CCC – The wonderful month of June!

This month of June with the Cottage Cooking Club has been a great one! So many delicious recipes, and not nearly enough time. But! We were offered many great selections from Hugh Fearnely-Wittingstalls’s River Cottage Veg. I feel like I’ve fallen down on the job recently – but I’m really the one that misses out! IMG_4190

My recipe choices for June included a Beet Green and Ricotta Tart. I was fortunate enough to be able to find beet greens when so many of my fellow participants could not. They were, also, attached to beets! So that meant that I would also be making an earlier favorite – beet soup!

We were definitely looking forward to the tart. It has the same sturdy crusts as Hugh uses, which makes it both delicious, and a great casing for fillings, since once served, the slice can be picked up – no wimpy falling-apart crust here. I did decide to save time and try pressing it into the shell. Well, not the best idea I ever had. It looked great, even par-baked, but it leaked… Surprisingly, it still held together once cooked though – so good lesson learned! The filling is the sauteed greens along with onions, garlic and fresh herbs. Then with ricotta salata (delicious!) and an egg and cream custard. This was fantastic, and held up well as a leftover. I would maybe use more greens next time, but it turned out great – so maybe it was perfect as is!

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IMG_4196I did make the beet soup again, this time roasting the beets attached to the greens. The ratio of greens to beets was high – lots of greens left over from the tart. But we decided that we liked the soup made with baby beets as I had before better than this time. I loved the roasted garlic, but the beets just weren’t as sweet – in fact a bit bitter. So. Note to self!

Another recipe I made this month was Macaroni Peas. A very simple macaroni pasta 100_4016recipe with a “sauce” made from green peas. There’s a little butter and Parmesan in there as well. Of course you can IMG_4206imagine the recipe. Cook Pasta, saute peas in butter, smash or blend some of them, add a bit of the pasta water and drained pasta – throw in cheese. Season with pepper (and herbs if you have them). This made for a quick dinner one evening after work. And it was ok. My peas ended up being a bit sweet for the dish, I thought. The Parmesan just didn’t add enough of a counterpoint. But I will likely make it again, since these ingredients are almost always on hand.

100_4023The New Potato Salad “Tartare” was one I made for a quick lunch one day. I am pretty sure that this was really popular with the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club. Not so much for me – which was a surprise because I love the New Potato, Tomato and Boiled Egg Salad. It was probably me. Too much of a hurry, oh who knows? But this one didn’t work for me. Maybe I had the wrong expectations.

Tomatoes with Herbs – another easy100_4027 assembly of wonderful ingredients. Cherry tomatoes, fresh chives, a bit of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Oh, and maybe a grind or two of fresh ground black pepper. This is always just shockingly good. The chives and balsamic really add to the dish. It really does scream summer!!

The final recipe I completed this month was Halloumi, New Potato and Tomato Kebabs.
Early in the month, I had despaired of nice grilling weather getting here (What was I thinking??), so didn’t know if I would be able to make these. But I love Halloumi cheese, so was looking forward to it. This recipe was a case of some things going spectacularly well, and a couple that I will change when I make this again (yes, it will happen!).

The marinade makes this recipe. I used meyer lemon olive 100_4030oil, lemon thyme and orange mint from my garden. That’s mixed along with a bit of honey, and I did add a splash of lemon juice. A few dried red chile flakes are added. The herbs of course get chopped up, and this is used to marinate the cheese, the tomatoes and boiled new potatoes prior to 100_4032grilling. That was the super-fantastic, never-to-be-forgotten part. The not-so-much part was the cooking of the potatoes. What was I thinking? When the recipe said slightly under done – I took it a bit too seriously. They needed to be cooked longer. And I forgot that the Halloumi that I get from Trader Joe’s is already “conveniently sliced”. That doesn’t work very well for skewering. Skewered it was, and marinated along with the potatoes and tomatoes. Knowing that the cheese would indeed melt a bit, I wanted to put something under the kebabs. Instead of using foil on the grill top, I used another handing screen that helps with veggies and other things falling through. Hmmm. Again, I should know better (but in truth, I was a little seduced by the photo in the book). So, it all started well, The cheese in places getting a bit brown, the tomatoes getting cooked and even the potatoes toasting in spots. But perfection was not to be. At least not in the grilling department.

