Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FFwD: Roasted Salmon and Lentils

It's official. This week converted me from a lentil hater to a lentil lover. I prepared and enjoyed lentils in two very different ways this week--first Madhur Jaffrey's Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seeds on Sunday, and now the French Fridays with Dorie pick: Roasted Salmon and Lentils (pg 300 of Around My French Table).

The salmon portion of this dish is as simple as is humanly possible (rub fish with oil, salt, pepper, then roast), and, in my opinion, fell very, very flat. The lentils hold all the appeal. Green lentils simmer away in broth (yummy homemade broth), with chunks of carrot, a bay leaf, and an onion with a clove stuck in it. Why not let the clove float free in the broth? I have no idea. Maybe it's easier to retrieve from the onion? Celery should be included, but I didn't have any. Once the lentils are tender and drained, almost a cup of them are pureed, then added back in. I wish I stopped there. Dorie says to add half cup of the broth back to the pan, but I preferred it when it was thicker. Still good, but I'll know better next time.
Believe me, I groaned when I saw this recipe chosen for this week, and never in a million years expected to be shoveling spoonfuls of lentils into my mouth, straight from the pan. I never would have tried this recipe if not for French Fridays with Dorie. Hooray! I try to live by the food philosophy of tasting things I don't like over and over again, because now and then, I'm deliciously surprised. We'll see if I'm singing the same tune at the end of March, for that Grapefruit and Crab Salad. Grapefruit is my nightmare.

Conclusion: Liked the lentils, though I'm sure the quality of the broth is important to the flavor. I wouldn't make the salmon this way again.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

There's a Pancake Day?

Never in my life have I heard of Pancake Day. It was today, apparently, and I unwittingly participated. For lunch, I made Jennifer Reese's recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes (pg 52 of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter), because I needed to use up some buttermilk before it went bad.
Conclusion: Pancakes make me happy. All pancakes. These were good. Liked them.

When I think of Indian food, I never think of seafood. Maybe I'm too distracted trying to choose between saag or biryani when I read the menu that I don't notice it, or maybe the restaurants I've been to haven't served seafood. Regardless, I'm intrigued by the seafood section in Indian Cooking.

Dinner was Shrimp with Zucchinis (pg 118). The sauce was tomato based, which was a departure from other dishes I've made. Honestly, this one was unmemorable. I enjoyed it well enough while I was eating it, but an hour later, I can't remember much about it.

Conclusion: I'm going to call this one just okay. It did have a lot of veggies in it, so that was good, but it's not the most delicious thing ever.
We finished up our cucumbery yogurt, so I made a new yogurt accompaniment: Yogurt with Eggplant (pg 212). The eggplant offers no flavor, but a nice, softly chunky texture. This is seasoned with salt, pepper, scallions, mint, and a bit of cayenne. The flavor is mild. The effect is of a creamy side dish, vs. the sense of refreshment I got from the cucumber one.

Conclusion: Liked it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So Many Flavors

Is it a good or a bad thing that I've been too busy to blog, and now I have a whole list of recipes to report on? Good, in terms of life activity, methinks. Bad, in terms of having unwieldy posts. Sorry. Again.

Numero uno: Minced Meat with Peas (Kheema Matar) (pg 62 of Indian Cooking). On day one, I thought this was pretty bland. I fully admit that I'm veering toward the lower end of her spicing recommendations until I get my footing, but still, this was "eh." However, the next night, Matt made sandwiches out of it on pita, with cucumbers and the leftover cucumber mint yogurt stuff. Insert Homer Simpson drool face here. It was so good.
Conclusion: Because of the sandwich, after a day of mingling, liked it.

Last night, I tackled Lemony Chicken with Cilantro (pg 95). I chose this because I had all the ingredients. Cilantro is not something that I normally spring into action for, and the recipe only calls for two tablespoons of lemon juice, so i didn't have high hopes. Foolish me. Brown chicken, and then quickly cook a butt-load of cilantro (1.5 cups for half a batch of chicken) with a million spices. Add water to the spices, and let the chicken simmer away for a half hour. I don't think I've ever had cilantro that was cooked down so much and used as a real present component of a dish. The meat was perfectly tender, and the flavor was surprisingly lemony and complex. Matt continually muttered, "Oh my God. Oh my God" while eating. It was cute. It seems like everything I make out of this book, he says is the best Indian food ever.
Conclusion: Loved it.

