Better Late than Never French Fridays with Dorie – Peach Melba

Obviously this is a few days late. I just could not get my shit together to get this done by last Friday. Last week was kind of crazy. Work, emotion, finances, etc all conspired against me. I was dead-set on making Dorie’s vanilla ice cream to go with it and I finally got that accomplished on Sunday but I didn’t manage to pull the rest together until tonight. Oh well.

Let’s start with the Dorie ice cream – oh, so good. Crazy flavors are all well and good (Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack!), but sometimes simple is the very best and it doesn’t get much simpler than vanilla ice cream. This one is French-style (with egg yolks) which is different than what I’ve been making all summer from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. She does strictly Philly-style which has no egg yolks and instead uses cream cheese as a stabilizer. I think the taste level between the two is pretty equal but I’ll probably revert back to Jeni’s style just because it doesn’t leave me with 6 egg whites to either use up or throw away.

Tonight Tristan is working super-late so I’m free to watch what I please and I chose to pop in Fellowship of the Ring. Since I’ve seen this plenty of times it didn’t bother me that I had to get up to put this together after the peaches & syrup had cooled, the raspberry sauce had been szushed, and the vanilla ice cream had softened up a bit. I sat down on the couch with my fancy melba just as Gandalf was escaping Saruman’s clutches with the aid of a nice moth and gigantic eagle. I am both a regular ol’ nerd and a food geek. Surprised?

I don’t know that I’ll ever have the gumption to put this together again, but man am I glad I did at least this once. It was delicious and fresh and just went down so easy. Loved it! Could have something to do with the several little juice glasses of wine I’ve had, but I choose to believe in the deliciousness of the Peach Melba. Long live the Melba!

Lest you think I’ve been a total lazy-ass this week, I did make a few things I’m pretty proud of:

Vampire bite cupcakes! I went to a friend’s house last night to watch the season 5 finale of True Blood and I whipped these up real quick-like after work to take with. I wish I could claim credit for the idea, but I just googled True Blood cupcakes and scrolled through the images until I found something doable. These were perfect!

Stromboli anyone?? I made this for dinner and it was amazing! I found it on Lauren’s Latest and I gotta say, it was a winner. I will definitely make this again! I’m sitting this week of FFWD out because I just cannot do cucumbers. Maybe I’ll make a recipe from before I was in the group. Anyone have any favorites from pre-January 2012 they’d like to recommend?

Baking with Julia – Popovers

People can be very serious about popovers. My boss and her family are some of these people. Popovers are a big thing for them. Me, I’ve only eaten one once and it wasn’t warm from the oven so I was told it was mediocre at best. I’ve never made them before tonight but now that I have I can definitely see myself doing it again. I was going to borrow Bek’s popover pan to get this party started but then in the P & Q it mentioned that the recipe (which I hadn’t even looked at until tonight) said you could use either custard cups or muffin pans so I just went with that. I did two custard cups and then I cheated a little bit and used one muffin pan.

Clearly I’m not as up on food science as I should be because I really don’t understand how something that I beat for an extended period of time in my stand mixer (Bitch Cake) was totally flat and awful and these things that I just whirred for an eens in my blender were so damn high. I mean look at this one! It’s like 5 inches tall!

Tristan said he had never had a popover before so I gave him the poppiest one. I’m not ashamed to say that I ate three of these. After all, they were mostly air right???

I enjoyed my first and second with a modest (ha!) helping of pasta carbonara and my third with some strawberry jam while I watched True Blood with the girlies. Any other TB fans out there?

My friend is convinced that Bill has a plan and is just faking this vampire religion stuff but I think homeboy is having a serious crisis. I’m still totally team Bill though. I even have the shirt to prove it!

Getting back to the popovers though – they were really delicious. Totally crunchy and crackly on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. I read some dissent about their “eggy” flavor in the P & Q but I have no issue with it. I am also totally on Team Egg apparently. I am sure some of the other bakers have done wonderful things with these and I’m really excited to check it out. My first attempt was pretty plain jane and by the book but I think I’ll try something wild next time – maybe cracked pepper and some sort of cheese? Thoughts?

