You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.

Another month passes by. How quickly they seem to be, autumn is almost upon us. The month to be, at least for parts of the northern american continent, is the time persistent gardening work will be underway. Planting the fall bulbs, moving spring blooming perennials and tidying up the beds are a few such to do’s.

Autumn is a wonderful time, for me it is the sound of the airborne leaves that tumble in the wind, and the smells, who doesn’t love the robust, earthiness of fall [yum…]. The best part of it all is the time gardens take a long nap, dreaming up wonderful things for spring.

If you are able to find wild mushrooms for this recipe, please give them a try, they are wonderful; a nice change of pace to the bright lightness of summery dishes. This recipe is hearty for cooler evening meals or a quick lunch in the garden, but still gentle in flavor if the weather makes us feel we are in that of July.

Mushroom Tart Recipe

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon sea salt

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled & cut into bits

4 Tablespoons vegetable shortening

3-5 Tablespoons ice water [depending on the humidity of your flour]

2 large whole eggs

½ cup cream

1 pound assorted mushrooms, sliced or quartered

1/4 cup shallots, diced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

preparing the tart crust:

1. In a food processor, combine flour and sea salt.

2. Add chilled butter and shortening, processing until a coarse meal forms.

3. Pour in ice water and process until a ball of dough forms.

4. Place dough onto a work surface and knead until a smooth ball forms.

5. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

preparing the filling & custard:

1. Whisk cream and eggs together and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

[Half of a teaspoon of salt was used.]

2. Sauté shallots in butter on medium heat until translucent.

3. Add mushrooms, cooking on high heat until browned, approximately 3-5 minutes

4. Sprinkle in fresh rosemary and cook for another minute to release flavor.

*If there is a lot of liquid from the mushrooms, discard.

5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a twelve inch circle and line a 10-inch tart pan, pressing dough into the sides and removing access. Chill for 10-15 minutes.

6. Place the mushroom mixture evenly over the bottom and gently pour over with custard.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until custard is set and edges are beginning to brown.

Serves 6-8.

*notes: For a crisper crust, blind bake the tart shell for 10-15 minutes. As pictured in the ingredient photo above, line the shell with parchment paper and pour in 1 ½ cups beans then bake to precook the tart dough. Beans are a great alternative to pie weights that are very costly. Just store the cooled bean and use only for this process.

*Mélange is a fancy word for mixture of.

Enjoying something homemade for breakfast can be much more than a rushed attempt picking up your favorite baked goods at the local coffee shop. Waiting long lines and finally settling down for breakfast, a morning can almost be past tense.

For me, eating breakfast at home has been a natural rhythm to start a weekend day. Most mornings are go, go, go, as I am sure most of us feel that way. So I leave the couple of mornings just to ease into the day.

Scones are quick and easy to bake, and the great thing about your very own bake shop at home, you can decide on what you are in the mood for. No, “sorry we are out of those,” [the voice behind the counter.]

Another recipe I am posting is a maple brown sugar granola one. It is great for a quick snack with yogurt and fruit. After trying this recipe, some suggestions to try are dried cherries and roasted, salted cashews, apricots with coconut and sesame seeds, or perhaps my favorite, currants and roasted peanuts. So Good…

 

Triple-Ginger Cranberry Scone Recipe

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup granular sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

 

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dried sweetened cranberries, roughly chopped

¼ cup crystalized ginger, coarsely chopped

 

3 Tablespoons buttermilk

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

 

extra buttermilk [baking glaze]

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

preparation:

  1. In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and sea salt.
  2. Add the cold butter bits and run processor until a coarse meal forms.
  3. Place in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
  4. Combine oats, cranberries and crystalized ginger, set aside.
  5. Whisk together buttermilk and fresh ginger.
  6. Mix together flour mixture with the oat mixture.
  7. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and fold in unit dough forms.
  8. Pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a six inch disc.
  9. Cut disk into six wedges and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  10. Brush scones with extra buttermilk.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden in color.

