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Cooking with 'The Cooking of Southwest France'


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OK, I've made the clafouti twice, and both times it broke. Edible, but not pretty. This has never happened with other clafouti recipes. Now that the cherries have hit the market, any suggestions or explanations would be deeply appreciated.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Klari this looks outstanding. The chiocken recipe has been on my radar for a long time because of the picture in the book but I have not had the chance to try it yet. Same with the cake, I love your picture of it with the cherries.

The rabbit compote is very nice and I think next time I want to press it in a terrine pan with a line of prunes in the middle for a more refined presentation.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I haven't followed this thread for a while because I was waiting for Steve to pick up the book in the US. I've got it now, so must get busy. Maybe I'll start with the clafoutis. My kids love it, although the cherries here are not the sour black ones that are traditionally used. Busboy, when you say it "broke", what exactly do you mean? Just looking at the recipe, I see that warm milk is specified, which I haven't seen before. Do you think that maybe your milk was too hot, or did it split when it was actually in the oven? I really like the idea of the sugar and butter on the top after 20 mins which I'm sure gives it a wonderful crust. Another new pointer for me.

Klari... your food looks incredible!

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Elie, do make the chicken dish! It's also very good for entertaining because there's very little last minute work (although there is a lot of work hours before that :biggrin: ) and it looks very impressive.

About the rabbit: we had the leftovers today. I made a little sweet and sour onion/raisin compote to go with it, and to be honest I liked that better than the prunes. It was a great combination with the sweet and succulent rabbit.

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I haven't followed this thread for a while because I was waiting for Steve to pick up the book in the US.  I've got it now, so must get busy.  Maybe I'll start with the clafoutis.  My kids love it, although the cherries here are not the sour black ones that are traditionally used.  Busboy, when you say it "broke", what exactly do you mean?  Just looking at the recipe, I see that warm milk is specified, which I haven't seen before.  Do you think that maybe your milk was too hot, or did it split when it was actually in the oven?  I really like the idea of the sugar and butter on the top after 20 mins which I'm sure gives it a wonderful crust.  Another new pointer for me.

Klari... your food looks incredible!

It split when it was in the oven. My best guess is that it's some interaction with the cheap brandy I use when I'm making it. Especially distressing because the thing looks so dang wonderful when you pull it out of the oven. The other variable that's changed is that we're making it -- per instruction -- in a cast-iron skillet, rather than the glass pie plate we've used in the past.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I haven't followed this thread for a while because I was waiting for Steve to pick up the book in the US.  I've got it now, so must get busy.  Maybe I'll start with the clafoutis.  My kids love it, although the cherries here are not the sour black ones that are traditionally used.  Busboy, when you say it "broke", what exactly do you mean?  Just looking at the recipe, I see that warm milk is specified, which I haven't seen before.  Do you think that maybe your milk was too hot, or did it split when it was actually in the oven?  I really like the idea of the sugar and butter on the top after 20 mins which I'm sure gives it a wonderful crust.  Another new pointer for me.

Klari... your food looks incredible!

It split when it was in the oven. My best guess is that it's some interaction with the cheap brandy I use when I'm making it. Especially distressing because the thing looks so dang wonderful when you pull it out of the oven. The other variable that's changed is that we're making it -- per instruction -- in a cast-iron skillet, rather than the glass pie plate we've used in the past.

Interesting, I might try and give it a shot tonight using some good frozen cherries I have in the freezer. I'll make sure to report back if I do.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Wow, Klary, I missed your dinner while I was out of town and somehow didn't see this thread. I've been wanting to do that Gateau Basque for a long time, and it looks gorgeous. I also love the idea of using the aromatic mix in crepes - I can do that right away!

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I bought the book in anticipation of hosting a bordeaux wine dinner next month. I am trying to figure out a menu whereby I can miminize the work needed in the kitchen at dinner time and prepare as much as possible in advance. I will get to work on the confit soon.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated. I am aiming for a soup and salad course, followed by 2 hearty red wine friendly dishes. Dessert and cheese are obviously done in advance.

