Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesdays with Dorie with K: Bubble Eclairs


K "These are not very pretty, but they taste good."

That just about sums up our bubble eclairs. K made the batter and topping while I was at work and then we baked and filled them that evening. As you can see, they are not a work of art. In fact, I considered not even photographing them. But K loved filling them with vanilla ice cream and pronounced them one of her favorite Tuesdays with Dorie projects so far. And as she said, they did taste very good!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Tuesdays with Dorie with K: Cherry (Peach) Crumb Tart


K: "Why are we supposed to make something with out of season fruit?"
Me: "There are some places where cherries are in season."
K: "Not here."
Me: "We'll use peaches instead."
K: "Okay."
K was right. We had a very early and short cherry season. So despite the cherry-pitter languishing in my kitchen drawer, there would be no cherries for us. But s farmers market special of flats of peaches for $15? That we would not miss. So Cherry Crumb Tart became Peach Crumb Tart for us and I am very glad that it did, because this may be my favorite Tuesdays with Dorie recipe so far. Peaches are my favorite fruit and combining them with a buttery crust and a crumb topping? What was not to love?

The recipe: I think K may have now memorized this tart crust, and that is not a complaint. We've used it for many Tuesdays with Dorie recipes, but also for other projects as well ,and it is a winner. Easy and very K (read child) friendly.

Pre-crumb and baking
The verdict: I said it above, but I love this one. I'd like to try it again with cherries, but am also imaging how good it could be with plums or pears or even apples. One to add to the regular rotation.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tuesdays with Dorie With K: Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta






Tuesdays with Dorie time again. This time, Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta. We decided to turn it instead into Vanilla Peach Panna Cotta because in our house peaches>mangoes. Also, rather than pureeing the peaches, as written in the recipe, we chopped them for a bit of a texture contrast to the creamy custard. 

The recipe: Our second panna cotta of the summer. The first was a Giro food of the day. There is really nothing tricky about the recipe: heat milk and or cream and sugar and the flavorings of your choice and combine with gelatin. Chill in ramekins and eat. 

The verdict: K says "I don't like panna cotta, but this is not bad." I'll have fun experimenting with other fruits and flavors throughout the year.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wine & Food of the Tour de France Stage 21: George Laval Champagne Brut Nature & Croissants

Stage 21 109.5km
Christian Prudhomme's comment
It appeared that the Champs-Élysées avenue had found its master in Mark Cavendish, winner on four occasions of one of the most prestigious sprints of the season. But the triumphant power of Marcel Kittel on the last two visits has maybe marked the beginning of a new era. Paris is still to be conquered.

A parade in the rain. I can't remember the last time it rained for this stage. 
First, a happy sight from yesterday, as injuries at all, Adam Hansen has made it to Paris.
 

An announcement from the race referees: Time will be taken after the riders cross the finish line the first time in Paris. Meaning that the sprinters will still contest the true finish,  but the gc portion of the race will be long over. 



Paris and Froome has won the Tour. Now maybe time for some racing?


Greipel's team is working hard already:


 



Five kilometers to go and they were all together. Nervous time for the sprinters. Greipel again! What a great race for him.

Stage:
 

GC:
 

 


Wine:  George Laval Champagne Brut Nature (base 2010)
From FranklyWines
Frankly says: The Purest Decadence Ever to Cross Our Lips - Love love love this stuff. I'm a sucker for the deft balance of density and purity that this bottle pulls off. The base is 2009, which was a warm year, but Laval's prestine fruit makes for a bubbly that's not heavy. There's brioche and the wee-est hint of butterscotch, but the underlying core is all about minerals and purity. Buy. This. Now.

I say: This was just great.  But Christy has not steered me wrong all Tour. I really couldn't do it without her.





Food: I sometimes think that the folks at the Le Tour site are having fun with their specialties. For today, they list:  Specialities: mushrooms, ham. Maybe it is possible that mushrooms and ham are truly the quintinsential Parisian foods, but I was not inspired.
 
