Friday, December 27, 2013

FFwD - Should be Dilled Gravlax But Its Make Up Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flan Instead

Gratuitous Mr. B Photo with his Parents:)
Christmas is over and The New Year is almost here (bringing our granddaughter with it). I am a maker of lists, plans, goals and resolutions and have only just started thinking of 2014 and what I want for the year. I can recycle many of my plans from 2013. I fell short in several areas!
Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flan
I knew gravlax, even if dilled, would NOT be eaten at my house so instead I opted for a make up post and made Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans. This was an early French Friday selection, November 2010. I went back to see what everyone thought of the recipe and it got mostly favorable reviews. Betsy, I didn't add enough salt either. I was surprised by how much it needed! Tammy said it tasted like autumn which is what my mother-in-law thought too. We all enjoyed it!

One of my Christmas presents was a White Balsamic with Pear and Cranberry Vinegar. I used it to make Dorie's Everyday Vinaigrette! Delicious!

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday! 2014 is almost upon us. Its time to take stock and move forward. I plan to begin the new year with a clean refrigerator! How about you?

This is French Friday with Dorie post. Join us as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's book Around My French Table.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

FFwD - Recipe-Swap Onion "Carbonara"

2 #s of onions ready for the steamer

I seem to be stuck in a pattern of cooking but not blogging! Maybe after the holidays I will get back into the schedule. No, maybe after the arrival of our granddaughter on January 3rd! We are excited to meet her and also to see what kind of a brother Mr. Adorable will be to Miss Adorable! We predict he will be Extraordinary! 
Spaghetti and Onions Carbonara

For this week's French Friday recipe I went the spaghetti route. After a day of baking I wanted a quick and delicious dinner and this was my opinion not shared by Gary! Gary of 'will eat anything' fame didn't like this! He ate a bit and then went for leftovers! He said he's finally found something that bacon should NOT go on! Unbelievable! His sweet mother is with us and she thought it was good and cleaned her plate. I think she was as surprised by Gary's reaction as I was! Bacon, onions, cream and cheese over pasta? What's not to love?

Merry Christmas to all! Stop by the French Friday page to see everyone else's experience with the recipe!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

FFwD - Mme. Maman's Chopped Liver

Mme. Maman's Chopped Liver
This week's French Friday recipe was dreaded by some Doristas. Many of them do not like liver. Others had never purchased and prepared liver at home. I venture they are not from the south. Liver and onions and fried chicken livers were standard fare for most southerners in the 50s and 60s. Then came cholesterol and liver moved to the forbidden list. Kind of like coconut and coconut oil. Ahhh progress.....

At any rate we love liver and we love pates. So this was perfect for us. Pate was on our Thanksgiving menu. I made a recipe from Southern Living's Thanksgiving issue. It was good but not as good as Dorie's recipe. The Southern Living one was served with Cranberry Pecan Chutney. Now that was good! Its become our favorite cranberry recipe.  I've even canned some. I just add the pecans when I open the jar.  You should try this. Its easy and delicious!
Cranberry Chutney

Back to chopped liver. If you like liver you will love this. If you don't like liver this won't change your mind. This is one of my favorite recipes to date. Its easy to make and elegant to serve. Its also good on white bread as a sandwich and so much better than any liver product you buy at the grocery. Loved it!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. So much to do. So little time. I wish you joy. And peace.

Remember, you can find all our thoughts on chopped liver on the French Friday website. Follow us as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's marvelous book, Around My French Table.

Friday, December 6, 2013

FFwD - Orange-Almond Tuiles

Orange-Almond Tuiles

These delicate little cookies caused quite a stir on the P&Q page! The dough/batter mixes easily enough but from there its all down hill. I refrigerated over night, two nights actually and measured the little balls with a teaspoon. So far all went well. Things got tricky when it came time to remove the little sh--s from the cookie sheet! Last time I was at Williams Sonoma Outlet (yes Virginia, there is an outlet) in Memphis I bought a sharp edged metal spatula and I was feeling somewhat cocky about it. I thought I had the perfect tool for this job! I did not have the perfect tool. So I let them cool on the sheet a little longer. Then it was back in the oven. Then I scraped/mangled a few off. Draping them over the rolling pin was no easy task as I have a big old fashioned one and I think these need to go over a French style.

All in all these weren't worth the effort for me and I didn't even finish cooking the dough/batter.  My sweet mother in law and I nibbled on them while we worked on her Christmas cards.  We are excited to have her stay with us for a few weeks. This lovely lady has Parkinson's Disease and struggles as the disease robs her of herself but she pushes on with courage and dignity. We feel honored to have her in our home.

The day was not lost thanks to Trevor. He posted on facebook that it was the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition! Gary and AJ and I celebrated with a Manhattan:)

AJ wants a Manhattan too!

