Thursday, July 2, 2015

FFWD Wrap-Up Post

First, a thank you to anyone who reads this post.  It's now almost two weeks late but, at least for my own benefit, I wanted to finish out this FFWD journey.  I'll start with the make-up recipes, and then post a few thoughts on some of the celebration week themes that I missed.

I didn't really make the Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles at all.  I don't do offal, and when the group made these I was in the middle of first-trimester food aversions and wasn't in the mood for doing anything creative.  So I made my favorite cabbage bundles instead.  You cook leeks and cabbage in butter, add some juniper berries and heavy cream for flavor, and then add blue cheese along with some filling to each bundle.  Not what Dorie intended (it's actually an old Deborah Madison recipe), but I'm a fan.

It seemed like most--if not all--of you had no trouble with the Waffles and Cream recipe, so I'm going to go ahead and blame myself for this one, but it was a total failure.  I followed the recipe exactly (or at least I intended to, maybe I mis-measured something?) and used our Belgian waffle iron (the only waffle iron that we own), but these were a mess.  Every time I opened the iron the waffle had split in half, with one half sticking to the top and the other to the bottom.  I could not get them to stay together.  I tried different timing, different iron temperatures, spraying the iron, and nothing seemed to help.  These also seemed way too buttery for me.  I just couldn't bring myself to add any adornments.  We ate these--Paul ate most of them--but they won't be a repeater in our house.

We don't do pork, but I really wanted to try the combination of mango and lychee, so instead of Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees I did grilled salmon and asparagus with rice, and combined the mangoes, lychees, and other ingredients into a quick topping for the salmon.  This sauce really was excellent.  I imagine it would go well on all kinds of fish, and maybe even chicken.

I made Shrimp Escabeche instead of the Sardine Escabeche, but can't seem to find a picture.  (Likely because I forgot to take one!)  This was another first-trimester recipe that I just couldn't stomach.  The vinegar was too much for me.  Paul didn't seem to mind this, and Charlotte even ate a couple of shrimp, but neither one of them seemed especially thrilled about it.  I doubt I'll be making it again.

Last, the Cheesecake Tart.  When I was a kid I hated when my mom added raisins to anything cooked.  There was no worse way to ruin a rice pudding or custard!  I'm now generally okay with cooked raisins, but I found myself feeling my old childhood sentiments while eating this tart.  It was good, but would have been so much better without the raisins!  Next time.

I actually started writing a Food Revolution Day post, but sadly never got around to finishing it.  I have learned many important tips and techniques from Dorie, but--for me--I would say that roasting a chicken is one that everybody should know.  I know I keep writing about the Lazy Roast Chicken but really, it's so easy anyone can do it, with potatoes and vegetables in the pot it's a complete meal, and the leftovers are delicious.  You can even make chicken stock from the bones.  I certainly roasted chicken before this group, and I'm sure I will try other recipes from time-to-time, but I think everyone (or at least everyone who likes chicken!) should have a "go to" roast chicken recipe and I'm very glad that I've found mine

I'm not sure that I'd say I will Never-Doubt-Dorie again (I still remember the fish aspic!), but there are definitely recipes that I was very skeptical about and turned out to love.  One that comes to mind is the Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India.  Vegetable barley soup sounded totally boring to me, and I just wasn't sure about an "Indian-style" recipe in a French cookbook, but we absolutely loved this one.  I'll definitely be making it again this fall and winter.

This is completely unoriginal, but my Play-It-Again-Dorie recipe is definitely the Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux.  It isn't the very-best roast chicken I've ever had, but it's my "go to" and definitely worth the price of the book.

Last, the Grand Finale.  I still remember writing my first post.  In what would become an ongoing theme for me, I joined the group a year late, and even my very first post was a day late.  I posted late on a Saturday evening before heading out to dinner with friends, and left my link.  I was sure that nobody would read my post except for possibly my mother.  I was shocked when I came home from dinner and there were already comments!  I really couldn't believe it.  You all have been such a welcoming group, right from the start, and a joy to cook with.  I've had a very busy few years, and my life has been turned upside down (kids seem to do that!), but I've loved having this group as a touchstone.  Even when I don't get my posts up on time--or ever--I almost always make the recipes, and love reading your posts every week and seeing your comments.  What fun.  I hope to keep up with many of you through TWD and CCC, and look forward to seeing what is in store for FFWD in the fall.

All the best.