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French Fridays with Dorie: Crème Brûlée

Blew the dust off my Around My French Table cookbook and joined the club again with this Creme Brulee. I checked the French Fridays with Dorie website on Tuesday and knew I could make this week’s recipe as there’ll be three egg yolks left over from the cupcakes I was baking for my son’s school. It’s also about time that I wrote a new post since my last post was back in October! I had been busy and was neglecting the blogging world for a bit but will be back next year with more regular reading and posting. I do missed visiting all the wonderful food blogs!

Anyway, back to the Creme Brulee, the custard was cooked on Wednesday and then all of a sudden….. it’s Friday! Where did the time go?? I baked the custard on Friday and served it on Saturday. I baked the custard for 50 minutes and left them in the oven to cool as they were still too jiggly in the middle. Dorie could fill 6 ramekins with 1/2 cup of custard each but I only have slightly more than 2 cups of custard and filled 5 ramekins.

The Christmas busyness got me distracted when I made the creme brulee and I forgot about the jam at the bottom of the ramekins although I remembered it earlier in the day! So no jam surprise, just regular creme brulee for me.

I sprinkled the one on the right with white sugar just to see the difference in effect and it doesn’t look as good as using brown sugar.

The taste? Well, I could have under-baked it or maybe it’s meant to be this way but it was too soft for me. While the taste was good it felt like ice-cream that has been sitting out for too long.

Take a look at other Creme Brulee here.

I would like to end this post by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Baking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Corn Soup

This is the first time I’m making corn soup. I’m not sure if corn soup is French but Dorie thinks it would have been had sweet corn been one of their native crops. This soup is delicious and, as Dorie said, quite substantial (probably due to the corn’s high fibre content and the whole milk!)

The base of the soup – fresh yellow corn.

I got the corn from the Farmers’ Market that opens every Thursday in my town. Most of the farmers were selling peaches and cream corn and just one had a box of yellow corn.

The soup was easy to make – so glad for my immersion blender! I like that it has celery and carrot in it too. It’s a sweet soup with strong flavours from the herbs – rosemary and thyme. I thought my kids wouldn’t like it because of the mixed flavours but they finished their soup. I might use 2% or low-fat milk the next time I make this so it won’t be so filling. We had pizza for dinner with the soup and I couldn’t finish my pizza…

Dorie suggested a garnish for the soup comprising of corn kernels, chopped scallions, chile pepper or cayenne, chopped bacon, and creme fraiche for serving. I didn’t have any of these but I dropped some of the bacon bits from my pizza into the soup and they did go well! As Dorie explains, “because the soup is sweet, it takes well to salty additions…”

I’m going to take a look at other FFWD-er’s soup and see what garnishes and additions they added. You can find the recipe here.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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French Fridays: Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

Another Asian-influenced dish from Around My French Table; pork curry-stew. Turmeric, curry powder, cardomom seeds, coriander seeds, lemongrass and coconut milk are used in this curry. This recipe says to braise the stew in the oven but I cooked it the way I cook curry – entirely on the stove. It was too hot to have the oven on anyway! I cooked the potatoes and carrots separately as Dorie said but cooked the onions with the pork to add extra sweetness to the stew. I also poured all but 1/4 of the can of coconut milk into the Dutch oven and added the remaining milk only at the end as the flavour of the coconut milk will be cooked away when cooked too long. I omitted the honey too as I didn’t think the stew needs it, preferring it savoury than sweet.

It was a pleasant and mild curry. I found the strongest flavours were the lemongrass and cardomom. My kids could eat it and they think it’s quite nice. After all, only 1 heaped teaspoon of curry powder was used. I found a drizzle of soy sauce to chicken curry enhances its flavour and it worked on this dish as well. We had it two days in a row and it did taste better the next day. The first night I served it over white rice and garlic fried rice the second. (The second night’s dinner was better!)

That’s all from me on this recipe. I’m curious how other French Fridays with Dorie members found it. Click here for their links. (I’ll update this post with the link when it’s up. The FFwD website appears to be down at this moment.)

 
 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Cola and Jam Spareribs

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is ribs marinated with Chinese 5-spice powder and ground ginger. Chinese 5-spice and ginger? I’m not so sure about that! They are both strong spices and I don’t like Chinese 5-spice powder very much. However, in the spirit of adventure, I went along. The ribs are first rubbed with the spice mixture and then marinated in a mixture of apricot jam, orange juice and lemon juice. The cola gets pour in at the last 45 minutes of roasting. My ribs were marinated overnight in the dry spice rub only as I didn’t have the jam and juice and could only get them the next day. Instead of apricot jam, I bought a bottle of orange jam with orange peel that was on sale. I like the slight bitterness that the orange peel imparts. The second change I made was to use back ribs instead of spareribs.