All the French Friday cooks can be found here. As we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. Stay warm Doristas and thank you for the condolences in the loss of my friend.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Salty-Sweet Potato Far

I don't have much to say about this one. It wasn't a favorite though Gary wanted to like it. He tried really hard but couldn't do it. It needs something, cheese maybe? It was dark so I couldn't even get a good picture. Moving on to next week's recipe and holiday cooking. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Salty-Sweet Potato Far
I can't wait to see what the other French Fridays with Dorie cooks thought. Join us as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Friday, November 15, 2013

FFwD - Chestnut and Pear Soup + Muenster Souffle Make UP

This soup is not pretty! I guess that's why Dorie didn't include a picture and I don't blame her! Actually, I didn't know what to expect from Chestnut and Pear Soup but its good. Kind of earthy and kind of sweet and more depth of flavor than I expected.  Gary didn't share my favorable impression. He is, however, impressed that we continue to try making soups out of things that shouldn't be soup. His words, not mine. I came close to chopping off the tip of my pinky while slicing onions! It is SO hard to keep a bandaid on the end of your finger!!!

The Muenster Souffles became Camembert Souffles and they are delicious! Really good with the soup too. My bechamel was too thick and lumpy the first time. So I remade it. I had to crack 5 eggs to get 3 eggs cleanly separated! It wasn't my best day in the kitchen!

This little bundle of sweetness could care less about my kitchen troubles. Give him a piece of peanut butter toast and an apple and he's happy! He makes me happy too!

All the Doristas trials, tribulations, and successes can be found at French Fridays with Dorie.

Friday, November 8, 2013

FFwD - Compote de Pommes + Hurry-Up-And-Wait Roast Chicken

I've gotten behind on French Friday cooking and posting. Hopefully, I will catch up in the next couple of weeks. I lost my friend almost two weeks ago and I'm struggling to move on with my life. I will get there...I just need a little more time.

Compote de Pommes

This weeks Compote de Pommes (French Applesauce) was simple and delicious. I served it as dessert with whipped cream. I've never served applesauce with whipped cream and it was a revelation! Gary and I each had two servings and on the second one I layered the whipped cream with the applesauce and it was even better! I used an assortment of apples left in the fridge and it came out perfect!

Hurry-Up-And-Wait Roast Chicken

Roast chicken was just what we needed for an easy comfort meal. I liked the technique of turning the chicken (although I admit it wasn't easy and involved props to hold it in place) to ensure even cooking. I through a few potatoes and carrots into the pan and we had an easy and delicious dinner.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Join us as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

FFwD - Caramel-Pecan Custard Tart

Dorie's Caramel-Pecan Custard Tart
I've made this with pecans and I've made this with almonds. It's simply delicious however you chose to make it! My sister was visiting and we had a girls dinner party so she could meet some of my friends.
I think my favorite tart was with almonds but its pretty darn good either way! And its very simple to make and your guests will think you are a culinary diva!

Dorie was at the center of the party (where she belongs).  I made a variation of  Tuna Nicoise Salad and everyone loved it! Instead of tuna I used shrimp and changed the ingredients a bit but kept the potatoes, beans and vinaigrette. It was very good and I meant to get a picture but you know how that goes!

It was a fun evening made even merrier by Cosmopolitans. This recipe makes a pitcher so you can keep the drinks flowing without spending all your time tending bar!  For parties I love a cocktail that is delicious but not so strong that the guests are past appreciating the food when it arrives! Yep, that's the way some of my dinner parties have gone.....and that's not all bad either.
Chirabouga Blue in the front, my new favorite. Its from Bavaria and exquisite!  Tomme Brulee on the right.  Prima Donna is on the left, a gouda type.

I had to show you this beautiful cheese course. My sister arranged the platter and we all thought it was gorgeous.  Almost too pretty too eat. I said almost.

It was a fun evening and now my sister is back at home in California. I wish her home wasn't so far from mine. We are in Memphis at the moment and then in Dallas (and the Fantastic Mr. B, our grandson) next week. Home? one of these days......

My wonderful cook-mates in this project can be found at French Fridays with Dorie as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FFwD - Boeuf á la Mode (aka Great Pot Roast)

French Pot Roast!

This is a great pot roast. I made it for Gary's birthday. He had a long day at the river working the Head of the Oklahoma, our rowing group's biggest event of the year. I had this ready when he came home and he was a very happy and grateful hubby!

It was easy to prepare. Dorie suggests marinading the beef over night in a red wine but I skipped this step. I'm curious to see if others did the marinade and what they thought. I was concerned it would mask the beef taste. Anyway after browning the meat and veg I poured in the liquid and stuck it in the oven for a braise.  Tender and flavorful were the results!