Hosts for this recipe are Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes and Amy of Bake with Amy. Check out either of their sites for the recipe so you can have some of these crispy, crunchy, tender babies happening in your life!

French Fridays with Dorie – Corn Pancakes + a little Magic Mike talk

So you’re probably thinking “Hey it’s Saturday dummy.” I know, I know. It was a strangely busy week. I meant to make these at like 10 on Thursday night and I was all proud of myself that I remembered to to buy both corn (which I never buy) and flour (I was out after some disastrous baking last Sunday) but when I made my way to the fridge to grab the eggs I realized that I had eaten the last one for breakfast that morning. Fudge!!!! Sometimes I really annoy myself. There was no way these were happening yesterday because I had to work all day, then we had a birthday bbq to attend and then I had a date with my girlies to see Magic Mike and though I love Dorie and all you beautiful Doristas, there was NO WAY I was skipping Magic Mike.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Maggie, that movie looks ridiculous,” and if you’re thinking that I totally respect your right to an opinion, but I think you should change it. As we were waiting in line to buy tickets at 10:30 last night with like 150 other women, my friend Haley looked around and said “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many women out at the movies all together. We need more things like this that bring us together to have a good time and less things that make us want to compete with each other.” Or something along those lines. And I think she is totally right. There is definitely a story in the movie and some pretty artistic camera-work and directing but I really think this was a movie for women to just enjoy without feeling guilty. For once, men were the ones objectified for our pleasure and I know in a perfect world no one would be objectified but guess what, we don’t live in a perfect world. Like a recent episode of Mad Men which really delved into sexual politics, Magic Mike made me really wish I were still in college in one of my women’s studies classes. It would make for very interesting discussion. Plus it was just really fun to watch them dance! I love seeing people who have real talent who can really move and Channing Tatum? You are talented baby! 🙂

Okay but back to these here little pancakes. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I go out to a Mexican restaurant I always get a combo plate and if they’re available I always choose sweet corn cakes as one of my sides. They are so amazing and fantastic and I was really wanting these corn pancakes to be similar to that. I added 2 tablespoons of sugar to the recipe to sweeten them up a bit and then I fried them in bacon grease. I feel like this makes me sound gross but let me explain. I have been rewatching all the past seasons of True Blood and several times throughout the series they mention hoecakes (hocakes?) fried in bacon grease and everyone seems to love the shit out of them. You should see the excitement in their eyes, especially when they say the bacon grease part.

This was the only screencap I could find and I feel she looks pretty apprehensive in it but trust me, it’s only because her formerly alcoholic mother hadn’t cooked her anything in years. She gets really excited after this. So I made myself two pieces of bacon and then used my handy-dandy little cookie scoop to make little silver-dollar corn pancakes in the same pan. Bonus of using bacon grease = one less pan to wash.

I got about 15 of these little babies and if I really wanted to, I probably could have eaten all of them. I stopped at 3 because I had that bacon and a basted egg to eat with them as well.

Does anyone else eat basted eggs? I love them! Bek showed me how to make them last year and I eat one for breakfast almost every day. You just crack it into a pan like you’re going to make it sunny-side up and then after a minute or two you pour in a little bit of water and then cover the pan for a bit. I usually try to get mine so that they’re just a smidge on the runny side but the truth is I will eat it however it comes out. Yum!

I really loved these little pancakes. I ate them with pure maple syrup I bought from the scary looking guy at the farmer’s market here in town but I would easily eat them as a side with chicken like Dorie suggests. So what did everyone else think? And more importantly, who else went to see Magic Mike and has something to say about it? Oh and if anyone else watches Mad Men, I think you know what episode I’m referring to and I’d love to hear what you thought too. I was thinking about it for days afterwards!