French Fridays with Dorie Coconut Friands

Seems we are on to some sort of theme for the month of April with this cooking group.

Love it or Hate it”

Luckily, so far, I happen to belong to the “love it” team.  Coconut, what’s not to like?  This seemed like the sweetest little recipe, something to whip up while finishing my final paper for my AODA class and organizing the volunteer reception for our district’s volunteers (it’s National Volunteer Week).  I finally got to it yesterday.  It WAS so simple and pretty to whisk up the ingredients.The description that Dorie wrote in the cookbook made me want to brew some tea and invite my friends over to chat while nibbling on these delectables. Too bad things seem to be so crazy this week that I wasn’t even sure I would have time to try one while flying out the door.  I love the smell of coconut, although I wasn’t able to find unsweetened for this recipe but I think the sweetened worked just fine in this case.

looks pretty, but why does everything in my kitchen seem to be white?

 I was too lazy to buy another mini muffin tin, as mine bit the dust in a “let’s make our own crayons” fiasco.  I simply bought mini muffin cups and filled them with the batter and placed them on a cookie sheet, then popped them in the oven.  This worked really well!

Seventeen minutes later just as Dorie promised, these babies were ready!  The verdict?  Both Hannah and Eli gobbled them up, Eli claiming they were the best of the best (they don’t have access to vast amounts of sugar).  Bob had to be prodded to attempt a bite (he plays for  the other team) and pronounced them “good”.  If you know Bob, you know he means “crappy” but you can’t win them all.

Sadly for next week’s post I may need to trade my jersey in for the opponent’s colors.  Lamb, love it or hate it………………………stay tuned.

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Tuesdays with Dorie Lemon Loaf Cake

Saturday morning, I am still in my pjs and so is my sous chef for the day, Mr. Eli (his sister is at a sleep over and will likely come home too crabby to make eye contact with).  This is my first post for Tuesdays with Dorie and so far I am loving this cookbook.  It is soooo pretty.  The comments I  have been reading are not.  We aren’t allowed to post until Tuesday but we can comment and it seems as if this recipe wasn’t quite the home run we were expecting.  Oh, well. let’s give it a try anyway.

Another cup of coffee and Live in Paris from Diana Krall on the IPOD and we are all set. I decided to use Meyer Lemons instead of regular after reading some of the comments. Thank for that tip! Yum!  After making all the lemons “bald” I decided to juice them and use them for a glaze, taking another piece of advice from other Tuesdays members.   A lovely photo of some of the delicious ingredients.  Notice the bowls, they are a recent gift from my Aunt Sue.  They belonged to my Grandma Grace and they bring back fond memories of Tang and green jello when my sisters and I would spend the night.

Eli really got a kick out of whisking (I had to remind him not to annihilate the batter).  It looked divine and smelled wonderful so I am really and truly hoping it tastes that great as well.  Into the oven and to the quick glaze. I used only the Meyer lemon juice and a bit of powdered sugar.  The sous chef deemed it acceptable for consumption.

When it was finished, I poke holes as advised by other bakers into the cake and quickly poured the glaze over, then let it cool.

We decided to unleash this experiment as dessert tonight.  I sliced strawberries and made   whip cream to go with it.  Results?  Dismal at best. It looked pretty but the taste was completely underwhelming.  I would not make this again and it actually seemed like a waste of some perfectly good Meyer lemons.  Oh well, when the world gives you lemons you can always bake something!

Sardine Rillettes

Well, here goes nothing.  I was initially very excited to see this recipe but a head cold and rockin’ headache to go with it are really keeping me down.  No worries, my sous chef should be home from tap lessons in a few minutes to help me out so  I’ll start without her.

Sardines, you either love them or wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. I happen to love them and have fond memories of Sunday afternoons as a child when my dad would roll back the top of a tin of sardines (just like in the cartoons) and spread them on Saltines.  My mother would, of course, run for the hills claiming they smelled too fishy (duh).  She still doesn’t like her fish to taste like fish, a statement I really don’t “get” as I will eat anything from the sea.  I once ate smoked eel (think popsicle)  out of the back of a truck at the North Sea in northern Germany.  Sehr gut!

