I had a usual post of my 10 Favorite Things all set up, but I felt like posting my favorite recipes instead.
I grew up hating cooking, not wanting to be chained to a stove cooking for some man while his feet were up and his newspaper out. God is laughing at me. Again. I do ALL the cooking now for ALL 6 of us.
It came upon me slowly – my brother taught me a few things, I dated a chef or two, I lit the odd kitchen fire, took a few cooking classes, and spent my entire salary on expensive restaurants. That was my 10 years of single life. I loved it!
Then I got married to a wonderful Hubby and two kids, and began to realize I enjoyed cooking FAR more than doing dishes, so that’s how we split up the chores. Besides, we could no longer afford to eat out three meals a day PLUS pay a mortgage. *Sigh*. The sacrifices.
My favorite food to cook by far is French. I will never – EVER – be a chef. I have a “grab the recipe and hang on for dear life” approach, and fortunately most of the time it’s worked. I’m a follower, not a leader.
Here are my TOP 10 Favorite Recipes I LOVE to follow!!
- Currant Glazed Turkey. From Williams-Sonoma book “Roasting”, it’s very, VERY, good. I even buy fresh blackcurrants when they’re in season and freeze them specifically for Thanksgiving so we can make this turkey. Even the turkey noodle soup we make post-turkey has an extra special punch to it from the dressing. YUM!.
- Candied Yams. I hate veggies, but once a year at Thanksgiving I can force down BUCKETS of these candied yams. I’ve modified the recipe quite a bit, by just boiling the yams to soft and mashing them like potatoes, then adding in the maple syrup, brown sugar, butter and other yummy goodness then adding the crunchy crispy topping. Yeaaahhh, baby.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Candied-Yams-104474
- Lemon Sabayon. I found this on Thomas Keller’s “French Laundry” website a few years back. While I can’t find it there now, it’s probably in his “French Laundry” cookbook and I managed to find one online recipe here. Once you’ve made the crust, you only use 1/3 of it, so you can actually freeze 2 more tarts’ worth to whip out at a moment’s notice. It’s one of Hubby’s FAVES.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Tart-231349
- French Butter Cake. I have no idea where I found this recipe, and I’m not sure about copying/posting pages out of magazines, but I’m posting it anyhow because I can’t find anything online that’s even close. It’s YUM. We make it often – it’s quick, easy and tastes amazing with fruit and whip cream.It was “Dessert of the Month” in May 2002 of some magazine – if anyone knows which, please tell me so I can give credit!
- Black Currant Grilled Duck Breast. I made this for the very first time, when I had just started to cook, in my tiny little Kitsilano apartment for a dinner party of 4 couples. And it worked, so it can’t be all that difficult! If I can do it, so can you.http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=240
- REAL Caesar salad dressing. Not that thick white crap most restaurants try to pass off. I’ve adapted my Nana’s recipe and will share it with you if you promise to never order thick white crap caesar again. Promise? Good.
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 3 drips of Tabasco
- salt, pepper
- 2 smooshed anchovies, or a dollop of anchovy paste
- 1 drip of Worstershire
- juice of 1/2 lemon (we like it really citrusey)
- dollop of dijon mustard
- 1 tsp or tbsp of red wine vinegar (I actually use Pomegranite wine vinegar) (yes, how fancy!)
- mix it all together w/ a fork
- keep stirring to add in 2 tbsp or more of extra virgin olive oil
Notice my measurements are all vague?
Because I don’t measure. It’s a bit different every time, but I like that. Just keep tasting and adding. I know “real” dressing would be prepared in a wood bowl with tender loving care, but I have 4 kids. Five if you count Hubby, and time is generally of the essence. ‘Nuff said.
Once all mixed in with the (dry) lettuce, I add parm (grated with my zester) and mix it again, then top with chopped green olives.
Et Voila! C’est tres, tres bon.
- Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches. There used to be this place, La Collette? I can’t remember, anyhow, in Victoria that’s gone now that had these amazing Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches. At any rate, it’s not hard to make at home. And we have. MANY times. They’re especially great “to go” because they are made with sturdy baguette.
- Sturdy Baguette or Cibatta bread. Cut ends off, make sandwich size and slice open.
- lettuce. layer on top – I use leaf lettuce.
- add slices of hard boiled egg
- add slices of red onion
- add canned tuna and a thin slivered line of olive oil
- add diced or chopped nicoise olives
- sprinkle with salt + pepper
- Voila! wrap in plastic tightly to keep it all together and go!
- Macaroons. I made these for B’s French-themed family bday dinner, and I LOVED them. The ones I made are from Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon” cookbook, but I found a few other recipes online as well..
Check out these hazelnut-mocha ones! OOOoooh, ya. (Click on photo for recipe on FoodNetwork.com).
- French Toasted Baguette. This is my newest favorite – crusty day-or-two-old baguette all soaked up in eggy/milky goodness and cooked soft again. I also sprinkle with cinnamon after the egg/milk mixture, before cooking in melted butter.Add warmed blueberries, some pure CANADIAN maple syrup and some powdered sugar and YUM!!!
Next winter I plan to try it with eggnog instead of milk.
- French Onion Soup. I love every recipe in this book, but particularily the French Onion Soup. I’ve had soup in “authentic” french restaurants that didn’t taste as good as this soup! Just go get the book. Today.We’ve also loved the Tarragon Chicken, the Coq Au Vin, the desserts, the appy’s, the everything. Yep – go get it. I have a smaller version of the same book as well, from Chapters.
Go forth and cook!