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September wasn’t a great month for me in regards to French Friday. I couldn’t eat the seared tuna pizza (sadly), and neither of us are fans of piquillo peppers, stuffed or otherwise. And though I really wanted to make the rice pudding and caramel apples, I ended up not having the time for it (that was the week we took our trip to Gloucester). So, for October, I decided to rededicate myself to French Friday and put in every effort to make the chosen recipes.
And I actually did a few! And then I never wrote about them. In fact, I seemed to have forgotten that my blog even existed. I hadn’t. It’s just that I didn’t have the energy or the mental capability to write. I’m getting to that point in pregnancy where I’m pretty much over being pregnant and just want time to pass by quickly. I want it to be December so I can have Niko in my arms. But I also want to enjoy November, which is one of my favorite months. I also want to sleep for 12 hours every day. You can see how conflicted I am. Blogging hasn’t been heavy on my mind lately. I’m working on it.
I actually did not make today’s recipe, which was Muenster Cheese Soufflé. For one thing, I don’t have a proper soufflé dish. For another, I don’t have the wherewithal to deal with a soufflé right now, especially not this week. It’s been a rough week.
Instead, I made Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans, which the group made way back in November 2010. I felt this was an appropriate substitute. Also, it was much, much easier to make.
I’m not sure if Geordie was completely sold on these flans. Most people tend to associate sweet foods with cooking/baking with pumpkin, and Geordie still seems to be in that camp, even though I have (and will continue to) experiment with savory pumpkin dishes. I’ll admit, this was a bit weird at first, but by the time I was halfway through mine, I was into it. Good thing, too, since I had one left over. That became part of lunch the next day. A nice little pre-Halloween treat, and super easy to make. I love recipes where all I have to do is dump everything into a food processor, blend it, then pour it into ramekins and stick it in the oven. The less work I have to do right now, the better!
Also this month, I made the Salad Niçoise and the Boeuf à la Mode. It was hard for me to write about either of these, because neither of them impressed us. There was no way I was going to get a complete post out for each of these, because they can both be summed up with the word “meh.”
For the sake of this post, I’ll try to do better than that. Let’s start with the Salad Niçoise.
I’ve mentioned several times already that I’m not a big salad fan. Especially during pregnancy. Vegetables – while being a very important part of every pregnant lady’s diet – have failed to make me weak in the knees for the past 33 weeks. In fact, I’ve done my best to avoid leafy greens. I want very little to do with them when I’m not pregnant. It’s been a very trying 33 weeks.
Some people like it when meat is added to a salad. I do not. And that goes for canned tuna as well. I’m not overly thrilled with canned tuna anyway, but I will eat it. This isn’t my preferred method of doing so. This was mostly just a mess. There’s a lot going on in this salad, and that may be why I didn’t like it. I had to change a few things to make it acceptable to us: the green beans were replaced by sugar snaps (usually Geordie is less picky than me, but he said no to the green beans, which I would have happily eaten), I left out the anchovies, and I used spinach instead of Boston lettuce, because I couldn’t find Boston lettuce. Not making these changes probably wouldn’t have helped us much. It’s just not our thing.
And then there was the Boeuf à la Mode, a much lauded dish that is basically just a pot roast. Geordie liked the idea of this dinner, because Geordie is definitely a meat-lover. I too like meat, but I’ve never really enjoyed a pot roast. After this, I still haven’t.
What can I say, I just don’t like pot roast. I like stews. I like daubes. I like tender beef that really does melt in your mouth, This did not melt in my mouth. It was not particularly tender. Maybe that was my fault. I cooked it an extra twenty minutes (and it really needed those extra twenty minutes, because it was certainly not fork-tender before that), and it probably should have been cooked longer, but pregnant ladies don’t like to wait for dinner. They also don’t like to waste time taking perfect pictures when they’re starving, which is why the picture is kinda blurry.
I served it over egg noodles, along with the carrots that had been cooked with the meat (now, those were tasty, and I wish there had been more of them), plus some roasted Brussels sprouts. Everything but the meat was tasty. I cannot say I was surprised. I just don’t like pot roast. I think I just need to accept that.
And so, that was my French Friday for October. I have no idea how November is going to go, but the recipes are so awesomely tempting that I’m strongly considering making several of them. It all depends on how I’m feeling and how much time I can spend on my feet. We’ll see!
