salmon rillettes

Well, after almost a month I would consider ourselves mostly moved into our new apartment. So long as you ignore the storage errr, guest room, it actually looks quite good. And I’m happy to say that we LOVE the new place. It’s so bright and airy and the balcony really is a dream. So far we have a total of 2 plants out there, one oleander and one tomato, both well-intentioned house-warming gifts. Let’s just say that the odds are stacked against these poor plants because they are being raised on an east facing balcony in a climate not known for its warm summers by two total novice gardeners. I do not exaggerate here, we have not til now owned a single house plant! It will be nothing short of a miracle if they survive the month.


We do have one complication, however, and that is our kitchen. It is apparent that when we were looking at the place originally I was blinded by the balcony and didn’t pay close enough attention to the kitchen. In short, it was clearly designed by someone who never actually cooks. There is a massive sink which blocks off all but 2 square feet of counter space. The only outlets are directly behind the sink and stove respectively. The silverware drawer is buried within another drawer, so that I have to open two sets of drawers each time I want to grab a spoon. And the stove makes odd short circuiting sounds if you turn one of the burners above medium heat. Oh, and despite the fact that the kitchen is physically larger than our old one, there is significantly less storage space and I still have two unpacked moving boxes full of things with no place to go. We have already placed an emergency call to someone who can hopefully help.

Luckily, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Salmon Rillettes, did not require any fancy kitchen equipment. I have yet to meet a rillette I didn’t like and Dorie’s salmon rillettes were no exception. Pork rillettes are traditional and delicious. In our deli we can buy wonderful goose rillettes. And now with Dorie we’ve made three different versions of fish rillettes: first sardines, then recently tuna, and now salmon. Of the three the salmon took the most time, since it required a minor bit of cooking, but was still quite quick and easy. I decided to serve it as part of a larger “stuff on toast” breakfast menu. Good stuff, we’ll do it again.

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piperade stir fry

A few weeks ago I wrote about how my husband’s new grill got to move into our new apartment before we did. I believe that it was Mary who sagely advised me to leave him to it. Well, Mary, it was good advice and I have been benefiting from the proceeds ever since.

And when this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe popped up, Piperade Stir Fry (aka, sautéed bell peppers), I thought that it sounded like the perfect side for grilled steak. I knew going in, however, that my husband doesn’t think that bell peppers are good for much of anything. But he willingly ate Dorie’s chicken with piperade a few years ago, so maybe this one stood a chance after all.

What can I say? I thought that the dish was okay and my husband is as confirmed as ever in his distaste for bell peppers. It sure was pretty though and I may try it again with a different assortment of sweet and spicy peppers.

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Hope that my fellow Doristas in the northern hemisphere are finally enjoying some grilling weather.

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smoked salmon waffles

I’ve created a monster. Let me explain.

When I first joined French Fridays with Dorie, oh, almost exactly 3 years ago now, I remember discussing the idea with my husband first. I’m not sure that he fully understood the concept of an online cooking group, but once he learned that it would require me to make more desserts than I normally do, he got on board with the idea and has been very supportive ever since. However, the one area which has caused a bit of pain over the years is the picture taking. How many times has the poor guy been told, “you can’t eat until I’ve taken a picture”? I’m sure that your own significant others can relate. But this week’s recipe, Smoked Salmon Waffles, led to an unexpected turn of events.

We made this dish last Sunday for breakfast and, considering that this was my first FFwD recipe in our new apartment, only one week post move, I considered it a major accomplishment that I was even able to find the camera and, more importantly, the waffle iron. But find it I did and, skeptical though I may have been (I mean, smoked salmon IN waffles? Really?), I dutifully set about making the dish according to Dorie’s instructions.

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After I’d made a few waffles and was about to unplug the waffle iron, my husband wandered in to check up on me and, apparently, was not entirely happy with what he found.

the German: How’s it coming?
me: I think this should be enough, we can eat.
the German (looking concerned): … Are they really done?
me: Yes, why do you ask?
the German: But, they don’t look like the picture in the book.
me: Well, they made mini versions for the book and I thought that sounded like a hassle, so I made regular sized ones.
the German: And where’s the green stuff?
me: Do you mean the chives which they sprinkled on top? They’re in the waffles. I didn’t chop up extra for garnish.
the German (still looking concerned): Oh.
me: I’m going to go eat my breakfast now. There’s still plenty of batter and chives if you want to try to replicate the picture in the book.

And so my fellow Doristas, that is exactly what he did! He plugged the waffle iron back in, sliced up some extra salmon and chopped some chives. It apparently took several attempts to figure out exactly how little batter to use for the perfect mini waffles. The picture above are my waffles and the picture below are his, so that you can judge for yourself. I personally thought that he did a great job.

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Oh, and before I forget, looks aside, we both enjoyed these.

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Say it with me… I’m NEVER moving again! In less than 15 hours the movers will arrive to cart all of our worldly belongings to our new apartment, and at this point, I am just exhausted beyond caring. Are you impressed that I’m still participating in FFwD this week? Don’t be. This is an act of pure procrastination.

I’m not usually one to get emotionally attached to “things.” I’ve spent years abusing my two pack rat brothers, both of whom seem physically incapable of throwing anything away. But this move is proving a bit more emotional that I had expected. This was my first home in Germany and my first home together with my husband. It’s where I learned that he likes his tea black and his coffee loaded with as much milk and sugar as possible, and that neither is apparently considered an appropriate substitute for breakfast (this was news to me). That the Germans are very proud of their bread (rightly so, by the way), and that if the house was burning down, he’d probably grab the watercooker first.

It’s where I learned that things are a little different across the pond. Ovens are smaller, pillows are bigger, and closets don’t exist. The first floor is on the second floor. The butter is stronger, the flour is weaker, and brown sugar = soft sugar = a trip to the specialty British store on the other side of town. It’s been quite a ride and I’ve actually come to love my little blue kitchen.

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This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was the last official real meal made in that kitchen. Somewhere in the pile of boxes that surrounds me is photographic proof that I made it. But my husband was in charge of packing the electronics and now I have no idea where my camera is. You’ll just have to believe me. I made it, it was very good, we will make it again.

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tuna rillettes

My apartment is a pile of boxes! All of my cookbooks, except for Dorie’s, are packed. The kitchen, however, is still on the “To Pack” list. T minus 7 days to moving day. It’s going to be a fun weekend. For this reason, I was grateful for an easy one this week. May I present, Tuna Rillettes.

I love rillettes, and a small container of goose rillettes is not an uncommon sight in our refrigerator. Not homemade though. Dorie’s Sardine Rillettes was my first attempt at making them at home and I’m very much looking forward to the Salmon Rillettes recipe. And yet, this week’s recipe Tuna Rillettes just sounded so, I don’t know, boring. And the idea of adding curry powder didn’t help. I love a good curry as much as the next, but I’ve never been a fan of adding curry flavor randomly to other recipe. I never understood the whole curry chicken salad fad. Just weird.


But I tried it and I loved it. So quick, so easy. I will make this again.

Now, a word about the Green As Spring Veal Stew before I sign off. Last week’s recipe was, well, unphotogenic seems to be the nicest thing I can say about it. So, I will not inflict any of my photos on you here. It actually tasted good, but I just couldn’t seem to get past the look of the dish. I was expecting a slightly brighter green and mine came out, well, let’s move on.

I will be spending my weekend packing. My husband will be spending his weekend buying and setting up a new grill. Yes, you read that correctly, the new grill gets to move into our new place before I do. To say that he’s excited about our new balcony would be an understatement.

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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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