Everyday Dorie – Salmon Burgers

Salmon burgers over greens with oven-roasted potatoes.

Spring is a trickster, pouring down rain when you have outdoor plans and serving up glorious sunshine when you’re stuck indoors. I would have loved to be weeding and planting yesterday when it was mild and sunny, but I had a full day’s work and more to do. Today, when I was free(ish), the weather was rainy and chill until well after suppertime.

I was hoping these salmon burgers would be my first patio meal of the summer, but instead, they made for a lovely indoor brunch. I picked up a beautiful piece of sockeye salmon at The Daily Catch and got some brioche buns at East End Food Co-op. Sadly, the buns didn’t make it home with me (I shouldn’t have put my bag down in the vegetable market I visited next), so I decided to serve these over lightly dressed greens with a side of oven-roasted potatoes. I’ve never been much of a burger lover anyway, so I think I’m happier with the meal as it turned out.

The salmon burgers themselves were delicious, with dill, capers, mustard, and lemon stirred into yogurt as the binder for this patties. Some people had trouble keeping them from crumbling in the pan, but mine held together beautifully. I think resting the mixture overnight in the refrigerator helped with that, while intensifying all the flavours beautifully.

I think I’ll be revisiting this recipe several times this summer. So far, all the recipes I’ve tried from Everyday Dorie have been ones I’ve repeated. I can’t wait to work through some more as we cycle through the the growing season.

Salmon burgers

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

Cook the Book Fridays – Spiced Speculoos Flan

Spiced Speculoos Flan

I was missing an essential ingredient for this week’s recipe right up until this evening, finally finding speculoos butter at a grocery store on Commercial Drive, a few blocks from my house. I ran home and started making this even before considering what to have for dinner.

Speculoos Butter

Even so, I just managed to taste one of the flans a few minutes ago, after they first cooled to room temperature and then chilled in the refrigerator.

I’ve made and eaten many varieties of speculoos, but this was my first taste of cookie butter. It’s good, but I don’t think I’ll be spreading it on toast or eating it with a spoon. As an ingredient in these flans, though, it’s definitely moreish. I enjoyed it with the 5-Spice Caramel that tops it. The caramel is quite strong on its own, but the flan tempers it beautifully.

There will be more flan tomorrow, to eat and to share. It’s a good start to the weekend.

The flans, cooling.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Everyday Dorie – Maple Syrup & Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Maple Syrup & Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Just to get this out of the way up front, I was absolutely one of those kids who loved spinach and liver and Brussels sprouts. Though I drank pop when I was a kid, I switched to tea as soon as I was allowed to – I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve always been old.

So, I was delighted that this was a November pick, even if there is no big family dinner on the horizon. I’ll eat Brussels sprouts whenever I can get them, especially if it involves bacon. This recipe also involves a maple-Dijon glaze, so I’ve even happier. So happy, in fact, that I’ve made this recipe twice already. The first time, my photos were awful, so I just gave up and served them up. This time, I made a half batch, the photo is okay, and it’s all I’m having for dinner. (Don’t judge me. It’s been a long day and this dish more than qualifies under the half your plate guidelines.)

On that note, I’m headed for Netflix, apple pie, and an early night. Can’t wait to catch up on everyone else’s posts this weekend!

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

Cook the Book Fridays – Bay Leaf Pound Cake

Bay Leaf Pound Cake

I love the French name for pound cake – weekend cake. The English name is so prosaic, a sort of short-hand recipe. The French name is functional in the best way, evoking family meals, snacks for adventures, and impromptu gatherings with friends. It’s a simple, sturdy cake that’s welcome at almost any occasion.

Its simplicity is also what makes it so open to variation. This week’s cake has elements of a standard orange pound cake, but the flavour is deepened by the addition of bay leaves and it’s finished with an orangey, boozy glaze.

I skipped a couple of steps, based on the pre-post comments at Cook the Book Fridays, leaving off the extra bay leaves at the bottom of the pan and not piping the extra tablespoon of butter down the centre of the loaf before baking. I think it’s a lovely cake, but I’d like to know if anyone knows:

  • Which side was meant to be the top of the cake? (Bay leaf pattern on top?)
  • What function the piped butter serves?

I’m still munching away on this cake and I’ve shared over half of it, so it’s a substantial loaf that will get you through the weekend and give you a head start on your work week, too.