Until then, happy cooking!
Well, okay, not just any corn on the cob, but “Boulevard Raspail” corn on the cob.
Yeah, I didn’t know what “Boulevard Raspail” meant either. That’s what the internet is for! Although, Dorie does explain it in the introduction to this recipe, which is very, very short in and of itself. This may be the easiest recipe in the book. The ingredients list is certainly brief: corn, butter, salt & pepper.
It seems that while perusing the market on Boulevard Raspail, Dorie came across some ears of corn, a fairly uncommon sight in France. She bought some, and this is how the vendor told her to cook them.
I’ll be honest: I’ve been cooking my corn this way all summer, a tip I picked up on the internet somewhere. It is now my favorite way to cook corn, as it comes out wonderfully tender and delicious. You can eat it the American way by nomming it straight off the cob (which we have done a few times), or you can eat it the French way by cutting off the kernels (which we have also done, the better to add it to salsas, couscous, and taco salads). Actually, I almost always prefer to cut off the kernels. When I was a child, I once lost a loose tooth while biting into a corn cob, and the sensation still haunts me. It’s the same reason I can’t bite into apples unless they’ve been sliced first.
Here is Dorie’s method:
Now, this is very tasty, but I wonder if that can be attributed to the (locally-grown) corn. Either way, this really is the best way to cook corn, in my opinion. We do not have a grill, and I honestly don’t like messing with boiling corn. Besides which, this tastes better. At least, to me it does. And, honestly, it doesn’t bother me to turn on the oven to 400ºF in the middle of summer – I live in Texas. The AC is on constantly anyway. Plus, you get kinda used to it, especially since summer seems to last from about April to October.
So, is this a keeper? Well, I’ve been doing it this way since April, so yeah. It works for me. Half of this corn went into our tacos, and I’m saving the other half for some enchiladas I’m making this weekend. I’ve also mixed it with couscous and lime-flavored olive oil, which was delicious, and I’m sure I’ll be making some tomato and corn salsa with it eventually. I really don’t see any reason to cook it any other way!
To see how the other Doristas dealt with this interesting way to do corn, check out the French Friday links. Happy cooking!
This should have been duck breasts with fresh peaches. Our local supermarket did not have duck breasts, and I did not allow myself the indulgence of going to Whole Foods for them because I knew I’d never be able to get through the store without buying something else. I’m budgeting us pretty strictly now because of Geordie’s one-day-a-week furlough, and I’ve promised myself that there will be no trips to Whole Foods until October unless absolutely necessary. (Except now the furlough has been lifted and we’ll be back to regular paychecks next month, hurrah! so maybe I’ll make a trip to Whole Foods in September just to celebrate.) For this week, the supermarket did have turkey breast cutlets, and I found those to be an acceptable substitute.
As for the raspberries . . . well, for one thing, they’re easier to work with than peaches. And for another, I’m not a big fan of peaches. They’re okay, but if I have other options, I’m going to take them. So, raspberries it is.
The sauce was the best part of this (although I’m sure the duck would have been the best, had there been duck). Perfectly tangy, with just the right amount of sweet – it totally made the dish for me. Because of the raspberries, I used my raspberry-balsamic vinegar (easily my favorite condiment), and that amped up the flavor wonderfully. This sauce even went well with the spinach-tomato Israeli couscous I hastily slapped on as a side dish. The raspberries themselves were adequate, being a little too much on the tart side to be really terrific.
I still think duck would have been better. The turkey made an okay substitute, but it wasn’t duck. Geordie confessed to me that he likes turkey better than duck anyway, which led me to wonder why I’d married him. I came to the conclusion that it’s because he does such a wonderful job at doing dishes and never complains while doing them. I suppose that makes up for liking turkey better than duck.
I’d definitely make this again (with duck breasts), if only to try it with other fruits. We discussed the possibility of pears and figs, and in the future, I might even be persuaded to try peaches. No matter the fruit, this would no doubt be a perfectly tasty dish. I’m considering using the sauce on its own in the future, considering how utterly delightful it was. Certainly, this is something that would be welcome on the table at any time of the year.
To see how the other Doristas liked this week’s offering, check out the French Friday links. Happy cooking!