Torteau Fromager

This week’s recipe is Torteau Fromager,  a French cheesecake.

As a big fan of the New York style cheesecake, using goat cheese and sour cream instead of cream cheese was quite a change.  Rather then using a graham cracker crust, David  does a pastry crust which is simple to prepare and quite delicious.

To make the filling there are a few different steps involved.  We  have to separate the eggs and add the egg yolks to the cheese mixture, and then  beating the  egg whites and folding them in at the end making it totally fluffy.

The cake was baked for 20 minutes in a 450 degree oven without opening the oven door, and then the temperature is reduced to 400 degree and baked for an additional 15 minutes.  I really didn’t think this was enough baking time, but as it turned out, it got so brown I thought I over baked it.


The cake was really good served at room temperature, and for the leftovers,  I would take it out of the refrigerator ahead of time to bring it to room temperature.

It was absolutely delicious and I was happy to share it with some of my taste testers who declared this a winner.fullsizeoutput_1553



Smoky barbecue-style pork

As I read through the recipes for this month, I noticed that a pork shoulder was needed for two of them so I decided to buy a large 8 lb. piece of meat and split it between the two. After all the trimming that I did,   it probably weighed about 6 lbs. when I finished.fullsizeoutput_14d8

I don’t recall ever cooking a pork shoulder before but cooking it slowly at 325 degrees for close to 4 hours really made this a tender piece of meat.


fullsizeoutput_14e4I prepared the dry rub and marinated it over night as instructed.   Then I  heated  all the liquids, the beer, barbecue sauce, harissa, soy sauce  and tomato paste in the  dutch oven and added the  meat, turning to coat it thoroughly.

Into the oven it went for 3-3-1/2 hours turning it every once in awhile.

fullsizeoutput_14e2At this point, the meat was so tender that it just fell off the bone.

I let it cool  a bit and then pulled it apart, returning  it to the  dutch oven to give it a nice barbecue color.

This really was a simple recipe, not too much prep time, and it turned out so good.

Cheese, bacon, and arugula soufflé

How can you go wrong with a recipe made with arugula, gruyere cheese, bacon and eggs?  David Lebovitz’s  version of a soufflé is absolutely delicious.

I prepared only half the recipe since there are not many taste testers around lately, and I think eight of these might have been a bit much.


As popular as arugula is, it is not something I have ever tasted before but I really enjoyed the flavor.   Instead of the Comte, I used the  Gruyere cheese,  adding  the bacon and topping it off with the rest of the parmesan cheese.


It makes a lovely light dinner, with a green salad on the side.   I  added  sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper, oregano, and drizzled  with olive oil.fullsizeoutput_14c8

I really enjoyed the recipe, and although there are a lot of steps in the making,  I  will definitely be repeating it again.

Buckwheat madeleines

I know we have made madeleines before when cooking through “Around My French Table”,  but I was a bit apprehensive about making the browned butter for this recipe, however,  it turned out to be easy.  The most important thing is to watch it carefully towards the end.

The rest of the recipe is simple.

After whisking  all the ingredients together, I stirred in the egg whites and honey.  As I was adding the first third of the browned butter to the mix,  there seemed to be so much liquid, but it all blended well and the batter was easy to work with.

fullsizeoutput_14beSince I was using a silicone pan, (a souvenir from the Auchon Supermarché in Blois, France), I decided it would be better to use a cookie sheet for stability.    However, I really should have preheated the cookie sheet too,  as  I had to add some additional baking time.

They are a bit burnt, especially the first batch, but delicious just the same.



I have no idea why this recipe was so difficult for me.

When I first made the pastry cream I simply could not get it silky smooth.   When I mixed the eggs with the cornstarch and sugar, it did not blend too easily.  I added the warm milk and had to strain the mixture.

I checked out a few recipes on line and most said to stir the cornstarch and sugar together and then add the eggs.  So the next day I decided to do a remake and it turned out perfect.

The eclair pastry is easy, we have made this many times before for both David and Dorie.  My problem was the lack of pastry bag tips that were the right size.   I decided to use a resealable plastic bag which worked okay, but I could not get a decent size eclair. I did end up with 10 eclairs, but they did not rise as I thought they would, and I was very disappointed.

Day 2, I thought I would try again after checking out Dori’s eclair recipe.  She used the same oven temperature but her baking time was a bit shorter,  and leaving the door open with a wooden spoon for a few minutes to brown and crisp up, ended with the same results.

