shrimp and mango not quite ceviche

We’re off to Oktoberfest this weekend with some friends. Word has it that the first Oktoberfest was a multi-week wedding celebration for some Bavarian royal or other which turned into an annual event. At some point the celebration was apparently moved forward a bit because, well, October in Munich is a bit chilly for an outdoor party. And while I may be a little rusty on the history, I’m well versed on the current state of affairs.

First, Oktoberfest proper takes place in Munich. In fact, it is a very Oktoberfest 015specific fair grounds in Munich which is decked out with carnival rides and tents which are set up by local breweries and restaurants. The locals (and these days quite a few tourists) dress up in beautifully made traditional garb: leather pants (lederhosen) for men and a dirndl (no idea what that would be in english) for the ladies. Some hate Oktoberfest because of all the drunken tourists. I usually enjoy myself and find that the hard-core party crowd tends to congregate in specific tents and leave everyone else alone, but admittedly, it’s not for everyone.

After Oktoberfest we’re driving east for two weeks vacation in Slovakia and southern Poland. I’m so ready. Today is my last day of work and I have the feeling that my brain has already left the building. But before I go, a word about this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Tuna and Mango Ceviche, errr, I mean, Warm Seared Shrimp, Mango, and Avocado Salad.

As you can see, not everything went to plan here. I was actually quite keen to make a proper ceviche since I had never done so before. But I got to the fish place a bit late in the day and they had sold out of sushi-grade fish of any sort. Luckily I had noted Dorie’s Bonne Idee to do this with seared shrimp instead, and so that’s what I did, the whole while a bit disappointed that I wasn’t getting to try a real ceviche.

Well, any disappointment vanished as soon as I tried the seared shrimp version of the dish. Oh, so, good! We really loved this and will absolutely make it again.

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See you again in a few weeks!

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french lentils

As was caught by a few sharp-eyed Doristas, I combined two weeks of French Fridays with Dorie recipes into one and served my French Lentils with last week’s Curried Chicken. September is set to be a busy month around these parts and with only one weekend at home, I need to be as efficient as possible with my kitchen time.

Speaking of which, we had a great time in Paris last weekend. My husband contained himself to only one eclair per day (no small feat) and we both discovered a dangerous new favorite, Alain Ducasse’s bean to bar chocolate shop in the 11th. Oh my! A splurge for sure, but worth every penny! I want to go back and buy another box of just his nut chocolates. My mouth of watering just thinking about it.

In fact, I’m now having a little difficulty switching over to healthier topics, namely, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, French Lentils. Lentils are one of the few beans which I am actually willing to make from scratch. Our water here in Frankfurt is so hard that every other attempt at making beans has failed miserably. My mother in law finally told me recently that I just need to add some baking soda to the cooking water to help them soften. But by the time she shared this little nugget with me I had already discovered the blissful ease of canned and now there’s no going back.

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Puy lentils are easy enough to find in Frankfurt and I usually have a pack in my cupboard. Raw, these little lentils are a pretty swirly green color. Cooked, they tend to look like normal lentils, except that they hold their shape a bit better and are less likely to go mushy, which is why I prefer them. Dorie’s is the traditional base recipe but I tend to like to jazz my lentils up a bit with some chopped walnuts and goat cheese. Oh so tasty.

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curried chicken, peppers and peas en papillote

September is set to be a fun month. First up, a little weekend trip to Paris to celebrate 5 years of marriage to the German. The past 5 years hasn’t all been mini-breaks and sunshine. In fact, there are many disadvantages to living so far away from my family. But I have to admit that ability to utter the statement, “we’re taking a weekend trip to Paris” has to be pretty high up on the list of advantages. What can I say, you take the good with the bad.

Which is why I’m posting a bit early this week since I will be blissfully offline for the next few days. Looking forward to catching up with everyone next week and finding out what Cher substituted for the dreaded bell pepper in this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Curried Chicken, Peppers and Peas en Papillote. In full disclosure, I actually substituted a thinly sliced chili pepper myself because I knew my husband would just push the bell pepper to side and it would have been wasted.

For me, this week’s recipe fell squarely into the never-would-have-made-it-without-FFwD category. Really, it didn’t sound bad, just not really exciting either. And it wasn’t exciting. But it was really easy and really good and (for probably the hundredth time!) I’m so happy that I am participating in this group because it is forcing me to make so many recipes that I would have otherwise missed.

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And now that’s done, I’m off to the train station. A bientot!

 

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chanterelles with nappa and a long overdue make-up

I seem to be on a roll with the two-in-posts lately so I’m going to see if I can’t keep up the trend to post a few remaining long overdue French Fridays with Dorie recipes. By my count I’m actually only missing a few, so may as well try to get to them before we get too close to the end of this whole adventure.

First up, a make-up recipe from just over a year ago, Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches. As the date on my picture will confirm, I actually made this one on time but could never seem to get around to posting it. I have no idea why. I loved this recipe. I love duck in general and it pairs so well with sweet, fruity flavors. However, I would have never thought to serve it with seared peaches and this is now my go to summer duck recipe. So tasty. Easy enough for just the two of us but classy enough for company.

