CtBF – Sardine Spread (rillettes de sardine)

This is an “extra” post for CtBF, since there was a 3rd Friday in September (that I am late for!). The idea was to have optional recipes that included ingredients that might not appeal to everyone. This week: Sardines. My rough calculation is that a bit over half of the group actually like sardines, and many of us have made a similar version when we cooked our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.

Sardines aren’t normal fare for me, though I don’t mind them, but I was reminded why I don’t really make this dish. It’s because it’s not very pretty. The same dish made with salmon…so much prettier.

I had found a can of sardines at an international food market, knowing that sooner or later, I would be making something like this. I had a hard time finding ones that didn’t have a bunch of flavoring – as it turned out, these were “spicy”.

See – not pretty. BUT, these get mixed (sans as many bones as you can easily remove) with a mixture of butter and cream cheese, and then some other items – like capers – and you can never go wrong with them! Unusually, this had lime juice in lieu of lemon – a nice touch.

It’s not pretty. But it is very delicious. We had this as part of a grazing meal watching football. The flavor is quite wonderful. And I skipped the cayenne called for in the recipe because they were “spicy” to begin with. I didn’t do this – but I bet this would be good stuffed inside those little fresh multi-colored sweet peppers you can find at the store these days – or in some other case that would compliment the flavor while giving it a bit nicer look.

To see what my other fearless bloggers thought of this dish, you can find links to their posts at Cook the Book Fridays.

CtBF – Gazpacho

imageIn My Paris Kitchen, gazpacho is described as more of an icy salad than a thin soup or juice. I like mine that way too – this one is maybe a bit of a combination. I was happy to see this right now, because tomato season is winding down, and so it would be perfect timing – and too late soon enough.

I did a recommended combination of techniques – diced the other vegetables (cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion), but used a few pulses in the processor for the tomatoes that had been peeled and seeded, along with a bit of bread – presumably for body. I used a few different types because I wanted the absolute most ripe ones possible.

Other than the veggies, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and some piment d’Esplette – and a tablespoon of vodka. We’re told the vodka makes the soup taste even colder. Unsure about that one.

I thought it would be a lot easier to serve in a pitcher – I thought it would be beautiful in a Mexican glass one I have.

The gazpacho is to be served with herbed goat cheese toasts. I didn’t make new – already had some. And made some garlicky toasts. Also, a little avocado to go on top along with some olives – very tasty with the gazpacho too.

This was a big hit. Delicious refreshing, and with the toasts, substantial enough for dinner. Certainly a great way to use tomatoes when you’re a little tired of salsa (really?) or fresh tomato sauce. Altogether a great recipe!

MDS – a disease you can fight

A very different topic today on the blog. No pictures of pastries or new garden delights. I have some friends who have a son that is fighting this disease – MDS. The link will take you to a site where you can get an immense amount of information about this disease, but I want to offer you a punchline first: by registering, getting a kit so that you can swab some cheek cells, get tested and if you are a match – donate some blood. You can save someone’s life. You might be able to save my friend’s life too – but so much more. No bone marrow donation – it’s just a little blood. If you’re a match.

Here’s a bit more information, and I have a link for you at the end.

My friend has developed a condition called MDS. It is a rare Bone Marrow Disease. Currently his MDS is in the precancerous stage, but left untreated it will almost definitely develop into Leukemia. At this time the only cure for MDS is a bone marrow transplant. At present he is working with the doctors at Stanford University and Be The Match to search for donors around the world who are registered. The only criteria is that you have to be between the ages of 18 and 44 to register. We realize that many may not meet the age requirement but we hope you will pass this on to anyone who will. When you join the registry (see info below), they will send you a registration kit to give a swab of cheek cells. They will tissue type the sample you provide and use the results to match you to patients. If you are chosen as a match for our son, the donor only has to give blood instead of using bone marrow and will save his life. The process is completely free. If you are 44 – 61, you can still donate, but the odds become worse and you have to pay to have it done. So if you or anyone you know might want to donate and possibly save a life, please respond using the following info or pass this on… please keep it going. It would be greatly appreciated. Contact Information is bethematch.org or call (800) 627-7692.

