Lemon Barley Pilaf

pilaf plated by . Whew!  It's been a busy week, and I'm late in getting this post off.   This is an Around My French Table recipe and part of the French Fridays with Dorie blogging group.  You know the drill for these recipe.  We're asked not to post the recipe, but you can find it in the book.   Just in case you don't have to book, I have good news for you.   August will mark Julia Child's 100th birthday month.   To celebrate, I'll be blogging some of her most famous recipes with some stories, fun facts and quotes from our dear Julia.    Any requests?



Well back to the pilaf... I love barley and was very interested to try the recipe.   My friend Jane makes a great salad with barley and tuna.  It's so good on a hot summer day.    I simmered the barley on the stove, and carefully added the chopped vegetables just as Dorie suggested so they didn't overcook.

pilaf ingredients by .


The pilaf was tasty, and make a nice side dish with the grilled corn salad and salmon with dill and lemon.

pilaf final by .




Lamb Navarin Printanier - FFWD

This recipe wraps up  the April collection of French Fridays With Dorie's recipes that some loved and some tolerated.   That's ok, everyone has something they're not crazy about.   Lamb Navarin Printanier is a lovely aromatic stew that is nice on a cool spring day, or a crisp autumn supper.  If you like Boeuf Bourguignon, this is for you.   But you'll have to have your wine on the side with this one. Earlier in the week, I called the local butcher and asked about the availability of lamb shoulder.  No dice.  He did have a leg of lamb that could be boned out, and cubed.   We talked about the amount, and I picked it up today.   My idea of trimmed and the butcher's idea of trimmed were very different.  I like the meat very "clean".  None of the silver skin stuff, very little fat, no icky stuff.   So I re-trimmed the meat, and ended up with quite a bit less than I had expected, but I'm sure that each bite will be good.    Here's another interesting tidbit.  In an article I found about lamb stews, the leg is not suggested because when it's braised, it can become stringy.  Yikes!   It was too late for re-do's, so I'll have to see what happens after the stew is finished.  I decided to make up for less meat with more vegetables.   I added two or three more carrots, one more turnip, and doubled the onions & potatoes.  That's just fine with me.   Most days I'd rather eat vegetables than meat anyway.  Here's the meat pre-trimming.

The recipe starts off with searing the meat.  Hmmm, I guess I forgot what lamb smells like.  Not bad, just not beef.   I didn't have to do a lot of rearranging or batches.  The meat had a nice even sear, and made lots of nice crispy fond in the bottom of the cast enamel pot.

The meat was combined with the stock, herbs and tomato paste and set to simmer.   I have a very cool item to tell all of you about.  This isn't an advertisement, and I'm not a spokesmodel, but I found something really cool, created by Michael Ruhlman.  If you make your own stock (which I usually try do, but didn't this time), and use cheesecloth to stain, here's just the ticket.  He has three reusable cloth squares that can be used to strain yogurt, stock or anything else that may need straining.  If you don't know about Michael, he's a great writer, and has several books.  The one I recommend most is Making of a Chef.  He writes about his education at the Culinary Institute of America through of the eyes of a journalist.  A great easy read.

My favorite part of the recipe was caramelizing the vegetables.  It took about 10 minutes, and they were glistening, golden and not soft as Dorie instructs in the recipe.  Here's a before and after photo of the vegetables.

We found some delicious fresh English peas in the store!  Just perfect for finishing touch.  I'm not going to serve the Navarin until tomorrow, so the peas will go in after I reheat tomorrow.  It's been awhile, but I'm going to bring it back to temp ala Sous Vide.  Using that technique, the meat won't overcook and or get rubbery like it might if I used a microwave.

The finished stew is delicious.  The  lamb tasted perfectly tender.  No stringy meat.  So go ahead, go crazy and use leg of lamb if you want to!

Happy Spring!   If you're looking for other great spring dishes, you might want to take a look at these for inspiration.

Warm Weather Pot au Feu

Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

French Fridays with Dorie - Sardine Rillettes- Not scary, really!

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Sardine Rillette.  A wonderful quick, easy little appetizer spread. I personally like sardines. Growing up, my  mom doesn't like steak. If our family was going to have steak she opened a can of sardines, spread some butter on bread, and carefully laid the sardines side by side on top of the butter.   We could join her, or eat steak.   I always choose the sardines.  There was something about the whole ceremony that appealed to me.   When you open a can with a key, and carefully roll back the metal top, it has to be good!    I know not everyone shares my love.   This recipe is really worth trying to acquaint yourself with sardines.

The recipe calls for 2 cans of sardines, and other ingredients that you probably have on hand.  A little cream cheese, shallot, some herbs, and juice of a lemon.   Guests are coming?  You can have this ready in less than ten minutes.   I used chives.  They're growing outside our kitchen door, and I try to use them whenever I can.

I was a Trader Joe's and found two kinds of sardines.  Some in oil, and some in water.  I bought a can of each to see what they were like.  Sardines are much bigger now than I remember.  I remember little guys about the size of your pinkie or slightly bigger.   They guys are big (well, little but big) and packed in like sardines.  Sorry, had to work that in somewhere!   In one can, the sardines still had spines, so I pulled those out.   I know they would have crushed, but just couldn't leave it in.  Here are the two cans side by side.

Some chopping and snipping and the ingredients were ready to combine.

The sardines easily combined with a fork.  The final preparation is a lot like a simple tuna salad.  It would be really nice piped into the little puff, or a cherry tomato.    Hope you'll give it a try!

Next Tuesday is a lovely lemon cake by Julia.  Love lemons.  Talk to you soon!