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Perfection of another kind was, however. I was told to put a huge star on the page! While the potatoes could have been cooked a bit more, and the cheese could have held together better (and in truth, like all kebabs, putting each ingredient on skewers themselves would likely work better), this was delicious!! The marinade was amazing. The tomatoes were perfect – just a fabulous flavor combination. I’m actually happy that there are corrections to be made – since that requires I make it again – and soon!

There were other recipes to be made this month – a total of 10 to be exact! You can find out what all the others thought of these recipes by visiting the Cottage Cooking Club.

ffwd – the grand finale

As I’ve thought about this post over the past few weeks, running up to our final FFWD post from Around My French Table, I’ve thought of creating a finale evening, with champagne toasts, cheese-it-ish crackers, and of course, gourgeres. That would have been fun. Or some kind of eloquent reminiscence of the journey.

I’m pretty certain that there will be Doristas who do both of those things. And it will likely cause a few sniffles, if not actual tears (yep, I’ll have some). But this is really a graduation of sorts – so just like kids striking out on their own after the safe embrace of childhood and even university life – one of those “I’m an actual adult now!” moments. That’s both scary and exciting, and often bittersweet. Gone are the days when your mom or dad reminded you of your need to get out of bed, get a haircut, change the oil in your car (if you were lucky enough to have one), and even supplement your budget when things got short at the end of the month. So many responsibilities, now! But this is also a time when you can really choose what you want to work on, where you want to live, and learn how to do a lot of those little things that were taken care of for you for all those years. It’s a time of challenges – good and bad, and an opportunity to meet them and grow from them. I suppose that’s why graduations are often correctly referred to as commencements.

I’m trying to think of this as a sort of graduation too! We have become a close-knit group, and in advance of this inevitable graduation, among us we’ve come up with several ways to stay in touch, whether the Alumni group on FB, Andrea’s Cottage Cooking Club that several of us have been participating in for the last year, or the new group being sponsored by Alice, Emily and Christy, we’re pretty committed to staying in touch, and cheering each other on in the future. Of course, there may be other forays into groups either based on this one, the TWD group, or something else. Who knows! The future is bright, and we have ways to stay connected. I’ve thought of a few ideas of what other ways we might informally, or formally, challenge each other as well. We’ll see!

And like so many others in this group. I have other cookbooks. Lots of them. Really, lots. And that’s after sharing some with my nieces who have become good cooks, and sharing with strangers through book drives (yes, it’s true). Of course, I always add more, even though with this project I have tried to hold back. I’m looking forward to actually baking more from the beloved Baking Che Moi. But also I’m excited about cooking from The Slanted Door – Modern Vietnamese Food. I’ve also just purchased Teatime in Paris, and Food 52 Genius Recipes at the behest of our Dorista Family members (note to all who have the Food 52 book – the Carnitas recipe is genius indeed – the same recipe I’ve used for years. Diana Kennedy is to Mexican Food as Dorie Greenspan is to French). So, see, there are so many other things to cook. And bake. And enjoy. And share!

So, starting out in this new phase, I’m probably going to be looking to my “family” to help with the transition – maybe the occasional challenge or nudge. And of course for your inspiration! I am looking forward to seeing what cooking (and other) adventures people are endeavoring. What we will get up to. With a bit of trepidation, I’m hopeful and excited.

