Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peach and Raspberry Tart

I'm not so sure this qualifies as a tart, but Donna Hay says it's a tart and who am I to disagree with a professional on that score (I'm going to disagree with her about other things, later, never fear). Ryan says it's dessert, and I say it's breakfast, so it's multipurpose whatever else it is. Also, it's *cross your fingers* the last thing I've had to photograph using the computer, since I got a shiny new camera!!

The bottom is a little sweet, not too sweet and definitely more like a shortcake than a tart shell or pastry crust, it's really very rustic despite my fancy peach and raspberry arranging (which I should point out is entirely unnecessary).

adapted from Donna Hay's Off the Shelf, Cooking from the Pantry

1 stick of butter softened (125 g)
1 C superfine sugar (remember my make your own tip: Pour 1 C regular sugar in your food processor and give it a few buzzes)
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1.5 C flour
2 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 peaches halved and cut into thin wedges (I peel mine, my mother has a terrible allergy to fruit skins, so I've made this both ways, a prefer it with the skins off)
5 oz raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 F (160 C). Line a 9" (22cm) cake pan with parchment paper. It is highly desirable to have a cake pan with a removable bottom. I honestly cannot imagine trying to do without. Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and beat well . In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients. The batter will be much stiffer than cake batter, almost like a biscuit dough. Spoon into the cake pan and smoosh down to create an even layer. This can be tricky as the dough is sticky and the parchment wants to move with it. Top with the peaches and raspberries, pretty designs are not necessary. A tip though, keep the fruits in a bit from the edges, because they will burn if they're directly up against the metal pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 and then another 45 at 325*. I haven't found a way to make it cook quicker yet, but I'm working on it. It should come clean when poked with a skewer, but don't hold your breath for a clean knife. Remove from cake pan and serve.

*if you live in Australia (and I only bring this up, because I've been noticing Australians googling for this recipe), Donna Hay claims you can do this at 160 C for an hour. In the US, an hour at the equivalent (350 F) is not long enough. So you this might take a smidge longer than she says.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

On our very first date, Ryan informed me that he did not eat red meat or pork. If memory serves, he did not mention his life-long loathing of mayonnaise. Now, if I haven't mentioned it before, my mother was born in Georgia, and in the South, they like their mayonnaise. She'll even put the stuff on a burger. (If you've ever watched Paula Deen on the Food Network, you'll know mayonnaise on a burger is the least of it, there's not a whole lot Southerners can't find a way to get mayonnaise in.) So you can imagine, growing up I learned some of the very best things in life involve mayonnaise, like deviled eggs and chicken salad and BLTs. I'm not saying it would be a deal-breaker or anything if he'd brought it up right away, but maybe it's for the best that I did not learn this until I was already attached to him. The real problem with mayonnaise, is that it's nearly impossible to substitute for, unless you're using something which might as well be mayonnaise. But potato salad? That I can make without mayonnaise. It's not my mother's delicious stuff, but it will go nicely with those turkey burgers.


2 pounds small red potatoes (about golf ball size?) scrubbed, unpeeled and cut into quarters
1 c green beens cleaned and chopped into 1" to 1.5" pieces.
1 garlic clove
1.5 T red wine vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard (check labeling to ensure gf)
1/4 C olive oil
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 T)
3 t salt

Set a large pot of water on to boil. When the water reaches a boil, lower the garlic clove in. You can do this by putting it in a spider, or holding it on a spoon, or threading it on a skewer. Let it blanch for abou 45 seconds. Pull it out and rinse with cold water and set aside. Add 2 t salt to the water. Add the potatoes and cook for about 8 minutes. Check them after about 5-6 though. They should be soft enough to eat, but remember you're not making mashed potatoes, so they should not be mushy. In a small pan, add green beans and enough water to cover. Cook 4-5 minutes or until green beans are tender. Drain the beans and set aside. When the potatoes are done, reserve a 1/4 c of the cooking water and drain.
For the dressing, mince the garlic, and whisk together with the reserved potato cooking water, mustard, vinegar, remaining teaspoon of salt, the pepper and the olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes and the green beans. Pour the dressing over, and gently toss to cover. Add the shallot and mix again. Allow the dressing to be absorbed by the potatoes, about 3-5 minutes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tyler Florence's Sesame Noodles

