Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Hiatus

So the temps are climbing higher, we're well in the 90's daily and the desire to turn my stove, let alone the oven on is completely gone. With that being said I'm forced to take a break from my Julia Child cooking. Almost all recipes require the stove or oven or both. So while the temperatures here are a blistering I'm going to resort back to my crockpot, the only method of cooking that doesn't heat the house up. I might try to do a few recipes, if I can find any that don't require the oven over the summer. And then when the weather starts cooling off again I can resume my French comfort food cooking!

Oh I still have lots of reviews to write up though so they're still to come.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

French Cooking Countdown.....

I've been a bit slow in my cooking and even slower in my reviews or taking pictures. After 1 week of French cooking I needed 2 weeks of light cooking to keep the weight off!

Ouefs en Croustades a la Bearnaise (Poached Eggs and Mushrooms, Bearnaise Sauce) - this meal was absolutely delicious! Again I'm still working on my poaching skills, I'm not breaking yolks but they're still not as pretty as I would like. The best part of this dish is the mushroom mixture. I think we could have eaten it alone. I served the eggs on Crepes de Pommes de Terre (grated potato pancakes) since I had a ton of them leftover from the night before's meal (to be reviewed..). I had added mushrooms to the pancakes since I had some mushrooms that I needed to use. The pancakes were perfect with the eggs. Very similar to eggs and hashbrowns.

I'm really becoming an expert at making quiches, if I can brag. It's really something that seemed very complicated and difficult to me before I actually ever saw the recipe and attempted it. But now that I've made one I can't believe how easy they are! They have becoming my go-to dish to bring to a potluck. The crust is so simple and easy, especially using the food processor. And I always seem to have extra dough leftover so I'm cheating and I just wrap it back up and stick it in the freezer. So after a few batches I'll have enough leftover to make an complete batch from leftovers!

Quiche Lorriane (Cream and Bacon Quiche) - So you're supposed to use bacon in this recipe but you have to blanche it in water to remove it's smokey, salty taste. When I read this I just about died! Seriously how could one do this to BACON! Bacon is amazing and I pay good $$ for my bacon to taste just like that, why would I ever take that away from it. So in the fine print Julia mentioned you could use diced, cooked ham so that's what I did. I saved my bacon. :) I made this as a dish for a potluck brunch at my brother and his girlfriend's new loft. It was a great centerpiece to the fruit and cesar salads. Plus left plenty of room for the lemon almond tartlettes that I made for dessert. It was so creamy, no one could believe that there wasn't any cheese in it.

Quiche aux Epinards (Spinach Quiche) - Again another potluck take and I got rave reviews. The recipe was really simple and I was able to whip it up in the hour before I left. What was nice about this version is that it's veggie friendly. I have a few vegetarian friends who were able to eat this and asked for the recipe.

Poulet Saute aux Herbs de Provence (Chicken Sauteed with Herbs & Garlic, Egg Yolk & Butter Sauce) - This dish was delish! Although I did end up having to do it in 2 parts just because I didn't want to be eating at midnight. I cooked the chicken the first night. It was a quick and simple saute but the smell from the herbs was amazing! After the chicken was done, I let it cool for a bit then put it in the fridge for the next night. On the 2nd night I finished the sauce and reheated the chicken. It was a great meal, the chicken was flavorful and the sauce was rich and creamy. Which turned out to be great even on the Crepes de Pommes de Terre (grated potato pancakes). This was my second attempt at making potato cakes so I was a bit wary of how this would go. The 1st attempt came after grabbing one of those "Dinner for Two" from a local grocery store and they had these amazing potato cakes. So I foolishly thought that I could make some without knowing really what was in them or how to begin. That ended in disaster. This time I had a recipe though and my handy dandy food processor made shredding so much fun. Turns out the batter was very much like pancake batter with potatos just thrown in, that was my mistake the 1st time. My batter was basically potatos and a little bit of flour. The directions let you know that it will be very runny batter, which was super helpful. Since I had lots of mushrooms hanging out in my fridge I threw those in the mix for good measure. This was a breeze it turns out! 18 crepes really were not enough, we ate those babies with everything for the next few days.

Tarte au Citron et aux Amandes (Lemon and Almond Tart - Cold) - I did this as tartlettes instead and took these to the potluck brunch at my brother's new loft. The sugar crust was super easy to make and basically the same as making the quiche crust, except I added lots of sugar. The only thing that really took any effort was making the candied rind. Other than that it's the simple egg yolks and sugar mixture poured into the crust with pulverized almonds. These tartlettes were extremely sweet! So sugary and rich that even a tiny 4 in tartlette was too much for one person alone, unless you're really craving sugar or ate something very salty prior. They however were warmly recieved and were a great ending to the quiche brunch.