who's the ECL?

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm not BAD evil, more like devil's food cake evil.

Friday, October 29, 2010

FFwD: Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake is a cake which is as delicious as it is easy, which makes it a winner in every sense. Brimming with apples, buttery and custardy, not too sweet and perfect on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream, this cake would be prefect for tea as well as after dinner.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

Dorie encourages using a variety of apples; I chose a honeycrisp, fuji, gala, and I think an empire.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

These are peeled, cored, and cut into cubes. This was the hardest part of the recipe.

Butter is melted and cooled to room temperature. Flour, salt, and baking powder are mixed together and set aside. Two eggs are whisked, sugar is mixed in, the butter is alternated with the flour, and the apples folded in.

It looks a little concerning, as there are more apples than batter. But not to worry.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

Oh, did I mention that this cake has 3 tablespoons of dark rum? That was exciting. I used the rum in which I have been stashing my used vanilla bean pods.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

The cake bakes for almost an hour.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

I had some leftover heavy cream so I whipped that up with a little sugar and some more of that rum. I brought this to work, where I shared it with a couple of friends. It didn't even last 12 hours, we loved this cake so much!

And omigosh! How could I forget? Cookie and I met Dorie when she was in Portland last week promoting her book! She signed my books and was kind enough to let Cookie snap this photo of us. Look how fabulous Dorie is!

me and dorie greenspan!

Friday, October 15, 2010

FFWD: Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

When Cookie, my best friend and official taster, heard French Fridays with Dorie was cooking something Vietnamese, she sat up and started grilling me. She is Vietnamese, by the way. She was intrigued when I told her it was pho, which Cookie introduced to me after she and Cabbage had returned to Portland after two years in Vietnam. (There's a lot of pho restaurants in Portland.) She shrieked in horror when I broke the news that Dorie added coconut milk to it, and thus began the two week rant about coconut milk in pho. She told her mother, who was shocked and confused. Why would you put coconut milk in pho?

faux pho

The next time Cookie came over she demanded to see Dorie's recipe. Coconut milk. Harumph. When she found out Dorie doesn't even call for making your own chicken broth and only called for chicken breasts, Cookie wailed. "But the dark meat is the best part! Whyyyyyyyyy?"

Then she took me to my nearest asian market (right around the corner, it turns out!) and pointed out her mother's favorite fish sauce. I also bought some rice noodles, limes, star anise, and cilantro. Then we went to Whole Foods for chicken. I like my meat to have been treated somewhat nicely before it died.

faux pho

At this point Cookie threw up her hands and said, "I'm out," so I took her home before I started in on my faux pho. Cookie said she might want to taste the broth, just to see. But she wouldn't eat a whole bowl.

I gotta hand it to Dorie. She made this quick and easy. Not having to poach a chicken to make broth cuts down on your time--like A LOT--and being able to throw pretty much everything in the pot at once makes this really easy. I told Cookie, when she called me later to hear my results, that I made the soup, from first chop to in the bowl, in one hour. She was impressed. And skeptical.

faux pho

This is truly faux pho. The coconut milk adds a richness that is instantly satisfying, but pushes the soup towards another favorite of mine, Thom Kha Gai. Which isn't bad.

faux pho

(Also, I did make Gerard's Mustard Tart, I just didn't blog about it.)

gerard's mustard tart

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

october update

hello, people.

i have been busy lately, which is good! i need to work! i like my work! keep on with the work!

speaking of work, i have officially not been a doula for 11 months now AND I LOVE IT. it started out as a sabbatical but it may be the sabbatical that never ends. I LOVE NOT BEING ON CALL. i even went to a few births over the summer as just the acupuncturist who got to leave after a couple of hours and i still thought it sucked. birth work--we have a love-hate relationship and i am done with it.

i still see pregnant women for acupuncture and i love that as much as i love not being a doula. if i could just do OB care in my practice that would be super freaking awesome. although, having a handful of non-pregnant people coming in weekly for chronic stuff is good, too. not only is it steady money, but i get to develop relationships with people that last more than nine months.

there is someone i've been seeing weekly for four years now and it is wonderful. there is an ease and a flowingness to our treatments together since our practitioner-patient relationship is so long running. i like it. there is always more to learn about her but there is also such a familiar ease to treating her. it is good. and she is funny.

on another note...
i decided everybody is getting a knitted gift this year, which is putting a lot of pressure on me to knit up a shitload of stuff by december 25th. nobody is getting a sweater so at least i haven't been too unrealistic about choosing projects. people are getting accessories, except for the nephew who is getting Das Monster. he just started walking (!!) and those pants are fucking hilarious.

i can't believe my nephew is freaking walking. it is all happening so fast!! he was just a tiny little pea! i'm going to see him on thanksgiving and i can't wait to squish the crap out of him.

until then, the cats will suffice.

Friday, October 01, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Gougeres

FFwD Badge Welcome to French Fridays with Dorie, an internet cook-through of Dorie Greenspan's new book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours.  (That is one long book title, and will probably hereafter be known on this site at AMFT.) After being a part of the bake-through for Rose's Heavenly Cakes I've learned the importance of "studying" from one book over a long period of time.  What once seemed hard and insurmountable is now manageable.  What once sounded not-so-appetizing is now delicious.  So I jumped at the chance to expand my skills and palate with Dorie, who has such a lovely, non-intense way of writing recipes that I didn't have a second thought.  Plus, it is time for me to be a better and more varied cook.  And, I know pretty much nothing about French cuisine, and have only passed through Paris, so this is all very new and exciting.

Today's recipe, chosen by Dorie herself, are Gougeres. I don't even know how to properly pronounce that word, but I do know they are really quick and easy to make, and even easier to eat.  These barely lasted a day between myself and two friends.


This was my first time to make pâte à choux, something which always sounded complicated and time consuming.  I am so glad they were not, especially as I made these at the end of a complicated and time consuming Apple Caramel Charlotte.

Both the Charlotte and these cheese puffs were equally excellent, and as I said devoured rather quickly by myself and my two friends, Cookie And Cabbage Jello.  Cookie especially was very excited by gougeres as she loves a good savory choux pastry.

We didn't even bother filling them with anything.  We just ate them, as is.  I used gruyere as the cheese, and as these are so simple and quick I am thinking of trying them again with some of the other cheeses Dorie recommends.


Update: these are delicious with bacon!