Friday, December 13, 2013

FFwD: Mme. Maman's Chopped Liver (as prepared by someone who can't deal with chicken liver)

The very idea of sourcing, preparing, and eating Mme. Maman's Chopped Liver (pg 32 of Around My French Table) made me want to hide under the table and weep. Then, Cher said that she was swapping the liver out for mushrooms. That's a switch that I could get behind, and the only possible way I was going to participate this week. I'm still trying to figure out how to "adjust" the chicken liver pate the group made several months ago so that I don't have to handle chicken liver. Haven't come up with a solution yet.

While I'm stealing ideas from Cher, I may as well steal from our resident Doristo, Trevor, too, and turn it into what he always calls "stuff on toast." 
Adding the optional hard boiled egg makes it sort of brave, right? No.
This was good. It came together quickly, and was a satisfying lunch. I don't regret using the mushrooms. It's still a list of ingredients--mushrooms, onions, hard boiled eggs, allspice--that I would never have thrown together on my own, so it counts as a recipe. I have declared it!

I've made up two additional recipes this week.

First up, Go-with-everything Celery Root Puree (pg 354). I've been on the prowl for a celery root since the group made this, and I finally spotted one at the supermarket. I've never eaten one before. It smells a lot like celery, but fortunately, doesn't taste much like it. It's a bit sweeter, and after boiling in milk and water with an onion, one potato, and then adding some butter and pureeing it, it was delicious. What does a celery root count as, diet-wise? Is it a carb like a potato, or is it a vegetable? Whatever it is, it's a great option to replace mashed potatoes.

I've tried three times to email this pic to myself, and it keeps not showing up. You'll have to take my word for it that it existed.

Lastly, I've been avoiding Vanilla Eclairs since the group baked them way back in April 2011. I think this was shortly before I joined the group. I've stayed away because I was pretty sure I would single-handedly demolish the entire tray. This is the reason why most of my remaining "make ups" are desserts. I have no off switch.

Matt's office was having a bake-off today. Perfect! I could make eclairs, taste one, then send the rest out of the house while, undoubtedly, winning bragging rights at a bake-off. (I mean, homemade eclairs HAVE to win, right?) I believe that these may not have been so difficult for other people to make, because they're basically gougeres, which I've made dozens of times. However, between the time sensitivity involved in the creation and baking of the pastry, the making and cooling of pastry cream, the piping, then the icing, this was a nightmare for me. Charlie wouldn't leave me alone long enough to just follow through on any part of it. He was asking to turn off the tv to play with me, so I felt like a wretch getting fed up with him. Then he wanted to help. Not a good recipe for 4-year-old intervention. Man, he made this a hard recipe to complete.
No doubt, these are tasty. Not worth the work and aggravation for me right now. Maybe I'll try them again when he goes to college.

Oh, and Matt forgot to bring them to work today. Grrrr.

Friday, December 6, 2013

FFwD: Orange-Almond Tuiles

Dorie says that tuiles are elegant little crispy cookies that offset creamy desserts beautifully.
Apparently, I don't do elegant.

I didn't realize until I was already mixing the batter together that I used up all my almonds last week, so I replaced the finely chopped almonds with almond meal. I guess this caused my problem, because I followed all the other directions.

I couldn't get them off the baking sheet without crumpling them completely. Then, they  molded around and through the bars of my cooling rack.
Hey! One looks normal!!
They weren't crispy. They were very chewy. Caramel chewy. Oy vey.

I only made a few, since Dorie stipulates that they don't keep more than a day once baked, but that the batter will last a few days in the fridge. I doubt I'll even bake the remainder. They tasted good, but not good enough to make them worth the effort.

On the flip side, I made up the Compote de Pommes, Two Ways from a few weeks ago. It's apple sauce, but what apple sauce! I tasted the mash at the appropriate time for the "first way." It was fine, but nothing special. I let the apples continue to cook down for another hour.
 That hour made all the difference in the world. The sauce became sweeter as it cooked. I didn't need to add any additional sugar, and omitted the butter Dorie adds at the end, because it was delicious just as it was. No need to add butter to apple sauce. I've been enjoying it in my yogurt all week.