French Frdays with Dorie

Friday, April 22, 2011

FFwD: Mustard Batons

Well, I definitely cannot twirl these batons - at least not as a majorette's baton is twirled - I could perhaps twirl these as Groucho would once twirl his cigar - but it isn't about the twirling - it is about the eating.  And, as Alton would say, these are Good Eats.
Supremely easy to make, they can be frozen until needed, and apparently you can fill them with items far more exotic than mere mustard!

I am a plebeian, though, so mine were filled with mustard, as the instructions indicated.  I used a grainy Dijon in half my batons and a regular Dijon in the other half.  I baked a few of each for sampling.  I quite enjoyed them both, but the ones with the grainy mustard are far superior.  They have a much more pronounced taste - I also believe I did not use enough mustard.  I squirted it on or spread it on, instead of measuring out the proper amount and I think I could have upped the baton's contents by at least another third, if not entirely by half.

Batons masquerading as NE Doggie Rolls
 I love the idea of spreading them with other things, a tampenade, as Dorie suggests or a pesto as someone else suggested.  And, then filling them with non-savory items is also a possibility.  They are a great finger food. 

All we need to do is add our imagination to the possible contents and we have a gold mine.  I have squirrelled the remainders in the freezer, just waiting for someone to visit so I can wow them with my batons!

And check out this stirling example of my non-existant photography skills - I managed to make mustard batons look like New England Doggie Rolls - which - in case you did not know - are so much better than the average hot dog bun that it is not even remotely funny!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

FFwD: Quinoa, fruit and nut salad

I did not really expect to enjoy this dish very much.  I generally find I am not overly fond of dishes like cous-cous and I equated the quinoa with that.

I made a half-batch of the quinoa, nuts and fruit.  I accidentally made a full-batch of the dressing.  This is fine with me, I do love lemon juice. 

I did not serve the quinoa atop salad greens, I just consumed it as a side dish.  I thought, hmm, okay, nothing special, but not bad.  I found the freshness of the lemon juice to be quite nice.  I had not given the dish much time to meld, though.  So, I covered it and left it on the counter at room temperature overnight.

This morning, I took out a container of vanilla yogurt (I rarely do plain) and plopped a whole serving of that atop a large bowl of the quinoa.  I must say, this stuff makes a wonderful breakfast.  I had used raisins and craisins as my fruits and pine nuts and toasted walnuts as my nuts.  Excellent choices, though I believe golden raisins would be a better choice than the dark ones I grabbed initially.  I still have a bit left and shall have it for breakfast, with yogurt, tomorrow. 

It is difficult to eat a healthy breakfast like this while one is busy patting themselves on the back for being so virtuous, but I managed.  Truth be told, my shoulder is a tad sore from all that backpatting!  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FFwD: Garlicky crumb-coated broccoli

I love the diversity of recipes in this cookbook.  One week it is something extraordinarily challenging and the next week, it is something as simple as steaming broccoli.  And, it makes no difference if the recipe is complicated or simple - the food is excellent.

Apparently I did not trim my stalks into small enough sections because it did take an extended time period for my broccoli to tenderize.  I could have used a touch more butter or a skosh fewer breadcrumbs, but in general, I thought this combination was interesting and tasty.

I am probably the most boring vegetable cooker on the planet, so anytime someone points me towards an easy way to add flavor to my veggies, I am grateful.

I paired this with the recipe for April 29 and will post those photos on that date.  Be forewarned - broccoli and bifstek are a great combination!

TwD: Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

I do love me some crisp.  When other people are talking about making cobblers, I always think, blah, make a crisp.  And, this one was quite nice.  I found the taste of the crystallized ginger quite noticeable, though my other tasters did not seem to notice it at all.  I thought it added a very interesting punch to the flavors.

I had purchased some frozen rhubarb a while back and used that in this dish.  I thawed the sliced rhubarb, drained it, patted it dry and then sliced their slices into thinner slices for my use.  The recipe calls for about a pound of rhubarb and my frozen fruit contained just 10 ounces.  However, it nicely spread across the top of my crisp.

I am especially fond of crisps which use oatmeal in their topping as I am of the opinion that oatmeal is healthy and therefore I can eat twice as much of this crisp as I could one just covered with a sugary crisp coating.

I was quite disappointed in my strawberries, though.  I knew it was early for the berries, but I hoped these would actually have some flavor and be red throughout.  No such luck.  They looked like strawberries, they even smelled like strawberries, but they were impostors.  I hulled them and sliced them and found myself looking at white hearts with a red rim.  The only juice produced for the filling came from the liquefied sugar. 

However, this week, I am going to pick up some fruit from the Farmer's Market and give this crisp another try.  With any luck, I will be able to get fresh rhubarb - if not - I will happily use the frozen again.  But, my berries will be lush with flavor.  I am sure a crisp that I thought was mighty fine is going to be reclassified as outstanding. 

Sarah made this choice for us and has posted the recipe with some very tasty looking photos, here.