The October cooking schedule was published for the French Fridays with Dorie group at the website. If you'd like to join, there's apparently still room for more. I am excited about these five recipes because guess who chose them?
The recipes all sound fairly easy to manage and none of them have crazy-weird ingredients that could wind up being hard to find in central Indiana, except maybe for the "two points of star anise" called for in the Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup. I have a bottle of anise seed; I've seen star anise in pictures, but don't know if I've ever had the pleasure of meeting any personally; I have no clue what a "point" of star anise is. Can I convert that to teaspoons?
The gougères are little appetizer cheese puffs and sound a tad more impressively sophisticated than the Bisquick sausage-and-cheese puff common to these parts, although if you've ever had a Bisquick sausage-and-cheese puff made with really spicy sausage and really sharp cheddar, you know that they're a great thing to enjoy at a party with a really cold beer. Dorie recommends kir (there is a very interesting sidebar on page 6 that talks about that famous apéritif) with these little dainties, however. Either that or champagne, so you can see that those of us with baking mix in the pantry are going to take a few steps up.
Gerard's Mustard Tarte sounds very straightforward and simple, a lovely savory custard with carrots, leeks and rosemary garnishing it -- although I'll just come forward right now and tell you that I, in the interests of not breaking my grocery budget, am just going to use plain old scallions and not fool with their more expensive leeky cousins -- and, naturally, mustard. Two different mustards, in fact. The smooth Dijon kind made famous by those snooty men in the Bentleys and the grainy kind that we like to eat on ham sandwiches. I may have to scouting for different mustards, though, because the mustard section of the condiment aisle is one of the most fascinating places in the whole grocery store. This tart, Dorie advises, can either be served as a starter or as a main course and I appreciate that kind of versatility.
Hachis Parmentier is the French version of shepherd's pie, the meat pie with the toasty mashed potatoes on top -- I am already mentally steeling myself for a comment like the one my husband made about my beef bourguignon last spring: "This tastes just like what I ate when I was in the army!" Because your hachis parmentier is his shepherd's pie and pretty much a staple in my kitchen come winter. Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, however, will likely prove to be a hit with everyone; the picture of it in the cookbook made my mouth water. And what could be better for a chilly fall Friday than a warm piece of homemade apple cake?
October 1, 2010 - Gougères, pp. 4-6
October 8, 2010 - Gerard's Mustard Tart, pp. 154-156
October 15, 2010 - Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup, 98-100
October 22, 2010 - Hachis Parmentier, pp. 258, 259
October 29, 2010 - Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, pp. 432, 433
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