One of the things I’ve found most entertaining in putting together these last few posts is looking at all of the food pictures I’ve taken. Some are terrible, some not so much. Some food was amazing, some not so much. So I’m going to depart with a number of photos. In no particular order, certainly not preference. But what an amazing array from over the years!!

ffwd - salmon and tomatoes en papilloteffwd - tourteau de chevreP1020037100_1278IMG_1356100_2106100_3085100_3288100_3278IMG_2352100_3909100_1155100_0989100_0950100_0996100_1501100_1513100_1626100_1580100_1544100_1606100_1682100_1669100_1930100_1856100_2022100_1994100_1963IMG_1713IMG_1706100_2375100_2317100_2436100_2449IMG_2020IMG_1990IMG_2096100_3033crepes5100_3221100_3141100_0175100_0387100_0703100_3429IMG_2478c100_3521100_3536100_3713DSC00555100_3886100_3874100_3854100_0145000_0006100_0373100_0303\100_0269100_0252100_0218100_0196ffwd - spinach and sausage quicheffwd - bacon and eggs and asparagus saladffwd - roasted rhubarb ffwd - cola and jam spareribsffwd - vanilla eclairsffwd - orange-almond tartffwd - garlicky crumb-coated broccoli ffwd - basque potato tortillaffwd - chicken b'stilla ffwd - michel rostang's double chocolate mousse cakeffwd - gnocchi a la parisienne ffwd - spiced butter-glazed carrots

So with this, I bid a fond adieu! And look forward to the commencement of the next chapter in all of our journeys! You can find all of the final posts from my fellow bloggers at French Fridays with Dorie if you log onto the site. I’ll have my tissues ready for reading all of your posts! I am looking forward to all you have to say and share!

ffwd – play it again, Dorie

As we finish up our French Fridays with Dorie journey of cooking through Around my French Table, we are asked this week to offer the recipe or recipes that we’ve made most often from the book. Not necessarily a favorite, but something that we’ve made a number of times.

In no particular order, please consider:

my go-to beef daube. Before ffwd, I didn’t really like anything braised. “Boiled Boot” was just something that didn’t appeal. Sure, we had an occasional pot roast growing up, but this version, with wine, cognac and vegetables, is one that is both easy, and elegant all at the same time. It certainly satisfies for when you want something warm and comforting – or, maybe you just need something that can be made ahead. I have another recipe for short ribs that maybe I like better, but this always turns out perfectly and is the opposite of fussy. (as with all of those early recipes, the pictures are horrible!) Now that I look at this picture it reminds me that I first served this for one of my Dad’s birthdays! :)

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dressy pasta “risotto”. Dorie calls this is a recipe for a faux risotto. Not rice, but pasta. And very delicious. It’s also something that you can make just about any time – though I have to say that the marscapone is pretty key to the dish. It’s easy enough to dress up a bit, but fine as it’s written. And a bit of truffle oil certainly does not go amiss.100_3049

creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach. Michael, Dorie’s husband, is right – this is really good! I’ve made this countless times when I want something really yummy, in one pot, and only really have spinach for a vegetable on hand. It is super easy, but makes for a delicious meal. And sorry, but I’m just fine with it leftover, too.

100_0950And my final choice for a play it again recipe is compote de pommes two ways. This is really a fancy way of saying applesauce. But apples prepared at home this way are a far cry from what you get in a jar. This is the easiest of recipes, and results in a really wonderful dish. It’s a great way to use up apples, or to have on hand for a dollop on top of yogurt – or even ice cream. The “two-ways” really is about how long you cook the apples. The longer version produces a thicker, jammier dish. Oh, and did I mention that you add some good vanilla at the end, and perhaps a bit of butter? Warm or cold, smooth or chunky, made with the whole apple and sieved, or peeled and chunked up – it’s worth making this dish. IMG_1980Are there other recipes I’ve repeated? Sure. But these are the ones I’ve made most often, and are most likely to be something I repeat again. I’m sure that just like our other challenges this month, others will have different choices. Look to the French Fridays with Dorie site to see what they come up with!

ffwd – never doubt Dorie (aka, who knew?)

This second celebratory week for the French Fridays with Dorie group asks the question “what recipe(s) were surprises for you?”. OK, that wasn’t the real question, but when I think about the title – I think about those recipes where I was very quite skeptical, but learned that Dorie knew what she was doing when she wrote about it – and I was happy to have tried it.

