December 10, 2011

FFwD: Chard-Stuffed Roast Pork

Every Wednesday at work I have to prepare a roast dinner for our residents (14, 80 & 90+ year olds). This week I had planned to do roast pork, so when I checked to see what this weeks recipe was I thought perfect! Now this little group I cook for are pretty set in their ways when it comes to food. They like what they like - meat, potatoes, two veg and gravy. But, every now and again I like to shake up their taste buds and offer them something new.  This week they got a taste of French Friday with Dorie!

I didn't have Swiss chard on hand so I used cabbage instead. My butcher had already boned & rolled my loin of pork. So I had to reopen it and try and get it flattened as much as possible. It was a pretty thick piece of meat with a thick layer of fat on top (this becomes crispy crackling which they love!). I'm thinking this would have been easier to prepare with a pork tenderloin or just a smaller pork roast.

It was a pretty easy dish to put together. My stuffing sort of fell out of the bottom of my roast, again I think it had to do with the thickness of my meat. Overall, a hit and I would make again for my family.  Might also be good with apples in the stuffing?

Happy French Friday!

*forgot my camera, so had to use my phone for photos.

Looked like a salad stuffed pork, probably could
have cooked the cabbage down a little more.

Trying to roll things back up, wasn't really cut correctly.

Ready for the oven!

Little bit of a stuffing explosion

Photo prior to covering it with gravy.  Served with
roast potatoes, mashed carrot & swede and green beans.

December 2, 2011

FFwD: Matafan (fluffy mashed potato pancake)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I cooked our Thanksgiving meal on Saturday for my husbands family - 15!  I had all intentions of making Dories chocolate pecan pie that's in Baking from My Home to Yours.  Well, on my way home from my son's soccer practice going through my list of things to do and prepare, my well intentioned pecan pie turned into pecan bars that were really yummy.  Just couldn't face making pie crust!  I did remake the stuffed pumpkin and used a mini pumpkin this time.  I stuffed it with stuffing and added pecans and mushrooms for my veggie sister in law, she loved it!

This weeks recipe was a hit.  My 6 year old son, who is my toughest food critic even gave it a 50 out of 50 :)  Next time I make these I might try adding bacon, cheese or herbs to the potato mixture.  I served mine with chicken and broccoli and can see where a sauce would have really been delicious with the potato pancakes.

Below, I had to share my one almost disaster with our Thanksgiving meal.  I was reheating my mashed potatoes and had them obviously on too high of a heat with the lid on.  I went to say hello to our guests when my husband called me to come quick!  Made me and everyone in the kitchen laugh.

Happy Friday!

Almost forgot to take a picture!

Mini-stuffed pumpkin stuffed with stuffing!

Tip... don't try to reheat potatoes too quickly!
They totally raised the lid, ha-ha-ha!

November 18, 2011

FFwD: Brased Cardamon- Curry Lamb (Beef)

Last week I never was able to upload my link to the squash and pear soup? This week I still don't see the post for that recipe? Anyway, on to this week...

I'm not a fan of lamb. I had all the good intentions of making a lamb and beef version and well, let's just say that didn't happen. I am going to redeem myself and make the recipe again with lamb next week at work.

I wasn't able to find Cardamon at my grocery store, so used a substitution of cinnamon and nutmeg. The smell of this dish cooking was delicious! I added some peas to the stew at the end of cooking and served over rice. The flavours in this recipe were great. I'll have to admit I rushed the braising of my beef to the cries of "are we ever going to eat dinner?" So the meat wasn't fall apart tender. Hopefully, it will be more of a hit with the lamb on Tuesday when I make it for the residents at the home where I work.

I haven't decided what I'm going to make next week, but it will probably be something sweet. I also have Dorie's Baking book so may choose something from there? I will be doing another stuffed pumpkin for my vegetarian sister inlaw for dinner.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving next week. We're going to a Thanksgiving service and dinner with other Americans that live in Guernsey on Thursday. And I'm cooking for 15 next Saturday... Yikes! Will be a wonderful week and in all the hurry and chaos that the holidays can bring, pause and give thanks!

Blessings to all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!


*Pictures sit on my camera and computer to download them sits at my husbands office.