While +IFBC so many people asked me my favorite recipe from our Dorie project and I never had a great answer. As I was plating this meal I realized gremolata is my favorite recipe or technique or whatever you would call it from my French Friday experience. I love the way it turns pot roast into something special. I think it is the technique I use most from Around My French Table and it makes everything taste fresh and elevates a dish to the next level!

The best ingredients make the best cake! Thank you @Scharffen Berger Chocolate and @Lagrima!
The next day we had a family birthday party for Gary. It was good to have everyone together and the cake was wonderful. If I had more time I would write out the recipe but I'll save that for a future post. Dorie has a wonderful recipe for a flourless chocolate cake called Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake that I should have made. I've just been making the other one for so long I kind of forgot about my new recipe. They are actually pretty similar though. I used my +IFBC goodies for the cake! That's an entire post in itself!

Baby B had too much fun and needed a rest!  He had a small piece of cake and a spoon of ice cream then turned to me and said "I want more cake." Cracked me up!

Visit all the Doristas at French Fridays with Dorie. I'm still working on last week's posts comments but will make it all eventually! Happy cooking!
Too much fun or too much cake?

Friday, October 4, 2013

FFwD - Salad Nicoise

Elk crossing

Life has been hectic since I returned from Seattle and The International Food Bloggers Conference. Our son from Dallas arrived the day after I did, my sister from California later in the week, and our rowing club's biggest regatta is this weekend, along with Gary's birthday! I can hear my mom saying 'you can rest in the grave':) My mom was full of sayings. When I was younger it could be annoying. Now I smile at how often I hear her expressions in my head.

We shared our delicious salad with our good and frequent French Friday friends. The addition of a Whole Foods to our city makes last minute entertaining a breeze. I ran by and picked up a couple of cheeses, good crackers, and a few small cakes to share. This easy salad and a couple of good bottles of wine made for a fun and impromptu dinner party.
Salad Nicoise

This is a French Fridays with Dorie post. Join us as for year four as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Friday, September 27, 2013

FFwD - Rice Pudding and Caramel Apples

Rice Pudding with Caramel Apples
Gary was so very excited when I told him this week's French Friday recipe. He informed me that rice pudding is his favorite food. Gary and I have been married 42 years. I never knew this was his favorite food and I have NEVER made rice pudding.  Bad wifey. Bad wifey.

So for my first attempt at rice pudding I am happy to report that it was perfect! Gary said he's never had better and we both agree the apples should be made for many, many an ice cream topping for sure!
Michael and Dorie Greenspan
The International Food Bloggers Conference was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed every single Dorista present but it made me want to meet the rest of you! And meeting Dorie was as fabulous as I thought it would be. She is a nice person besides being a talented cook, baker, and author. On top of that she and her husband have the nicest relationship! I will be doing a post about the IFBC soon.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie as we cook our way through her book Around My French Table.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Live Blogging @IFBC

Hold on folks it's 2013 and this is baptism by fire!


Kashi Stretch Island Fruit Co all natural fruit strip - 1/2 serving of fruit in each strip with no sugar added.
Gluten Free
  It's good and great to carry in your purse while at a food conference #IFBC. Love Kashi and what they stand for in the food community!

Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffle - Made in the USA! I didn't know that and it's one more reason to love it!
@Lindt_Chocolate  #LINDOR

Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks - @annieshomegrown. Everyone loves Annie's! It's what my grand baby eats and I'm going to take this pack to him:). 100% organic and gluten free. 

Sahale Snacks - @SahaleSnacks - Maple Pecans are To.Die.For. They start with the best ingredients. End of story!

JunoBar from Bumblebar - first non GMO, vegan, organic energy bar. Gluten free. Made with date paste! My grand baby would like this! His daddy would too! @bumblebar

Brookside Chocolate - Acai Chocolate Acai with Blueberry @brookside_choc   This is REALly good and I've been wanting to try this.  Nummies:)

Navitas Naturals - @NavitasNaturals Super Food provider. Organic. Non GMO. The Dragon Fruit is interesting and another great one to keep in the car, purse or backpack

Manuka Doctor Honey. New Zealand honey made from Manukas! Tastes good and very good for you. I heard something on NPR about New Zealand honey a few months ago. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. 

Happy Family - @HappySuperfoods   Another good one for Mr. B. 

Yum Earth - @YumEarth  Organic fruit snacks using real food, fresh food. Mr. B needs some:)

Schaffer Burger Chocolate - @scharffenberger.  Completely delicious chocolate from an American company. Yummy Bean to bar, single source chocolate from Peru! What's not to love. All I need is a nice red wine to go with it:)

ZICO Coconut Water - @zico  Latte flavored coconut water. Hummm...not my favorite flavor but I love coconut water!

Drink Chia - @drinkchia  Drink your chia seeds. We all try to get more nutrition in our diets. Here's one way to do it and it tastes good. I will look for this one. 

