Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rustic Peach Tart

Summer has been a bit late in arriving this year. This explains why I can still get fresh local peaches at the end of August. A friend called a potluck together in honor of another friend who is visiting from New Zealand. I offered to bring dessert. I thought a rustic tart would be good, and the peaches are so lovely right now they make the perfect filling!

All this may seem a bit strange coming from someone who doesn't bake. Let me give you my very loose recipe.

1. Get your husband, or some other competent baker to make you a pie crust.
2. Blanch 6-8 peaches. Remove skin and slice them up into a bowl.
3. Dig around in fridge for the tablespoon sized piece of ginger you know you have. Peel and grate into bowl of sliced peaches.
4. Liberally sprinkle ground nutmeg on top of peaches. Roughly a teaspoon.
5. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of brown sugar onto peaches. Lick fingers.
6. Stir peaches to incorporate ginger, nutmeg and sugar.
7. Roll out prepared pie dough and place it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
8. Using ground hazelnuts that you found in the freezer, make a circle about 1/8 of an inch thick on top of the rolled out dough.
9. Place peaches on top of hazelnuts, then fold the edges of the dough over the peaches.
10. Brush dough with water and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Then reduce heat to 350 for another 20-30 minutes. Eyeball the tart every once in a while to see if it looks done. I usually pull it when any juices that have run out are caramelized on the parchment.

Eat it while it is just barely warm. Yum.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tomato Jam

After Mark's video was posted on Wednesday, I immediately bought the ingredients to make the Tomato Jam. It looked easy and yummy! I had made some sour cherry chutney earlier in the month (will post recipe later) and we were loving it with grilled pork loin. This tomato jam would make another great condiment to have in the fridge.

It took me until last night to make it. Before I started, I perused Mark's Bitten blog and read some of the comments from readers. Some had already made the jam and suggested more salt, less salt, less sugar, don't change a thing. There did not seem to be a consensus, so I just followed the recipe. I did however add two cloves of garlic.

Generally speaking, it turned out well. I think that as an accompaniment to pork it will be great. However, I do agree with one of the posters that it is too sweet. Also, mine is not as translucent as Mark's. I could have probably cooked it longer, but I had it going for about and hour and a half. I was drinking wine while doing this and got to the point where I was afraid I would just forget about it on the stove and burn it to bits!



Later, I was hungry and was reminded of the batch of brown lentils that I had prepared the day before in the fridge. Into a bowl went some cold lentils, a bit of olive oil, salt and tomato jam to taste. YUM!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

i love MB but hate the buffering on

haven't been able to watch this week's video cast because the "buffering" makes it impossible... what IS buffering anyway? sound vaguely naughty, and straight out of "the Riches".
very annoying. and in light of said buffering problems, there is no review/analysis/completely biased opinion of MB's weekly show.

but i love love LOVE this thing:

it is a corn stripper. not the kind that dances on tables. it strips corn off the cob.
now i usually scoff at this sort of unnecessary kitchen implement. i can be a snob, and this just reeked of amateur. anyone who knows her way with a sharp knife knows how to cut the kernels off the cob. why clutter the kitchen drawers with one more useless thing. like the egg slicer, the pineapple corer and the apple peeler.

let me tell you why: because unlike the video cast, this thing works! this little thing does it all without sending kernels flying into the crevasse between your counter-top and the your range, you can do it carelessly and you'll still have lovely kernels, and it holds them all lovingly until you are ready to roast them quickly before serving them at a taco-fest for 8. and the left-overs tasted oh-so-good in tonight's ice-cold gazpacho.

that is all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Avocado Toast

A few years ago, we hosted an intern from New Zealand. "K" was lovely to have around. She lived with us for four months while working crush at one of the local wineries. We learned many things from K. How to swirl every beverage in your glass as if it were wine. How to say "baanaanaa" with long a's. How to have a sense of humor when you are dead tired from doing midnight punch downs. One of the only food items she would make for herself was avocado toast, every morning for breakfast. At first I thought it was a bit odd, but then I realized that I was probably being provincial. Then I tried it, and was hooked. I just got a craving for some avocado toast and thought that it might be time to share the news.

1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
1/4 (or 1/2 if you are feeling decadent) ripe avocado

Spread avocado on the toast. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Devour.

Healthy, yummy, and nothing to it!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Chard stuffed with risotto - not a review, but a renewed interest

With 40th birthday parties, throngs of family from afar and kids descending upon us lately, there's been no time to cook, no time to blog. But things are calming down now - 40 has happened, and I am still standing; the family members have started to trickle home; and there is something resembling normalcy hovering in the air.

AND - I got chard from my farmers this week! Which means that the probability that I will test this week's recipe are extremely high. This is a good thing, because I am eager to get into the kitchen again, especially for a recipe that relieves the wonderful S from approaching rice-making again...

I'll take this one!

Stay tuned for reviews soon (I hope).
Chard on!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rice Salad - kinda blah.

Saturday night, at a lovely party hosted by the fabulous J, I admitted my inability to make rice. Let me clarify, I can make rice, but it doesn't actually taste like or have the consistency of rice. You know, where each kernel is its own individual? Not in my rice. If I have not produced a glob of stuff, then I have severely undercooked it and we are all crunching and chewing away. A few years ago, my husband suggested that we get a rice cooker. I am not a fan of appliances that do only one thing, but I was convinced that this was maybe a good time to break my rule. Even with the rice cooker, I cannot make good rice. I follow the directions meticulously - acting very scientific - and still, mushy rice. Thank god for take-out.

So, with our left-over rice from Thai dinner on Friday, I made the rice salad. Adding coconut milk, peas, fresh cilantro, salt and curry powder. It was unremarkable. Possibly due to the mediocre quality curry powder I had on hand. The consensus among the family (they were all over here again for dinner) was that it was ok. We agreed that it would make a good vehicle for other leftover vegetables, but as a stand alone dish, we were underwhelmed. I agree with J, MB himself didn't seem too thrilled with the salad.

Oh, I cannot make pie crust either.

For the record, I can make lots of other things.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

wednesday video blog - july 30th - review by J

Umm, excuse me. Rice salad? And that glob of coconut milk? Yuk.

It is redundant to mention, esp. in this blog, that I love MB, but this Wednesday's recipe was a dud. even MB was suspicious, esp. of it's less than appealing demeanor, and I doubt very much he actually liked the glob of "salad" he produced.

So no, this critic will resist the antics, and even the mock self-deprecation embedded in his "sometimes I surprise myself" comment and deem this to be one of the least appetizing recipes MB has presented lately.

I wonder, will S try this one out on her family too?