 

Maple Brown Sugar Granola Recipe

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

½ cup whole roasted & salted almonds, roughly chopped

1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

 

¼ cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup granular sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

 

½ cup dried sweetened cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

preparation:

  1. Toast almond and pumpkins seeds for 3-5 minutes on a sheet pan, cool.
  2. Combine oats with the toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds.
  3. In a sauce pan heat the sugars, maple syrup and the spices just until it starts to come to a boil.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat.
  5. Spread mixture onto a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Completely cool granola on the sheet pan.
  7. Break up granola and mix with cranberries.

Store in an air tight container.

Anything that’s concerning chocolate, bigger is better. This is a naturally gluten-free recipe, one that is tender and light, just like eating a chocolate flavored cloud, almost.

Gluten-free baking can seem frustrating and sometimes downright disappointing to us for those who want to experiment or need to make gluten-free treats. This recipe and many like it, is one recipe that has no gluten counterpart. It’s across the board favorite in restaurants and cafes just about anywhere, but it is rather easy to make this at home.

 

To take this tart one step further, you can add a chocolate glaze over the top and even sprinkle some toasted almonds as well. I would replace the vanilla in this recipe and put in some almond flavoring to carry the visual appeal to the taste of this tart. Is this then called a torte? Maybe, but it will still be delicious.

Flourless Chocolate Tart Recipe

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup granular sugar

10 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

 

12 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

 

6 large eggs, separated

1 ½ Tablespoons coffee extract

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Prepare a 10”x2” cake pan by coating the bottom and sides with butter and lining the bottom with parchment.

1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.

2. Whip sugars and butter together until pale and fluffy 3-5 minutes.

3. While whipping, add one egg yolk at a time and incorporate thoroughly.

4. Beat in melted chocolate just to combine.

5. Add coffee and vanilla extracts and sea salt, set aside.

6. In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg white just to soft peaks.

7. Fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate batter.

8. Repeat with the remaining whites.

9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. The tart will be dome when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top springs back when pressed.

 

Cool tart for approximately 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow tart to come to room temperature before serving.

Serves 8.

I really enjoy weekends when there is nothing big going on, no house projects that need tending too. A weekend like that is a good time to catch up on movies that have spent too much time on the coffee table and to read a few pages of interest from books that always seem to pile themselves in any space there is room.

The kitchen was well in use this weekend, testing out new ideas and cooking up favorites it was hard to decide which one to write about. As indecisive as I can be more often than not I decided to post a few of them here. Cooking food for capturing “that shot,” can mean eating food that has sat to long or in most cases cold, my thought through this process was to be quick and precise, allowing time to enjoy food as it should be, “right out of the kitchen.”

 

Seafood Chowder Recipe

¼ cup shallots, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

 

2 cups fish stock

13 little neck clams

13 mussels

1 1/3 pounds white fish [swordfish was used here]

 

1 large russet potato, approximately one pound, peeled and chopped

½ cup cream

1 Tablespoon Sunny Paris Seasoning [Penzy’s]

¼ cup fresh chopped dill

Sea salt & freshly grated black pepper [to taste]

 

1. Sauté shallots and garlic on low heat for a few minutes until light golden.

2. Add the fish stock bring to a simmer.

3. Add clams and mussels and cook covered until they open approximately 3-5 minutes.

4. Remove clams and mussels, discarding any unopened ones, set these aside.

5. Add chopped potatoes and simmer until just tender. At this point add the swordfish and the seasoning mix. Cook just until fish flakes.

6. Stir in the cream and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

7. Add clams and mussels back into the pan and heat through.

8. Serve with crusty French bread and garnish dish with fresh chopped dill.

Serves 2-4.

 

Quinoa Salad w/ Toasted Chickpeas & Summer Vegetables

 

½ cup quinoa

¾ cup water

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

1 medium zucchini

2 Tablespoons safflower oil

1 cup small heirloom variety tomatoes, halved

 

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained & rinsed

1 Tablespoon safflower oil

1 teaspoon Sunny Paris Seasoning [Penzy’s]

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

 

cooking the quinoa:

1. Place quinoa, water and sea salt in a small pot and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered until all of the water is absorbed.

