Buckwheat polenta with braised greens, sausage, and poached eggs

Before we started cooking through “My Paris Kitchen”  I had only tasted buckwheat once before.  So far we have made three different recipes using some form of it and we still have to make the buckwheat madeleines.  At least we will be prepared.

This was the first time that I made polenta from scratch.   Normally, I always bought the polenta rolled in a package, sliced it and fried it.  But the homemade is so much easier and tastes so much fresher.

As for the greens, I used escarole, a red onion, and the only herbed sausage  I could find was chicken with spinach and fennel.  (Which, incidentally was very good).  Rather than using the sun-dried tomatoes, I went with sliced green olives.

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Before topping the dish with the poached egg,  I sprinkled some feta cheese on it.

This was an interesting recipe and I will make it again but next time I would like to try  David’s suggestion using the sliced mushrooms.

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Celery root soup with horseradish cream and ham chips

Let me start by saying these two vegetable ingredients were the filthiest veggies I ever had to clean.  I don’t understand why they sell the whole piece of leek with all the green tops that end up being discarded.  I had to rinse and rinse these so many times.  As for the celery root, it’s not the prettiest item in the produce department.

That said, this turned into a delicious soup using only these two vegetables, a bay leaf and thyme.

I remember when we made David’s vegetable soup with the basil puree, I was certain that  using only water there would not be much of a flavor, but that was one of the tastiest soups ever.

For the horseradish cream I used heavy cream rather than the crème fraîche, and I used ham slices for the chips.  These turned out quite tasty.

This is a really great soup for the winter, but unfortunately  our weather is going up and down and today the temps are near 70 degrees. IMG_1279

Individual chocolate cakes with dulce de leche and fleur de sel

A simple dessert that is so  easy to make.  With the exception of the dulce de leche, the rest of the ingredients are  always on hand in the pantry.

I prepared the  dulce de leche the day before using a can of condensed milk, letting it simmer for about three hours in hot water.

I only made half a recipe since there aren’t too many taste testers around lately, and as delicious as this dessert is, I can take about two spoonfuls of chocolate at a time.

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The combination of the sweet caramel flavor and the touch a sea salt mixed with the chocolate is such a delightful flavor.

I love the way it turned out,  a warm individual dessert that can be enjoyed plain  or perhaps add a bit of cream or a dollop of ice cream on the side.IMG_1259

 

Indian cheese bread

Naan au Fromage was the selected recipe for this week’s “cookthebookfridays”.

A simple recipe put together in no time at all.  David mentions it is very forgiving even for a novice, and believe me, he was right.

The dough consists  of flour, baking powder,  yeast,  clarified butter, yogurt, a pinch of sugar and a bit of salt.  It came together beautifully and was easy to work with.

I prepared six naan pieces using plain Laughing Cow cheese in the center, folded the four sides and then rolled them out flat to approximately a 6 inch square.IMG_1222

They all really puffed up in the hot skillet and looked weird, but once removed from the skillet and brushed with the clarified butter they were very tasty.

For my first time at making these little breads I was quite pleased.IMG_1223

Buckwheat rolls with seaweed butter

Brittany,  France is well known for their buckwheat crêpes or galettes.

Jim and I were traveling through the area in search of the town of Scaer, in the department of Finistere, where my Dad was born.

We stopped for lunch at this little crêperie in Quimper, a quaint little area known for their French pottery called Faience.

That was the first time I had ever eaten a buckwheat galette, it was quite delicious.

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As for today’s recipe,  it is not something I will repeat.  I enjoyed the galette plain,  but after adding the seaweed and refrying, it just didn’t work for me.  I found it too greasy.

I followed David’s instructions using the broiler to dry the seaweed, but the odor was not a pleasant one.  That said,  it was an interesting recipe and I’m glad I tried it.

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I am also adding the recipe that I missed earlier,  that was so enjoyable,  Baked Provençal vegetables.IMG_1140

We finally came across the town of Scaer but could not find any information with regard to my Dad.  He was born in 1892 and their records did not go back that far.  However, in the next town of Coray we came across a small patisserie that had my maiden name on it.  Checked it out, but they did not understand my poor attempt at trying to speak French.  We ended up with a fresh baguette and a photo of the shop.

