My French Dinner

I picked up a new cookbook last weekend called “Around My French Table” and decided that this weekend I was going to cook a full dinner on Sunday consisting of an appetizer, a soup, a main dish (with sides) and a dessert (and all served with wine of course).  Digging through the book I picked four dishes that sounded like they’d go well together and began gathering the ingredients and kitchen cookware that I needed for them.

For an appetizer I chose gougeres (a cheese-popover type biscuit); for the soup, French Onion Soup (original, I know :)); for the main dish, a chicken cooked with veggies in a bath of brandy; and for dessert, creme brulee. For the soup and the main course, I drank a 2007 white wine (I’ll have to look it up) and with the creme brulee, I drank a nice dessert wine (which I also need to look up).  But, back onto the cooking and baking.. I have never seen the need for having a double oven until now.  The amount of time spent cooking and waiting could have been reduced by half if I could have had two ovens going at the same time.  As it was, I spent seven hours cooking everything from scratch (not that I’m complaining, it was a lot of fun, with the exception of the gougeres).

As I said in the previous paragraph I enjoyed cooking the food because it almost all involved some sort of alcohol.  So I could take a sip of wine or brandy and then the food could have a sip.  The French Onion Soup had a nice bit of wine in it, then when you served it, you put in a tablespoon of brandy into each dish before serving it extremely hot with the cheese overflowing bread.  The only issue I had was I didn’t stir the dough of the gougeres enough so they didn’t pop-up exactly as I had hoped — they still tasted great, just next time I know to keep stirring the tough until it is really, really dry.

Taste wise, everything tasted great, I knew the creme brulee would since I’ve made it multiple times and it is kind of hard to screw it up.  On the French Onion Soup I had to be careful on how much brandy I put into the soup before serving it.  Some people might not be able to handle the strong brandy flavor.  The chicken dish was excellent and had wonderful herbs and spices as well as tasty vegetables as well.  Overall, I felt the dinner was success and everything tasted correct and the presentation for the most part was spot on — with the exception of the gougeres (which I now know how to fix).  I know I’ll be digging into this cookbook for some more recipes in the near future.

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Flan Cake

After a weekend of experimenting with some recipes (and failing mightily), my sister suggested that I try this Chocolate Dulce de Leche Flan Cake from David Lebovitz (his book Ready for Dessert also has some great recipes).  I have to say it turned out wonderfully and much better than my attempted Goat Cheese Cake for diabetics.  Yeah, the nutritionist and Endocrinologist would cringe at the sight of me making and eating this, but it was really, really tasty.  It tasted great after it had cooled down to room temperature, but I found it even better after letting it sit in the refrigerator for a day and serving it cold.  The cake layer stayed moist and the flan and dulce de leche seemed to taste much more vibrant (if that is a term to describe flavors) when cold.

I think I’ll have to add this recipe to the list of recipes I have on my site here in the next few days.