There are three recipes that immediately came to mind. The very first recipe I ever tasted in the book was gérard’s mustard tart. My friend Teri, who got me started with this whole blogging adventure, served it at a book club meeting that she hosted. She did indeed make the selfsame tart as in the book. She’s a very skilled baker, and hers looked just like Dorie’s. She also introduced me to the group, since she planned on joining, and thought it would be fun for me too. I had been following her baking/blogging adventures and thought that it would be fun. Her blog certainly informed my concept, including documenting the steps in the process, etc.

To be honest, I didn’t really love, love the original version. It was good. So when it was time to make the tart in October of 2010, I decided that I would take advantage of a different version in the book. The tomato-mustard tart. This is something that I really must make again. I often forget because I think it would be amazing with summer tomatoes. But the mustard, the crème fraîche, the fabulous pastry – all combine with the tomatoes and rosemary combine for an amazing affect! Not in a million years would I have expected to like this so much (of course another benefit was making her tart dough…)

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The photos don’t do it justice, but certainly, this is one of those haunting – “wow that was good” recipes. Thank goodness it will be tomato season soon!

tourteau de chèvre was another surprise. This is a cheesecake of sorts – but one as unlike any American cheesecake as can be imagined. It really is the simplest thing to make – A crust of Dorie’s sweet tart dough, and then just eggs, goat cheese, a bit of sugar, vanilla or orange-flower water, touch of cognac and a bit of cornstarch. I am fairly certain that was my first use of the orange-flower water as well. Another item introduced by our author.

I really was taken aback by just how good this was. Not too sweet, a bit of tang from the goat cheese. I actually made mine with the regular pastry crust, not the sweet version. Either would be terrific. 100_0802

It was fun too, to have a recipe end up looking so much like the photo in the book. So satisfying.

And finally, another recipe that I adored, but didn’t expect to. goat cheese and strawberry tartine. It would never have occurred to me to put together this simple combination – but with such amazing results! We had this with a bit of wine on the patio, but the same idea could be used at any time of day. The sweetness of the strawberries and the tang of the goat cheese are accented with a good-sized grind of black pepper and some Balsamic vinegar.

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It will be fun to see what others thought about this little assignment. There were other surprises for sure, some of them not so pleasant even, but these were at the top of my list. To see what other Doristas thought about their never-doubt-Dorie moments, you can find their links on the French Friday with Dorie website.

ffwd – the “aha” moment (aka, the top 5)

For the next several weeks, the participants in French Fridays with Dorie will be exploring our experiences over the past several years to answer a few interesting questions. This week’s challenge is to “choose your favorite, loved the most, best recipe in FFWD to share this week and tell Why? Also share with us your Top 5 favorites list”.

Not surprisingly, this is turning out to be a difficult task. After hundreds of recipes – there are many choices. One of the most interesting things will be to read about what all of the others chose as well. Since we are a diverse and international group – I hardly think that the lists will be the same (though I suspect a couple will resonate across the board).

And making things a bit more interesting over the next few weeks, there are a couple more challenges – The Never-Doubt-Dorie Moment and The Play-It-Again-Dorie Recipe, prior to our finale and last hurrah! from this particular book. Lots of potential for crossover! And I have to say, that as I look through the recipes, and when we made them, we really came out of the gate at a grand pace! Lots of contenders from 2010 and early 2011! And a warning: some not-so-great photos of some of my top favorites! At least I maybe have learned a bit more the just how to make some great French recipes!

So, on to Candy’s Top Five Six!

#5 – Hachis Parmentier. This was also a candidate for the Play-It-Again-Dorie category. I have made this quite a number of times, always to rave reviews. But this kind of dish, as something French was a revelation. I’ve made it in the different versions, and it still remains a staple. And of course, seeing it on the menu at French restaurants (once within a month or so of its first appearance) sealed it as a resounding favorite.

#4.5 – Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs. I almost forgot this. What an amazing dish! Perfectly cooked mushrooms with shallots, and added cream, with a bit of thyme. Served on toasted Brioche with soft poached eggs. This is a to-die-for dish. Rich yet simple, and utilizes a number of French techniques. Can’t believe I almost missed putting it on the list!!

