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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Madeleines

I loved this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, Madeleines, from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Especially fresh out of the pan!

Warm, light with crispy edges. These were simple yet familiar and comforting.
My 18 year old son graduated from high school last week and is now studying for his final exams.

He emerged from his room, ate 3 in a row, said they were great and then disappeared back into his room with the 4th one to get on with his study.

The rest of the family filtered into the kitchen one by one and within minutes the Madeleines were gone!

Delicious 🙂
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Cook the Book Fridays thought of 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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Lamb Shank Tagine

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It has been a while since I cooked from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Actually that’s not true! There have been weeks I’ve cooked along with the Cook The Book Fridays group however failed miserably in documenting the efforts. I wrote about our horribly humid weather here in Sydney, our new puppy and just life getting in the way in the Hamantashcen post a few weeks back. I forgot to add in there that we are also building a new home. It’s getting there, very excited to try out my new kitchen…

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Back to this Lamb Tagine though, it was amazing!
I was determined to make it and I even checked with the weather app to decide what day would be the coolest. It was of course mid-week and soccer training night. I was ready though! And then I realised this recipe was actually very easy and it was the perfect recipe for a mid week, soccer training day 🙂
I felt pretty accomplished when the kids came home. The house smelled amazing and they had this incredible meal on a day that we usually scape things together in a rush. That was just an additional bonus to this recipe.
All I had to do was prepare the rice.
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It was sweet and rich and the lamb just fell off the bone. It was delicious. The kids loved it! It was a winner in our house. I loved the raisins and apricots in this. And the hit of spice from the cayenne pepper was perfect. Lots of different tastes and textures dancing around in my mouth 🙂
Looking forward to reading what everyone in the Cook the Book Fridays group thought!


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Buckwheat Rolls with Seaweed Butter

We loved these crispy Buckwheat Crepes with Seaweed Butter.
The kids and I love our sushi. We are regulars at the local Sushi Train, so I knew these would be a hit. Everyone loved them!
It was also a good opportunity for me to use up the Buckwheat flour I had bought on my journey to get my health back.
It is what has kept me from cooking with this group and also the Tuesdays with Dorie group which I really loved.
A bout of glandular fever knocked me flat on my backside almost three years ago now. I was already run down from working with rape and domestic violence clients and it was shift work so my sleep patterns were destroyed.
Many doctors appointments later, medications, tests, experimenting with vegan and paleo food, I found a functional doctor that ran some genetic tests.
Turns out I have a gene mutation that causes my body to struggle when converting folate from food into something my body could use. Not a problem when healthy, but a disaster when run down! So not only was I short in B12 I needed a much higher dose than the average, non mutant, human! Not sure if this is the actual problem, I’ve learnt it’s never that easy over the last few years, however it’s all I have to work with at the moment.

I made a few attempts over the years to rejoin the groups however it was such a struggle physically it didn’t last long.
Weeks of supplementing with methyl B12 and methylfolate and I am hoping to rejoin this group on a regular basis and cook!
So back to the Buckwheat Crepes with Seaweed Butter that was this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe! I think months of cooking with Buckwheat and our love of all things sushi made this a winner in our house!


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Chocolate Pudding

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todd's 16th

This week my son turned 16!
His birthday falls at the end of the Easter two week school holidays.
On the first day of the school holidays he went to Chinatown in Sydney with his friends and had a great day at the markets and eating dumplings. The next day he started to feel unwell and a week later we found out he had salmonella poisoning. Luckily it wasn’t severe enough to send him to the hospital but it knocked him around for the entire 2 week school holiday break. He lost a few kilos that he really couldn’t afford to lose so I was excited to get him eating again!

He loves chocolate and I had planned to make this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe, the salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse for his birthday celebrations with the family. I left My Paris Kitchen open on the recipe page on the kitchen bench and everyone who walked past and saw the photo was excited! It looks amazing. The problem was that I realised the recipe required raw eggs. Normally I wouldn’t give this a second thought. However, after our salmonella experience I decided (reluctantly) that I just couldn’t take the risk. I broke the news to the family that I would not be making the mousse and my daughter thanked her brother for getting himself sick and “ruining everything”. (I don’t have siblings, I am an only child so I need my husband who is one of 4 boys to reassure me that this is normal!)

I decided to compromise (and I hope the group doesn’t mind) by finding a recipe from David Lebovitz for something similar. I couldn’t go past the Double Chocolate Pudding on his website!
In the past week I have made a double batch of the recipe 3 times. It was surprisingly silky and smooth but not overly sweet. The problem with this was that you could just keep eating it! The third time I made it first thing in the morning and took the photos before everyone came home from school, uni and work. It really was that good! It was also very quick and easy to make. So much reward for such little effort! I know I’ll be making it again… and again… and again 🙂
I know down the track I will make the salted caramel mousse, but for now I can’t say enough good things about David’s Chocolate Pudding!
I can’t wait to see how everyone went with this week’s Cook the Book Fridays group recipe!

 


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Croque Monsieur – Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich

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This is a great school holiday dinner! Especially before we head out to watch a game of rugby.

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The boys had sliced leg ham in their sandwich and the grown ups had prosciutto.
I was a bit sceptical about the bechamel sauce, I’m not a fan of it.
However this time I could see that it added a creaminess to the sandwich that I really liked.
The recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen requires you to place cheese on top of the grilled sandwich and then grill it a second time in the oven.
I just couldn’t add any more cheese!
I used Emmenthal cheese for the adults and Jarlsberg for the kids.
It was simple, delicious and very satisfying.
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I also made the vinaigrette and tossed it through some radicchio and baby cos leaves.
The sandwich was salty from the cheese and prosciutto and the vinaigrette provided a sour kick from the vinegar and mustard.
I needed something to cut through all the salty sour flavours.
I added a tablespoon of brown sugar to the vinaigrette recipe and this really did the trick for us.
Even my little guy ate all the greens 🙂

I am looking forward to reading what everyone else in the Cook The Book Fridays group thought of this week’s recipe!