November 11, 2011

FFwD: Spiced Squash, Fennel and Pear Soup

Like the Campbell's commercial use to go, soup is good food!  I love soup, especially those that are easy to prepare like this week's recipe. 

I like butternut squash but on it's own it can be a little bland.  All the other ingredients in this soup really gave it a nice sweet flavor, especially the fennel, orange peel and spices. 

This was a hit in our house tonight.  My meat and potato husband is looking more forward to next weeks cardamon-curry lamb recipe.  

Happy French Friday to Everyone!

Just perfect with some garlic bread!

November 4, 2011

FFwD: Twenty-Minute Honey-Glazed Duck Breast

We have a winner!  Tonight dinner my husband declared this as his favorite French Friday meal so far.

I've only eaten duck a few times and never cooked it.  I had my pan a little too hot when I put the duck breast in because within minutes my kitchen was in a smokey cloud.  After cooking for the amount of time stated in the recipe, mine was still a little rare.  Just a few minutes under the grill solved that problem.  The balsamic, honey and lime sauce was delicious and really complimented the duck and gave it a wonderful flavor.

This was a very tasty, quick and easy meal to prepare.  I would make it again for a dinner party, but I can't say duck will be my new go to quick weeknight meal.

Duck for deux

Duck fat cloud

Dinner is served!

October 28, 2011

FFwD: Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Fall equals pumpkins to me - trips to the pumpkin farm, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake!  So amidst all this sweet stuff, I was really excited to try this weeks recipe.  It was delicious!  I loved the bacon stuffing and used a combination of cheddar and Gruyere cheese.  It was really quick to prepare which is always a plus.  As suggested I served it with a side salad.  This dish will be the perfect Thanksgiving dish for my vegetarian sister in-law (minus the bacon).

Once out of the oven, I debated on how to cut into my pumpkin because I thought it would totally fall apart into a gooey mess.  But it actually sliced pretty easily.  After dinner I was re-reading the recipe and saw Dorie suggests scooping the meat of the pumpkin into the stuffing and mixing it all together.  Great idea for next time.  

I'm looking forward to reading about what everyone did with this recipe.  Some things I'd like to try next time: with cooked rice and mix it all together like a risotto, making it in little baby pumpkins for individual servings and maybe a sweet version - like a rice pudding with pumpkin pie spices and pecans???  Oh, the possibilities!

If anyone has a favorite pumpkin soup recipe, please share ;o)

Happy French Friday to Everyone and Happy Halloween!


All packed up and ready for the oven!

Gooey cheese and bacon stuffed pumpkin, yummy!!

My pumpkin boat

October 21, 2011

FFwD: Pissaladiere

I took the easy way out this week and used store-bought puff pastry as the base of my pissaladiere. Knowing my family as I do, I knew a pissaladiere or pizza with onions, anchovies and black olives was not going to be a hit. So being the smart mom that I am, I came home with pepperoni, mozerella and tomato sauce. I made the onions which were nice and I added some mushrooms and garlic. I put the onion mixture on one part of the pastry to see what it tasted like.  I'll have to say I preferred the side with the cheese and pepperoni.

Madeleine do-over

I gave Dories traditional madeleine recipe a try this week, success! The batter sat in the fridge for 2 days before I got around to baking them. They had perfect little humps on their backs and were delicious.  My kids & I polished off the first pan in one sitting!

October 14, 2011

FFwD: Blinis with Smoked Salmon (with Champignons Sautes a la Creme Substitute)

So last week quite a few blogs had a laugh about the word "Spatchcock" to describe what we were suppose to do to our little Cornish Hens or Chickens.  Well, I'm in the grocery store this week and what do I see in the poultry area...

I had to laugh!  Before last week, I'd never heard of Spatchcocking a chicken or hen and now I can find flattened chicken at my local Marks & Spencer's!

Last week, I sort of wrote off this week because no one in my house really likes smoked salmon and I planned to make a previously done French Friday recipe instead.  I'll have to admit I made this statement not even knowing what the blini part of the recipe was.  So, after actually reading the recipe and other bloggers comments, I decided to try a substitution.