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#4 – Scallops with Double Carrots. The original recipe called for Monk Fish. None to be had here – but good quality scallops can be found. The sauce created by using carrot juice in addition to carrots themselves – well, it made the dish. Oh, and you can’t go wrong with bacon and scallops either. It was a completely new idea to me to create a sauce that way, and so it was a great lesson learned. So creative! I can’t for the life of me find a photo. Really? Do a search – many images of other Dorista’s versions available!

#3 – Salted Butter Break-Ups. No Dorie Greenspan book would be complete without an amazing dessert recipe. And even more quintessential, a cookie recipe. This recipe for oversized cookies that get broken apart at the table – well it makes for such a charming way of serving (assuming you are not surrounded by unreasonable germaphobes), but it also produces a dramatic, lovely and incredibly delicious cookie! Crunchy parts for those who love that – a bit more chewy for that preference. All in one cookie. Something for everyone!

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#2 – Roasted Salmon and Lentils. I am not a huge fan of salmon (unless I just caught it!), and had never really had any lentils that I liked (or, let’s face it, tried many) until this recipe. Oh. My. Goodness! This recipe single-handedly made me a convert to Lentils de Puy, as well as salmon. It’s that good. The lentils are perfectly seasoned, the salmon cooks perfectly, it’s hearty, healthy and very elegant in a French manner.

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#1 My Favorite, Best Recipe is: Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake. I thought about this a lot. But decided that this typically French apple cake, with it’s marked butter flavor, bursting with apple chunks got my vote. Yes, its relatively simple, but it seemed to embody the idea of a meal around Dorie’s French table.

This was a fun journey back in time to re-visit posts, what I thought, and also, what I thought was good enough to make again. All of these dishes fall well outside of the category One-And-Done. And while I had to rely on the original photos (or none at all!), they all offered something so good, that I was willing to brave the reminder of some pretty poor photography skills!

There is a celebratory air around the French Fridays with Dorie group, you can get a peek into all of the participants’ posts at the site.

CCC – The May Recipes: Salad and Spouffle

This has been a month of reflection for another group I cook with, and Zosia’s idea of April/May being “transitional” is one that resonates – on many different levels. Certainly, the seasons are changing (or are supposed to be!), but graduations, beginnings, and endings are all happening around us. This marks the first month of the second (!) year of the Cottage Cooking Club. The group, the book, the recipes and fellow bloggers have all conspired to make this an amazing effort – one I eagerly look forward to each month, even if I often fall short of my goals.

Each month, I anxiously await the list of recipes that our leader, Andrea The Kitchen Lioness, selects for us to choose from. I can’t think of a month when at least one of the selections was not something I was impatiently anticipating. This month was no exception.

I was planning what to have for “Sunday Dinner”,  I was hosting, it was getting hot, and I’m the one of this particular portion of our family that always concentrates on making vegetables. I was also running behind as usual, since this particular version of SD happens in Scottsdale on Sunday afternoons at the request of my darling neice Kelsey (a couple of years ago – newly graduated from college at 21, she declared that we really need to get back into having “Sunday Dinner” – who can argue with that sentiment?). I was in Sedona, but had my copy of River Cottage Veg with me, and decided to make Herby, peanutty, noddly salad with herbs from the garden that I could pick and take back to the valley. I’d been looking at it for some time, wanting to make it. So – that was the plan. As it turned out, it was one of Andrea’s plans as well, since I learned that weekend that it was on “our list”. Kismet.

This is an Asian-inspired cold-ish salad that uses lime juice, lime zest, herbs, a bit of chile, sesame oil, garlic and soy to brighten up quickly cooked Asian noodles, and crisp-cooked vegetables. It all gets tossed together to create a great meal!

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I zested the lime, and then used my trusy Mexican Lime squeezer to get all of the juice out (which also helps get some of the oils as well). I used some Sriracha for the chile note, and a bit of brown sugar to balance the flavors.

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The noodles get cooked and cooled with the dressing, while the veggies are prepared.