Fever-Tree Ginger Beer - @fevertreemixers  No HFCS, artificial colors, or preservatives. This is good! All it needs is a lemon and some vodka!

Bai5 - @drinkbai  5 calories per serving  made with the outer berry from coffee beans. Tastes good like eating 160 blueberries! Try a baitini. 

Suja Juice - @SujaJuice  this is good. Made with organic fruit and veg. Can't wait to try their 3 day cleanse. 

These new products were brought to us by Amazon. Thank you Amazon Grocery and thank you @IFBCGood stuff!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

FFwD - Tuna-Packed Piquillo Peppers

I'm tired everyone. I've been up so long that I can't even calculate how long I've been up.  Yes I'm that tired. But I'm happy.  I'm content.  And I'm stimulated. I have so much to process. I have to sit alone with things and let my experiences percolate. Tonight I met Dorie and 'The Original Dorista', her husband, Michael. I also met several of the Doristas I've been cooking with in this fun and challenging project, French Fridays with Dorie. The evening was such a pleasure!

I'll have more to say as the @IFBC progresses and I get some sleep. It just seemed kind of sacrilegious to not get my post up for this particular French Friday when I am with Dorie and so many of the Doristas. 

I wish I could have found the Piquillo  peppers but I didn't and I ended up using red peppers that were just bell peppers in water. Still, this was good.  I recently bought olive oil infused with Tuscan herbs and I used that for the olive oil to add flavor since I didn't have the piquillos that Dorie says are slightly smoky and sweet. Heating them intensifies all the flavors and with a nice baguette made an easy and delicious light supper. 

I can't figure out how to put in links on my iPad. I think I'm just too tired to think about it! You all know where to go to find all the  French Fridays with Dorie posts. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

FFwD - Veal Chops with Rosemary

There is so much that could be said about veal but I'm not going to say it.  I'll just leave it at the fact that I bought two veal chops from Whole Foods and the butcher spoke to me EXTENSIVELY about how their meat is raised, butchered, sourced. I've had THE TALK with the grocers about swordfish and now veal and now I think I will leave it alone. Buy from someone you trust and get on with your life (at least that's what I told myself!).

This was good. Good meat prepared well usually is. 130 degrees is a bit rare for us so I stuck the pan in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes to finish it off.  One of them was a bit too done and the other just right. As with so many of the recipes from Around My French Table in the end its about the method and I will use this method again. In fact, I'm thinking of a blue cheese butter for steaks.

While I was at my sister's-in-law house I took advantage of her fig tree and made these delicious fig scones that I found on Mary's Pinterest site.  I also made fig bread and brought home frozen figs for jam.
Fresh Fig Scones

Take care friends. Life is hazardous to your health! In less than a week some of us will be in Seattle at the IFBC.  I wish we were all going to make it. Maybe one of these days we will all be together in one spot. That would be something!

Go over to French Fridays with Dorie and check out everyone's experiences as we cook out way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

IFBC Baby!

Sorry everyone but I live in Oklahoma. When we hear something like IFBC its assumed to be a sporting conference of some sort so I can't help but yell 'IFBC Baby!' Just as an experiment I tried telling a few fellow Okies about IFBC in Seattle. They immediately think its about basketball but that's a long story and only professional basketball fans would get it. When I say no, their brains go straight to college sports and then a worried, puzzled expression spreads across their faces. Is there a new conference they haven't heard of? Are they out of the loop? Is there something happening in sports that they are unaware of? Rodeo? International Federation of Bucking Critters?

Okay, I know its not nice to tease people too much but as a foodie living in Oklahoma I take my shots where I can.

IFBC is actually The International Food Blogger Conference. This year it will be held in Seattle September 20-22, 2013.  It will be my first food blogger conference ever! I'm kind of nervous but I'm more excited.

I've participated in this group called French Fridays with Dorie since December 2011. We are cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around My French Table. I've never met any of the other cooks and 17 of our members will also be at the conference! On top of that Dorie Greenspan herself is the keynote speaker! On top of that she is going to meet with us as a group! I know! It just gets better and better! If you are attending the conference you will know us by our fabulous French Fridays with Dorie tote bags created by Trevor the Clever (that's kinda catchy, isn't it?) at Sis Boom Blog.

I've beaten myself severely (mentally, emotionally, but not physically) for not doing the things I told myself I would do with my blog. I feel I let myself down and its made me cranky and not want to do anything with my blog. Why are we humans so complicated and contrary? But I have now determined I WILL use this conference to learn and I WILL come home and USE what I have learned to make my blog the reflection of me that I want it to be. I won't go into the fact that it is a reflection of my current state of mind and............didn't I just say I won't go into that? Oh I am afraid I reveal too much......