I would love for people to get tested. For my friend, for others who need this treatment. I had no idea that it was so easy and non-invasive. I am well aware that it won’t be for everyone, but this is an opportunity to make a difference, be a blessing and maybe even change someone’s life.

CtBF -Spiced meatballs with Sriracha sauce

From when I first opened My Paris Kitchen, I noticed this recipe. Maybe it was the Sriracha. Maybe it was the picture of the author eating a sandwich on the street. Or maybe it was the lengthy story that went with it. I don’t know. What I do know is that I wanted to make it, and was pleased to see it come up on our calendar now.

Apparently this is a riff on an iconic merguez sandwich found in Paris. This version relies on a homemade “sausage” made into meatballs. The sauce is a simple combination of mayo and Sriracha. The recipe notes that you can use ground lamb, beef, or a combination of both – and notes this should not be lean. I chose lamb because I can get it locally, and I was pleased to find out that it had been freshly ground so that was my pick.

This ended up being a weeknight recipe, and I forgot to take pictures – but really, there wasn’t a lot to see. A lot of spices (coriander, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, allspice, sumac, paprika), along with salt, Sriracha, garlic and chopped cilantro. That all gets mixed together, then the lamb was mixed in. I let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour (the recipe says it can sit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days – I thought that a little rest couldn’t hurt).

We had the option to bake or fry – I thought that baking (and only for 12-15 minutes!) seemed like a lot easier way to go – especially since I could put them on parchment. So I used a scoop to make the balls pretty even, and put them on the sheet. I was very pleasantly surprised that they didn’t put out a lot of grease, and they cooked nicely in the short time. Despite the short cooking time, they had a nice brown crust.

I was probably fixated on the picture of David eating a sandwich on the street – and while, if I thought about it – that was probably a baguette – I thought that Naan would be a great wrapper. I couldn’t get the small ones that I like – so sufficed with the larger ones. Heated on a grill, they are my favorite wrapper – including for hot dogs! Anyway, I served these a couple of ways – “deconstructed” as shown below..img_0968

and as a sandwich, as shown here.img_0964img_0965

Both worked great. And I sort of deconstructed the sandwich to eat it anyway. 🙂

These were a big hit. The sauce was terrific. I probably used a little less Sriracha to match my crew’s tolerance, but otherwise, everything was wonderful and tasty. Not a bite left!

I was surprised that they meatballs definitely tasted like “sausage”, so I think that he got the recipe right in re-creating at home. I didn’t taste the lamb very much, and was a little sorry about that – but I also thought that it was probably better than ground beef would be. Maybe a bit chunkier grind. The texture was terrific. The flavor was great. We didn’t miss any frying (or the mess after), and loved the sauce. I definitely could see these as an appetizer as well – as actually recommended in the recipe. All in all, a big hit. It was fun to make something where I really didn’t know what to expect. You can find out what other bloggers thought of this weeks recipe at Cook the Book Fridays.

CtBF -Cherry tomato crostini with herbed goat cheese

Where would we be without friends? I was all set to make another recipe using my cherry tomatoes from the garden, when someone (Katie) mentioned the roasted cherry tomatoes for this week. So, in fairly typical fashion, I did a twofer.

The other recipe (thank you Smitten Kitchen) is for cherry tomatoes roasted with pearl onions – all served over croutons with white beans. I’d made really yummy black beans, so thought I’d substitute.

Ours are roasted alone, but with garlic and fresh herbs. Of course, both preparations rely on good olive oil, salt and pepper. Both are also roasted in a very similar time frame. They go from this…IMG_0922

to this… in about 3/4 of an hour.


They end up with some seriously deliciousness in each pan. That juice really adds to the dish. I thought that it was fun to have the combination of the heirloom yellow pear tomatoes as well as the sweet 100s.

This recipe also includes a home made herb cheese. I didn’t happen to have any goats milk yogurt around (really?), so I picked up a nice, mild, soft goat cheese, and added herbs from the garden. Always a good thing – herbs from the garden! I used thyme and rosemary in this version. IMG_0925

So, the final prep. Toast. Slather herbed goat cheese on one slice. Pile on black beans on the other.IMG_0926

And finally – top with the roasted tomatoes. I also topped the goat cheese ones with thin strips of basil.


