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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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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Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

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I love rice pudding.
It’s one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood both in Yugoslavia and then later here in Australia.
My mum would sprinkle chocolate on top and it was real comfort food to me.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe sees classic rice pudding topped with fresh strawberries and a spiced hibiscus syrup.
I was surprised by how much I liked the hibiscus syrup. The kids weren’t keen, they said it tasted like medicine! However I loved it. Especially once I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the syrup before serving. The colour was so pretty and vibrant and I think it lifted the flavour of the strawberries. The kids (and my husband) preferred their rice custard topped with just fresh strawberries.

It’s winter here in Australia and it’s been pretty mild, apart from a storm that swept the entire East Coast last weekend.
The northern beaches of Sydney where I live were hit pretty hard, the photo below captures one of the local beaches before and after the storm. It made the rounds on facebook so I have no idea who to credit it to but it captures the impact of the storm pretty well.
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This weekend they are predicting another round of storms.
The rain and the wind were so fierce last time, we were pretty much housebound.
If we have a repeat of this weather this coming weekend I am planning to make another batch of this rice custard, watch movies and keep warm. Maybe try some warm winter toppings on the custard!

I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group chose to cook this week!

 


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Betty’s Chocoholic Cake with Raspberry Filling

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Betty’s Chocoholic Cake.
Wow! This was a hit with all the chocolate lovers in the family.
The cake is dense and rich, to me it tastes like 3 layers of brownies stacked on top of each other.
Which, according to the kids, is awesome!
Unlike the rest of my family however, I’m not that fussed on chocolate!
So I added a raspberry sauce between the three layers to break up the sweetness.
I blitzed 300g of raspberries, strained them them to remove all the hard bits and then boiled the raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornflour.  I spread the sauce between the 3 layers and then covered the cake with Dorie’s chocolate ganache.

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I woke everyone early on the weekend and we headed to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and walked from Coogee beach to Bondi beach to try and work off some of the sugar from this cake 🙂
It’s a long and somewhat tough walk but it’s also really pretty so that makes it easier somehow!

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We then felt good about coming home and having more cake!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes!

 


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Tarte Tropezienne

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My last post was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Pudding.
I made a double batch of his recipe three times last week.
I made it for my son’s 16th birthday and it was sooo delicious, I just kept making it again and again and again…
We kind of overdosed on chocolate last week, so this week, choosing the Tarte Tropezienne for the recipe of the week was an easy choice for us!

When my copy of Baking Chez Moi first arrived, way back at the beginning of Tuesdays with Dorie, the Tarte Tropezienne caught my attention immediately. I love brioche, I love pastry cream!
I’ll be honest though, I felt a bit hesitant making this.
Making dough has always made me nervous. I think mostly because I don’t do it that much.
I made the dough as Dorie said, using the paddle attachment of my Kitchen Aid and I made a  soft, sticky, runny paste!
So I started again and this time I used the hook attachment and it worked! I beautiful smooth ball of dough formed, joy!
I made the dough and pastry cream one day and the next day I baked and assembled the cake.
I could not find pearl sugar so I bought sugar cubes and smashed them. Oh my what a mess!
I had bits of sugar all over the bench, floor and in my hair. But it looked so pretty I didn’t mind one bit!
I love this cake! It turned out delicious.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes! I’m already thinking about Betty’s Chocolate Cake I’ll be making next time!

 

 


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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!