Friday, November 11, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - spiced squash, fennel, and pear soup

Happy Friday.  I'm actually writing my post on Friday at 5:38 am...cause I couldn't sleep.  I got up to read, and then remembered I hadn't done my Dorie post yet.  I made this terrific soup for the starter course for our Sunday dinner.  It was my middle sister's birthday, and she had requested her favorite meal (breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes, white gravy and white corn).  I decided that this soup would be a great start to this festive dinner.  As it turns out, I was spot on.  As she came in to the house and saw what was cooking, she said  "Butternut squash soup is my favorite soup, did you know that?"  I happily admitted that yes, of course I knew!  Under my breath, I also said it's for FFwD this week too.
Aromatics sauteing!
Well, that cat's out of the bag, but I'm glad the universe conspired to align my birthday sister's dinner with the week we make her favorite soup. (Who's we, you ask?  Check out all my fellow Doristas who are making their families oh so happy every week by cooking along.

This was a fairly simple soup, just roast your squash (I used butternut), saute the base of ingredients (minus fennel, because my store didn't have any...ugh!), add the roasted squash and stock, simmer for a bit, add the pear (for me the best part...I loved how you could feel the little granules in the pear...reminded me of when my sis and I were kids (like 6 or 7) and we loved to eat jars of baby food.  Don't know why, but we did.  I remember the pear baby food.  So smooth, creamy and with just those little granules.  Of course, you can get the same result by just eating a really ripe pear.

Everyone loved the soup (we were 10 for the dinner), except hubby.  He said it tasted like curry.  I asked him how that could be since there was a speck of curry in this soup!  He just shrugged.  I'm starting to think maybe he doesn't like ginger or cumin and just thinks it's curry.  I see a little experimenting coming soon.

Not such a pretty picture, but it was good soup!
Only got two photos this week (and the final dish I didn't remember to take until I'd already started eating...oops!)  But that's ok.  I love that I was so caught up in the cooking and being with my family that I forgot I was doing a dish for Dorie.  That's the way life is suppose to be.

Happy Veteran's Day and a big thank you to all who have given so much so that we can continue to have to much.  Living in Coronado has given me an even greater admiration for the men and women who serve our country.  Especially watching all the hot SEALS train every morning on the beach as I drive Ethan to school (and when I say HOT, I'm not talking about their temperature!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - twenty-minute honey-glazed duck breasts

 Unbelievable, right?  Duck in 20 minutes?  Well, Dorie didn't lie...I got home at 5:15 and had dinner on the table at 6:00 pm...had to wait on the darn rice!  We all like duck at my house, but I rarely cook it (but when I do, I cook it rarely...hee hee hee.)  Ethan was excited when I told him we were having duck and the whole time it was cooking (all 20 minutes), he kept saying, "boy, something sure smells good!"  So cute.  The duck was very simple, quick and fairly tasty. 

Crispy skin and lovely sauce
Even though I went to my favorite meat store in San Diego (Seisel's), I've got to say the duck itself wasn't fabulous, just ok.  It had no real ducky flavor at all and except for the thick skin and layer of fat, it could almost have been chicken (almost, but not quite).  Which was too bad, given that it was $13.99 a pound (and I bought two pounds).  I wonder if there is a better, less expensive way to buy duck.  I'll have to investigate.
Look at that beautiful, rare duck

We've had a bit of a cranky week at my house, culminating with all three of us having a crappy day on Thursday.  The boys are off camping this weekend and I hope the fresh, COLD mountain air clears their heads and brings them back in a good mood.  I plan on cleaning the house top to bottom, certain to put me in a fabulous mood.

Have a great week and check out my fellow Doristas' creations here.