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Ridiculously Remiss from Spoonful

I have been too long gone. I apologize. I deserted my blog; hook, line, sinker; without even a backward glance. Why? Not because I haven’t been cooking…I had so much to share, and so many cooking conquests and yet not a single one was translated into blog-ese. part of it was that my computer was so darn slow (before I replaced the hard drive which apparently is kind of like computer Botox, takes away many of the visible wrinkles without completely erasing the signs of aging) and I was too impatient to wait for my pictures to upload or for the actual words on the screen to catch up with the speed of my typing (which frankly, isn’t even all that fast). Partially, it was studying for the NCLEX and job-hunting (which I passed AND got a job, hooray!) and part of it was a total dearth of the stories because I was not longer in the ER 3 days a week (soon to be remedied…eek!) And also…it was enjoying the summer weather…soaking up every single drop of sun and basking in its amazing warmth (until the Big Apple became the Baked Apple and I actually COMPLAINED ABOUT THE HEAT…never before has that come from my mouth). At last, I return.  However, my blog has missed many memorable exploits. For example, with the first fruit of the season to arrive in our CSA, I was inspired to try this:

rubies of the early summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with my lovely sis’ we ventured on even more cook-a-thons (she, holding my hand all the way through, as I rolled my eyes at the outrageous pickiness of the classic macaron recipe, and simultaneously steeled my nerves for my fear of failing) BUT WE SUCCEEDED! Recipe to come shortly, but I simply cannot do it justice today. A sneak preview:

double trouble

And with the increasing CSA bounty, I have had my hands FULL. And therefore, if for no other reason, the blog must come back, because all the awesome green (and other color) creations that I am making need to be recorded so I don’t forget them for next summer! Easy suppers (ie: taco salads, black bean veggie burgers, vegetable & tofu stir fries), crunchy lunches (read: massive salads) and delicious and different breakfasts…like the one I made today!

midsummer CSA love

Huevos Rancheros

“East Coast Style” inspired by Deb at Smitten Kitchen (who is my kitchen guru despite all the other cooking blogs I have found and delighted in…her taste is superb and her writing style is still my fave.)

Combination: Salsa Fresca con Salsa Verde Crudo (tomatillo salsa)

Makes about 2 cups.

2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (set aside)

10 tomatillos, husked and well washed, quartered
1/2 large white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Fresh lime juice or 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, pinch of allspice

  1. Puree all ingredients together (reserve the ripe tomatoes) until smooth, then combine with the tomatoes that were set aside, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  2. Let the flavors marry for 15 minutes or so before serving, but serve within a couple of hours.
Los Huevos
Tortillas (I humbly recommend The Tortilla Factory, white corn, AMAZING if you don’t have a tortilla press)
Eggs
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, finely grated
GOYA black bean soup (this brand is awesome, this is the secret to the ease of this recipe)
Salsa Fresca
Salt/Pepper
Heat tortillas in a lightly greased pan/skillet. Flip over when browned slightly. Top with some of the cheddar cheese. Crack an egg directly on top of the tortilla. Don’t worry if it runs over the edges a bit. It’s about to get way messier; embrace it! Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the egg is about halfway set, slide your spatula under and gentle flip the whole thing over. The yolk may break or it may not, either way, it’s delicious. Sprinkle a bit more cheese on this side. Cook to your preferred level of done-ness. Flip onto a plate and decorate as you desire with the black bean soup concoction, fresh salsa, and grated cheese. YUM
(pics to come)
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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Breakfast, Snacks

 

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A fruit tart for my sweetheart

I think some recipes tend to make themselves overly complicated and therefore, scary. For example, I made a Challah recipe the other day (stay tuned: soon to be blog-worthy) and just because I was running short on time, I skipped some steps and mixed everything together instead of in separate bowl, and just in general, stressed less. It turned out great!

Same goes for this tart. The original 5 recipes that I looked at gave me heart palpitations just scanning them. I got ADHD just trying to read through them in one sitting. So, for you today, I will attempt to distill these five recipes into one condensed version: the one that I ultimately made. Maybe the more complex versions are more delicious but in ignorance bliss I contentedly remain.

Who doesn't love a hidden chocolate surprise?

Sweetheart Tart

Pastry Crust

  • 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom (or four tartlet pans)
  • 1 1/3 C. flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • A few tsp ice water (add as needed)

Pastry cream

  • 1 ¼ C. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/8 C. flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 generous Tbsp liqueur (Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Brandy…)
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • (I also melted half a bag of semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler to spread in the tart crust before adding the pastry cream. This is a nice addition and also serves a dual purpose of preventing soggy crust)

Sweet Pastry Crust:

1)    Mix all the pastry crust ingredients. You don’t need to do it in any special order, but try not to over mix, and just crumble it into pea-size bits with your fingers until all the elements are equally dispersed. Flatten into a disc and cover with Saran wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. (Meanwhile, start your pastry cream.)

2)    Have ready an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle. The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan. Lightly roll pastry on your rolling pin and unroll onto top of tart pan. With a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to cleverly and neatly get rid of excess pastry.  Prick bottom of dough (prevents puffing). Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.

3)    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Fill tart pan with pie weights, rice or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly golden brown. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack before filling.

Pastry Cream:

1)    In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix to a smooth paste.

4)    Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat the milk and vanilla on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.

5)    Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30-odd seconds until it thickens dramatically.

6)    Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Apricot Glaze:

1)    Heat the apricot jam or preserves and liqueur/water in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted). Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.  Let cool until it is only slightly warm.

To Assemble Tart:

1)    To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm.

2)    Spread a thin layer of the apricot glaze or melted chocolate (if using) over the bottom and inner sides of tart. Let dry.

3)    Spread the pastry cream into the tart, filling about 3/4 full.

4)    Go wild with your amazing decorating skills!

5)    After arranging the fruit, gently brush a light coat of the glaze on the fruit. Do not put it on too thick or it will look like Jell-O. The idea is to make the fruit look shiny.  If not serving immediately, refrigerate.

This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. Serves about 8 – 10 people. Bask in the glory of the completed fruit tart.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2010 in Desserts

 

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