Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TWD Catching-Up on June (Savarin and Cheese and Tomato Galette)

June was the most exciting, happiest, and most overwhelming month of my life.  My daughter (although we didn't know her gender until she was born) was due on June 2nd.  I was told I would likely deliver late, though, so I bought the stuff to make the Savarin and was planning on making it the first week of June.  It never happened.  I kept meaning to get started on it, but was surprisingly busy trying to finish things up before the baby was born (including the wedding scrapbook which I was so close to finishing!) and the recipe sounded overwhelming, so I kept deciding to start it the next day.  Well, I went into labor on the night of the 4th and still hadn't started the recipe.  Luckily, the only ingredients I had purchased for it were the berries and cream and we were able to put those to use in simpler recipes our first week home from the hospital.  I kept putting this recipe off in favor of simpler things for a few weeks, but last week I finally decided I was ready.  After all that, it was so much easier than I thought it would be!  Yes there are a lot of components, but none of them is hard to make.  I did skip making the raspberry puree.  It felt like too much trouble for only two tablespoons.  I replaced it with blackberry jam (homemade and canned last summer!) thinned with the leftover sugar syrup from soaking the cake (it seemed silly to use water and sugar when I had sugar water sitting right there) and thought it made a delicious fruit sauce.  I was thrilled with this recipe.  Paul, our guests, and I loved the combination of the sweet yeasted dough with the berries and cream.  I love recipes that look harder than they are.  This is definitely one I'll be making again.

On the other hand, as soon as I saw the Cheese and Tomato Galette recipe I was excited to make it.  This was one of the first things I got around to making after Charlotte was born.  I made the crust when I had some time early in the day, and then the Paul helped with the quick assembly and baking at dinner time.  I was inadvertently out of the cheeses called for (I thought my mom had bought them for us, but it turned out she was just storing them in our fridge to take to her house...) so I substituted some goat gouda I happened to have.  It was delicious.  We both thought that the very flavorful cheese worked better than the mozzarella and jack would have.  I'll definitely make this again with the goat gouda, but am also excited to try it with other cheeses.  As Paul said, it's like a pizza with lots of butter.  What's not to love!?!

Friday, July 26, 2013

FFWD Non-Dieter's Tartine

There were a couple of years in graduate school during which I tried almost every diet under the sun.  Luckily they never lasted for more than a day or two.  I think my longest was maybe a week.  Maybe it's my lack of discipline, but I quickly got tired of being hungry all of the time, missed whatever it was I wasn't supposed to be eating, wanted to go out with friends and eat normal things, etc., etc.  So I would quit that diet, be back to normal for a while, and then try a new diet.  One year I decided just to break the cycle, so my new year's resolution was to quit dieting.  Of course I couldn't even maintain that!  I did try fewer diets that year, and over time I've become less and less interested in dieting--or just too busy to care.  So, I had to laugh when I saw the recipe for this week.  Coincidentally, a few weeks ago Paul was reading through AMFT, happened to notice this recipe, and announced that it sounded awful.  I wasn't thrilled about trying it either, and really didn't think Paul would go for it, but I'm finally caught up so I didn't want to skip it.  I'm not a dieter though, so when the store didn't have fromage blanc I bought the full-fat sour cream that I usually buy, to mix with the low-fat cottage cheese that I already had in the fridge.  I also served this with some roasted potato and fennel soup, to make sure that it definitely wasn't a dieter's dinner.  With the fresh summer vegetables (including cherry tomatoes that Paul grew!) we actually both really enjoyed this tartine.  I'm surprised to say this, but it's actually a "recipe" that I want to make again this summer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

FFWD Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad + Sable Breton Galette with Berries

My mom and I struggle with garnishes.  Very frequently I'll chop parsley or cilantro to add to my dish at the end, finish the dish, plate it, eat dinner (we're usually very hungry by the time dinner is ready!), go back to the kitchen, and then realize that the garnish is still on the cutting board.  My mom does this all of the time too, and then spends the rest of the night beating herself up for forgetting the cilantro.  Paul, on the other hand, doesn't see the point of garnishes.  He once said to me that he knows that parsley is supposed to look pretty, but he doesn't think it's worth having green stuff stuck in his teeth.  I tried explaining to him that parsley and cilantro aren't just garnishes--they also add flavor to the dish--but he was unconvinced.  So, when I saw the recipe for the frilly herb salad I was pretty sure Paul wouldn't go for it.  I made it anyway and hoped for the best.  Paul didn't say one word about it (he's a smart guy!) but he very carefully sat and picked all of the parsley off of his fish before he started eating.  Oh well.  Honestly, I like parsley but I wasn't a big fan of the salad either.  I wish the parsley had been chopped instead of left whole (I think I was following the recipe, although maybe I just missed a step), and I thought there was way too much of it.  I did enjoy my fish, though.  The marinade was excellent.  I ate salmon and Paul ate swordfish and I thought the marinade worked well with both fishes.

