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arman’s caviar in aspic {ffwd}

Caviar in Aspic

Caviar is always a natural on New Year’s Eve, so I added this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe to our appetizer lineup for the night’s holiday dinner. I’d never had aspic, but I like both caviar and Jello, so as odd as this sounded, this had potential!

First, I made the aspic. I couldn’t find fish bouillon cubes anywhere. I had some clam stock concentrate in the fridge, but it was a bit old and I was reluctant to use it here, where the flavor could ruin a main component if it was off. However, given that I made several quarts of fish stock for last week’s simple Breton fish soup, I substituted fish stock for the water and just proceeded from there. I ended up with a loaf pan of thin but very sturdy aspic (or what I keep thinking of as fish jello). As I mentioned last week, the fish stock itself was thick and quivery, in other words, gelatinous, so I’m not sure whether this added to its firm structure.

To serve, I unmolded the aspic, cut it into squares, and, using a grapefruit spoon, carved out little dimples. I did this “right before serving”, as the recipe instructed, but I think I could have done this step an hour or so before serving and chilled until it was time to serve. I think I expected the aspic to be delicate and possibly to melt as it warmed to warm temperature, but it stayed firm even after sitting out for a while.

Finally, I spooned caviar into the divots and on top of the aspic squares and served.

For caviar, I used a jar of herring roe that we picked up at Ikea. They have quite an array of fishy products in the grocery section after you check out. We also bought some herring and a tube of salty fish roe paste. Yum to the fish paste (herring, not so much). I’m not sure this was the best choice. It was extremely salty and had a bit of an aftertaste. I think tobiko, which has similar tiny eggs, would have been a better choice, though I’m not sure where to find that other than the Japanese market. We also had salmon roe as part of another appetizer, and that caviar was much tastier, but I think the size of the eggs would have offered less contrast to the aspic.

Our guests and I thought it was good, a little strange, but not bad. I’m glad I tried it, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort. There are so many other ways I prefer to eat caviar.

To see what my Dorista friends thought of their caviar in aspic, check out their links here. You can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Stay tuned for more fishiness next week!

New Year Doubts

Happy New Year 2012!

Lately, I’ve been debating about whether to continue with my blog. On the one hand, I love to cook and eat. Having my blog as an outlet to share my successes and failures and other discoveries makes me happy. On the other hand, I feel more and more like I’m not putting enough time into it and that it’s hard to make more time. I’ve been pretty reliable about keeping up with the on-line cooking group I joined (French Fridays with Dorie), but I feel it’s somewhat at the expense of blogging about my other kitchen adventures. I have them, but then I forget to take a picture or two. Or I’m busy and after a few days, it seems like I’ve lost the momentum to write about that particular topic. Or I can’t think of something to write about.

I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions, but I thought I’d set some blogging goals for myself in 2012. Last week, I told Howard my goal was to write something every day. It didn’t have to be long, or well illustrated, or even about food, but I would put something out there every day. Well, you can see how well I’m doing with that. It’s January 4th, and this is my first post. Maybe I’d be better off with a more realistic goal for frequency.

As far as content, I’ve seen some bloggers have different themes for different days of the week. That idea is appealing. Fridays can continue to be French Fridays, but then other days could have different themes, depending on which days I end blogging. And because I don’t have a strong allegiance to resolutions, if I feel inspired to change the rules, I can.

If you’re a blogger, why do you blog? Where do you get your inspiration? Do you feel a need to post with a certain frequency or just when the mood strikes you? I’m curious about what you think.