Pomme frites, clafoutis and tournesols….Say What??
July 11, 2011

Roast poulet and French Fri....I mean..pomme frites

This weekend was my favorite type of weekend…where I have NOTHING planned, nothing I HAVE to do….no committments, no obligations….so anything goes. Most Friday nights we meet our daughter for dinner somewhere close to all of us, which usually means Hampden, but this Friday we went to Petite Louis in Roland Park…we shared a chicken and french fries for two(Frenchified it’s poulet with pomme frites). Whatever, it was delish….and we even brought some home!

Best buy in Harbor East?? Great vegetarian dinner....

Saturday night went down to Harbor East…had a quick dinner at Vino Rosina, which is a terrific wine bar right around the corner from Bagby’s Pizza….they have some lovely small plates…like the grilled polenta with squash, topped with a soft poached egg. Some people on FB seemed to think that was a little weird, but poached eggs on top of a savory dish….is yummy. And this was only $8….and really would have made a lovely dinner all in itself.

Cupcakes with a smile...

The intention after dinner was to see Horrible Bosses, but the 7:30 show was sold out….:(     My spirits lifted considerably though, when I spiedCaroline’s Cupcakes, which has opened a little stand inside the Hagen Daz store. Black bottom with cream cheese icing, cures all ills…seriously, it does.

Market tournesols(sunflowers)!

Made it to the downtown farmers’ market under the JFX Sunday morning…made it in time for tomato seconds(if you have never availed yourself of the bargain that is tomato seconds…well, more for me). These are ‘maters that may have split a tiny split or have a spot or bruise. They’re still fabulous…and a great buy. Picked up some sunflowers, bread, and eggs too….and you see some of the cutest kids there. And they are decked out…I wished I dressed as well for the market(I don’t.)…check out this little girl

Clafoutis, ready to go into the oven....

That night we grilled some lamb, sliced some of those tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil, sautéed yellow squash, and I made a cherry clafoutis, from a recipe in one of my oldest and most beloved French cookbooks, French Country Cooking.

The finished clafoutis

It’s a snap to make really, the only messy part is pitting the cherries. Then it’s just eggs, flour, sugar and milk. And one of my favorites. Here’s an Emeril Lagasse recipe that is close to mine….but I would ditch the brandy and vanilla bean(just use extract)…and my recipe calls for 1/2 cup each of sugar and flour..not one cup, and only one cup of flour…..but, whatever. Let me know how yours turns out! And send pictures! You won’t be sorry you tried it…claloutis is a classic….for a reason.

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ALL THOSE TOMATOES…what to do, what to do…
August 20, 2010

gorgeous, glorious heirlooms....

I can only imagine what it’s like for those of you who grow more than a couple of tomato plants….you must be knee deep in ‘maters(like my Daddy when I was growing up), and no matter how luscious they are….really, what do you do with them all(besides give me some).  OK, here’s my problem, when I go to the Farmer’s Market, I get greedy. It’s true… I see a sizeable basket full of heirloom tomato “seconds”…in other words, they have a small blemish or bruise of some sort and you can get a bunch for not much money….and I just get all… carried…away.

And seconds are usually tomatoes that need to be used pretty darn soon…if one is bruised, you now officially entering  the racing decay countdown sequence…..5…..4….3….2…..ok, it’s rotten. You catch my drift.

Anyone can roast tomatoes...

So one thing I like to do with tomatoes right off the bat(before the coundown has begun) is roast them. If you’ve never done this, get with the program.  Simple…easy…delicious. My daughter is in love with these…warm from the oven, and placed on a thin slice of  French Bread drizzled with oilive oil….it’s a little bit of heaven. 

Here’s what you do….wash and slice your tomatoes into slices, and put them on oiled piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet or baking pan.Drizzle with olive oil and whatever spices you like…basil, oregano, sea salt, pepper…all good. And then put them in the oven at 350 degrees for maybe 45 minutes or so(maybe longer), until they start to carmelize  and shrivel a little…this intensifies their flavor. You can keep them in a jar with more olive oil, or even freeze them until later if you like, and they can be used in countless dishes…soups, pastas, almost anything tastes better if you throw some in, and again on bread…they’re a great appetizer.

Tomato risotto...I'm gonna make it!

And I discovered another recipe that I’m gonna try this weekend that calls for roasted tomatoes….Tomato Risotto.  How good does that sounds? It’s just a basic risotto made with chicken broth and wine, garlic and onion and a little cheese thrown in, but add some roasted tomatoes during the process….and then chop some raw tomatoes, toss with basil and put on the top when you serve it….like the picture….pretty and I’ll bet it’s gonna be fabulous!! Have a great weekend everyone…play nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe…’cause we miss you!