Tuesdays With Dorie – Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

Tuesdays With Dorie_ Vanilla Mango Panna

About two weeks ago, before The Illness ran rampant in our home, I was preparing for our Dorie challenge for this week. As I perused the recipe (not remembering if I had made anything with mango in it before), I asked my husband “Do you like mango?”

I paused, waiting for a response, and then in true married-for-12-years fashion, we both quoted at the same time, “You can’t have-a de Mango!”, and devolved into hysterical laughter.


Such is the Mango.

In an unsurprising turn of events, I’ve never made Panna Cotta. The great thing about working through Baking Chez Moi, is that I am forced into making non-baked goods. I love anything that comes out of a bakery, but I must admit that I have narrowed my dessert focus in mostly avoiding non-baked goods. Except for Tiramisu and Crème Brûlée. And Mousse. Before I married my husband and really started cooking, I had the taste buds of a teething baby. Or an anorexic ballet dancer (true story). You choose. I’d say I’ve come a long way, not just in my relationship with food, but also in my flavor palate. Wow. How did we get there?

This is probably the most uncomplicated (now unlike this post) dessert I’ve made of late, which is ok because, as I stated earlier, we’re all recovering here in our house. This also gave me the perfect opportunity to break out some pretty vintage dessert glasses I’ve had stored away for years, waiting for just the right opportunity to use them. If you look closely you can see that they are iridescent. Yes, I am a hoarder of pretty serving dishes and  utensils.

Side note: I’ve worked with gelatin before when making Milk Bar cakes, but never heated it up. Has anyone else noticed how warm, plain, liquefied gelatin smells like a wet dog?

I used one full mango, but I might double that next time. I also have some really fantastic Passion Fruit Puree in the freezer that I might use in stead of the Mango next time. It has a much brighter, more acidic flavor than mango, which I think I prefer. It’s a lovely dessert though, and it’s so easy to put together, and has such an elegant presentation for your guests — they will think you spent all day on it if you serve it at the end of a dinner party. Plus, no matter what fruit you use, its flavors are really nice and light. I could easily see using fresh raspberries, or other brightly flavored in-season fruit if you wanted to shake things up a little. I also used Vanilla Bean paste as usual — I love seeing all of those lovely vanilla seeds lining the border between the panna cotta and mango. As for me, I thought that this was a fancy version of a Haribo candy. Vanilla cream gummy on one side, fruity flavor on the other. Yum! Would this be my go-to? Probably not, but it was still delicious none-the-less, and is definitely a good change of pace desert.

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

WIP Wednesday – A Happy Dance!


Today’s post is less of a WIP Wednesday and more of a Happy Dance Wednesday. Most importantly it means that I can get back to stitching Tradewinds. 🎆🎊🎉🎇

This little piece was designed by Scarlett Stitches and my friend who is a HUGE Aliens fan purchased the pattern and asked me to stitch it for him. I think he found a picture of this piece on tumblr or something like that, and then I dug around on the interwebs until I found the designer’s etsy site.

Overall, it was an easy stitch. The pattern came in color and black and white. Some of the symbols chosen for the black and white pattern were extremely difficult to read… It almost appeared as if the symbols weren’t there at all when I printed it out, so I would sometimes need to refer to the color chart. However, there were discrepancies in the pattern between the color chart and the black and white chart, so I “winged” it, and called it a day. Stitcher’s prerogative!

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled stitching programming!

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Around My French Table – Cola and Jam Spareribs

Cola and Jam Spareribs

And so it begins. I think I mentioned yesterday that I picked up a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table”. I have been chomping at the bit to jump into this book. Although I am way too late for French Fridays With Dorie, I am still determined to cook my way through the book.

If one thing can be said about Doristas, it’s that we are pretty reliable about choosing to cook and bake things by season. When FFWD first began it was October, and the recipes were chosen accordingly. I am starting in July, so I won’t be cooking in the same order as the group until October rolls around. Actually I may yet decide to just cook in whatever order suits me.

While I am not from the south, it seems to be that ribs are a perfect summer food. Do you agree? In fact I don’t think I really cared for ribs until I married a guy from Virginia who loves barbecue, which I am sure many will find as heresy.

