In a less formal manner I've been cooking along with the French Fridays with Dorie group this month. Since its the last day of November I thought I'd share with you the last 3 recipes I enjoyed making and, more importantly, eating this month. The first one can be found here. There's a classic, a revelation, and an homage in the mix. While most of these items were served as parts of other meals, I realize that that all these recipes are the makings for one perfect Friday night dinner.
An apology for the poor lighting. I dislike using a flash, but nighttime eats at this time of year sure make it tricky to take a decent photo. Sure hoping Santa brings me my light for Christmas! Pumpkin Flans with Walnuts and Gorgonzola
The Revelation: I scoped this recipe out within minutes of cracking open the book. Its basically a pumpkin pie custard, but with a savoury bent, topped with toasted walnuts and melty gorgonzola cheese. I confess I don't really love pumpkin pie. I'd rather fill my pastry with other things. When I was younger I was known to eat the entire contents of the pie filling and leave behind a sad, scraped clean, pie shell. Turns out even then I knew the filling really is the best part in this case. While the recipe calls for a simple can of pumpkin puree, at this time of year I always have piles of gem like squash. Roasting them is esay, and this way I'm eating local squash as opposed to pumpkins from who knows where.
This was a perfect first course with a crunchy salad. A last minute drizzle of full flavoured Pine honey brought it all together and paired beautifully with the nuts and cheese. I profess I love pumpkin, I'd just rather have it for dinner.
The Classic : Translated as "Roast Chicken for Lazy People", this recipe is the French version of quick and easy recipes for the busy cook. In actuality the chicken does take over an hour to cook, but the preparation and method of cooking is so simple that once you get it in the oven you'll have plenty of time to set the table, make a salad and unwind with a glass of wine and some Glee. A simple roast chicken is certainly one of my absolute favourite meals and something worth mastering. Over time I've developed my own recipe, but I'll admit I loved the dump in the pot technique here, which is all it was. Tossing in some vegetables means you've made a side dish without thinking about it and they'll flavoured with chicken juices and bronzed with chicken fat. The addition of a couple slices of stale bread put on the bottom of the pot which soak up chicken juices and caramelize as the chicken cookes are litte little bits of gold to fight over at the dinner tables. Like stuffing, but better.
And while I wouldn't consider it for Les Paresseux, the accompanying jus is a must when it comes to roast chicken. One extra step to harness those beautiful drippings and drizzle over your plate.
Caramel Topped Semolina Cake
The Homage: Dessert was a cross between creme caramel (also known as Flan in Spanish cuisine) and my favourite winter breakfast as a child, Cream of Wheat. The simplicity, yet elegance of this dish is a reminder to me of the beauty of French cuisine and why its hands down the cuisine that keeps drawing me in the longer I cook. A simple mixture of milk and wheat cooked to a porridge consistency, along with some sugar and eggs and a handful of raisins. In a pan lined with smokey caramel, the cake is cooked until puffed and flecked with brown. The cake is turned out to reveal a surprise soaking of amber caramel which still drizzles down the side of the cake.
Creme caramel is one of my favourite desserts, so I Ioved this cake. And I was tickled to be able to use up my bottle of golden raisins which had been sitting in armagnac for a year. Whatever you call it : Cream of Wheat or Farina, what I loved most about this cake was how much it tasted of that warm, creamy, brown sugar flecked breakfast bowl of my youth. This cake was not too sweet and the deeply cooked caramel reminded me of that brown sugar on top. Indeed I ate leftover cake the next day for breakfast. Divine comfort.
French Fridays with Dorie links: