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.