I also made the Sable Breton Galette this week, which means I'm officially all caught up on FFWD recipes (except for the few I skipped because I don't eat the main ingredient and couldn't think of a substitute).  What can I say about it?  I'm really starting to appreciate recipes that have parts that can be made ahead.  One day I made the gallette dough, the next I made the lemon curd, and then that evening I baked off the gallette dough.  None of the components were hard or especially time consuming, but it was nice to be able to divide the steps.  Since there are only two of us I cut the tart into wedges, and added curd and berries to each one only as we were ready to eat it.  We really enjoyed this--I absolutely love lemon and summer berries are hard to beat--and I also appreciate how adaptable the recipe is.  I can imagine making this in the winter with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TWD Summer Vegetable Tart

I was so happy when I saw the recipe selections for this month.  I love that they relied on seasonal fruits and vegetables, and that both were relatively quick to make (at least in terms of hands-on time).  I tried to start this earlier in the day but only got to cutting some vegetables before Charlotte needed my attention.  Luckily, I was still able to get it made in about an hour after Paul came home.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, but cut the butter in half, used regular butter instead of clarified, and substituted yellow squash for the mushrooms.  I don't like mushrooms, and Paul's yellow squash plants have been insanely prolific the summer, so it was an easy substitution.  The hardest part for me--again!--was getting this out of the pan.  I had a lot of overhang (maybe I should have trimmed it before I baked this?) and I kept breaking it as I was trying to cut it neatly to get pieces out of the pan.  The first piece was definitely the hardest, but the second wasn't exactly easy either...Oh well.  This is another winner in my book.  I love the idea.  I'm sure I'll it again with all kinds of fillings.

Friday, July 12, 2013

FFWD Whole-Cherry Clafoutis

For some reason, I associate clafoutis with Ina Garten.  They obviously are a classic French dish, but I think watching the Barefoot Contessa make them must have been my introduction to the dish.  Although she always make them look delicious and easy, I never got around to making one.  I'm glad FFWD gave me the push I needed.  This was ridiculously quick and easy--I was able to prepare it in the short time that Charlotte sat happily in her bouncy seat looking out the window--and we both really enjoyed it.  Custard is probably my favorite dessert and I loved the subtle flavor of this one, and it's hard to go wrong with fresh summer cherries.  I kept forgetting the cherries had pits in them which made this a bit of a challenge to eat, but I loved how flavorful and juicy the cherries stayed, and it was so much easier than pitting them.  This is definitely one I'll make again.  Hopefully with all kinds of fruit.

Friday, July 5, 2013

FFWD Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad

I realized while I was pregnant and trying not to eat too much of it, that I really like canned tuna fish.  I think of it as a totally different food than fresh tuna, which I also really like, but it's a quick, convenient protein source and can really be delicious in the right recipe.  So I was very happy when I saw this recipe on the June schedule.  It's the type of thing that's right up my alley.  I was a little bit worried that Paul would complain about the wheat berries (he complains about almost all whole grains), but he doesn't get nearly as mad at me when I'm able to tell him that the recipe was for the blog.  This was the first recipe I attempted to make while wearing Charlotte (who was strapped into the baby carrier).  It was definitely slower than usual, but a success.  I cooked and dressed the wheat berries earlier in the day, during two different naps, and after letting them sit for a while to let the dressing soak in I put Charlotte in the carrier and prepared all of the other ingredients.

Mixed together,  the salad was lovely.  It need a surprising amount of salt, but I really liked how all of the different flavors came together.  I thought the apple was an especially nice addition.  It made this more interesting than a lot of the tuna salads I usually make.  I prepared this the night before to eat for lunch the next day.  I know Dorie said this needed to be eaten immediately, but I thought it still tasted great a day later.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TWD Baked Yogurt Tart

I'm definitely a "Type A" person.  I always have a to-do list, I love nothing more than checking things off my list, and while I'm doing one thing I'm usually thinking about what I can get done next.  At the end of my pregnancy I had very detailed lists of things that needed to get done before the baby was born, in the hospital immediately after the baby was born, later in the month of June, and later in July.  After coming home from the hospital, I tried to maintain my habit of making and keeping to to-do lists, even if the "to-dos" included things like "take a shower."  I'm starting to learn that, at least for me, with an infant it just isn't possible.  My pre-natal yoga teacher advised renaming all of my to-do lists to "tentative to-do lists."  I like that.  I'm trying to think of it more as goals for the day, and not as things that need to get done.  None of the things on my list are that important, and there's always tomorrow.  Right now, the only really important thing is to take good care of Charlotte and enjoy the time I get to spend with her, and I'm happy even if we get nothing else done all day.

All this to say that I'm trying to forgive myself for being a day late in posting.  I really wanted to get the tart made on Monday and the post up Tuesday.  It didn't happen.  Then I thought I could both make the tart and get the post up on Tuesday.  When I pulled the finished tart out of the oven at 10 last night I decided it just wasn't going to happen.  I also didn't have a chance to taste the tart on the day it was made, which I really wanted to.  I'm worried it won't be as good today.  If it isn't, I definitely won't blame the recipe.  Parenting challenges aside, this was a really easy recipe.  The hardest part for me was getting the crust into the pan.  I used a 9" cake pan and rolled the crust to 12", as the recipe suggests, but my crust barely went up the sides of the pan.  There definitely wasn't any overhang.  I don't quite understand what I did wrong.  Maybe my cake pan has especially high sides?  The only other challenge was getting the tart out of the pan.  I wasn't going to bother, but this morning while Charlotte was napping I decided to brave it.  The first time I flipped it it didn't budge at all, but I flipped it back over, ran the knife around the edges again, and the second time was a success.  Even if it doesn't taste great, I'm happy with how the tart looks!  This would definitely be a perfect dessert for the 4th.