Time spent in the garden and kitchen is not time wasted; the essence of quality is attained through toil, not technology.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

French Onion Soup

Let me commence by declaring my affinity for this soup- I order it out constantly; if it's on the menu- I will most probably try it!    But, that leads me to admit that I have never ever made it myself.  So, it was with a slight trepidation that I nestled into my cooking space to change that.
First off, I have discovered yet another cooking gadget that I believe will very soon go flying out the back door- a mandolin??   I had alway read that they were a must have kitchen item & I even received it as a requested Christmas gift last year.  Well, in a nutshell, that damn thing & I don't work well together at all!
Faced with 6 rather substantial onions- I decided to drag it out & go after it; egads, I had chunks of onion flinging everywhere along with a pitiful few very lovely slices.   I know- technique, technique- any of you that know how to finesse one of these instruments, do tell, please.
When I finally have my onion slices, they go in for the marathon browning session- no need to repeat what you all are aware of- "forever and a day".... Suffice it to say I began at 4PM and we dished up at 8!
 The bowls await the lovely concoction!
 Cheese & fresh, hearty bread- total yum!
 Finally, a somewhat caramel color
 My smallest sous chef, Millie
I used 6 cups chicken stock & 2 cups of broth made with a mixture of chicken & veal glace that I had in the cupboard plus a dollop of the cognac in the pot.   The flavor was superb, but I do have to ask- or I had always assumed that it was made with beef stock?   It was most enjoyable and DH ate it with obvious  relish and went back for seconds.   I will definitely do a repeat with this one!

Friday, February 17, 2012

FFWD- Mussels with Chorizo

First of all, let me say- I don't do shellfish & fish very willingly; frankly, they scare me.   Cooking times are so very critical, not to mention, are they dead or alive??   But, my dear husband, loves anything form the ocean or waters, so here we go.  I proclaimed to him that this week's recipe was composed of mussels & he was oh so pleased.   I said, oh Lord, where do you even get them?  Costco was his answer, every Friday; fresh, just waiting to be plucked.    So he proudly brings home a little net  5 lb. bag of mussels and scrubs them for me to place in the lovely broth that I prepared.....I plopped them in, set the timer for 3 min.- then covered for another min or 2.
He peeked under the lid- said they were all opened and ready to enjoy on their soft bed of pasta.   I have to admit, they smelled very luscious.    Husband dug in & consumed a bunch of them.   I was a bit picky; why did some of them look just plain funky in those shells & some were nice & round??
OK, so bottom line here is "did, done, experienced them- maybe not again, any too soon. "  Get my drift?

Monday, February 6, 2012

FFWD- apple gorgonzola tart

Once again,  I baked this & rushed off to a Super Bowl gathering without taking pics!   Ugh....
But here are the details-   I chose to use some very nice Bleu that I had on hand, and I did increase my amounts to 3-4 oz. on that.   I also added extra apple and the walnuts and browned a few slices of pancetta to add in.   Because I use farm fresh eggs that come in all different sizes; I went with 3 eggs & some very rich Guernsey milk that I had in the frig instead of the cream.
Now, all of this made a scrumptious dish- but I have to talk about my crust.  (Or should I say bemoan my crust?)   I am a very experienced bread baker, and I generally have no problems with any yeast bread recipe, but the pie/tart crusts give me fits!   I have done them both with the processor & by hand, and they are always too tough on the bottom and/or seem too dry.   I am simply determined to figure this out; so any of your best & most successful hints would be cherished!  Thank you, my Dorista friends.