This was some serious yumminess! Both dishes were delicious – and I have to admit the CtBF recipe was almost gone by the time we were finished with dinner. It made a really terrific dish for a relaxed evening. The others? They were great too. Seriously, how can you go wrong with fresh garden tomatoes roasted to develop their sweetness. Just a different dish than fresh (also good!).

I think the punchline is that it’s a great go-to dish. I’m kind of sorry I shared my earlier ones when I had too many! OK, not really, but I could happily make a bunch more!!

I have to take down my plants. Between the heat, and probably just running out of gas, my plants are done. It’s a little sad. But it’s also ok, because I can get whatever kind of tomatoes they have at the roadside stand, and that’s a good thing too. There’s still summery goodness to be enjoyed. If you’d like to find out what our other bloggers thought of the dish, you can find links to their posts at cookthebookfridays. We have bloggers from all over north america and around the world cooking together through My Paris Kitchen. It will be fun to see how they fared!



CtBF Apricot crumble tart

Since Katie can try using her phone for a blog post, why can’t I?

I made this tart what seems like a couple of weeks ago. The apricots from our tree were long gone, but was able to find some at the market. It’s a little late in the year for the southwest.

But I love a tart, and this one seemed like a great idea. Crust, fruit, a crumble topping.

This tart looked beautiful when it came from the oven.

Just like the photos. Was it phenomenal? Not so much. Part of it was really the fruit, or maybe most of it. Each element was yummy. And we tasted it with whipped cream, ice cream and all by itself. Crust and topping were both great.

So, not a true favorite, but a fantastic concept. Maybe it was even better with the apricot kernel ice cream. I’ll look forward to seeing what other bloggers thought about their tarts.

CtBF| Buckwheat crêpes with ham, cheese and egg

I feel like these have been everywhere recently – certainly in some food magazines or online. I’ve never had one, don’t often make crêpes, but it was one of the intruiging  recipes in the book when I first paged through it.

This is actually two recipes. The buckwheat crêpes. And the “galette completes”. Apparently buckwheat crêpes are called galettes, while those made with white flour are just crêpes. It’s a little confusing, because I’ve been making galettes that are pastry, filled with savory or fruit filling – maybe it’s really the folded over edge?

I made the batter 1st thing in the morning, and it ended up with a nice 4-5 hour rest. I was a little skeptical (yes, I peeked at a few blog posts first), so decided that since I was hungry, and was worried that they might not be good, it would be good to try them for brunch rather than waiting for dinner or a later lunch.

The batter is very simple, 1.5 c buckwheat flour, 2.25 c water, a bit of salt and a couple of eggs. It is supposed to be the consistency of heavy cream. I found that it was fairly easy to get the batter in the pan, spread to make a semi-large crêpe. I found that if I let them cook a bit long on the first side, they were a little too crisp and were difficult to turn over.

But, assuming that the cheese, egg and ham would kind of hold it together, I decided not to be concerned.

I didn’t have too much trouble with my egg sliding around – but did have a challenge because I didn’t have a lid that would fit – or I didn’t search one out at first…


I used some very thin black forest ham that I found. I didn’t think I’d really love proscuitto. I did have some Jarlsberg cheese, so used that. I broke my first egg when the lid slipped and smashed it… very sad. I ended up switching out lids, but at the end of the effort – I cheated and turned on the broiler – I just couldn’t get the eggs to cook without burning the bottom of the galette.



The one that broke – not too beautiful. I thought that the most difficult part was folding over the sides to make a square – because the galette crisps up, it just wasn’t simple. And I’m sure part of it was that the crêpes were not the super large size shown in the book.

All said and done – these were tasty. Seriously. But then again, when isn’t toasty cheese, ham and egg? I’m not 100% certain that I would make these again – though I have more batter. I wish I spoke/read French, because it would be fun to read the menu pictured in the book. There would undoubtedly be some interesting combinations mentioned. I can pick out asparagus, I think salmon, pine nuts… who knows. I imagine that these are pretty versatile and can use up some of the leftovers that might be hanging out in the refrigerator.


This was a fun recipe to try. I think that I may leave these for a visit to a crêperie (I know of one in Coronado Island – so on my next visit), but very interesting and fun to attempt these. You can see how others fared with this recipe at Cook the Book Fridays. And if you would like to cook along with us – pick up My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.