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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Baking with Julia – French Strawberry Cake aka Bitch Cake

So as you can probably tell from the title of this post (and let’s get serious, the picture) this cake was not my favorite. Not only was it a bitch to make, but it sorta made me one too. In Julie & Julia, Julie dubs Julia’s recipe for tedious rice “bitch rice” and I am going to sort of steal the moniker for this cake. I have never made a genoise before, but I have seen one made and I know sure as the sun will rise that it’s not supposed to look, taste, or feel the way mine turned out. Failure in the kitchen doesn’t happen to me all that often, so when it does it kinda upsets me. But lets start at the beginning, shall we?

I had wanted to go to the local berry farm and pick some strawberries for this but it never ended up happening and all the berries were on sale at the grocery store so I went with raspberries, blackberries and monster most likely genetically enhanced strawberries. Maybe nature was punishing me for my poor choices…

But they sure do look pretty all mixed up with some sugar in the bowl now don’t they? I left them to juice while my mom and I went to get facials. She was visiting for the weekend and we indulged. It was awesome. When we got home, I prepped the pan, pre-heated the oven and got ready to get my genoise on. Forming the ribbon actually went really well – Candy was a champ as per usual.

The stage after this is where our heroine (me) ran into problems. I have previously expressed my feelings on folding in ingredients. I hate it. It takes forever. And just when you’re sure you’re done, another goddamn dry spot reveals itself. It seems endless. I used my biggest spatula and try, try, tried to be gentle and thorough but based on the result I was neither. I was feeling a little apprehensive when I poured it into the pan and it looked like this:

I had a feeling all those bubbles did not bode well. I put it in the oven and crossed my fingers but this is what came out:

So it didn’t rise one little bit. Not a damn bit! After I let it cool for awhile I sliced it into the thinnest layers ever and just made the best of it. But you can bet there was some serious swearing and pouting going on. I’ll be the first to admit I was a real baby. It’s just that I hate putting time and effort (and ingredients) into something that sucks. Plus my mom was visiting and I had invited another friend over for dinner since I figured Tristan, my mom and I wouldn’t be able to finish the whole cake and it didn’t seem like it was one that would keep. I read the P & Q and made extra whipped cream even! Grrrrr. I decided to make lemon cream so I added the zest of 1 lemon and a 1/2 tsp of lemon extract instead of the vanilla to give it a little citrus twist.

Tristan, my mom, and Dave were all lovely and said it was good but they were lying their faces off. The berries and whipped cream part were tasty but the cake? Good god, the cake. It was super dense, dry, and weird. Plus when I sliced the layers I saw a ton of dry spots that completely corroborate my theory that I am the world’s worst folder. I forced myself to eat it because I don’t like waste but I was completely defeated by this genoise. I will have to work really hard to make a better one the next time we need one for BWJ. In conclusion, I am so glad I was the host for naan and not this because that would have really been embarrassing! 🙂

Tom Hanks is eagerly awaiting the next recipe but if you want to give this one a go, visit Sophia of Sophia’s Sweets or Allison of Think, Love, Sleep, Dine for the recipe.