I used snow peas, Persian cucumber and green onions, along with the full compliment of fresh herbs: mint, cilantro and basil (love this combination). Peanuts are the final component.

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I served mine alongside another beet salad with a lime dressing, and some home made bread. You really can’t go wrong if you have home made bread!

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I would definitely make this again, though I might use even more vegetables, and fewer noodles. This did make a lot, though I probably used more vegetables than called for. Also, I would make the noodles just a few minutes before serving, and serve warm, or room temperature. I let mine sit in the dressing too long, and it lost it’s zing. The recipe suggests green beans as an option – they would be great too.

The other recipe I made this month is the Spinach, penne and chesse “spouffle”. I have to say I was a bit proud of myself for getting this in under the wire. My MO is that I try to make my recipes as close to immediately after the choices are published so that time doesn’t get away from me. This was the opposite of that!

This is generally a sturdy souffle with pasta added to it. Building on my learnings from last month, I made sure to measure my pasta first so that I didn’t get too much – I was a bit worried that it could get too heavy and pasta-y if I didn’t!

Souffles are based on a bechamel sauce to which flavorings are added (as simple as just cheese, to a variety of vegetables, and whatever else inspires). I started making the bechamel (or white sauce as it was known in the midwest when I grew up – one of the first things I learned to make, and the basis of many “stuff on toast” dinners – as a friend coined them), and really wondered at the proportions. In this recipe, the flour was about double the butter. If you haven’t made one before, the basic idea is that you cook (usually nearly equal) amounts of flour and butter together, ensuring that the flour granuals are completely coated with butter, and then add milk (and/or other liquids depending on your sauce), stirring constantly to create a smooth sauce. If there’s too much flour, it’s nearly impossible to get the sauce smooth, as the flour granuals are not actually separated by the butter, so they clump together – creating dreaded lumps!

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did try my hand blender, but decided to just move forward. One new thing is that in this recipe, you are to simmer the milk along with some peppercorns, bay leaf and half an onion to make the mixture more flavorful. I usually skip that step, but wanted to try it here.

The spinach is also cooked until wilted – just with the water on the leaves from washing. Spinach, cheese and seasonings are added to the sauce. And then the egg yolks.

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Finally, the pasta is mixed in.100_4009

Egg whites are whipped just until they hold peaks (don’t whip them too long, they will end up breaking into chunks and you can’t fold them in), and then added to the sauce/veg/pasta. Typically, you lighten that part with some of the whites – then fold in the remainder. The whole thing is placed in a buttered baking dish. It gets baked for only 25-30 minutes and comes out puffed and browned.

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This was declared a huge hit! I made this for my Mom, and she kept exclaiming about how good it was, and how much she enjoyed it. Not a crumb left on the plate!!

I thought that it was really quite good, and would definitely make it again. There is also a zucchini version in the book that sounds great. I think that it would be a wonderful way to use up bits and pieces of cheese – especially some strongly flavored ones. I liked the bit of pasta in the dish too – and it did make it a bit more substantial (and indestructible). Still wonder about the flour/butter ratio – and would likely do something about that – but a wonderful recipe nonetheless!

Since we were only having the “spouflle”, I thought I’d make a quick summery cake. I had picked up some strawberries and blueberries at the market, and then found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Kismet again. The strawberries are placed on top, and a sprinkling of sugar goes over – to make a bit of jammy goodness. Even better the next day once thoroughly cooled and set. One piece remains – it won’t last the day. As it turned out with that combination of berries, it makes for a festive all-American look, so I will likely bring that version back over the summer (I can never really fall in love with the contrived red, white & blue desserts – but this was a happy accident!).

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So, the month of May was a great success! Even if I did bookend my efforts at the beginning and end of the month. I loved both recipes, and am now awaiting the next months selections. Until then, I will be looking forward to reading about how other members of the Cottage Cooking Club found their recipes. I’m sure there will be some delicous successes to be shared!

CCC – the April Recipes

As you can see, this is being posted in May. Really? I couldn’t take the time to post on time? With only two recipes completed? Well, things do happen. The last couple of months have been super busy. Mainly with work, but also with family events, so I had to take a delay! Oh well!!