In reading back on the FFWD posts for this recipe, I was surprised to see how trepidatious many were to make this. I wasn’t. When I saw Cola and Jam I knew exactly how it would turn out… Caramelization up the wazoo, sticky, sweet, and unctuous. Was I wrong? No sir! Between the spices and the jam, and the Coke basting, I recognized similar flavors and textures to traditional barbecue (which I am not a huge fan of), changed to suit my personal preferences. For me this was the perfect middle ground in barbecue for my personal flavor palate, and I would most certainly make this again.

My only disappointment was that I read over adding orange juice to the original apricot jam glaze, so I merely added it in to the Coke baste at the end. For me I didn’t notice any problem with doing this – it was still amazingly delicious – but I would have liked to be exact for the first go around. Also, being in the Mountain West we do have access to “Mexican Coke” which is made with cane sugar (and sold in glass bottles!) as opposed to High Fructose Corn Syrup, and would be closer to the European version. Unfortunately all the usual places were sold out, so I had to settle for the regular stuff. Next time!

I’d love some company in cooking through this, so if you aren’t already involved in the book, pick one up! It will be fun!

Posted in Around My French Table | Dorie Greenspan, Meat | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Apricot and Raspberry Tart

Untitled design(2)Of course I can’t leave well enough alone, because when I saw Dorie’s “Bon Idée” to use Almond Cream (Frangipane), I was all “oui, oui!” I’ve never known it to not make anything better. And I love anything that challenges my timing and organization.

I also did make the ladyfingers, but once I started assembling everything with the Frangipane I opted not to use them. The fruit would have been sitting very high above the tart shell. They turned out better now that I have acquired an appropriately sized piping tip. Not so flat!

I got beautiful apricots and rasperries from the Wheeler Farm farmer’s market (what a difference a week makes in terms of produce availability), and the raspberries were so sweet and juicy that it was a good thing I only needed a scant handful of them, since I did proceed to eat most of them during my day in the kitchen. The up side, of course, to natural produce is that they don’t spray with pesticides. The down side is that sometimes an ear wig happens to scurry out of one of your apricots as you are cutting it in half, and you fling the apricot across the kitchen as you scream real loud. *Shudder*

On a side note, I used a 10″ porcelain tart plate. I went out looking for a slightly smaller version with removable bottom, but couldn’t find one. I, instead, invested in Dorie’s “Around My French Table”! I am four years too late for FFWD, but that is not going to stop me from working through it. I already made the Cola and Jam spare ribs, so stay tuned for that tomorrow.

Posted in Baking, Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

My Last Supper – Melanie Dunea

I think it was quite some time ago that my husband gifted me a copy of Melanie Dunea’s “My Last Supper”. By size it’s big enough to be a coffee table book, and the interviews and photographs within the book of some of the most renowned (and my most favorite!) chefs are inspiring and thought-provoking. The summary of the book is as follows:

“If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you want for your last meal on earth? An insiders pastime that is probably as old and as widespread as the professional kitchen itself, the “My Last Supper” game is a favorite among chefs… It is impossible to open My Last Supper without feeling connected to the importance of how and with what we nourish ourselves, the significance of those with whom we break bread, and what it all says about who we are”

Last week, one of my friends, in an effort to break up the negative news cycle on Facebook, played a similar game to engage his friends — one of those “if you were on a desert island…” sorts of games, and it inspired me to write a post and engage my readers on the question of “My Last Supper”. Play along if you will – link back on your own blog, or simply respond in the comments below.

1. What would be your last meal on earth? Like Jacques Pepin, my last meal on earth would be so large that it would necessitate carrying on for years and years. I would have lobster from Gosman’s Fish Market, fresh off the trawler, with drawn butter and Smash Fries from Smashburger. The best salted butter served with roasted garlic and fresh baguettes would abound. My favorite roasted pork noodle soup from Wonton Garden in NYC, and rainbow cookies and Cannoli from Ferrara’s, also in NYC would be quickly and often consumed. We would be served the finest, most chicken-y roasted chicken with seasoned crispy skin served with perfectly roasted Yukon Gold potatoes with duck fat, rosemary, and garlic. I would have fantastic brick oven pizza with an arugula salad lightly dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, and parmeggiano reggiano. I would have a wheel of garlic and herb brie served next to imported Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced and piled high. We would scoop it up with our fingers, or with the lovely baguettes. There would be Angel Food Cake served with warmed, in-season apricots. The freshest and most flavorful lox with NYC bagels and cream cheese would be served, and there would be crumb cake from Glendale Bakery (which my dad would undoubtedly get up early to pick up for us). The Waffluv Truck would be there, and I would have a Cinnaluv waffle with cream. Delightful perfectly cooked and rendered duck breasts would be served. A perfect Sole Meuniere, freshly caught. Sour pickles from Ben’s Delicatessen would grace every table. A wide assortment of olives, although I love the marinated olives from Caputos. A perfectly cooked steak from Copper Kitchen. The Market Street Salad from Market Street Grill. A sous vide Ostrich fan would be served. Rahm Schnitzel with fresh spaetzel. Amaretto Fudge from Fudge ‘n’ Stuff. Lamb Kabob with Rice and Hummus from Moby Dick’s House of Kabob in DC.

