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You may recall a recent post where I raved about a southwestern pasta dish. Well, get ready for another rave! I whipped up a walnut fruit salad earlier in the week with a fruity pasta from Pappardelle’s Pasta. In case you haven’t noticed, they are my current farmers market obsession.

This salad has loads of flavor and texture without being overly fussy or sweet. If you want to dial the sweetness up a notch, a drizzle of honey would be a nice addition. I cut back on the apple, knowing I would have to eat around those delicious, juicy morsels. It worked out well enough since my partner in crime isn’t enthralled with celery or mandarin oranges. We were reminiscent of children trading snacks in the cafeteria. 😉

Click here for the printable recipe from Pappardelle’s Pasta.

Pasta & Walnut Fruit Salad with Fanciful Fruit Blend

½ lb. Pappardelle’s Fanciful Fruit Blend Pasta
8 oz. non-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1-15 oz. can drained mandarin oranges
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
1 apple, cored and chopped (* I used 3/4 of a Fuji apple)
1 stalk celery, sliced
½ cup walnut halves

1. Cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. In small bowl, blend yogurt and orange juice concentrate.

3. In large bowl, combine pasta and remaining ingredients.

4. Add yogurt mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill thoroughly.

Serves 6-8

http://www.pappardellespasta.com

Copyright © 2010 by Pappardelle’s Pasta Co.

A Tuesdays With Dorie post on a Friday? I know, shame on me. I planned to write a “twofer” post next Tuesday, but this tart is so luscious I just couldn’t wait that long!

There was much discussion about the types of fillings folks were trying in their tarts – everything from cherries to blackberries, a blueberry/strawberry combo, smoked almonds & sea salt, kiwi fruit, and even candied kumquats. I’m telling you, these bakers are creative geniuses! I went the traditional route, using fresh raspberries because I LOVE raspberries. And, sure, they’re a little on the expensive side right now, but this tart was totally worth it. I made Dorie’s sweet tart crust (aka Pâte Sablée), but I unintentionally omitted the nuts. No matter, that just gives me an excuse to make this again. Ha, as if I needed one!

So, what is it about this tart that makes me all googly-eyed like an infatuated schoolgirl? Hmmm… could it be the tender, slightly sweet, butter-laden crust? Or, perhaps, the juicy, delicate raspberries? Oh, I know – it’s the velvety pudding-like chocolate! Creamy and smooth, the chocolate just melts in your mouth. Every bite is one to be savored.

I also made some vanilla whipped cream and dolloped it around the edges of the tart which was a nice touch. Unfortunately, I was a bit impatient and added the whipped cream before the tart had completely cooled which created a runny mess. But it was a tasty mess!  I really must stop salivating lest I ruin my keyboard. 😉

While Dorie says this tart is best served the day it’s made, I thought it was even better the next day. An overnight chill in the fridge gives the tart a more dense texture, which is perfect since I adore chocolate mousse. But to each her own.

Mad props to Rachelle of Mommy? I’m Hungry! for selecting this delectable tart for this week’s TWD recipe. Be sure to visit her for the recipe. Actually, go ahead and do yourself a HUGE favor and buy a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Or, for you over-achievers out there, do both! And if you’re feeling really ambitious, visit the rest of the fun and fearless TWD bakers. They’ll knock your socks off, I promise!

Normally, I wouldn’t exactly be eager to try a recipe that includes “for us big guys” in the name, but this is a Dorie recipe so it must be good, right? Right! A BIG thanks to Mike over at Ugly Food Dude for choosing these thumbprint cookies for this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe.

These days, I’m trying to make use of the goodies in my freezer and pantry instead of buying every ingredient known to man. So when I read this recipe and saw it called for ground hazelnuts (which I did not have on hand), I consulted my freezer. To my delight, I found some wonderful pecans from my recent visit to South Carolina (thanks, Shirley!). What a great choice! These cookies taste like the lightest, most divine little pecan sandies you can imagine. I didn’ t have raspberry jam either, but I did have raspberry preserves. A little straining and, voila! A perfectly smooth, seedless filling for my cookies.

I would like to try these again with hazelnuts and perhaps a dollop of Nutella for the filling. Ooh, I think my heart just skipped a beat. 😉

Click here for the recipe and while you’re clicking, scoot over to the TWD blogroll and let my fellow bakers know you’re out there. On the docket for next week, Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart. Oh. My. God. That’s all I can say…for now.

