Things at our house have been kind of hectic lately.
Emily has gone from sleeping soundly for up to four hours at a time to cluster-feeding all the time, which has left me little opportunity to cook or have a bite to eat or anything really. On top of which, the last few nights as soon as Mei gets down to sleep, Emily wakes up. And as soon as Emily has eaten, been changed and fallen asleep, Mei wakes up. We have had an ongoing rotation of adults fitting in cat-naps through the night and being up with one child or another while we all try to get the basic things done everyday – you know; dishes, eating meals, going to the bathroom (unaccompanied), checking email and just sleeping. It has been an interesting time for us all. We will all be much better adjusted when we can get the girls on a schedule – any schedule, so long as it is somewhat consistent! Hence, I have been a bit remiss with my French Fridays post lately.
That being said, this is a fairly comprehensive post. Bare with me!
First up, Tomato Cheese Tarlets!
With all the fresh tomatoes coming out of our garden lately, we were really excited for this recipe – but as well as other Doristas had anticipated, we expected to be baking all three components, the puff pastry, tomato and mozzarella, together – so imagine our surprise when this recipe came together so seamlessly! Auntie Errin even made a fresh basil pesto to go on top and we all agreed that while this recipe was nothing special, it was fresh and tasty! Given the tomatoes grown in our own garden, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh garden basil and crispy rounds of puff pastry!
Next we have the Warm Scallop Salad with Corn, Nectarines and Basil.
This one was a bit more work to put together than the tartlets and had a bit more going on. As Tom Colicchio would say, “edit your plate!” Auntie Errin and I loved the combination of the lime dressing with the corn, nectarine, basil and scallops but the tomato seemed unneccessary and didn’t marry well with the other components. The husband unit just didn’t care for this salad at all, claiming it was just generally “sour” tasting – even just the scallop with the lime dressing. I could see serving just the nectarine, basil, corn and lime dressing as a small refreshing salad with a side of any pan-seared fish or on its own.
Since Auntie Errin took the time to make such a great pesto, we drizzled her pesto over our salad instead of making the basil coulis and we all really loved it!
Scallops with Caramel – Orange Sauce was on the schedule for last year and since I hadn’t been with the group at the time, it has been on my make-up list since I joined. For both scallop recipes, we made the decision to buy King scallops and just enough that we would each get one scallop with each recipe since scallops are just too expensive to make more than a little bite per person. We would have made the smaller scallops if they hadn’t previously been frozen – quality scallops are hard to come by in a community that doesn’t really eat them. We were lucky to find King scallops that were as fresh for these recipes!
Making the caramel-orange sauce was a bit of trouble. I didn’t quite see the part where I was to stir the wine and juice combo into the caramel with a wooden spoon and since adding those liquids (even at room temperature), slowly to the caramel caused the caramel to immediately seize, it was very interesting to make sure the sauce reduced as it should have while melting the caramel off of my metal whisk… thus the sauce isn’t as thick as it could have been although it was very shiny and tasty. All three of us nearly fell to our knees with the sweet and meaty bite of the freshly seared scallop with the (somewhat thick) sauce!
Lastly, since I have no pictures of this one are the Spice Glazed Carrots. We recently made our favorite pull-apart pot roast recipe for our friends that are being transferred to Japan and served the spice glazed carrots as a side which turned out to be a great decision! Although the cardamom and onion combination was reminiscent of the pickled herring that Auntie Errin remembered her mother making as a young child, we all found that these spices didn’t really make or break the carrots.
In the end, it was a new and interesting way to make the carrots but they didn’t glaze very well for us and the spices didn’t impart much of their flavors into the carrots although they were perfectly cooked in the end and not one person left a carrot untouched – thus the lack of photo!
It has been an interesting and delicious week with Dorie in our kitchen! To see how the other Doristas fared with the scallop salad and other recipes, click here. If you would like to join in the fun, grab a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” and start cooking!