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Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

For Christmas, I received the Toro Bravo cookbook and although there are many pages ear-marked, this is the first recipe I’ve made from it. And I have to say, although I deviated a bit from the recipe (and took some shortcuts), this was delicious!

I did add some yellow bell pepper and (full disclosure) I used a bag of cubed Trader Joe’s butternut squash (because I had some and I needed to use it). I can only imagine how awesome this would be with freshly cubed squash. If you use a big squash and you have more than 12 oz cubed, just use extra cream and harissa, or straight-up double the rest of the ingredients.

This is great on the side of some grilled fish or chicken. Or just add a huge salad and make it a vegetarian meal. Also, definitely get the book for the original recipe — it will be even better! (Spoiler: there’s butter involved).

* Ingredient note: The original recipe calls for Rose Petal Harissa, which you can find at PastaWorks if you live in Portland. I used the Harissa paste in the yellow tube. That worked great, although, it is a bit . . . → Read More: Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

FFwD: Boeuf à la Ficelle

FFwD: Boeuf à la Ficelle

I really tried to like this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe for Boeuf à la Ficelle. I did! But, no, and I wasn’t the only one that didn’t quite care for it. To begin with, neither of us are big meat-and-potatoes eaters. And my general feeling is that if I’m going to make steak, I want to make it count. Poaching a piece of beef tenderloin (I only used a half of a pound because there were only two if us and I had an inkling of how this was going to go), does not in any way, shape, or form count. This one was kind of doomed in our house from the start, I suppose.

That said, this is really only one of a handful of recipes from this cookbook that I haven’t enjoyed – so, that’s a pretty good track record for Around my French Table, actually.

Also, we have been in the middle of an out-of-the-ordinary SNOWPOCAPLYSE! here in Portland, so I couldn’t get all over town to find oxtail (although – marrow bones were no problem), so I made due with a packaged beef broth that I then added . . . → Read More: FFwD: Boeuf à la Ficelle

Winter Comfort Food: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Just the other day, we got teased with about 10 minutes worth of snow. It didn’t stick or anything, but during a winter that so far has been extremely mild*, it was a nice 10 minutes. The kind of 10 minutes that make you want to go roast a chicken. And if you don’t want to roast a whole chicken, then at least maybe some chicken thighs.

A very nice aspect to this recipe (no matter what season you choose to make it) is that it is fairly one-dish. Especially if you marinate in a freezer bag. The honey in the marinade should give you a nice, darkened crust to your chicken.

And, like I mention below, the brussels and potatoes aren’t going to get that dark – if you want more color, just pop them under the broiler while the chicken rests.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

. . . → Read More: Winter Comfort Food: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet

Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet

I tend to neglect my ice cream maker with a fair amount of frequency. It’s stored out in the garage freezer, so it’s not like I see it all the time to help remind me. Plus, it seems like some of my previous ice cream/sorbet experiments have not blown me away.

Enter this Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet…Blown away!

So creamy, pretty much ice crystal free, and a not too sweet, but with a totally dessert-like flavor. And such a pretty pink color. It reminds me slightly of my beloved, gone-but-not-forgotten Grapefruit Sorbetto at Cafe Pallino. I think I am going to try sherbets more often (mostly fruit juice, but also with cream), or at least make more custard-less style ice creams. I seem to have more luck with those types — in terms of texture. Luckily, all of my ice cream maker experiments have tasted delicious.

For this, I used Penzey’s cardamom seeds but Savory Spice Shop also carries them. You could just as easily use 4-5 cardamom pods, smashed, to steep with the cream. Or, if you have neither, skip it all together and go for more of a Blood Orange Creamsicle . . . → Read More: Blood Orange and Cardamom Sherbet

Farro with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa

Farro with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa

In writing an intro for this recipe, I was going to link to all of the other farro recipes I’ve made but then I realized that I’ve only posted about one other — Farrotto with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Saffron. Maybe I’m thinking of spelt? I do enjoy that whole grain a whole lot (see what I did there)?

So. Yeah. Farro. I have a HUGE container of it at home and I’ve decided it’s time to start working my way through that. And a good option for that 2014 project is to use farro instead of pasta on occasion. Of course, farro is nothing like pasta and it will certainly be a different dish, but the results can be just as tasty. Take this roasted broccoli rabe recipe, for instance.

The grains of farro get plump and chewy and mix well with the still slightly-bitter rabe and spicy harissa. A little goat cheese on top adds some creaminess. Delicious! Roasted broccoli rabe gets a little crunchy in parts, almost like kale chips, so you do need to keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven.

And while you can . . . → Read More: Farro with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa