Monday, June 22, 2009

Fathers Day

I made two good recipes yesterday I want to share with you. We had a French inspired dinner for Mr. Crafty World, consisting of a smoked Gouda and asparagus soup; bistro salad with dijon vinaigrette and breaded goat cheese; chicken breasts with rosemary/dijon cream sauce and cherry chocolate clafoutis (cla-foo-tee). It was all really good; a bit too much work for such a sunny day, but it was worth it. The recipes I want to pass on are for the soup and dessert.

I only made half a batch of this soup, but this is the full recipe. Due to the high cost of the cheese, I didn't want to make a full batch and not like it. Next time I would make a full batch though: it's really good.

Asparagus and Smoked Gouda Soup

2 Tbsp butter
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, sliced*
6 large shallots, chopped*
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth (I used homemade)
2 lbs asparagus; trimmed of woody ends and chopped
1 cup grated smoked gouda
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup whipping cream

*I didn't have a leek or shallots, so I substituted a bundle of green onions (white and tender green parts) and half a of a mild onion

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened.
Add flour adn cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in wine, milk and broth. Bring to a simmer and add the aspargus and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until aspargus is softened. Add cheese and cream.
Put mixture in a blender in batches and blend until smooth and frothy. Return mixture to same pan over medium heat until hot. Serve hot.

This recipe came from here. There are some really yummy looking salads over there I want to try this week too.

Now for the clafoutis. I have never made one before, nor have I ever had a fresh one. My only experience with clafoutis is with the kind that comes in a tin I have eaten in France. It's my go-to when I'm up in the middle of the night and don't want to wake everyone up getting something to eat. Mmmmmm....canned clafoutis and chocolate pudding in the middle of the night. That's a good memory for me.
Anyway, I found this recipe in one of those glossy, supermarket foodie-type magazines they put out. I usually don't try those recipes out because they just seem too complicated and/or expensive to execute. I do like this one, and plan on making it again.

Cherry-chocolate Clafoutis

1 pound sweet fresh cherries
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
1 package (100 grams) ground almonds. Or grind your own like I did.
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup, plus 2Tbsp sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped, dark chocolate. I used milk chocolate because that's all I had. Next time I'll try the dark.
2 Tbsp icing sugar.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash cherries and remove stems and stones.
Melt 2Tbsp butter.
In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, milk, cream, eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix until batter is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Let batter rest.
Butter a 10 inch quiche/pie pan with remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the dish and bake until very lightly set, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter cherries, remaining 2Tbsp sugar and chocolate over batter. Pour remaining batter evenly over all.
Bake until puffed, set and golden brown around the edges, 45-50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; dust with icing sugar and serve.

It says this is best eaten warm on the day it's made. I'll leave that up to you. I actually prefer it cold....

We did a lot of planting this weekend. Mr. Crafty World and I put some new shrubs out front and the kids planted their own little flower gardens:

Notice the cute gardening gloves?

This week is the last for the kids to go to school, so I'm trying to cram lots of stuff in. I have painted the garage door and all the exterior doors, and have gotten most of my flowers planted. I just want to go back and get one more David Austen rose I saw the other day. Talk about gorgeous! I'm also making up little pots for the kids to give to their teachers and bus driver. Then I'm done - I think.
Have a great week!

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