Guacamole With Tomatoes and Bell Peppers

For French Fridays with Dorie, I waited a day late to make this recipe so I could share it with friends. Every year we go to this event which includes a picnic dinner and fireworks.  We also celebrate our dear friend’s birthday which this year happens to be on the event so a cake was in order for dessert.

Dorie’s recipe for guacamole included red bell pepper, lime, red onion, jalapeno, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and of course avocado.  I didn’t have any cilantro so I just left it out.

My husband and son do not like guacamole so my husband made salsa.  There were a few jokes while making our separate appetizers.  We got thumbs up for the guacamole recipe.  I really liked the addition of the lime zest.  I read fellow Dorista’s reviews and used less lime juice.

To finish our meal off I made Big Bill’s Carrot Cake from Dorie’s Baking From My Home To Yours. It was delicious but definitely not a light cake with 3 layers and cream cheese frosting.

No matter where you are in the world, I hope you enjoy some fireworks this summer.

To see how other members of this group did link here.

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Salmon Rillettes

I am fresh back from vacation, a Caribbean cruise, and adjusting to life back on land and in the kitchen again.  I did a make-up recipe this week for French Fridays with Dorie as I had most of the ingredients for it.  My head is still in a fog and on the wrong time zone but despite that I still made something good.

This salmon rillettes recipe contains; smoked salmon, salmon filet poached, shallot, butter, lemon rind and Chile pepper.  I had all the ingredients nicely laid out but neglected to put the lemon rind and Chile pepper in the poaching liquid.  Life back on land…

Despite my hiccups, the rillettes turned out delicious.  I had read all your comments prior to making this recipe so I used some of your knowledge while making this.  I used twice as much salmon fillet as needed due to Betsy’s comments at A Plateful of Happiness.  I watched the video post by Kathy at Bakeaway with Me and I learned to rinse the shallot first to get some of the bitterness out.  I neglected to do this with the tuna rillettes and it made a big difference.  I halved the recipe and it still made a lot. Luckily I love salmon and it was the one fish that I did not have on vacation.

See what others have made from this group here

Smoked Salmon Waffles

Waffles are the most requested breakfast item in our house and not just any waffles but yeast-raised waffles. This takes planning, you have to make the batter the night before.  These waffles come out light and airy with a crisp outside, the ultimate in waffles in our house.  The full recipe usually makes enough for leftovers which is another bonus.  This recipe has been our go to for waffles since it was published in the L.A. Times.  When I told my husband that smoked salmon waffles were on the rotation for French Fridays, I was surprised that he said he did not want them.  He does not like smoked salmon and neither do I but  I was willing to try anything especially if it is in a waffle.

Problem number 2, I don’t make waffles or pancakes and generally weekend breakfast.  That domain goes to my husband.  We have been married 14 years and I have never made the waffles, it is a marriage made in heaven.  So could I pull this off without messing it up?  I had visions of batter over flowing the sides or waffles sticking and breaking in two.

But alas our trusty Villaware waffle maker did not let me down and I managed to not spill or stick any waffles.

I ate 3/4 of one of these for lunch and it was very filling.  The creme fraiche was a nice accompaniment.  It was definitely a twist to have a savory waffle.  Although I enjoyed these while I ate them, they did leave an after taste of fish in my mouth which was no bueno.  If you would like to make these link here:  smoked salmon waffles.

We also made the chicken b’stilla.  My husband likes Moroccan food and we had chicken thighs and filo sheets on hand so we made it.  He made the filling and I did the filo sheets.  It mostly came out perfect but our bottom crust was a little soggy but delicious all the same.  Would definitely make this one again.

These recipes are part of my cooking adventures with an online cooking group French Fridays with Dorie as we cook our way through Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Piperade Stir-Fry

What we are making for French Fridays with Dorie.
These ingredients screamed fajitas to me so that is what I made.
Dorie says “Think of it as a salsa from Southwest France”.  But I did not want raw onions, raw garlic and habanero in my dinner.

To quote Mardi Michels I went rogue with this recipe.  I cooked the onions along with the peppers and added the garlic with the red wine vinegar.  It turned out perfect for fajitas.  I served these along with tequila chicken.  Everyone enjoyed the meal including my son.

Inspired by Liz Berg I made Dorie’s vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce.  Best vanilla ice cream ever, will definitely be making this again.

You can make these lovely recipes by picking up your copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Leeks Vinaigrette with Mimosa

Dorie’s directions were to find “young leeks, the youngest, thinnest you can find.”  I have never seen a young leek and the ones we bought were beyond young but still good.

I cooked my leeks for 20 minutes and I thought I over cooked them but they were still crispy when we ate them.  I found it difficult to cut the leeks, they were quite slippery for me.  Maybe a serrated knife would have been better.  We enjoyed the vinaigrette.  I substituted sunflower oil for the walnut oil as that is what I had on hand.  I thought the grated hard boiled egg over the top was a nice touch.  My husband enjoyed this dish.  As to the cooking techniques he said “who thinks of this stuff?”  I said the French.  If nothing else this group has expanded our repertoire of eating and cooking techniques.  I also think it is a lot of fun.  Link to the recipe

My family clearly likes my cooking adventures as I received Around My French Table as a birthday gift.  Let the cooking continue.

Tuna Rillettes

I missed the part of the directions that said “albacore tuna is too firm and dry”.  All I had in my house was albacore tuna in water.  The texture seemed grainy and I am guessing that an oil based tuna would have been better.  I added more creme fraiche to compensate for the lack of fat and I think it helped but not enough.  There is something about this recipe that does not sit right for me.  I am not sure if it is the sharpness of the shallot (maybe I used too much) or the curry powder.  Normally I like all these ingredients but maybe not together in this recipe.

Devil’s Food White-Out Cake

In our house we use one candle no matter how old you are.
One of my 87 year old patients told me, “you look good for 46”.  I love my job:)

Back to the main event, cake.  I love cake and I could not wait to try this Devil’s Food White-Out cake from Dorie Greenspan.  Chocolate cake and marshmallow frosting, what’s not to love.  It was a big hit and a crowd pleaser.  I compared it to my favorite chocolate cake recipe from Bon Appetit http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cocoa-layer-cake and I could not decide which one I liked better. Good thing I don’t have to choose.  Here is the link to Dorie’s recipe:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6504932

Green-As-Spring Veal Stew

It was green alright.  I had thoughts of Green Eggs and Ham.  Discussions of Dr. Seuss did not convince my son to eat it so he had buttered pasta and one piece of meat to try.  My husband’s thoughts were “we can’t serve this to company, it’s green”.

But of course it was delicious.  I had to substitute veal for other beef as I could not get it. I would take the advice of others next time and thicken the sauce a bit, it seemed to have run through the noodles. We are not big beef eaters so I am not sure if I would make this again.  I am glad I tried the recipe and am grateful for learning some new techniques.

Fresh Strawberry Mousse

When I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated I wanted to give it a try.  I am not normally a mousse person because it is so bad most of the time but this recipe contained 2 pounds of fresh strawberries (which I love) so I thought I would give it a go.  This recipe takes time and is a fair amount of work.  It involves macerating strawberries, reducing the juice and whipping cream.  The finished product had great flavor and the texture was good but did not convert me into a mousse lover.  You can get the recipe here:http://www.cooksillustrated.com/videos/2758-fresh-strawberry-mousse?incode=MCSCZ00L0