Friday, October 28, 2011

Savory Stuffed Pumpkin for French Fridays with Dorie

Those of you who were worried that I had been body snatched when I followed last week's French Fridays with Dorie pissaladiere recipe to the letter can relax. I did as I pleased with this, what she calls "pumpkin stuffed with everything good." But then, that's rather the point of this dish: Fill a 3-4 pound pumpkin with an assortment of savories - starch, protein, cheese - bake, and wait for the whole to emerge as greater than the sum of its parts. And does it ever!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gougères Filled with Whipped Butternut Squash, Dill, & Gruyère Cream for the Five Star Makeover Tailgate Party

Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.
--Juvenal, Satire X
I don't want to be a party pooper, but the fact is, I do not like football, American or otherwise. I don't care for any team sport, really, and Poppa Trix and I don't follow any. For one thing, something about the randomness of madly cheering for a bunch of men just because they happen to be wearing a particular color jersey does not appeal to me. For another, I am a functional introvert,  and as such I am not a big fan of crowd activities. Besides, my contrary streak is a mile wide, and if a bunch of people are going mad over something, I grow suspicious. I am likely to at best ignore it; at worst, despise it. 

So you can imagine the blankness of my mind when this month's 5 Star Makeover challenge - hosted as ever by the lovely and talented Natasha of Five Star Foodie and the always creative Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - was announced: Create a gourmet version of your favorite tailgate party food. And I have never even been to a tailgate party.

But then I rallied. This is supposed to be a challenge after all, right? My mind turned towards the ancient Romans and the Circus Maximus, and the phrase "bread and circuses," or "panem et circenses," first coined by Juvenal in Satire X. The phrase refers to the political philosophy of the late Roman Empire: Give the citizenry plenty of cheap food and entertainment, and they would happily abandon their political involvement and relinquish their rights, living only for fleeting distractions, thinking only of  their own pleasure and comfort.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pass the Pissaladière ... It's French Friday with Dorie

Are you sitting down? No, really. If you aren't, please do. Or at least hold on to something. Okay, here goes ...

... For this week's French Fridays with Dorie dish, I played it pretty straight and stuck (more or less) to the recipe. And I liked it.

I know! First time for everything, right?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Gluttony, Part 1: Schnitzel, Schinken, & Zuppe in Vienna for a (Practically) Wordless Wednesday

I'm back, and I'm hungry!
On our trip to Europe last spring - the bulk of which was spent in Prague and Krakow - Poppa Trix and I contrived to spend the last two days in one of our favorite places on earth: Vienna. This was partly to see Mother-in-Law Trix, who lives there, and partly to eat. And eat. Oh, and drink. And then, when we were tired of that  ... eat. I'll wager that in two days we ate more than most normal people do in a week. In fact, we ate so much in 48 hours that I have divided our gastronomic exploits into two posts, each covering a 24-hour period.

And so, without further ado, please enjoy this not-quite-wordless-Wednesday post outlining our gluttony on day one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Coconut, Black-Eyed Pea, Pepper & Pandan Rice: a Spicy M'Baazi Mash Up

Remember when I told you about how the fabulicious Maya of Foodiva's Kitchen unexpectedly gifted me with fresh pandan leaves from Brunei? Naturally, the first thing I did with it was make a boozy cocktail.

But then I was inspired to go a more solid and nutritious route when Nancy of Spicie Foodie - another beneficiary of Maya's ingredient largesse - posted her pandan coconut rice dish.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Olive Tapenade Spatchcocked Chicken for French Fridays with Dorie

A bowl of corn veloute notwithstanding, I have not exactly been the most active Dorista lately. But I just couldn't miss this week's French Fridays with Dorie. You didn't think I would pass up an opportunity to spatchcock something, now did you?

Stop it! There is nothing untoward about spatchcocking. It is simply the removal of a chicken - or other bird's - backbone, and a subsequent flattening of the bird before roasting or grilling in order to facilitate even cooking. As if by magic, both the thighs and the breast are simultaneously  finished at an optimal state of juiciness.