Friday, March 30, 2012

Crab and Grapefruit Salad

This week in "French Fridays With Dorie" we made a Crab and Grapefruit Salad.  This was a fabulous salad. Even the picky eaters in the family loved it.  Crab,  Ruby Red Grapefruit, cucumbers, red bell pepper, and mint are all wonderful flavors mixed together in one delicious salad.  As it should be, the standout flavor was the crab.   This recipe was easy to follow and quick to prepare.    It is great as a luncheon salad or a dinner salad.  For me, this recipe is one I will make over and over again.  You can find this recipe on page 134, "Around My French Table."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blackberry, Lemon, and Thyme Muffins

I have been seeing a lot written in the cooking world about the combination of blackberries and thyme.  One recipe that caught my eye was in Bon Appetit magazine -Blackberry, Lemon, and Thyme muffins.  You have nice plump blackberries - fresh or frozen, mixed with  fresh thyme and lemon zest baked in a delicious batter consisting of butter, cake flour, regular flour, sugar, vanilla and buttermilk.    Top this batter with a delicious crumble, bake, and you have one moist great tasting muffin.

Blackberry, Lemon, and Thyme Muffins
From Bon Appetit


1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 large egg yolk


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1-1/2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed, drained) blackberries (about 6 ounces), halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Special Equipment: Eight 4-ounce paper muffin molds (optional)
Note:  I used my Texas size muffin molds.  You can also use standard-size muffin molds

Crumble Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add butter.  Using your fingertips, rub in butter until pea-size lumps form.  Add egg yolk; stir to evenly distribute and form moist clumps. (Crumble should resemble a mixture of pebbles and sand.)  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead.  Cover and keep chilled.

Muffins Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  If making standard-size muffins, line 16 1/3-cup molds with paper liners. Note: I lightly sprayed my muffin molds with cooking spray.
Whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add sugar and continue to beat until well incorporated, 2-3 minutes longer.  Whisk eggs and vanilla in a small bowl to blend; gradually beat into butter mixture.  Continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Combine buttermilk and lemon zest in a small bowl; gradually beat into butter mixture.  Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend (do not over mix).
Toss blackberries and thyme with 2 tablespoons flour in another small bowl; fold into batter, gently crushing berries slightly to release some juices.  Spoon about 2/3 cup batter into large paper muffin molds, or divide between prepared muffin pans.  Top each large muffin with 2 tablespoons crumble or each small muffin with 1 rounded tablespoon crumble.
Bake until tops are golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, about 50 minutes for large muffins and 40 minutes for standard-size muffins.  Let cool in pan at least 20 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at  room temperature.
Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead.  Store cooled muffins airtight
at room temperature.

Makes 8 large muffins or 16 small  muffins.

Muffin Batter With Crumble

Out of the Oven Cooling

Monday, March 26, 2012

White Cheddar Broccoli Soup

About 6 months ago, I had some great tasting Broccoli Cheese Soup at Panera  Bread.  It was delicious.   I enjoyed the flavors and the fact one bowl was a satisfying meal.   I was very excited when I found their soup recipe on the web. This soup is a rich and hearty and chocked full of veggies.
I did some very slight modifications to the original recipe.  I did not puree my soup because I like have a little texture to my soup, but feel free to blend.   This recipe serves 4.  

                                                        White Cheddar Broccoli Soup
                                                Adapted from Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup


1 tablespoon melted butter
½ medium onion chopped
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup flour
2-cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups broccoli florets finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped carrots
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 cups finely shredded white cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
Grated Cheese for topping


1. Sauté the onion in the butter.  Set aside.
2.Stir melted butter and flour until incorporated in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes.
3. Slowly add the half and half and stir until combined.  Repeat with chicken stock.
4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 
5. Add the broccoli, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the broth mixture.   Stir, cover and cook at a simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.
6. Add cheese slowly stirring constantly until melted.
7. If desired you can puree the soup in a blender *or leave as is.  Re taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Top with grated cheese and serve.

*If puréeing soup in a stand blender, let the soup cool for about 5 minutes and process in small batches.  You may need to reheat the soup.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cocoa Sables

This week our assignment for French Fridays with Dorie was Cocoa Sables.  This was not a good recipe for me on the first go around. I was tempted to throw out the mixture and just forget it.  However, I persevered and completed the recipe. The problem was the  dough. It was  very crumbly and difficult to roll into a log.    Before trying the recipe again, I decided to do some research.  In doing research on my "dough problem" I read in a post from Dorie Greenspan's Blog stating it could be the cocoa powder causing the crumbliness. Dutch processed is preferred.   She stated she had good results using the following brands of cocoa powder: Valrhona, Scharffenberger or Droste.    Before I try again, I am  definitely going to get new cocoa powder.  I will keep you posted on the outcome.  This recipe can be found on pages 402-403 in "Around My French Table."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

I was at the checkout awhile back, and I saw the latest issue of "Southern Living Magazine".  On the cover was a recipe for Hummingbird Bundt Cake.  It had been years since I had  Hummingbird cake.  Years ago, there was a bakery in Albuquerque  named "Panache. "  This bakery made the best Hummingbird cake I ever tasted.  It did not matter what kind of a get together my friends and I were having we always had to have Hummingbird cake.  Sadly, the bakery went out-of-business.
When reading over the recipe for the cake, the delicious flavors in the cake returned to my memory - bananas, pineapple, pecans, cream cheese frosting, just to name a few.  This cake was not a disappointment.  It was moist, flavorful, and as as individual so eloquently put it, "Makes you hum with delight with each bite."

