sea devil, carrots, and a new veggie

I got a bit of a late start with the October recipes, but with this post I am catching back up with two in one week.

First up, last week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Monkfish and Double Carrots.

Many of my fellow Doristas had trouble finding monkfish. Not me. Monkfish, or Seeteufel in German (literally translated as “sea devil”), is quite popular around these parts and shows up regularly on restaurant menus. Sure enough, my fishmonger didn’t bat an eye when I asked for it and sliced me off two generous portions for our dinner.

The double carrots on the other hand, not so easy. It’s plain carrot juice which is difficult to find here in Frankfurt and I knew this from experience. Sure enough, I found carrot juice mixed with various other juices to sweeten it up, but no plain carrot and finally settled for carrot-orange juice.

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In fact, if anyone knows of an easy way to make carrot juice without a juicer, do let me know. Because I have the feeling that I would have preferred this without the extra sweetness from the orange juice. The fish, however, cooked in bacon no less (!) was delicious.

Which brings us to this week’s recipe, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic. I was happy to find these funny looking veggies at Kleinmarkthalle, a wonderful covered market hall in the center of Frankfurt.

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This was a fun one because I’d never cooked with jerusalem artichokes before. To be honest, I’m not ever sure if I’ve ever eaten a jerusalem artichoke before.

Either way, thank you, Dorie for introducing me to this delicious vegetable and a fabulously simple recipe for preparing it. I turned it into a one pot meal by throwing the garlic and jerusalem artichokes into a pot with a few potatoes and a lazy chicken. Oh that lazy chicken, still a favorite. And this jerusalem artichoke recipe is a new favorite. I may need to stock up on more before the season is over.

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double celery soup and a roadtrip

Probably sounds like an odd combination and they are not in fact really connected. Except for the fact that we got back from our trip to Slovakia and Poland last weekend and last week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Celery-Celery Soup was the first thing on the menu. The soup was tasty, but since you’ve all already made it, I’ll spend this post talking about our trip instead. As for this week’s Monk Fish and Double Carrots recipe, it’s currently simmering away on the stove, more about that later.

If I’m being honest, Poland has never ranked particularly high on my list of places to see. Yes, I do in fact have a list. It is very long and ever-growing. Poland only even made it onto the list after we became neighbors, and even then it took me nearly 8 years to wander over to say hello. Not very neighborly of me, I know.

But a few weeks ago we set off via a rather roundabout route through Slovakia. In Slovakia we visited charming villages and fortified ourselves with delicious garlic soup before visiting the castle from the classic vampire film, Nosferatu.

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In the Tatra mountains of southern Poland we sampled tasty grilled sheep’s milk cheese served with lingonberry jam.

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We soaked in vibrant Krakow while noshing our way through a fabulous market selling all manner of tasty treats, our favorite being a polish version of stuff on toast.

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We turned our visit to beautiful Wroclaw into a multi-day cafe crawl.

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On the Czech border we viewed a chapel decorated entirely with human bones and found the best pierogi of the entire trip, so far off the beaten path that we may well have been truly lost. Aparently our noses for good food are more finely tuned than our navigation system:-)

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And so much more. We got a glimpse into the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, visited a beautiful “Peace Church” built as part of a treaty between warring Catholics and Lutherans, toured numerous castles and ate some wonderful food. The marks of the past are still there, but from what I saw, things are looking up and we had a wonderful time. What can I say, it turns out that the neighbors are quite nice.

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vanilla vegetable salad

I’m road tripping through southern Poland at the moment, so we’ll see if this autopost function works. My previous experience with it does not make me hopeful.

So you know how in the last few days before vacation you find yourself frantically trying to use up anything and everything perishable in the fridge? Luckily Dorie gave me permission by stating that this week’s Vanilla Vegetable Salad could be made with any veggies. In my case that meant an abundance of carrots in various colors.

Which is why I wished that I had liked this salad more so that I could use up the rest of those carrots. As I write this (one day before hitting the road) I am still wondering what the heck to do with the rest of them. I’m thinking that my husband is going to be tired of carrot sticks long before we hit the border.

But back to the salad. This was an insanely simple recipe made with a very basic vinaigrette with one very surprising ingredient, vanilla extract! Now, I didn’t dislike the vinaigrette. It was actually nice with a very subtle vanilla nuance and perhaps I will pull this recipe out again for guests. But I also didn’t love it enough to warrant the use of such an expensive ingredient on a regular basis.

As for the other ingredients, I learned this week that I don’t like purple carrots. The ones I had were very hard (as in, my jaw got tired chewing on them) and very bland. Seems to me that they are meant to look pretty but do not contribute in any way to the flavor. Did I just get a bad batch?

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Hope everyone is having a good week. I look forward to catching up and learning what the October recipes are when I get back.

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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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