Friday, December 17, 2010

Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots - FFWD

This week's FFWD recipe was Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots. Nice recipe, however, I should have doubled the seasonings. The carrots were good, but on the plain side. I like cardamom so really would have liked more of that, in particular.

As for the photo, my husband wanted to showcase my much-maligned talent for serving monochromatic meals. Why did I serve orange buttercup squash with the orange carrots and golden chicken schnitzel when I could have made green broccoli instead?? I even almost made some Yukon Gold potatoes! He added the pumpkin and the orange to the composition just to make it even more poignant (also the tomato - and for what? contrast?). So many of my meals are composed of same-color dishes (as this blog gets longer, there will be more evidence, I am sure). I usually don't even realize it until we plate everything up and then I wish I would have planned better :).

Also this week, I made the Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic from Around My French Table and a Borscht recipe from my sister (I think from a Moosewood cookbook). Two things I've never made before & both were great! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beef with Carrots

This recipe is a top-favorite in our house, it is constantly requested. With just a few basic ingredients, John Thorne hit on the right combination that alchemizes into the most wonderful dinner imaginable. We have served this to company a number of times and every diner has wanted seconds. Every time. It is very easy to make, too! During the long cooking, the carrots and onion melt down, mixing with the cooking juices to make a dark & rich gravy. I have even made this without the carrots and the end-result is almost the same.

The recipe is from the book Outlaw Cook by John Thorne. This is a wonderful book with a lot of good recipes and techniques as well as interesting and entertaining essays. It is currently available in paperback and John wrote to me that a reissue may be in the near future, although a hardcover edition is well worth having. I particularly recommend Bread and Cheese Pudding (I make a variation which uses Gruyere and wine), Basic Cold-Tossed Noodles (my daughter’s favorite lunch), and the Pecan Pie. Even though I hate regular pecan pie, I love this one (no corn syrup!).

As for the Beef with Carrots, John writes, “The results - given that this is, after all, a very simple dish - were all that I could have hoped for: a meal, in this household at least, whose name still, after several makings, inspires anticipation”. The same is true in our household, too. Thank you, John!!

Beef with Carrots
Outlaw Cook by John Thorne, posted with the author's permission

Makes 8 servings with no leftovers

  2  pounds carrots -- peeled or unpeeled & cut into bit-sized pieces
  5  to 6 medium onions -- cut into bite-sized pieces
  2/3  cup flour -- for dredging (use more as necessary)
         salt & pepper
  1 teaspoon dried thyme -- plus a pinch
  1/2 cup olive oil (approximately)
  4 pounds boneless beef short ribs (large strips) OR other boneless chuck cut into 3" pieces
  5 sprigs  of parsley -- minced
  4 cloves  of garlic -- minced
  2  teaspoons minced lemon zest (not too finely minced)
  1  lemon -- juiced

1.  Heat oven to 300° or convection 280°.
2.  Lightly oil a 7-quart pot or casserole.
3.  Put carrots in pot.
4.  Season flour with generous pinch of salt, pepper, & thyme.
5.  Heat olive oil in a large saute pan until it almost starts to smoke.
6.  Meanwhile, dredge strips of beef in the seasoned flour, shaking away any excess.
7.  Put the meat in the hot oil & turn with tongs to sear on all sides, transferring each piece as it is finished into the pot. Add more oil as necessary.
8.  When all the meat has been seared, put the onion in the pan, adding more if necessary to keep onions from burning.
9.  Cook until onions are translucent & edged with brown, turning often while at the same time scraping up any burnt bits of meat & flour.
10. Scrape all this into the pot.
11. Add parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1 t thyme. Toss well to mix thoroughly.
12. Cover, place in oven, and cook for about 4 hours, checking occasionally to make sure that the contents remain at a bare simmer and to taste for seasoning. May need another hour.
13. Serve over mashed potatoes, or noodles or with crusty bread (we prefer mashed potatoes.

Serving Ideas : Serve with a green salad and mashed potatoes, crusty bread, or egg noodles. Mashed potatoes are best :)

• Note: Can be halved or doubled easily (original recipe is for half the amounts posted above...just not enough for us!)
• Note: For 1 1/2 or a double recipe, use a 12-quart pot.
• Advance Preparation: Can be prepared one to two days ahead of time and reheated gently on the stove or in the oven.
• Keeping: Several days in refrigerator.

My Go-To Beef Daube - FFWD

My FFWD recipe this week was My Go-To Beef Daube (no parsnips) served with mashed potatoes.

This is an excellent recipe with a complex and unique flavor due to the brandy and entire bottle of red wine. Everyone loved it! I did use a central coast Syrah as Dorie recommends; I found a $5 Petite Sirah (Crane Lake), quite a bargain and just right for the daube.

