My home network is FINALLY back online. All in all, it wasn’t down for much longer than a week. But considering how things are all tied together now, one week is a VERY long time to be without a land line, television, and internet. The withdrawal shakes started after only two days. By day seven I would have sold my soul for one episode of Jon Stewart.
But in my information starved state, at least I didn’t starve. As a matter of fact, I somehow had much more time than I normally do, and put it to good use whipping up this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Coupetade, a.k.a. French Toast Bread Pudding.
So it’s like this: first you make some french toast, and then you make it into bread pudding. Sounds like a tasty brunch idea actually. Instead of maple syrup, I topped mine with cream and strawberries, because the berries are so gorgeous right now and I can’t seem to go more than a day without gorging on them.
My husband loved it. I was not as big a fan. Not sure why as I usually love bread pudding. But now that I have my internet back, I just can’t be bothered to spend too much time wondering why. After all, Jon Stewart is waiting.
Starting out this week with a few shots of my recent trip to Paris. I have been working there quite a bit lately and decided that it was time to stay over a weekend and have some fun. My husband (the eclair fiend) stopped by and the weather played along nicely.
After much sampling, the eclair fiend decided that the offerings from L’eclaire de Genie in the Marais were the best. I can only agree.
So, what was I supposed to be talking about? I can’t seem to drag my mind away from the eclairs. French Fridays with Dorie? Oh, right, this week’s recipe, Swiss Chard Pancakes.
With the spring veggies finally starting to make an appearance (and it’s about darn time!) it was actually not so easy to find chard. My regular product market didn’t have, but I did finally find some lonely bunches hidden at the far back of my local grocery store. They looked ok when I bought them, but by the next day they had seriously wilted and were not so pretty looking. From the two bunches I bought, I was only able to salvage enough leaves for half a batch of Dorie’s pancakes.
Making the pancakes was easy as could be. Just throw all of the ingredients into the blender and blitz. The color of the batter was St. Patrick’s Day green and had me thinking that these might have fit better in the March schedule.
I fried up my pancakes and served them with a fresh salad and a dollop of creme fraiche. All of which may sound very healthy, but my pancakes seemed to be awfully greasy, despite all the paper towels I went through trying to soak up the oil. Possibly I didn’t turn up the heat high enough. Whatever it was, these were sadly not a hit.
I ignorantly voted for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Cod & Spinach Roulades, thinking it would be a filet of fish stuffed with spinach and how hard could that be. Upon actually reading the recipe my eyes went wide with terror. Fish mousse? Stuffed with spinach & preserved lemons? Wrapped in plastic? And then steamed? How the heck is THAT supposed to work? That’ll teach me to cast my ballot before educating myself on the merits of the candidates.
Yes indeedy, from my perspective, this was one of the most intimidating French Fridays with Dorie recipes yet. I even tried to enlist the help of my trusty sous chef, but he took one look at the recipe and decided that he would prefer to be the photographer. I thought he did a pretty good job.
We took it one step at a time and it actually worked. The individual recipes of fish mousse, spinach filling, and tomato sauce were actually pretty easy. It was more the assembly and cooking method which had me spooked. But in the end, the fish mousse was far easier to work with than I had feared and my plastic wrap held up in the steamer without melting.
I would now love to tell you that the whole thing was a success story and that we loved the finished dish. Sadly, not so much. But this recipe was WAY outside my comfort zone and I enjoyed the trip anyway.
This week I am going to have to post and run because we are heading out of town for the holiday weekend. We get Good Friday and Easter Monday off here in Germany and my husband and I usually try to squeeze a little mini-break into the 4-day weekend. This year we are off to the Champagne region of France to drink a little bubbly. I will report back.
But in the meantime, we’re making spinach this week. Spinach is one of my favorite vegetables and we eat it rather often around here. To be honest though, I can’t remember the last time I tried a new spinach recipe. Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I tried a recipe for spinach period. Usually I just throw it in a pan with some garlic and olive oil and call it a day. But this week, French Fridays with Dorie has us cooking up Lemon-Steamed Spinach, and I was looking forward to giving it a try.
Dorie’s spinach recipe is hardly more involved than my usual preparation. She tosses her uncooked spinach with olive oil and lemon zest before throwing it into a steamer. The whole recipe took about 5 minutes from start to finish.
Instead of plain spinach I used a bag of salad greens which was composed of baby spinach, rucola, and beet greens. We paired it with lamb and potato gratin. All in all it was an absolutely delicious meal and this week’s recipe was an incredibly quick and easy side which we will use again.
Through no fault of Dorie’s, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Ispahan Loaf Cake, was a complete failure. I don’t know why. There are times when it seems that my subconscious is deliberately trying to sabotage a recipe by doing everything possible to mess it up, and yet it still comes out. Then there are other times when I follow the recipe exactly, and it just doesn’t work. This week fell into the later category. Ironic really considering that “ispahan” is a kind of Rose, and thus this week we were making my namesake cake.
For anyone who is interested in Ispahan Loaf Cake, I encourage you to check out what my fellow Doristas got up to this week.
As for mine, well, the darn thing just wouldn’t cook through. Dorie suggests 50 to 60 minutes in the oven. I left mine in for 90 minutes (checking the oven thermometer several times along the way) until the toothpick finally came out clean. But after letting it cool, turns out that the darn thing still wasn’t cooked all the way though. I doused it with whipped cream and hoped for the best. But apparently there are some problems which even cream can’t save.
If anyone has any brilliant ideas as to what I can do to use up a massive bottle of leftover rose syrup and extract, I’m all ears!