Friday, December 9, 2011

FFWD: Chard-Stuffed Pork Loin ~ Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup ~ Matafan

 We have missed a lot of FFWD and are now trying to catch up. This week we made three recipes for the same meal. We liked them all! The Matafan (Fluffy Mashed Potato Pancakes) recipe was one of the most involved I've made from AMFT. For such a homey recipe, it sure took a lot of effort. The Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup had a lot of ingredients which all melded together deliciously...I think you could leave out the fennel and pear and get pretty much the same flavor, however, it was fun to use this odd combination and it is very healthy made to the letter. I liked but did not love the Chard-Stuffed Pork Loin. My husband and son felt differently - they were crazy about it! It looked great and was very easy to make.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Olive-Olive Chicken - FFWD

I made this with a whole chicken since the only Cornish Hens I could find were already seasoned - and the package didn't indicate what seasonings! The recipe worked just fine with a chicken and it was good, but we didn't like the flavor combination of chicken with the Black Olive Tapenade. I've never liked black olives in cooked pasta sauces and I found with this dish that I don't like them with chicken, either. I think I'd personally prefer this recipe much more if it was made with a green olive tapenade.

One of my very favorite recipes is Chicken With Green Olives (Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan) and the ingredients are similar to Olive-Olive Cornish Hens. I am definitely going to try this recipe again since it was so easy, but I'll substitute green olive tapenade the next time.

The Black Olive Tapenade I used was from AMFT and it was terrific by itself - my usual tapenade recipe is the same as this one but without the herbs. I prefer Dorie's version now so I'm glad I made it!

I also made Lemon Spinach from AMFT...super-easy! I made it even easier by mixing all the ingredients in an 8-quart pot and just cooking it all over medium-low heat - no steamer. This is the second time I've made this and it is really delicious. Also, the potatoes I made were sauteed in duck fat and garlic so, of course, they were really good!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken - FFWD

Another super easy and great FFWD recipe! No discernible cinnamon and no crunch but lots of flavor. This is basically  sauteed chicken in a sauce made of creme fraiche (I used half creme fraiche and half cream - more budget friendly when doubling the recipe!) and chopped spice cookies. It was reminiscent of a strogonoff or Swedish Meatball sauce. It tasted nicely complex and mysterious even though it was so easy. We served it with a version of the rice recipe from last week: Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach...I added sauteed bell peppers. Very good!

I am making the chicken again tonight. I love how easy it is. Also this week, we made the Dressy Pasta "Risotto" from Around My French Table with the addition of some chopped cooked broccoli. Again...easy & to die for!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach - FFWD

 I missed last week's FFWD because we had no power, thanks to Hurricane Irene. This week's recipe made up for it - it was sooo good! And so easy, too. We loved it so much that I am making it again tonight. I have a lot of smallish bell peppers from our garden so instead of stuffing the rice into peppers, this time I am going to sauté the peppers along with the onions and garlic and add all that to the rice and cheese. Cannot wait!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cafe Salle Pleyel Hamburger - FFWD

These FFWD burgers were very good! That said, we all decided we do prefer plain burgers better (my husband's burgers are THE BEST) but these were fun to try. I did not use any cornichons (couldn't find) or pickles (I didn't realize until it was too late that the ones we had on hand were sweet pickles - yuck!). The Onion Marmalade was nice and easy to make. It just wasn't enough for four burgers. Double or triple the recipe would be best. As for the burgers themselves, we loved the tarragon hit; the capers and sun-dried tomatoes added moistness and maybe a little flavor; the parsley probably didn't add any flavor so I would probably not bother adding it next time. Also, we needed more Parmesan cheese. All in all, an interesting burger!

ETA: Some Doristas mentioned that this mixture could work as a meatloaf...I think that sounds great...will have to try :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eggplant Caviar - FFWD

Another great FFWD recipe. My whole family loves this. I've been making pretty much the same recipe for years but without the garlic and herbs - both versions are great. I thought Dorie's combination of herbs sounded odd but it really worked well. The only thing I would change is that next time I will saute the garlic in some of the olive oil first to temper the sharpness. This would help especially with any leftovers...the garlic gets sharper over time. Speaking of leftovers, this spread is good for several days after making (best served to company day one but, really, it is just fine for several days after).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Citrus-Berry Terrine - FFWD

Another lovely dessert thanks to FFWD! My whole family really liked this one. Raspberries, blueberries, and pieces of orange and grapefruit suspended in a juice-based gelatin. Light and very refreshing. For the juice, I used a combination of orange and grapefruit juices which I loved but everyone else requested that I only use orange juice next time. Also, the requested fruits for next time: orange sections, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

My gelatin firmed up quicker than I expected so the whole thing was not as smooth as it should have been - I have to monitor the gelatin more carefully in order to add the fruit at the correct time. Adding some fruit to the bottom of the pan before pouring in the gelatin/fruit mixture would make the top more attractive, too. The top of mine was mostly a layer of gelatin so you couldn't see the colorful fruit very well (thus, no photo of the entire terrine :)).

