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Chris Hennes

Cooking with Dorie Greenspan's "Around my French Table"

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My Go-To Beef Daube (pp. 244–245)

So far, my biggest problem with this book is that I'm running out of synonyms for "delicious": Dorie has another winner here. I added the optional parsnips because I love parsnips (why don't they get the love they deserve, I wonder?), and for the wine I used a bottle of Big Dog Petite Syrah (a few ounces may have accidentally splashed into a glass next to the stove and not made it into the pot, however). I left the chunks of beef quite large, and made sure to very thoroughly brown them on all sides: this really amps up the flavors, which I thought were really nice. The texture of the beef is lovely, and the carrots retained just enough texture to not be mush. I served it with a side of mashed potatoes into which I mixed the garlic that cooked in the daube, mashed along with the potatoes. Overall, it was wonderful.

Beef Daube.jpg

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We got home from Sudbury and Anna said "that damn Chris Hennes!" I asked "what did he do?" She replied "he made my daube!"

If it wasn't for the lack of a decent bottle of Syrah in Little Current she would have beat you to it! Competitive cooking I tell you!

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Tonight I made a 1/2 recipe of the Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin, p. 362 and I have posted a photo here .

This one is custardy with the eggs and cream and a nice change from a simple cheese sauce.

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Guess what I just pulled out of the oven? A Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin. I like mine, hope you like yours.

I think it's a benevolent sign from the kitchen gods! Mine has almost all disappeared. My cooking mate, Kerry, keeps getting called away to duty so she manages a forkful here and there!

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Making the Gerard's Mustard Tart tonight, for the Fridays with Dorie group...we'll see how it turns out. I found the mustard in a wine shop of all places, but I still need to track down the creme fraiche. It seems like I always see it at the store when I don't need it but there's none to be found when I have a recipe I need it for! Kinda like mascarpone whenever I have the urge to make tiramisu. I'd just make it myself, but I don't want to wait and I'd still have to go to the store to get the heavy cream...

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Made the "back-of-the card" cheese and olive bread this morning. Here's the photo and comments.

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Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flan (p. 146)

This is the same pumpkin tart first posted about by eldereno here. To be honest, I didn't care for this one. I found the filling somewhat bland, especially in comparison to the cheese, and I didn't like the taste/texture/temperature combination (I served it lukewarm, as suggested in the recipe). I think I definitely would have liked it better served warmer. I replaced the walnuts with pecans since that is what I had on hand: that worked fine. Since eldereno liked it, I can only chalk this up to personal taste.

Fresh out of the oven:
Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flan.jpg

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Lemon Steamed Spinach, (p. 331)

If there's an award for "Absurdly Simple but Delicious" then I nominate this recipe. I never would have thought to steam spinach, nor season it prior to steaming. But this technique takes no more time than my usual saute in olive oil, is endlessly adaptable with various seasonings, and with little oil is lighter and (feels) healthier than my standard saute--and requires no attention by the cook. There's no garlic in this recipe, but the next time I make it, I'm trying it with sliced garlic. But the lemon zest in the original recipe is worth remembering--so good!

No picture, because it looks like the pile of spinach that it is, and it's pretty much all I had for dinner tonight, with some cheese and crackers. But definitely a keeper. This has changed the way I cook spinach. As Dorie suggests, it would make a great base for chicken or fish dishes.

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Finally, finally made the Beef Daube! No Syrah here in the ingredient desert of Manitoulin Island but Kerry found a pleasant Shiraz that worked well. Here's a link to a photo and further discussion of the dish.

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Finally, finally made the Beef Daube! No Syrah here in the ingredient desert of Manitoulin Island but Kerry found a pleasant Shiraz that worked well. Here's a link to a photo and further discussion of the dish.

I have a picture of Anna testing the Shiraz to see if it in any way resembled the Syrah I was supposed to get - but she won't let me post it!

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Swiss Chard Pancakes (farçous), p. 350

Grated Carrot Salad (carottes rapées), p. 107

If the idea of pancakes for dinner is appealing, then this savory pancake recipe is for you. Id never heard of farçous, but I love chard so this recipe caught my eye when first thumbing through the cookbook. Simple, quick, and delicious, these pancakes are chock full of greensthe chard plus parsley and chives, with onion, shallot, and garlic providing plenty more flavor. Dorie notes that the recipe is very flexible, and I can see how thats so. I probably used more chard than the recipe called for, but this is not the sort of recipe where strict measurements matter. YUM!

farcous.JPG

Accompanied by the classic carottes rapées, which I used to showcase the gorgeous multi-colored carrots that are appearing in the farmers markets now that its fall (sob). Perfect to add crunch and contrasting color to the plate. My poor photography does not do justice to the lovely colors on this plate.

Thanks to the handy food processor for grating the carrots then mixing the pancake batter, both of these were ready in less than 30 minutes (I halved the recipe). Dorie provides directions for holding the pancakes while you cook up the whole batch, but if you have hungry kids waiting, I can easily imagine serving them straight from the griddle.

