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Saturday, November 13, 2021

English Muffins


Well, I've done it again.  I bought a cookbook with the intention of baking my way through it.  I'll be baking the recipes from Baking with Dorie.      Two recipes a month will be posted on Tuesdays with Dorie   And you can choose the order you make them.   Posting should be on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.  Unfortunately, life is a little complicated right now, we can only strive for strict attention to schedules.  I am going to be late posting this.  

I baked and cooked along with around my French table and learned a lot and made some recipes that I wouldn’t have tried.   It’s fun to be part of a community that is trying the same recipes.  It remains one of my favorite cookbooks, partially because I made so many of the recipes.  When I moved, we didn’t have access to a real kitchen for several months and I fell far behind.  I am excited that Dorie has a new book at a time when I can join in the baking fun.   I am looking forward to this challenge.  However, things have changed in my house since my last posts.  Harper and Murphy are old dogs now.  Still completely willing to try any foods, especially those that are bad for them.  The kids are all adults and off on their own.  We are lucky that some of them come by periodically and are willing to try anything that I bake.  Conveniently, I have some neighbors across the way with younger metabolisms who have already agreed to help me eat any extras.

The recipes for November are English Muffins or Apple Pandowdy.   I chose the English muffins.  I want to make the apple dessert for Thanksgiving.  I love English muffins.   And I know that they freeze well so I didn’t have to worry about making any adjustments to the recipe.  

It was an easy recipe for anyone who has experience with yeast.    It came together quickly and rose nicely.   I shaped 12 equal balls and after they rose, I really enjoyed squishing them in the pan.  I mean really, go ahead, squish them, gently of course.  My only question was if my pan was supposed to reach 350 degrees F or it that only applied to an electric griddle.   I enjoy cooking in my cast iron pan, I got it pretty hot and cooked the muffins until I no longer saw a wet middle line on their sides.

We are looking forward to Sunday English muffins and have frozen some for later.   This was a good recipe, get some yeast practice under our belts.  I am hoping that some of the more fiddly recipes come around when my daughter is visiting.  She has far more baking finesse and patience than I do.  It’s a journey. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

COUPÉTADE - French Fridays with Dorie

I actually read ahead for this week's French Fridays with Dorie and knew that I needed to make challah.  OK, I am sure that I could have bought challah, but I love making challah.  I love the way that it makes my kitchen smell, and how it feels when you braid it.   And youtube is filled with wonderful examples of bread braiding.

I had never made challah before I baked along with the group of bakers making the breads in The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  As with any bread that you have grown up on, there was some discussion on which challah was the favorite challah.  A couple of the bakers preferred a recipe a book called in the  Second Helpings Please, put out by the Mt. Sinai Chapter of Montreal of the Jewish Women's International of Canada in 1968.  GrongarBlog recently posted a most beautiful post on this challah recipe.  The pictures alone will make you run to make a loaf.

Early into the process, my camera died.  The battery will not accept a charge.  It will take a little investigating to see how serious a situation this is but I had my cell phone.

The challah was sliced and dipped into a combination of eggs, milk and sugar and cooked in some butter in a griddle.   French Toast.

The french toast soaked in eggy custard of eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk.  We were supposed to add some dried fruit.  Adding dried fruit would guarantee that I would be the only one eating this.  So, I added some strawberries and bananas and a touch of cinnamon and put it into a water bath to bake.

We served this with a little whipped cream and everyone loved it.  I think it would have been too sweet for us to eat for breakfast.

Murphy was quite excited by all the egg cracking that went into this recipe.  Eggs for challah, eggs to brush the challah, eggs to make the french toast, eggs to make the custard.  A definite egg fest, perhaps I shared with the hopeful puppy.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs - FFwD

Do you ever have a day when you know that you will be unable to complete Friday's assignment for French Fridays with Dorie without extreme effort on your part? 

I confess that we are weekend only egg people.  During the week we eat oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fruit.  Nothing that requires effort.

But, I am back in the saddle and once I realized that I should have been cooking this weekend,  I decided to forge on.

I went in search of mushrooms. 

I am lucky to be able to find some interesting mushrooms.  While I was getting the mushrooms, I picked up some fresh farm eggs and lovely loaf of bread.  Not brioche.  Not a huge brioche fan. 

And then, I got myself out of bed and made my husband some eggs before work.  first time in 26 years.  They were delicious.  They'd be better on a weekend day.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Swiss chard pancakes - FFwD

Leave it to the French to come up with a delicious, thick crepe recipe called farçous.  Very simple to make.  Milk, flour, eggs, garlic, chives, chard, shallots and some salt & pepper were combined in a food processor.

I made these with last week fish and when gradschool son came home, he used them like a taco.  A pancake, some fish, some sauce he declared it one of the best meals to date.

