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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pâte Brisée


So I finally made a tart crust from scratch.  The recipe is pretty much identical to the pie crust recipe that I have used and posted here.  The only difference is that the pie crust recipe has significantly more sugar and uses a combination of butter and shortening instead of straight butter.  I will definitely continue to use this recipe for all savory pies, tarts, and quiches.  It was delicious and very easy to make.  I made it to use for a mushroom leek quiche, however, I believe the recipe I was following was totally off with its proportion of filling to crust space.  So I will need to attempt it again with adjustments.  Until then, here is the recipe for the delicious, buttery, flaky crust...

Pâte Brisée (aka. French Pastry Crust)
from Smitten Kitchen, from Martha Stewart and Julia Child

Makes one tart dough

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Form dough into a single ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

To par-bake the shell: Roll out the chilled dough as quickly as possible on a lightly-floured surface until is about 2 inches large all around than your pie pan. Either reverse the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the mold or fold it into quarters and lay it over the mold, unfolding it. Press the dough lightly into the bottom of the pan, lifting the edges and working it gently down into the mold. Trim off excess dough by rolling the pin over the top of the mold.

With your thumbs, push the dough 1/8-inch above the edge of the mold, to make an even, rounded rim of dough around the inside circumference of the mold. You can then press a decorative edge around the rim of the pastry with the dull edge of a knife. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals.

Line the pastry with foil and fill it with pie weights, uncooked rice or beans and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the shell for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove it from the oven when the shell is just starting to color and just beginning to shrink from the sides of the mold.

Unmold it and slip it onto a wire rack so air will circulate and cool it, preventing it from getting soggy.  If it seems to you that the sides of the shell are too fragile, or liable to crack or leak with the weight of the pie filling to come, do not unmold until your tart or quiche is filled and fully baked. HyperSmash.com

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rosemary Roasted Tomato Bruschetta


What do you do when you have a bowl full of tomatoes straight from your garden?  Well I've alreay made my roasted tomato sauce this week (see previous post.)  So we are on to bruschetta!  Nothing betta than bruschetta.  That should definitely be its slogan.  Found this amazing looking recipe from Bon Appetit.  Normally when I roast tomatoes, I use basil.  So I was excited to use rosemary instead.   Why didn't I think of that???  I love rosemary - it's one of my favorites - and we also happen to have a crapload of it growing out back.  The recipe also included proscuitto, but I really didn't think it was necessary and chose to omit it so the focus would be on the tomatoes.  The recipe also called for some micro greens tossed with lemon juice, which I'm pretty sure would be an amazing addition - but I unfortunately didn't have any on hand.  However, I am going to make this all the time.  I want to eat this every day for the rest of my life.  So one day in the future I will include the greens and update you all.

Rosemary Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
adapted from Bon Appetit 
makes 12 servings

1-1/2 lbs plum tomatoes, cut in quarters lengthwise
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp rosemary, finely minced
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh coarsely ground pepper
12 slices of baguette, 1/2-inch thick
12 Tbsp part-skim ricotta

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Lift the tomatoes from the marinade with a slotted spoon and lay out cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes until the tomatoes are browned and blistery.  (My tomatoes were on the small side, so they only took 25 minutes.  Larger plum tomatoes will need longer.  Keep on eye on them at the 30 minute mark so they don't burn.)

While the tomatoes are roasting, brush the baguette slices with the remaining marinade (make sure to get some of the minced garlic on the bread!)  Once the tomatoes are done roasting, lower the oven to 350 degrees.  Then bake the bread for 10 minutes.

To assemble the bruschetta, spread 1 Tbsp of ricotta on each slice.  Sprinkle with some more pepper if desired.  Then top with some of the roasted tomatoes.  Enjoy!



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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Pasta

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  I make it every summer.  I always hold out until I can get farm fresh cherry tomatoes.  I try to hold out until it's from our own garden.  I have made this for parties where there are people who don't even like eggplant.  They love this dish.  I have been asked for this recipe on a number of occasions.  The best thing about this dish isn't even how amazingly easy it is to throw together.  It's actually how creamy the sauce is without using any cream whatsoever.  The eggplant is what makes you think you've just dived into a bowl of vodka sauce.

I need to say this...beware the spice level of this dish.  My husband would say, "What spice?"  But I think it packs a good amount of heat - and I reduced the amount of red pepper flakes I use from the original recipe's whole teaspoon down to just a quarter of that!  I still think it's spicy.  Regardless, you might want to start small and add later.  You can't undo it if you do too much at the very beginning.  A quarter teaspoon may not seem like a lot, but once you roast it along with the vegetables and then blend it in the food processor...to me it's as if I've unleashed a fiery beast from hell.  The first time I used a whole teaspoon, I was sweating - but the dish is so damn good, I ate the entire plate anyway.

Roasted Eggplant Pasta
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 box whole grain pasta
1 small to medium sized eggplant, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
1/2 cup grated romano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, 3 Tbsp of olive oil, and red pepper and place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the veggies are tender.  Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and cook your pasta, reserving 2 cups of the water for your sauce.  Once the veggies are done, put them in a food processor along with the basil.  Process until smooth while adding the remaining olive oil and about a cup of the pasta water.  Once your pasta is cooked, drain and combine with the sauce along with the cheese and any additional pasta water if you think it is necessary.  Enjoy!



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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Piña Colada Popsicles


If you have a good blender and some popsicle molds, then there is no reason to ever buy popsicles from a store.  That being said, I think everyone should invest in a good blender and some popsicle molds.  I actually use my Nutribullet for this recipe.  It is the perfect size to make 6 popsicles.  I add the can of coconut milk and then just fill it with the fruit until it goes to the max line.  It fills the 6 popsicles molds perfectly - no space left, no liquid left.  Is that some OCD bliss or what?!

These popsicles taste like a piña colada.  If you want the "real" thing, add a few tablespoons of rum.  I went virgin since my three year old will be sharing the batch with me.  You could also do strawberry daiquiri popsicles, or perhaps my personal favorite frozen drink, the Miami Vice - which is a piña colada alternated with a strawberry daiquiri - best of both worlds, people.  I bet that would make a lovely photo too.  I will need to try it myself.

Piña Colada Popsicles
makes 6 popsicles

1 can of lite coconut milk
3 Tbsp light brown sugar (taste as you add the sugar and use less or more if you prefer)
2 cups of frozen pineapple chunks (I am sure you could use fresh as well.)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Fill up your popsicle molds, cover, and freeze overnight.  Is it possible to make an easier frozen treat??? Hypersmash.com