Thanks

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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I made the clafoutis this evening, with mixed success. So here it is... taddah... my first picture in the cooking forum.

gallery_29775_3147_28450.jpg

As you can see, it rose quite high above the edge of the skillet, like a Yorkshire pudding, and took some cherries up the side with it, so doesn't look quite as good as it should. But it tasted great, and was lighter than my usual recipe (Larousse), possibly because of the butter. The girls said it was their favourite clafoutis... maybe that was because of the brandy! I did deviate from the recipe a bit, due to time constraints, so I didn't pop the cherries into the freezer for a few hours, or leave the batter to rest. Also, I added in about a tablespoon of sugar to the batter when I was making it.

It looked like it had split in one or two places when it came out of the oven, but it was just where the knobs of butter had been added. Perhaps this is what happened with yours Busboy? The only effect the iron skillet appeared to have on mine was to rise it to an alarming degree at the edges. I'll certainly be using this same skillet to make Yorkshire pudding!

Edited by Corinna Dunne (log)
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I haven't a clue why the recipe produced a swollen wwavy-edged clafoutis. Actually, I find it very attractive.

Here is how it looks after the fall when I prepare it with whole wheat flour.

gallery_8703_782_51708.jpg

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I made the clafoutis this evening, with mixed success.  So here it is... taddah... my first picture in the cooking forum.

gallery_29775_3147_28450.jpg

As you can see, it rose quite high above the edge of the skillet, like a Yorkshire pudding, and took some cherries up the side with it, so doesn't look quite as good as it should. But it tasted great, and was lighter than my usual recipe (Larousse), possibly because of the butter.  The girls said it was their favourite clafoutis... maybe that was because of the brandy!  I did deviate from the recipe a bit, due to time constraints, so I didn't pop the cherries into the freezer for a few hours, or leave the batter to rest.  Also, I added in about a tablespoon of sugar to the batter when I was making it.

It looked like it had split in one or two places when it came out of the oven, but it was just where the knobs of butter had been added.  Perhaps this is what happened with yours Busboy?  The only effect the iron skillet appeared to have on mine was to rise it to an alarming degree at the edges.  I'll certainly be using this same skillet to make Yorkshire pudding!

I didn't get the alarming edge-rise, rather it just looked like a cream sauce looks when it breaks, only held together by the egg.

I made another recipe in the skillet, and it came out fine, so I've eliminated that as the cause, but I am still mystified.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I think I possibly was too generous with the butter when I greased the skillet, and this could have encouraged the swell at the edges, much the same as lard is used to rise Yorkshire pudding (although it is a smoking hot pool when the batter is added). As I mentioned, I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, so this could have had some bearing too. In any case, my very rustic version was devoured very quickly.

Edited by Corinna Dunne (log)
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As an FYI look at my post titled "Goose Fat & Garlic" This is other great South Western France cook book by Jeanne Strang.

It is a great compliment to Wolfert's book.

Anyone who likes Paula will also like Jeanne.

Both excellent.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the Confit of Pork Salad with Green Beans and Cabbage

gallery_16307_1993_96746.jpg

This was a sleeper hit! It looks very simple, and in fact it is very simple. But my guests and even my somewhat salad-averse husband were still talking about this dish after dessert.

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I bought the book in anticipation of hosting a bordeaux wine dinner next month.  I am trying to figure out a menu whereby I can miminize the work needed in the kitchen at dinner time and prepare as much as possible in advance. I will get to work on the confit soon.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.  I am aiming for a soup and salad course,  followed by 2 hearty red wine friendly dishes.  Dessert and cheese are obviously done in advance. 

Thanks

Evan

Well I get to answer my own question. Last dinner my dinner went over great with my guests. I was able to concentrate mainly on baking all the bread the day of.

I made the evening garlic soup in the morning and whisked in the eggs right before serving. I made the duck confit with cabbage salad before my guests arrived and that was pretty easy work. The short ribs with cepes and prunes was done two days prior - that was really really delicious.

I decided to move off the board and get a dessert recipe from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course, chocolate brownie cookies along with earl grey ice cream.

Dough can sense fear.

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Made the Baked eggplant with garlic yesterday since this is a great time of the year to get really high quality specimins.

