Thursday, April 28, 2011

FFWD: Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak

This pepper steak was delicious. I'm a big pepper fan and I can still remember the first time I used freshly ground pepper to cook with. I was in my first apartment and cooking for myself. I had bought my very own salt and pepper set and I could not get over how aromatic that pepper was. I had no idea it could smell so fragrant or that it could be spicy. The powder in the spice rack I was used to was nothing like this.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: New York-Style Crumb Cake

What do you get when you streamline a coffee cake down to its bare essentials? This cake. It's the contrast between the rugged, sugar crunch of the topping with the tender softness of the sour cream cake that makes it so special. No nuts to take away from the brown sugar sweetness, no chocolate, no swirl. I love a good minimalist, if you can call the glorious excess of this crumb minimal, that is.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mushroom Sauté

Spring vegetables are what I have been craving for weeks. Because of my schedule, I haven't been able to cook on Mondays like I usually do, so today I jumped at the chance to try one of Heidi's new recipes from her cookbook that just came out, Super Natural Every Day.  My husband gave me Super Natural Cooking for my birthday and we both loved the recipes I made from that one. This is another winner. From front to back, the book is filled with recipes that make you want to eat and instructs you step by step to the dish you knew you wanted, but didn't know was waiting for you behind a mere handful of ingredients.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FFWD: Mocha Éclairs

As hard as I try for perfection, sometimes it just isn't meant to be. If I had a large family or more friends to practice on, I might have done a practice run with this recipe. But what you see is what we got. I couldn't decide what flavor I wanted to use, so I made coffee and chocolate. The end result wasn't quite what I had pictured in my head, but they were delicious, if not the most beautiful eclairs I've ever seen.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Carrot-Coconut Scones with Citrus Glaze


It's not too soon for another scone post, is it? I hope not. I never get tired of scones. I could be classified as an addict. And I'm totally addicted to these coconut scones. Adding coconut to a scone was a first for me. These really are a bit like a glorified cookie, but made with a biscuit formula. But if it looks like a scone and tastes like a scone, that's enough for me. I love the cragginess that holds the citrus glaze like tiers of lace. It doesn't get much more beautiful than this. Or more perfect for the arrival of spring!

Friday, April 8, 2011

FFWD: Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

Dressing up a vegetable is always a good idea. Not that I need any extra incentives to eat vegetables; I love the way they taste and I will rarely cover them up with sauce.  However, this dish kills two birds with one recipe. Both broccoli and the bread crumbs get a little fancy here and I love it when a few ingredients make such a difference in the flavor of my food. The texture of the dry bread crumbs is a perfect topping for steamed broccoli, which are tossed in a lemon-garlic-spiked butter that gives new life to a pantry staple.

Simplicity is a beautiful thing. That's why I love Dorie's recipes and why this book is becoming one of my favorites to cook from. It's the everyday meals that give me the hardest time. What can I throw together after a day at work that will still taste good? Around My French Table answers that question and lets us have the best of both worlds: elegant French components that will work for any occasion, from a casual dinner to a celebration meal. For more variations on the broccoli, check out French Fridays with Dorie and join us next week for Vanilla Eclairs. This is one recipe that I'm very, very excited to make.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Dried Blueberry Scones

Summer seems so far away. It is, actually, a long way off, but I have good news. You can have a delicious blueberry scone months before June, when they are actually in season. The secret is dried blueberries. These are tiny, flavorful wild blueberries and they're here to jog your memory. Remember sunshine? Remember twilight fireflies? It's just around the corner. Thank goodness for dried fruit to bridge the gap. They may not be juicy, but they are jammy, concentrated, bits of summer flavor.

Friday, April 1, 2011

FFWD: Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad

Would you believe me if I told you this was my very first attempt at making quinoa? I know! Where have I been the last, I don't know, five years? What's even worse is that I have had a box of quinoa in my cupboard for months. Maybe I was just waiting for the right recipe to come along before I jumped in. And was this ever a good recipe to start off with! I'm in love with quinoa and I regret having waited so long to try it.