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.