 

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Potato, Feta, and basil tortilla

This week’s recipe from MyParis Kitchen brings back lovely memories from our trip through the Pyrenees mountains and all the delicious Basque food. It is a Spanish omelet that includes piment d’Espelette,  a chile powder that comes from the Basque region.

Driving through that area we came across a farm that had peppers drying on the side of the barn.  I could not resist the photo op.

Scan 16 Nearby, in the little town of Ainhoa, France, we stopped at a restaurant called Oppoca.   The food was definitely Basque style and very delicious.

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This recipe calls for potato, feta cheese, basil and eggs.

The  ingredients work  perfectly  together and are really quite flavorful.   I followed the instructions to a “T” but I think I over did the browning portion.  I then put  it in the oven for a few minutes to help set the egg.

I  only prepared half the recipe and still had a lot left over.  No problem,  this is something that is delicious cold or warm.

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Baked Provençal vegetables

IMG_1140I have never enjoyed eggplant and zucchini better than in this recipe from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.

The most difficult part of the recipe is slicing the vegetables and trying to have them at the same size.

After sautéing sliced onions and a bit of garlic, you layer that in the baking dish and then start alternating the sliced vegetables on top.  Drizzle some olive oil, add salt and pepper, some fresh thyme, (I used dried thyme here), and cover with tinfoil.  Bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Remove the foil and add some grated cheese and bake an additional 20 or so minutes.

This was so delicious and would be perfect with just about anything.

Baked Provençal vegetables

I’m not sure what I was thinking this week, but I made the wrong recipe.

IMG_1123 I thought the selection was for Roasted root vegetables, which sounded wonderful.  I was preparing a dinner for my son-in-law’s  birthday and thought the roasted vegetables would be perfect with the rack of lamb, and  a  mixed green salad on the side.

For  dessert, I prepared David’s Merveilleux, which was a big hit the first time around and since my Grandson did not get to sample it back then, it was a perfect time to have another go at it with a new taste tester.    As you know,  those desserts  are so scrumptious  I am always happy to have more people around to finish them off.IMG_1120

Anyway,  back to the roasted veggies. I used a combination of fingerling potatoes,  brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips. I did use dried thyme for this, and  a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper.    They roasted  perfectly for 45 minutes and were really delicious.

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Roasting veggies in the oven,  is so  easy and with the right seasonings, they are really tasty.

As for the Provençal vegetable recipe, that will be made up shortly.

 

Buttermilk ice cream with olive oil and fleur de sel

When this recipe was first posted as this month’s selection, my thought was,  how am I going to make this without an ice-cream maker?

However, I was determined to give it a try,  so I checked out a few hints on the web and tried putting some of them together.

I remember my own mother making ice-cream from condensed milk when I was a child. She would put the milk in her empty ice cube trays and freeze it a bit,  take it out, and mix it.  She would then refreeze.   I was so surprised to see that condensed milk is still being used today,  perhaps not exactly the way she did, but she was certainly ahead of the times.

I followed David’s instructions all the way to blending in the buttermilk, and then I poured it  into the stainless steel bowl of my cake mixer so that I could freeze it.  After two hours I removed the ice-cream and using the whisk attachment on the machine I basically churned it.  I did this two more times and then transferred it to a plastic container to freeze thoroughly.

I was really pleased with the results,  real ice-cream.

On Saturday Tricia and her family were here for dinner  so I asked them if they would like to try it.

We first tasted it with the olive oil and flour de sel.   It  was interesting,  but  not something I would normally order.

We then tried it with some chocolate sauce and also a raspberry sauce.  I think the raspberry sauce won out on this one.

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Caviar D’aubergines

IMG_1058This week’s recipe for Cookthebookfridays is Eggplant caviar.

Eggplant and zucchini are so plentiful right now,  and walking through any supermarket,  the bins are stacked with all these delicious fresh vegetables.

The eggplant caviar is so easy to prepare, and makes a lovely side dip that goes well with a summertime barbecue.

I do not have a grill or a gas stove, so I roasted the eggplant in the oven the same way that I do my roasted red peppers.  It was a little hard to tell if they were blackened or not, but they smelled like they were burning so I figured they were good to go.

I sliced them in half and put them back in the oven at 375 degrees, with oil and salt for 40 minutes.

After scraping out the pulp I added all the other ingredients and gave it a whirl in my cusinart.   Perfect!

So easy and so delicious.