FFwD: Pommes Dauphinoise~

20 11 2010

This week I selected Pommes Dauphinoise, or Potatoes Au Gratin, as my French Fridays with Dorie dish.  I actually made it twice.  I made it earlier in the week to go with chicken breast I prepared according to a recipe we may get to try at some point…it sure was good!  So were the potatoes!  LOL!  Then, on Friday…when I was ready for a decent meal…and decided the only way THAT was going to happen was to do it myself…!  It was a long stretch between Sunday and Friday…!  Standing there with a package of stuffed pork chops in my hands, those potatoes called my name yet again…they seemed the perfect match to go with the chops.  So be it!  LOL!

Tasting Notes~
While the recipe from Le Cordon Bleu creates a dish with a firmer potato, this one doesn’t need as many dishes and comes out tasting good enough that it’s really not worth the extra work unless you need to put out a 4 star meal.  General French cooking for the average Bonne Femme…or Good Woman…is exactly what Dorie and Julia give us.  LCB has more exacting standards, and more exacting practices…using more pots and pans than Carter has little pills as we once said here in the States!  The only thing I could suggest that might bring any improvement would be to lightly, and I mean lightly… season each layer of potatoes as they are laid down.  Maybe even sprinkle a bit of cheese between some of the layers…which I’ll try next time around.  *Ü*  Because…after making this twice (and buying a special baker just for the two of us), I know I’ll be making it again.  Oh…  I suppose I should confess that I also sprinkle the potatoes with a dusting of nutmeg (freshly ground) before I added the cheese…  That little LCB thing…  *Ü*  A personal touch I guess!

If you’d like to join us, buy Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, there’s a link on my sidebar, and follow the link to French Fridays with Dorie to the site to register.  That’s it…  Cook the recipes that you wish and post them.  That’s not very difficult.  No requirements other than registration and buying the book…which is worth the price!  We’ve already established that!!  Christmas is coming…  Surely Santa knows you’ve been good enough….!!

FFwD: Roast Chicken and Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flans~

13 11 2010

I went with two recipes at virtually the same time this week…Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans were first up as they could stand the setting time far better than the roast chicken.  The Roast Chicken is for “lazy people” but I didn’t want it to set up to 45 minutes while the flans cooked.  I had a feeling that the flans would be more easily eaten if they cooled quite a bit first.

The flans go together with precious little fuss and could actually be whisked together without messing up the blender.  You just want to mix the egg in really well, like any custard.  Take care not to fill the ramekins too full…as they get done they will puff a bit.  That’s a sight cue that they’re just about done…they puff up like pumpkin pie does.

Tasting Notes on the flan~
This looks so good, and the pumpkin mixture was really yummy…but neither of us particularly cared for it once it was put together.  I served it warm, along with the roasted chicken, which it paired nicely with…but that still didn’t carry it far enough for us.  I actually liked it better cold the following day.  Oh well…you win some, you lose some.  While not a stellar winner, it was certainly different and could easily suit someone else nicely, as it was quite unique.   Now…on to the roasted chicken…

There’s been much discussion about the incredible bread from the bottom of the Dutch oven…well…here’s a picture of what we’re all drooling over.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but oh my goodness!  The flavor that lies within that crusty morsel!!  Most of the roasting liquid, as well as the wine, has been soaked up by a halved baguette laid on the bottom of the Dutch oven, the chicken placed on top of that, and roasted for 90 minutes.  The bread is crisp and crusty on what was its cut face, and where the crust had been, is soft and almost pudding-like.  Dorie recommends taking the liver which you’ve cooked inside the chicken and spreading it onto the bread…and she recommends saving that for yourself!  Not being terribly fond of liver, I presented that tasty tidbit to my beloved, and he was overjoyed.  He wouldn’t mind having THAT experience again!

I roasted my veggies separately…there simply wasn’t room in my Dutch oven for anything more.  I need a size in between the two I have.  Dear Santa…  Anyway… In order to achieve a similar flavor, I tossed the veggies with oil (rice bran rather than olive) and fresh herbs to match what we put in with the chicken.  I wish now that I’d sprinkled on a bit of white wine as well.  No big deal…it would just have been another layer of flavor.  Then I added a sprinkle of kosher salt and a twist of black pepper, and off to the oven with them.

Here’s our chicken…I needed to wrap the wing tips in foil the last 45 minutes to keep them from burning, but that was no problem.  I pulled the chicken from the oven to set before carving and left the veggies in a few minutes longer.  By the time I was ready to plate, the veggies were nicely roasted and ready.

Tasting Notes for the Roasted Chicken~
I’ve roasted a LOT of chickens in the past couple years, French, Italian, Food Network Chefs…  So far, I’m happiest with this one.  I do have to confess that I did brine it…  I mixed 3 Tbsp. kosher salt with 1 Tbsp. sugar in enough water to dissolve the sugar and salt, and poured that into a zippered gallon bag (in a bowl, always use a bowl), and added as much thyme, rosemary and oregano to the brine as I was going to use in the roasting process, along with a couple large cloves of garlic, smashed.  I left the chicken to brine for a few hour, then rinsed it before roasting the chicken, seasoning it just as the recipe required.  I could be happy making this chicken again without concern.  It was moist and flavorful, had that wonderful added bonus of the flavorful bread raft…  Seriously good stuff!  We were both thoroughly content with this meal, regardless of how we felt about the flans!   As there are only the two of us, we did have meat left over, that was easily converted to tasty Quesadillas the following day!  This, is a keeper!