She was talking about Moules Frites for a while now. So I proposed doing Moules Marinière (with frites of course) but I had some confusion with Moules à la Provençale which is basically Moules Marinière with tomatoes and (more) herbs.
She’d also found a nice recipe for a nice Tomato Galette (I had proposed doing David Lebovitz’s Tomato Tart but I’m easy…) The other agenda was to practice doing pan-fried duck breast for Joan’s home-coming dinner.
Moules Marinière (Mussels Mariner-style) is pretty easy to do but there are like hundreds of different variations. One recipe had so much liquid in them that it was boiling instead of steaming the mussels. In the end, I decided to do a straight-forward white wine steam with 3 sprigs of thyme and to do the liquor separately.
After 3 minutes, the mussels came out beautifully perfumed with thyme and the white wine (I used a nice Australian Chardonnay) but I had more problems with the liquor. I sweated green onions, garlic and parsley in butter before adding the strained mussel and wine juice and reducing the resulting liquor.
While I liked the whole ensemble with it’s clean taste and perfumed bouquet, I can’t help but think that something is missing. Maybe adding more salt and using white pepper instead of black… This needs more investigation.
Tomato Galette; everyone loves a good tomato tart. On paper, the recipe looked a worthy challenge what with the need to make your own tomato paste and roll your own pastry.
The warm, freshly ground tomato paste had me swooning and I must admit that it’s my first time seeing how a tart was done. She was huffing and puffing away with the rolling pin; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: pastry is not so easy.
Sadly, the oven timings in the recipe were off; it resulted in a soggy mess which we had to put back into the oven to dry everything out. After that, it came out splendid; except for the one that got burnt to a crisp because we were too engrossed in watching “The Boat That Rocked“.
For me, the perfect duck breast must have a crispy skin, none or very little of the white fat and a tender, juicy pink center. It is simply wasted if encased in a filo pastry.
I am pleased with the results especially since it’s my second time doing duck breast. My secret soy-based marinade for game holds up well and now I have a problem deciding what to do with all the rendered duck fat. A very nice problem to have.
All in all, it was a splendid dinner. We watched a number of movies, including the excellent “Stardust“, in the course of cooking and eating and she baked a Deep Chocolate and Sour Cream Chocolate Pound cake for dessert. A very pleasant way to spend the weekend no?
And the Tomato Galette was even more delicious in the morning.
Hey Ivan! My gosh, that chocolate cake!! Can you share the recipe? It looks amazing, as do the rest of the other dishes.
PS: Stardust is excellent, I agree. Loved it!
Hey Ju! I’m glad you enjoyed Stardust; it’s one of my favorite books and movies from one of my favorite authors.
As for the Chocolate cake, I’ll have to ask the Baker to post the recipe.
You can find the Tish Boyle recipe on Chubby Hubby’s blog: http://chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=545
I’ve been wanting to bake it since reading about it. Glad I finally did!
Thank you, Ivan and Cheryl! I am looking forward to trying it out.
PS: Kudos to the Baker.
@Ju: Let us know how you find the results of the recipe!
Hey Ivan & Cheryl I made the cake … just blogged about it too. Holy yum!
@Ju: Hi! Nice! Looks better than what we accomplished.
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