Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pommes Dauphinois:French Fridays with Dorie

Pommes Dauphonois: Week Seven

Dorie's pick for week seven was Pommes Dauphonois, which is a traditional meal of the French Alps. Hummmm... let's see...Chamonix, Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva, alpine meadows and JOHN CLAUDE KEELY Oh but I digress. Back to Pommes Dauphonois. ( I love to write that)

I've never met a potato I didn't like. In fact, I could eat them any way they are prepared. I truly think my husband could live on them and nothing else (sans a steak). This classic recipe is more custardy than cheesy. In fact you can't really call it Pommes Dauphonois if there is cheese inside then it would just be considered plain ol' scalloped potatoes. Really not as romantic as Pommes Dauphonois which only has a cheesy crust on the top. You know gratin signifies the upper crust in Paris. So not only romantic but chic.

This dish is an all around comfort dish. Not time consuming and is worth every minute. To save time use a mandolin or a food processor to slice the potatoes. This calls for the classic French herbs but changes are easy: different herbs, different kinds of potatoes (think Yellow Finns or Purple Vikings) you could add bacon, speck or ham. The list is endless but I prefer the classic. Often considered a special occasion dish it is easy enough for everyday meals.

Like all the Friday posts I can not post the recipe but you will find it in Dorie Greenspan's Around my French table.

This is great for a cozy dinner for two or a holiday crowd. Rich and custardy inside. The nutty flavor of Gruyere crisp and bubbly on the top. The aroma of the herbes de provence filling the kitchen.
Bon Appetit!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crispy Brussel Sprout Leaf Salad with a White Balsamic Honey Reduction Walnut Dust and Chevre

20 -25 brussel sprouts cored and separated into leaves
2 Tbs olive oil
good sprinkle garlic salt
3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs honey
pinch crushed red pepper
2 Tbs walnuts chopped extra fine, lightly toasted
3/4 cup soft good goat cheese
Preheat oven 350
Core the brussel sprouts, separate into leaves. Place in bowl and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Place on baking sheet. Roast for 20 mins. checking often until crisp and lightly browned. Meanwhile, reduce vinegar by half in small sauce pan. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper and the honey. Place small amount of reduction on plate. Mound brussel sprout leaves sprinkle with the walnut dust and place a dollop of goat cheese on the side. Serves 4

The birth of a recipe is so inspiring to me. It usually comes from either necessity, you know that saying, "necessity is the mother of all invention" or from memories of places or tastes. Have you ever created a dish that you get so excited about that you want to share it with everyone!? Well...this is one of those.
One of the holidays I really love is Thanksgiving. (Hello... it's a food holiday.) So I'm always trying to figure out something a little different to go along with the traditional.

A lot of people have a problem with these little green globes called Brussel Sprouts. This might be the dish to convert them. In this recipe you separate the sprouts into petals and turn them into a crispy addictive crunchy salad.

This dish looks so elegant on the plate it is great for the holidays or for that company WOW factor. The white balsamic honey reduction has just a hint of crushed red pepper to give it a little kick and a sweetness that works well with the nutty,crispy flavor of the leaves. The tang of the goat cheese and the slight crunch of the walnut balances the dish to perfection.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux:French Fridays with Dorie

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux: Week Six

I guess I could be considered a lazy girl when it comes to one pot meals. Not only are they easy to put together but the clean up is an added benefit. This was Dorie's pick for week six with our group French Fridays with Dorie so unfortunately I can not post the recipe. It is fairly self explanatory if you look at the picture...
I guess I could say I have made a rendition of this recipe probably once a month for as long as I can remember... but there is one sneaky little secret with this recipe that was new to me. You lay slices of dense baguette in the pan under the chicken which after cooking come out crispy and rich from all the juices and gravy from the bird. I have to say I like these as much as I like the skin of my Thanksgiving turkey ( and that is saying a lot!!). Those little gems are worth lining up for.
I added plenty of veggies and white wine to the pot, tucked some sage leaves under the skin and we were good to go. The chicken was moist and fabulous. The skin was crispy. The vegetables very tasty. All in all a great meal for a busy Saturday. Makes the house smell luscious when you return from a day of play or come in from a long day of working in the yard.
Mon Dieu !!!This was good.
You have to love those lazy Frenchies.. I guess I can say that because I'm one of them.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winter Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pastashio and Parmesan