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Those colors look pretty good to me, LindaK!!!

Veal Marengo (p. 264)

I cannot get many different veal cuts here - shoulder is one one that is not available. (shanks, chops, scallopinni and ground are about it), so I subbed in shanks, braised them about an hour longer that the recipe (with shoulder) called for, separated the varous little muscles, and added them back into the stew. Served with little red potatoes that I peeled around the middle, we really enjoyed this and will make it again. The sweetness from the onions and played very nicely with the earthy mushrooms. If a stew can be elegant, this is it!!

GEDC0289.JPG


Edited by Dana (log)

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Yesterday I made Olive Sables (p 12) see here .

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Boeuf à la mode (a.k.a. Great Pot Roast) (p. 252–253)

The trick to this pot roast is that you start the day before and marinate the beef in wine and aromatics overnight. It doesn't really add any work, but requires that you plan ahead a bit (not usually my forte). I mostly followed the instructions on this recipe, up until serving: I personally prefer a thicker gravy with my pot roast, so I took some of the sauce and thickened it with a roux. It probably pulls it away from the French and solidly into American Pot Roast territory: oh well! Served with buttered and peppered egg noodles and peas, this would definitely not be out of place on any typical US table.

Beouf a la mode.jpg

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I started a long catch-up reply this morning, pressed some button and had the whole thing disappear -- aarrrgh!

Anna -- so many dinners! So many friends! I know you live in the middle of nowhere (it's true, right?), but I think I want to be your next-door neighbor. Would you let me come over and try your Thermomix? I've never played with one, but I love the way you made the Olive Sables in it.

Like you, I often can't wait to cut into the Back-of-the-Card Cheese Cake. I'd never think to serve it with the daube, but seeing them kind of together, I wonder ...

Chris -- I'm sorry that you didn't like the Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans, especially since yours were beautiful, but my guess is that, like you said, it's a matter of personal taste. Now that Boeuf a la Mode ... it looks great and I like that you served it with peppered noodles. What's funny is that you said that the thickened sauce might not be French. Well, I think it would be French, a more traditional French. These days, you're more likely to find pan sauces and jus than thickened sauces, but the pleasure of cooking is being able to make something just the way you like so, so I'm glad you fiddled with teh recipe.

Linda K -- I loved your comment about not taking a picture of the spinach because, well, it looked like a pile of spinach. I'm so glad you liked it. I was so excited when I figured out that I could season the spinach first! And I'm really, really happy you made the Swiss chard pancakes -- my husband keeps asking me to make them for him. In fact, he would have loved to have had the pancakes and the carrots for dinner, just as you did. Two of his faves.

Dana -- you're right, the Veal Marengo made with shanks did look 'elegant'. There are no hard-and-fast rules about the cut of meat you should use when you're cooking at home, you just have adjust the cooking time to get the texture you want. I love that you made it with shanks.

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Dana, veal shanks are my favorite veal cut, they always have so much flavor. Yours look delicious, I'm adding this recipe to my short list, and I don't cook meat very often.

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I started a long catch-up reply this morning, pressed some button and had the whole thing disappear -- aarrrgh!

Anna -- so many dinners! So many friends! I know you live in the middle of nowhere (it's true, right?), but I think I want to be your next-door neighbor. Would you let me come over and try your Thermomix? I've never played with one, but I love the way you made the Olive Sables in it.

....

Dorie, I don’t actually live in the middle of nowhere but about halfway between Toronto and Niagara Wine Country! But for 2 weeks my best friend, Kerry, and I are on Manitoulin Island which truly is a different world. Love for you to come visit and play with my Thermomix! But Kerry will be in Buffalo next weekend teaching an advanced chocolate course at Tomric and will be using her Thermomix so she has extended an open invitation for you to play if you are in that area!


Edited by heidih Fix quote tag (log)

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Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast (page 276)

I wouldn't ordinarily bother to post about a recipe that someone else had already reported on (see: competitive cooking above), but I took a few liberties with this one that I thought worth mentioning. Instead of a boneless pork loin roast, I used half of a standing rib roast of pork that I had in the freezer. I made the stuffing as directed using red chard, but I doubled the coating mixture of crushed black peppercorns and coriander seeds. Before I cut into the meat for the stuffing, I cut along the rib bones almost to the chine and spread half of the pepper/coriander mixture in there. Then I stuffed the roast and, because I was lazy, closed it with toothpicks.

When I first removed the roast from the oven after 25 minutes, I discovered something that doesn’t seem so odd in retrospect but really threw me at the time. The top part of the roast, above the stuffing, was at 140 degrees while the part near the bone, below the stuffing, was about 125 degrees. I measured a few times so I don’t think it was that my thermometer was inserted incorrectly (e.g., in the stuffing or against the bone). Anyway, I cooked the roast another 15 minutes and then let it rest for 15 minutes more. The part above the stuffing ended up drier than I would have liked it; but the part below was just perfect—slightly pink, very juicy.