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food-chanterelles 017Next up is this week’s recipe, Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts. Now, I have a love-hate relationship with chanterelle mushrooms. I love to eat these tasty harbingers of autumn but I hate to prepare them. Mostly because they have so many nooks and crannies for dirt to hide in and are a pain in the tush to clean. This time around, when faced with a bag full of dirty mushroom I broke one of the 10 kitchen commandments. You know the one, “thou shalt not allow your mushrooms to bathe in the forbidden waters!” Well, it’s something like that anyway. I have so little patience for this rule and this week I just broke it completely and washed my mushrooms down with the spray nozzle of my faucet. It seemed to do the job and if it destroyed the flavor we were none the wiser because both my husband and I really enjoyed the end result served alongside a tasty filet.

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roasted peppers and bulgur salad

Here I am again, cramming two weeks of French Fridays with Dorie recipes into one. I actually made the Roasted Peppers on time but just didn’t get around to posting them, and now another week has passed and it’s time for Couscous Salad.

It was still summer when I made the Roasted Bell Peppers. Warm enough that we used the grill to blister the peppers in a futile attempt to keep the kitchen cool. Warm enough that we enjoyed these delicious peppers out on the balcony alongside homemade (and delicious!) hummus from David Lebovitz and store-bought tzatziki. I love roasted peppers and they are one of the rare bell pepper recipes that my husband will knowingly eat, Dorie’s Chicken Basquaise being another rare example.

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Since then autumn seems to have arrived and I’ve started reaching to the back of my wardrobe for sweaters and scarves. What a difference a week makes. But we still fired up the grill to make Dorie’s recommended Grilled Lemon Chicken to accompany this week’s Couscous (or in my case, Bulgur) Salad recipe. Dorie’s salad was bright, fresh, flavorful, and plentiful. Seriously, next time I either need to halve the recipe or invite an army for dinner. As for the chicken, well, we still need to work on our chicken grilling skills. Over the summer my husband’s grill has churned out delicious lamb and steaks along with assorted veggies over the course of many tasty dinner. But our few attempts at chicken have been a bit, well, dry. Something to continue working on next summer.

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gateau basque and cod confit

This past weekend I got to know the oven in our new place a bit better. My initial observation is that the thing is teeny, tiny, but the temperature seems to be sound. Well, at least I think so. My husband stole my oven thermometer to test his grill and then thought that he would be helpful by giving it a quick clean in the dishwasher. So, who knows really, but it seemed to have no problem with last week’s Gateau Basque and this week’s Tuna Cod Confit.

IMG_2639It seems a little naughty to start with the dessert, but that’s the order they went in and so that’s what we are going to do. I was huddled up in bed with fever and chills last week so cake simply wasn’t on the menu plan. Happily, I was feeling much better by the weekend and was able to catch up with the Gateau Basque. I’ll be honest, this didn’t look like much of a cake to me and I went in with low expectations. Maybe I shouldn’t have listened to the NPR podcast in which the cake was described as a Pop Tart! In the end, the cake exceeded my expectations and my husband polished off 3 slices in a row before declaring that it wasn’t Dorie’s best:-)

IMG_2635As for the Tuna Confit, I haven’t been keeping track or anything, but this recipe may well have resulted in my longest shopping list yet. I was more than a little intimidated, both by the long list and by the fact that the star of the dish is fresh tuna. I tend to have issues with fresh tuna and so was very happy that Dorie pointed out that cod and halibut are also commonly confited (can we use confit as an adjective?) and used cod for my dish.

The instructions called for us to first make the marinade, let everything sit, then cook the still completely submerged fish in the marinade while whipping up a tomato salad. I have to say that I was pretty darn skeptical while this thing was in the oven. The oven temp was so low that there none of the usual sensory indicators that any actual cooking was going on. I like to be able to see, hear, or smell that something is actually happening. I don’t think that I would do very well with sous vide, though I hear that it’s delicious. In this case, I had no choice but to simply follow Dorie’s instructions exactly because I had no idea what I was doing and because I had no other indicators to point me along the way.

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After exactly one hour I removed the dish from the oven and served it up on a bed of mushy peas with the tomato salad and olive tapenade. But really, the sides were superfluous. The fish was infused with the flavors of the marinade and absolutely delicious with the marinade itself as a topping. I was really wowed by how good this was and admit that it was well worth the long shopping list.

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provencal vegetable soup

This week we are making soup for French Fridays with Dorie. Provencal Vegetable Soup to be exact. I’m guessing that our Doristas who are cooking a little closer to the equator are not so amused. In fact, you probably will not be surprised to hear that it was picked by one of our Canadian Doristas, Theresa, over at One Wet Foot.

I actually made this one a week early. And thank goodness because this past weekend the temps shot up and the only place in my kitchen where any food prep was happening was in the fridge. Okay, I know that temperature is all relative and I know that some of my fellow Doristas live in climates which make a German summer seem downright brisk. But I was melting. Luckily the temps are back down and giving the two overworked fans in my apartment a well deserved breather.

By now you might be wondering, what about the soup! Well, the soup was delicious. I know, the picture makes it look a bit healthy. And it is. But also delicious. Really. So much flavor packed in there

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