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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Challah - Mellow Bakers

Well, I have been so Mellow in October it is embarrassing.  But, not to worry.  I have one weekend left to bake the October breads for Mellow Bakers.

My last class in grad school was overwhelming.  The teacher wouldn't hesitate to give us 300 pages to read in a week.  Most of the students are working full time, etc.  By the end of the class, I am sure that everyone had piles of laundry and dust bunnies under beds.  But a new class started on Monday, and it seems to be much more reasonable.  So I am making bread.

I was looking forward to trying some braiding.  The recipe came together quickly.  Eggs, oil, water, flour, yeast and salt were all mixed together in my trust kitchen aid.  It formed a fairly stiff dough, good for braiding.

I have enjoyed everyone's knots, so I made a couple of them.

I think that they would make great breakfast sandwiches and may try them out tomorrow morning.

I wanted to try the six stranded braid that is more raised but couldn't figure it out.  I wish that I had checked out every one's blog, one of the comments on Cathy's Challah was a link to Shabbat Shalom instructions on how to bread a six strand Challah.  I have one more Challah recipe that I want to try, so I may get to make the six stranded loaf some time.

The one that I did make turned out nicely.  We gave it away to a good home, where it won't be neglected or go stale!

Scout enjoyed the baking experience.  She hasn't been quite as perky, we wonder if it is age or the illness.   I realize that she is so intertwined into the fabric of our lives, it will be hard to say goodbye to her.  However, today I am embracing denial.  I am certain that the vet is wrong and she is going to be fine.

I am going to send this over to YeastSpotting.  

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake FFwD

Here is another delicious recipe  from Dorie Greenspan's  around my french table.  There were photos of this most delicious cake trapped on my camera.  Luckily, in my Saturday morning cleaning I found the cable, of course that means that I missed the posting for French Fridays with Dorie.

This recipe is a keeper.  A quick, delicious fall cake.  A mixture of ingredients that we all have at home.  However, the recipe called for rum.  There is no rum in my house, I have not recovered from my college experience with rum.  I am not buying rum.  So, I added a little cinnamon.

For years, the teenagers in my house had braces.  This handy apple cutter let them continue to eat apples to their belly's content.

It was a quick batter that resulted in a cake that we will make time and time again.  I heard a request for it to grace the Thanksgiving table...


I may have the best seven and a half year old Labrador Retriever in the world.  My dog loves me. She thinks that I am her mother. The head bitch.

  She loves the other members of my pack.

She thinks that she is my sous chef.  She eats anything that I make.   Even if she isn't invited.

And she has a tumor in her skull and will die a painful death.  The boys are praying that she makes it until Thanksgiving so they can say goodbye. 

We are so sad.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hachis Parmentier FFwD

Hachis Parmentier

This week's challenge was Hachis Parmentier, the French version of shepherd's pie.  We really enjoy a good shepherd's pie in my house so I was excited to try this recipe.

You start by making a delicious broth and cooking the beef.  I doubled the amount of beef called for and used two pounds of tenderized cube steak.  It was simmered with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, bay, salt and pepper and water.

I have huge bay tree taking over my back yard and am always happy to use some fresh bay.


When the beef was cooked, it was chopped into bite sized pieces.  The broth was removed.  I sauteed an onion.  I like onion and beef in my shepherd's pie.  Some sausage was sauteed and I combined the onions and beef.  The mixture was moistened with the leftover broth. 

How do you mash your potatoes?  I love my potato ricer.

Potato Ricer

A delicious batch of mashed potatoes was made.  I used Yukon Gold.  Cooked, riced, and mixed with milk, cream and butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, heavenly.  These were put on top of the meat mixture, covered with some Gruyere and Parmesan and baked.

This was a delicious Sunday dinner.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gerard's Mustard Tart - French Fridays with Dorie

This is the second week of French Fridays with Dorie, or FFwD. FFwD is a group of bloggers making their way through Dorie Greenspan's new book around my french table. Last week, I was late posting, I posted on Saturday. I am striving to be prompt this week.