The choice came down to chocolate mousse, K's choice versus croissants, my pick. How to decide? I asked the folks at Podium Cafe to vote. So our final food of the Tour: croissants. I admit to buying rather than making them because, well, Tartine is so close. Their recipe is available in their second cookbook, Tartine Bread. You can read here on TheKitchn what it is like to make them at home. 
Note: I've promised to try this Food52 "Genius Recipe" for chocolate mousse from Hervé This very soon. The description makes me very curious: "
It took a brilliant, adventurous chemist to discover the simplest way to make chocolate mousse at home. Hervé This, the father of molecular gastronomy, discovered how to make a flawless, creamy chocolate mousse out of just chocolate and water."


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2015 Stage 20: Les Grangeons de l'Albarine Roussette du Bugey "en Paradis" & Blueberry Tart

Stage 20 110.5km
Modane Valfréjus / Alpe d'Huez

LeTour tells me this about Modane Valfréjus: The city's history was conditioned by its geographic location, at the heart of trade exchanges between France and Italy, especially since the Fréjus tunnel was built. In 2011, it was after an Italian-French stage that Modane made its appearance in the club of Tour de France host cities. At the time, the course already took the riders to l'Alpe-d'Huez for quite a showdown. The Valfréjus resort also welcomed the Critérium du Dauphiné in 1987, for a stage that saw Charly Mottet take command of the GC.
Specialities: culinary specialities of Savoy, Modane bread (stuffed with fruit), Beaufort cheese.

From the Podium Cafe stage preview: Would this place exist without the Tour? The village would be -- it dates back to the 14th century. The ski station? Probably, because skiing is everywhere in this area and the 1968 bobsled events were here. But I'm not sure any of that comes close to the importance of the road to the world of cycling, where it is known simply as "The Alpe," and has its own books written about it. This is the Tour's 29th visit, and almost all of them were in-race legends. The atmosphere sets it apart from any other (for better or worse). It's as close as the Tour will come to a cycling stadium, where they stage events fit for the Roman Colosseum. Thumbs up.
Specialities: gratin, crozets (pasta), ganèfles (potato and cheese dish), Villard Reculas goat's cheese, blueberry tart, génépi



The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment Appearing for the first time 24 hours from the finish of the Tour, the climb to l'Alpe-d'Huez could still trouble the general classification. Just as long as the rivals of the Yellow Jersey still believe in their chances, the ultra-dynamic course won't leave the slightest opportunity to relax with the climbs up to the Col du Télégraphe, the Galibier (summit of the 2015 Tour) and of course l'Alpe-d'Huez. In other words 100 kms of pure drama!

 
The final true racing stage of the Tour. Note that since that comment above was written, the Croix de Fer replaced the Galibier due to a landslide that cut off the return to Bourg d'Oisins. But the day will still provide plenty of challenges. 
 

The early break of the day, with ninety kilometers to go, Bak, Edet, Geniez and Navardauskas had 4'20"over the peloton. With seventy five kilometers to go, they had over seven minutes. The first climb of the day was the Col de la Croix de Fer. It was 29 kilometers long, with an average grade of 5.2%. 
 

Valverde with the first attack with fifty eight kilometers to go. As expected, there went Quintana! Time for a race. 
 
Behind, Nibali and Froome were together, having dropped Contador. On the descent, the four would be together: Froome, Quintana, Valverde and Nibali. Others would rejoin them on the descent, including Thomas, Roche, Porte and Contador. 
Ahead:


Off the front of the yellow jersey group, Pinot, Plaza, Hesjedal, Anacona, Rolland, and Serpa. Geniez remained in the lead alone.  
 
 

Nibali puncture. Ahead, an attack by Quintana, but he would be caught. Movistar need to keep attacking as they climb. And he would. At the front of the race, Geniez was still in the lead, but he was being chased by Hesjedal and Pinto with ten kilometers to go. Behind, an attack by Valverde, with no reaction from Froome. Next to go, Quintana again. Further up, Hesjedal and Pinot were together at the front of the race. Behind, Quintana had reached Anacona, who would help to pace him up the mountain. 


Crazy fans alert. Yikes. Five kilometers to go and Pinot was solo in the lead. Another push by Quintana, but he had only thirty five seconds or so on Froome. Wow was he flying. 


