Kitchen Therapy


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MY NEWEST GOUGÈRES

What can I say?
It’s soooo exciting to be cooking again with a wonderful group of people!
8 years ago the group began working through Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around My French Table, and now we began again!

Some of my happiest cooking and family memories come from making the recipes from Around My French Table! For some reason the Chicken B’stilla and the Beggar’s Linguine, pasta with raisins, figs and nuts, are two memories that easily come to mind. I think mostly due to the fact that both recipes were out of my comfort zone and being part of the group, I made them, and felt such a wonderful sense of achievement, it still stays with me today.

Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook, has yet to arrive in the mail for me, however Dorie has provided the Cook The Book Fridays group with a recipe we can all cook while we wait for our copies to arrive! And even better… she has given the participants permission to share the recipe on our blogs! So below you will find the recipe as an excerpt from her book!

Now to get to My Newest Gourgères!


Loved them 🙂
I made the recipe, took half out before I added the pecans (we have nut allergies in the house and different kids are allergic to different nuts…) and I froze them! I followed the directions and felt very accomplished having a bag of frozen gourgères in my refrigerator for guests!

I then added the pecans to the remaining half of the recipe and baked those straight from the mixing bowl.

We (those who can eat pecans) ate them fresh from the oven! And we loved the light, warm cheesy puffs with the bit of crunch that the chopped pecans provided. I was also surprised by how good these tasted cold!

I later made the gougères straight from the freezer, without pecans though, and the gruyere cheese was the star! Loved these. I  actually preferred them without the nuts. Again, I am totally astounded by how light and tasty these are, even after sitting out for hours. Love these and recommend them!

excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

MY NEWEST GOUGERES
Makes about 60 gougères
Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to ex- pect them.
Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments to the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, dif- ferent kinds of pepper and different spices. The recipe is welcoming.
This current favorite has a structural tweak: In- stead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addi- tion, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip and a surprise— walnuts.

1⁄2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
1⁄2 cup (120 grams) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
11⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)
2 cups (170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar 2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

WORKINGAHEAD
My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment- lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the oven; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energeti- cally with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a min- ute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.
Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (11⁄2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front
to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.
S T O R I N G : The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Cook The Book Fridays group thought about this week’s recipe!


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French Cheesecake or Torteau Fromager

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French Cheesecake or Torteau Fromager from David Lebovitz’s cookbook, My Paris Kitchen and this week’s Cook the Books Fridays recipe.
The last few weeks have been busy. We moved into the house we have been building and while the outside of the house is still looking like a construction site, the inside (especially the kitchen) is ready! I took a photo of the sky last night and it shows the state of our yard 🙂
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Cooking in the new kitchen has been wonderful. It’s spurred me into a bit of a cooking frenzy! And what a week to return to Cook the Book Fridays. This French Cheesecake was amazing. David Lebovitz says “the blackened crust hides a cake with the unique flavour of a dense American cheesecake, but with the light sponginess of a Japanese cheesecake.” And that pretty much says it all.
If a light, white, sponge cake and a cheesecake had a baby, then this would be it.
I really liked the taste and texture of this cake, my 18yr old who has always stood by his dislike for cheesecake, actually liked this cake and asked for more.
I wish I left it in the oven just a few more minutes, there was a section in the centre that was a bit under done. It still tasted good though, so no one cared!
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I probably would have steered clear of this recipe had it not been for this group, the burnt coloured top would have left me feeling sceptical enough to not try this. So it’s a good reminder of how good it is to push myself out of my comfort zone, thanks to the Cook the Book Fridays group 🙂

 


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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese – A Donna Hay Recipe Review

 

 

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We have had a week of cool rainy weather smack dab in the middle of our 2015/2016 Australian summer. I’m not complaining! It’s a nice break from the heat and humidity. It’s also given me an excuse to make some comfort food. To sit by the back door with a bowl of Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and just enjoy the crisp smell and sight of our rain soaked yard. Within days the ground will be parched, dry n hot again. So I’m enjoying this short break from the beach n sandy towels.

Our family loves this recipe so I thought I’d share it. I will also have a record of it on my site here since it is meant to be about the recipes we love and experiment with. A record that I (and hopefully) my children will be able to turn to in years to come and find favourite recipes and laugh over forgotten adventures.

The cauliflower gives the pasta dish a crunch while the garlic and rosemary crumbs add an extra punch of flavor. Great for someone like me who gets bored with the same taste in a dish.

Sometimes I substitute the cup of cream in the recipe with a 250g tub of Philadelphia Light Cream for Cooking, (I actually do this with a lot…). You can find the recipe here, on Donna Hay’s website.

Below are photos of the grey weather we have been enjoying here on the northern beaches of NSW, Australia.

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Long Reef (above and below)

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Dee Why Beach (above)

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My son and his friends jumping at Castle Rock
(I don’t know if that’s the real name or the name the kids have given this favourite hang out near Manly beach)


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Olive, Cheese and Sundried Tomato Bread

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I love going on holidays. I am always planning the next trip.
To me, it doesn’t matter if  it’s a lengthy overseas stay or a weekend away, I get ridiculously excited.
It’s a break from the every day.
An adventure.
And best of all I get to see how other people live!
There’s something intoxicating about that (for me, my husband just thinks I’m weird!).

I love going to shopping centres, discovering new stores and even going into the supermarket to see foods we don’t have back home.
At the Ala Moana Shopping Centre in Honolulu the boys discovered the Lego store, my daughter fell in love with Hot Topic and I found Williams-Sonoma.
I loved that shop!
So shiny and pretty!
Every time I use the things I bought in that store, I am flooded with happy memories of our holiday.

Recently I was looking for cooking schools in Sydney when I read that Williams-Sonoma had not only opened their first store outside the US in Bondi, but also their first ever cooking school was there as well!
A couple of days later my friend and I drove across the Harbour Bridge to Bondi and I was shopping in one of my happy places.
I fell in love with this dish, as soon as I came home I washed it and started making this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.

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Looking at this dish made me HAPPY! (Seriously, ridiculously, insanely happy!)

As the loaf cooked I kept looking in the oven… smiling. So pretty…

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My son came home from an excursion to China Town where he used the money I gave him for lunch to buy a remote control car and helicopter. It was raining outside so I had two 13 year olds and two 5 year olds racing cars and helicopters indoors and it was cool because I had a pretty dish that made me smile!
It was that simple.

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The loaf was… nice.
I added sundried tomatoes.
I preferred eating it cold the next day.
I didn’t think it was anything special to be honest, but I am glad I made it.

I’m looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought and the ingredients they added to their bread!