I'm not a huge lentil fan, but I've liked them in Indian restaurants, so figured I'd give it a shot. Madhur keeps recommending Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seeds (pg 165) as an accompaniment to dishes, so it seemed like a good place to start. There was no picture, so I expected the lentils to retain their shape and identity. These turned out to be the consistency of refried beans, which, in my opinion, is a great thing, because I'm a fool for refried beans. They had a ton of flavor (I fear I'll be saying that a lot this month), and were the highlight of the meal for me.
Conclusion: Loved it.

I had the bright idea to use some rotting bananas to make Cocoa-Nana Bread (pg 46 of Dorie Greenspan's Baking). It's in her "Breakfast Sweets" section, and I thought, "Hey! I'll bet Charlie will eat that." Wrong-o. What is wrong with the men in my house? Charlie wouldn't touch it, and Matt nibbled one bite, then said that he doesn't do chocolate for breakfast. Grumble. It's becoming increasingly clear to me that I better focus on loaves of bread (not the sweet kind) if I want my family to appreciate my baking. Forget them.

The Cocoa-Nana bread was way more chocolatey than I expected it to be. It was really more of a cake, and I'll admit I wouldn't normally want that much chocolate for breakfast either. For a snack or dessert, it's moist and choco-licious, though. I didn't expect the bananas to be able to compete with all that chocolate, but they did. More than anything, it reminded me of a banana split.

Apparently my loaf pan was not the right size.
Conclusion: Liked it, but I sent it to work with Matt. I don't need to eat a whole loaf single-handedly.

For book club, I made Dorie's Brrrrr-ownies (pg 103 of Baking). They're brownies with chopped up York Peppermint Patties in them. Not my favorite brownie mixture, but I do love the York Patties in the brownie. I may just add them to David Lebovitz's "Robert's Absolute Best Brownies" instead, though, because they're the absolute best.
Conclusion: Liked it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

FFwD: Cheese-Topped Onion Soup

I was looking forward to cooking this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe: Cheese-Topped Onion Soup (pg 56 of Around My French Table), because I've made it before, and know it is delicious. Then my central air conditioning busted last week. I know that sounds like a ridiculous complaint to make in February, but the temperature started to creep upwards, until yesterday, when it hit 79 degrees outside, and hit 89 degrees in my house, according to the thermostat. Definitely not soup weather.

I'd already bought the ingredients, so I went ahead and cooked the soup anyway. Man, I wish those damn onions caramelized faster. Last time, they took me three hours. I cranked the heat up to a little less than medium heat, and it took me an hour and a half this time. Better than three hours, but still more than I have patience for on a regular basis. By the time lunch was ready, between the steam and the broiler action, I was a sweat-ball. Not good. Aren't you all glad I shared my soup experience with you this week?

Like so many foods, this soup really is worth all the time and slow preparation. It is so, so good. We're having it for dinner tonight. I didn't put nearly enough cheese on mine yesterday. Tonight, I'll know better. Prepare to be smothered in mountains of wonderful gruyere, soup!

This soup always gives me tureen-envy. Repeat after me: "I will not buy more dishware. I will not buy more dishware." 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


For my first foray into Indian cooking, I decided to make my favorite: Lamb with Spinach (Dilli Ka Saag Gosht) (pg 67 of Indian Cooking). I've never eaten most of the dishes in this book, so I figured I'd start with something I knew I'd like. Boy, did I like it. I ate waaay too much of this. Matt served himself first, and I thought he took half. I took the other half. Turns out, he did not take half. He thought he left enough for me, and for lunch tomorrow. Tee hee. I ate it all. Matt said that if every meal in the book is as good as this one, we never need to order out again.
 Conclusion: Loved it. 

Jaffrey says to make your own Garam Masala (pg 21), because the store-bought stuff uses cheap ingredients and has no flavor. I quadrupled her recipe, because I don't know how to quarter a nutmeg. Ground up cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, cloves, black peppercorn, and nutmeg make a nice warm mixture. I tasted it, then tasted the commercial blend I had in my pantry, and promptly tossed the commercial blend in the trash. It tasted like sawdust. If I ever need garam masala, I will make it. No contest.

Conclusion: Loved it.