One kilometer to go for Pinot and he had twenty two seconds over Quintana. He would hold on! Next in Quintana with a six second time bonus. Third to the line Hesjedal. Fourth and fifth, Froome and Valverde, with more than enough time for Froome to retain his yellow jersey. 

Stage:
 

GC:
 

Wine: 2013 Les Grangeons de l'Albarine Roussette du Bugey "en Paradis"
From FranklyWines 
From the producer with some help from google translate:
It is the vintage "jewel" in the field of Grangeons. From a beautiful plot of Highness or dogfish, typically native variety, located on the steep hillside of Argis, beautiful ripe and healthy grapes were harvested by hand in late September. Pressed whole, smooth, they gave a nice juice that began quietly fermentation tank, after a light settling. Then the must joined the Burgundian barrels of five wines to continue the fermentation of sugars, completed before the winter cold. The "malo" or fermenting malic acid, was made late (July) for racking and bottling, with a slight filtration plates, beginning in September 2012 after 11 months of aging on lees (without batonnage) .The slightly filtered wine expresses the nose, the aromatic character of its grape variety: pineapple, mango, litchi, but also white flowers, with finesse and delicacy. The palate is smooth, palatable, but with the roundness of livestock in the wood. The finish is fine, mineral, almost saline. A delicate wine that should properly support the bottle to still be benefit in some months- years? So watch once in your cellar!
I say: Lemonade yellow in color. Lovely high acid, but with a full body and some honeyed notes.  Sweeter on the nose than in the mouth.




Food: Time to make a blueberry tart. After all, it is a LeTour listed specialty. 
Saveur tells me that "Growing wild in the mountains of the French Alps, myrtilles are similar to wild blueberries and often find themselves in the wonderful berry tarts typical of Savoyard desserts."

We used our go-to Dorie Greenspan tart crust (find the recipe here) and then followed this recipe. It made for a great Tour viewing breakfast.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wine and Food of the Tour de France 2015 Stage 19: Lupin Frangy Rousette de Savoie & Tomme de Savoie

Stage 19 138km
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / La Toussuire - Les Sybelles
From Podium Cafe: It's the Alps, half the places that host stage finishes are ski stations, as is La Toussuire/Les Sybelles. It's ideally placed right smack dab in the middle of big climbs and they've hosted the Tour twice already in the last ten years (and the Dauphiné a few times as well). Probably a bit of marketing budget to put the place on the map, much like Le Alpe d'Huez did once back in the day. Last time we were here the stage was even harder with the full Col de la Madeleine instead of Chaussy and it was the day most known for Froome's little insurrection when he actually attacked his captain Wiggins a bit before getting reined in by the DS in the car.
Specialities: Mont Corbier liqueur, Savoie, reblochon, abondance, Beaufort (all cheeses, Opinel knives
Specialities: alpine lamb, matouille (fondue), rioute (pastry), Mont Corbier liqueur, beaufort cheese, crozets of Savoy (pasta)

The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment
On a tightened format, attacking can occur at any time. Especially when the course offers climbs up to the Col du Chaussy, a newcomer on the Tour de France, the Col de la Croix de Fer followed by the Col du Mollard before the final climb up to La Toussuire - Les Sybelles! No title contender will feel relaxed on this stage.

 Action! One of those, don't blink or you will miss it starts to the stage as many riders attempted to get away. And rain! This could be very interesting. With over one hundred kilometers to go, the yellow jersey group was already dramatically reduced. The Sky train had all but disappeared as the pace was continuing to shell riders out the back. 

 On the descent, Geraint Thomas would make it back on, along with many others including Peter Sagan.  

 
The slower pace meant that the peloton continued to grow. The Sky train was back, in force. Ahead, Teklehaimanot caught the break. A crash for Wellens from that group in the feed zone, but he would rejoin the group. 

Time for the Col de la Croix de Fer: 22 kilometers of climbing at 6.9%. Time for the grupetto to form.  In front, as they climbed Rolland gained a minute over his breakaway companions. Behind, that Sky train was once again shrinking rapidly. As they climb, an attack by Valverde. He would get a small gap before being caught. 

A mechanical issue for Froome, but he would catch the group, minus Nibali, who had attacked. 





