French Fridays with Dorie – Coupetade

IMG_4236As promised, this is what Bouchon Bakery Brioche became after a few days – a beautiful, custardy, sugary pan of awesome that I enjoyed for several days as both dessert and breakfast. It’s your basic bread pudding but amped up a degree by turning the bread into French toast before drowning it in custard. Adding more butter, egg, and general milkfat than is normally called for? Sounds like a great idea to me!

The rest of the group made this yummy dish back in May but I’m a little behind in my FFWD participation. Looking at the links I see that some of them employed better planning than I vis a vis getting a pretty portion to photograph. Mine was more of a scoop and plop situation which, while still delicious, is not super photo-op worthy. If you’re curious about how to stuff as much buttery bread, milk, sugar, and eggs into your face all at one time as is humanly possible, pick up a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. And hey, it’s the holidays so get one for a friend too – I promise, you won’t regret it.

(Thanks to Trevor over at Sis Boom Blog I found a link to the recipe in case you’re feeling a bit reticent about the whole book purchase idea. For the record, you shouldn’t hesitate for a minute but I’ll still like you if you do)

Baking with Julia – Croissants

IMG_0181This was a three day labor of love and I could not be more excited about it! I made croissants! And they were de-fucking-licious! Yeah, I know it’s kind of ballsy to bust out the f-word in the first line of the post. I usually sneak it in towards the end if I’m going to use it at all but I can’t help it. I have to. I can’t contain it. Sometimes the f-word comes from a place of joy and excitement and not a place of annoyance and hate and this is one of those times!

I was really looking forward to this recipe since it features two of my favorite things in the world: ¬†butter & yeast. If you’ve seen me from behind, it’s clear that butter and me are old pals and yeast? Me and yeast go way back! I know some people are scared of it because it’s all “I’M ALIVE!” but I love it. It’s so weird and science-y! Practically the only science-y thing I like really. So I know this has probably been mentioned by a zillion other people but when this recipe was picked, all I could think about was this:

Obviously Meryl is working in a commercial kitchen with a dough roller-outer thingy and I’m working with this:

IMG_0167And some good ol’ elbow grease of course! I pushed all the crap that usually hangs out under the window aside so that I would have ample rolling room and we were off! On Monday night I mixed up the dough in my stand mixer. Again, Candy struggled with this one. Like, really struggled. The dough kept coming up over the top of the hook attachment and I would have to stop the machine and push it down. After it came together I put it to bed in the fridge overnight and in the morning it looked like this:

IMG_0168I was a little worried because it hadn’t really risen or anything and because I used skim milk (yipes!!) in the dough instead of whole. I’m not opposed to whole or anything, I was just out. I love the shot of all the butter that’s about to get whipped into submission. I can’t resist.

IMG_0166The dough and the butter made friends on Tuesday morning and then had to chill out for the day in the fridge because there was a snowstorm here and I ended up having to work. When you only live 6 blocks away it never really works to cite “inclement weather” as an excuse to not show up.

IMG_0170I know it looks like a lot but if you think about it spread out over like 24 croissants, chances are you’re only eating about 1-2 tablespoons and is that really so bad? If you’re saying “Yes! That’s terrible!” we can’t be friends. Leave now, you will not like anything I’ve made in the past or will make in the future. Fact.

IMG_0172I know it was a lot of work, but I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed every step of this process. I don’t want to make them every day or anything but I would definitely make them again and I think the investment of time is worth it if you like what you’re doing. I found the dough really easy to work with and I gotta say, I would make a dozen batches of croissants before I made rugelach again. Cream cheese dough = finicky while I found croissant dough to be pretty dreamy.

This morning I got up, got the dough out and made my little rolls. I know they are all the traditional crescent moon shape but some of them do have bittersweet chocolate inside. I got carried away with the pizza cutter and had cut the whole batch into triangles before I even thought of it. Plus, Meryl’s chocolate croissants are crescent shaped so I don’t feel too bad.

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I hauled these babies to work with me and baked them there so I could torment all the shoppers with the buttery delicious smell and then only share them with our wine rep and my friends. Yeah, sometimes I’m mean like that.

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This week’s host is Amanda over at Girl + Food = Love and she’ll have the recipe for any of you that want to brave 4 1/2 sticks of butter and a big chunk of time. I think it’s worth it.

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French Fridays with Dorie – Herb Speckled Spaetzle (okay, okay it was a French Sunday)

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Warning!! Totally unhealthy statement to follow: I could eat buttered spaetzle every day of my life. I realize that it’s only flour, milk, eggs & salt but it is so satisfying to me. I read that some people were indifferent about this recipe but I have been wanting to make it since I bought the book last year so I was very keen. My being a few days late with it might make it seem otherwise, but trust me, I was excited. Once a year during the summer we go to a restaurant nearby called the Dorf Haus for a huge Bavarian Smorgasbord and it’s one of my favorite events of the season. All the food is brown and white and kind of unappealing-looking but it all tastes great. Plus there is a polka band, and the German in me loves to get down to a little Roll Out the Barrel.

I had planned on making these lovely little beauties with a boneless leg of lamb that my Daddio gave us for Christmas but events conspired against me. And by events I mean inventory, being invited out to dinner with friends, and then just plain forgetting to make them when I finally made the lamb roast last night. I made these potatoes instead, which were very good. See:

IMG_2356But this morning while I was sitting in bed with my coffee paging through the interwebs it suddenly occurred to me that I am a moron and forgot to make the spaetzle. So I made it for lunch today with a side of smoked chicken (also from the Daddio). I decided to try to make only a third of the recipe which really taxed my math-stupid brain vis-a-vis dividing the flour but it all turned out okay in the end.

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I threw in a little more flour after this because I thought it was just a smidge too runny and we were in business. I elected to use a cheese grater as my spaetzle maker and it worked pretty well. Confession: though I work in a store where we sell all the best kitchen stuff on the planet, I still use a whole lot of the things my mom bought me from the dollar store when I left for college, including this cheese grater. I could replace it, but you know what they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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I decided to eat these unadorned since it seemed like kind of a lot of work for lunch and I basically just wanted to stick my face in the bowl after they were all coated in butter anyway. This was Tristan’s lunch:

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And this was mine:

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It’s hard to tell from this pic, but that’s a big-ass bowl of spaetzle. And it was glorious. I feel compelled to say that I took all the photos of the spaetzle with the new camera Tristan gave me for Christmas and I am loving it. Still learning about how to use it, but loving it. I will definitely make these spaetzle again. Me and my stout German thighs will love every buttery bite! If you would like to join me in my quest to thwart everyone’s diet plans everywhere, here’s the recipe.