This wasn't a fiery dish, but Yogurt with Cucumber and Mint (pg 210) still provided such a lovely, cool contrast to the cozy heat of the saag.
Mmmm...palate cleanser.
Conclusion: Loved it. A clean sweep!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wrapping Up How to Eat, and Up Next

 Nigella Lawson's How to Eat perfectly demonstrates why I shouldn't allow the design of a cookbook to factor into my expectations of the book's quality. I do maintain that this book is not laid out in a user-friendly fashion, and there is way too much chit-chat for my taste. I don't mind intros to recipes, and I don't mind essay-type writing at the start of chapters, but this book has big chunks of chatter in between the recipes. It's distracting, and hard to find what you're looking for. There are recipes, like the Exceptional Salmon that we loved so much, that don't appear in the contents, since it's in with the chatter instead of broken apart as a separate recipe. In the paperback version, at least, there are no pictures.

HOWEVER, nearly every recipe I tried was good, if not great. I was worried that Nigella was just an English Rachael Ray, with her emphasis on quick cooking. She's not. Nigella's recipes never feel cluttered. She uses fine ingredients and cooks them simply, to maximize their flavor.

I'm not bored with this book after a month, and there are lots of recipes that I still want to try. There's a treacle tart with my name written all over it. Trying to cut back on the desserts, so I didn't get around to making it this month, but I will. Oh, I will.

My only other minor complaint is that there are a lot of recipes for game and wild fowl that I just don't have access to. If you don't have access to them either, this may not be the book to start with. I'm trying desperately to control the urge to order all of her books. Santa brought me Kitchen for Christmas, and I can't wait to jump into it. Later.

For now, I'm very excited to start my next book. I've bitched and moaned often enough here about Corpus Christi's nonexistent Indian food offerings, that I'm guessing you've figured out that I really like Indian food, but am intimidated to cook it. Well, it's time to conquer that mountain, because from what I understand, Naples doesn't have a whole lot to offer in terms of non-Italian food. If I want Indian food without having to drive a few hours to get it in the next few years, I'm going to have to make it myself. For the next month, I'll be cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking. 
Doesn't she have kind eyes? I trust those eyes, and the recommendation of my friend Brigit, who steered me toward this book. I bought myself another coffee grinder for spices and a mini food processor, since a number of her recipes involve small amounts of onion puree. I stopped at the organic store yesterday and picked up whole spices and dry beans. I'm ready. Now can someone tell me how to quarter a nutmeg?? Blood shall be spilled this night! Nah, I'm better off quadrupling her garam masala recipe, even though she says to just make a little at a time.

Fingers crossed that I'm not totally sick of Indian food by the end of the month. The recipes look pretty diverse, so I think I'll be okay.

A Few Lovelies

I'm a few days late finishing up How to Eat. Woops. I lost track of the month. Oh well. I got two Charlie-Approved meat dishes out of it, so the extra few days were worth it.

The Chicken Patties (pg 439) from the "Feeding Babies and Small Children" section did not come out remotely how I expected them to, which is probably a good thing. I thought it would be a version of a cafeteria chicken patty, which, I'm ashamed to admit, I always loved. I'd probably think it was vile if I tasted one now, but in third grade, those things were awesome.
Nigella's starts with blitzing boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the food processor. She says you can substitute ground turkey, so I did, because it's easier, and I had a pound in the freezer from my handy local good-to-the-animals meat farm. Mix it up with pork sausage, nutmeg, bread crumbs, and parsley, make patties, and fry in a bit of oil. I used the whole package of ground breakfast sausage, because I wasn't sure how much the required two links would equate to. So, these tasted like breakfast sausage, which is to say that they were delicious. I made slider-sized patties, and Charlie gobbled his right up. Which reminds me, I have to throw the leftovers in the freezer so that I don't burn him out on them.

Conclusion: Liked it, and Charlie Approved.

One thing I've learned from this month with Nigella is that, under specific circumstances, Charlie will eat a drumstick. If I put the drumstick on his plate with the rest of his dinner, he won't touch it. However, if he climbs on Matt's lap--not mine, only Matt's--and Matt tries to take a bite of his own drumstick, Charlie will take and eat that one. Perhaps not the best etiquette, but we're just happy to see protein going into him. With this in mind, I made The Tenderest Chicken (pg 315). Chicken pieces marinate for 8+ hours in buttermilk, soy sauce, garlic, and mustard. When you're ready to cook, you wipe them down, then brush them with melted butter mixed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It just tastes like roast chicken, and it was, indeed, quite tender. I poured the leftover butter solution on fresh brussel sprouts and roasted them in the stove with the drumsticks. Best brussel sprouts ever.

