Monday, March 29, 2010

Recipe Review

I promise I have been keeping up with my French Cooking Countdown, however I haven't been as diligent posting about it. So here's what I've been cooking up this past week.....

Quiche Lorraine (Cream and Bacon Quiche)

Okay so this turned into Flamiche - Quiche aux Poireaux (Leek Quiche) instead. I realized that I had an extra stalk of leek from the potato & leek soup so I used it to make my quiche. I must say other than the time it took to simmer the leeks, this was really an easy recipe. And was very rich and creamy, much better than any quiche I've had at a restaurant!

Filets de Poisson Bercy aux Champignons (Fish Filets Poached in White Wine w/Mushrooms)and Riz a la anglaise (Rice cooked in butter).

I have never poached fish before but this seemed pretty easy. My fish however was not in great shape. It had a few bones and the skin on one side. This proved to be a disaster when it came to removing the skin, the fish was too thin to fillet well. And that's saying something because the hubby is an expert at filleting fish. Other than that the meal came together pretty easy. I ended up not cooking the asparagus because I was just too tired after dealing with the chaoes with the kids. And sadly my rice was mushy, I think if I had just used the cooking method on the box it would have been light and fluffy but it was just too saturated in butter. Overall it tasted good, rich and creamy. So rich and creamy that I ended up having to leave some on my plate.

Rapee Morv Andelle (Gratin of Shredded Potatoes w/Ham and Eggs and Onions).

This was such a simple dish I almost feel like it shouldn't even be considered cooking. I made this for a quick breakfast, and honestly shredding the potatoes was a cinch with my handy dandy food processor. A quick mix of potatoes, eggs, ham and onions and it was in the oven. We ate the whole gratin in one sitting (gasp). If I had felt up to it I could have served it with the asparagus that I should have cooked a few nights ago but I was just to lazy. This was a winner in my book!

Thon A La Provencale (Tuna Steaks w/Wine, Tomatoes, and Herbs) and Pommes De Terre Sautes (Potatoes Sauteed in Butter).

This started out as Tuna steaks but after thawing the tuna I had in the freezer I realized they weren't up to par so I shelled out the friggin $15.99 a pound for some Swordfish steaks. A quick sear in the skillet and then dumped back in the casserole dish where I covered it with the tomato mixture. Poached in wine in the oven and it smelled pretty good. I lucked out and found the potatoes Julia mentioned in the recipe and didn't have to peel and shape my potatoes from standard potatoes. Instead I had perfect olive shaped potatoes that were golden and just needed peeling. When the fish was finished poaching I made the sauce and then served it up on top of the fish and plated my potatoes with it. The steaks were good, like swordfish could be anything but good! The potatoes were buttery and delish but we couldn't help but noticing the similarities between the sauce and spaghetti sauce. And because of this I think the sauce was just too much for the fish. I think had it been just regular diced tomatoes and fewer of them, and no tomato paste, the sauce would have been better for the fish. I guess I just don't like spaghetti sauce on fish :)

Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee (Onion Soup Gratineed with Cheese)
Sorry no pictures. This also tuned into Soupe A L'oignon and Croutes au Fromage since I didn't have any bowls that are oven safe. Instead I just made the croutons, super simple. Oh but the smell of the onions carmelizing was wonderful! The soup was great but very strong and since the hubby doesn't care for onions I had WAY too much leftover. I think next time I make it, I'll take the reserve and use it to make a pot roast instead of the dry soup mix!

Carbonnades A La Flamande (Beef and Onions Braised in Beer) with Pommes de Terre Pour Garniture (Parsley Potatoes) and a green salad with Sauce Vinaigrette (French Dressing).

Cooking this meal was amazing. It made the whole house smell like warm carmalized onions, which isn't a really appealing smell other than it makes you hungry. I used my cast iron casserole pot for the whole cooking process. I was excited to finally have something to cook in it. I ended up cubing the beef because I didn't quite understand the recipe at first so my version ended up looking more like beef tips than beef steaks or slices but it still didn't matter because the taste was amazing. The beef was fork tender and melted in your mouth. And the Gravy, oh my, the gravy was heaven sent. It was sweet but salty and creamy and smooth like velvet on the tongue. I could have soaked up the gravy with just bread and been perfectly happy. The potatoes were a cheat on my part - I used the leftover potatoes from the swordfish meal and then just used some extra fingerling potatoes that I left the skin on because I thought the texture was better suited to this rustic meal. In the end I skipped the parsley on them so they turned into just regular potatoes. The green salad was just a bag of fancy mixed greens and a simple red wine vinegar mix with olive oil but it suited the meal perfectly.

Bavarois au Chocolat (Chocolate Bavarian Cream) and Creme Chantilly (lightly whipped cream). This was a mixed bag of feelings for me. It should have been a yummy dessert but somehow I was just turned off by it. It started out great and smelled good but after adding the boiling milk it just seemed a bit too "fluffy" to me. I was picturing something more like pudding I guess. And after adding the egg whites and whipped cream it was even more "airy". After chilling and unmolding, I was very disappointed. It looked like a weird giggly blob of chocolate whipped cream and well thats kind of what it tasted like. I might have to try this one again to see if anything changes and it gets better next time. And thus I'll spare you the picture.

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