Bay Leaf Pound Cake

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Everyday Dorie – “My Newest Gougères”

Emmental, Mustard, & Walnut Gougères

I first made gougères in October of 2010. I’d just started a blog and was looking for some structure to keep me posting, learning, and connecting. I noticed that a cooking group called French Fridays with Dorie was just about to start cooking through a book called Around My French Table. I bought the book and signed up. I liked the idea of cooking my way through an accessible French cookbook, making some old favourites while being challenged by recipes that I’d been afraid to attempt. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an online community of bloggers, but I was intrigued to find out.

Over the years that we cooked through the book together, and beyond, I’ve been grateful that I decided to cook along. It turns out that I found a group of truly lovely people from around North America and all over the world. I’ve met a few in person and kept up with others online and I’m so pleased that many of us are gathering again to cook through Everyday Dorie together.

Everyday Dorie

It’s not a surprise that the glue that has held us together has been Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. She is a lovely person, a great teacher, and an inspiring community-builder – it’s only natural that a terrific community of cooks would spring up around her work, starting with Laurie Woodward and the Tuesdays with Dorie crew.

Gougères ready for the freezer

These gougères are not just a call back to our very first recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, they’re also a perfect celebration treat, elegant, delicious, and simple. Those first gougères showcased the beautiful cheese that they were made with (Gruyère, if I recall correctly), but these new ones complicate things a bit with mustard and walnut playing against Emmental. We’ve all become a little more complex as cooks over the last eight years, too.

If you’re new to the group and to gougères, they’re still a perfect introduction to the path we’re taking, and I bet you’re just as pleased as I was to discover how easy and infinitely variable choux pastry can be. Try it for yourself – we’ve been given permission to share the recipe with you. Tonight, I’ll be toasting to cooking friends old and new, remembered and present with a glass of wine and plate of gougères.

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 GOUGÈRES

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 expect them. Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, different kinds of pepper and different spices. The recipe is welcoming.

This current favorite has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addition, 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
  • 1-1⁄4 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
W O R K I N G A H E A D

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 energetically 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 minute, 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 (1-1⁄2 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.

These gougères disappeared quickly!

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

Cook the Book Fridays – Chicken Pot Parmentier

Chicken Pot Parmentier

I’ve always been fond of chicken pot pies, cottage pies, veggie pot pies, and shepherd’s pies. They’re the essence of comfort food for me, especially because my mother’s versions have always been so delicious. When we were first starting on Around My French Table, I was introduced to hachis parmentier and I thought I’d found the ultimate expression of this genre of food. I was wrong. This week’s dish, a chicken twist on the standard, is my new gold standard. Perhaps it’s because I prefer chicken to beef mince, or maybe it’s the vast quantity of butter incorporated into the dish, but I could happily eat this every day (and did, for several). The dish was made even nicer by the lovely carrots from my Dad’s garden, along with fresh herbs from my mother’s planters.

I froze some turkey from a recent holiday weekend bird and I’m planning to make a turkey version when the weather turns cold and rainy and I’m in need of some comforting fortification. In the meantime, I’ll be whipping up some gougères for next week’s Cook the Book Friday, in celebration of the release of Dorie’s new book.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Madeleines

Madeleines

Last weekend was a feast of butter. I made Chicken Pot Parmentier (which I’ll tell you about on the next Cook the Book Friday), brioche, and these madeleines. I’ve had pretty good luck whenever I’ve made madeleines, even getting humps most of the time. This time around, there was something a little off with the texture, with large cracks in the top that I’m not used to seeing and the batter didn’t conform to the molds the way it usually does. Perhaps it was because the batter’s second rest was a bit longer than an hour, or perhaps I overworked the it a bit when incorporating the egg whites. This version shouldn’t be attempted on a day full of errands and projects, I think.

In this case, looks don’t matter because the flavour was perfect and the cakes were light. Madeleines are one of my favourite treats to bake for people, so I’m always glad to try another version.

I’m curious to know how many madeleines the average pan holds. This recipe called for two eight-madeleine molds and mine holds twelve, so I used one of my grandmother’s vintage tea cake pans for the balance of the batter. They turned out to be prettier than the ones in the madeleine pan. C’est la vie.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Le Grand Aioli

Le Grand Aioli

There was nothing grand about my aioli tonight, if it could even qualify as aioli at all.

I’d planned out which of the fresh markets I’d stop by for the produce, picking up local green beans that looked like they were freshly picked from someone’s back yard (the best!), fingerling potatoes, radishes, carrot, and red pepper. At home, I had cucumbers from my uncle’s garden and garlic from my Dad’s garden. All I needed were some fresh eggs, which I picked up at the organic grocery store.