Conclusion: Liked it, and Charlie Approved. I'm not the hugest drumstick fan, but I'll be making them regularly, since boy-o will eat them.

Twice this week, I re-tested the Yogurt (pg 46) from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, paying much closer attention to the temperature of the milk. I'm now certain that, the first time I tried this, I let my milk cool too much before stirring in the bit of live-culture yogurt. These two times, after an overnight rest in the oven, I opened the oven door in the morning, and voila! Yogurt. Warm yogurt, but yogurt nonetheless. I was reprimanded throughout childhood every time I left the milk carton on the counter, so I do psychologically grimace at the thought of letting it sit all night, but it's worth it. The flavor is nicer, without that sharp edge that can be in store-bought plain yogurt, plus, I'm no longer beholden to Fage. Even using organic milk, it's cheaper to make my own than buy Fage. I haven't actually strained the yogurt to make Greek-style yet, but I will.
Conclusion: Love it. It's simple, it's cheaper than store-bought, it tastes good, and I find myself eating more of it because I made it.

I ran out of peanut butter, so I made Reese's recipe. All you do is blitz peanuts and a bit of peanut oil in the food processor until you have the texture you want. Jennifer says to make it thinner than you think it needs to be, because it will firm up in the fridge. This was true. My one qualm is that she says homemade peanut butter is 80 percent the price of Jif. Maybe peanuts are just expensive in Texas, but my jar of peanuts cost nearly the same as the natural peanut butter I usually buy. A huge Costco-sized box of peanuts would be cheaper, I'd think, but the only container I could find was not.
Conclusion: Liked it, but I doubt I'll make it regularly. It costs the same here, so it's not worth the added step of pulsing it myself.

Lastly, Matt and I had date night last night, in which our friend took Charlie away for hours, and we cooked awesome filet mignon and mashed potatoes, drank wine, etc. Fun times. I planned to make creme brulee for dessert, but forgot to add the ingredients to Matt's grocery list, so I couldn't. Searching for a similar replacement that wouldn't require another trip to the store, I landed on Vanilla Cup Custard from Dorie Greenspan's Baking. All it needs is milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and some almond extract. Easy. Unfortunately, this tasted very eggy. Neither one of us was impressed, and Charlie only picked at his. We kept thinking up fruit sauces that would mask the egginess, which doesn't speak well of the custard's flavor.

Conclusion: Just okay.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

FFwD: Mussels and Chorizo

I feel like a lame-wad for this week's French Fridays with Dorie post, as I really don't have a whole lot to say about it. We ate this lovely meal of Mussels and Chorizo (pg 316 of Around My French Table) for dinner on Valentine's Day. Dorie provides the option of adding pasta, but I didn't, because it would use up space in my stomach better served by dessert. This chorizo and tomato based sauce is quite different from the white wine and garlic mussel recipes that usually attract my attention. Slightly spicy, it was a delightful complement to the mussels, and Matt sopped up his entire bowl of broth with crusty bread (and then moved on to my bowl, since I was finished).
Conclusion: Loved it. This one has definitely earned a spot in our regular dinner rotation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Day After Valentine's Day

I had a chemistry teacher in high school who ended every class by saying, "If no one else tells you they love you today, I do." I always thought that was nice. She'd probably be arrested for saying that today. We live in sick times. I don't remember one single thing about chemistry, and I can't think of the teacher's name off the top of my head, but I remember that.

I have no point, besides that I had that in my head on Valentine's Day. Fortunately, I had someone who told me they loved me, but not who you'd expect...
I don't see us having a long-term relationship, Cake. You'll be gone by sundown.
Just kidding. Matt loves me, too. He should, after being served Nigella's Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake (pg 316 of How to Eat). I love chocolate and raspberries. It's my favorite fruit/chocolate combo, and I have no idea why I've never thought of baking raspberries into a cake or brownies, instead of just placing them on top or turning them into sauce. This is a dense, moist cake, and the raspberry flavor really shone through from the fruit, even though I replaced the framboise that's supposed to be mixed in to the batter with amaretto.

My only problem with this cake is that there is coffee in it. I used instant espresso, because I don't own instant coffee. I'm one of those people who can't drink caffeine after noon, or else I'll be up all night. At midnight, I was still wide awake and could feel my heartbeat. I blame the cake. I'm beat today, and Charlie is not cooperating with my idea that we should both spend a few hours napping. Must admit, I've dozed on the couch a few times. Not for long, though. Apparently my son thinks that when I close my eyes, I'm inviting him to tackle me.
Conclusion: Loved it, but I would omit the coffee in the future, even though I know people say that coffee amplifies chocolate flavor. I guess I could use decaf, but decaf is gross. Regardless, the leftovers are going to work with Matt tomorrow.