Updated info for Citrus-Berry Terrine: Citrus-Berry Terrine - Revisited

And: best way to section citrus waste and beautiful segmentss: Inside Out Way to Cut Citrus Fruits

Over the last week, I've made several other recipes from Around My French Table: Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps, and Garlic en Papillote, Cod and Tomatoes en Papillote, Recipe-Swap Onion "Carbonara" (served over linguine), and Paris Mushroom Soup. All were really good and easy...the fish en papillote was particularly fabulous and this is the third time I've made the mushroom soup because my son loves it so much.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork - FFWD

For FFWD this week, we made Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork and served it over Wehani rice. A huge hit son and husband really loved it. I used Penzey's Sweet Curry Powder for the curry blend (very little heat) and it worked great with the lemongrass, cardamom, lemon peel, coriander, coconut, etc. For the pork, I used pork butt. For vegetables, I had carrots and quartered Cippoline onions. I did not pre-cook them and just added them to the pot before it went into the oven. Easy! Also, I doubled the recipe and there was a ton of extra sauce; I've been dunking leftover cold chicken into warmed (and even cold) sauce for snacking. Thank you, Dorie!

My husband had to eat and run so I  had to work the camera, to the detriment of the photo. In my defense, it was nighttime and the dish isn't the most attractive thing, anyway - but it still looked better in real life :).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cold Melon-Berry Soup - FFWD

I am back with FFWD this week! Cold-Melon Berry Soup was very nice. A "fun" and summery starter that tasted pretty good - and simple to make with only six ingredients (I didn't add the wine).

I'll probably make this dish again, but in the future I'll pay closer attention to the ginger versus sweet melon...I had a good, ripe melon and I added all the ginger right away. I should have added it gradually and taste-tested as I went along because in the end the ginger flavor was a bit too strong compared to the sweetness of the melon.

Fruit soup was a first for was making melon balls. Sounds un-American (and, apparently, un-French).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pain d'epeautre Ordinaire (Plain French Bread with Spelt)

Since I missed the most recent FFWD recipe, I decided to do a substitute post: my favorite bread recipe.

This bread is very close in flavor and texture to all-white flour French bread. I like it because it has a soft but slightly chewy crumb, a nutritious amount of whole grain without any bitter whole-wheat taste, and is not made with a starter. My kids especially like it because it is not too dense for sandwiches and tastes better than loaves made with whole wheat flour (even white whole wheat).

For years I made most of our breads with a starter and with at least some whole grain flour for nutrition’s sake. I often had two types of starter going in my refrigerator or would start one the night before for a particular recipe. While we still like these breads, this new loaf is now our favorite and has turned out to be easier and more foolproof than any other bread I’ve tried.

For the best texture, I keep the sprouted spelt flour to no more than one cup. I do use more spelt flour when I am the only one home, however, my family likes the texture best with one cup or less of the spelt. The bread is also great with 3 cups of bread flour and no spelt at all. Also, instead of sprouted spelt flour, I have tried sprouted whole wheat flour, as well as a combination of sprouted whole wheat and sprouted spelt flours. The spelt is the best; I do not like sprouted whole wheat flour. It makes for a mushier loaf. Supposedly, sprouted whole wheat and sprouted spelt flours can be substituted directly for white flours, however, I have found that is not the case, more drastically so with the sprouted whole wheat. I tried sprouted whole wheat for a 100% whole wheat bread recipe once and it was terrible. I made the same loaf with all sprouted spelt flour and it was much better.