1 bunch Cavolo Nero stems removed and rinsed well
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs honey
2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
splash white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs toasted pistachios roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

arrange the kale leaves in small piles roll into tight cigar shape and cut into 1/4 inch ribbons repeat with remaining leaves. In large bowl, toss kale with all ingredients except the Parmesan, let stand at room temp for 20 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve with the Parmesan shaved over the top.

Kale goes by another name... One that is much more sexy and interesting...Cavolo Nero. In fact, it is the only kale grown in Italy. Much more tender than regular kale. It's flavor is sweet and nutty with a hint of pepper. One of it's best qualities is that it will not wilt when dressed which makes it very versatile for entertaining.

This Dan Barber of, Blue Hill at The Stone Barns, inspired winter salad is the ultimate way to glorify this green and bring out it's earthy flavor. The peppery nuttiness of the kale, the tart sweetness of the cranberries, the rich, nutty and slightly sweet taste and texture of the pistachios and finally the saltiness of the Parmesan... all dressed in a subtly fragrant and balanced vinaigrette.Makes this a truly amazing addition to your salad repertoire. We enjoyed this with Salmon grilled to perfection, great wine and amazing company on a rainy evening. We had a wonderful time and couldn't stop talking about this salad. The surprise for all of us was the tenderness of the kale and that there was not even a tad bit of bitterness to this raw salad.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flan: French Fridays with Dorie

Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flan: Week Six

It's another French Fridays with Dorie post. This months choices feel very seasonal and this one in particular is a great technique to add to you repertoire. The custard of this flan can be flavored with so many things. You have only your own creativity to hold you back or should I say propel you forward. Once you have the basic flan recipe and technique you can use all sorts of different vegetables and flavorings depending on your mood or season. Flans can be served with sauces, vinaigrette's, or broths. Sweet or savory. I had a beautifully done savory flan at my all time favorite restaurant in New York that was floated in an amazing broth. Think of a Gnatron, which is a French flan from Lyon baked in edible leaf-lined ramekins. It has to be one of the most elegant dishes I've ever seen. The ideas are endless.

Dorie chose a fabulous savory flan and a very Thanksgiving-esque recipe it was...always a popular starter in Europe it is a great addition to any meal. I played around with the recipe a bit. I roasted a sweet sugar-pie pumpkin with some garlic cloves and added some fresh thyme to the custard along with one of the roasted garlic cloves. Served with a dollop of sour cream. DELISH!! The Gorgonzola and the walnuts paired wonderfully with grilled lamb chops and a wonderful Syrah from the Napa Valley.

Another hit from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. I think this will be on my Thanksgiving table served on top of a Pomegranate coulis. Bon appetit!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Grilled Lamb Chops with a Walnut Mint Pesto

There is something about a warm fall evening and grilling a seasonal meat that makes me feel very connected to my food. By that I mean, I think about where it comes from. Can my source reassure me that it was fed appropriate safe foods. Does the producer treat their animals well while they are alive. If we feel that connection we will always want to do it justice and respect what went into its production.

Lamb is the meat I feel is most flattered by the barbecue. The powerful slightly gamey taste combines beautifully with the wood or charcoal smoke. I also think lamb shines with aromatics because the taste is so earthy. The herbaceousness adds a brightness that it needs. I usually make a pesto of garlic, parsley, rosemary and mint with a nut, either pine or walnut, and olive oil. Most of our friends that say they don't like Lamb only have to eat it at our house once to recant that statement...

We enjoyed this with a pumpkin and Gorgonzola flan and an amazing finish for our Giants to take the World Series.