I bought more crab meat at the farmer's market, so the other night, I made Linguine with Crab (pg 393). Nigella says that this recipe borrows flavors from Thai and Korean crab cakes, so it's unlike any other crab sauce I've had. Garlic, a red chili pepper, lime, scallions, white wine, and cilantro.
Conclusion: Liked, but next time, I'll use shrimp. It wasn't delicious enough to warrant the cost of the crab, and I don't think that replacing crab with shrimp would hurt the recipe.

If no one else tells you they love you today, I do. :-) 

Friday, February 10, 2012

There She Goes With Her Weird Titles Again

I made most of the components of Nigella's "Spring-Scented Lunch for 8" (for 2) for dinner tonight. Spring-scented? She's so weird. I love her, but she goes a little overboard with the titles.
Tarragon French Roast Chicken (pg 271) was lovely. Mix a load of chopped tarragon, a bit of sherry, and a bit of white pepper in with soft butter. Rub butter under the skin of the chicken. Roast. I followed Nigella's timing instructions, and have to say that the breast came out a bit dry. The skin was beautifully crisp, though. I would follow this recipe, in terms of the tarragon butter, but probably follow my normal roasting method, which is to lay the bird breast-side down, then flip it for the last thirty minutes.

Conclusion: Liked it. The tarragon was a little sweet, and tasted like it was born to roast in my chicken.

Nigella includes a recipe for Foolproof Rice (pg 272). This seems silly to me, because a) it's not much different than the normal rice cooking instructions and b) it's not foolproof. Mix a cup of rice in melted butter, then add a cup of water (I used stock) and bring to a boil. She says to simmer it on the lowest setting for 30-40 minutes. She does not take into account the irritatingly slow response time of an electric stove. I turned my rice to low. Fortunately, I checked it again five minutes later. The liquid was gone and the rice was beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan. I added a butt-load more water, and all was well.

Conclusion: Just okay. No different than any other rice recipe.

German Leeks and Wine (pg 270) sounded like they'd be amazing--thick slabs of leek, cooked in butter, then wine. It wasn't so great. Not a lot of flavor, and the outer rings remained tough.

Conclusion: Somewhere between okay and disliked, but I'm going to go with disliked, since I only picked at it.

Nigella ends her "Spring-Scented Lunch" with a lemon pie. Man, I wish I made a lemon pie. That would hit the spot right now. A glass of wine will have to do.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

FFwD: Leek & Potato Soup, and Basque Potato Tortilla

This week's designated recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was Nutella Tartine, which I made last year. I liked it fine, but I didn't feel like duplicating it this week, so instead, I figured I'd make up a recipe that I missed. Matt had to head up to Houston for an overnight work trip, leaving me with two dinners on my own. I decided to seize the opportunity and make recipes that I've been stalling on because they aren't substantial enough to satisfy Matt for dinner, and so one Dorie recipe turned into two.

First up, I made Basque Potato Tortilla (pg 142 of Around My French Table). I halved everything and used a smaller pan, because serving myself nine eggs for dinner seemed a little ridiculous. I also added red pepper to the potato and onion. This tasted like every other tortilla I've ever had, which is to say that it was good, but not unique. I enjoyed it, and have half of it left over for a lunch or two.
Conclusion: Liked it, though I'll probably only make it if there's no food in the house besides eggs and potatoes.

Tonight, I made Leek and Potato Soup, Smooth or Chunky, Hot or Cold (pg 66). I opted for smooth and hot. I usually love Dorie's soups, but I was underwhelmed with this one. It's pretty bland. I used dried thyme instead of fresh, which probably didn't help in the flavor department, but for the huge amount of onions and leeks in here, I would have expected some onion and garlic flavor to shine through. Oh well. Still, I'm happy to have it on this chilly, drizzly day. Chilly and drizzly is an uncommon occurrence around here, so I'm enjoying it while I can. I'm the only person I know who prefers rain to sunshine. Probably because sunshine=sunburn in my world, no matter how much SPF 50 I slather on.
Conclusion: Just okay. I love potato soup, but this was not my favorite version. Melting cheddar into it helped.