These swiss chard pancakes will be on our go to recipes when the swiss chard in the garden is ready to be harvested.  They were easy to make and delicious.   There are some in the freezer waiting to make their sunny green appearance at a moment's notice.  These are one of the reasons that I am glad that I am cooking along with French Fridays with Dorie. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spinach and Cod Roulades - FFwD

While I was making the spinach and cod roulades for French Fridays with Dorie, there were  a few things that I knew for certain.  I just knew that someone would love these, would put them into their repertoire of fun and tasty things to cook.  I knew that someone would take a wonderful photograph.  And I knew that I wouldn't be doing these things. 

While I was making them, I was annoyed.  I was annoyed when I pureed the perfect cod.  I was annoyed when I smeared the mix on plastic wrap.  I'm not sure that I enjoy cooking with plastic wrap.  I was annoyed when I formed the sausage shapes.  My attitude was all wrong going into this challenge. 

I started by making some preserved lemons.  We use a Cooking Light recipe and really enjoy having these in the refrigerator. 

I decided to served the fish with the tomato sauce.  It was quite tasty and easy to make.

I cracked the eggs and ever hopeful Murphy in her spring hair cut came running.  She loves the sound of eggs cracking.

I pureed the lovely cod and made the spinach stuffing and formed the roulades.  We liked them, however my husband and I both felt that sauteing the cod and steaming the spinach would have been just as tasty. 

Sometimes I feel like I am running a flophouse.  Our gradschool engrossed overspring sometimes shows up to eat leftovers.  He put the fish in next week's swiss chard pancakes (which I will make again and again)  and covered them with the tomato sauce and declared it one of the best things I've made so far. 

This is one of fun things about the challenge.  I did it, we ate it, we enjoyed it.  I won't be doing it again. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

CSA - Black Radishes

One of the things that I was looking forward to after moving to Pennsylvania was joining a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture.  If you go to LocalHarvest's web page you can find CSAs in your area.  Basically, you join up, pay some money and get something back from the farm.  What you get back depends on the farm or group that you join.  It is kind of a through good times and in bad relationship, drought or flood, you are supporting the farmers.  There are a couple in the Pittsburgh area, we joined Penn's Corner Farm Alliance for 32 weeks.  One of the things that appealed to us about Penn's Corner was that they are an alliance of more than 30 farms.  I would love to have been able to join two different ones or see what some one else gets in their weekly box. 

I had my concerns about my first box.  It was snowing here last week, nothing was green.  I assumed that the farmers would be relying on the greenhouses.  The box contained a variety of lettuce, an onion, a dozen eggs, a handful of rosemary, a bag of puffed corn, a quart of apple cider and some black radishes. 

 The black radish was a new one for us.  Used by the French and some Asian countries, it's flavor is a little more pronounced than your normal radish.  
 I cleaned them, sauteed them in olive oil for a little browning and then put them in a salad with grapefruit and celery and a citrus dressing.  We really enjoyed them.  I read a French recipe where they are grated and put in creme fraiche.  We may try that as well, sounds  a little rich. 
 We already used some of the eggs in spaghetti carbonara.   We are struggling with the honey puffed corn.  My husband tried it for breakfast, not his favorite.  I ground some up and put it in cookies, the kids liked them but there is more.

The little bag of rosemary made me sad.  I miss my Texas backyard.  I miss my bay tree, my rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, chives that grew year round.  I don't miss the extreme drought.  But rosemary was practically a weed in Texas.  The little bag was a frank reminder of how different things are.

We are going to start some four squares in our small urban backyard.  Once we start gardening, this new backyard will start to feel like we own it.  I bet that it will be easier than gardening in Texas.  It actually rains here.  And one of my neighbors has had some luck keeping rosemary outside in a protected area. 

Here is a picture of my husband and one of my son's looking at the backyard on our last day in Texas.  The brown spot is where the summer drought death starts.  The rosemary wrapped around the beds.  It took us a couple years to get us to this point, let's see how our new backyard is next year.

I am going to put a link on In her Chucks What's in the Box? page.   It is a gathering of posts about what people found in their CSA boxes.  You can see that everyone has different growing seasons. 

We got a reminder email from our CSA telling us that our growing season is behind.  I think that I had figured that one out on my own.  Every time I walk out the door, I am pleasantly surprised not to see snow.

Financiers - FFwD

This week's French Friday's with Dorie was a delicious simple treat.  Designed originally in a small gold bar like pan to appeal to the Frenchman on the go in the financial district.  It was an easy batter made with browned butter and sugar, almond flour and all purpose flour and a lot of egg whites.  As instructed, I chilled it over night and then had difficulty filling the pans, the batter was so thick.  I really enjoyed these simple treats.

This is Murphy, looking especially large in her winter coat.  She is my son's Portuguese Water Dog.  She spent the first months of her life on a farm, eating fresh eggs.  When I begin to bake, she comes running when she hears the egg carton open, ever hopeful for the extra egg white or egg yolk.  She thinks that we should make financiers more often.