French Fridays with Dorie – Crab & Grapefruit Salad

Crab & Grapefruit salad….hmmmmmm… I’m still with you guys, I swear. These are just things I would not have thought to put together, that’s for sure. I LOVE crab. LOVE IT! But grapefruit, we’re kind of frenemies at best. I love citrus, so I should like it. I love the smell of it in lotions, soaps, etc. But when it comes to eating it? Not so much. In fact, before this I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten straight-up grapefruit. Isn’t that weird? I am 27 years old and I’ve never cut up a grapefruit and eaten it. Growing up my family stuck to the kid-friendly fruits like apples, bananas, strawberries and grapes. We never really bought any other ones. So as an adult who feels the need to try things before dismissing them, I had a little trepidation about this one but I was willing.

Every time I watch Barefoot Contessa and she makes something with seafood I cringe because she literally walks down the street and runs into fresh crab or lobster or whatever the hell other magic she cooks up there in the Hamptons. Seriously, she leads a charmed life. I know she is a real person with real problems and all that biznazz but I don’t care. I’m with Liz Lemon on this – Ina Garten’s life is beautiful and idyllic and something to be envied. The end. Alas, I am not in her position in life, either monetarily or geographically so I bought a can of crab that was next to the tuna and sardines in the grocery store. It cost me $2.67. Oh yeah, I’m a baller!

I didn’t really take any making of photos since it didn’t really involve much besides chopping up some things and throwing them in a bowl. Not very compelling stuff. Also I was kind of in a whirlwind. I got home a little before six, did the dishes, threw together this Tuscan White Bean soup (yum!)

and I also decided to give Irish Soda Bread another go so I got that in the oven too. All before 7:00! Tootle toot! Dave was coming over so I would have someone to appreciate the salad with (Tristan was all “I don’t LIKE grapefruit”) and to watch the new Muppets movie with us so I felt some pressure to impress. I made half a batch of the bread and threw in some shredded Monterrey Jack cheese that had almost outstayed its welcome in the overstuffed cheese drawer. I liked this one much better than my ill-fated first attempt. Savory trumps sweet for me. That almost never happens!

But back to the salad – it was delightful! D-frickin-lightful! Even Tristan ate it and I don’t think he was pity-eating like he does sometimes when he doesn’t want to make me feel bad. I think draining the grapefruit for about an hour really helped tone down the tartness. Dorie said to do it for a few hours but I just didn’t have the time. I also omitted the cucumber because unless it’s in tzatziki, I’m not interested. That’s another thing I like the smell of but not the actual food. Weird. I didn’t put in the chili or the Tabasco either but I found a pretty perfect avocado at the grocery store so I used the Bon Idee and sprinkled that on the top before I did the mint. It was seriously yummy. I would totally make this again. I would even do the spicy stuff, I just knew that Tristan was already being a sport because of the grapefruit and I didn’t want to push it. Plus I used spicy Italian sausage in the soup so we were already getting heat from somewhere. I feel it’s necessary to state how much I LOVE the glasses I served this little salad in. Admittedly they weren’t the perfect receptacle because they’re so tall but I love using them in fits of fanciness. They were a wedding gift from my cousin and his wife Emily (let’s get serious, Emily bought these. Jens has probably never seen the inside of an Anthropologie store) and they are one of my favorite things.

Next week is asparagus with bacon bits and I’m also feeling a little “eh” about that one. I’m only just learning to like asparagus but the bacon bits part is making me lean in the yes direction. Let’s end on another picture of that beautiful, fresh little salad in my favorite glasses. It really was delicious!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Irish Soda Bread (+ Challah)

So I went a little off-recipe this week. And I don’t know that it was 100% a good idea. I have only had one other soda bread in my life and it is really delicious, so based on my results, I’d almost say this was a failure. But I think there are a few things I could do to fix it. Now admittedly, it looks very pretty. I mean, I don’t think this is debatable. That looks like a good bread. But taste-wise, I was a little disappointed. This is what happened. I made this bread, challah, and the cheese souffle for French Fridays with Dorie all in one day. Big woo, right? I mean that’s really not a whole lot going on. I had the day off so it’s not like I was fitting it into a busy work schedule or anything, but what happened was I made the challah first. And the challah needed 9-10 cups of flour, pretty much depleting my stock. Why, you ask, did I make challah? I’m not Jewish, even though I’ve been told I “look Jewish” a few times. There are a number of really beautiful Jewish ladies (hello Natalie Portman!) so I take this as a nice compliment. I’ve actually never even had challah before. But I follow this blog called emmycooks and she had done a post on it and the night before this baking extravaganza I had a dream that I was eating just ginormo amounts of bread, so I had to make it. I’m sure you understand. So before I get to the soda bread, let’s talk about the challah.

This is a serious recipe, using massive amounts of flour and requiring 15 minutes of kneading (Madonna arms, here I come!). I don’t know why I was super drawn to doing this, other than the dream. A few months ago, someone asked me a strange question : If you had to eat your way out of a room, what would you want the room to be made of? My answer was bread. Not like Wonderbread, but amazing crusty, tasty bread and I think my dream might have been something like that. When I was younger, I could remember my dreams in super detail, but now I kind of just have impressions.  So anywho, I make this dough and knead it and it first looks like this:

But then after a few hours of just hanging out with Candy and the espresso maker, it looks like this!

I mean, doesn’t that look like you just want to lay your head down on it and take a nap!? It’s so pillowy and huge and awesome! So I was pretty enamored of this whole process and kind of left the soda bread till after and then I realized, “Shit, I do not have 4 cups of flour!” So I had some whole wheat flour and I thought I would do half and half. That seemed like a plan. Also berries were on sale at the store and I had a little half pint of blueberries that needed something to do. So I got all my stuff together while the challah was rising and I was feeling pretty good about things.

And after I mixed everything together I was still feeling like this was a good idea and a nice compromise. I mean, making all my Dorie stuff in one day, plus this other bread and I was making the recipe more healthy? Kudos to me!

Alas, pride cometh before a fall as they say and my bread was not really all that great. Turns out blueberries + buttermilk with no sugar = kind of a tart little bread we’ve got here. I should have definitely added some sugar. In fact, when I slathered a slice with butter and sprinkled a liberal amount of cinnamon sugar on it, it was pretty tasty. Without, it got this review from a friend “tastes like medicine.” Not my best work, to say the least.

But let’s all revel in the beauty of the challah once again, shall we? And if you want to make it, the recipe is here!

If you want to give the soda bread a try and not f*#% it up like me, visit one of our hosts for this week to get the recipe. They did this simple classic some justice, unlike me. Oh well. I hear that lemon loaf cake a’callin my name already and it’s still a few weeks until April. Catch you next time Doristas and hopefully it will be a little more successful!