Hummingbird Bundt Cake
From Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients for Cake Batter

1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large)
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
3/4 cup canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for Glaze

4 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk


Prepare Cake Batter:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 4 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Sprinkle 1 cup toasted pecans into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan.  Spoon batter over pecans.
3. Bake at 350 degrees (F)  for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).
4. Prepare Glaze: Process cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk in a food processor until well blended.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, processing until smooth.  Immediately pour glaze over cooled cake, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toasted pecans.

Makes 10-12 servings

Ready To Eat


Monday, March 19, 2012

Beef Stew With Mushrooms, Rosemary and Tomatoes

I have been in the mood for beef stew lately.  This urge started when I saw a recipe in the March 2012 issue of "Family Circle" magazine.  They had a beautiful picture of the yummiest looking stew.  I could not wait to try it.  As I was reading over the ingredients list I noticed there were no potatoes in the stew - in fact there weren't many veggies at all in the stew.  To me stew isn't stew unless it is loaded with veggies. Still, it did look yummy.  I decided I was going to make the stew with no modifications - make it as written.

The stew was rich, hearty, and delicious.   Beef simmered  in dry red wine, beef broth, herbs, onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms in a crock pot on low for about 8 hours.  I served the stew with Saint-Germain- des- Pres Onion Biscuits.

Beef Stew With Mushrooms, Rosemary And Tomatoes
From "Family Circle Magazine" March 2012


4 pounds boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound white button mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1.  Pat beef dry with paper towels.  In a bowl, combine flour with salt and pepper to taste.  Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and toss until lightly coated.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add beef in batches and cook until browned on all sides, about 20 minutes total.  Place meat in a large slow cooker.
3. Add onions to skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and tomato paste. Add wine and cook, scraping the pan, until liquid comes to a simmer.  Pour contents of skillet over meat.  Add broth, carrots, tomatoes and herbs to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until beef is tender when pierced with a fork.
4. When beef is almost ready melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring often,until mushrooms are golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Stir mushrooms into stew and discard bay leaf.  Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.

Makes 8 servings

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cheese Souffle

This week we made Cheese Souffle in "French Fridays With Dorie."  Let me start by saying the souffle was delicious.  It was light, fluffy, and  delectable - just like a souffle should be.  I was apprehensive about making this dish.  As is stated in Dories book, it has been said a souffle is very fussy, but that isn't the case.  I am so glad I tried this recipe.  I didn't have a souffle mold so I just used a 2-1/2 quart round Corning baking dish.  Now that I have gotten over my fear of making souffles, a souffle mold is going to be on my Mother's Day list. I waited for 30 minutes to put a piece of foil over my souffle so it got a little too brown.  Next time, I will do it at 25 minutes.  The recipe for Cheese Souffle can be found on pages 150-151 in "Around My French Table."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles

Yesterday was a lazy morning with the kids having Spring Break.  No rushing out the door with half eaten food in their hands.  I decided is was a waffle type morning.  I found a tasty recipe for Pecan Waffles.  Pecans are  a nut all member of the family like.  I did have to sprinkle some chocolate chips on my daughter waffles but the rest ate them as they were.

This recipe used both whole milk and buttermilk with the common ingredients of flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs, and of course pecans.  The recipe stated to sprinkle the pecans on the waffle batter but I just mixed them into the batter.   Also, the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, but I only used 1 teaspoon.

The waffles were a hit with the family.  In fact, I could not make them fast enough.  I was a good thing I set one aside for myself or I would not have gotten a taste.  I served the waffles with butter and warm maple syrup.

Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles
From "Food Network Magazine"

3/4 cups pecans
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract ( I used 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing and topping
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
Maple syrup for topping


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet; bake until toasted, 5 to 7 minutes.  Let  cool, then chop.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
3. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.  Whisk the egg, milk, buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined.
4. Stir the egg mixture, melted butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.) Note: You can stir  the pecans in the batter if you wish.
5. Preheat a waffle iron and brush with melted butter.  Ladle some batter into the iron (about 1/2 cup, depending on your waffle iron); sprinkle with 2 tablespoons toasted pecans (if you did not stir them in the batter).
6. Cook until golden brown, then transfer the waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat with the remaining batter.
7. Top the waffles with butter and maple syrup.

Makes 6 large waffles

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cherry Almond Irish Oatmeal

One of my favorites for breakfast is oatmeal.   I am particularly fond of Irish Oatmeal or steel cut oats.  I love the chewy nutty texture of steel cut oats.  Being Irish Oatmeal is less processed, it is higher in dietary fiber,  B-vitamins, calcium, and protein.  Today, my oatmeal was made in my crock- pot.  I add the ingredients before I go to bed, and let it cook for 6-7 hours on low.  I added some dried cherries, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the oats.  I also cooked the oats in vanilla flavored almond milk.  The result was a healthy and tasty breakfast.

