conditioner stopped working in the night and it was stuffy and stale in the house. There would be no repairman out until after 2. Mom said the tart would have to wait until the afternoon because if we turned on the oven the house would get even more uncomfortable, not that it was that bad but we didn't know how long we'd be without AC or how hot it might get.

The short of it is the air conditioner couldn't be repaired that day and my mom didn't get Madame Pepin's Apple Tart for her 79th birthday. Hardee's apple tarts served as our substitute treat and we sang Happy Birthday to MiMi while she alternately glowed and hid her eyes. Tears come easily to Mom, especially happy tears.

We've all gone back to our homes and lives and Mom is alone again in her home in the country; but thanks to the Food Network and the internet she can carry on with her passion for food!

Thank you Hardee's for being there when we needed you. Your tart's aren't bad I'll admit but they are not Madame Pepin's Apple Tart so I owe you one Mom!

Friday, May 11, 2012

FFwD - Provencal Olive Fougasse

"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills."  Karen von Blixen wrote that.  Its the opening line for the movie and for the book.  The movie is playing while I form and bake my fougasse.  Karen was 28 when she went to Kenya.  Maybe its natural that as I approach 60 I'm looking at my life and wondering what will I do, who will I be when I grow up?  Am I finished with the challenges of becoming someone and doing something?  Is the only challenge left to me that of figuring out how to gracefully watch others work through their challenges?

Sorry, Out of Africa makes me introspective.  Don't we all have a little Karen von Blixen in us waiting to do something daring?

Provencal Olive Fougasse

Yes the fougasse......I forgot that's why you're here.  This weeks French Friday challenge was Provencal Olive Fougasse.  Its delicious and I felt quite sophisticated in my own backyard!  There I was sitting on the patio sipping my wine out of a grown up juice box pretty pink can with a straw, eating my home baked olive fougasse and brie.  This is what spring evenings are made for!

The dough mixes up quite easily in the Kitchen-Aid.  I was tempted to use canned olives but very happy I went with the $8.99 a pound oil cured variety from the deli.  The olive flavor is quite pronounced.  And quite delicious!  The recipe calls for 4 cups all purpose flour but I used 1 cup of white, 2 cups white whole wheat and 1 cup of regular whole wheat.  I love the rustic quality a bit of whole wheat gives bread dough.

I baked one fougasse and saved one to bake tomorrow for guests.  This is the kind of bread you want to show off.  The other French Friday cooks are sure to have some interesting things to say so check them out!
Butterfly enjoying the coreopsis while enjoy my fougasse:)

Monday, May 7, 2012

FFwD - Almond Flounder Meuniere

I'm late.  That's just who I am these days and I'm tired of apologizing for myself.  I figure I can change or I can accept where I am and I've decided to stop fighting it...I accept myself and my life.  I might be late again...maybe even next week!

This is an excellent recipe!  Everything you want in a recipe, simple, delicious ingredients prepared with basic techniques.  A delicious dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!  This might be my next company meal!

Maybe life will settle down for a while at least.  We've been coaching two high school rowing teams for the past couple of months and the regatta was Saturday.  The season's over and one of our teams took first place.  Winning is fun:)

The other French Friday cooks were probably on time.  Don't forget to check them out!

Building the perfect bite!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TwD - Hungarian Shortbread

Hungarian Shortbread with Apricot Jam

Wordpress doesn't like me.  Its not that I'm getting hate mail or anything I just can't sign on to any wordpress sites.  That's a problem since Tuesdays and French Fridays with Dorie are both wordpress.  Sigh...

OK, moving on to the recipe, I'm not crazy about this one.  Its oh so very sweet and I wish I had skipped the powdered sugar on top.   Its just me, right?  The technique of grating the frozen dough was a step I was tempted to skip but I asked myself why am I participating if I don't want to try new techniques?  Isn't that what is at the heart of this whole project?  I'm glad I grated, the texture is amazing.  The lightest shortbread I've ever eaten.

I have to admit the cookies needed to cool more before I cut them but the light was fading and I needed a picture and you know what its like when the light is fading and you need a picture!

I think I'll try these in the morning with a cup of strong black coffee.  Something to cut the sweetness is needed, at least for me.

Our hosts are Cher and 1 Small Kithchen.  Thank you ladies for posting the recipe.