2014/01/31

Looking inward (French Fridays with Dorie: Paris Brest)

It's been a long couple of weeks.

Weeks that have caused me to realize some rather profound observations about myself and the world around me.

1) Carrots and almond butter are an acceptable dinner plan. The same is true for cheese and crackers.

2) No matter how tired I am, it is NOT OKAY to drink that last inch of wine straight from the bottle. It must first go in a glass.

3) However, if I am the only one at home for a week, it is marginally okay to eat cottage cheese straight from the container (marginally). The same applies to pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream (somewhat more acceptable).


4) There are few things I enjoy more than a plate of my dad's pancakes when I am worn out. Bacon and applesauce optional.

5) Whether she's 14, 40 or beyond, a girl is never too old to need her mommy.

6) I have a very low tolerance for ignorant people.

7) My tolerance for cold weather is proportional to the amount of dried salt on my car. The longer I have to look at a dirty car, the lower my tolerance. I may have to risk frozen car doors if it doesn't get warmer soon.

8) I would rather be cold and deal with snow and ice than endure any of the following with regularity: excessive bouts of heat, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes.

9) I am utterly incapable of following directions. (Okay, so that's not a new one - I just figured I'd throw that one in as a segue).

10) I will probably never be mature enough to giggle when certain words come up. Sorry/ not sorry.

11) Choux dough doesn't scare me any more.

12) I may be able to pass up that bowl of chocolate mousse without a second glance, but if you put a bowl of orange curd anywhere within 50 feet of me and I will be drawn to it. Like moths to a flame, people. Moths to a flame.


This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe gave me a solid platform for putting items 10), 11) & 12) into practice.

Here's how it went down:

1) Pipe out a big ring of choux dough onto a baking sheet and bake it off. (There was much discussion about this process, tips and tip-size. Apparently, size does matter). (I added cardamom to my choux dough. Because.)

2) Make pastry cream. (I made an orange curd. I couldn't bear the thought of adding to my egg-white collection in the refrigerator.  A couple of pages over from the pastry cream recipe in AMFT is an lemon curd recipe that uses whole eggs. Of course, I made the lemon curd with orange juice. Because that is what one does, right?)

3) Awkwardly slice the baked choux ring. Fill it with orange curd (or pastry cream if you are follwing the directions) and powder-sugar the heck out of it so that no one will see how goofy your piped rings look (or that you forgot to add the almonds...).

4) Serve. Enjoy.

On the book front: I finally finished reading And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini) - excellent book but a little confusing with all the back and forth between different times and sets of characters. I get what the author was trying to do, but it needed some work. I just started diving into Holly Tucker's Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution. The nerd in me is liking this one already.

There's some buzz about some kind of football game or something going on this weekend. If you are into it, good luck with all that. All I know is that it going to interfere with my Downton Abbey fix. That. Is not okay...

Peace out.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.

23 comments:

  1. I knew it! Size does matter. I KNEW IT.
    There were way too many directions to follow this week. I'm glad I broke it down into steps. Nice moody shot. Why did this dessert inspire both of us to be soo moody?

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    1. Anyone that says differently is a flat out liar.

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    2. We all went moody this week! Cher, I LOVED this post - love to learn all these things about you.

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  2. I love your adaptation, Cher! And I love Orage Curd, too. Hang in there with your cold weather & if it ever get to be too much, we have a guest room in SoCal!

    Have a lovely weekend! xo

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  3. It has been a crazy few weeks hasn't it? Good to know that size does matter! ;) It looks like this turned out great! I may have to try it out with the lemon curd. Yum!

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  4. LOL - when you are by yourself, and no-one else is sharing, I think it is entirely respectable to eat and drink out of the containers things came in. Me, I can endure heat better than snow and ice, which I have no experience of. Orange curd in your Paris Brest sounds delish!! Hope it warms up soon.

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  5. Oh, the rule about wine in the glass is key. That way, you feel fancier when you drink it alone! Ha!

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  6. All of my coats are covered with salt from my dirty car… but the snow kept coming. I think I'll get it washed tomorrow. You got me thinking, eating out of containers, no I go the opposite when I'm a lone. I serve things to myself in my best china. It really bothers me when someone is ignorant and intelligent… no excuse. I can't wait to meet you. Lovely Brest.

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  7. I think I would have liked this better with orange curd, or lemon. What a great idea. I'm now sure that your winter is much worse than ours has been. Cheese and crackers is a perfect dinner. Cottage cheese, not so much. Hang in there, and make sure to eat dessert.

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  8. Orange curd! Oh, my goodness, THAT would be heavenly here. Brilliant!

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  9. 1,2 and 3 are an ongoing situation here, and will hardly change... 6 is my biggest lesson (or karma?) in this life, and I almost completely agree with 9, depends on how cold or hot..
    Kudos for making this paris brest. It takes dedication, but nothing a heavy sprinkling at the end can't cure. Have a great weekend Cher!

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  10. Orange curd, good idea! Congrats for getting over your fear of this delicate dough.

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  11. Orange curd sounds like a great alternative! I would love to try that next time. When I’m home alone my dinners resemble yours. And I am totally with you on Number 6! We are leaving for Georgia this week and we will finally get that salt washed off the car…that is of course, if Georgia doesn’t get 2 inches of snow! Then we may be spending 2 days trapped in our car.
    Your ring looks lovely! Stay warm, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy the weekend!!

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  12. Cher, your posts are the BEST! I love your list...and I've had the urge to drink wine right out of the bottle this week, too. I'll make note of your recommendation :) Curd sounds great...chocolate pastry cream was a bit too much!

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  13. I guess I share of few of your traits. Your pastry looks wonderful, and what's not to like about orange curd??

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  14. Fantastic post! Great observations, that I just can't argue with!

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  15. Looks great, and I'm sure the orange curd was a wonderful filling. I never thought to make curd with orange juice...

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  16. 1. Carrots and almond butter together? Or separate? I'm intrigued.
    2. I agree. But sometimes I have to remind myself of this one too.
    6. Agreed

    What a great idea to make orange curd with the leftover whites. I usually make the Coconut Friands with my leftover whites, but I know how you feel about coconut:-)

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  17. Have I told you how much I LOVE your posts???? I have? Okay I am saying it again! I LOVE your posts! They make me laugh and ponder life at the same time like eating carrots with almond butter while drinking wine from a jug! But I am sorry to report that choux pastry still scares me - a lot - and I do need my mummy especially now that she so far away from me . Please tell me more about you I want to know everything!!!!!

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  18. I have tried to make two comments on this Post, Cher, and both have gone "Pouf." It is not a problem on your side but mine. Internet reception here is lousy in little Cambria. I will make this short. This Post was hysterical and I answered each and every Point you made. But those clever comments are somewhere between here, there, or anywhere. Just let me say that your Paris-Brest was an inspiration and I am going for it this week. Got lots of tips so I don't make a large ring that will go to waste or waist.

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  19. Cher, wonderful, inspirational post...always such a pleasure to come here for a "visit". I have never made orange curd (only lemon) myself but it sounds like it would be delicious as a filling for the Paris-Brest.
    Take care and stay warm!

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  20. I hate that I have 6 egg whites in my fridge and nothing to do with them. (Except for throw them out at this point.) I love the idea of making orange curd instead. Also, nut butter and carrots or cheese and crackers are more than acceptable dinners, they're well balanced dinners! Ben and Jerry's is an acceptable dinner in my book.

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  21. I love the idea of orange curd my friend, it would be so perfect in this dessert!
    And it is of course, ok to eat BnJ from the tub :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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