Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TWD Potato Lefse Rewind

We were on vacation the weekend before we were assigned to post about these.  Before we went away I had big visions of getting home from Florida Monday morning, walking immediately in the house to cook the potatoes, and having hot lefse on the table for dinner Monday night.  Well, when our plane landed on Monday morning I was greeted by urgent calls and emails from work, and a car with a dead battery.  By the time I got home I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  Re-reading the recipe, I decided to accept that it just wasn't going to happen....So, I'm very glad we have rewind days.  I'm also very glad to be baking these with a group.  Reading everyone else's posts, and all of the helpful suggestions for equipment to use so that I didn't need to purchase anything special, calmed my anxiety and made me feel ready to attempt these.  This Saturday I cooked, "riced" (using my food mill), mixed, and chilled the potatoes.  On Sunday evening, after Charlotte went to bed, I mixed the dough and then I rolled lefse while Paul griddled them.  If I had to I probably could have done both tasks myself (much more slowly), but this really was a perfect two-person job.  The timing worked exactly correctly.  Each time I rolled one out and used my icing spatula to lift it off the board, I turned my head and Paul was taking the last lefse out of the cast iron skillet.  

After we were finished (even with two people it took at least 30 min to make 16), we sat down to eat.  I served these with jam, butter, and cinnamon sugar.  On the side we had pickled beets and eggs with horseradish cream.  I'm glad we made these--it was a fun process and we enjoyed them--but I doubt they'll make a frequent appearance in our house.  It's rare that we both have the time and energy to work on something like this.

Friday, April 25, 2014

FFWD Green as Spring Stew

I've been having terrible luck with the FFWD recipes recently.  I was all set to make this week's recipe, but came down with a migraine instead.  I kept trying to cook, but eventually got Paul to make the recipe while I rested on the couch.  Because I don't eat veal, we turned this into a much faster, simpler version.  We substituted cubes of turkey tenderloin for the veal, skipped the initial boiling step, and only simmered the turkey for about 15 minutes until it was cooked through.  Neither one of us has ever cooked veal so I'm very curious to see how all of your recipes turned out.  1.5 hours seems like such a long time to simmer cubes of meat.  Does it fall apart?  Anyway, I wouldn't call ours a stew.  It was more like cooked turkey and steamed potatoes with a green sauce.  The sauce was too salty (in hindsight, Paul shouldn't have salted until after the broth was reduced), but I really liked the flavor of the herbs.  I'm not sure if I'd make the whole recipe again, but I could definitely see myself making this green sauce to serve on all sorts of things.

Friday, April 18, 2014

FFWD Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps and Garlic en Papillote

One of the things I enjoy about Passover, aside from the 30+ person Seder that my mom hosts every year, is that it always brings friends and family into town.  This year, I was lucky to have two of my oldest friends come over to visit on Sunday.  I made a chicken and freekeh dish (from Jerusalem) before they came over and meant to assemble the vegetable packets as well, but I ran out of time.  We got to talking, and before I knew it it was 7:30, we were hungry and ready for dinner, and Charlotte was exhausted and needed to be put down.  Not wanting to put our guests to work, I asked Paul to make the vegetable packets while I put Charlotte to bed.  When I came out of Charlotte's room, Paul was outside doing yard-work (as I've documented, Paul is a very competent cook, but I think yard-work is his favorite activity in the entire world) and my friend Sarah was making the vegetables.  I pretended to be annoyed at Paul, but Sarah seemed happy to do it and is a much better cook than Paul anyway.  Unfortunately Sarah had to leave to catch her flight before the vegetables were done (I'm such a bad host!), but Paul, Ilana, and I enjoyed them.  I typically just steam bok choy and sugar snaps, so it was nice to learn a new (and easy) method of preparing them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TWD Cantuccini

