No Man is an Island (French Fridays with Dorie: Floating Islands)

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main..."

John Donne

Life has been reminding me lately how inter-tangled we are with the people around us.

Each interaction has an impact on someone else.

My bad mood can set someone else on a path to a negative day.

My good mood can foster someone else's good mood.

A kind word. A helpful action. A decision to let something go.

Additionally, we can we can choose interactions that will impact our own lives.

Almost three years ago, I bought a cookbook. And signed on to be a part of an online group to cook along with that cookbook on a whim - Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

I had absolutely no clue what I was getting in to or the affect that it would have on me.

I expected to cook a few new recipes and maybe learn a few new skills in the kitchen. No biggie.

I would write about it and maybe someone would read what I wrote (besides my mom).

It kind of turned into something a little more than that.

Before long, this not-so-social person was making connections across the interwebs and all over the globe.

"Meeting" new people and making virtual friends.

Learning about new cultures and traditions.

Being inspired by the direction that an alternate perspective can take a recipe.

Opening myself to trying new things - some of which were a hit, some...not so much. Realizing, that its okay not to like everything or agree with everyone's point of view on a dish. There's always something to be gleaned from trying.

Before starting FFwD - I never realized that Maldon salt and Aleppo pepper would become pantry essentials. I also never realized that I would become bereft any time my refrigerator did not have a chunk of Gruyere cheese at the ready. I've also developed a deep love for all things leeky.

In just three short week, a contingent of Doristas (I can't get image of the ladies running with frying pans out of my head every time I see that term- thanks, Trevor) will be converging on Seattle and attending the 2013 International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC 2013). Now, for this island of a girl that is a bit of a daunting thought.

When I signed up for FFwD almost three years ago, I am pretty darn sure that I didn't realize it would end up with me dragging The Dude all the way to Washington (meaning the state, not the Capitol) so that I could go to a conference just so that I could have a chance to meet a contingent of fellow of FFwD bloggers (of course, the icing on the cake is the opportunity to hear the author the book that started it all give the key note address).

Of course, there are many other things that I am looking forward to about IFBC 2013- good food, amazing speakers, the chance to meet some great sponsors. But the FFwD connection is the one that sealed the deal for me.

I am both excited and nervous... If I can't utter a coherent phrase, please be kind.

Speaking of things I never imagined, this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe - floating islands - was one that I had never heard of, let alone dreamed of making prior to French Fridays.

Creme Anglaise. Meringue. Chocolate ice cream. Caramel. Hot fudge. All listed as assembly options.

The meringue base kind of scared me, but I wasn't worried about the rest of it.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that the whole chocolate thing just wasn't doing it for me. And...a carton of peaches showed up in my CSA share this week. And The Flavor Bible said that peaches and caramel have an affinity for each other. And I had a partial bottle of Vermouth sitting in the refrigerator.

Directions were followed for the creme Anglaise (heavenly) and meringue (less intimidating than imagined). The caramel recipe was mostly followed - although I did stir in some Maldon sea salt at the end (the caramel is also great on ice cream, in case you have any left over...). The Vermouth & vanilla bean poached peaches were not a part of the original plan - but were a wonderful deviation.

This dessert ended up marking a very special and rare occasion - my siblings, parents and I were all in the same room together! Now that we are all grown and somewhat scattered, it is not often that we are all together. A monumental event like that deserved to be commemorated with a special treat. Don't you think?

Peace out.

This post participates on French Fridays with Dorie. To see other interpretations of this dessert, check out this week's Leave Your Link. A posted version of the recipe can be found here.


  1. LOVE the peach addition! And I can't wait to meet you!!!!

  2. What a gorgeous dessert to share with your family, Cher. The last time I had baked meringue with 'watery' custard, I was with my parents and siblings - and also a child. This was part of my mother's regular rotation of fancy desserts. Reading about it brought up many memories.

    I am extremely excited about meeting you in three weeks. Time flies, doesn't it? I can't believe the conference is almost here.