My starting point for this bread was the Pain Ordinaire from my favorite bread book, Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine (Eckhardt and Butts). In addition to almost all of the regular wheat & rye breads from this book, we also love the Golden Greek Hot Cross Buns, Raisin in the Rye Rolls, Milk Rolls, Chocolate-Cranberry Gugelhupf, and Pane alla Cioccolata. I'll also recommend two more of our favorites: Sweet Brioche with Dried Cherries from Bread Machine Baking Perfect Every Time (Brody and Apter) and the Rustic Potato Loaves from Baking with Julia (Dorie Greenspan).

Pain d'epeautre Ordinaire

  1             c  sprouted whole spelt flour (OR 1/2 c sprouted whole spelt flour and 1/4 cup "Hi-maize Resistant Starch)
  1/8          c  rye flour
  1 1/2        t  instant yeast
  1 1/4        t  salt (or as little as 1 t)
  2              t  (or more) vital wheat gluten (optional)
  2             c  bread flour
  1/4           c  seeds and/or grains (optional)
  1 1/4        c  water
  1              egg white whisked with 2 t water (optional - I usually skip it)

1.  Add dough ingredients to bread machine pan in the order listed.
2.  Process on the dough setting (20 minutes = preheat; 20 minutes knead; 70 minutes = rise). The final dough should be fairly moist & sticky but still formed into a ball.
3.  Gently remove dough to lightly floured silpat or more heavily floured counter top.
4.  Press dough down or knead it to remove air bubbles (I do not knead the dough). You may need several dustings of flour - just use as little extra flour as possible to keep dough from sticking to your hands.
5.  Form into a fairly tight ball.
6.  Cover with a large bowl and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
7.  Put a piece of parchment paper inside a heavy 5-quart or 6-quart pot.
8. With floured hands, gently flatten dough on a lightly floured silpat or counter top to remove air bubbles and then shape as desired.
9.  Place loaf on the parchment, spray with a little water, and cover the pot. Let rise for 20 minutes.
10. After 20 minutes, turn the oven on to 450º.
11. Let bread continue to rise until almost doubled in bulk; 10 to 40 more minutes.
12. Brush the loaf with the egg wash (optional) and make 3 to 4 diagonal slashes that are about ¼” deep (I use a sharp, serrated paring knife dipped in water).
13. Bake the bread in the uncovered pot for 4 minutes.
14. Spray the bread with some water or spray/dribble some water on the inside of the pot lid (do not let any water get on the oven door glass or it might crack!). Cover the pot and bake for 14 to 20  minutes.
15. Remove pot lid; bake the bread in the uncovered pot for 12 minutes.
16. Remove bread from the pot and bake bread directly on oven rack for 4 to 5 minutes. The bread will be around 210º usually  ends up higher if you want the crust brown on the bottom. Cover with a piece of foil if getting too dark.
17. Remove bread to cooling rack and let sit for at least two hours before slicing. Let sit for three or more hours before freezing.

- I use SAF-Instant Red or SAF-Instant Gold yeast (note that instant yeast is not the same as quick-rise yeast).
- For a round loaf, I use a heavy 5-quart Dutch oven and for an oblong loaf, I use an oval 6.3-quart Dutch oven (Emile Henry Flame Top).
- Handle the bread gently when removing from pot to oven...the sides will still be a little soft and it is easy to crush the bread at this point. Using "glove" style potholders works best  for this maneuver.
- When adding the seeds or nuts, you do not need to add more water. My favorite mixture is Harvest Grains Blend from King Arthur Flour (whole oat groats, wheat flakes, rye flakes, midget sunflower seed kernels, toasted sesame seeds, flax-seed, poppy seeds,  and hulled millet). I also like to use just whole ground flaxseed meal.
- Takes about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish plus 2 hours for resting = 5 1/2 hours start to serve.
- The vital wheat gluten is helpful in certain weather or when using more spelt flour.

 Store in a paper bag the first one to two days. After that, store in a paper bag loosely set in a plastic bag. The bread is best fresh on the day it is made. It is still good the next day but, like real French bread, the crust is softer and the inside a little dryer. For several more days, it is still great for toast. Also freezes well.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Chunky Beets and Icy Red Onions - FFWD

Another recipe that I never would have tried if it wasn't for FFWD. This was really good!

I used the fresh marjoram option and will cut that by half next time. It was just slightly too much marjoram flavor. The onions on top were a perfect foil for the richness of the dressed beets. We had this with sauteed monkfish. Great meal!

