Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who doesn't like La Madeleine?

I have liked this place ever since Dana took me there for the first time. Great, great stuff to eat with a French air. I like it. And it's yummy for lunch.

My favorite thing that they make though is their tomato basil soup. So, so good, even if it's not the healthiest thing on the menu. I was looking through my loose recipes over Christmas and found this recipe that was clipped from the Dallas Morning News, and I have always wanted to try it. So tonight I did with great results.

La Madeleine Tomato-Basil Soup

4 c Roma tomatoes, peeled/cored/chopped
4 c tomato juice
14 fresh basil leaves plus extra for garnish, chopped
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
kosher salt to taste

Combine tomatoes and juice in large saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Cool slightly, add basil and process in a food processor or blender. Return to saucepan. Add cream and butter and stir over low heat until butter and cream are incorporated. Stir in salt and pepper. Garnish with more fresh basil.

What I liked about this soup: Very, very tasty and very good. Tastes just like the soup at the restaurant!
What I disliked about this soup: It took a lot longer to make than I thought. Peeling and chopping the tomatoes was kind of a pain. I did the "fast peel" method where you slip the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds and then the skins are supposed to just slip off. I must not have boiled them long enough because I had to work to get the skins off. And, because I wasn't paying attention and was chatting with my friend C who came over to try the soup, I cut my left index finger pretty good with my mezzaluna while chopping basil. Ow! Rachael Ray I am NOT! Plus it took a while to get the soup simmering. I finally ended up turning up the heat to medium high to get it to a gentle rolling boil and then turned it down to simmer after that.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I used my mortar and pestle to crack the whole black peppercorns for the soup. I feel like a real chef when I use my mortar and pestle. Now I want a
molcajete. And I didn't realize that the fresh basil I bought is actually a plant with roots, so I'm going to plant it tomorrow and see if I can't grow fresh basil in my windowsill!
Tastiness factor: I used Roma tomatoes, so the finished soup was a little sweeter than the soup you get at the restaurant, but I actually liked it was very smooth and not grainy like the soup is at the restaurant since I pureed it in my food processor for a good long minute.

You will also see probably quite a few banana recipes. I think I am on a quest to see how many different things I can make with overripe bananas. I made banana nut bread in my bread machine a few weeks ago. This time, it was this yummy creation which I have eyed several times but never tried.

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

2 eggs, beaten
1 c mashed ripe bananas *I pureed them in the food processor and froze what was left over
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/4 c milk
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz package of German sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Combine bananas, oil, milk and eggs and stir until well-blended. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a seperate bowl and gradually stir into wet mixture until just moistened. Fold in chocolate and nuts. Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes and then remove from pan to cool on wire rack.

What I liked about this bread: It was really really easy and a great solution for using overripe bananas, even though most people don't just have German chocolate lying around.
What I disliked about this bread: The instructions say to bake the bread at 55 minutes, but it took me 65 minutes to get it done. Might have been the silicone (see below).
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I have a complete set of Kitchen Aid silicone bakeware and tonight was my first night to use my silicone loaf pan. Came out fantastic! I also rather like my cake tester which is a piece of thin wire with a handle.
Tastiness Factor: Very, very delicious. The chocolate is not overbearing and it combines very well with the bananas and nuts for a nice, sweet dessert or breakfast bread. I will probably be eating it for breakfast for the next few days.


Anonymous dleighb said...

This is very ironic as I typically am not a huge fan of La Madeleine. Unless we're talking about breakfast. I pretty much love breakfast anywhere.

5:13 PM  

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