Keeping with the French theme, I used Julia Childs, Champignons Sautes a la Creme (Creamed Mushrooms) for the topping of my blinis.  I couldn't find buckwheat flour so opted for wholewheat flour which I had in my pantry.  I let the batter rest for about 1 hour 45 minutes.  I'm curious to see what happened to those that made the batter the night before with the buckwheat flour?  Mine were sort of just little wheat-tasting pancakes?  My son got excited because he thought we were having pancakes for dinner, Ha!  Only if you're eating them topped with cream mushrooms I said and his response was, "when is our pizza ready?"

We enjoyed them with the mushrooms, they would be great little appetisers for a dinner party... just need to make them mini-pancake size.

Champignons Sautes a la Creme (Creamed Mushrooms) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
2 T butter
1 T oil
2 T shallots or green onions

Saute the mushrooms in hot butter and oil for 4 to 5 minutes, but do not allow them to brown any more than necessary.  Add the shallots or onions and toss over moderate heat for 2 minutes.

1 t flour

Stir in the flour and cook slowly for 2 minutes more.

2/3 to 1 cup whipping cream
1/8 t salt
pinch of pepper
optional: 2 to 3 T Maderia

Off the heat, blend in the cream and seasonings.  Boil down until the cream has reduced and thickened.  Add wine, and boil to evaporate its alcohol.  Correct seasoning.  I also added a few tablespoons of chopped tarragon.

1 to 2 T softened butter

Fold in just before serving.

October 7, 2011

FFwD: Olive-Olive Cornish Hens

Well, I couldn't find these little birds today at my butcher's or the grocery store.  Apparently, it's just the start of gaming season here and they will hopefully have some in a few weeks.  I could have gone for pigeon or pheasant but opted for good old chicken instead.  

I decided to go with the process though and flattened my big bird.  Next stumbling block was I'm the only one in my family that likes olives.  So, I put the olive tapenade on the corner of one breast and the top of a thigh.  I'm interested to read everyone's post to see how much flavour the little birds had.  I'll have to say mine was not that flavourful.  I seasoned per the recipe and added dried herbs because I just think roast chicken (which is what I was making) needs a lot of seasoning to taste like anything.

I served with buttermilk mashed potatoes and green beans with pancetta.  Bit disappointed this week and not really looking forward to next because I don't like smoked salmon.  I'm going to find something that the group made before I joined to make instead.

Happy weekend to everyone!

My spineless, flat chicken

September 30, 2011

FFwD: Deconstructed BLT with Eggs

It has been a beautiful day!  After I picked up my children from school, we spent the afternoon on the beach... taking full advantage of the British heat wave!  A simple, delicious salad for dinner was perfect.

I love BLTs or anything with bacon for that matter.  This was super easy to pull together as you can make all of the components ahead of time.  I made hard boiled eggs per the recipe, but also made one with a fried egg just for fun.  The fried egg definitely gave it a breakfast feel, but was nice.  Next time I may try adding avocados, yum!

Happy Weekend!

September 25, 2011

FFwD: Honey-Spiced Madeleines

I did make my madeleines on Friday, but just getting time to post.  Yesterday, I participated in an event to sell baked goods so my kitchen has been a total disaster all week.

I was looking forward to making these because they're one of my daughter's favourite cookies/cakes.  After refrigerating the batter overnight it seemed light and almost foamy. Not sure if that's normal because that's about the time we realised our fridge was on the blink!  I won't fill my tins so full next time, most of them went over the sides and they didn't really have the indentations that are characteristic of a madeleine.  They were nice and I will give them another try when I haven't just baked: 6 dozen cupcakes, 4 dozen cookies, 14 brownies and 50 cake push-up pops!

Happy Sunday!
Over-filled tins

My madeleine pan was angled, so I wonder if I didn't put it on
another baking sheet they would have browned more on the bottom?

My disaster of a kitchen
My madeleines weren't a huge success this week,
but the bake sale was!

September 16, 2011

FFwD: Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken

I'll have to admit I wasn't quite sure what a Speculoo cookie was until about a week ago.  I was having coffee with a friend and noticed the name Specullo on the wrapper of the cookie that came with my coffee.  So funny, I can't even imagine how many of those cookies I've mindlessly eaten and never knew their name.

Tonight my dinner audience consisted of my 6 year old son and 9 year old daughter.  So, when I said we were having chicken with cookies they were beyond excited!