I wish the photo was better. The beets look a bit scary. Much prettier in real life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cola and Jam Spareribs - FFWD

FFWD this week was Cola and Jam Spareribs. We love ribs with just salt and pepper or a chile-based rub so were pleased to find that Dorie's more "exotic" recipe was a delicious change of pace. The main flavors are Chinese 5-Spice Powder, ginger, apricot jam, lemon, orange, and Coca Cola. Total cooking time was supposed to be two hours, however, at that point, the ribs were not even close to being tender. I turned the oven down to 220º F and baked and basted for another two hours...the ribs were then falling off the bone. We served them with my sister's Mexican Coleslaw. I had never made this before and it turned out to be a really light and fresh side dish - recipe below.

A few days after this meal, I made ribs again...I used Penzey's Galena Street Rub (flake salt, sugar, black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, sage, cayenne, red pepper) and baked the ribs for one hour at 350º F and then at 250º F for about 2 hours, basting with a mixture of Coke and apricot jam a la Dorie. The ribs turned out great!

Mexican Coleslaw
from Pandre

Mix Together:
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 large red pepper, shredded
3 carrots, shredded
2 stalks celery, shredded
1/4 red or Vidalia onion, minced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 jalapeno, minced

Dressing - Mix Together:
Juice from 1 fresh lime
1 T red wine vinegar
1/8 cup sour cream and mayo
1/8 cup mayonnaise
Pasilla or Ancho chile powder
Salt and pepper 

Add dressing to vegetables. Let sit for a few hours in the refrigerator. Pandre serves this over a bed of shredded light green romaine.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cardomom Rice Pilaf - FFWD

This week's FFWD was a terrific side dish, Cardamom Rice Pilaf. We had it with baked chicken legs and cherry tomatoes sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. Easy meal, especially since my son made both the rice and the tomatoes and he did a great job...he cooked the rice perfectly! He used basmati rice and it tasted quite buttery.

Also this week, we made the Almond Flounder Meuniere from AMFT and it was delicious!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad - FFWD

I was not looking forward to this FFWD recipe so I had a nice surprise  - it turned out to be a wonderful, light dinner, perfect for a warm spring evening. We used toasted pecans which were great but I want to try the hazelnut version, too. One egg per person was not enough for all that asparagus so we ended up having two eggs each, which was just right. I did not have any hazelnut oil so want to try that in the vinaigrette (I used grapeseed oil) AND I want to try roasted asparagus AND I want to have some cheese to accompany (Beemster Vlasskaas would be perfect), I will be making this again! Another surprise was that my husband wanted some white wine with dinner. He doesn’t indulge often, and when he does, he usually doesn’t drink wine. The only white I had was a very light Chardonnay, Le Drunk Rooster, and it turned out to be an excellent match for the salad.

Another great thing about composed salads like this one is that everything can be prepared ahead of time. Serving is quick & easy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spinach & Bacon Quiche - FFWD

This week's FFWD. What's not to like - bacon, spinach, cream, Parmesan cheese? We loved this quiche and the leftovers were good, too (cold). I used seven slices of bacon instead of four and substituted 1/4 cup sprouted spelt flour for 1/4 regular flour in the tart shell.

For last week's FFWD, I did make the Torteau de Chevre (without any flavoring) and it was wonderful. No photo, though.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mustard Batons - FFWD

This week's FFWD is a very simple recipe, Mustard Batons. A nice change from cheesy hors d'eouvres and they are very tasty. Made with just puff pastry, mustard, and an egg, the ingredients are always on hand. The batons would look more interesting with a sprinkling of poppy seeds but my husband doesn't like them so I didn't use them. Another winner from Around My French Table!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chocolate Eclairs - FFWD

Eclairs are one of my favorite desserts and these for FFWD are very good! We didn't fuss over the way they looked...we just made 'em and ate 'em. I opted for chocolate ganache icing instead of the white glaze. The recipe says to use 3/4 pound of chocolate which is way too much so I decided to go with 3/4 cup of cream per the recipe and add chocolate until it seemed right. I used about 1/4 pound of chocolate and that made a lot of ganache...more than I needed for the eclairs, however, my husband went heavy on the ganache...about three times more than I like :)

In the Cream Puff dough, I substituted 1/8 cup of sprouted whole spelt flour for 1/8 cup of all-purpose flour; not a lot but it added some nutrition and it worked fine. I also changed the baking time & temperature...I baked the puffs for 10 minutes at 425º, then 10 minutes (maybe 15?) at 375º, then turned oven off and left the puffs in for 10 minutes after making a small venting stab in each puff with a paring knife.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Garlicky Crumb-coated Broccoli - FFWD

FFWD for this week - and it was the best broccoli I’ve ever eaten! Broccoli is our default vegetable so we eat a lot of it...mostly plain but sometimes with a sprinkle of lemon juice - it gets boring. I am very glad to now have a new way of serving it! Even though I love mint and parsley, I didn’t use either of them. I just thought they may not be needed and the rest of the ingredients were simply great together: garlic, lemon, butter, salt, and bread crumbs (from a fresh loaf of French bread - made with 1/3 sprouted whole wheat flour :)).

