I decided last month after finding it hard to get French Fridays With Dorie posts up every Friday, that I would just do one post for the month with a quick recap of the things I made. So while most FFWDers post every Friday, I plan to post on the last Friday of every month. What? I know, it’s not Friday. Well, cut me some slack, it was a holiday weekend, but I do want to get this post up before November is gone.
I made three of the four recipes that were chosen this month. The one recipe I didn’t make was for Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flans, page 146. I just couldn’t get it done, I wanted to try it, but certainly not with gorgonzola cheese. I just don’t “do” moldy cheeses. So I really was going to try it with another cheese and still plan to sometime because I do love pumpkin. I may even just try a small, scaled down version of this soon because I have some pumpkin in the fridge to use up.
Weeks ago though, I did make the Pommes Dauphinois (Potato Gratin), page 360. How cute are these little individual gratin dishes I found months ago? They are only about 1/2 cup each.
I made about 1/4 of the gratin recipe and three little gratins (one was in a 1/2 cup round ramekin. What is not to love about potatoes and cream baked with cheese? The cream is infused with garlic and the potatoes are seasoned with a little thyme in between the layers of potatoes. Topped with Gruyere cheese and baked, these really are a dinner treat. I only took a bite of the one I served Kevin. I just couldn’t do that much fat in my dinner at that time. But for sure, someday when I’m really going to splurge on dinner, I will surely make the gratin again.
I made the Roast Chicken For Les Paresseux a couple weeks ago for a Sunday dinner. It was pretty easy and the chicken was nice and moist, but neither Kevin nor I really like bone in chicken or dark meat. So I felt like it was a lot of work and a lot of meat no one really wanted.
I need a Dutch oven. I’m going to put on one my Christmas wish list. The only thing I had that would even slightly work to cook the whole chicken in is the ceramic bowl to my Crockpot. It actually worked fine, but I think it was a little small for the whole chicken and the potatoes and carrots, so I didn’t get as much browning on the chicken as I would have liked. It also made it so I had A LOT more juice/liquid/stock in the bottom of the bowl underneath the chicken, the piece of bread underneath pretty much disintegrated.
That liquid was probably close to 2 inches deep. We didn’t use it for anything. Then, see if you notice anything wrong with this next picture--
Did you figure it out? Well, I had NO clue until I was carving in to the chicken. Here, does this help?
Nice chicken butt shot (sorry, Mom). Well, turns out the whole thing would have looked a lot better AND been much easier to carve if it hadn’t been UPSIDE DOWN. Maybe the breast side up might have even browned up nicer. Yep, I cooked the bird upside down, photographed it upside down and had no idea the whole time, until I was carving it and though that chicken had the worst breast meat I’d ever seen. Ahh, see, we don’t eat much whole chicken around here. That and I’m just a dork.
We actually did enjoy the nice moist chicken once I figured out where it was. sigh Let’s move on.
Today (Sunday) I decided to give the Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake (pages 438-439) a try. Since there is Cream of Wheat in the cake, I remembered in the past, I had bought some chocolate Cream of Wheat. When I went to find it at the store a week or so ago, it was Malt-o-Meal that makes the chocolate one. Looking at the ingredients of both regular cereals, they were the same, so I went with the chocolate Malt-o-Meal to give this
cake flan-like dessert breakfast treat at try. I knew no one would eat this with plain Cream of Wheat and raisins. It had to be chocolate. So not only did I used Chocolate Malt-o-Meal, I also added mini chocolate chips in place of the dried fruit. Scott loves Chocolate Malt-o-Meal, so I think he’ll eat the cake. He hasn’t tried it yet. I taste a few bites of it. It’s okay, but not something I’d ever make again.
I also had issues with the caramel. I’ve made Dorie’s caramels on the stove before, but this one was different—it was sugar and water with a splash of lemon juice. I did everything exactly that the recipe said for the caramel and two times it turned to crystal within minutes. It never caramelized. I was quite annoyed. What was the problem?
Kevin thinks its a high altitude—too much water issue. He didn’t come up with that idea until I decided to make a different caramel—using the method from some of Dorie’s other recipes. I put 1/3 cup sugar in a dry skillet, let it start to turn amber and smoke a little. Then I added 3 tablespoons of cream and stirred it over the heat until it smoothed out. I removed it from the heat and added one teaspoon of butter. It looked much better and I forgot to take a picture of it. I poured it in to the hot baking pan, which I only had a nine inch round pan and not an 8 inch. Then topped it with the “cake” batter and baked it.
I was happy that it came right out of the pan and the caramel looked good. The cake is thin because I used the bigger pan. I think it turned out exactly how it was supposed to.
It really does taste okay. But I would never consider it a dessert that I’d make for company or anything. Not sure I’d ever even make it for breakfast, though it has everything you’d eat for breakfast, milk, eggs, Malt-o-Meal—and chocolate. ;) I’m always glad when I try something new. Now on to December recipes in between lots and lots of holiday baking! Stay tuned for all that. (And make that potato gratin sometime—it’s heavenly!)