Cook the Book Fridays – Green Beans with Snail Butter

I only made half a pound of string beans, but definitely made all of the garlic butter because garlic. And butter. Yum! It made me think back to when I was a kid and we grew string beans in our backyard garden in Queens, way before urban gardening was a thing. There is nothing quite like fresh, sun-warmed veggies right out of the garden.

I love the little squeeze of lemon at the end… it really brightens up all of the flavors. The only sad thing is that the green beans don’t hold the garlic and parsley too well, so tonight I made the garlic butter with broccoli, which holds all of the flavor bits in its florets. The even better part is how quick this is to make, which is perfect for a night where I have meetings running late.

Posted in My Paris Kitchen | David Lebovitz, Sides | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Cook the Book Fridays – Caramel Pork Ribs

So mostly these were difficult to photo. I made these several weeks ago because this would fall on St Patrick’s Day, and it is sacrilege to have anything but corned beef on the day. I should have written this when I first made these, but way leads on to way, and so much happened between now and then. 

All that is left to say about the ribs is that they were freaking delicious and they made good leftovers. 

Posted in Meat, My Paris Kitchen | David Lebovitz | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Cook the Book Fridays – Farro Salad

Hi all! Made it back to CtBF! Technically I did the Coq au Vin, but I took the picture with my DSLR, and then lost my usb cable for it. I actually had to buy a new cable… mine seems to have just vanished! By the time that happened, the challenge was long passed. That sauce tho… amirite? 😍

This week I could not find wheat berries, so I used the recommended alternative of farro. I used all carrots for my root veg, and just made enough for one meal – we do paleo during the work week. I cubed the carrots smaller than was recommended to more closely align with the size of both the grain and the arils. I roasted a chicken to go with this, and I set a table outside on our deck since it seems our 5 minutes of “winter” have mostly passed. This was the one quasi-healthy thing I ate that day before I gorged myself on coffee and beignets, and then couldn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day afterwards!

I will say that this recipe can be adapted, and following the recipe at all steps may not he necessary. It is important that you use all senses to know where you are in the process. For example, I used pearled farro which cooked in about 20 minutes vs the 40 had it not veen pearled. I used smaller cubed carrots than was called for, and they required a shorter roasting time than had I cubed them larger. I did not use radicchio because it was 5.99 for a small head!

As for the salad it was good, but not a favorite. I really enjoyed the pomegranate arils, and conveniently enough we could buy them already cleaned in a package in our produce aisle. My husband did reminisce about how, when he lived in LA for two years, pomegranates just grew on trees in many neighborhoods, and he enjoyed eating them whenever he found one. Also, I have never had had farro before, and I thought it was pretty similar to barley, which I do quite like. 

Posted in Sides | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Nun’s Beignets

Growing up, I was very close to my mom’s mom. She lived four blocks north of us, and she played an integral role in my life. Almost every Friday night, without fail, my mom and I would go out for dinner with gram, and catch up on the week’s events. Many times we would go to a diner nearby, and other times it was to a family owned pizzeria and Italian restaurant where everything was made from scratch. It was inevitable that, when we went to the Italian joint, our dinner was ended with a plate of zeppole. Gram had celiac’s so she never ate any, but mom and I always enjoyed this powdery, pillowy plate of fried dough. “With extra powdered sugar, please”, I would always ask.
11 years ago last week, my gram passed away. The day we went to clean out gram’s house we ordered pizza to be delivered from our stand by Italian pizzeria and restaurant. When it was delivered, along with it came a brown paper bag, with grease along the bottom. An order of zeppole. The surprise was that we hadn’t ordered any with the pizza. Gram had sent us a treat to ease our sadness! 

While zeppole are not beignets, they come from the same family, in that intersection of cultures that evolved throughout Europe many centuries ago. It was synchronistic that, during the anniversary of my gram’s passing and that mysterious bag of zeppole, our challenge should be Nun’s Beignets. 

It has been a while since I have made them, but they were everything I remembered zeppole to be. Custardy, and sugary, and yummmm. Pure heaven. Beignets have the added Vanilla which is not common to zeppole, but I am pretty sure that is where the differences end. My biggest challenge was moderating the oil temperature in the beginning, which I eventually settled into a rhythm on. Of course these don’t keep, so we did what any self-respecting beignet eater would do… ate them all. With a big cup of coffee. I do not regret that I had no stomach for eating anything else the rest of the day! And of course I was left with such sweet memories of a time gone by. It will not be too long before I make these again! 

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake

I’m back! I was looking at my blog, and it has been 2 months since I blogged anything, and with likely the worst food picture I have ever taken in my life. Technically I did the Coq au Vin challenge for CtBF, but couldn’t find my dslr usb cable (of which a new one just arrived yesterday because I still can’t find it) to upload the pictures. Between the holidays, then travelling for work, then getting sick from travelling for work, and then losing my mojo from work-related things, I’ve been a mess. I also couldn’t find salt cod, and was not inclined to order it. I was also not inclined to buy a financier pan for this. 