I boiled some of the fingerlings and roasted the rest. I blanched the beans, then sliced the rest of the vegetables. I pulverized the minced garlic with salt in my mortar and pestle, then went to get the oil. I’d forgotten that I had only a few tablespoons of olive oil left and not much more grapeseed oil. Even though I’d planned to make only a portion of the recipe of aioli, this wouldn’t work.

My Plan B wasn’t much better – I managed to scrape about a tablespoon of mayonnaise from a nearly empty jar and mixed it with an alarming amount of the pulverized garlic, along with a bit of olive oil. Surprisingly, that tiny amount of very garlicky mayonnaise was enough. And even more surprisingly, it was a delicious addition to dinner. The only other accompaniment it needed (besides a little white wine) was homemade French bread from Mardi’s recipe.

Here’s to the power of peak of the season vegetables, home grown garlic, and very good bread.

No-Knead French Bread

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Stuffed Vegetables & Babas with Pineapple

Duck Fat Potatoes

I have an ice cream problem, and not the one you’d think. I’ve stuffed the freezer with homemade tomato sauce, berries, rhubarb,and all the other summery goods that I’ll be grateful for in winter. But, I’ve left no room for the bowl of my ice cream maker. So, instead of apricot kernel ice cream, I’m catching up on the other two recipes for August’s Cook the Book Fridays, which I made on time and then neglected to post about.

Stuffed Vegetables (Légumes Farcis)

Stuffed Vegetables

I made these at the beginning of the month, but I was just so busy that I didn’t have an opportunity to post about it. I made the full amount of these, sending some home with my mother so that she could have an easy dinner component while my Dad was away. I was grateful for the same with the ones I kept.

I used eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, and tomato as the vessels for this dish and I used ground moose in the filling. I changed the seasonings a little, adding some smoked paprika and mixing it with fresh thyme and rosemary from the garden. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe, finishing the dish with Italian parsley and basil from my garden.

I enjoyed these, but they were a little drier than my usual recipe, which incorporates rice. They made for a good meal, though, with duck fat potatoes. (Hey, that makes three catch up recipes this week!) You can see the potatoes at the top of this post.

Kirsch Babas with Pineapple

Babas with Pineapple

These were fun to make. They’re a little like popovers, but they seem so brittle when they come out of oven. I thought they’d disintegrate when I gave them their syrup bath, but they plumped and shone, becoming miraculously resilient. The pineapple is a terrific accompaniment for these, and so easily made, once the messiness of breaking it down is through. I stuck with rum for these, simply because I couldn’t find kirsch at the closest liquor store.

I’ll leave you with a photo of a dish only tangentially related to the group – a tomato and goat cheese tart that I made to test-drive Mardi’s pâte brisée from In the French Kitchen with Kids. It was so easy to work with and baked up beautifully!

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

You can read through everyone’s posts here and here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays- Duck Fat Cookies

Duck fat

I think many of us grew up in homes where there was a jar of bacon or chicken fat in the fridge, ready to be used whenever a dish needed a boost of fatty flavour. I now have a jar of duck fat in my refrigerator and I think it’s going to be rapidly and well-used. I’ve just made one thing with it so far, and it’s not what you’d expect.

Duck fat is the secret ingredient in the sablé-like cookies I made this afternoon. The cookies manage to be crisp and melt-in-your-mouth all at once, with salt playing against the caramelly sweetness and vanilla and cognac adding a little depth to the flavour, as well. The cookies are studded with currants, which are due for a resurgence in popularity, I’d say. They’re perfect in these cookies, tart, sweet and soaked in cognac.

Duck Fat Cookie mise en place

I had a bit of fun with these on Instagram over the past couple of days, first posting the photo of the jar of duck fat, then posting the mise en place for the cookies as an extra hint. No one guessed, but I got some great suggestions for what to do with the leftovers. First, I’m going to catch up on the duck fat potatoes that everyone from Cook the Book Fridays has already made and raved about. Then, I’m going to try duck fat popcorn, which another commenter suggested. I looked for a recipe, and found a great one from one of our own, Trevor of Sis Boom Blog, along with some advice on how duck fat can improve your life (or at least your dinner parties).

Duck Fat Cookies

I only baked half of the cookies today and froze the other half. I don’t expect this batch to last past tomorrow. Next time I’m in need of goodwill, I’ll bake the rest of them.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.