Category Archives: dessert
First the ribs… After a seemingly early spring thaw, winter came back with a vengeance bringing super cold temperatures and another load of snow. Ribs at our house are typically slow-cooked outside in a wood-fueled smoker, but not during the winter. When I checked out at the grocery store with my rack of spareribs, the cashier commented that only a devoted “super-griller” would be willing to stand outside that day and cook ribs. I was happy to respond that I’d be making ribs in the oven!
These ribs cook in a savory caramel sauce that starts by melting sugar, a step that used to terrify me, but I am slowly becoming more comfortable with. The sauce is rounded out with some beer (I used stout) and bourbon along with other savory ingredients.
The ribs, cut into 3- or 4-rib portions, are coated in the sauce and then baked in the pot for a couple of hours, turning occasionally. The pork became meltingly tender, practically falling of the bone.
I opted to serve these “French-Style” with plain white rice, though when Howard read the open page of the cookbook, he wished I’d chosen the suggested Mashed Potatoes. Even though mashed potatoes probably would have been tasty, I thought the rice was the perfect platform for spooning some the sticky sauce.
We both enjoyed the ribs. It’s exciting have new winter option to cook when the smoker is buried under a pile of snow.
Two weeks ago, I made the Wheatberry Salad with Radicchio and Root Vegetables. We had just returned from a week in Florida, and though I made this dish on time, I couldn’t get it together to write about it.
I love roasted root vegetables. Fall and winter, a steady supply of them fill the refrigerator and a “make shift” root cellar. I’m getting to the end of my stockpile, but I roasted a combination of watermelon radish, celery root, parsnips, and carrots, a colorful medley. Radicchio is something I’ve only eaten in salad, so throwing chopped radicchio on top of the root vegetables in the oven for a few minutes to wilt was a new trick.
My salad was based on farro because I’m enamored with Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro. The farro is parboiled so it really does cook in just 10 minutes, though I forgot to add a bay leaf when I cooked it for this recipe.
The farro and vegetables are tossed together with a dressing made tangy by the addition of pomegranate molasses. You’ll notice that I didn’t add the pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate seeds in this salad would have violated Howard’s rule prohibiting the mixing of fruit with savory. Also, pomegranates just went out of season here, so I couldn’t find any anyway.
I served this salad as a side with roasted chicken thighs. Another hit that will be repeated.
Finally, there’s the Merveilleux, on the schedule back in February. This was a dessert that just didn’t want to get made. David Lebovitz challenges anyone who doesn’t like meringues because they’ve never tried a merveilleux. I like meringues. The problem is that I’m not a big fan of whipped cream. I really dragged my feet on this one. When I first set out to made these last month, I was out of confectioners’ sugar. Earlier this week, I restocked and made the meringues. When I got ready to make the whipped cream filling/coating, I found that the whipping cream was spoiled. Off to the store again.
I whipped up the cream with a tinge of espresso powder, making it reminiscent of tiramisu. To construct the merveilleux, I sandwiched the cream filling between two meringues, slathered the outsides with more cream, and rolled them in chocolate, before chilling them for a couple of hours. This is one recipe where I wish the book had included a picture. I still have no idea what merveilleux are supposed to look like.
Howard renamed these “Merv Griffins” because it’s easier to say. Neither of us were fans, obviously because we don’t care for whipped cream. I made a half batch of five, so hopefully I can find three friends to share the remainder with before they get soggy.
If you don’t have My Paris Kitchen in your cookbook collection yet, you should add it. So many of these recipes are winners. If you want to try any of these recipes yourself, you can find Pork Caramel Ribs on page 187, the Wheatberry Salad on page 240, and Merveilleux on page 281.
To see what my friends thought of these recipes, check out their posts from Cook the Book Fridays.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Erin go bragh!
As Howard and I say, we’re “dessert incompatible”. I’m far from a chocoholic. I’ll eat chocolate, but it’s never my first choice. On the other hand, for Howard, it’s chocolate all the way. When I try making a new dessert usually only one of us loves it. It’s tough…
Now that we’re cooking through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, I’m discovering new twists on familiar and new recipes. Take this week’s choice, for example. Chocolate Mousse is something that I always forget about. I’ve made it a few times before, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. However, it’s not something that comes to mind when I’m deciding what to make for dessert.
Discovering this week’s recipe Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse takes things over the top. The name says it all. It’s not just chocolate mousse. It’s chocolate mousse that starts with a salted caramel. I used to be terrified of molten sugar, but the more I make it, the more comfortable I get. Melt sugar, whisk in butter and cream, and you’ve got caramel. Stir in chopped dark chocolate until it melts and you have chocolate caramel.
Once it cools to room temperature (we don’t want scrambled eggs in our caramel, do we?), you whisk in egg yolks. Finally, fold in stiff egg whites with some fleur de sel, and you have salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse. Spoon the mousse into glasses. Voilà! Who would think that something so good would be relatively easy to make? The hard part is waiting at least 8 hours for it to chill.
The mousse is packed with flavor. Both the chocolate and the caramel flavors come through. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s light, so not too filling a dessert. The small juice glasses I used are the perfect size for a little treat after dinner.
So far Cook the Book Fridays’ new book choice hasn’t disappointed. I will have to remember to serve this mousse to company so it’s deliciousness can be shared.
If you want to try it at home, you can find the recipe on page 258 of My Paris Kitchen. The recipe has also been published on Epicurious. To see what my friends thought of the mousse, check their links here.
The core of Cook the Book Fridays are bloggers who met through French Fridays with Dorie, have remained friends, and enjoy cooking together (virtually anyway). All are welcome to join us as we continue the journey through another French cookbook, David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.