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FFwD: Floating Islands

French Fridays with Dorie: Floating Island

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie is a strange (at least strange to me) little dessert called Floating Islands. There are little meringue islands, “floating” in crème anglaise, then drizzled with caramel sauce. I added a couple of strawberries because I thought it needed a little color (and healthy fruit).

Notes:
1. It is way too hot and humid to make meringue. Why is Portland humid? We are never this humid. This is horrible.
2. I did the bonne idée and poached my meringue in milk. Mainly because I wanted to make a half recipe and I didn’t have a small springform pan and it was too hot and humid to bake. Also, apparently, there is no way to make a photo of meringue poaching in milk look appealing.
3. I did not make caramel. For my birthday last year, I got some amazing Hot Cakes Salted Caramel Sauce (and Smoked Chocolate Chips) as a gift, and I have been using this caramel instead of making my own whenever I need caramel (more often than you would think). It is so delicious! I want to pick more up when I am in Seattle next . . . → Read More: FFwD: Floating Islands

(Almost Healthy) Banana Muffins with Almond-Coconut Streusel

Banana Muffins with Almond-Coconut Streusel

This is one of (if not THE) best muffin recipes I have ever made. It’s based on a recipe in Bouchon Bakery Cookbook by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, which has become my go-to baking reference. That said, I think I know why this recipe is so delicious – lots of butter.

Normally, when I make muffins, I substitute apple sauce for the oil or butter and maybe halve the sugar. Um, no. Not this time! And still, even after telling myself, “Okay, just try making it with all the butter…,” with a stick and a half of butter, I just couldn’t quite do it. But, I did use a total of six and a half tablespoons (more than halved from the original recipe). I substituted olive oil for some of the butter (even in the struesel) which worked just fine.

The giving-egg-amounts-in-weight thing: Look, I love Thomas Keller, a dinner at The French Laundry is a dream, etc, etc…, but seriously, I am not going to weigh eggs. I know that in a professionally bakery you probably would, or if you’re Thomas Keller you would, but I would not and do . . . → Read More: (Almost Healthy) Banana Muffins with Almond-Coconut Streusel

A Late Summer Dinner at 3 Doors Down Café (or: Yes, August is a Perfect Time for Pasta!)

Dinner at 3 Doors Down, Portland, OR

3 Doors Down Café
1429 SE 37th Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214

We actually live close enough to 3 Doors Down to walk there, the problem is, we tend to forget about going there most of the time. Why? I have no idea — every meal we’ve had there has been wonderful. Maybe it’s just because over the last couple of years, when we think walkable dinner, we are always concentrating on SE Division Street.

But, this fall and winter, I am definitely remembering to throw 3 Doors Down into the mix for dinner. Every time we go we get the scallops to start and they are always amazing. Amazing. The recent summer version with seared peaches and basil cream sauce is no exception.

And it’s funny, but every other time we’ve gone there in the past, I’d never gotten pasta as my main course. I always chose the chicken, or pork, or whatever. Not this time! Apparently, summer is pasta weather because I decided to get the rustichella ceppo with ground chicken, rapini, mushrooms, and pancetta — it was so good and creamy. And pancetta-y. jwa got the pasta special and he was . . . → Read More: A Late Summer Dinner at 3 Doors Down Café (or: Yes, August is a Perfect Time for Pasta!)

Rosemary Lemon Meringue Tart

Rosemary Lemon Meringue Tart

Well, it’s like a regular tart extravaganza around here. This one was a test of a pie crust recipe (it was very good) and really, an excuse to make a lemon meringue tart.

I have a memory of making one years ago and not liking it much. This one, however, I loved! We both did.

Some deviations from a regular lemon meringue tart –

1. I added finely chopped rosemary to both the lemon curd and a little to the tart crust;
2. I replaced a little granulated sugar in the curd with honey;
3. I added vanilla extract to the meringue.

You can either use your favorite pie/tart dough recipe or even buy pre-made dough if you like (the Trader Joe’s pie crust dough is not too bad). Whatever dough you use, if you make it, add a little chopped rosemary to it, roll it out, and fit it in your pan.

Bake it unfilled all the way (you’ll want to use pie beads, beans, or dock the crust) and then fill with the curd. Let chill, then top with the meringue, and bake briefly. Done! Ours kept easily in the fridge for about four days. Will . . . → Read More: Rosemary Lemon Meringue Tart

Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil

Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil

Hello summer! This is one of the best savory tarts I have ever made. That may be because all of the cherry tomatoes were from our garden or it may be because tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, and basil is a winning combination – probably a bit of both! If you don’t have your own garden supply of tomatoes, multicolored, heirloom cherry tomatoes would look amazing in this recipe.

Our tomatoes were so ripe that some actually split while they were picked. I think this led to me having an abundance of liquid after baking. This really wasn’t a problem because after cooling for about an hour with some sprinkled Parmesan on top it seemed that the cheese had soaked up some liquid. Perfect!

For this recipe, you can use any crust you like but I highly recommend Chocolate and Zucchini’s Easy Olive Oil Tart Crust, which is seriously my go-to savory pie/tart/quiche crust of choice. This time I used a mix of light spelt flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and white flour to great success!

I’m also not ashamed to admit that two of us polished this off for dinner one . . . → Read More: Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil