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Friday, March 30, 2012

Crab and Grapefruit Salad 3_30_12

I love salads, Husband loves salads, Son not so much.  Thankfully, we all enjoy seafood. So this salad had an easy entrance to our table.  The orange pepper, kirby cucumber, chili pepper, scallion, and crab was very agreeable, but the grapefruit?  That was a new....and a strange addition to the rest of the ingredients.  But
 I have learned to trust Dorie and her expertise.  So I did and created her crab and grapefruit salad.  Shop Rite had the lump crabmeat on sale, and wow, that was a lot of crab meat.  So I added the whole orange pepper and was glad I did.  I decided to bed the salad on a baby greens salad and this added more dimension to the salad.  This would be a great salad for Easter brunch.  We had it for dinner with steak and baked sweet potato.  Son declared it tropical because of the grapefruit.  I declared it a success since all enjoyed it.  This is a wonderful, anytime salad.  But there could be less expensive seafood to substitute for the crab.  Like shrimp or imitation crab.  Maybe even more flavorful than the lump crab? This is a keeper recipe.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Coca Sables

Cocoa Sables 3-23-12

I love cookies!  My family loves cookies!  And we love chocolate, especially dark chocolate.  There’s something about making sweets that feels like a reward in the making.  Simple, everyday ingredients make it easy.  I wondered how the cookies would hold together when baked since there was no egg in the batter.  I wondered how I would finely chop my 73% dark chocolate bar to add to the mix.  Taking out a heavy chef’s knife I began at the corner and it was pretty easy to slice off very thin slivers.  I then cross cut it all again when I finished the bar.  The dough formed easily and I divided and rolled it in wax paper and it spent the night chilling.  The next evening I beat an egg, poured sanding sugar into a tray, brushed the chocolate log with the egg and rolled the log in the sugar several times.  I cut mine the half inch size that Dorie suggested.  Into the oven they went and the aroma of their baking was heavenly. 

Darn, no vanilla ice cream in the house, but a cold glass of milk will do.  Actually, I made tea while waiting for them to finish cooling and decided that would be just as good.  Son ate the first one, declared it was ‘pretty good’, and gave it a 7 (I swear the only high rankings he gives out are car related only) so I hand one to husband.  He likes mostly everything so I figured there’d be only praise coming from him.  He remarked on the cocoa taste and asked how much sugar was in them (he’s trying to be mindful about the amount he consumes, but his mouth doesn’t listen very well).  He said they’d be great with coffee.

I am the last to taste them.  I declare they are rich and chocolately, not overly sweet, and wish to make an ice cream sandwich with them.  Guess I will be stopping at the store on my way home from work to pick up a quart of vanilla.  Hey, it’s the weekend! 

Also thought about rolling the logs in nuts or crushed peppermint candies too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cheese Souffle 3/16/12

Cheese Souffle 3/15/2012

Well, it’s in.  Now I hold my breath.  I second guess myself.  Did I beat the egg whites enough, did they have the stiff peaks and shiny gloss?  The gloss was there.  Did I fold them into the béchamel cheese sauce just enough or not enough?

I just peeked after 32 minutes, it looks brown but with some pale surfaces. I had to use my Corningware square(ish) baker as I didn’t have a dish that was completely round and tall enough. Will it rise to the top or is my dish too tall for the amount of batter?

I’ve never made a soufflé.  I just peeked again, two minutes to go and the top is nicely browned.  But puff?  Guess I won’t know until I take it out.  Son announced that it didn’t sound good.

Timer went off.  I removed soufflé from oven and took its picture.  Since I didn’t take a picture before it went in, I am not sure if it rose much. Next I rushed it onto the table.  Husband announced a quick bathroom break (aarrgghh) but son was sitting down on time for once.  He crinkled his nose and said he didn’t think he was gonna like it.  We said grace.  No major deflating happened.

A scoop on each plate.  Son toyed with it a bit with his fork.  I told him to just try it.  He did and said it reminded him of quiche and he doesn’t like quiche.  I remember that he didn’t eat the Dorie quiche last summer (the one with spinach).  Husband said it was good.  After a few bites I said it needed crisp bacon or a ham steak on the side.  Husband said orange juice, too.  So we felt cheated somewhat as this soufflé was the only thing on the table.  But we were soon full!!

So I cleaned up the pans, bowls, and spoons as I went.  Lots of items needed for turning out this dish.  Husband eyed the soufflé and asked if I sprayed it enough with Pam.  Pam?  No, I said, but I did spread a lot of butter.  Not a strange question from the guy who usually has the bulk of clean up duty (hey, equal opportunity kitchen here).  But I assured him it would clean up quick.  I showed him after I clean it (just knew he wasn’t wanting to touch it) out while he took the dog out for the last bathroom break until early am.

So I would make this again for a weekend brunch or breakfast for supper.  It needs some company on the plate though.   I enjoy the cooking assignments.  It takes me out of the familiar and into the unfamiliar.  It continues to expand my cooking horizons.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Saint-Germain-des-pres Onion Biscuits

These were fun to make and reminded me of making biscuits as a young teenager living in the south.  Dorie’s recipe was easy to mix up and when I turned out the dough on my flour covered Silpat mat, I knew what I would use to cut them out.  A glass!  We made southern style biscuits with lard instead of butter in the south.  If you are thinking ‘yuck’, I assure you they were good with the bacony flavor the lard provided.  These, too, were delicious hot from the oven. 

Husband and son enjoyed the onion biscuits and the moussaka I made to go with them (see Cuisine magazine, March issue).  I thought the biscuits were even better the next day as the sweet onion flavor became more pronounced.  A quick and fun recipe.  A real comfort food.  Sure to lift your spirits.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Roasted Salmon with Lentils

Lentils are nothing new in our house.  I’ve been cooking them for years as Husband’s Italian heritage demands that they have a place on the menu.  New was the roasted salmon atop a bowl of lentils.  New to the cooking of lentils was the addition of a clove which added its wonderful spice flavor to the earthy lentils.  I went ahead and followed my usual addition of the diced carrots, celery, and onion right to the pot during cooking.  I felt it saved a step by cutting them up and adding them at the start rather than after the soup was done.  Husband and Son liked this dish.  What would have been a nice addition is next week’s recipe, the onion biscuits!