Anyhow IFBC is going to be fabulous and I can't wait to meet new people, see new things, and have new experiences!  Did I mention I'm going to meet Dorie?

FFwD - Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches Catch Up Post

Oh my! So far behind I'm not sure of the best way to catch up.  Ignore the past and start with today? Do a sweeping post that covers everything from the last several weeks? Or should I cover each week in its own post? I think I'll just get started and see where it leads!

DragonCon 2013
To begin with...Dragon Con! I went to my first sci fi/fantasy convention over Labor Day. Atlanta's Dragon Con is a gathering of over 50,000 science fiction and fantasy fans. My husband went last year (see the fun things one can do after retiring) and convinced me to go this year. We've already made plans for next year and we're looking around for other Cons we can make!

This is just a small taste of the craziness! We participated in trying to seize the Guinness record for the most number of Star Trek uniforms in one room. We didn't make it but there were over 900 Trekkies gathered, one of them 3 months old!

No Duck Chicken Breasts with Peaches

French Friday a month ago was Duck with Peaches.  I cooked it, photoed it, but didn't blog it! I couldn't find duck breasts so I used chicken and it was really good. We shared it with good friends around their pool. I love summer and eating by the pool! This is a great dish for carrying to friends.  Just be careful not to over cook the meat (which I did just a tad) since it will need to be reheated!

I also took Tzatziki which was excellent with fresh vegetables. Our garden had produced an abundance of squash and cucumbers. Now our garden is producing nothing!
One of my sweet daughters in law had given me these delicious little chocolate shells for Christmas and I finally used them. Wow! Super easy and super delicious! I must find more! I filled them with chocolate mousse from Whole Foods then topped with a little cream, a raspberry and some pistachios! I still fantasize about them!

Heavenly Bites

I'm getting frustrated! Why won't Blogger let me go back to the left margin? Errrrrr!  Moving on.......That's enough for one post. Think its time to get a cup of coffee and relax for a minute. I have a love/hate relationship with technology! Who doesn't, though? Right?

Well I ended up not blogging what I thought I would so had to go back and change the title of the post! I WILL get caught up! Maybe not this morning though...

This post participates in French Friday with Dorie.  Follow our adventures as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French TAble.

Friday, August 16, 2013

FFwD - Make Up Day - Gougéres

Hello Friends! I hardly know where to begin this post. So much has been happening in my life lately and there is so much happening in the next few months.

First, my gougéres. They are delicious. I think this was one of the early French Friday recipes and I actually thought I'd made them but what I made was the goat cheese mini puffs which also uses a páte á choux, though it is slightly different.  I used a combo of cheddar and pepper jack and next time will use more pepper jack.  The little pepper kick is wonderful!

Anyhow, they are super easy to make and wonderful to eat. We ate several (can I call six several?) and I have a bag in the freezer ready to bake at a moments notice. I love having ready to bake items in my freezer!

I need to post about the past couple of FF recipes. I've cooked, photographed but not posted. Come on Lola/Guyla! Get with the program! So much to much I want to much I'm not getting done!

I had my son, daughter-in-law and grandson for an entire week! Is there anything better than having your grown children return home? I don't think so! And my SON is returning next week for a couple of days. More good news...we have a baby girl joining our family in January! As my clever daughter-in-law put it "a little PINK with our beloved blue". Happy, happy, happy!

I have reached my goal weight! The Fast Diet is the perfect plan for us. Now I'm trying to figure out how to maintain but I'm pretty sure it doesn't include 'several' gougéres with my drink every evening.

Happy Friday everyone! Life is good! This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. We are a dedicated group of fun loving home cooks cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. There is still time to join us!

Friday, July 26, 2013

FFwD - Dieter's Tartine

You take one look at the list of ingredients and just know this is good! How could it not be?  Its the middle of summer here so tomatoes are fresh and delicious.  Recently, while visiting our grandson in Dallas, we had Armenian cucumbers. The skin is thin and mild and there are no seeds to speak of.  They are similar to an English or hothouse cucumber but a bit more flavorful.  I was happy to find them at our local Farmer's Market.
Dieter's Tartine
I just toasted baguette slices and spread them with goat cheese.  I had some in the fridge that needed to be used and in the interest of cooking what I have I used goat cheese but I will look for fromage blanc another time.  Very occasionally I see it at the cheese store.

Since my basil plant is going crazy I used basil instead of chives and I couldn't pass on the olive oil.  Everything was fresh and delicious and I can't wait to make it again. These could be a great light lunch but since we ate most of a baguette and a roll of goat cheese I'm not sure it was a diet lunch!

And then......we had pie! I found This great recipe recently at the Taste of Home web site. I used the tart dough recipe to make a pie crust for a cherry, peach and blackberry pie! To. Die. For. This is my new go to recipe for a crust.

I hope all the French Friday cooks had a good week.  Don't forget to head over and check out everyone's blog.