I salvaged about 6 eclairs pastries that I thought were worth using, and continued to fill them and make the glaze.

The eclairs are not exactly pretty, but they were delicious.fullsizeoutput_14b0


Beet hummus

David’s  hummus recipe made with beets turned out to be a big surprise.  Not only is it a healthy recipe, but it looks so colorful and tastes delicious.

I’m not sure if roasting your own beets would give this a darker color, but since I used canned beets, mine came out really pink.

This is the second hummus recipe that we have prepared from “My Paris Kitchen” and I will admit that even though I enjoyed the plain hummus recipe more, this is equally tasty, and perfect for serving with cut up vegetables, or crackers.

I like to keep canned chick peas and tahini on hand because this is a recipe that you can whip up in no time at all whether you make it plain or with beets.





Hard cooked eggs with chervil mayonnaise

I have made homemade mayonnaise before using a whisk and just drizzling the olive oil into it,  but this recipe from David is the easiest to prepare.DSCN5769

Using a neutral tasting vegetable oil is definitely a better choice than olive oil because as mentioned,  the olive oil has its own strong flavor.

Instead of chervil, which I could not find, I used flat leaf parsley that was recommended as a substitute for the chervil.

Pairing it with the lettuce and tomato makes a lovely dish which could be served as an appetizer or even a small side salad.

A simple little recipe that was truly enjoyable.  Definitely a repeat.



Lamb shank tagine

When I first read this recipe I knew that it was not going to be to my liking with all the raisins and dried apricots in it.  However, I did want to learn the technique of cooking the lamb shanks with all the delicious spices.

I prepared the marinade and let the shanks rest for 24 hours in the refrigerator.   I will say, they looked pretty spicy.  After browning them, I cooked the onions and garlic,  then added the chopped tomato, chicken stock and honey.

Cooking it in the oven for two hours, adding the fruit as directed, it really turned out well.  Since I halved the recipe, I’m not sure if there should have been more of a sauce,  but I did add some additional water at the end.

I tasted a little bit, ate one of the lamb shanks and sent the rest over to Tricia’s husband, knowing this is his type of meal and would appreciate it more than me.

I will say one last thing regarding lamb shanks,  they are an expensive item for bones with not much meat.  I can remember when bones were thrown in with a purchase, just to make soup.

This is one recipe that I will not be repeating  but I’m glad I made it and learned a few new things in the process.fullsizeoutput_14ae



Chocolate, hazelnut, and dried sour cherry fougasse

Fougasse is  very similar to focaccia.  In Provence for instance, it is usually made with herbs and olives.  There are many versions all over France, each with there own name, and many different types of fillings.

In David’s version, he added chocolate, dried cherries, and hazelnuts.  The combination was delicious and even though I’m not a fan of dried fruits, I will admit that I loved the flavors.

fullsizeoutput_149dUnfortunately, I could not find sour cherries so I used the dried sweetened ones and they worked just as well.

The dough was easy to deal with, and since I had some Toll House  chocolate chips I decided to use them up in this recipe.  I coarsely  chopped them a bit more to make them equal in size to the nuts and cherries.

The breads did not take long to bake, and I thought the coloring was perfect.

I will definitely  prepare this recipe again and I would like to also try a savory version with some chopped olives and a few herbs too.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake is one of my favorite’s  and even though it is usually  filled with raisins, I will always order it when we are eating out.   I am the world’s best raisin “picker outer”.

Many years ago, around 1975,  Jim and I traveled to London for the very first time.  My biggest desire was to have tea and scones.   When all the delicious scones and clotted cream arrived at  our table,  I took one look and realized the scones had raisins in them, lots of raisins.  That was when I decided to learn how to disassemble scones.

When I saw David’s recipe for carrot cake sans raisins, I knew it would be a winner.IMG_1554

I started grating the carrots by hand with a box grater, got interrupted by a phone call, and while talking on the phone remembered I had a grating disk for my cuisinart.   All I had to do now was find it.   Such a time saver.IMG_1557

With Super Bowl Sunday coming up I knew I would have a few taste testers so I decided to make this cake ahead of time.  Of course, the black olive tapenade, our recipe for that week, was perfect.   Everything went well,  especially when added to our usual wings, chips and dip, and deviled eggs. As usual, way too much food.IMG_1544

The carrot cake is a sure winner but I only prepared half a cake and even that was too much.fullsizeoutput_1488