Monthly Archives: July 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Cold Honeydew-Blueberry Soup

As I mentioned last week, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. Usually, when I read a recipe, I have some sense of what it will taste like. Cold Melon-Berry Soup combined ingredients I like into an end result I had trouble imagining.

Where I live, this week was unbearably hot. I live in an un-air-conditioned house, so going to work was a pleasure. We have lots of fans, but after a while, blowing warm air around seems counter-productive. Cooking, or even working in the kitchen, was not.

Though the weather was perfect for cold soup, it took me all week to work up the energy to try it out. Also, the instructions to chill the soup for 2 to 6 hours didn’t mesh with my schedule. I wasn’t sure whether it would suffer by not chilling long enough or chilling too long. If I made it before I left for work, it would chill all day, at least 10 hours. Or if I made it right before dinner, it wouldn’t be that cold. I probably worry too much about nothing.

Dorie’s recipe calls for cantaloupe and strawberries, but I let the fruit at the store speak to me. The honeydew and blueberries looked much more appealing. Half the melon is pureed into soup, and the other half is scooped into balls. Lime juice, fresh ginger, and a pinch of salt enhance the puree.

This definitely wasn’t my favorite recipe from the book, but it was better than I expected. It was like fruit salad soup. I found the flavors interesting, and I loved the colors, the contrast of the pale green melon and the bright blueberries.

I’m looking forward to reading what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe and how they tweaked it. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Maybe you’ll even want to cook along with us on Fridays.

French Fridays with Dorie: Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

Where does the time go? Already, it’s French Friday again. This week, I’ve returned from my trip to D.C., and I’m back in my own kitchen making Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote.

I’m starting to realize that one of the great things about this cookbook we’re cooking our way through is that so many of the recipes are more about the techniques than the exact ingredients. This recipe, like many others we’ve already made, is a springboard for a myriad of future combinations.

For Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote, each fish fillet is oven-steamed in its own foil packet along with a handful of seared grape tomatoes, herbs, and lemon. After a short bake in a very hot oven, dinner is ready. It’s fast enough for a weeknight dinner, but elegant enough to serve to company. I served the fish with couscous, the fastest side dish I know.

Because the fish was wrapped up tight in its little packet, I was worried about the cooking time. I went with 12 minutes for 4 ounce fillets. No need to worry, as the fish was perfect. It was just slightly undercooked when I checked one, but, by the time I transferred the fish to plates and got them onto the table, the fish was cooked through the way I like it.

This could be done with any thick fillets, any variety of herbs, and other quick-cooking vegetables. You can always find grape tomatoes at the supermarket, but the vegetables could change with the seasons as well. Harder vegetables would definitely require a little precook so they are done at the same time as the fish.

My basil plants are a little slow to get going this summer, but I have many other herb plants that are going full force, so I used lemon balm leaves instead. My choice complemented the lemon slices, juice, and zest in the packet. I used sprigs of thyme on top.

You could serve the packet right on the plate and let your eaters open up the surprise inside for themselves. I decided it would be prettier to move the contents to the plate.

I ended up making four fillets, two for dinner and two for leftovers. Leftovers weren’t as good. The extra reheat, though brief, was enough to overcook the fish. Better to make this one just in time to serve.

Knowing the other Doristas, there are going to be some great variations to make note of for the next time I make this for dinner, and there will definitely be a next time. This recipe is a winner! Check out other blogger’ links at French Fridays with Dorie.

We don’t post the French Friday recipes, but you can find it on page 302 of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. This book is filled with so many recipes you’ll want to add to your repertoire. Check it out at the library, or buy your own copy. You won’t be disappointed.

Next week, we’re making a Cold Berry-Melon Soup. This one takes me completely out of my comfort zone, and I know it won’t fly with the other half of my household. Melon is for breakfast, not soup, so, I’ll stay open-minded and see how it works out for me. Until next Friday, have a great week.