Friday, July 19, 2013

FFwD-Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad

Several  (10?) years ago celebrity chefs went on talk shows telling us to stop eating swordfish.  They had been over fished and there was a danger of us eating all the swordfish in the sea so we needed to stop eating them and allow their numbers to come back to a sustainable level.  I stopped eating swordfish.

About the time I might have considered eating it again we were warned of high mercury levels in large predatory fish. Swordfish are near the top of their food chain so they are high in mercury, but safe to eat once a week.......unless you are young, or pregnant or nursing and then you should avoid it all together. Something about being told there is poison in my food but I'm the perfect age for my body to handle it that puts my appetite off.

And here we are at French Friday and swordfish. I'll admit to a slight panic. The moral issue has been resolved. Swordfish numbers have rebounded and as long as we are eating harpoon caught from Canada and the North Atlantic or East Pacific we are purchasing fish caught in a manner that causes minimal damage to other types of sea life.  Mercury in swordfish is unavoidable. Just don't eat too much of it.
Mediterranean Swordfish
So for the first time in many years I bought and prepared swordfish. The deliciousness helped me to forget abut the mercury. Swordfish really is a perfect fish...firm, not too fishy, everything we usually want in seafood (except that pesky mercury).

We loved it! The only thing I would do differently is sub some arugula for half of the parsley in the frilly herb salad.  It had a tad too much bite. But all in all it was a big hit at my house!  Usually after cooking fish inside we are spraying lysol for a couple of days trying to get rid of fishy smells.  Not with swordfish!

This posts participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, July 12, 2013

FFwD - Whole Cherry Clafoutis

Yippee! I'm on time. I think it's the first time in 3 weeks!  Life has been busy, good busy mostly.
Whole Cherry Clafoutis
I like clafoutis! I've never made one myself but I have a friend who makes them.  Hers are more cakey than this one, though, and a bit less eggy. This was good and easy to prepare. Egg custard with cherries is what Gary said. "What's not to love?" I have to agree. I debated the pit issue, to remove or not remove. I decided to follow the recipe and leave the pits. Next time I think I'll remove them though.

The only issue I had was it wouldn't set!  I had to cook for 18 additional minutes! What's up with that? My oven temp is accurate, or my thermometer and over gauge say the same temp at least. When I googled the issue there are several posts out there about clafoutis not setting.  Hummm......

While searching I came across this wonderful LA Times article about a blind Clafoutis baker in France.  Its worth a click and a read!

I'm caught up on cooking!  I made the socca and while its good right out of the oven I wasn't crazy about it. Now what to do with a bag of garbanzo flour?
Socca from Veaux Nice

The wheat berry and tuna salad was a big hit! I'll make this again as we love tuna and this was a nice change.
Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad
We are deep into summer here in Oklahoma!  I wish a nice rain and a cool breeze for everyone.  Happy French Fridays with Dorie everyone!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Not FFwD and This Isn't Socca Vieux

For me life gets in the way of French Friday from time to time. Many of the French Friday cooks are so organized that they rarely miss a post. If they have company coming or they're taking a trip it's no problem for them. They get the cooking done, the blog written and post it first thing on Friday! I. Am. Not. That. Person. I have decided to forgive myself and move on.

This week I'm in Memphis with my sweet mother-in-law. She lives with her daughter who is on vacation so I'm staying with her for part of the week. she is a great and kind lady but does NOT understand my love and devotion for cooking but she does love eating the results! I don't have garbanzo flour and I don't want to run around looking for it.

For dinner tonight we had a delicious lemon pepper pasta mixed with leftover chicken and a few things my dear friend gave me.....she even gave me the lemon pepper pasta! Life is good!

I would include the usual link to the French Friday with Dorie web site but I don't know how to do that on my iPad. Sorry!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

FFwD - Back of the Card Cheese Bread

Summer has come to the plains!  We went from monsoons to heat.  Has Oklahoma become tropical?
Back of the Card Cheese Bread
This recipe is very easy and very adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand.  Four eggs make this bread more like a cake!

I didn't have tapenade so I used pesto.  I had a drawer full of end pieces of cheese of unknown varieties.  There was a piece of parmesan and a little cheddar, though.  That much I know.  I had a few olives and a bit of roasted red pepper.  It was a mishmash of stuff that came together perfectly.

I took it to a going away party for a friend who has retried and is going to try out different places to see where she wants to live.  She's going to Mississippi first.  What an adventure!

And, yes, this bread is wonderful with a glass of white wine!  I like Honig Sauvignon Blanc.

Check out all the French Friday cooks!

