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 b├ęchamel 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 b├ęchamel (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.