The recipe description says this can be considered a version of Beef with Carrots, which we have made countless times using a John Thorne recipe. It is one of my family’s all-time favorites; very easy to make and completely sublime. It has no wine so has a very different flavor from Dorie's daube. Recipe will be my next post!

Edited to add: this recipe is online here:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts - FFWD

For my first December FFWD recipe, I made two batches of Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts, both with cashews. Very easy!!

I made the first batch (square dish) almost to the letter. My husband & I liked (but didn’t love) them the first day because the chili powder was a bit too dominant for us; however, it had mellowed by the next day and then they were perfect! The one thing I did differently from the recipe is that I dumped the whole mixture onto the baking sheet instead of separating the nuts & draining excess coating from them. I liked the extra baked-on coating and it was easy to break up the fused nuts once cooled (I rubbed off some of the coating for the photo for beauty’s sake).

 I have several recipes for spiced/flavored nuts that I love but Dorie’s method was new to me. I really like how it is so quick, easy, and yields crispy nuts. For my second batch (round dish), I added 1 T vanilla extract to the egg white and the spices were salt, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper. Very nice but could have used more sugar and maybe more pepper (vanilla sugar would have been better than the extract because the extract watered down the rest of the flavors - or I will just use more of the spices next time). These ingredients are from our favorite nut recipe which uses pecans and a fairly involved process which takes two days. They are fantastic but using Dorie’s method with cashews was a snap. 

I'm looking forward to making these with the other spice mixtures that FFWDers have tried!
P.S. Last night I also made Gorogonzola-Apple Quiche from Around My French Table and it was excellent :).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans and Semolina Cake - FFWD

The final two FFWD November recipes are Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans and Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake. The flans were good but did need the recommended honey to make the flavors come together. We made one flan without gorgonzola for daughter who liked it just fine that way. These were super easy to make.

The Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake was not very sweet and had a light flavor and was good at room temperature as well as cold. I really liked it - like a rice pudding that was still very light. I used dates soaked in rum instead of raisins which was a mistake. I like dates more than raisins but the dates were not soft enough for this cake. I think raisins soaked in rum would be more lush and really good here so I will use them next time.

Two more good recipes from Dorie!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Potato Gratin (Pommes Dauphinois) & Meeting FFWD Friends

The 7th recipe for FFWD is Potato Gratin (Pommes Dauphinois). Although I have often made the base recipe, this was the first time I done it in the more classic way with garlic and a little Gruyere. Very very good. We had it with broccolini and sautéed blackfish which was a perfect meal!

Dorie says that this is an ideal recipe for adding things or varying the cheese and herbs...sounds good for using up leftover vegetables.

Other similar recipes that my family loves:
1). Horseradish Potatoes (from a Bobby Flay recipe): no garlic or Gruyere; add horseradish to each layer (at least 1 cup total), end with a layer of cream, cover if need.
2). Scalloped Potatoes (my grandmother’s recipe): no garlic or Gruyere; add grated cheese to each layer and on the top. For 5 pounds of russet potatoes, use 3/4 pound cheese (cheddar & Colby is a good mix because the Colby melts well), salt, pepper, and 5 cups of heavy cream.  Use a 9” x 13” x 2” dish and bake for 1 1/4 hours, covering part of the time. I’ve always wanted to add some roasted chiles to this - maybe next time!

A highlight for me in making this last night was using my new food processor (my first one!) to mince the garlic & slice the potatoes. I got the machine a week ago & am pretty thrilled with it. It even minced the garlic pretty well. No more mandoline for slicing potatoes!

Another recent highlight was attending Dorie’s book-signing last week! It was so nice to  meet Dorie as well as five other cooks, most of whom are members of Tuesdays With Dorie and/or French Fridays With Dorie: Tracey from Tracey's Culinary Adventures, Nancy from The Dogs Eat the Crumbs, Audrey from Food From Books, Mary from Popsicles and Sandy Feet, and Mary’s mom! Their blogs are all beautiful, by the way!

Dorie’s talk was very entertaining and she was so friendly and charming to everyone. And even though the other bloggers have known each other for a while, they warmly welcomed me into their circle. Thank you! It was a fun evening and I am so glad I went!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harvest Bread

This recipe for Harvest Bread is from the talented Beth at the screen porch.

This is her version of “Schiacciata co luva”. “A grape bread traditionally seen all over Italy in September on into October”. It was fun to experience a tradition that I had never heard of and the bread was unusual and delicious!

I used my bread machine for the kneading & first rising. I am starting to replace white flours with whole grain ones in my recipes so for one cup of the flour, I substituted 1/2 c white whole wheat flour and 1/2 c sprouted spelt flour. Since making this, I have used more and more spelt and I think all spelt would be just fine! Also, the recipe didn’t specify how much olive oil so I used 3 T in the dough. I think 2 T would probably be better because of the cheese - that said, I could have used more olive oil on the top.