In a burst of uncreativity, we had this with even more garlic and lemon on the chicken (Chicken Thighs Baked with Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme from Bill Devin, Fine Cooking Magazine #46).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce & Salted Butter Break-Ups - FFWD

I have been out of town so am posting two items, late, for FFWD. The scallops in the Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce were delicious, however, I ruined the sauce BOTH times that I made it. I started out by making the sauce ahead of time. On reheating it, I burned it. So, I  made it again and forgot the butter so the sauce was bitter. I didn't even realize I forgot the butter until I was writing this post! For such an easy dinner, I really was having an off night. Thankfully, my husband cooked the scallops - and perfectly so. I must try this again.

A couple of weeks ago, we absolutely loved the Salted Butter Break-Ups. This is a huge shortbread cookie. What's not to love? Easy to make and I substituted sprouted whole spelt flour for 3/4 cup of the all-purpose flour and it turned out great!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread - FFWD

This is our FFWD for this week. It is a quick bread made with chives and cheddar cheese. Compared to the fabulousness of the other AMFT/FFWD recipes, this one was unremarkable. When sliced, the texture was moist & had a soft crumb, however it tasted dry and was on the bland side. We couldn't taste the chives much (out of season?). I even added a little extra cayenne & used extra sharp cheddar. Maybe a little sugar might have given it a boost. It did taste better after it cooled all the way to room temperature. Dorie says this can be served with wine so maybe it is supposed to be mild in taste. If I wanted something like this again, I would just make a cornbread version for more flavor.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Short Ribs in Red Wine & Port - FFWD

This week’s recipe for FFWD was Short Ribs in Red Wine & Port. Another great braise!

Even thought this is a fairly involved recipe, I will make it again. The beef cooked for a long time so was very tender. For the meat, I used 4 1/2 pounds of short ribs and 4 1/2 pounds of an on-sale boneless chuck roast (with a good amount of fat) so I got more meat for the buck. In the end, all the meat was the same. I also saved some money by using Ramos Pintos Ruby Port (for $17, this is an inexpensive port) and my new favorite red wine for cooking, Crane Lake Petite Sirah at only $5 a bottle.

There is a lot of wine in this, 1 1/2 bottles, but it didn’t taste winey at all. The sauce was not strong but still had exceptional flavor. Dorie’s My Go To Beef Daube had way much more of a wine flavor. The gremolata of parsley, garlic, & orange zest is what made the beef really perk up here. I won't ever skip the gremolata and this gave me the idea to try a lemon gremolata with John Thorne's Beef with Carrots (earlier posting below). That recipe doesn't need anything else but it might be an interesting addition.

My husband liked the in-progress pictures:)                                                   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pancetta Green Beans - FFWD

This week’s FFWD. The beans I bought were very tasteless so they needed the boost in flavor that this recipe gave them. Lots of pancetta, butter, olive oil, & salt will do that :). Good & easy side dish...we had this with beef tenderloin & mashed potatoes.

Also this week, I made the Gnocchi a la Parisienne again using mostly sprouted spelt flour for the gnocchi and cheddar and pepper Jack for the cheese. Turned out great. The gnocchi were a little dense but I can whip some of the egg whites next time to lighten them up as the recipe suggests.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Orange-Almond Tart - FFWD

Another terrific dessert from FFWD! This is a shorbread crust filled with almond cream and oranges.

For the crust, I substituted sprouted spelt flour for half of the all-purpose flour. I only needed to add some water and it turned out perfectly. Really great flavor. I am going to try all sprouted spelt flour next time. I also ground almonds to make the almond flour. Worked fine. Our oranges weren't very flavorful but the tart was still sweet & delicious. Like a big cookie.

