Financiers

These little almond cakes made with browned butter are really easy to make, and quite a tasty little snack.

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When I realized I did not have enough almond flour I remembered I had a supply of whole almonds  in the freezer and decided to make my own flour.  After a little bit of research  I found an easy recipe of just blanching the nuts and letting them dry thoroughly.   I then  ground the almonds in the cuisinart for a short time and the flour  came out perfect.  It wasn’t as fine as the flour that you purchase but it certainly worked well.

Browning the butter was not as difficult as I thought it would be,  but you do have to watch it carefully so as not to burn it.  As David suggests, it should look like maple syrup.

I mixed the ingredients together and  let it rest in the refrigerator for about two hours and then baked the little cakes for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

The cakes came out a little too brown,  but I’m not sure it didn’t have something to do with my flour, or perhaps the oven temperature was too hot,  but they were delicious.

As you can see, the texture was still soft on the inside and very easy to enjoy.fullsizeoutput_166a

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Garlic Aioli with accompaniments

How could something so simple turn out so wrong.  I have made mayonnaise many times before but I’m not sure what happened this time.  I used my cuisinart to do this, but it just would not thicken at all.   Rather than waste any additional olive oil, I decided to use regular mayonnaise and just added garlic.  It certainly was not the same as the real aioli, but for a photo op it filled the bill.

I  enjoyed the vegetables being cooked for a minute rather than raw, I think they had more flavor  and  were tastier.

Instead of string beans I used small pieces of cauliflower along with the mini potatoes,  carrots, tomato and hard cooked eggs.  A good variety  and it would have been perfect with a real garlic aioli.

I’m sure this would be a lovely appetizer  with a glass of wine, and maybe I will revisit this again sometime.fullsizeoutput_162a

 

 

Apricot kernel ice cream

David mentioned that some people think these kernels can possibly be toxic if taken in large quantities, but since we only planned to use them for flavoring the milk and cream in this recipe, I was not really concerned.

I am not a big fan of fruit and apricots are definitely not a favorite.  That said, I had to figure out how to find some kernels with out gleaning or scrounging left over farmers markets, using my trusty little walker to get around.   Amazon comes to mind here, and since they actually had bags of kernels at a fairly decent price I decided to go that route.

Seriously, this was the most amazing recipe.  Fortunately, this time I made life easier for myself and borrowed Tricia’s ice cream maker.  I followed the  instructions to the letter,  the final result was perfection.

I invited Tricia and her hubby  for dinner and surprised them with this delicious dessert. We tried to decide what the actual flavor was,  thinking maybe cinnamon or  almond and a few other delicious flavors,  but finally decided to just enjoy it.

I really can’t explain why this tasted so good and we were wondering how people come up with these weird ingredients,  but the fact that it works is all that counts.

This is one recipe that will definitely be repeated.

 

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Kirsch babas with pineapple

Before I started working on the recipe I checked out a few photos to see what this should really look like.fullsizeoutput_1623

I only had a small cupcake pan,  a Canelés pan, and a popover pan.  When I saw that they came in all sizes and shapes, I decided to go with the popover pan hoping it would look festive.

I found the recipe to be time consuming,  but then again, maybe it’s me.   There is a lot of wait time, proofing the yeast mixture, and then letting the dough rise at two different times.  However, that said, I was quite happy with the results.IMG_2312

When I was researching to see how they should  look, I noticed one of the recipes said to bake it at 400 degrees, so I compromised and baked them at 375.  I think that is why they came out so brown.

Preparing the syrup was certainly easy, and drenching them was fun.  Messy, but fun.

When it came to the pineapple I will admit I cheated and used canned pineapple chunks and prepared the rest of the recipe as called for.   Unfortunately, there is no whipped cream to go with this, but it is delicious as is,  as far as I am concerned.  Also. I used rum instead of the Kirsch.

Stuffed vegetables

I was looking forward to preparing this recipe thinking it would be simple and a perfect summer addition for dinner,  but by the time I finished all the chopping and sautéing I  changed my mind.fullsizeoutput_15c9

I  used  3 small eggplant, 2 zucchini and 1 tomato.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the eggplant was ripe.  There was nothing to scrape out and the flesh seemed so dry.  I have never worked with these mini eggplants before so I did not know what to expect.   I looked for a firm tomato as well, and there was no juice or seeds in this one.  Nothing like a fresh Jersey tomato in the summer time.  In any event, I chopped everything up and added it to the onions and garlic. In went the  ground beef to the mix and I  let it all cook together.IMG_2234

After cooling for a bit, I pulsed it in the cuisinart and stuffed the vegetables.  At this point, things were looking pretty interesting.

After roasting for about 45 minutes I added the cheese and gave it another 15 minutes in the oven.fullsizeoutput_15d6

Unfortunately, I  found it to be extremely dry and the meat a bit overcooked.  Perhaps if I used a different type of meat filler, or added bread crumbs, it would have turned out differently.

Sorry to say I did not enjoy this recipe.   I am anxious to see how well everyone else’s recipe turned out and to see where I went wrong.

Duck Fat cookies

fullsizeoutput_156d Who would have thought that a cookie made with duck fat could be so good.

If it had not been for Dorie and French Friday’s,  I don’t think I would have ever tried to cook any part of a duck, or use duck fat as an ingredient.

However, I found that it  gives everything such a wonderful flavor.

We’ve made potatoes cooked in duck fat that were so delicious,  duck confit,  and of course, the wonderful cassoulet  and now these delicious cookies.

Last night I had some leftover uncooked chicken cutlet that I cut up into small pieces and fried  in duck fat.  I could not believe how good that chicken tasted, and I thought bacon drippings were fabulous.

The texture of this  cookie  reminds me of the French sable.

Tricia came over  a short time later and I offered her one with out telling her what  was in the cookie  and the look on her face was amazing.

This will be definitely be added to my list of favorite cookies.

 

Baba ganoush

Hummus made with eggplant.   That’s exactly what it looked and tasted like.  Although, as Tricia mentioned, it was a lot smoother than when using chickpeas.

After I roasted and peeled the eggplant, I had my doubts at this point that  it was not too appealing.    Fortunately,  once I  added the rest of the ingredients it became quite interesting.  That’s when I  decided to call this  eggplant hummus.  Actually, the only difference is the vegetable used to prepare it.

I let it rest in the fridge overnight and when I served it on the 4th it was a perfect dip that I served with chips.

We were all quite surprised that it was that delicious,  all the flavors having blended together perfectly.fullsizeoutput_15c0

Duck terrine with figs

Many years ago, Jim, Tricia and I went to a fantastic restaurant on L’ Ile Saint Louis called the Le Sergent Recruteur.

I was so impressed, that when Tricia and I visited Paris again in 2010, we made certain to go back there.

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CIMG0282 Many of you may have been to this delightful restaurant, but  I could not believe the amount of food that was being served,  as well as the ambiance.   Each course had its own wine selection too.

From the minute we walked in,  the goodies just kept coming.  Plates of fresh vegetables, homemade soup, and various selections of country style terrines.  Plus delicious french breads.

Which brings me to this week’s recipe of Duck terrine with figs.

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According to David Lebovitz this is a simple recipe that can be made in your very own kitchen.

Yes, you can make it in your kitchen, but I did not think it was exactly simple.   I felt as though I was chopping  for two days straight and then some.   However,  once it started baking, the aroma was wonderful and I knew it was going to be worth it.

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After blending in the fridge for 48 hours, I was happy with the results.

This turned out to be a fantastic and tasty terrine, even if it was filled with chicken livers, figs, and such.fullsizeoutput_1586

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.

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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.