French Fridays with Dorie – Chicken, Apples, & Cream ala Normande

IMG_2190

This is my first FFWD post using my new computer and I am beyond stoked about it. There is something about having a nice, new, unspoiled computer to play with that just makes me so happy. It doesn’t run superslow because the hard-drive isn’t clogged with 5 years worth of crap. It’s not missing a piece of the plastic casing on the side from being manhandled from the table to the couch to the bed and back to the table. Nothing has been spilled on it yet and the keyboard is delightfully backlit. In other words, it’s pretty blissful. But to create this bliss we had to go to Best Buy last Sunday which was like hell on earth. I’m sorry if any of you or your loved ones work at a Best Buy but I gotta tell you guys that it’s one of the most inefficient places ever. EVER! Also they denied us a Best Buy card which I found hilarious since I get things in the mail every day telling me I’m pre-approved for a bajillion dollars from Capital One and Discover and American Express, etc, etc. I feel like they only wouldn’t give me one because I wanted it – know what I mean? Stupid. But just for applying we got $20 off the computer so whatevs.

I’m relieved to be talking about food again after my last semi-taboo post, so let’s start talking about food already! This week’s recipe sounded pretty good to me, but Tristan was skeptical. And when I say skeptical I mean that I gave him a choice two nights ago – we could have this chicken dish or Roasted Potatoes, Sausage, & Peppers  and he skipped the chicken dish with no hesitation. I said “Fine, but that just means we’re having it tomorrow night” and he did not look pleased.

IMG_2184

If you’re wondering why there is a bottle of cherry schnapps on display it’s because I forgot that we didn’t have any brandy and this is what I chose to replace it. I thought the cherry flavor would be good with the chicken and apples and by golly, I was right! Also I bought this huge bottle like four years ago for a cherry pie and mama needs to make some space in the ol’ pantry. I chose to use chicken thighs for this one since they are so much cheaper and I was feeling cheap when I when grocery shopping this week. I had to buy all the things for our holiday get-together this weekend and $7 for chicken breasts just felt like too much. $3 for chicken thighs sounded way better.

IMG_2187

Dorie said to use non-stick but I don’t have a non-stick pan big enough so I busted out my saute pan. Honestly I don’t feel like I ever truly need nonstick unless I’m making eggs. This pan pretty much works for everything and I love it. Love it! Since it’s the holiday season I was thinking about doing a little gift guide for foodie people and this would definitely be near the top of the list.

IMG_2189

After everything got thrown in the pan it came together very quickly and I am pleased to announce that Tristan said “You can definitely make this again honey. Thanks for the delicious meal.” And without provocation! Woot woot! Regrettably the cherry schnapps turned things a little Pepto-pinkish but the taste was really nice. I found the recipe online here, so have at it non-FFWD peeps!

In other news, I’m trying to figure out this Flickr thing – any tips from anyone? I tried uploading pics from Flickr to this post but I got frustrated and quit. I think my brain is in melty-from-the-holidays stage due to work so I might have to really get on this after Christmas and inventory are over. I did make a Flickr page and load some photos onto it, I do know that at least. Oh and this card exchange thing we’re doing is so fun! Thanks everyone for all your cards and mine are all mailed out so hopefully you’ve started receiving them. Happy holidays Doristas!

Advertisements

French Fridays with Dorie – Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes & Prunes

This is an interesting one guys. I really, really liked it but it was very different from anything I’ve made before. For one thing, I have never cooked with saffron before tonight. I had to send my friend to the spice store in Madison to get me both saffron & star anise because they aren’t available anywhere here in town. I’m really very excited to get my hands on some star anise since it has been called for in several recipes we’ve done and I’ve just skipped it. Watch, now we won’t need it for anything else!

I scooted home from work all quick-like and got the onions going in the pot:

Mandoline? Who needs a mandoline?? I liked that after you got everything together in the pot there really wasn’t much left to do. I took this break in our regularly scheduled programming to drink a vodka tonic and have a little pre-dinner snack.

God I love sweet potatoes. Tristan says he doesn’t like them but I kind of don’t believe him. In any case, it doesn’t stop me from making them. I really dug the prunes in this dish as well. I know they get a bad rap, but honestly they’re just dried plums and who doesn’t like plums? Well probably some people don’t, but who cares? I like them and I’m writing this so pfffffffffffft!

I had a 2nd little meatless helping just because I loved the flavor combo so much. And just so you don’t have to wonder, yes those are Pillsbury breadsticks. I love them and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I just realized that I forgot to add the little pinch of cayenne that would have given this dish yet another layer of flavor. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make it again sometime! 🙂

Baking with Julia – Lemon Loaf Cake

This week’s Lemon Loaf Cake was our “easy” recipe for the month and I don’t think anyone could argue that this wasn’t super simple. I actually had all the ingredients on hand to make it last Tuesday on my day off so I didn’t even have to take a shower or change out of my yoga pants to go to the store. That’s always a bonus. My husband is one of those people who can’t not get cleaned up for the day but this trait has not rubbed off on me in the ten years we’ve been together. Maybe this makes me disgusting but if I’m not going anywhere or seeing anyone, I have no problem with being dressed in my grubbies while I clean and cook and do all that kind of stuff. Am I in the minority here?

The recipe itself is even super short so I felt like I had to dress it up with my neat little line of farm fresh eggs. I never buy white eggs anymore. I’m sure there’s not a flavor difference really, but the brown eggs just look so sophisticated, don’t they? Instead of buttering and flouring the pan, I buttered and sugared the pan to sweeten this baby up just a little more. I’m nothing if not a sweet tooth.

My friend Susan had told me that you can make this substitution in any recipe that calls for buttering and flouring your pan and I hadn’t tried it yet so I just thought, what the hell? I think this is the first recipe that I haven’t had to fire up my trusty Kitchenaid for and it was kind of strange! Instead everything just got whisked in a big bowl until it was just mixed. Check out all this zest!

I had thought that this amount of zest would make for a REALLY lemony cake but the finished product just had a bare hint of lemon. I should have taken the juice of those suckers and made a glaze of some sort to make the lemon flavor really pop but I just decided to keep it simple and follow the recipe. I did make some whipped cream to dollop on the top though and instead of putting in vanilla like I usually do, I added some lemon extract. It gave the whipped cream a nice zing.

Just so others can learn from my mistakes, I once added a little lemon extract to a vodka tonic because we were out of lemons and I thought it would be an apt replacement….IT’S NOT! My lips were numb for like an hour after I drank it. It was really weird. This week’s hosts are Truc of Treats and Michelle from The Beauty of Life. Head over to one of their sites for the recipe if you want to have a little lemon loaf cake of your very own. Oh and I promised a friend I would include a link for the easiest and tastiest chicken breasts I have ever made! They were so good and so super simple! Try it! If you don’t like it, you did it wrong.