Saturday, April 21, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: Coconut Friands

Coconut Friands...giant sized.
Two weeks after my surgery and all is well.  Almost fully healed!  I did manage to bake these lovely little coconut cakes during recuperation, but failed to write this post in a timely manner.  It's certainly not because these weren't delicious.  The hardest part of this recipe (which is insanely easy) was locating unsweetened coconut, but once found I was off and baking.  I actually misread the recipe and greased a regular size muffin tin instead of a mini, and only realized it when I only got 8 cavities filled.  Oh well, go big or go home I always say. 

I am not a coconut fan, honestly,  but we both loved these.  Something about the vanilla-y, coconutty, buttery goodness.  I enhanced the recipe a little by adding some lemon zest as well.  Served with a little lemon curd, these were amazing, and even a little fancy!  We ate all of them by the next day and I had to make another batch last night.  This time I made them without the baking cups and the edges got browned and crispy, making them even more delightful.  Oh, Dorie, I am never going to lose that 10 pounds before my friends' wedding this Summer at this rate! 

Anyway, mes amis, this week's recipe is lamb stew.  I will do my best to make it, but I am headed to NY late this week for a work event, so I may not get to it before Friday.  Hope you all have an amazing week.  Bon apétit!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: Sardine Rilettes. Well, not really.

Gross.

All I have to say is eww.  I draw the line at sardines.  Sorry folks, but I am just not adventurous when it comes to fish.  Read on, though if you like delicious bread!
What I would like to share with you this week is Cinnamon Swirl Bread.  You may be saying ho-hum about now, but I feel like a veil has been lifted and the elusive secret to Cinnamon Swirl Bread, the kind with no gaps between bread and filling, has been lifted. 

Delicious!

Those geniuses over at Cooks Illustrated (which is probably my new favorite resource for all things cooking) figured it out, and it could not be simpler.  The bread dough is not just a basic white loaf, as you normally find in most recipes.  It is based on a type of Japanese bread called shokupan, which in Japan is swirled with red bean paste.  The author of the article was inspired by a piece of shokupan toast from a Norita airport kiosk.  The bread dough is more like a brioche, with the amount of butter and sugar added to the mix, but the real secret is in the filling.  My immediate thought when choosing what to put in my filling would be brown sugar and cinnamon, and maybe some raisins.  But the secret actually lies in using powdered sugar and LOTS of cinnamon, and using a fine mist of water on the filling to make it stick to the dough, therefore alleviating the gaps. The coolest part of this recipe (which can be found here if you are member of their website http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/login.asp?docid=35476)  is the twist.  Literally.  After you fill the dough, you cut the rolled loaf length-wise, exposing the filling.  You then braid the two halves Russian style, brush with egg wash and bake.  The end result is a springy, delicate, delicious loaf that is honestly easy enough to make all the time, but looks super special, and would make a very nice gift bread. 
The dough, risen and ready to bake
I will be back next week with the French Fridays recipe for Coconut Friands, which sound fun.  Until then, bon apétit!
P.S. For those of you curious about the outcome of the oral surgery, all is on the mend.  I had a small cyst on my tongue  removed, which turned out to be benign.  I spent the better part of the Holiday on Vicodin, which is actually a pretty good way to survive a visit from the in-laws, to be honest.  Hope you had a fantastic time with your families, or whoever you were with over the weekend.

Friday, April 6, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: Asparagus and Bits of Bacon


Everything is better with bacon....

I am going to have to make this a brief post.  Had a bit of oral surgery today and am in a bit of a vicodin haze, but wanted to post nonetheless.  A very simple side dish, and one that will be repeated very soon, Asparagus and Bits of Bacon was not particularly challenging but the flavors were top notch.  Asparagus is lightly cooked and dressed with a bit of lemon juice and walnut oil (or, if you prefer, hazelnut oil).  I really enjoyed the nutty flavor of the oil with the asparagus, and would even serve it without the bacon and onion topping, but, c'mon...what isn't better with bacon and onions?  Delicious and nutritious, while at the same time clogging the arteries.  But, as Paula Deen has said...I'm a cook, I'm not your doctor. 

Until next week, mes chers, bon apétit!