Friday, February 27, 2015

FFWD Riviera Fish Soup

I don't know what to say about this soup.  On the one hand, the flavor really was great.  On the other hand, it was absolutely painful to push through a food mill, and then throw away, a 28 dollar red snapper.  I would have felt much better about this soup if my store had an inexpensive bin of "fish for soup," the way Dorie described.  In hindsight, I probably should have just skipped the food mill and served the soup with chunks of fish (although I'm not sure what I would have done with the skin and bones in that scenario).  I served this with salad, shrimp dumplings, salmon (was supposed to be for Charlotte, but we all shared), bread and quick-aoli (I was too tired to make my own, so I added lemon juice and garlic to store bought mayonnaise).  Paul was still hungry after.  Again, with a whole red snapper I was expecting more of a meal.  This soup felt like a delicious starter.  I'll be very curious to see what everyone else thought of the dish.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TWD BCM Pink Grapefruit Tart

After seeing some of your photos, I'm almost embarrassed to show mine.  I'm definitely not going to win any awards for my decorating ability.  Luckily, the placement of the grapefruit segments in a pretty pattern does not affect the taste of the dessert and the taste of this dessert was excellent.  Was it worth the work or the calories?  I'm not sure.  I made this over a couple of days.  Luckily, Paul had made and frozen extra tart dough, so for the crust all I had to do was defrost, roll, freeze in pan, and bake.  On that same day I also made the almond-lemon cream and the grapefruit cremeux.  On the second day I segmented the grapefruits, and baked and assembled the tart.

Let me just start by saying that Paul's tart crust (from the Tartine book) was amazing--it's like puff pastry it's so buttery--and I absolutely loved the grapefruit cremeux.  Grapefruit is a favorite for me, and I thought Dorie balanced the sweet and tart flavors perfectly.  The almond-lemon cream?  I was unimpressed.  It was fine, but I barely noticed it with all of the other flavors going on.  It has done a nice job of protecting the shell--it's been in the fridge for a few days now and is still nice and crisp--so maybe that's reason enough for making it.  I'm glad I made this once, but in the future I could see myself making the grapefruit cremeux to serve in bowls and skipping the rest of the steps.

I try to avoid gelatin, so I substituted agar agar in the cremeux.  I totally guessed at the amount and the instructions, but it seemed to work perfectly.  In case anyone's interested, I used two tablespoons of agar agar.  I increased the amount of grapefruit juice by a few tablespoons (to account for the water used to soak the gelatin), and added the agar agar to the pan directly with the grapefruit juice.  I know agar agar sets up pretty quickly when it cools, so I also skipped letting the cremeux sit for 5 minutes before adding the butter.  I added the cremeux to the blender, and started adding butter and blending immediately.  As soon as it was all incorporated, I pored the cremeux into a bowl.  When it cooled, I covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge.  By the next day it was VERY thick and creamy.  It reached the perfect texture once whisked.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FFWD Vanilla-Butter Braised Lobster and Winter Ceviche

Again, traveling has gotten in the way of posting.  This month I had an aborted trip to New York and a trip to San Francisco for work, and we went on a family vacation to Florida.  Luckily, in between traveling I have been doing as much cooking as I can.  The Winter Ceviche was my favorite recipe of these two.  I have never had scallop ceviche, but I have had raw scallops at sushi restaurants so I had a feeling I would like this.  I was right.  The marinade was delicious, and the grapes and tarragon were nice accents.  I knew I would not need all of the marinade, so I saved some for Charlotte.  I seared some scallops in a fry pan (until cooked through) and then added the marinade and cooked until they were glazed.  They were delicious too, and she ate them happily.

I could not quite bear to use six sticks of butter, and I could not find lobster (fresh or frozen) the day I went to the store, so I made a much smaller version of this recipe with prawns.  I clarified and flavored two sticks of butter with a vanilla bean, and poached about half a pound of prawns in the clarified butter.  This was fun to try, good, and different, but I was not "wowed" enough to make this again.