Thursday, March 31, 2005

1000 Recipes -- Book 16

I'm finished with my contribution for Book 16. I was the first entry in this Moleskine, so I had no one to spin from! You know how my photos aren't the best.....well....either is my artwork.

I eMailed Santos back in February and have been waiting ever since for the arrival!

I'm wondering what Santos has in mind when all the traveling books finally boomerang back to Guam. What do you think --- A Best of 1000 Recipes Cookbook? I'd fire-up the old credit card and buy that cookbook from Amazon! Wouldn't you?

That drawing above is SUPPOSED to be the Eiffel Tower! Please.....No rude comments!

My entries are from an upcoming class I'll be teaching. This class features a couple of Tajine and some great mezze ideas. The Black Forest Tart isn't Moroccan, but, the ladies like their choco-fix, and I gotta' please the ladies! Tasty recipe, I might add!

From Paris non-stop to South Africa.....If this book could talk.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Book 16 has arrived!

The world of Food Blogs has been so much fun! I have my favorite sites that I eagerly check-on for their update. The world has gotten much smaller since I started to blog. I've learned a bunch, met some incredible people. Found some great recipes and have aspired to improve my food-fotos. (still workin' on that!)

One of the most original ideas that has come down the wire is from Santos in Guam. He is sending out Moleskines to anybody that requests a 'book'. You have 6 pages to work with. Writing down your favorite recipe, or culinary inspirations, perhaps some creative artwork and then you send it off to the next person down the list. It seems to work extremely well. I received my book today and am in the process of including a little bit of 'me'!
Once I finish, I send Book 16 on to Annaline in Clubview South Africa. So Cool!
To join the fun, click on Santos' site.......1000 Recipes

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Christmas at Easter?

That's right....I said Christmas at Easter. My friend/mentor suggested that I take next year's Christmas class. I immediately said, NO......That is not my forte. After a restful sleep, and a UPS delivery from Amazon, I decided to say, Maybe!
I found a very interesting recipe that had a very interesting pastry dough that I thought I should try. 'My boys', of course, are formidable guinea pigs and can always give me a great 'review' without too much malarkey. My menu today wasn't just Holiday fare, we did have some spectacular spring veggies to start, along with a Sauce Gribich.

Below you'll find the beef and spinach/cilantro/parsley pesto wrapped around a Creme Fraiche pastry. I was really excited to find this recipe. The original recipe had Sour Cream, I had to substitute with Creme Fraiche, I really thought it might hold up well in the dough and did!

Above, is the meat all wrapped and scored, it must 'relax' in the fridge for about an hour before it gets an 'oven shock'! A bit like my passion, Puff Pastry.

On Friday, I decided to give my old oven a work-out. I dug up the instructions to try the self-clean function. It cleaned a treat, but then....that was all she wrote. DEAD! D.O.A. We rent our place here in France, it is Easter weekend. We took the high road to emergency and found our way to Darty to buy a new oven late last night. Hence, the photo above. New oven in action! Since the oven is a very important tool in my life, we decided to just buy the darn thing and find out if The Landlord will reimburse us later. I have a Moroccan Tajine class coming up and both of my ovens will be put to use.

Finished result.....pesto=delicious, pastry=magnificent....the beef, well......back to the drawing board. It was so chewy. I've got to find another cut to make this work. The good news.....I have between now and next December to figure it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Recipe testing for a National Magazine!

Boy did that feel good, are you impressed? I am. But, truthfully, anybody can go to the web-site and sign-up to test recipes. I received my first Recipe via eMail, I made sure I had all the ingredients and voila la! You see the step by step.

Mind you, this is a Strusel Bar Recipe, not rocket science. Again, petite confession--, I'm not a cookie baker, nor am I a cake baker. I am a bread, pastry and cook. This is a challenge! The first step, in the dark photo above is the bottom layer. Below is the filling of 'Bonne Mama' jam and fresh raspberries and a splash of lemon juice.

Then the strusel layer goes on top and is baked for another round in the oven. At the moment, I'm waiting for it all to cool gently and then I'll portion out the bars.

Look good? If Max doesn't beat us to the first taste......then 'my boys' will let you know the results.

My last step is to fill out and send, via email, my results. There are questions about what kind of mixer I used, if I used any substitutions and what it tastes like. All-in-all, a learning experience. It is a lot of fun, and an ego boost.....even if I just tell myself that I'm a Recipe Tester!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

It's over!

The Charity evening I spoke about is finished. Months of prep, stress, planning, stress, organizing, cooking, all over. I'm happy with the results. I have no photos of the hard work.
On to the next event!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Wine & Food 101

Even out in the Banlieu, we like our wine. I'm lucky enough to have a wine expert within walking distance! She is an expert.....Having worked with a well-known Brit who has a wonderful biz in Paris! She is now teaching 'wine and food pairings' within our little group who teach cooking classes. She really rounds the team out. We have a couple of the cooks in the group prepare a dish that compliments the wine that she is featuring! Below is a little goat cheese parcel that is paired up with a White Bordeaux. It worked well.

The goat cheese was mixed with Ricotta and some fresh, soft herbs. Wrapped inside some crisp phyllo dough that I purchased from the Galleries Gourmand at Porte Maillot. I could have sexed-up the recipe a bit by adding some slow cooked onions or something else a bit more exciting, but she wanted the wine to be the star.....not necessarily the food. I agree.

Next course was an Artichoke Ragu. This was followed by a Tuna dish. We finished with a dessert wine and a Orange cake (that was yummy!) found in a Nigella cookbook.
Like I've said before.......What a life I lead!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

My Photos......Blurry!

I've got to work on my food fotos.....I know! I can't see to begin with. Myopia with a stigmatism, couple that with the dreaded over 40 trombone playing gesture when trying to read. Then, when I try to look through a digi-cam view finder....Well, what do you expect. Blur!
Honestly, some lessons are in order!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Chutney on a cold Monday!

March 18th, I'll be deeply involved in a Charity Arts Evening at my son's school. I've been asked to help with the food part of the evening. I've got 1.000.00 euro to play with for 400 hungry folks. This will include a 'house wine'. Yep, I'm nervous! I know those two jars of Chutney won't feed 4oo people.....But then again, lets think about this...... the 400 people will include kids and many different cultures, and backgrounds. Rest assured, the kids should turn their nose up at this mix, the adults might dig in and take a spoonful to accompany the brined turkey breast, or roasted beef that will be sliced thin. I'll make another batch later this week, but I think that should really cover the Chutney aspect of the evening.

My Chutney includes some of this marvelous spice mix that I now can't live without. A friend brought this back from Italy, I wonder where I can find it in France! It really adds a kick, but not a burn! It just adds to the sweet/sour of the apple and pear chutney.