Do you remember that old show on the Food Network, Food 911? This was back when they still had chefs for most of the programs, and not "personalities" who give you tips on how to take a store bought cheesecake and smush it into muffin cups so you could pretend you baked it yourself. For those of you who are too young to remember, the premise of the show was, you wrote in to Tyler Florence with a food dilemma, like "My fabulously wealthy great-aunt from Scotland is visiting and she said she'd disown me if I couldn't produce a tasty haggis by age 25!!" or "I finally met a nice Jewish boy, but I can't make matzo ball soup OR kugel. Please help me before my future mother-in-law calls off wedding!" Then Tyler would come over and show you how to make a marvelous version of your dish so that you could prevent any family disasters. My current letter would be "The Chinese restaurant around the corner, that we order from at least once a week, is closed for renovations, with no sign as to when they'll open again. Help us get our Chinese food fix without walking the 20 blocks to Chinatown!" Although Tyler didn't come over and personally save me, this is his recipe for sesame noodles, and will help you with your cravings, whether they're due to a closed restaurant or living in a Chinese food impaired part of the country.
adapted very slightly from Tyler Florence, Food Network

1/2 lb spaghetti
3 T sesame oil
2 T peanut oil
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar
1/2 C smooth peanut butter (I'm usually an organic kind of girl, but sadly, Jif, Peter Pan and the like work better in this recipe, if you do go the wholesome route, get the smoothest kind you can, serve immediately if you need it to look pretty, since refrigeration will make the sauce clump)
6 T hot water
1 T ginger peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 T brown sugar
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 t sambal (this is a red chili paste), or I use 2 of the small dried chilies you can buy at any Asian food market, just pull them out at the end if you don't want to shock your guests. Break them open first if you want it spicier.

Optional: 1 T toasted sesame seeds, cucumber slices, shredded carrot

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, drain, toss with the sesame oil and set aside.
Put the peanut oil in a pot and heat to medium-low. Add the garlic, scallion, ginger and chili and cook for a minute or two. Then add the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter and hot water. Mix well (I use a ball tip whisk), until smooth. Then pour over noodles and toss to coat. If desired top with toasted sesame seeds, cucumber slices or shredded carrot.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta

This should have been it. The one. The post that started it all, where I explained to you why I, neither chef nor writer, decided that I would write a food blog. Because this recipe is really where it all began. Someone introduced me to Words to Eat By. Previously, my internet food experience had been limited to and Epicurious. This was something entirely new. Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta is the first recipe of hers I tried, and it is delicious. And if the weather where you live is anything like the weather where I live, you probably need this right about now - quick, ovenless, light and fresh.

from Words to Eat By

My recipe is almost identical to the original, with the exception that I've added the tomatoes officially.
You'll notice that my amounts are smaller, since I'm cooking for 2.

1/2 lb penne, rigatoni or similar pasta
1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic minced
1 large head of broccoli cut into florets
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice of one lemon (about 1/3 C) - note I like things lemony, so I didn't reduce this
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 C grated Parmesan

Start a large pot of water to boil and add a sprinkling of salt. While waiting for it to boil, put the chickpeas, lemon juice and 1/4 C of the olive oil in a bowl and toss. Add salt and pepper and set aside. When it boils add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes. Remove and rinse with cool water and set aside. Then add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. In a large pan, add the remaining olive oil, the garlic, the red pepper flakes and the tomatoes. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes taking care to make sure the garlic does not burn. Then add the broccoli and cook for 4 more minutes. Then add the chickpea mixture and cook for one more minute. When you drain the pasta, reserve about a 1/4 C (or 1/8 C) of the pasta water and add to the broccoli, tomato and chickpeas. Add the pasta and toss gently. Off heat, add the Parmesan and mix again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick Caprese

Unsurprisingly, one of my best friends happens to be an amazing cook and an even more impressive baker. One year she typed of this fabulous cookbook as a gift for her cousin, and as a result, I got a copy. What is surprising, is that I don't think I've given you a single one of her recipes. This is her caprese salad, absolute heaven in summer, but with my measurements, since she is very much a "you know, do it to taste" kind of person. It wasn't until I had an audience that I worried about measurements much myself. So on this, please feel free to experiement with the dressing. If you find a tastier way to mix the dressing, post it in the comments.

2 avocados
a little less than a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1T plus 1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 t dijon mustard (check label to ensure gf)
1T extra virgin olive oil

Cut the avocados, mozzarella and tomatoes into bite size chunks, maybe 1/2 inch blocks? I halve the tomatoes, unless they are really big. Put into a large bowl and mix very gently, so as not to mush up the avocado. In a separate small bowl mix the balsamic, salt, pepper, sugar and dijon. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste the dressing. Adjust as needed, write down your adaptations to tell me later! Add to the other ingredients and again mix gently, to coat with dressing. The salad becomes less pretty, but more tasty as time passes.
In other news, my camera has died. While my computer has a camera, it is not exactly user friendly to aim the top of your laptop at a bowl of food. Please bear with me until things return to normal.


Related Posts with Thumbnails