I've had a lot of bad biscotti.  Several of the diets I've tried have included biscotti recipes that have been hard and flavorless, and I've had way too many of the coffee shop biscotti that are way too soft, and also generally flavorless.  The first time I made biscotti from BWJ (the hazelnut one) was a revelation.  I absolutely loved it.  It turns out that, when done well, biscotti has a perfectly crisp texture (not too hard, but definitely not soft) and a delicious, concentrated flavor.  This almond biscotti was at least as good as the hazelnut one, if not better.  First, I loved the technique.  I made these after Charlotte went to bed and was worried about how I was going to get the almonds sliced without my food processor (using it would have worken her up), so I was thrilled when I realized that you just fold whole almonds into the dough, and they get cut into pretty pieces when the biscotti are sliced.  I also loved the simple ingredient list, and that the whole thing required nothing more than a bowl, a spatula, and a very quick knead.  Second, I loved the almond flavor and the crunchy texture.  I love having a bag of these on the counter, although it's very hard to walk past without stealing one (or two).  My taste tester even said that these were the best biscotti she's ever had!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FFWD Quiche Maraichere

Some weeks I feel like I have things all figured out.  I'm keeping up with work, spending as much time as I can with Charlotte, cooking good food, keeping up with exercising, emails, the blog, the rest of my life....Other weeks I feel like throwing my hands in the air, lying down on the floor, and sleeping for a week.  Last week was the latter type of week.  Take a busy week at work, add in teething and a cold/allergies for Charlotte and some car trouble just for fun, and it starts to feel impossible to keep up with anything.  So, more than a week after I made the quiche, I'm finally sitting down to post about it.

Every time I make quiche I wonder I don't make it more often.  It's delicious, relatively quick (well, there's a lot of time, but almost all of it is just hands-off waiting time), and a great vehicle for any leftovers that might be hanging out in the refrigerator.  This wasn't my favorite quiche--the custard is my favorite part, and this one had less custard in favor of more vegetables and some cheese on top--but we still enjoyed it.  I don't normally serve such small portions of quiche, but we wanted a light dinner after a late afternoon birthday party, so here's the quiche with lots of salad and asparagus.  The next day we had larger pieces for lunch.  I love how well quiche reheats!

Friday, April 4, 2014

FFWD Visitandine and Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India

One of my grandmother's oldest friends, Mrs. Lazaar, made an incredible sponge cake.  Even the Kosher for Passover version was light, airy, and delicious.  I am no Mrs. Lazaar.  I seriously struggle with sponge cake.  I think I must not be folding in the eggs correctly.  I need to watch a video or something, or at least learn to be more patient.  They always deflate.  This time was particularly bad.  I didn't want to run the mixer after Charlotte was asleep (she's still an incredibly light sleeper), so I beat the eggs and then left them while I gave her a bath and put her to bed.  Big mistake.  When I came back the eggs had almost separated.  There were some very beaten whites (almost like snow) and then liquid on the bottom.  I also didn't do a great job of separating the eggs (no clue why), so that may have contributed.  So anyway, my cake was dense and didn't rise at all.  It still tasted good though.  I like the clean butter and sugar flavor.  I served it with whipped cream and some peaches that we canned over the summer, and we were both happy.  I'd like to make this one again.  My technique definitely needs practice.

On another note, I'd like to post a correction to my last post.  I, mistakenly, wrote that "With some supervision/instruction on my part, Paul made these tartes along with a kale and wild rice gratin."   For probably the first time ever Paul actually read that post, and wanted me to clarify that he did not need any supervision or instruction.  He wants everyone to know that he made the tarts and the gratin all by himself!  I tried reminding him that I shopped, reviewed the ingredients with him, and rolled out and cut the puff pastry rounds, but I'm trying to learn to pick my battles, so I won't argue....The Vegetable Barley Soup, on the other hand, Paul actually did make all by himself.  We were both pretty skeptical, Indian flavored barley soup in a French cookbook just sounded confused, but we actually loved it.  I thought the flavors worked really nicely.  My one quibble is with the claim that the recipe serves six.  We ate almost the entire thing in one sitting!  This is definitely a recipe I'll make again.