I used a low fat creme fraiche because that's all I could find today.  I wasn't sure if 2 cookies would be enough, so I added 2 more and crushed some to sprinkle on top of the finished dish.  Served with sautéed asparagus and sugar snap peas.  It was super easy to make and a big hit in our house tonight!

September 13, 2011

Remembrance Cakes for 9/11

While clicking through food blogs I enjoy reading, I invariably find new ones to read.  Last night I came across Family Fresh Cooking .  Lovely website with a wonderful idea, to bake in remembrance of those lost on 9/11.  My heart will forever go out to all those that lost a loved one or friend on that day.

So today I baked...

Apple Custard Tart

This is a Julia Child recipe that I came across posted on My Baking Addiction.  I cook at a residential home for 14 and they love anything baked with apples and custard!  This one went down a hit with just a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

Classic Brownies

I unfortunately found the Tuesdays with Dorie online baking group after it had closed because they'd already baked through half the book.  But, I have the cookbook Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and bake along unofficially.  This was a delicious brownie, but I may have under baked mine just a tad.  Classic chocolate, would be great with a scoop of ice cream!

September 11, 2011

Risotto Cakes

Tonight I used up my leftover cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach in risotto cakes.  They were so tasty, I thought I'd share the idea incase you still had some in your fridge.  I used a recipe from Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics cookbook.  Shape the rice into cakes, coat with panko bread crumbs and pan fry with a little olive oil.  Made a really easy Sunday night dinner.
No dredging in egg, just press the
bread crumbs onto the cake

Dinner in 15 minutes!

September 9, 2011

FFwD: Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach

I was really interested in trying this one after years of making risotto the Italian way.  I'll have to say the French version is a little easier to make and turned out creamier.  It was nice to not have to stand over the pot ladling the broth into the rice.  Vegetarian meals don't go down well in my house so I pan fried some chicken breast with mushrooms to go along with the rice.  I think fish would complement it better, but we're having fish tomorrow night so I went with the bird since we had crab last week.  I thought it was really tasty, loved the gruyere and I added a little bit of nutmeg to the spinach.  Will make this again!

Liquid almost completely absorbed

Rice with the cheese and onion & spinach 

Supper time!

September 2, 2011

FFwD Corn Soup

Corn and crab meat soup is one of my favourite dishes to order when we go out for Chinese food.  So, I was really excited to try this one.  A very easy soup to make and it didn't disappoint!  The saltiness of the bacon, creme fraiche and crab meat really made it for me. Definitely tastier than the Chinese version.

My husbands first comment when he tasted it out of the pan was that's really sweet.  After his first bite when it was served with all the goodies was that's lovely!  And it was lovely, perfect way to start the weekend!

all the veggies

corn milk

Everything in one pot.  The herbs smelled wonderful
once they went in.  But, the rosemary was really
strong, so I took one sprig out and added a
little more thyme.

For toppings I went with green onion, fresh chilies,
bacon, creme fraiche and fresh crab meat.


August 27, 2011

French Toast

Last weekend, Grandpa tried to pass off English eggy bread as French Toast to my 2 darling children that know the difference.  So this weekend we took a break from Saturday morning pancakes and had real French Toast.

4 slices white sandwich bread (I used sliced brioche)
2 large eggs
1/2 c half-and-half (had to make my own with whole milk and cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
powdered sugar for dusting
maple syrup for serving

In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined.  I also added a dash of cinnamon to the mix.  Add the half-and-half, vanilla, 1/4 tsp. salt and whisk until combined.

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt a little of the butter over medium heat.  Dredge the bread in the egg mixture and cook until nicely browned, about 2 minutes.  I cooked 2 slices at a time.  Turn each piece over with a spatula and cook until the other side is nicely browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.  Definitely a delicious alternative to pancakes.

August 26, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie

Cafe Salle Pleyel Hamburger

Today was my first French Friday with Dorie.  What a way to start this cooking adventure!  With a mixture of sun dried tomatoes, capers, cornichons, fresh tarragon and parsley in the mix how could it be just another hamburger.  Tarragon is one of my favourite herbs and you could really taste that and the sun dried tomatoes.  It was delicious topped with the parmesan, dill pickle slices and onion marmalade (mine didn't really have a jam consistency described in the recipe).