  3. Oh with peaches! I would love some Cher, as much as I would love to go to the conference...Well, since we can't have it all I'm going to eat more floating island now. Have a great weekend!

  4. Cher, I think you need me to accompany you to IFBC. Oh, wait :(((((((( Nevermind no Gruyère, I am bereft at the idea of you all meeting and me not being there.

  5. Cher, what a fabulous occasion to serve these floating islands at - I am sure that all your family members must have been quite impressed with your wonderful floating islands with the vanilla and Vermouth poached peaches. I like that you cut a big slice and presented the dessert that way - it is nice to see that we all seem to really enjoy this classic French dessert recipe because it is a wonderful recipe - I chose the baked individual ramekins and enjoyed trying a new recipe.
    Hope all is well, thank you for also for your nice comment about my "River Cottage Veg Everyday" series, I am trying my best to cook as many veggies as possible these days and keep up with my goals...
    Have a great weekend, Cher, hope the girls had a great start to their College year!

  6. Love your post as allways. Too bad I live in the Netherlands. Otherwise I would have like to go to the conference. Sounds great! Have fun.

  7. The floating island was delicious...Your Bro...

  8. Love this post, Cher! I am so looking forward to meeting you and the Dude! It will be fun! Your Floating Islands are lovely…peaches were a great idea, and of course the vermouth! Have a great week-end!

  9. Yum to your idea of using peaches, very creative idea Cher! Now I am getting excited for's right around the corner!!!!!!!

  10. I think floating islands are so interesting. They just sound so fancy-schmantzy, la-di-da! I will have to make one some time.

  11. Love love love your sentiments about this whole FFWD adventure! Nana and I had no idea what we were getting into back then either (which should be pretty obvious since I named our blog the ridiculously long "triciaAndNanaCookingWithDorie" because the instructions said we had to create a unique blog and my early tries at a name were taken. Clearly I had no idea how often I and others would need to type that LONG name :) Glad you got to share with the family and those peaches sounded insanely good......

  12. P.S. in addition to the tote bag I think you need to bring some t shirts that say "peace out" ....that would be hilarious and you would not need a nametag.....

  13. Wow, a Dorista meet-up! That should be a blast! Hope you're adjusting to your empty nest. You must be so proud of your girls. Keep up the good eats!

  14. This is such a creative idea my friend :D This looks wonderful!
    Forever yes, yes to the floating island!

  15. I heart your post today. FFwD has been one heck of an adventure and I have truly loved every minute of it. I'm so sad that I will be missing out of the meet up in a few weeks. I look forward to hearing about it.

  16. I can't wait to hear about everyone's adventures - please do post! I couldn't agree more about your sentiments - FFWD has broadened my horizons, and I look forward every week to reading what everyone has done. Fridays and Saturdays are my favorite days of the week.

  17. A carton of peaches! Yum! This looks great. I think it might also be good with a raspberry drizzle sort of like the Peach Melba. I'm so looking forward to meeting you and the other Doristas in Seattle! Is it really only three weeks away? Yikes!

  18. Definitely a fitting dessert for a rare family gathering!

  19. looks delicious....just mouthwatering!

  20. What never made it into my post was that I ended up slicing some nectarines on it and they truly made it for me. I love the idea of a vermouth poached peach! How chic! Can't wait for Seattle! (P.S. I still giggle when I see those women with frying pans!)

  21. The peaches are an inspired addition! Your version looks decadent.

  22. I totally agree. I couldn't bear not to add fruit to this dessert. Summer fruit will be gone before we know it...I don't think I've ever tried peaches with caramel, but they sound like an excellent combination.

  23. Oh, Cher, I think I would have loved your version!

    You have so poignantly captured my anticipation about meeting up in Seattle! John and I are getting increasingly excited. I don't care what you say when you meet me, but you'd better give me a hug! I can't wait to see you!

  24. Such a fantastic twist on the recipe!

  25. Wow, your version looks fantastic! I can imagine how good those peaches tasted with the rest of the ingredients. Have fun in Seattle!


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