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FFwD5: Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake

FFwd #5: Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

Okay, so I am just barely getting this in under the wire for French Fridays with Dorie and only because I live on the West Coast. If I were on Eastern time, I would be kind of screwed. But, hey it is still early Friday evening in Portland, so here we go. Yay!

Things I learned about Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake:

1. It’s really good! I’ve made a similar version before with a brown sugar-egg-pecan kind of glaze and I loved that one, but I really liked the rum flavor here. I think I will combine the two into one AMAZING-STUPENDOUS-AWESOME Apple Cake sometime in the future.

2. I brought half the cake into work with me and it was gone in about 30 minutes. I think that is a record new record for work snacks.

3. I used 4 types of apples in mine — golden delicious, granny smith, red delicious and a gala.

4. I got to meet Dorie when she was in Portland last week! I even have a picture below!

5. I did not use a springform pan. Mainly because I don’t have one. After it was out of the oven and it had cooled . . . → Read More: FFwD5: Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake

Honey-Thyme Ham Steak

ham steak

I have dreamed of making a ham ever since I saw Alton Brown, on an episode of Good Eats, slather a country ham with mustard and crushed ginger snaps, and then squirt the whole thing down with bourbon. Wow, I thought. I want to do THAT! But, seriously, what do two people do with a WHOLE HAM? We would be eating ham every day for months.

But then, I saw this wonderful thing at Trader Joe’s. The ham steak. But it’s so little! It’s perfectly two-person sized! It’s awesome! I promptly bought one and then had to find something to do with it. The mustard-cookies-bourbon thing didn’t seem quite feasible, so I searched and searched. And then I found a delightful sounding glaze on epicurious.com. Although the recipe was for a whole ham, it seemed easily adaptable for a smaller version.

Oh, my ham was from Niman Ranch and it was smoked (fully-cooked). I believe it is possible to find uncooked ham steaks. If you have one of those, you will want to adjust the cooking time to make sure you are….well, actually cooking it. I just had to get mine hot, really.

Honey-Thyme Ham Steak
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 . . . → Read More: Honey-Thyme Ham Steak

Cutty’s BLT Sandwich and Awesome Tomato Jam

Cutty's BLT

I’ve wanted to make this Tomato Jam and sandwich for awhile now. Ever since I first read about it on Salon.com: The greatest off-season BLT on earth. Which was, uh, I guess just earlier in the month. It seems like it was longer. Okay, well, anyway, I made the jam and the sandwich! It’s really good. I even specifically bought bacon just to make this sandwich.

For the jam, I went to the store and bought some ‘not quite tomato season anymore’ looking romas. Worked perfectly here.

Cutty’s Tomato Jam
Recipe from Francis Lam, in Salon.com
1 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped coarsely
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp brandy (optional)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 scant cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1 tsp salt

Cutty's BLT

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized heavy-bottom pot. The original recipes says to use a nonstick pan, but I only have one nonstick skillet. So, I used a regular, heavy-bottom stainless pot. Worked just fine. No sticking or mess or anything.

Cutty's BLT

Cook over medium-high heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and . . . → Read More: Cutty’s BLT Sandwich and Awesome Tomato Jam

FFwD #3: Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Soicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Here’s post number three for French Fridays with Dorie! I liked this soup a lot and think I’ll definitely make it again! Psssssst…Buy the book!

Stuff I learned:

1. I think my broth was thinner than it looked in the cookbook photo because I used light coconut milk. I thought the taste was still wonderful, but sometime I may try it with full-on coconut milk.
2. Triple, even quadruple the cheesecloth, or there will be peppercorns floating in your soup! Luckily, I learned this early on and re-wrapped my spices/cilantro stems.
3. Thai basil is best, but normal basil will work if that’s all you have (me! me!)
4. I diced my chicken instead of shredding it — sometimes I am just lazy like that.
5. And oh yeah, you can’t really see my noodles here, but I boiled up two servings worth of frozen udon noodles for dinner and got more noodles ready when we had the leftover soup, that way, the noodles did not soak up tons of extra soup broth!
6. I added grated carrot to my soup and I sauteed my veggies before adding the broth.

On with the pictures!

Garnishes
Garnishes awaiting the garnishing….also on hand . . . → Read More: FFwD #3: Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

FFwd #2: Gerard’s Mustard Tart

Gerard's Mustard Tart

Oh, so here we are at French Friday’s with Dorie Post #2. Where did the week go? And more importantly, I have got to get on the ball and post more, so it’s just not FFwD posts from now on! Not that that would be bad of course, but I need to un-lazy myself and aim for about 3 posts per week! Tout de suite!

Notes from this recipe:
1. Gerard really knows his way around mustard tarts, because this was delicious!
2. I needed to add more ice water than called for in the dough. I used the egg + maybe 4 tbsp ice water before it held together well (but was still very crumbly when it first exited the food processor. I heard a great tip on America’s Test Kitchen once about pie dough — don’t be so concerned with the amount of ice water that the recipe calls for, but more about how the dough feels and looks. Get it to where it is workable and comes together like pie dough and you’ll probably be fine).
3. I used cream instead of creme fraiche; I also used a number of stumpy garden carrots and 2 leeks.
4. Hardly . . . → Read More: FFwd #2: Gerard’s Mustard Tart