                                               Cherry Almond Irish Oatmeal

Special Equipment:  Crock-pot

1 cup Irish Oatmeal (steel cut oats)
1/3-cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried cherries
4 cups Almond Milk- Vanilla
Milk, brown sugar, maple syrup, nuts for topping


1. Spray crock-pot lightly with cooking spray.
2. Mix together Irish Oatmeal, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.  Add dried cherries and stir until well mixed.
3. Add the almond milk to the oat mixture and stir well.
5. Pour the ingredients into the crock-pot.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours or until the milk is absorbed.
6. Stir the oatmeal before serving. Serve with milk, brown sugar, maple syrup, and nuts if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Steel Cut Oats or Irish Oatmeal

In Crock-pot Ready To Cook


Friday, March 9, 2012

Saint-Germain-des-Pres Onion Biscuits

This week in "French Fridays With Dorie" I  made Saint-Germain-des Pres Onion Biscuits. I enjoyed making these biscuits. The dough was perfect to work with.   It is amazing what a delicious bread a little flour, sugar, salt, butter, and onion can produce.    The biscuits were fluffy with a hint of onion.   I served the biscuits warm with a thick rich soup.  I plan on making this recipe again, but freezing the dough  for a later use.  This recipe can be found on pages 8-9 in "Around My French Table," or at the Amazon website.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bailey's Irish Cream Cake

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, I started searching for a tasty dessert.  I found a delicious recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream cake.  You start with a cake mix, add pudding, eggs and Bailey's Irish Cream. I modified the recipe some by omitting the nuts and using a chocolate cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix.  The recipe had a cream frosting, but I opted  for a glaze.   You could also dust the cake with confectioners sugar.   The cake was moist and had just the right flavoring of Bailey's Irish Cream.

Bailey's Irish Cream Cake
Adapted from


1 package chocolate cake mix (without pudding)
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
Bailey's Irish Cream glaze (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients.
3. Beat for 4 minutes with an electric mixer and pour into the prepared pan.
4. Bake 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes.  Turn cake out of pan and cool on a cooling rack or invert onto a plate.
6. Glaze and serve.

Bailey Irish Cream Glaze
From Bailey'

1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons Bailey Original Irish Cream

1. Melt butter. Whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth.
2. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicken Parmigiana With Linguine

The other night I made Chicken Parmigiana for dinner.  I hadn't made it in a while so I thought it would be a nice surprise for the family. It really is quite easy to make.  You get some chicken breasts and flatten them with a meat mallet or a rolling pin (kids like helping with this part) season them, place in a baking dish and cover with your favorite Marinara sauce, and two cheeses.  Pop them in the oven to bake. Serve the chicken over a bed of  linguine. Presto.  The result is a flavorful main course that is satisfying and filling.


Chicken Parmigiana


4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
5 cups Marinara sauce, warmed and divided
½ cup flour
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup Italian Bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

1. Flatten chicken breasts in a zip lock bag with a meat mallet or rolling pin.  Flatten to 1/3- inch thickness.  Place on a platter.
2. Pour 1 cup Marinara sauce in a 15x10 inch-baking dish. Spread evenly over the bottom of the dish.  Set aside.
3. Spread flour on a plate. Place beaten eggs in a pie pan.  Spread breadcrumbs on another plate.
4. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Coat both side of the breasts with flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs.  Place on a platter.  Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Place chicken in skillet and cook until brown. Flip and brown the other side.  Add more oil as needed.  Do not crowd your skillet – you may need to brown the chicken in batches.
7. Place browned chicken breasts over the sauce in the baking dish.
8.  Cover the chicken with 2 cups Marinara sauce.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the chicken then the grated Parmesan cheese.
9. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly.
10.  Cook the linguine according to package directions while the chicken is baking.  Drain the noodles and set aside.
11. Remove the Chicken Parmigiana from the oven.  Place cooked linguine on a plate with some Marinara sauce on top.  Place a chicken breast on top of the linguine.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Make 4 servings

Flattened Chicken Breast

Breadcrumbs, Eggs, Flour

Sauce in Bottom of  Pan

Chicken On Top Of Sauce

Chicken Covered With Sauce

Chicken With Sauce and Cheeses

Out of Oven

Chicken Parmigiana with Linguine

Friday, March 2, 2012

Roasted Salmon and Lentils

This week our assignment for "French Fridays With Dorie" was Roasted Salmon and Lentils.  To begin with, I am not a big fin fish fan.  However, I decided to take a food adventure and try the dish.   It was quite easy to prepare.  The lentils were cooked with veggies, chicken broth and seasoned with salt and pepper.  The salmon was roasted at a  high temperature for 12 minutes.  I then placed the salmon on the cooked lentils.   The result was a quite tasty dish.     This recipe can be found on pages 300-301 in "Around My French Table."