FFwD: Cafe Salle Pleyel Burger

My family is very fond of Dorie today. Because of her, they got HUGE burgers for dinner.

Though I think of myself as a good cook, and can find my way around the kitchen pretty well, what I like about things like French Fridays is the opportunity to make foods that are entirely outside of the realm of things I would normally tinker with. Capers and tarragon and parsley in a hamburger? With Parmesan on top? Are you serious?

burger on a square plate, open-faced so you can see parmesan strips on top, next to a caesar salad

She was serious.

This recipe was surprisingly non-fussy, considering all the ingredients, and I think you’ll agree that it makes an attractive burger.

Dorie wrote about this burger in 2008, if you want to read more.

I thought it was okay, but I’m not a huge fan of tarragon. The kid, who is usually suspicious of leafy green things in her food, decided to take a photo to tell you all what she thought of it.

the kid giving thumbs up in front of the plate of food

Since I had three (and only three) gorgeous Asiago buns to use for this dinner, I made three burgers out of what was supposed to make four. These were HUMONGOUS burgers. Again, the kid was vocal in her approval of this move. I left half of mine in the fridge for later. Some elves or something must have come in the night and taken it off my hands.

The burger may have only gotten a 67% approval rate, but the onion marmalade was an unqualified hit. Silky, delicate, with a lovely texture. I’ll do it again.

I’m happy to be back in the French Fridays saddle. If you want to see other folks’ treatment of this burger recipe, check out the Leave Your Link post.

French Fridays with Dorie: Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port

Short ribs: half in wine, half not. Guess which we liked best?

A little while back, as a result of your votes in the contest poll, I cooked up Dorie’s Go-To Beef Daube, which I’ll tell you about at some point. I learned two things:

First of all, when Dorie says to cook something for 2-3 hours, 3.5 hours is too long. Okay, I probably knew that already.

my go-to beef daube, from dorie greenspan
Looks tasty, though, doesn't it?

And secondly, I just really don’t like the taste of wine in my food even if it’s food I otherwise love.

Beef stew is a fave; beef stew with wine in it just doesn’t appeal to me. Essentially, it’s a waste of money for me to add wine to my food.


Being the food geek that I am, when I saw that this week’s recipe required NINE POUNDS of short ribs — an amount that would require my very largest pot — I thought, Hey, why don’t I do half with wine and half without, and see how they compare?

So I did.

short ribs, potatoes, broccoli
Photo by Joan Ortiz

Honestly, we couldn’t tell much of a difference, which surprised me. Normally, anything cooked in alcohol is unpleasant to me, but this was good. However, it was just as good, as far as I could tell, without the wine.

James and the kid really liked this dish, and I can see why—they’re big fans of big piles of meat, and besides meat, the kid’s two favorite foods are broccoli and potatoes, which I served as sides.

All in all, I’m glad I made this, and was especially impressed with how attractive the short ribs looked. (I’ve never eaten short ribs before, and I think they taste a lot like chuck, but they look so cool, with their “handles”, that I think they’d make impressive company food.)

short ribs, broccoli, potatoes
Photo by Joan Ortiz

This was not a cheap dish to make. The meat itself was quite a lot more money than I usually spend on the whole meal, and the wine added a fair chunk of change to that. In the future, I’ve decided I’ll replace the wine in Dorie’s recipes with stock or water. Cheaper, just as tasty to us, and uses stuff I already have around.

For more treatments of this dish, head on over to the FFwD site and check out some other bloggers’ versions!

French Fridays with Dorie: Basque Potato Tortilla

French Friday is Basque / Spanish Friday this week. And the kid did the cooking!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a food of my childhood. I tell you, Dorie, you are just what I needed, coming off the doldrums of a difficult couple of months.

Not only was the dish perfect, but the kid volunteered to cook it, so all I had to do was read her the instructions, eat my yummy dinner, and take a photo. How great is that?

basque potato tortilla

I liked the little zip gained by using the pinch of cayenne, which once you’ve deleted the optional garlic and rosemary, which we did, is the only thing I don’t already put into my tortilla.

This felt almost like cheating, since I make this all the time, but it was cool to share it with the kid, who doesn’t usually like to cook very much. “Spanish tortilla”, as we call it, is a mom food for us both, and I treasure that.

By the way, this dish is among the cheapest dinners imaginable. Four large servings for, let’s see:

9 eggs = 90 cents
1 onion = 20 cents
1 lb. potatoes = 69 cents (if I’d used russets, it would’ve been even less)
1/4 cup olive oil = 50 cents or so
around 57 cents a serving, and delicious servings they were.

Want to see more people’s takes on this lovely dish? Head over to the Leave Your Link post. (At the time I posted this, the link wasn’t up yet, but if you click on the main FFwD site, you should see it at the top. I’ll edit this when the link is up. Also, you may want to check out my FFwD-related giveaway.

Playing Catchup — with a giveaway!

Prizes? We got yer prizes right here.

In October and November, I had a great time cooking along with French Fridays with Dorie. Then life got busy and hard, and I took December off, and then January.

This week, I’m back, and tomorrow, you’ll see a lovely Basque dish that’s straight out of my childhood, with a surprise cooking co-star.

It’s niggling at me, though, those two months I missed, so I figured I’d have a little fun playing catch-up.

Here’s how it works:

Comment below and tell me which of these recipes you want me to make first. I’ll make the dish that gets the most votes this weekend. Then, on Sunday, I’ll choose one of you at random to win a tacky fabulous prize package.1

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts
My Go-to Beef Daube
Leek and Potato Soup
Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots
paris mushroom soup
gnocchi a la parisienne
michel rostang’s double chocolate mousse cake
chicken b’stilla

C’mon, you know you want to see what nuttery I’m up to THIS time, right?

1: one wacky vintage cookbook from my collection2; one recipe card with the winning recipe written on it in my own handwriting; and one silly little cheesy gift of my choosing
2: (Previous winners have gotten such gems as The Joy of Jello, and the Cut-up Cake Cookbook.)