Friday, June 7, 2013

FFwD - Strawberry Tartine and Anne LeBlanc's Pistachio Avocado

Fresh Fruit Tartine
You know this is good as soon as you hear the ingredients.  Strawberries, bread, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.  Fruits and berries are so fresh and delicious right now.  We're eating tons of everything we can get our hands on and its surprising how good everything is.  That's why I couldn't stop at strawberries but had to try this with peaches and blackberries too.  They are all delicious!

A friend gave me a bottle of chocolate balsamic vinegar and it was perfect for this fruit tartine.  I can't wait to make it for her!
Anne LeBlanc's Pistachio Avocado
Dorie says this is more a list of ingredients than a recipe and she's right but who knew avocado and pistachio was such a wonderful pairing?  I've been looking for pistachio oil for weeks and couldn't find it but I read on the FF board that many people were making it. That was my plan but since I didn't get my act together (something that occurs with alarming regularity!) and get it done I was left winging it!  I  still plan to make the pistachio oil one of these days!

I have a bottle of chili infused olive oil that I drizzled on the chopped avocados and sprinkled toasted pistachios on top.  Add salt and voila, delicious!  Gary wrapped it in a flour tortilla and loved it.  We'll do this one again!

Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and concern for we Okies through the crazy weather of the past couple of weeks.  The El Reno tornado came much closer to us than the Moore tornado had and we experienced some flooding.  We've come out okay and had decided to take up the carpet in the den anyhow!  The flood just got us moving!  I did not know it could rain so hard.  Hopefully, bad weather is behind us for this season.  Its been exhausting!

You can check out all the French Fridays with Dorie results!

Friday, May 24, 2013

FFwD - Asparagus Soup or From FFwD Loser to Sated in Under an Hour!

Where do I even begin?  You can't help but have heard about the tornadoes in Oklahoma this week.  The worst of it was about ten miles from us and not headed our way but it is such an odd sensation to know your city is being shredded and no one can do anything to help or prevent it.  Then when we heard the tornado had hit an elementary school and was headed for a mid high the nausea from the fear of knowing there would be fatalities in what was at least an EF4 tornado. I think when we see the devastation on television we are all amazed that there weren't more deaths.  Of course, when it is your loved one the statistics and miracles have no meaning.

I've been absent for a few weeks.  First there was a trip to Memphis for our niece's high school graduation.  She was the last graduate of her generation in our family. The baby. Our next high school graduation will be our grandson!  It was a proud moment with all the cousins gathered for the occasion.
My sweet mother-in-law and niece.
Then there was Mother's Day with my mother-in-law, a great lady who has taught me, by example, so much about kindness.  The men cooked a delicious brunch while the ladies sat around my sister's in law pool!
Mr. Adorable admiring the rhino at the zoo.
Next we had our two year old grandson for a week!  What are we teaching him through our example?  One thing we noticed he learned is that all he has to say is "Help please Gigis." and Gigi will help him get whatever it is he wants!
Asparagus soup with Bacon Bruschetta
Now for the food.  This is a simple soup or would have been if I hadn't burned the leeks, onions, garlic and scallion mixture!  I was so disgusted with myself I was tempted to give up and let my husband take me to dinner.  Instead I salvaged what I could from the mess and set the pot to soak.  Since I've rambled enough for one post I won't go into the ridiculously expensive frozen asparagus I used but just say frozen works fine!  I don't know if it was because I didn't have the suggested amount of aromatics but the soup was bland so I added a spoon of chicken bouillon, a bit of dried chili pepper flakes and a big glug (yes I said glug) of cream.  Delicious!

I served bruschetta topped with bacon, mozzarella, and tomato (an open faced sandwich) and my husband loved it all!
Pioneer Woman's Bread Pudding
P-Dub, also known as The Pioneer Woman, came to my aid with her Bread Pudding recipe 'cause we Okies are sticking together this week!  I used Whole Foods Cranberry Walnut bread and instead of Jack Daniels in the whiskey sauce I used Canadian Mist.  Its good, I mean REALLY good!

I haven't even touched on hiking or fasting, both of which are entire posts in themselves. Thank you for hanging in there with me and if you skipped to the end that's okay too.  I needed to say all this more than you needed to read it!

All of the amazing French Friday cooks can be found at the link.

Friday, May 3, 2013

FFwD - Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs

Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs
"This is a winner for breakfast, lunch or dinner!"  That's a quote from my husband and he said I could use it!

Breakfast for dinner is one of our favorite meals so when I didn't get this week's French Friday recipe made as planned for weekend brunch we were happy to have it for dinner.  I added asparagus and it was a delicious dinner.

While I was cooking we had Missy Cocktails, also known as a Raspberry Lemon Drop, but our daughter-in-law introduced us to the drink and we just call it The Missy Cocktail.  Anyhow, they are a tad strong and that could have influenced our love of the Mushroom Eggs....I don't think so but I want to let you know its possible.
Delicious Raspberry Lemon Drop
Tomorrow my friend, Franny, and I are going on our first hike.  We've been talking about doing this for a while and are finally getting ourselves together to do it.  Its only 7 miles and not very strenuous but we're hoping to build on this easy one at a nearby state park.

