Category Archives: Dorie Greenspan

Getting my “Around My French Table” groove back…

Confession is good for the soul, especially when there is nourishment involved. Recently, I confessed I have a weakness for Southern belles and their alluring accent, not to mention sweet tea. My next admission is that I’ve been slacking when it comes to French Fridays with Dorie. There is no obligation to post every Friday, but why wouldn’t I treat myself? The opportunity is there to cook (and eat) something wonderful every week and share it along the way.

Last week, when I saw everyone’s posts for their Savory Cheese And Chive Bread, I knew I missed out. First off, what part of that doesn’t sound good? Even the word “and” sounds delicious sandwiched between “cheese” and “chive”. Secondly, a bread recipe that does not involve yeast is a recipe I can get behind. Yeast and I are slowly getting to know each other, we’re still in the acquaintance stage, not friends…yet.

When I saw that the dish for this week was something called Beggar’s Linguine, the Savory Cheese And Chive Bread was beckoning to be served along with it and really who am I to say no?

I’d like to find a simpler recipe that results in something this phenomenal, because I don’t think it exists. Within five minutes of having placed the bread in the oven, the combination of cheese, chives and walnuts made for an aroma that even a baker would applaud. When I pulled the loaf pan out, I was smiling (and salivating) from seeing the baked cubes of cheddar cheese. As for the taste, it is indeed savory and comforting. Each bite provides something just slightly different from the next one. I will make this again with pleasure and the next time I take this over to a friend, I am sure they will ask for it again as well.

As for the linguine, it was a treat. It’s not often you find a pasta recipe that includes pistachios, almonds, figs and raisins but they all went together very nicely. Not surprising, the pasta and the bread were a perfect match and already has me looking forward to next Friday’s recipe.

As is the case with recipes from Around My French Table, the members of French Fridays with Dorie hope to encourage people to buy this incredible book rather than posting the recipes. I don’t want to sound like a used car salesman, but the recipe for the bread alone is worth the price of this book. It’s a great deal at Amazon (US) or Amazon (Canada) if you’re interested!

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Beggars linguine, Bread, Cheese, Dorie Greenspan, French Fridays with Dorie, pasta, Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

Warming the Soul with Potato and Leek Soup & Kindness

I like real people. I like people who get it. Dorie Greenspan is a real person who gets it. Dorie is now at ten published cookbooks (and presumably more on the way), a winner of multiple James Beard’s awards and she appears regularly on television shows where she dazzles with her charm and cooking. She could have said to herself a while ago, “I’ve made it! I’m going to go through the motions now since there’s no need to give it my all”. But like I said, she’s real and she gets it, so she hasn’t. If anything, it looks like she is working even harder these days and I know this first hand.

I bought her latest cookbook called Around my French Table recently and tackled her Potato and Leek Soup. It tasted great and considering it had snowed about two feet that day, it was the perfect thing to warm up to. In fact, it was so perfect that I was inspired to do a photo shoot outside in the snow to prove how perfect the soup was. After picture-taking and playing in the snow, I tweeted this picture to a friend of mine Mardi (@eatlivtravwrite) on Twitter. I threw Dorie’s Twitter handle in the tweet too because, well, why not, it’s the fun of Twitter. I thought if she happen to see it, she might get a kick out of seeing her soup in an unusual location.  Well, the power of Twitter paid off. She did like it and the proof is below! Thank you again Dorie, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

So yes, that’s how I know she “gets it”. There are a ton of people out there on Twitter who don’t take the time to interact with their followers. Unfortunately, many people view it as just a one-way conversation where they just receive adulation and never give anything back and simply use their voice to push their own show, product, book, etc.

As the name suggests, Around My French Table is written from the heart. It was made with friends and family in mind. I was already ecstatic with my wonderful new cookbook, but that one small little tweet from Dorie made my day. Dorie AND her Potato and Leek soup have warmed my soul.

So here’s the fun part…the recipe for Potato and Leek Soup.

Actually, here’s the thing, I can’t post the recipe. There’s a club called French Fridays With Dorie and we encourage people to go out and buy their own copy of the book so they can enjoy the deliciousness on their own. I don’t want to sound like a salesperson, but considering how incredible this cookbook is, it’s a steal right now at Amazon (US) for $24 and Amazon (Canada) for $31.

But, if you ask nicely, maybe I’ll make this for you one day on a cold and snowy day!

34 Comments

Filed under Dorie Greenspan, Leek, Potato, Soup, Winter

My Arsenal in Training – Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

You have your “go-to” recipes, right? You know, the ones where virtually everything you need is always in your kitchen and you can whip it up with your eyes closed…yea, those recipes, the exact recipes I don’t have, until now!

Finished product...but not quite as intended

I decided I needed to build up my own arsenal of recipes. So with that in mind, I decided to begin with banana bread. Everyone needs a great banana bread recipe, so with “great” as my goal, I obviously went to visit my friend Joy The Baker. I’ve spoken about her before, she’s fun, her name is Joy, she’s a baker and she’s smiley (is that a word? well, it suits her, so there)

I went through all her amazing stuff and found a recipe she had used by Dorie Greenspan and it was “Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread.” I’m not a morning person and don’t typically eat breakfast, but banana bread with two “chocolates” in the titles, I could be persuaded to sit down and have a slice in the morning!

So I had everything I needed and I started the process. I began by sifting the dry ingredients like the recipe called for. I stopped for a second to take this picture. I liked the swirl of it all, I found it very calm and soothing and I blame this lapse in concentration since I obviously stopped paying attention for a second and totally showed my rookie baking status.

I sifted correctly!

Everyone, please forgive me.

I should have put the dry ingredients to the side. Instead, I tossed the butter in with the dry ingredients and mixed them together. Then I tossed in the sugar and beat it and then tossed in the eggs and beat them. At this point, I thought to myself, “wow, the eggs got mixed in really quickly with all that flour, that’s odd.” But I kept pushing ahead with the addition of the bananas and beat them.

And then, the recipe said, add the dry ingredients in three additions…and I said “uh oh”, except replace “uh oh” with a much harsher set of words!

Well, at this point, I re-read the recipe in its entirety and realized my error. I pretty much screwed up Baking 101 Rule #1. Live and learn though!

By mixing everything with the dry ingredients right away, I think I lost out on some fluff factor by beating the eggs and butter on their own. However, the batter did not look horrible, in fact it tastes good, just a little on the dense side. So I got myself back on track, re-focused and remembered I was doing this to learn and I have now learnt something!

With that positive spirit, I plowed ahead with the buttermilk and chocolate and had the batter ready for the loaf pan. The batter was CHOCOLATEY and thick, but it was still really good batter and I knew I had measured everything properly.

And the final result, a really tasty chocolate chocolate chip banana bread that may be a little on the heavy and dense side. But I know what not to do next time and it still came out really nice, so I can’t wait to do it again and properly.

P.S. Joy, sorry for letting you down. I’ll do you more proud next time.

Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread

For a baking mishap, I’ll still have this for breakfast…happily!

Breakfast time

Oh since this is my blog, here’s a little reminder to please check out and vote for my Foodbuzz entry in Project Food Blog. Think of it as the next Food Network Star for blogs! Thanks!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Taken from Joy the Baker, who used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets one on top of the other.  This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute  until soft.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.  At this point , the batter may look a little curdled it’s ok.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three additions (my bold comments), mixing only until they disappear into the batter.  Still on low sweep, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tend to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and un-molding it.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

25 Comments

Filed under Banana bread, Dorie Greenspan