Baking the ribs was easy but it was a hot day that Tuesday. It was 29C in the afternoon, humidex at 38C! Each time I open the oven door to baste the ribs I would wince! Finally, after almost 2 hours, the ribs were done. There were still a lot of liquid left in the pan. I wonder if it’s due to the pan being small – I used a Pyrex glass pan and the ribs were touching the sides and each other.

Tasting time and …. meh. The ribs were a little sweet and a little bitter and that’s about it. The flavour was mostly on the skin. The flesh beneath was tender but just tasted of pork. Sorry, Dorie, I prefer my ribs to be more flavourful. Dorie didn’t give much description about the ribs so I’m not sure if this is the way it’s supposed to turn out. I haven’t cooked enough ribs to know. It seems more braised ribs than barbecue ribs…

There was almost one rack left over. The next day I pulled the meat off the ribs, shredded them and cooked them with BBQ sauce. Yum! ;-)

I’m going to go read what the other FFWD members think about this recipe. Click here and join me.

 
 

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French Fridays (Catch-up): Spinach and Bacon Quiche

I skipped quite a number of weeks of French Fridays with Dorie (FFWD) beginning the week(s) before my vacation, during and after my vacation. I’ll catch up whenever I can on the recipes I missed like this one. However, this quiche was made mostly because I had to buy a packet of bacon for the bolognese sauce I made earlier and I wanted to use it up! After checking FFWD and AMFT for recipes with bacon, I separated the bacon according to the required number of slices for the recipes, wrapped them up and froze them.

This quiche requires 4 slices of bacon, 10 ounces of spinach, just 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of heavy cream which I substituted with half-and-half. There’s also a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top. I didn’t have to make the tart shell from scratch as I had a Tenderflake frozen pie shell in the freezer. A simple quiche to put together although you do need time to prepare the spinach and cook the bacon till crisp.

Big Kid doesn’t like quiche because he doesn’t like the soft custard but he liked this quiche. The proportion of solid ingredients is more than the custard in this quiche. I like it this way too. This quiche is also a good way to eat lots of spinach! Here you go, Popeye!

(Spinach and Bacon Quiche was the FFWD recipe for the week of May 12, 2011)

 
 

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FFWD: Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

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I made this awhile ago but I had notes written in my Around my French Fridays cookbook. The broccoli was first steamed, seasoned and set aside. The crumb coating was then made in a skillet – butter, garlic, bread crumbs and lemon zest. I didn’t have any fresh mint or parsley to add on so I left it out. While the crumb coating is nice, I felt this was only a mediocre way of dressing up broccoli. It would have been nicer if the broccoli wasn’t cold. Tossing the broccoli with the crumbs in the skillet wasn’t enough to warm up the broccoli that had gone cold while sitting. The crumbs didn’t stick well to the broccoli too and most of it end up at the bottom of the plate. I also felt the dish was a little dry but that could be due to me not using the full 4 tablespoons of butter for the crumb coating!

Check out how other FFWD members did with this dish, click here.

 
 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce

Scallops – Eat them? Yes. Like them? Yes? Cooked them? No. And so it was with mild trepidation that I approached this week’s FFWD recipe. After all, scallops were the food that most often got the chefs in Hell’s Kitchen in trouble with Gordon Ramsay when they either undercooked or overcooked them! “They’re raw! RAW!” “They’re burnt!” If these chefs had so much trouble with scallops, would I fare better?

Finding the right scallops was also an activity. I went to four stores before finding scallops suitable for pan-searing. The first store I went to had fresh ones but they were Bay scallops. The frozen variety in that store and the next two were small ones, 60/80 in a pound. The last store had only frozen ones too but at least they were “30/40”. Got a bottle of unoaked chardonnay from the wine rack on my way out and I was all set.

Making the sauce was fairly simple. Caramelise 2 tablespoons of sugar and add freshly squeezed orange juice and white wine to it. Reduce the sauce and stir in pieces of butter as the last step.

Searing the scallops was not so simple and no, I did not fare better than the Hell’s Kitchen contestants. Smile I think my pan and oil were not hot enough as the scallops stuck as soon as I put them in. I had to scrape them off the pan to flip them and they stuck on the other side too. I cooked them about 2 minutes a side till the centre was barely opaque. Hubby liked them firmer so he didn’t mind if I seared them longer till they were browned. He likes his scallops overcooked!

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I liked the scallops with the caramel-orange sauce. Hubby felt the sauce was too sour but liked the scallops anyway. I probably won’t cook this dish again unless I come across bigger scallops as the “30/40” ones are too small after cooking.

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Head on over to French Fridays with Dorie to see how the others fared with this scallop dish!

 
 

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