2. What would be the setting for the meal? On the beach in Montauk in the late summer. Lots of citronella candles would keep the bugs at bay.

3. What would you drink with your meal? The Bastianich Vineyards “Flor” sparkling rose, and Perrine family Cote du Rhone. Oh, and Bellinis from Harry’s in Venice to make up for the one I never had when we were there.

4. Would there be music? My entire Spotify account would be rotated through.

5. Who would be your dining companions? My family, my two dogs Rocky and Adrian, and my cat Linus would be there throughout. All of my friends (IRL and Internet alike!) would stop in throughout the event. Chefs that I have never met but always wanted to meet would stop in and shoot the shit about great food.

6. Who would prepare the meal? As Jacques Pepin also said “we would cook, drink, and eat together until the end… when I would die from the ‘péché de gourmandise’ (sin of gluttony)!”

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WIP Wednesday


No dawdling from me this month! I guess that is what happens when you have a four day weekend. 😇

I was so excited to see this month’s installment of the Zodiac Sampler SAL from CloudsFactory! To be honest I think this might be my favorite segment thus far… And we haven’t even gotten to my Zodiac sign. How super cute is this Crab? Here is a picture of the whole piece (minus a few geegaws here and there):


Next week you should expect to see a small Happy Dance. My friend commissioned me to stitch a piece for him that is quite outside my wheelhouse. It is almost done so I hate to post a pic quite yet, but be on the lookout for that. Next week may even bring some new progress on Tradewinds, which I am looking forward to getting back to.

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Tuesdays With Dorie – White Chocolate Patty Cake

DSC_0337[1]Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.

Bake me a cake as fast as you can;

Pat it and shape it and mark it with “B”,

And bake it in the oven for baby and me.”

Am I the only one who remembered this old English nursery rhyme when baking this cake? Also, I don’t have a copy of Baking With Julia (for SHAME! I know — I need to pick up a copy), but was so intrigued by this off-week challenge, that I just had to join in with everyone else, especially after watching the video of Julia “helping” Marcel Desaulniers to make this cake.  And I was able to find where someone had posted the recipe on line. For those of you who are participating in BWJ, I see that you have completed a lot of recipes; how many are there left?

Oddly it was a little difficult to find white chocolate with cocoa butter in it. I did go to Gygi, but didn’t have the means to purchase the huge bag of Callebaut with the cocoa butter practically as the first ingredient on such short notice but did settle ultimately on Guittard Choc-Au-Lait chips where the cocoa butter was maybe the third or fourth ingredient in.

I opted to leave off the fresh raspberries as well, partially because it was hard to find good fresh ones, but also because I felt like the raspberry crush and the fresh raspberries might be just a little too much for me. This year it feels like fresh berries are really delayed — last Independence Day I made a flag cake with all fresh berries no problem, but this year it’s hard to find them yet. I’ve been told at the Farmer’s Market that they will be a few weeks yet, so next week when we do the Apricot and Raspberry tart the berries will probably be from Cali unless I am really lucky.

I noticed that the cake was very delicate, and worried about it breaking as I was moving it from the cooling rack to the platter (though thankfully it didn’t – I forgot to put anything down on the cooling rack for transportation purposes — my bad!). I also opted to cut the cake right out of the fridge for that nice clean slice. Both the cake and the crush seemed to set a bit in the fridge, so I didn’t have that pooling of raspberry that would have happened if I cut it at room temperature. In our house we thought the cake was so delicious, and the tartness of the raspberry crush is the perfect counterpoint to the rich, creamy, sweetness of the white chocolate in the cake. I think it would work well with any berries or combination of berries, or even if you wanted to puree some fresh apricots, peaches, or passion fruit… I could really see this cake working well as a base with anything you preferred.

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