On ne fait plus que rarement le blanc-manger, et c’est chose regrettable,
car c’est l’un des meilleurs  entremets qui se puissent servir,
quand il est bien préparé.” ~ Escoffier

raspberry blanc-manger

For this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy selected Dorie‘s Raspberry Blanc-Manger. Susan – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for choosing this amazing dessert!

As was the case with the dacquoise, I couldn’t stop saying blanc-manger (pronounced “blah-mahn-jhay”). You see, I have a not-so-secret desire to be European and I love saying exotic words, particularly French words. An annoying habit to be sure, but fortunately hubby stayed just out of earshot.

So, what the heck is blanc-manger? “Blancmange is a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch or Irish moss, and often flavored with almonds. It is usually set in a mould and served cold. Although traditionally white, blancmanges are frequently given a pink color as well. Some similar desserts are Bavarian cream, vanilla pudding (in US usage), panna cotta, and haupia.” – Wikipedia

We were having the family over for dinner Sunday night, so I made this blanc-manger for dessert. It was a huge hit! I took Dorie’s suggested and topped it with raspberry coulis. This woman knows what she’s talking about, y’all.

raspberry avalanche!

raspberry avalanche!

What’s my favorite blanc-manger variation? I’d have to go with Katrina‘s nutella inspired dish. Do yourself a favor and visit the TWD blogroll to see what the rest of the gang is up to.

Jonesin’ for more blanc-manger? Get your fix with François-Xavier’s french blanc-manger served with red currant-raspberry coulis. His pictures are absolutely mouthwatering. And if you’re still wondering what the quote at the top of this post means, take a stroll over to Peter Hertzmann’s for a taste of history. Yes, pun intended. 😉

 

What did I do last weekend? I cooked, ate, and ate some more. I kicked off Saturday morning with a nice breakfast of Belgian waffles and bacon. My goal was to do my take on the delicious Mandaberry waffle from Cafe Bluebird in Fort Collins. Their Mandaberry waffle is a malted waffle with fresh strawberries, blueberries, Mandarin oranges and lemon cream cheese. I made Belgian waffles topped with mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries). Since Kevin’s not a big fan of Mandarin oranges, I left those out. And for the pièce de résistance, I made a lemon cream cheese topping: 8 ounces of non-fat cream cheese (softened), 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, zest of one lemon, and 1/3 cup sugar. Delish!

 

 

For our next tasty adventure, we dined at Oysterella’s Saturday night. We enjoyed the Seared Spicy Tuna appetizer: rare seared tuna tossed in a spicy sesame mayonnaise, served with soy glaze and seasoned fried wonton chips. This is the best appetizer I’ve had in a long time. Amazing taste and texture!  I will definitely go back for this and may even try to re-create it at home…with my own twist of course!

 

Seared Spicy Tuna appetizer

Kevin ordered the blackened grouper for his entree while I chose the seared tuna entree: fresh 1/2 pound tuna filet seared rare served with lemon ginger slaw, orange soy glaze, wasabi whipped cream, pickled ginger and house rice. Both dishes were yummy. If you haven’t been to Oysterella’s yet, you should make a point to try them. The manager Saturday night was Todd and he made sure we were well taken care of. We had a very pleasant dining experience. Excellent service and fantastic food…what more can you ask for?

seared-tuna-entree

upside-down-apple-french-toast-with-cranberries-and-pecans_lg

Photo courtesy of Food Network

We hosted brunch with friends today. Obviously, we like to eat and we also wanted to celebrate Jill’s homecoming. Glad you’re back, Jill! I made Tyler Florence’s Upside-Down Apple French Toast with Cranberries and Pecans. I altered the recipe to make a larger batch and it turned out fantastic!

French toast:

 

6 eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices

 

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 ½ cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling, divided

6 Granny Smith apples

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup pecans

¾ cup dried cranberries

Confectioners’ sugar, garnish, optional

 

I opted to forego the confectioners’ sugar garnish. Also, instead of a 10-inch cast iron skillet, I used a 12-inch non-stick skillet. Since I made a larger batch, the baking time was longer than the 40-45 minutes – probably closer to 55-60 minutes. The pecans were delicious, but walnuts would be good too.

 

 

Kevin grilled bacon and conecuh sausage and whipped up an 8 egg ham and cheese omlette. Maggie brought her hashbrown casserole – delish! “B” and Jill brought champagne and pineapple-orange juice for mimosas while Kevin relived his bartending days serving up Bloody Marys.

 

 

It was another tasty meal with wonderful company. 😉

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." ~Voltaire

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