I hope everyone is having a nice, if somewhat unpredictable, spring.  Results for all the French Friday with Dorie cooks can be found at the link!

Friday, April 19, 2013

FFwD - 'Chickened' Out on Cod and Spinach Roulades, Pun Intended

I need to state up front that I am a food coward.  I often have someone else taste a new food and tell me if its good.  If they approve I might nibble the edge.  I hesitate to taste new food or anything I'm not familiar with.  So when the recipe starts with put the fish in the food processor with egg whites and cream you can understand my squeamishness!  So to be fair to the recipe I asked Gary what he thought about it.  I'll just say he wasn't enthusiastic and leave it at that.
'Chickened Out' Roulades
But I wanted to play.  So I decided to try boneless chicken thighs.  I made the filling as directed in the recipe, onions, garlic and baby spinach.  It made a delicious filling or just a nice way to prepare spinach.  I did not puree the chicken but rolled up the thighs around the filling and pan fried them.  It turned out delicious but I should have made the sauce.  For some reason the sauce didn't appeal to me and the rolls seemed a bit undressed with no sauce.  I served them on a bed of roasted sweet potatoes, though, and with several glasses of chardonnay they tasted wonderful!

It was good and we enjoyed them as did our friends.  I have mixed feelings about my departure because the point of this project is to try new things and learn new skills.  On the other hand this is not the sort of dish we would enjoy.  I DO feel that my participation in the group is what gave me the courage to try something on my own.

I hope everyone had a good week.  So much tragedy in the U.S. this week.  I wish peace for everyone everywhere.

This is a French Friday with Dorie post.

Friday, April 12, 2013

FFwD - Financiers

Delicious Financiers!
Yummy.  Delicious.  Perfect little spring time treat.  Financiers are very easy to make with just melted butter, sugar, flour, egg whites and almond flour.  I used my mini processor to make almond flour and it really didn't grind it as fine as I would like.  Still it made excellent cakes but next time I will either use the big processor or buy almond flour.  This weekend I plan to make the chocolate ones!

This might seem like an odd combo of topics in a single post but after watching two PBS shows about Michael Mosley's search for better heath and longevity I'm committed to following his Fast Diet for 6 months.  I have a doctor's appointment Tuesday so I'll have my blood checked and then I will have it checked again in six months so I will know if this way of eating is benefiting my chemistry.  Yesterday was my first fast and it wasn't as difficult as I expected.  I broke my fast with financiers!  This plan calls for two days a week of calorie restriction, around 500 calories!

I love spring!  Tuesday in OKC was in the high 70s and Wednesday we had an ice storm.  My neighbors have draped their flowers and shrubs with sheets trying to save flowers and new growth.  That's spring for you!  New beginnings my friends!

This is a French Fridays with Dorie post.

Friday, April 5, 2013

FFwD - Pierre Hermé's Olive Sablés

Olive Sables
I was happy with this one.  I didn't have any trouble finding potato starch.  My dough came together quickly and easily and after chilling it was easy to slice.  It produced a tender and flavorful cookie.  I used oil cured olives and they have the perfect degree of saltiness to balance the sweetness of the cookie.  My husband and guests loved them!  I made the whole recipe, cooked one roll and have the other two sliced and frozen, ready to bake at a moments notice.  Cocktail party in an instant!  They were delicious with brie!
Ispahan Loaf Cake Sort Of
Since my epic fail with the ispahan loaf cake I've been having recurring nightmares of being a failed baker.  One day while wasting time surfing the internet I found a super simple cake recipe.  Who doesn't want a super simple cake recipe?  So I decided to try it subbing the rose flavoring for the vanilla.  This yogurt cake from The Cooking Frog is as easy and good as she says it is!  That said, I'm throwing out my rose extract.  We don't like it.  The cake is good though and its my new 'go to' easy and quick dessert!
Open Faced Bacon Tomato Mozzarella Sandwich
What's not to love?
One more quick thing then I'll let you go.  This project we are working on together is making me a better cook.  That hit home for me when I was going through leftovers from Easter Brunch.  I had tomatoes, mozzarella, and bacon and a few slices of bread.  I asked myself how to best use them.  "Damned if I know, Kimosabe.  All I know is when you're making those kind of calls, you're up in the high country."  Joe vs. The Volcano.  As we were happily munching away on our open faced oven broiled bacon sandwiches I realized how Dorie has made me a more confident and creative cook.  Thank you Dorie Greenspan, fellow French Friday cooks, and the originators and administrators of French Fridays with Dorie.

Don't forget to check out everyone's adventures at French Fridays with Dorie.