baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, and garlic

Moving house is such a great time to purge. My husband and I have been going room by room and cleaning out all the stuff which hasn’t been used in years. Along the way we are finding some lost treasures. Last weekend we found a Nespresso box filled with wrapped Christmas ornaments, hidden back behind our guest pillows. The receipt at the bottom of the box gives the impression that they were purchased on a vacation 7 years ago and the packaging indicates that they have never been used! And today I found a zip lock baggie tucked away in the back corner of my tiny freezer, with what appears to be a portion of chocolate pastry dough. Does anyone else remember why I might have chocolate pastry dough in my freezer? I didn’t, until I did a search of my blog and found this, the chocolate banana tart from 2 years ago! Eek.

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No need to worry about ever finding leftovers from this week’s recipe, Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snap Peas, and Garlic. We scarfed it up and barely left a trace in the pan. I ended up skipping the papillote part of the recipe and just throwing it in with the fish which I had bought for dinner. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this one, but we both absolutely loved it. It paired perfectly with the fish. We will absolutely be making this one again.

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Happy Easter. Hoe everyone has a wonderful weekend.

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quiche maraichere

From the moment my husband saw the ingredients list for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Quiche Maraichere, he started lobbying for change. I’m sure he thought that he was being subtle about it, “Don’t you think some sausage would be a great substitute for, oh, I don’t know, say the bell pepper?”. To be honest, he’s probably right, it probably would have been very tasty, but that’s not the recipe we’re making this week.

Nope, this week we made a very veggie filled quiche. Even the word quiche is a bit of a stretch because there were barely any eggs in there, mostly just pastry crust filled with veggies. At this point you might be agreeing with my husband and wondering why I didn’t follow his suggestion to jazz it up a bit. To be honest, I was starting to wonder myself.

And I started to wonder even more after the darn thing was still malingering in the oven a good 20 minutes past the recommended cooking time, and still wasn’t puffed at all! My crust was starting to burn and my side dish (quinoa w/ goat cheese & spinach) was already long done and getting cold. It had already been a long day, I was hungry, and I just wasn’t in the mood for a recipe to step out of line. I made myself a plate of quinoa, thinking that it might be the only thing we were going to get for dinner that night, and left the kitchen in a huff.

Some time later, I’m not even sure how long in total, my husband called me into the kitchen. I walked in, still a bit grouchy, to find that he had taken the quiche out of the oven (beautifully puffed), had moved some flowers to set the backdrop, and was trying to take pictures for me. How sweet is that! I couldn’t stay grouchy after that.

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The quiche, by the way, was delicious. I was rather surprised myself that such a bland list of ingredients could come together into something so simple and tasty.

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visitandine

I don’t normally have a big sweet tooth, but lately I’ve been craving sweets like mad. Maybe it’s all the Easter chocolates everywhere I look.

So this week’s French Friday’s with Dorie recipe, Visitandine, was timely. Though, my first reaction was closer to, visity-what-now? Never heard of this one before.

So, from what I can tell, Visitandine is usually sold as something closer to a tea cake, like a Financier. Yum, remember Financiers? I may need to make those again soon.

But Dorie has us baking this Visitandine as a cake, which can then be cut into wedges and then topped with, oh, whatever strikes your fancy. Kind of like the Sable Breton Galette. Ooh, now THAT was a delicious dessert. I should make that again.

Unlike both of those cakes, this one had a very weird batter. Without Dorie’s precise instructions I would have probably given it up for lost halfway through when it started to clump up on me. But as promised, it turned out well in the end.

Heck, it turned out more than “well”, it was delicious. As recommended by the gorgeous picture in Dorie’s book, I topped mine with strawberries and cream. Luckily the local strawberries are starting to hit the market (albeit at staggering prices!). Yummy. Bet it would also be tasty baked in little tea cake form, kind of like the Coconut Friands. Weren’t those delicious?

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Hmm, so it seems that my craving for sweets has not yet been sated. I may need to whip up another batch this weekend. Hope that everyone else is having a great one:-)

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vegetable barley soup with the taste of little india

Ah jet lag, how I loath thee. I woke up this morning to the combined insult of day 2 jet lag and day 1 of European daylight savings time. I’m more than a tad grouchy. Which makes it difficult for me to soften the blow that was last week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India. I made it before I left for a business trip, thinking that my husband could enjoy the leftovers while I was away. Nope, not so much. He ate half a bowl and then went looking for something else. I didn’t even ask what he did with the leftovers while I was gone.

No worries, he doesn’t seem to be permanently scarred. He’s already asking when I’m going to make next week’s recipe. I think he’s gotten wind that it will be a dessert.