Riders rejoined the yellow jersey group on the descent. Meanwhile, NBCSN argued over whether or not Nibali's attack was appropriate, given the "unwritten rule about not attacking during a mechanical." Polemica!

 

On the road Froome and Valverde had a chat.



I think that is supposed to be a shark:



Nibali would catch Rolland. They would have 1’50” to the Froome group with  33.2 kilometers to go. Word that Geraint Thomas was more than nine minutes down. Yikes. 
Sixteen kilometers to go and Niblali dropped Rolland. Nibali would hold on for the win as behind, Quintana finally attacked.

Stage:


GC:




Wine: Lupin Frangy Rousette de Savoie 
From FranklyWines
From the importer:
Bruno Lupin is a winemaker with extensive experience. Before moving back to his hometown to establish his own estate, he ran the cellar at La Cave de Genève in Switzerland for many years.

The Lupin estate consists of five hectares of vines in Frangy on a hillside called Les Aricoques. Bruno considers this location the best in the region due to the full southern exposure and the relatively low altitude that protects the vineyards from the cold northern winds. The soils are molasses, a crumbly calcareous soil resulting from old mountain erosion. Most of the vines are about 25 years old but there is a single parcel of individually staked vines that are over 60 years old. This site is the source of his old vines wine: "Cuvée du Pépé".

The wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and are never de-acidified (although it is a common practice in the area). Bruno works his vineyards organically most of the time, only resorting to chemicals when absolutely necessary to preserve the health of his plants.
Domaine Lupin's Frangy is the primary wine of the estate.

Vinification The wine is fermented in all stainless steel tanks. 20% of the wine goes through malolactice fermentation and is blended back in with the rest in order to create great balance.
Tasting Notes Bright, white flesh fruit (apricot, peach, pear) and blossoms on the nose, with crushed oyster shells and spring rain. The smells are fresh. Striking minerality. It is the mouth-filling quality and long finish that impress the most though. Surprisingly rich, lots of material.
Pairings Trout, almonds, fondue, alpine cheeses, lemon chicken, caprese salad.

I say: Lemonade yellow again and just as bright and fresh as a homemade glass. Peaches, pears and lots of minerals. I have to agree with the "mouth-filling quality and long finish" note above. I like this one a lot. 
 

Food: Tomme de Savoie

Tomme means smallish, roundish cheese, and is usually combined with the region or town of origin. In this case, you're munching a raw, cows milk wheel from France's mountainous eastern region of Savoie in the Rhone Alpes. It has been lightly pressed for a semi-soft texture and aged from 2-4 months. It's a mountain staple made from the skimmed milk left over from butter making and it radiates a rustic, earthy, simplicity.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2015, Stage 18: Danilo Thomain Enfer D'Avier & Fondue

Stage 18 186.5km
Gap / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Some history from the tourist website: The Maurienne is the southernmost biggest valley cross-cutting the Savoy making it easy to travel from France through to Italy. At the heart of the valley, on the banks of the Arc river and surrounded by towering mountains with the Aiguilles d’Arves as a backdrop, you will find a small village previously known as Maurienne.
Gontran, King of Burgundy, conquered the region in the 6th century allowing the bishop of Turin to retain religious authority over it. As legend would have it, it was at this time that Saint Thècle brought the three fingers of saint Jean-Baptiste, said to have baptised Christ, to the town. In order to accept such honourable remains, Gontran made the village an episcopal see. The village took its name and coat of arms from the remains and became the valley's capital. It was called Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and was symbolised by « the blessing hand », a hand held up in the traditional pose of blessing. This event is celebrated at the Bread Festival on the first Thursday of every August.
As the capital of a diocese, the town built various religious monuments, many of which do not exist to this day. The cathedral, however, is still standing. These first buildings were rebuilt after the unrest of the early Middle-Ages using material found on-site : fragments of sculptures from the Carolingian period were re-used.
Specialities: Mont Corbier liqueur, Savoie, reblochon, abondance, Beaufort (all cheeses, Opinel knives
The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment: 1815-2015 : the Route Napoléon will next year celebrate the 200th anniversary of the “100 days”. The pack however might not be in a festive mood when leaving Gap and going up to the Col Bayard before further battling it out on the Col du Glandon. Stage victory could be decided on the 18 bends of Montvernier, set to enter the legend of the Tour de France.
A thought from Mark Cavendish:

 
I've said it far too many times, but I would love a designated grupetto cam on mountain stages.
Our break of the day, in visual form, again, from Team Movistar:

Speaking of dots, Rodriguez has gained enough KOM points in the break to be the virtual leader in the polka dot jersey competition. On the road, beautiful scenery and word that Mark Renshaw has abandoned. Cavendish has lost almost his entire train for the leadout in Paris on Sunday. Renshaw is the 37th rider to drop out of the Tour.

