sardine escabeche

Sardine what now?

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe sent me straight to google to try to get a hint as to what the heck we were supposed to be making. Somehow escabeche has never crossed my plate before and, if I’m being completely honest, Dorie’s description and ensuing recipe was not getting my culinary juices flowing.


But let’s face it, this is hardly the first time I’ve gone into a Dorie recipe with a bit of skepticism, and from what I’ve seen on the ingredients list for next week’s tart, it will not be the last. Still, I didn’t hit my first real stumbling block until I hit the fish market, when my normally accommodating fish guy said that they would be happy to clean the little sardines for me, but that I would need to fillet them myself at home. For me the answer was clear and started to order shrimp instead. For my husband, however, the answer was also clear, the recipe is called “sardine escabeche” and so that is what we were going to make. He offered to do the filleting work and I was sold. But we bought a few extras just in case:-)

I can report that my husband did a great job, and that meant we got to snack on the extras as they came out of the frying pan. A pinch of salt and a spritz of lemon = delicious! There may or may not have even been some semi-serious discussions of stopping right there and enjoying dinner.


Instead, one day later we unwrapped our fish and had our first bite. My husband’s comment, “did we really just spend all of that effort to make our fresh sardines taste like they came out of a can?” pretty much sums it up. They were a little acidic and neither of us were loving them.


Not one to waste food, we braced ourselves for a second serving on day 2. And you know what? The flavor was completely different. The vinegar had mellowed and the fish were actually quite tasty. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and might even be willing to expend the effort again.

Posted in french fridays with dorie | Tagged , | 14 Comments

pork roast with mangoes and lychees

Pork may well be my culinary nemesis. As I may or may not have complained about again, and again, and yet again, I can just never seem to hit that two-second window of cooking time between raw and bone dry. Dorie has tried her darndest to teach me how to deal with it, but alas, her valiant efforts seem to have been mostly in vain.


But take heart, this is at least the last pork recipe in Around my French Table and I’m not one to throw in the towel just before crossing the finish line. So last week we made Dorie’s Pork with Mangoes and Lychees. And, as if that wasn’t enough complaining, as I was sticking the pot in the oven, I may or may not have voiced a little frustration with Dorie’s penchant for sweet additions to savory dishes. It turns out that I may well have more in common with Howard than previously thought:-)

I checked the meat at 30 minutes… way undercooked.

I checked it again at 40 minutes… WAY overcooked!


Whatever, I was quickly consoled by the fact that the sauce for this dish was crazy good and I had to quickly take back all of my complaints about Dorie’s sweet additions because this sauce was just perfect; it was sweet and slightly thick from the mango, a little salty from the soy sauce, and a hint of spice from the piment d’espelette. I’m not sure that I fully appreciated what the lychees had to offer, but they certainly didn’t detract.


So, favorite pork recipe in the book? Nope, that title goes hands down to the Cola and Jam Spareribs. But I just might make this week’s recipe again, and THAT, my friends, is just about the highest praise a pork recipe can earn in my kitchen.

Posted in french fridays with dorie | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

waffles and cream

I feel like my mojo is off these past two weeks.

First of all, last week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Waffles and Cream, was a decided miss. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Seriously! I love waffles. I love cream. How could I possibly screw this one up? But I did. My first batch simply curdled in the bowl before I even got a chance and my second batch made it into the waffle iron and came out greasy. Not an endearing trait when it comes to waffles.

To top it all off my husband forgot his years of training and, when I turned my back to look for the camera, started eating the waffle I had just set up for pictures. So, as you can see, with a corner missing…


Which brings us to this week’s recipe, Salmon Tartar. First off, I should mention that I was super excited about this recipe. I loved every single ingredient in this dish and it sounded like a sure-fire winner going in.

That is, until I did something supremely stupid. After returning from my shopping trip I went straight into the kitchen to start unpacking my groceries. I took all of the perishables out of my bag and started to put them away, and then the phone rang. I’m guessing you can see where this story is going.

Two hours later I returned to the kitchen to find that the salmon was the ONLY item which hadn’t made it into the fridge. It still felt cool to the touch and if I had been planning to serve it cooked, I probably would not have worried about it. But raw? I’ve had food poisoning once in my life before and that it an experience one does not quickly forget, so, what to do?

IMG_3570So, I cooked the darn thing, cubed it up, and otherwise served the recipe as instructed. The entire time grouchy, grouchy, grouchy that I wasn’t getting to try the true tartar. I thought that the end result was good, my husband thought it was okay, not great. So there you have it.

If you happen to run into my mojo, could you please send it back my way? I’m going to need it over the next few weeks.


Posted in french fridays with dorie | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

next-day beef salad

So, the other day I mentioned to my husband that we are in the final countdown at French Fridays with Dorie and that there are now less than 10 recipes left! He looked up with an expression genuine concern and asked, “but, what are we going to eat?” After I recovered from my fit of laughter, I gave his question a bit more consideration. The fact is that this little project has been going on for almost our entire married life, so he’s not fully off to wonder what the heck we’re going to eat if we don’t have Dorie supplying our weekly menu.

