June 15, 2012

FFwD: Lime Honey Beet Salad

One of our old neighbors in CA was from Russia.  Our daughters became good friends and we use to get together so the girls could play and we would talk about food and cooking.  She was a vegetarian and an amazing gardener.  At one of her daughters birthday parties, she made a beet salad for all the Mom's.  I can still see the look of fear on all the other Mom's faces, it was so funny.   You could just see them waiting for the caesar or pasta salad option, nope... just beet and onion salad.  I felt so bad for my friend who had enough of this stuff to feed an army.  I took my portion like a good friend would and ate as much as I could to be polite.

Needless to say, I knew this was not going to be a recipe for me.  Thank goodness for my day job is all I can say.  I made it for my little group of seniors and they loved it.  

May 25, 2012

FFwD: Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese

I really need to start looking ahead at our recipes.  We had friends over for dinner last weekend and this would have made a better little nibble than the store bought hummus I served.

The water that drained out of my ricotta and nothing was about the same, so I'd skip that step next time.  I thought the flavors were tasty, just a bit bland.  I think more garlic and maybe lemon juice instead of the red wine vinegar (I couldn't even taste that and I used double) would boost the flavor.  Look forward to see if anyone else made seasoning adjustments.

Happy Friday!

May 18, 2012

FFwD: Double Chocolate Banana Tart

I knew I was going to love the chocolate ganache and shortbread cookie base of this dessert.  But, chocolate and bananas?  It was nice, but probably not my favorite.  I did like the chewiness of the caramelized bananas under the ganache.  

The group of residents I cook for loved this dessert.  One of the girls I work with had two slices!  I would have been sick because this was a rich one.  But, I enjoy cooking for her because she loves her food so much.

Happy Friday!

May 4, 2012

FFwD: Almond Flounder (Lemon Sole) Meunier

The closest I could get to flounder from our fish monger was Lemon Sole.  It had been caught the morning I cooked it and I watched him fillet it right before my eyes.  Doesn't get much fresher than that!

Dover Sole is one of my favorite types of fish to have when we go out for dinner, but I've never attempted cooking a Sole until now.  I'm not sure what the difference is between Dover and Lemon Sole, but they tasted the same to me... delicious.

This was super easy to prepare and took no time to cook because the fillets of fish were so thin.  I want to see if anyone kept their fish warm in the oven and if that worked OK.  I'd love to make this for company, but wouldn't want to steam the nice crunchy crust keeping it warm in the oven.  I served with steamed broccoli and new potatoes as suggested and throughly enjoyed my dinner!

Happy Friday!

May 1, 2012

Cheddar and Chive Scones

Who doesn't love a scone with jam and clotted cream?  So good!  My favorite go to recipe for sweet scones is Barefoot Contessa's Cranberry Orange Scones.  I'll have to take a picture of those next time I make them, they are so delicious.

One of the girls I work with suggested doing a cheddar scone for our residents tea (I'm on the English side of the Atlantic, so tea meaning dinner).  I found a recipe on Martha Stewart's website for Cheddar and Chive Scones.  They were a big hit for the people I cook for and I think they would be great with ham or bacon added to the mix.

from Martha Stewart Living, December 2000

4 oz. extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated
6 T fresh chives, minced
2 c + 1 T all-purpose flour, more for work surface
3 large eggs, beaten lightly, plus 1 egg with 1 T water for egg wash
1/2 c heavy cream
1 T baking powder
1/2 t paprika
1 t salt
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment.  Mix cheddar and chives together with 1 T of flour.  Mix the cream and eggs in another bowl and set aside.

In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients.  On low speed, add the butter and blend until it's the size of peas.  Add the egg mixture, and mix on low until just blended.  Add in the cheddar and chive mixture to combine.

Transfer dough to a well floured surface.  Pat or roll dough into a 9 inch circle.  With a sharp knife, dipped in flour, cut into triangles.  Place on baking sheet and brush with egg wash.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until outside is browned and scones are cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.

The smell of these when they come out of the oven is amazing!

TWD: Hungarian Shortbread

A family and cake divided...

Now, I wish I had read what was on the menu for TWD prior to today.  I could have used some of the 2 pounds of rhubarb I used on Sunday to make a rhubarb crumble that could have fed the masses. 

On with the Hungarian Shortbread... my son doesn't like jam, so I knew a compromise would have to be made on this one.  Strawberry jam would go on half to stay true to the recipe.  I thought of maybe spreading some Nutella on part of the crust and then remembered my secret bag of Ghirardelli chocolate squares with carmel that I keep for emergencies :)  Sort of reminded me of Millionaire Shortbread, but better.

Shredding the frozen shortbread dough gave these bars a really light texture, unlike crunchy shortbread cookies. The bars with the chocolate carmel squares were yummy, but I think I preferred the sweetness of the bars with the strawberry jam.

If you'd like to get the recipe, check out Baking with Julia.  Or find it on one of our Tuesdays with Dorie hosts blogs, Lynette at 1smallkitchen or Cher at The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler...

April 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dear friend Ellen in Ca. makes the best, chewiest chocolate chip cookies! She'd bring them over and they would never last very long in our house. She showed me how to make them, but I never could make them like she did. Her trick was to use cold butter, which is opposite of what most recipes tell you to do.

Now that there are miles and an ocean between us, I've had to try and find a recipe that could stand in as a substitute. I came across this highly rated chocolate chip cookie recipe (I love reading recipe reviews) and thought I'd give it a try. They were described to come out just the way I like them, chewy and crisp on the edges. Yum!

This recipe calls for melted butter??? The recipe doesn't require the dough to be refrigerated and it was very soft once mixed. I actually put mine in the fridge for 2 days, because I've heard or read that it really brings all the flavors together. These were pretty darn good!  I used dark and white chocolate chips, nuts would be good in them too.

Cookies made by a friend always have a special sweetness about them. These made me think of my dear friend :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gourmet October 2003 at Epicurious

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter with sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Lightly beat 1 egg and add 1 3/4 T of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just blended, stir in chips.  At this point, I refrigerated the dough for 2 days, the recipe doesn't call for that.

Scoop 1/4 c batter for each cookie, 3 inches apart and flatten mounds with a moistened palm of your hand.  I just used a tablespoon to form balls and they were plenty big.

Bake until golden, 13 to 15 minutes.  12 minutes was the magic number for the smaller cookies.

Cooled cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.  Mine won't last 3 days :)