DH likes grapes & focaccia so he loved this bread. We are not always fans of honey but a little drizzle was perfect for this bread...and as Beth suggested, I think some gorgonzola sprinkled on top would be amazing.

Thank you, Beth, for a wonderful recipe!   Here is the link:

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux - FFWD

Week 6 recipe for FFWD is Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux. Very easy one-pot recipe!

Every year, we cook our Thanksgiving turkey in a huge, high-sided roasting pot. It stays very moist (although the skin doesn’t crisp) so I don’t know why I never thought to make a chicken in a pot, also. Thanks to this recipe, I will now do this a lot. The chicken is roasted in a pot and it stayed very moist, although WITH crispy skin. The chicken sits on a slice of bread which gets soaked and crusted with chicken fat :). Also, carrots, potatoes, and a head of garlic are in the pot. DH loves chicken, carrots, potatoes, and garlic, all roasted, so this is already a huge favorite for him.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake - FFWD

Week 5 recipe for FFWD is Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake. Mostly apples, not very sweet, and the cake part is very moist, almost like a custard. Everyone loved it! Excellent and easy recipe.

I made 1 1/2 times the recipe for a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. I used a dark Dominican Republic rum and a wonderful vanilla that my daughter brought back from Honduras.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hachis Parmentier - FFWD

This week’s recipe for FFWD is Hachis Parmentier. Lousy picture but rocking recipe. Basically, a rich beef stew covered with cheesy (Gruyere) mashed potatoes. I made this for my kids when they came home from college for a weekend visit. They totally loved it.

I used a chuck steak and sweet Italian sausage for the meat. Leftovers were great so next time, I will double the recipe - well, maybe triple it.
Last night I made the Quiche Lorraine (it was very good) and today I am making Gougeres for the freezer and the Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Soup for the second time (going to crisp the chicken skin in the oven - thanks to Beth for that idea :). All from Around My French Table...I love this book so far!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup - FFWD

Week 3 recipe for FFWD is Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup, richly flavored with with coconut, lime, chile, & cilantro.

This is one of the best soups I've ever had! Very easy to make and I can make it often as the ingredients are pantry staples except for chicken & Chinese noodles. I do have pasta, egg noodles,& rice vermicelli in my cupboard, though, & those would work instead of the fresh Chinese noodles…I liked the texture of the Chinese noodles so I’ll use those when possible. I always have tofu or frozen shrimp which would probably be great substitutes for the chicken.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gerard's Mustard Tart (FFWD) and Sticky Toffee Cake

Week 2 recipe for FFWD is Gerard’s Mustard Tart flavored with carrots, leeks, mustard, & rosemary. It was very good & we will definitely make it again. Leftovers cold the next day were good, too. Next time I will chop the leeks instead of cutting them into strips; cold, the strips were hard to cut through. This recipe is one of the reasons I'm glad that I committed to FFWD as it is one I would never have wanted to try on my own - and it turned out to be something I would love to make again.
For dessert we had Raquel’s Sticky Toffee Cake from American Masala by Suvir Saran and Raquel Pelzel. It was almost identical to my very favorite dessert of all time anywhere which is Date Pudding with Dark Rum Caramel Sauce & Whipped Cream at the River Tavern in Chester, CT. For years I have tried to make this at home with no luck - until yesterday! What a great day :)
My husband got carried away with the ice cream and whipped cream “garnish” before he realized I wanted to take a picture...anyway, this dessert doesn’t look like much (even at the restaurant) but it is over-the-top fantastic. The crowning glory is the sticky-chewy-baked-on “crust” that forms on the top of the cake during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gougeres - FFWD

The first recipe for FFWD is for these Gougeres (cheese puffs) from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.
Great & easy recipe! Mine were mild in flavor, made with Parano cheese. I got 66 gougeres out of the recipe by using a scoop equal to 1 tablespoon. 

We ate the warm Gougeres while cooking dinner which was Haddock & Carrots in Burnt Orange Oil and plain Wehani Rice (rice is not in the picture :)).

The fish was great, too. Light & fresh with a lot of orange sauce for the rice. The recipe is actually for red snapper but the fish market did not have it & the haddock was a good substitute. It is from Recipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lochen Kugel

This is my version of my grandmother's kugel - it is basically a white macaroni & cheese casserole and not a sweet kugel. Her recipe as written wasn't how I remember the dish so I adjusted it to get this recipe. It is a family favorite! "Lokshen Kugel" is Yiddish for "Noodle Pudding", however, my grandmother spelled it Lochen Kugel.

"There's nothing that butter doesn't make better. " Grammie Rose

Click "Read more>>"  below for recipe...