#1: Chicory, pears and salty-sweet roasted almonds
I'm still confused about what chicory is. I thought it was frisee, but based on the picture in the book I decided it must be what I call (Belgian) endive. I think I made the right choice, but I'll be curious to see what everyone else's dishes look like. Frankly, I don't think it matters. These salty-sweet nuts and the simple lemon vinaigrette would be delicious on anything. This was a great winter salad. One that I'll definitely be making again.
This was such a great surprise. It seemed too simple to be very good, but I absolutely loved it. I cooked the beans (from scratch) a couple of days ahead, made the chili oil early, and after that this was a relatively easy weeknight dinner. I couldn't find red chilis, so I made a green chili oil. Not nearly as pretty, but the flavor is great. Another winner.
#3: Baby beet tarte tatin
A few weekends ago I made "rough" puff pastry for this and "real" puff pastry for TWD (hopefully I'll get around to posting about it soon). My technique on the "real" puff pastry was severely lacking, so this definitely wasn't a fair comparison, but given the time and effort I definitely think that "rough" puff pastry is the way too go. It rose nicely and was buttery, flaky, and delicious. I think anything would have tasted good on it, but it was a particularly nice way to serve beets. I liked the vinaigrette--sometimes I find beets too sweet and it really cut through the sweetness--and added some blue cheese.
#4: Warm salad of mushrooms and roasted squash
(A quick digression. When Paul and I were first dating he was not nearly the adventurous eater he is now, and used to spend a lot of time making fun of my "strange" eating habits--especially of all of the vegetables that I ate. After reading about this warm squash salad I knew I just had to make it. I waited for a night when Paul wasn't going to be around, and happily made my salad. I was just sitting down to eat it--it was delicious--when he called. His bus was caught in the snow (we were living in Chicago at the time) and he couldn't get home. Could he come over? I said okay. I debated hiding the squash salad, but decided against it. He ate it for dinner--with tuna fish that I made him so he could have more protein--and teased me about it for weeks. Now, 9 years later, Paul doesn't even bat an eyelash when we have squash salad for dinner.)
I don't eat mushrooms, so I used some herbed tofu instead. That probably disqualifies me from commenting on the recipe, but I will anyway. It was delicious. I loved the flavor the sage and garlic gave the squash (I used delicata and didn't even bother peeling), and loved the way the arugula cut through the richness of the blue cheese. Paul didn't comment. Probably not his favorite, but I also didn't hear any complaints.
I've made crostini many times, what a great way to use stale bread, but I liked the technique of this one. The advice to slice them thinly was especially helpful. I topped them with blue cheese, and put them on the squash soup I made for FFWD. (Another one I'm hoping to finally have time to post about soon.)
#6: Twice baked potatoes
I haven't had twice-baked potatoes since I was a kid, but after this reminder we're definitely going to start eating them more often. I love that most of the work can be done ahead of time, and they are definitely a lot more fun than plain baked potatoes. Unless of course the baked potatoes have cheese sauce on them :-)
#7: Roasted brussels sprouts with shallots
I roast brussel sprouts often, but thought that the shallots were a very nice addition. I'm not sure if I've ever had them roasted before, but they have a great sweetness.
#8: Pumpkin and raisin tea loaf
I forgot to take a picture of this. I told my mother I didn't really love it, so she tasted it. She said the flavors were absolutely perfect, and it just wasn't what I was expecting. She's probably right. I think I didn't love the addition of lemon, and am more used to a pumpkin bread that uses pre-cooked pumpkin. I might try this one again, though. It was definitely interesting.
#9: Couscous salad with herbs and walnuts
I normally don't buy whole grain couscous--Paul complains--but I thought it went really well with the hearty flavors in this dish. I also liked the addition of walnuts. Charlotte enjoyed her couscous plain with butter and cheese. This was good, if not overly exciting.
#10: Roasted parsnip chips
I was a little disappointed by this one. When I saw "chips" in the title I was hoping for something exciting, but these seemed just like plain roasted parsnips to me. Not bad at all, just not especially interesting.