Update: I do feel compelled to say that I had some leftover soup for lunch, and the flavor was much richer the second day. Today, it was really good! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Damn Hippies

As I threw together Jennifer Reese's Granola (pg 44-45 of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter), I self-righteously grumbled about how many extraneous calories are racked up by all the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and shredded coconut, compared to Ellie Krieger's version. Yes, there are certainly many calories here. Oh my lord, though. In terms of flavor, it blows Ellie out of the water. (Sorry, Ellie). This granola is addictive. It has a delightful salty/sweet element to it. It cooked for over an hour at a pretty low temp, so it turned gold without coming anywhere close to burning.

Conclusion: Loved it. Deeeeelicious.

With granola, one needs yogurt (pg 46). Reese's recipe seemed straightforward enough. Heat milk to almost-boiling, then let it cool until it's warm. Mix in some live-culture yogurt and let it sit overnight in a warm place. Supposedly, the next day, you have yogurt. I had milk.
I want to try this one more time before I judge. I suspect I may have allowed it to cool too much to activate the cultures. I definitely won't be wasting money on organic milk again until I know it works, though.

With an abundance of granola on hand, I couldn't resist baking Granola Grabbers (pg 82) from Dorie Greenspan's Baking. These cookies throw calories on Reese's granola's calories. You add more coconut, more nuts, more butter, more brown sugar. Yummmmm. The cookies merge soft cookie with crisp granola, so it's chewy and crunchy. GENIUS!
Conclusion: I like them, but Charlie LOVES them. Score!

Now, back to Nigella. Cambodian Hot-and-Sour Beef Salad (pg 385 of How to Eat) was not-so-great. Strips of steak are stirred about in a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, shugar, chilies, shallot, and mint, then dumped on lettuce. It was fine, but not very interesting.
Conclusion: Just okay. Salad needs to be really flavorful to make me eat it. I didn't finish my serving.

Fortunately, tonight's dinner ore than made up for it. One-Pan Chicken (pg 360) is just what it says. I used drumsticks instead of a whole chicken (cut up). Salt the chicken, chunks of red onion and red pepper, baby potatoes, unpeeled garlic then drizzle with olive oil and roast for a little under an hour.
Conclusion: Loved it, and Charlie actually ate an entire drumstick. Yay for protein!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

FFwD: Gorgonzola-Apple Quiche

Back in college, when Matt was trying to a-woo me, he cooked me dinner. Gorgonzola chicken with Pasta, to be precise. A bold choice, since he had no idea what my thoughts on gorgonzola were. It's a polarizing cheese, and he uses A LOT of it. Fortunately for him, I loved it. We keep it as a special occasion meal, so that it doesn't become old-hat, and retains its sentimental value.

Whenever I eat gorgonzola, it reminds me of courtship and budding romance. By that, I don't mean that romance stinks. hehe. It's just where my mind zaps back to whenever I taste it. I was really excited to try this weeks French Fridays with Dorie recipe: Gorgonzola-Apple Quiche (pg 157 of Around My French Table).

I've used Dorie's tart dough recipe before, but I had an impossible time with it this go-round. It wouldn't roll out. It just kept crumbling like sand beneath my rolling pin. I finally got fed up and squished bits of it into the tart pan in a semi-even layer. This seemed like a good solution, until I pre-baked it, and giant cracks formed on the bottom. Wonderful. I didn't have time to start over, so I crossed my fingers and forged ahead.
That ain't right.
Fortunately, this wasn't a very wet quiche. I jammed cooked onion and diced apple into the cracks as best I could, scattered cubes of gorgonzola dolce on top, and held my breath as I poured the custard in. It didn't leak! Huzzah! As a side note, I'd never heard of gorgonzola dolce before. We usually use straight-up gorgonzola. The dolce kind was wetter, creamier, and a bit milder. In other words: delicious.
You'd think we were starving hyenas (sorry, been watching a lot of Lion King lately) if you saw how we demolished this quiche. We ate the entire thing, except for one modest slice. I don't even think we spoke while we stuffed our faces. The sweet-tart bits of apple were the perfect contrast to the cheese and the buttery crust. I couldn't believe my eyes when I stopped floating near the ceiling, settled back in my seat, and realized the quiche was gone.
Conclusion: We loved this one. I need to take a Saturday and devote myself to stockpiling tart crusts in the freezer. Dorie has taught me to love quiche, but I hate how time-consuming it is to deal with the crusts.