3. Turn off heat and rest for 5-10 minutes. Spread out on a sheet tray to cool.

 

preparing the chickpeas & zucchini:

1. Toss chickpeas with the oil, seasoning, salt and pepper and roast in a 350ºF oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and toasted. Cool.

2. Blanch the zucchini whole in salted water. Shock in an ice bath until cool enough to handle.

3. Quarter zucchini lengthwise and then into one inch pieces.

4. Place zucchini between paper towels to dry.

5. Sauté zucchini in oil and season with salt and pepper.

6. Combine all of the ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve room temp.

Serves 2-4.

 

Cherry Clafoutis

 

2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

5 Tablespoons granular sugar

½ cup cream

½ cup whole milk

4 whole eggs

 

1 cup red cherries, pitted

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

preparing the custard:

1. Whisk together flour and sugar.

2. Add a little bit of the milk to the flour/sugar mix to form a smooth paste.

3. Add remaining milk, cream and eggs, whisk until smooth.

filling & baking the clafoutis:

1. Butter an eight inch baking dish and dust with sugar.

2. Arrange pitted cherries in the bottom and gently pour in the custard as to not disturbe the cherries too much.

3. Bake clafoutis for 20-25 minutes or until custard has puffed and browned.

Serve at room temperature with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar if you desire.

Serves 2-4.

With all of the great things you can do with Meyer lemons and since they are so readily available this year it seems making some lemon curd with them will be a welcome change to the usual. I have seen cakes such as this one around the web, but for this particular one I will be filling it not only with blueberries, but with blueberries and lemon curd. I think that anything that involves fruit is enhanced when a bit of lemon is added, whether it be Meyer lemon, lemon verbena or lemon thyme.

While shopping for the ingredients, I can across my favorite blueberry jam and thought that this would be great for this type of cake. You could very well put whole blueberries in the cake part, but I thought that this jam would be great since it has bits of blueberries in the jam; a superb texture.

For this recipe the filling is rather soft, so whole blueberries were placed between the cake layers so the filling would stay pretty much in place, which worked rather well.

This cake makes six smaller sized servings than the typical, just enough to have after dinner so you don’t overdo it by having dessert, the kind of portions I like.

Wild Blueberry Cream Cake Recipe

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup granular sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Meyer Lemon Curd

Whipped Cream

1/3 cup wild blueberry jam

Blueberries [for filling & decoration]

Preheat oven to 350ºF

1. Whisk together flour and sea salt. Set aside.

2. In a mixer, whip eggs and sugar until a mousse like consistence has happened, approximately 5-8 minutes. Lifting the whisk out of the mixture, the eggs should flow in a slow thick stream. Add vanilla extract.

3. Sprinkle in half of the flour and fold in. Repeat with reaming flour.

4. Pour in the butter and fold one more time.

5. Divide the batter between three, six inch cake pans that have been buttered and lined with parchment.

6. Bake for twenty minutes or until the center springs back when pressed.

7. Run a knife around the edge of each cake round and invert onto a wire cooling rack lined with parchment.

Meyer Lemon Curd Recipe

10 Tablespoons granular sugar

6 Tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

5 large egg yolks

zest from two Meyer lemons, approx. 2 teaspoons

7 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small bits

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1. Combine sugar, lemon juice, egg yolks and lemon zest in a small sauce pan.

2. Cook over medium-low heat while stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon.

3. Remove from heat and start stirring in the butter bits a little at a time. Add salt.

4. Pour mixture into a bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface of the curd and chill.

5. Once thoroughly chilled, whisk until smooth before use.

*reserve the remaining curd for another use.

Whipped Cream Recipe

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon granular sugar

1. Whip cream and sugar together until soft peaks form.

assembling the cake:

1. Spread two tablespoons of lemon curd on the first cake round leaving a one inch edge around the cake.

2. Spoon half of the jam in the one inch band just past the lemon curd.

3. Spread whipped cream over the lemon curd and jam.

4. Push eight to ten blueberries randomly through the filling.

5. Place the next cake round over the first layer of filling and repeat steps one through four.

6. Place the last cake round on top and spread the remaining whipped cream and decorate with blueberries.

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