Anyway. Here we are. Valentine’s Day. And what would it be without chocolate? All I know is that Easter candy comes next, boy howdy. I made this cake, we each had a slice, and then the rest went into the freezer since we do Paleo during the work week. I am not keen on peanut butter or peanuts (observe: I did not chop peanuts for the top) and was concerned that it would taste strongly of it, but it really was quite mild. 

The temperature gave me fits. I baked it originally on the low end, but it was very underdone when I tested it. I gave it an extra 10 minutes because it was so wet, but wound up then overbaking it ever so slightly. My husband didn’t notice, but I did! 

All in all, it was ok. A good getting-back-to-it recipe, since I clearly needed to shake off the c0bwebs. I am glad to be back with you!

Posted in Baking, Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Ancestry DNA Results

For half my life I have been building my family tree (and have helped many others do the same) and have traced it to the Mayflower and way beyond in some places, and in other places no further back than an arrival in this country. I did the DNA test in hopes of breaking down brick walls in my family tree, and hoped that it would help me figure out what stories were true and which were lies. 

Like the Ancestry commercial, I was raised to believe that Germany, and then England, were my two primary countries of origin, and the records have supported that. I even wore a dirndle for International day in 3rd grade… that is how German I thought I was. To quote the great Clark W Griswold, “If I woke up with my head stapled to the carpet, I wouldn’t be as surprised as I am right now!”

Onward to the results.

So 27% Scandinavian? At first I was very surprised by this, but as I researched this, I found that it is very common for people with deep English ancestry to have Scandinavian dna because of migration patterns. I knew I had some because of my family history research, but I was expecting this to he more like less than 10%

21% Europe West. I thought this would be higher. This encompasses all of my lines that came from Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. I was expecting this to be considerably higher. 

21% Italy/Greece. This was my biggest shocker. I am still not entirely sure where this is coming from, but I suspect it is coming from my Dad. His mom’s family comes from a small town in Zurich, and when I put my raw dna into Gedmatch, I was able to clarify that it is mostly Northern Italian with a little Tuscan and Serbian thrown in for good measure. It is not a huge leap to say that they migrated from one side of the Alps to the other. We have always wondered where the dark hair and olive toned skin comes from, but we will find out for sure when we get his DNA results back. Here is where it is like the commercial: turns out that I am more Italian than I am German, when you consider that the Europe West encompasses many regions. And there is still alot I don’t know about Dad’s family… 

15% Ireland. I am pretty sure that this is coming from the same place as the Scandinavian. When I organize and pivot my DNA (yes, I built a pivot table), Ireland is commonly associated with one particular line of my mom’s family. 

7% Iberian Peninsula. This is well and truly a shocker. I have an idea of where this comes from, but I will pause on this for a moment so I can tell the story. GedMatch breaks this into several regions within Spain, plus Portugal for good measure.

6% Great Britain. I was expecting these numbers to be reversed with Scandinavian, but it makes sense, now that I have reseached it. 

Trace Regions of 2% NW Russia and 1% Europe East. Not sure whether this is Mom or Dad, but either way I am not surprised. 

So back to the Iberian Peninsula for a moment. Is everyone tucked in for a good story? 

My great grandmother had three girls with, whom I thought was, my Great Grandfather. When my gram was three, they split and the two older girls were sent to live with great-grandfather’s family in NJ, while my gram stayed with her mother in Queens, NY. In recent months, in trying to understand why a family would be split that way, the idea occurred to me that, who I thought was my gr-grandfather might not actually be my bio-great grandfather. And it turns out that I was right. I have no DNA match to that family. So the search begins to fill this new gap in the tree. And this is where I believe the Iberian Peninsula comes from, but again, we will see for sure when my parents get their tests back.

So yeah. I said coming into this that I was not expecting many surprises… that I thought I knew mostly what would show up. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Does this shift things for me? Yeah, it does, and I am super excited to better understand all of this, and of course to figure out who my gr-geandfather actually was! I feel like I have more questions than before, and as some of those answers unfold, I will share them with you! 

If you want to know more about my gedmatch breakdown, let me know in the comments.

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Tuesdays With Dorie – Chocolate Truffles 

This is a particularly simple recipe… really as simple as making a chocolate ganache with a little corn syrup to stabilize, and then adding whatever you like to it (or not).

I added Biscoff to the ganache… not too fine, but enough that you could enjoy some small chunks in the truffles. I then pulverized more Biscoff cookies and rolled the truffles in the crumbs when I was forming them. The more the merrier!

Thr only thing I would do differently is cut the hardened ganache into cubes rather than use a small cookie scoop, as I did. It would make the handling much easier, I think. And I didn’t use plastic gloves, though I might recommend that during the forming phase… unless you want to lick your hands like a 3 year old. Not that I speak from experience or anything… 😇

Another batch will be made; this time with Peppermint, and then rolled in crushed up Ghirardelli Peppermint bark. I think that will be quite delicious! And, they make perfect gifts, though I wish I lived close enough to my friends and family to do so. Oh well. We will have to eat them all over time ourselves. Such a hard knock life. 

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , | 11 Comments