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Friday, December 31, 2010

My Go To Beef Daube - FFwD

French Fridays with Dorie picked four recipes for the month of December.  Although I have made three of them, things have been a little hectic and this is only my second post for FFwD for the month of December.  Its OK because FFwD rules  say cook along as much as you can!

The great thing about the second part of December is that I have had sons home from college.  My sons are willing sous chefs.  They will peel, chop and stir if I promise to feed them at the end of the day.  And then they will eat everything in the house!  I will miss them when they go back to college..

Dorie says that we all need a great beef stew recipe.  This certainly was easy and delicious.  Bacon was sauteed in the dutch oven and then beef chuck roast was cubed into 2 inch cubes and browned and removed.   Onions and shallots were sauteed for 8 mins.  Then garlic, carrots, parsnips and herbs were added to the pot.   It cooked for 2.5 hours in the entire bottle of wine and made the house smell delicious.

We made this on a cold, wet, rainy day.  It was just the recipe for the weather.  Now I need to find another bottle of wine to sacrifice for future stews!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I would like Jacques Pépin to come to my kitchen.  He seems like such a pleasant chef.  I enjoy watching him on TV.  Apparently, he has a new TV show called Essential Pépin  that will be coming out in the fall of 2011.  

On Christmas Eve, we put a prime rib in the oven for an hour, and then turn the oven off for three hours.  During the off time, we head out to Mass.  When we return, we turn the oven on again and everyone starts making a little something to bring to the table.

I make Jacques Pépin's Gougères.  You can make them the morning before and pop them in the refrigerator and bake them when you get home.  You can even freeze them.  This recipe is taken from Food & Wine.  

Makes about 30

1 cup milk
4 T unsalted butter
1/4 t salt
dash of cayenne pepper (I add some cracked pepper as well)
1 cup ap flour
3 large eggs
1/2 t papirika
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 & 1/2 c grated Swiss cheese
Coarse sal, fleur de sel or kosher salt.  If you are going to put them in the refrigerator, don't put the salt on top until right before baking.


  1. Bring the milk, butter, salt, and cayenne to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix vigorously with a wooden spatula until the mixture forms a ball. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute to dry the mixture a bit. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor, let cool for 5 minutes, then process for about 5 seconds.
  2. Add the eggs and paprika to the processor bowl, and process for 10 to 15 seconds, until well mixed. Transfer the choux paste to a mixing bowl, and let cool for 10 minutes. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with a reusable nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the grated Parmesan cheese, then add the remainder and all the Swiss cheese to the choux paste. Stir just enough to incorporate. Using a tablespoon, scoop out a level tablespoon of the gougère dough, and push it off the spoon onto the cooking mat. Continue making individual gougères, spacing them about 2-inches apart on the sheet. Sprinkle a few grains of coarse salt and a little of the reserved Parmesan cheese on each gougère. Bake for about 30 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature with drinks. 


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Present Growing!

My Christmas present is growing!  I have followed all instructions.  I mist it daily, give it four hours of indirect light each day and have found a place in the house that is as close to 60 degrees as possible.
Very soon, this evening I think, I will be harvesting my first shiitake mushrooms.  I should get three harvests from my Christmas present.  How cool.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Presents

This is what my brother and sister in law sent me for Christmas!  And I am so excited.  Do you know what it is?  I think that it looks a little like some of bad experiences that I have had with rye breads.  But right now, it isn't edible.

It came with instructions.  I love a gift with instructions.  First I soaked it in a bag of water for fourteen hours. 

Now it needs diffuse light, dampness and cool temperatures for about ten days.  I can handle the diffuse light, fours hours each day.  The front window will be perfect.  I can spritz it every day to keep it damp, I already have covered it with the perforated plastic bag for the greenhouse environment.

My concern is the cool temperature, 60 degrees.  They suggest a kitchen, really bad idea, this is where my oven is.  A basement, don't have one.  A barn, I would really like a barn.  A bay window, we have a big front window, it will have to work.  Or a garage.  I have one of those, yesterday it was above 80 here.  We are having a record warm winter.  Next week, the temperatures may drop to the 60s and I think that I will move my present outside.

I'll let you know what develops.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poached Eggs - Daring Cooks Challenge

I remember my father making poached eggs.  I don't think that he ever consulted Julia Child before him made them.   I believe that his technique involved dumping eggs into boiling water, cutting some bread for toast, getting the paper and rescuing the egg.  I vividly remember the loose yellow egg yolk.  I was repulsed as a child.

I worked at a small restaurant down the street from where I grew up.  In the summer, they opened the attached ice cream store.  I started working there when I was 15.  In the mornings, I would get ready to open up.  If breakfast was still going on, I would help clear tables and take some orders.  I remained repulsed by yellow runny yolks, which were everywhere.  

It took me years to start eating eggs.  When I went to college, on Sundays they served pieces of large sheets of omelets.  Huge omelets, made from dozens of eggs, on the large grill.  No visible egg yolk there. 

The way cool thing to do when I was in college was to go out to breakfast at the end of the semester at the neightborhood restaurant.  A hopping deli.  With eggs of course.  I think that I started to enjoy omelets for the first time.  But I maintained my aversion to runny yolks.

December's challenge was poached eggs.  I actually was excited.  Time to see what all the fuss was about.  Every one is eating them.  People put them on top of everything.  If I could find some quail eggs, it would be fine dining!

First I checked with Julia.  My water was simmering, with a little vinegar added.  I made a swirl in the water, cracked the egg into a ramekin and gently put it into the simmering water.  When cooked, I removed it and put it into a pan of warm water to rinse the vinegar off.  I trimmed any white tendrils, no kidding...  I think that my dad skipped some steps.

I had made some English Muffins and Hollandaise Sauce.  I whipped up some delicious Eggs Benedict.  Except they weren't delicious.  They had oozy, yellow yolks. 

My husband loved them, but I felt guilty as I heard his arteries closing.  It is back to oatmeal for us.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

sweet and spicy cocktail nuts - FFwD

One of December's recipes for French Fridays with Dorie are sweet and spicy cocktail nuts.  I really shouldn't make spicy nuts.  It is so difficult for me to stay away from them.  How many could you eat? 

It is a simple recipe.  Mix up some sugar, salt, chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne.  Moisten some nuts with egg whites and then coat with the spice mixture.  Put them a cookie sheet, and bake until dry.

I like spicy nuts.  I have a recipe that I like a little more that uses fresh cracked pepper in place of the chili powder.  Maybe this Christmas I should try different spicy nut recipes and give them away as gifts.  And out of each recipe, I will only eat three.  Or not.