They were absolutely delicious. So much so that one of our guests said they although normally she didn't eat aubergine (eggplant in English) she'd eat these every day.

Here are some notes & liberties that I took as I made the dish.

- I put all of the garlic ,cloves & minced, into the olive oil at once. I used a very fruity oil of the type you'd use for dipping.

- I fished out the cloves with a fork & cut them into rough quarters (they'd been halved originally.

- I found trying to lard the eggplant was a bit difficult as the eggplants were tightly closed & the garlic slivers a bit flexible. The solution was to use my oyster shucking knife with its thick stiff blade & to give it a slight twist just before removing it. This helped get the garlic in neatly.

- I decided to BBQ the eggplant. Mainly because it was a hot day & I had lamb shoulder slow roasting in one oven & didn't want to turn on the second oven; especially up to 400F!! So, I got my gas BBQ up to 400F & placed the eggplant packets over indirect heat & baked for 30 minutes. Worked a treat although next time I'll probably give them another 5 minutes.

- I could have used more oil from the baking packets. Maybe this was because my eggplants were larger than called for, don't know, but I'll do more next time as the oil & minced garlic looks wonderfull spread over the cut eggplant.

- I cut mine into quarters for serving which looked good & was good for putting on the plate.

- We had some discussion over whether to eat or not to eat the skins. I ate them & enjoyed them others didn't.

Next time & there will definitly be a next time I'll take pictures & make a few further adjustments.

All in all a nice nice recipe & great dish. It went perfectly with the lamb shoulder by the way.

Thank you Paula!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since I bought some awsome, perfect and delicious cherries in season I finally managed to try the calfoutis. I made half the recipe in a smaller skillet, using a heavy non-stick one.

here it is right after it came out, still puffy

gallery_5404_1891_469088.jpg

Deflated and cooled

gallery_5404_1891_268050.jpg

My wife and I both loved it. It is much much better IMO when it is nice and cool, not warm. When cool, the flavor of the cherry and the hints of vanilla and Cognac come through much better. When warm/hot...it tastes too eggy. In any case this was easy and tasty and I will be making this again.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  • 2 months later...

I made the Batter Cake with Fresh Pears last night. The details are in RecipeGullet. The base is crepe-like, just the perfect foil to showcase the sweet pears. My husband swears it's even better with a splash of pear liqueur on top. Really tasty. Thank you Paula!

Batter Cake with Fresh Pears

gallery_41870_2503_8618.jpg

and with a little dusting...

gallery_41870_2503_17094.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone tried those Sarlat potatoes yet?? If not, do so ASAP. I made these as a side for a roast chicken recently and they were simply amazing. So much so that there were no leftovers for the rest of the chicken! I used my Lodge cast iron skillet to make these and the slices had the best crunchy crispy edges. The last sprinkle of garlic and parsley really puts them over the top.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Shaya, that's a gorgeous pear cake.

Elie, I haven't done the Sarlat potatoes yet, but I've made the Quercy potatoes several times and they're really good.

Here's the dessert from a recent French dinner

gallery_16307_1993_30241.jpg

Madeleines from Dax and Roast Figs in the Style of the Pyrenees. A very nice little dessert, with some miniature persimmons.

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Shaya, that's a gorgeous pear cake.

Elie, I haven't done the Sarlat potatoes yet, but I've made the Quercy potatoes several times and they're really good.

Here's the dessert from a recent French dinner

gallery_16307_1993_30241.jpg

Madeleines from Dax and Roast Figs in the Style of the Pyrenees.  A very nice little dessert, with some miniature persimmons.

Beautiful dessert. Did it taste as good as it looks? I love such simple fruit desserts.

Fortunately it's in the 1st edition. I've just ordered the 2nd, but it will take some time to arrive. Now I need to find figs like the ones I had a week or two ago.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I also made the Madeleines from Dax this weekend. I made the recipe as written, (even managed to remember to start the batter the day before) except :laugh: I added some orange zest to the batter together with the orangeblossom water for a more pronounced orangeflavor.

Served with slow-cooked quinces (from Wolferts Slow Meditteranean Cooking). Very good.

Pictures here in the Dinner thread

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