But never fear, this week Dorie is still looking out for us. We’ve actually made her Next-Day Beef Salad a few times before, once after the Beef on a String and again after one of my father’s famous Christmas Day standing rib roasts. If only I had bothered to take pictures one of those times, but alas, it turns out that I’m not as organized as I would like to think, and so we had to whip up our own leftovers this time.

This time around I got a bit more liberal with my changes. Among other tweaks, I cut the mayo in half and more than doubled the mustard. I love Maille’s original mustard and find that it’s so smooth and creamy that I can often use it to cut down on the mayo in recipes. Then again, mustard is probably my favorite condiment so it might just be that I’m an addict.


We’ve enjoyed this recipe each time and will probably make it again in the future when there are leftover bits of beef to be used up. So no worries, dear husband. Even when the project ends, we’ll still have Dorie’s book at our disposal for many meals to come:-)

Posted in french fridays with dorie | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Cote d’Azur cure-all soup

Dorie tells us that this week’s recipe is the French version of chicken noodle soup. Well, at the time that the recipe was announced in late February, I was long overdue for a cure. I had been cruising that middle ground between feeling not quite sick enough to stay home from work and not quite well enough to go in. Every morning after a good night’s sleep I would feel a bit better, and by midway through the day I would feel completely worn out and start thinking about leaving early. By day 7 I gave up and called in sick. That was the day I noticed that the March recipes had been announced and that was when I flipped through the book to read Dorie’s explanation of the restorative properties of this soup. I checked the cupboard and discovered that I was missing garlic and sage. So I dragged myself off the couch and over to the market to buy the missing two ingredients.

Once home, and after a quick nap to recover from the exertion of walking all of 3 blocks to the market and back, I sliced up the garlic (the whole bulb!) and got the soup started. Dorie suggests that the soup could be puréed or left as is. I went with option C and strained out most of the cooked garlic before adding the eggs.

The second the soup was done I poured myself a bowl, slurped it down, and then poured myself another bowl. In that sniffly, achy moment, it was the best soup I had ever tasted.

My husband came home a few hours later and I ever so gently reheated the soup for him in a double broiler. He commented that it was good, but I think he was just being nice to his sick wife, because after only half a bowl I found him in the kitchen prowling around for something else.

FFwD070 (2)

So there you have it, this cure-all soup is perfect for sick people or those trying to keep vampires at bay, but perhaps not so exciting for the perfectly healthy. I warned my husband that he should learn how to make it, because I will now be craving it next time I get sick.

Posted in french fridays with dorie | Tagged , | 15 Comments

veal marengo

As my husband polished off his portion and then started in on my plate of this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Veal Marengo, I warned him to slow down and savor it, because it was the last stew recipe in the book. Yay! Sorry, I meant that last sentiment to be a quiet inner voice. What can I say, while my fellow Doristas are celebrating a fish-free Friday, I am celebrating the fact that I will be unlikely to face another bowl of stewed meat for many years to come.

My husband, of course, loved this recipe and had no problem finishing both plates. So the score this week is 1 winning stew recipe + 1 appreciative stew lover + 1 “happy that’s done” stew hater. I’m going to call it a win.


Posted in french fridays with dorie | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

cabbage and foie gras bundles

I’m traveling for work this week and trying to type up this post on my iPad with two index fingers, while snuggled into the hotel bed for warmth while waiting for the heat to kick on. So that should be your hint right there that this will be short (and grammatically interesting from what I’ve seen from my auto-correct so far), but I didn’t want to miss posting about such an unusual recipe.

Knowing that I would be on the road this week, I actually made this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Cabbage and Foie Gras bundles, a few weeks ago. The exercise did not get off to a great start. First off, I love foie gras and was pretty darn skeptical that wrapping it up in cabbage leaves and then steaming it was going to add to my enjoyment of this rich little delicacy. But like a good little Dorista I jotted down Dorie’s instructions and set off to the store.

It was there that this recipe was almost completely derailed. I started asking the lady at the poultry counter which of her tasty-looking foie gras terrines (seriously auto-check? “termites”?) was made from whole foie gras and not mousse. She naturally asked how I planned to serve it (a very common question here which usually leads to helpful service and advice), but oh, oh you should have seen the look on her face! Seriously folks, I was almost starting to worry that she might decide not to sell me any of her precious stock, for fear of what I was going to do to it.

FFwD193 (3)

In the end I convinced her and she sent me off with a sad shake of her head. Frankly, at this point I was pretty in agreement with her and my husband apparently too, because he suggested that we split do a half recipe and save the rest for more traditional consumption. I readily agreed.

It was a decision which we both regretted later. Seriously, as unlikely as this dish sounds, we both really enjoyed it. We served it simply with some toasted sourdough and a glass of wine. Delicious! Who knew!

FFwD193 (1)

Posted in blogosphere, french fridays with dorie | Tagged , | 11 Comments