Now while my husband and children also adore seafood, only Eli has ever been brave enough to eat stinky sardines with his mommy.  Let’s see what happens after I smoosh them up and add cream cheese (nothing wrong with cream cheese, right?).

Here is what the sardines look like that I bought at Viking Village (again, no comments please). If they were good enough for King Oscar, they are good enough for me.  I decided to use cream cheese because that is what I had on hand.

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Before I start the chopping and mixing, probably time for a drinkie poo.  Prosit!

P.S. Don’t you think my shirt looks French?

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OK, now on to the real work.  Cream cheese softened, shallot minced, green onion in the bowl.  I used cayenne because I have no idea what piment d’ Espelette is but I will definitely be checking it out soon.  Lemon and salt, as in sel gris, velvet from Bekah Kate’s.  Chives stolen from the neighbors, compliments of my son, Eli.

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Now for the big moment, let’s open this baby up!  Man, that stinks, but Eli and I simply cannot help ourselves, we start scooping  them out of the tin and eating them directly.  Yum!

Now on to the finished product, which I served with toasted baguette slices.

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Here is the verdict:  Eli claims he could eat it out of the bowl, no toasted baguette required.  “In my world, this is the food of the week!”

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Hannah, on the other hand, refused to EVEN TRY IT!  EWWWW, GROSS!

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Bob tried a few, remaining polite (but he used hot sauce from our Puerto Rican vacation).  Thanks, honey for putting up with my antics.  Perhaps now wouldn’t be a good time to mention that I joined the Tuesdays with Dorie group as well?

I think the recipe rocks!  I will most certainly use this as an appetizer for my next soiree.  No fear cooking, bring on the lamb!   Now, how do you suppose I can get rid of this fishy smell in the kitchen, Grandma Mary?

Asparagus and bits of bacon

So my copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan arrived a few hours ago (not a moment too soon) and all I can say is, “Man, I love food porn!”  This book is delicious.  I cracked the spine, smelled the book and quickly looked up this week’s recipe, asparagus and bits of bacon.  Right. What’s not to love?  Bacon and asparagus, yippee!

I hopped in the car to pick up a few things at Viking Village (don’t ask) and was immediately annoyed.  No walnut or hazelnut oil as far as the eye could see.  Whatever.  I drove to the other side of town to check out the competition and guess what?  Strike two.  I drove home with my asparagus, once again irked by the fact that we live in a small town with limited food resources.  There are tons of fabulous things about living in Reedsburg but at the moment I am wishing my zip code was closer to Madison. Oh, well. Time to improvise, a skill I have only picked up in the kitchen since living here.  Olive oil it is.

Back in the kitchen I assembled the rest of the cast.  Here is what they look like:

I must confess something at this point, I actually have a sous chef doing most of the prep. As it is Spring Break here both children are lurking around and Hannah didn’t make it out of my line of sight fast enough so now she must help.  All photography credits go to her and most likely I will have to grovel at her feet if you are reading this at all. I am an idiot on the computer and ten to one she will save me in a few minutes when I cannot figure out how to post this.  Here is the uber lovely Miss Hannah:

Bacon in the pan, water boiling and walnuts in the oven roasting.  What, you say, there are no walnuts in this recipe?  I beg to differ. If one cannot find walnut oil in the boonies, one can certainly impart a nutty flavor by adding roasted walnuts to the finished dish.  And these are not just ANY walnuts, these are black walnuts my Uncle Dan lovingly collected and extracted by hand. Double Yum!

Back to the cooking.  Bacon turned out deliciously browned and after cooling went back in the pan with the diced onion. I know the recipe said not to brown the onions but I just didn’t think that would fly here so I let them soften up some and take on color.  Asparagus cooked and patted dry then on to assemble the whole ensemble.  The finished masterpiece!  Not only is it pleasing to the eye, the tummy is VERY happy as well.  Guten Appetit!