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

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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!

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