In April, I was only able to get two dishes completed. I was soooo very excited about making the Upside-down onion tart. But, it didn’t happen. Who knows what came up. I was, however, able to make a recipe that I didn’t actually sign up for. Pasta with new potatoes, green beans and pesto. I made it for my Book Club. We meet (almost) each month to discuss our books and our lives, hosted by the person who chose the latest book. One of my friends had a baby within hours of our previous meeting!! Obviously we knew the event was upcoming, so I decided to choose an electronic version of our book as a test, since with her first child, the only way she could read was on her phone or reader. It seemed a good idea. I also decided that I should choose something relatively easy, since she might be putting it down at a moment’s notice, so it should be something easy to pick up again. We all like mysteries, and I like them set in the UK even better, so I looked online and decided that since this was a “test”, I’d pick something inexpensive – in this instance $0.01. I could certainly afford to completely host it, and if it was bad, well, no harm done. I chose Silent Scream: An Edge of Your Seat Serial Killer Thriller by Angela Marsons.

Well, one of the reasons I don’t read as many mysteries is that so many are about super-creepy serial killers – I didn’t realize I’d picked one! It’s really the only thing that really scares me in life. Yikes! But, I am happy to say that this was a pretty good book! Great value for a penny, and it worked well to gift my friends with an electronic book. So while I had started buying books (or anything) on Amazon because of these same friends, they also got me going on electronic ones as well (this should seem a bit ironic, given who I now work for!!). I will read more of Angela’s books. So simple – I always want a book with me, this way all I really need is my phone.

On to the recipe!! I was running behind for probably a typical reason. This dish was one on our list of possibilities for the month, and since I had home made pesto in the freezer, I decided that this was the one! I also decided that I would actually weigh the ingredients! Something I never do. So I thought I might actually learn something along the way!!100_3980

I realized that I wasn’t actually all that good at guessing at weights! Pasta, potatoes, green beans.

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The veggies get prepped, and then added to a large pot of boiling water in succession along with the pasta to produce the perfect degree of doneness of each item.

All of this gets drained well, then tossed with the home made pesto. The recipe in the book calls for lemon in the pesto as well, so I added a good amount of fresh lemon as well, since I thought it would brighten things up. Then the olives were scattered, some additional Parmesan added, then it’s ready to serve!!

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Served with a bit of crisp white wine, and some good conversation – it was a nice, filling meal. I’ll have to admit, maybe not quite up to my usual, but was fun – and good for the day. I have no idea – did I serve bread too? Dunno. I’m pretty sure that I did make a lemon icebox pie for dessert that was tasty, and accented the lemon in the luncheon.

This was not the favorite of the recipes I’ve made from Cottage Cooking Club, but it was a good lesson in measuring, as well as a great lesson in combining ingredients you might have on hand for a delicious meal.

The other recipe I made was the Lettuce, egg and fried bread salad. This is another recipe that takes advantage of what’s on hand. I’d planned on making it a different day, but ended up with it as a delicious middle-of-a-workday lunch! IMG_4053

I was able to use some home-made bread for the “fried bread” part – really, just freshly made large croutons. I love any salad with a softly boiled/poached egg. And the dressing was another of the simple ones that come together so quickly with just a bit of Dijon, garlic olive oil and vinegar. Hugh typically calls for cider vinegar, but I usually just use red wine vinegar – but either will do. You just need to ensure you season it with salt and pepper before using, since it needs to be pretty flavorful before it gets to the salad.

I also assembled this in one of my favorite bowls. I made it years and years ago when I spent a few years throwing pots in my free time. Hope to get back to it someday!

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This was a fabulous salad! A great use for that last bit of wonderful bread that you hate to waste, but really, is a bit past its prime. And a healthy, filling lunch.

I’m sure that the others in the Cottage Cooking Club made some amazing recipes. You can find their April recipes here. And if you’d like to join us – check out the site and the rules. You can even join as a guest blogger!