I was bit hesitant about the raisins. I don’t always like them in savory dishes. But there aren’t many here and they added just the barest hint of sweetness to every other bite or so. Quite delightful. In fact, the whole dish was quite delightful.

for eg.jpg

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Tuna Confit with Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa, p 305

If this cookbook is any indication, Dorie and I both share a love of tuna, fresh and canned. I’ve been looking forward to trying some of the many tuna recipes in the book.

This one seemed to be a good place to start, especially since it holds out the possibility of that magic word: leftovers.

DSCF0390.JPG

I’ll give this one mixed reviews. First of all, the marinade/oil for the confit is delectable. The preserved lemons add great flavor and complexity. Once cooked, it was even better. I kept a bowl of it on the table and everyone reached for it several times.

The recipe calls for cooking 1 lb tuna in the marinade in a 225 degree oven for one hour. As you can see from the photo, my tuna was fully cooked through and even a touch dry. Given that it was poached in olive oil, that was a surprise. I’ve never done any low temp/sous vide cooking, so I need to do some homework on the temperature/time—too high? too long? It’s a great idea and the flavors were good, but I’d prefer the tuna a bit more pink and less firm.

I cheated on the salsa. The recipe calls for both a tomato salsa and tapenade. I forgot about the tapenade, so at the last minute added some slivered black olives and chopped capers to the tomato salsa, which calls for red peppers and more preserved lemon. Guests were divided on the salsa—some loved it, others (including me) thought the addition of preserved lemon was too much of a good thing, given its prominence in the marinade. Everyone agreed that the tuna-salsa combination was great over mashed potatoes.

Bottom line: we all enjoyed it and I’m glad I have some leftovers to play with. This recipe has inspired me to play around with the fish poached in olive oil concept and—gulp—maybe read the sous vide topic.

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I'm drooling. The Cauliflower Bacon Gratin sounds so good and I don't even really like that particular vegetable! May have to buy one and make a half recipe to see if it gives cauliflower a flavor I actually like. :laugh:

I'm buying this book as soon as I can get funds. Probably ordering next weekend. We need a few new dishes in the stable of recipes to cook now that we're eating more vegetables. Oh man, I'm so hungry now. Guess it's time to get started on the chicken strips, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables that seem so blah in comparison now. :raz:

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Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

This was amazing. My pumpkin was a little over 3 pounds, and held the full amount of stuffing. For the liquid, I used 1 beaten egg and 1/2 cup cream. Mixed the stuffing ingredients, including liquids, and left them to absorb while I tackled the pumpkin. (A curved grapefruit knife came in handy in de-stringing.)

(Baked in a 2-quart Ditch oven, lined with non-stick foil, letting the edges of the foil hang down the outside of the oven. Using the foil as handles, removal of the pumpkin to the serving platter was a cinch.)

Baked 2 hours, removing the cap for the last 20 minutes. There was a bit of liquid on top when the pumpkin came out of the oven, so I let it rest 5 minutes. Cut into quarters to serve. The texture of the stuffing was perfect, and each serving was beautiful. This is a rich dish, so with a tossed salad, it fed 4 more than adequately. I'll certainly make this every year when pumpkin season rolls around.

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Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

This was amazing. My pumpkin was a little over 3 pounds, and held the full amount of stuffing. For the liquid, I used 1 beaten egg and 1/2 cup cream. Mixed the stuffing ingredients, including liquids, and left them to absorb while I tackled the pumpkin. (A curved grapefruit knife came in handy in de-stringing.)

(Baked in a 2-quart Ditch oven, lined with non-stick foil, letting the edges of the foil hang down the outside of the oven. Using the foil as handles, removal of the pumpkin to the serving platter was a cinch.)

Baked 2 hours, removing the cap for the last 20 minutes. There was a bit of liquid on top when the pumpkin came out of the oven, so I let it rest 5 minutes. Cut into quarters to serve. The texture of the stuffing was perfect, and each serving was beautiful. This is a rich dish, so with a tossed salad, it fed 4 more than adequately. I'll certainly make this every year when pumpkin season rolls around.

i also made this last night--or a quick and dirty version, anyway. i had a small pie pumpkin, maybe 2 1/4 lb before scooping. used parmigiano-rosemary rolls for the bread, and a mixture of gruyere and a smoky cheese blend for the cheese. no egg, some cream. rubbed the skin of the pumpkin-baby with some olive oil. at 60 minutes, the skin was easily pierceable with a knife-tip. i cut it into wedges, which worked well. my husband initially commented that i'd given him too big a piece. he's not a pumpkin-fan. yeah...he ate it all. next time i will put some cooked sausage in there. and next time will be soon!

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Y'all are making me very hungry. This pumpkin sounds fantastic. I'm very excited to be picking up a copy of the book at Dorie's signing tomorrow.

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup p. 68

GEDC0291.JPG

I put this together for lunch last week along with a sandwich. I used my immersion blender to puree, and you can see it's not as smooth as it could be. It was only lunch, and I had some other stuff going on - smoothness at that point just wasn't that big a deal. I did drip a little truffle oil on top. Quick, simple easy and delish.

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