Great(ed) Carrots {CtBF}

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I can’t believe that Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday of the year) has already come and gone.  We had a lovely visit and feast with Howard’s sister and her family in New Jersey.  Everything was delicious.  I have some turkey stock stashed in the freezer that I made from the carcass, but otherwise, the leftovers are all gone.

After all the rich food and restaurant eating that goes with visiting, this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, the very French Grated Carrot Salad (or Carottes Râpées), is a perfect addition to a healthier diet for the week.  Not only is it good for you, it is also super simple to put together.

Grated carrots are tossed with a lemony vinaigrette and some fresh chopped herbs.  That’s it, that’s all. They’re great!  In fact, this recipe is so easy, that I forgot to take any pictures!

I used carrots that I bought from Lexington Community Farm at the end of the season.  These are carrots that I helped weed throughout their growing season, so they are particularly special to me.

I’ve made salads like this occasionally, and this time around, it leaves me wondering why this salad isn’t a regular visitor to my kitchen.  I went back to compare this recipe from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen to the one I made from Dorie Greenspan’s Around the French Table.  David’s recipe uses much less dressing, for a dried (though not dry), salad.   I also loved the brightness of the fresh lemon juice.  Dorie’s recipe uses a lot more Dijon mustard.  I think when I revisit this recipe, I’ll add more mustard to David’s dressing for a bit more bite.  Other than that, I hope to prepare this one again throughout the year.

To see what other bloggers in our group thought of their carrot salads, check out their links here.  To make your own carrot salad, you can find the recipe on page 123 in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen or on-line here.

Quick note to the Doristas among you: I’m so excited about tonight when I’m going to one of Dorie’s local book signing events.  I postponed getting my own copy of Dorie’s Cookies in anticipation of a signed copy.  Just as exciting, Cher of The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler… will be joining me on this Dorie field trip.

A Surprise Ending {CtBF}

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We’re headed into the season of holiday indulgence.  Usually, the week before Thanksgiving, I try to watch what I’m eating because from Thanksgiving until the end of the year, there are a myriad of temptations to enjoy and, though I exercise a fair bit of self control, my threshold for resistance is low.  This week’s selection for Cook the Book Fridays, Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, threw that plan out the window.

Chocolate is not normally my thing.  Certainly, it’s never my first choice in the dessert department.  This recipe with a chocolate crust, a layer of caramel-y dulce de leche, and a layer of chocolate custard is one that I’d never pick on my own.  In fact, I’ll admit I dragged my feet on making it.  But, even though I waited until the last minute, I knew Howard would like it so I soldiered on.

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The first step was to come up with dulce de leche.  What fun!  I skipped the supermarket and turned it into a simple DIY project.  All that’s needed is a can of sweetened condensed milk, a mason jar, and a slow cooker.  I poured the milk into the jar, screwed on a two-part top, placed the jar in the slow cooker and covered the jar with water and turned the heat to LOW.  Ten hours later, the milk transformed from ivory to a golden brown.  Plus it tasted amazing.

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I love press-in crusts, and that’s what this recipe called for.  The chocolate cookie crust came together easily in the stand mixer and pressed into the pan just as easily.  There was no salt in the pastry, but a light dusting of fleur de sel before par-baking added the right touch.

To pull it all together, the dulce de leche is spread over the warm crust, then topped with a chocolate custard that was made while the crust baked.  Finally, another sprinkle of fleur de sel to cut the sweetness before returning the filled tart shell to the oven.

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The tart is baked, and then, after turning off the heat, it sits in the oven some more.  I thought it was rather wiggly, so I left it there even longer.  I got a late start. By the time the tart was done, it was bedtime, so I put it in the refrigerator where it set up nicely.  I had extra custard, which I put in a ramekin for a chocolate pudding snack.  It also firmed up nicely in the fridge.

I was so glad I made this tart.  It was rather indulgent and very delicious.  As expected, Howard really liked it, but not so expectedly, so did I.  Though we will enjoy it for an after-dinner treat for a few days, there are better ways to showcase it.  It would better appreciated as a contribution to a holiday pot luck or dessert for a dinner party.

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I encourage you to try out this tart over the holiday season.  You can find the recipe here on Williams-Sonoma’s website.  You can also find it on page 289 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  This book has more than its share of winners, so it’s worth treating yourself if you haven’t already.  And to see how my friends enjoyed their own tarts, follow links to their posts here.