With one hundred kilometers to go, the break had just under four minutes on the peloton. That peloton had been shrinking and was down to under forty as they continued along the road. Ahead, there had been a split in the breakaway group with Talansky, Fuglsang, Rodriguez, Barta, Martin, Plaza, Voeckler, Herrada, Caruso, Anacona, and De Gendt in the lead.

 

Sixty five kilometers to go and DeGendt had gone solo. A pretty picture of the final climb on the day:


Next up though the Col du Glandon. As they climbed, a new group at the front:
Gesink, Bardet, Rolland, Pauwels, Pinot, Fuglsang, Rodriguez, Jungels, Caruso, and Anacona. There were riders spread out in between, but the yellow jersey group had gotten very small: Nibali, Scarponi, Froome, König, Poels, Porte, Roche, Thomas, Contador, Majka, Rogers, Kreuziger, Izagirre, Quintana, Valverde, Wyss, Sanchez, Barguil, Gesink, Kruijswijk, Mollema, Oliveira, Frank, and Perichon. 

Finally, an attack from Contador. Froome does not chase.

 


 

Further behind, an attack from Nibali. Sky did not react, but Valverde chased. Nibali again, but Quintana helped chase. Behind, Valverde appeared to be struggling. 

Alone at the front, Bardet, with many chasers in between the Frenchman and the yellow jersey group. That group was coming back together behind. 



Mollema would catch back on, just as they were preparing to climb again. It was almost hairpin time. 
With 13.6 kilometers to go, Bardet had 41” over eight riders and  3’12” to the 20-rider yellow jersey group. At the top of the climb, Bardet had 45 seconds over the closest chasers.

 And Bardet would indeed hold on for the win.

Stage:


GC:

 



Wine: Danilo Thomain Enfer D'Avier 2013
From FranklyWines
From the importer: The vineyards of the Enfer d’Arvier appellation are situated in an amphitheater-shaped site on steep slopes in a high-altitude valley, which receives ample sun.  The shape of this “bowl” of vineyards effectively concentrates the heat of the sun, thus giving birth to the “hell of Arvier” moniker.  Danilo Thomain is the only independent vigneron working this tiny appellation only five hectares in size.  The Thomain family works one hectare of vineyards here in the shadow of Mont Blanc.
A traditional wine made from the Petit Rouge grape and vinified in cuve, it has a compelling rusticity with a wild berry impression and a lively freshness on the palate.  Production at the Thomain estate is approximately 2500 bottles per year, approximately two-thirds of which is shipped to us for the US market!

I say: Revisiting a wine from the 2013 Tour and I am still a fan, especially on day two. You can still  learn a lot more about the wines of the region from this Eric Asimov article in the New York Times. A teaser: "The Valle d’Aosta is a winding network of vineyards, some on dizzyingly steep slopes at the highest elevations of any in Europe. The wines are by both tiny producers and bigger cooperatives, coming from a few familiar grapes (pinot noir, nebbiolo, gamay) and a whole host you rarely see anywhere else, like fumin and cornalin, petit rouge and prié. . .

Food: Fondue Because when you have a lot of cheese. . .
Our recipe has not changed from our Cooking from the Books days. 


8 oz. grated cheese
1 cup white wine (from the Savoie in this case)
As much nutmeg as K felt like grating
1 teaspoon corn starch

Heat wine over a medium-high heat until it begins to foam but does not boil. Add cheese gradually, stirring all the while. Grate in nutmeg and continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Add cornstarch and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat your dipping items. Pour into a fondue pot and place over sterno to keep warm.