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scallop and onion tartes fines

Can’t win em all. Right? This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Scallop and Onion Tartes Fines, was a rather resounding miss in my house. Not sure why. I enjoy all of the ingredients separately and probably would have enjoyed them as caramelized onion tartes fines without the scallops, or as sauteed scallops without the tartes. But somehow they just didn’t work together for me.

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In fairness, we didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Dorie calls for the scallops to spend only a few minutes in the oven, just until warm. However, when I took the still raw scallops out of the oven after the appointed time, my husband expressed his rather strong objections to eating sushi for dinner. So back into the oven they went for a quick stint under the broiler. Not sure if they would have been better uncooked, but good food which nobody wants to eat isn’t helping anyone.

On the plus side, the only ingredients which I had to buy for this recipe were the scallops and pancetta. It seems that since joining French Fridays with Dorie, I always have a package of puff pastry in freezer. Which got me thinking about the foods which Dorie has introduced into my life. Because she’s also the reason that I have cardamom pods in my FFwD106 005spice drawer and pistachio oil in my fridge. None of these are things that I ever had in my kitchen before joining FFwD and are now kitchen staples. So, what about you? What has Dorie introduced to your kitchens? Anything that you couldn’t imagine doing without? I think that I would start going into withdrawal if my pistachio oil ran out.

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sausage-stuffed poussins

So, spring arrived some weeks ago in Frankfurt. The daffodils and cherry trees are in full bloom and I’ve already witnessed the first crazy guy in short sleeves. For those of you from the south who may not be familiar with this particular crazy guy, let me explain. This is a phenomenon anyone who lives in northern climes will be familiar with. Every year after a long and cold winter the sun will momentarily peek from behind a cloud and, though the temps may still be cold enough to see your breath, some crazy guy (sorry to generalize here but it’s usually a man) will have a stoke of optimism and head out in his shorts and tee shirt.

In the spirit of spring my husband and I have embarked on a mammoth cleaning effort. There is a method, or at least a reason, to our madness. We’re moving! Not far. Actually, only 2 blocks away. Unfortunately, the short distance does not seem to make the packing and unpacking any less tiresome or any less expensive. Which is why we’re in the process of purging all the stuff which we never use and don’t need. This includes cook books! Yes, I have ever so bravely put together a pile of 10 cookbooks which I haven’t used once since I paid for them to be shipped from the US to Germany 7 years ago. Sad really. But no worries, I still have 2 full bookshelves piled high.

To be honest, Dorie’s book rarely ever even makes it to shelf because it always seems to be in use. Either I’m cooking from it or looking up ingredients for my grocery list or browsing it to see which recipes I should vote for next month. It gets a lot of use that book and I have to say that it’s held up impressively well. Which is a good thing because we still have quite a few recipes to go.

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But one more which we can check off the list is this past week’s Sausage-Stuffed Cornish Hens. I knew in advance that this one was going to be a winner because I love cornish hens (or poussins, or stubenk√ľken, or whatever is available in your neck of the woods) and I really can’t think of a single recipe from this chapter which I haven’t liked.

The recipe was a fairly simple preparation and I turned it into a one pot meal by throwing some brussels sprouts around the birdies before they went into the oven. The brussels sprouts were tasty, the little hens were juicy and delicious and the stuffing was quite good as well. I might remain partial to the spatcocked method, but this was darn good and yet another winning poultry recipe from our Dorie.

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two tartines

I served this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Two Tartines from La Croix Rouge, for breakfast. Here’s why that’s not weird.

So I’m sure everyone has encountered the occasional continental breakfast in their lifetime. Usually these are fairly lackluster hotel affairs which leave you wondering why you bothered. But, have you ever wondered why the name “continental” is applied? Well, over in Europe they have the Brits and the Irish out there on their islands, and then there’s the continent. On the islands breakfast was traditionally a fairly hearty affair. I have enjoyed many an Irish and English breakfast. I particularly like the beans which feature in the English version. It sounds so out of place, but they are really very tasty. And then there was what the Brits referred to as continental breakfast, which, logically, is what one got for breakfast when visiting the continent.

Over time the term seems to have been abused and expanded to cover a multitude of sins, but the traditional continental breakfast is made up of bread, cheese, sliced meats (usually ham), yogurt, fruit, juice, and coffee or tea. Maybe a hard boiled egg, but nothing fancier. And, while I can’t speak for the rest of the continent, this is indeed a fairly standard breakfast offering around these parts. The key, as with so many things, lies in the ingredients. And where can you find better bread and cheese than on the continent?

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This is why I read this week’s recipe and instantly thought, breakfast! My husband didn’t even bat an eye. My local deli had 4 different kinds of salmon, 10 different kinds of ham (!), and exactly one small offering of roast beef, hidden away in the back. That should give you an idea of local tastes. We bought two of the salmons, settled for any roast beef we could get, and considered ourselves lucky.

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And may I just say, breakfast was delicious!

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