French Fridays with Dorie – Cod and Spinach Roulade

I soooo wanted to be on board with these.  I could totally picture the concept.  I even did a bang up job of convincing my husband to help me with the prep, all the while giving a pep talk to him (and me in my head) about how great these were gonna be.

Alas, friends, it was not meant to be and I must admit I was quite childish about the results. Bob was a trouper and stuck with me through the cooking of the sauce, the chopping of the spinach and EVEN the skin removing of the fish (don’t ask, oddly enough in these backwoods the ONLY fish I could find was perch and it had the skin on).  I ACTUALLY  had preserved lemon as a direct result of my Meyer lemon obsession in January.  It is also the only photo I have for this blog.  The carnage was too gruesome to capture for posterity.  Here is the photo of my preserved lemons using a recipe from the book Jam On:  The Craft of Canning Fruit by Laena McCarthy (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jam-on-laena-mccarthy/1110915038?ean=9780670026173).  Awesome book, I will be using it again when and if spring shows its face here in good old Wisconsin.

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Here is what happened.  We made them earlier in the day as the recipe said we could.  By the time it was dinner, a GREAT deal of the liquid had seeped out onto the plate in the fridge.  I proceeded with the steaming anyway.  After 25 damn minutes, they still weren’t done and I was completely freaked out by eating something wrapped in plastic that had been not only sitting in plastic all day but was now being cooked in this plastic and IT WASN’T WORKING!!!!

Cut to me throwing the whole thing out and breaking a dish in the process ( so childish).  We ate toasted cheese with ham and Granny Smith apple.  Bob and Eli were so kind to me later after I had cooled down.  They both gave me a hug and assured me I was still an excellent cook.

Plastic and pureed fish just don’t jive………………

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Tuesdays with Dorie – Madeleines

Trying to jump back in with this group as well as with my French Fridays group, so here I am!!  The potato loaves from earlier this month were a huge hit at our house, just never got the opportunity to blog that whole gig.  Here is a lovely photo of them.  One issue/question – did anyone else notice that theirs didn’t rise a whole lot?  I mean, I know the recipe said they wouldn’t but the finished product still seemed a bit dense.

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Anyhoo, this week’s recipe was Madeleines.  Personally I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about, I am not a big fan of sweets, give me glass of wine and a piece of cheese any day but Miss Hannah (thinking ahead to the Birthday party in June) loves this kind of stuff so let’s give it a whirl.  I stopped in at Bekah Kate’s for the pan (thanks Maggie).  How pretty!!  Maybe this will be a sweet I can get on board with, I do love a pretty dish/baking thingy….

The kitchen is a mess already as Eli has decided to paint Grandma Mary a picture for her Birthday which is Saturday (she’ll be 39 as I have already laid claims on the age 29).  Here is a pic of my Eli hard at work.

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Isn’t he just delicious?  Too much!

I read over some of the skuttle on the site and decided to go with Dorie’s French Fridays version. I have had a bit of bad luck with Baking with Julia and I know that Dorie worked on that book as well but sometimes  I find the recipes lacking in details.  Other times they are overloaded with dos and don’ts.  Especially worrisome to me was the “discussion” over whether the batter should be chilled before baking or not.  Again, I deferred to French Fridays p. 409  – Bonne Idee – Classic Madeleines.  Chill the batter in the pan, people, chill it.  Don’t forget to butter and flour the mold first either.  The classic madeleine recipe called for lemon zest and the rest of the usual suspects (i.e. butter and eggs, guess the pants won’t be fitting any better this week either).

In the fridge for three hours or so, then pop them in the oven  and voila!  They were perfect!  So good in fact that I whipped up a second batch today for the Reach Out and Read Luncheon I hosted. We are trying to get this pretty amazing project off the ground here in Reedsburg.  The ladies at the luncheon concurred, perfection!! And so, so cute.

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French Fridays with Dorie – Financiers

It’s been a really busy week here at the Feller household; first soccer practice, science fair project due, trying to get the golf course up and running (not happening – our weather stinks), dressing up as Piggy from the Piggy and Elephant series by Mo Willems for a library/school event…… yep, you read that correctly.  To prove that I am not making this up, here is a picture of me. For the record, I was smiling.  A big thank you to my partner in crime Jodie for being Elephant, the poor thing had to turn sideways to fit through the doorway.

 

 

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Hannah and I took advantage of a quiet weekend to make these yummy financiers last Sunday.  I love to read the back story on recipes from Dorie.  I always feel so European and it fills my void of not living there anymore.   We decided to make the chocolate version as chocolate always trumps.  Obviously we don’t own a financier mold but we did take the time to google it so we knew what we were missing.  Super cute but totally unnecessary.  Purchasing almond flour also seemed superfluous so we wizzed some up in the food processor.

Only one problem when we were making the financiers, the cream boiled over.  Why do I consistently walk away from dairy products that need to boil rapidly?  Do I think it won’t boil over like it does EVERY SINGLE TIME???!  Clean up and retry, second time’s the charm.

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Hannah has really become quite the little baker at our house.  She loves to try something new.  In fact, her science fair project topic investigated the best pan to bake chocolate chip cookies on.  She and her buddy Ali did a great job.  Here is a photo of them with their results at the fair.

 

 

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Our results with the financiers were excellent as well.  We chose to serve them with Herkner’s amazing cherry topping made in the good old Midwest and available at Blue Heron, a great little store owned by friends of ours, Kay and Larry Schroeder.   Here is the link to their site:  http://www.blueheronstore.com/  Easy as pie and delicious too!! We may even make these for Hannah’s Birthday, they rocked!

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Pierre Herme’s Olive Sables

Delish, my friends, delish!  What’s not to love about an olive, right? These little melt in your mouth crackers/cookies did not disappoint.   I must admit I was a bit taken aback when I saw powdered sugar with olives but, what the heck? Trust Dorie, right?   I had tried a sable  ( Sable Breton Cookies ) on her advice before, way back when we made olive oil ice cream and she suggested we make these yummy  goodies on page 464  to go along with the creaminess of the ice cream.  They lived up to their hype as well.

This sable was simple to mix up, the dough was “dry” as described in the recipe but after chilling for a couple of hours, it cut well and baked up perfectly. The only issue I have with any of these “shaping” cookies/crackers is that I can’t shape.  There it is, out there for the whole world to judge.  I have never been able to shape, I can remember feeling badly about this in art class when we were instructed to roll out little snakes and then make them into a pinch pot.  Mrs. Riepe made it look so EASY and then Anne Landfield ( whose father WAS an artist) did exactly the same thing and I ended up making a mess.  Ugh!!  Funny what we remember.  Anyhoo, mine aren’t exactly cracker shaped.  Whatever.

Cookie with a savory element or cracker with a bit of sweet?  You decide.  I chose to showcase them with some marinated (olive oil, lemon zest and red pepper flakes) olives.  They served as an appetizer last Saturday night when we were invited over to some family friends’ house for a Birthday celebration.  Perfect, they were nibbled up in no time!

 

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