Gerard's mustard tart was made by a friend of Dorie's. Perhaps you can guess who? Gerard. Recipes that friends make for you most always are delicious. The food becomes intertwined with the evening and memories. Gerard uses an old fashioned, a l'ancienne, mustard. So I started by searching for the correct mustard.

I thought for certain that I had found it. When I returned home, a closer look at the label revealed a tiny line that read "Product of Canada, manufactured for maille-dijon france." Do you think that the mustard knows that it is not really French? It is delicious, but an impostor.

The recipe starts with a tart shell. This one was made with flour, sugar, salt, butter, ice water and egg. It came together quickly in the food processor and then was chilled, rolled out and baked.

Carrots and leeks were cut into three inch pieces and steamed with a sprig of rosemary. The rosemary left a delicate, delightful flavor.

The eggs, Crème Fraîche, dijon mustard, maille mustard and white pepper were combined, put into the tart shell. The vegetables were arranged on top and baked.

What a tasty Sunday dinner. My husband was so excited to bring the leftovers to work.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gougères - French Fridays with Dorie

I signed up for another cooking group. It was shear jealousy that made me do it. I have been watching people bake from Tuesday's with Dorie and have been amazed with the things that they create. However, I recognize that we don't have much of a sweet tooth in my house. When Dorie Greenspan's new book around my french table, I bought it sight unseen.

I have already made a couple recipes from it, and have enjoyed everyone of them. I like the idea of a group of people cooking the same thing and blogging about it. I am fascinated how varied the responses can be. So, I joined French Fridays with Dorie. I find that when I have a deadline at grad school, I am far more productive if I have something more fun to do. And, cooking is always more fun.

The first recipe is Gougères. Gougères are delicious cheese puffs. On Christmas Eve, when we return from evening Mass we have a family buffet. We try to make it easy but elegant. Everyone in the family cooks something, it is a wonderful symphony in my kitchen. I make Jacques Pepin Gougères . They can be made ahead of time and popped into the oven when we get home. We love the recipe, which uses a blend of cheeses and some cayenne pepper. I was interested in seeing how Dorie's came out. I find that it is always hard to top a recipe when you have a favorite recipe that is tied up with memories

Gougères start with whole milk, water, butter and salt being brought to a boil on the stove top. Flour is added, mixed and the mixture is cooked. Then eggs and cheese are added, the Gougères are formed and baked. They are very easy to make.

The aroma that fills the house when you bake them is delicious. People come out of their rooms and into the kitchen hoping for a taste of these delicious, easy morsels.

Focaccia alla Barese: Apulian Onion, Anchovy & Olvie Focaccia - Modern Bakers

Modern Bakers has moved into a new section of Nick Malgieri's book, the Modern Baker. For the next three months, we will be baking and blogging from the yeast-risen specialties section.

This Focaccia is a traditional Christmas Eve antipasto in Apulia. Apulia is an area in Southeastern Italy. I was attracted to this recipe by the use of anchovies. You don't like anchovies you say? I once heard a chef say that anchovies were one of the hidden ingredients, that add a depth of flavor, to a large number of his dishes. If people don't know that they are there, they love them.

These anchovies are not hidden, but boy do they add some flavor.

You start by making the focaccia dough from flour, salt, yeast, water and olive oil. The dough is allowed to rise in the bowl for 1 to 2 hours and then the slack dough is put into a prepared 11x17 pan. Where it rises for another hour.

While the dough is rising, a large thinly sliced onion is sauteed in olive oil until softened and beginning to color. 2 oz of anchovies in olive oil are drained, chopped and added to the onions and sauteed for one minute. Allow the onion, anchovy mixture to cool. Some gaeta and cerignola olives are pitted and quartered and added to the mixture. I couldn't find these olives, so I used a pleasing mixture of black and green olives.

Dimple the fococcia with your fingers, sprinkle on the topping and add a little kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. The upper right corner is missing the olives, for the olive hater...

This was so delicious, we devoured it.