Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gougeres: October 1, 2010 Friday with Dorie

Cream Puff Version--Filled With Chocolate Pudding

My Baked Gougeres

Today was my day for office chores like pay the bills and take care of numerous paperwork problems. Got up early and went to the office, worked on some assignments, came home with lots of issues to work figure out the amount due October 1st for property taxes and insurance payments, review past due amounts on our accounts receivable, find lost invoices, get a lease ready for a new tenant, get ready for payday tomorrow, and so on, early afternoon, I was ready for a personal reward cook for my "Friday with Dorie" experience; to try a new recipe and to enjoy my own little puffs of toasty, cheesy, deliciousness: Gougeres (page 4, Around my French Table, Dorie

A Cheese I Had Not Yet Tried...It Is A Cheese to Rave About!

Yesterday I took a Sam's Club break to look over their newly remodeled cooler section that has a new cheese section...and I found the suggested Gruyere cheese, imported from Switzerland. This is a cow's milk, quite hard, fairly traditional Swiss type cheese, but without the holes. I needed less than a half pound, the cost was about $11 per pound, and it grated nicely. I had all the other ingredients at home...nothing unusual. Just milk, butter, flour, and eggs. The kind of ingredients I always have. I could have used a cheese from my fridge, however, I wanted to try the suggested cheese from the recipe for something new.

This Gorgeous Grated Cheese Is Soooooo Fragrant!

I have enjoyed making cream puffs and eclairs for years, and Dorie's recipe was similar. Because I wanted to share tastes of my efforts, I doubled the recipe, and then I re-made a second doubled recipe using instead a jalapeno cheddar cheese that I had purchased last week at Sprouts natural foods store.

I Use My Pastry Bag To Make Pretty Puffs

My daughter, Stephy-Weffy was visiting, and she was my first taster. She preferred the jalapeno cheese puffs. She prefers cheddar cheeses, and, being an Arizona family, we love the Mexican influences in our foods. The jalapeno flavors came through nicely (my 7 month old granddaughter also tasted each type of puff and also preferred the jalapeno cheddar...I was surprised!).

See The Specks of Jalapeno Pepper Created By Using This Cheese?

My Taster Basket of Cheese Puffs

Then I filled a basket with my puffs, and headed for the office where everyone tried my delicate, still warm, little puffs. The consensus was about 50/50 for the preferred type of cheese. It was suggested that I might consider inserting a slice of ham, or serving them with soup or with a fish dinner...all these ideas sound delicious to me.

Next, I traveled further down the road where I found my daughter, Beckbug and another granddaughter, the American Matryoshka Doll, and they both tried my puffs. They too are making the puffs and will try a sharp cheddar cheese. Their puffs will be part of a dinner that will include potato soup, using the same type of sharp cheddar cheese. They will save a taste of their puffs for me to compare. (I sampled their puffs later, and the sharp cheddar cheese flavor was incredibly delicious. I would not use a mild cheese...the puff ingredients "water down" the cheese flavor making the sharpness not so defined, but actually the flavor was quite addicting.)

I have some puffs left for tomorrow. I plan to heat them in the hot oven for just a few minutes and then serve them with my dinner, all warm and yummy again.

And now, my doll of a granddaughter wants to make cream puffs, using a similar recipe, with chocolate on top, and a very creamy filling. I think I will comply with her wishes...sounds good to me! (Actually it sounded too good to resist, so they got made, filled with chocolate pudding and sprinkled with powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa on top.) (See top photo)

Note: I made the regular cream puffs with the same recipe, less the cheese and one egg. My usual recipe calls for 1 cup water instead of 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water. The milk makes a softer dough and so for these cream puffs I prefer a crisper finish and will use only water next time around. Also, I prefer to keep the oven at 425^ for 15 minutes, and then turn it down to 325^ for 20 minutes, also helping to create a crisper finish and to bake a pastry that does not settle when out of the oven. I will go back to the hotter oven and longer baking time next time ...which will be soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cauliflower Quiche

This week has been junk food heaven.  I've baked pastries and have frequented the local junk food spots with hubby all through his "staycation". For fun,  I've baked and cooked for several family and neighborhood occasions over the past 10 days, but in between, every junk food or sweet craving has been satisfied.  For some balance...tonight was vege night.  I decided to go through the fridge and find lots of neglected veges, due to our eating out agenda, and make good use of them.  I found 14 juicy peaches that would not keep another day, so last night at midnight I turned them into peach pies... today we indulged ourselves until they were devoured (along with ice cream and chocolate syrup, and mounds of whipped cream).

Peach Pie With Sugar Sprinkles

As for the veges, we ate mashed potatoes topped with turkey in gravy, watermelon wedges, fresh corn on the cob, and I made a cauliflower quiche using two heads of cauliflower found in my fridge...and, of course, the peach pies a la whatever we wanted.

For the quiche, I steamed, until fork tender,  the cauliflower in salted water after washing and separating the flowerets.  While the cauliflower was steaming  I fried a pound of bacon that I had cut into 1/4" crosswise strips.  This took about 15-20 minutes, giving me time to whisk 10 large eggs into 2/3 cup all purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of salt.  When this mixture was fairly smooth (some very small flour lumps are OK) I poured in 2 cups heavy cream, 1 1/3 cup whole milk and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg...freshly grated is best.  When this was all whisked together I added cheese from my fridge that needed using.  Some Swiss or Gruyere would have been delicious, however, with the children in mind, I used a combination or some fresh Mexican queso, American processed cheese slices, and some other wrapperless but very flavorful cheese that needed using.  I grated or chunked them all and added these cheeses to my mixture...about 1/2 pound of cheeses were used.  I then added a teaspoon of salt and several turns of freshly ground pepper.

I greased a large baking dish and covered the bottom with the steamed cauliflower.  I added the cheesy mixture, sprinkled the browned and drained bacon to the top, and then  placed the dish into a preheated 375^ oven where it baked for about 40 minutes or until my table knife inserted into the middle came out clean.

Cauliflower Quiche
 The top of the quiche was bubbly browned and the inside was creamy and smooth with the cheese chunks and other delicious ingredients.  I would suggest making only 1/2 this recipe for a normal family casserole 9 X 13 size.  But with our large crowd of hungry eaters tonight, almost the whole quiche was eaten.  The remainder has been refrigerated and will be used in the morning as part or our biker's breakfast...several family members ride for 20 or so miles every Saturday morning and they come home hungry!  If only 1/2 the recipe is used, the baking time will also be cut into about 1/2.

The idea for my quiche came from Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table.  I adapted her "gratin" to meet my family's needs and to use what I had on hand.  I was attracted to the recipe as I went through the book and saw the mouthwatering photo next to her "Cauliflower-bacon Gratin" recipe.

Now that I have eaten so many lovely fruits and veges, I think I will finish the week with some baked goods and treats.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My New Blog...just for cooking

Today I decided to sign up with the new Dorie Greenspan "French Fridays with Dorie" group, hoping to stretch myself into new directions as I interact in cyberspace with other internet foodie contacts. The experience will begin October 1st.  Beckbug has also signed up to be part of this group, and I am talking to Stephy-Wephy about joining us.   I have looked through the book, Around My French Table by Ms. Greenspan, and am drooling over several recipes and enjoying the beautiful photographs.  There are ingredients used that are not my usual, so I will stretch my tastebuds in new directions as I try these recipes.  With this new blog set up,  with my new cookbook and with today's registration with Dorie's cooking group, I am ready to cook...this will be a fun yearlong project for both me and also for my family.