We had this for dessert after BLTs for dinner - a very good meal :)

I especially liked that I could pat the crust into the pan instead of rolling it out! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Basque Potato Tortilla - FFWD

From last week's FFWD - I am now caught up with the group!

Very good and easy recipe - we liked it best at room temperature. I sliced the potatoes 1/4” thick so that they would mix in more with the eggs. I used a little extra olive oil - Spanish, even!. Very delicious and that is why the tortilla is  so yellow :). 

Gnocchi a la Parisienne - FFWD

This is from the FFWD January schedule but I just got around to it this  week. This is my favorite kind of dish - it has cheese in it! We really liked this one; it is like macaroni and cheese or bread pudding but with a lighter texture.

So, this dish is made of gnocchi (made without potatoes) that are poached, transferred to a Parmesan-coated casserole, covered with béchamel sauce and Gruyere, and then baked. I wish we had photographed this as soon is it came out of the oven because it had puffed tremendously. Unfortunately, it deflated after just a minute or so.

I made the gnocchi ahead of time and left them on a parchment-lined tray so that it would be easier to add them to the pot of boiling water. I will do the same thing next time, however, I will freeze them first; they stuck a bit to the parchment & it was a bit of a mess. I used a 7” x 9” pyrex casserole which was good: all the gnocchi fit in and there was more surface area for the cheese I was able to add more cheese!

Next time I am going to add more milk to the béchamel (it was a little too thick - maybe some Sauvignon blanc instead?) and a bit of cayenne (instead of nutmeg) and also some grated cheese. My husband and son thinks that that will be too much cheese, but I think that having cheese in the sauce will be good...we will find out :).

I am also going to try this with cheddar, Monterey jack, and roasted green chiles some time soon (and double the recipe!).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Leek and Potato Soup - FFWD

Another easy soup from the FFWD schedule. 

My husband loved it hot; I liked it hot but preferred it cold.

Like almost every recipe I've tried from from Around My French Table, I will be making this again.

Chicken B'stilla - FFWD

From FFWD Land. This is a very unusual dish...a thick chicken “stew” baked in an almond-lined phyllo crust. Fantastic! Rich, with an interesting combination of flavors.

I don’t care for saffron but once in a while, it tastes "right". I did use it here, even though I considered omitting it. I didn’t use much so it was very subtle...I think the B’stilla would be great without the saffron (still a lot of flavors going on) but, it would also be great with even more saffron than I used. I skipped the sugar/cinnamon topping and used less honey than called for; and my husband added some raisins as we ate it. I will add a few currants next time to the filling (smaller than raisins) and still omit the sugar topping (that would have been too much sweetness for us, especially when adding currants). I usually don’t like raisins or currants in savory dishes but they are perfect here.

I put together the marinade with the chicken and then, right before I started cooking it, I went out of town for four days! I continued with the recipe when I got back & it turned out perfectly. Leftovers lasted for many days and heated up good enough in the microwave (some of the flavor dissipated after two days, though).

Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake - FFWD

A FFWD recipe and one of the best desserts  I’ve ever had!

My husband is the one who made this and it turned out perfectly. He is a very good baker! Very few ingredients are used in this recipe and there is no flour. He made the “Baked & Chilled” version. We loved the contrast between the chewy crust and softer filling.


Paris Mushroom Soup - FFWD

This is a FFWD recipe, a wonderful soup that is easy to make.

I ladled it over a “salad” of raw mushrooms, green onions, & parsley. I used my immersion blender which resulted in a thick, not totally smooth soup.

Leftovers were good for many days, especially with a shot of sherry!

Speculoos - FFWD

I have not posted in a long time - too many days out of town is my excuse. I have caught up lately with the FFWD cooking & baking so will post everything this week to catch up with the group!


These are spiced sugar cookie cut-outs. Easy to make & very good. A FFWD recipe.

I have never done well with cut-outs but I decided to follow the recipe and I am glad I did. Dorie’s method of rolling the dough between sheets of wax paper & then chilling before cutting worked like a charm. 

These spread a bit so I would not use a detailed cookie cutter. I forgot the ginger and they were still delicious. I love ginger so will add it next time!

Beef Stew

This is one of my family's favorites. We love it, even though it is not as rich and complex as the recipes below (John Thorne’s Beef with Carrots and  Dorie Greenspan’s My Go To Beef Daube).

It is a basic & hearty beef stew that is still flavorful with lots of vegetables and no wine. Good for kids :).

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