Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meditteranean Plum Tart

Isn't the internet amazing? I type in a few ingredients and in seconds I find recipes. I was looking for a quick and easy way to use very ripe plums and leftover phyllo. Meditteranean plum tart appeared! Given how juicy the plums are I would use more phyllo and thicken the plums with more flour (the recipe calls for 3T cornstarch, and I used 4T flour; try 6T, if using flour). The phyllo crust on top was crispy but the where the fruit was sitting, the phyllo was a little soggy and more so after a day so lots of phyllo!

I skipped making the lattices. More work than it was worth, and because the plums are so bright and beautiful, the color pops a lot more. Also, I used butter and not vegetable oil between the phyllo layers. Butter makes everything better! Incredibly easy, and even more delicious. Very impressive low effort baked good.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tomato Tart

Isn't it frustrating when your own family does not want to eat a meal that you would lovingly prepare because they would prefer to eat meat. Really?! Meat! Especially something as delicious as tomato tart. So forget it, I won't. I will make it for some one who does, like friends. We loved it; along with another friend, we devoured it! Everything tastes better when it's shared, doesn't?

I love Sunset magazine. Love it! Every recipe works so well including this (click on title of entry fro recipe). I've never worked with phyllo and thought this would be an easy way to work with it. It was! You just have to work quickly because phyllo dries out quickly, even when covered with a damp cloth.

This is so light, tasty and flaky. It's light on the cheese and oh so flavorful. I highly recommend it as an appetizer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mystery Squash

Purchased from the local nursery (ab0ve)

From the compost (above)

The trials and tribulations of gardening continue. I compost, and harvested compost can be weedy. The most interesting looking things sprout and a lot of it is stuff I don't want like weeds, at least I think they're weeds and am not patient enough to find out because I want to plant and grow stuff. After the last round of harvested compost, I noticed a lot of very hardy green leaves growing so while we plucked a lot of them, I let two grow just to see what they become. And this is what they look like now! Ginormous. I think they're some sort of squash. The downstairs neighbors who contribute to the compost bin said they ate a lot of different types of squash this past winter. I am SO hoping I something out of it because it's beginning to consume our yard.

The ironic thing is that the composted squash is doing A LOT better than the one I purchased. Anyone have any ideas of what kind of squash is coming out of the compost?

And finally, the first squash blossom!! The tomatoes are coming up too! I guess I was impatient.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Steamed Snap Peas

I grew these snap peas. I grew what I eat! It's amazing. As I mentioned before, home grown snap peas are nothing like what you get in the store. They are so much livelier in the mouth. And they are So easy to grow, so easy.

Time: 10 minutes

-Snap peas
-A little butter
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Chopped parsley

Bring water to a boil and steam peas for 3 minutes. In a bowl, place butter, salt and pepper. When peas are bright green place in bowl and toss with ingredients.

So quick!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dutch Babies and Blueberry Compote

I read some food blogs, but have never really tried recipes from others' blogs. But I saw this recipe on Sommer's blog, a spicy perspective, and had to try it because there were so few ingredients and all were available in my fridge so it was a no brainer. Since I was hosting a special guest with a hearty appetite, I thought why not. The only thing I would change about the recipe is the amount of butter used. I used the 2T in the batter but I found that I did not need 4T to coat the cupcake bakeware, more like 2T. Also, if you do not have vanilla sugar, than add 1 tsp vanilla, keeping the sugar amount the same.

I made a very easy blueberry compote as an alternative for syrup (though they were delicious with syrup and powder sugar) that I found on the food network website, Ellie Krieger's recipe. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. Super easy with ingredients found at home. Could be used in oatmeal, pancakes, french toast etc. The compote is runny so I would add 1-2 tsp of flour to thicken it or cornstarch depending on what you have on hand.

Dutch babies are yummy and light. They aren't every day fare but make a wonderful weekend treat.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sauteed Green Beans

I love using fresh seasonal vegetables with the most minimal amount of ingredients to enhance their natural goodness. Green beans are in season and absolutely wonderful with a little olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs. Plus this recipe was a great way to use the All Clad skillet! Any recipe that requires the use skillet is one I'm going to make. This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated.

Serves 4
Time: 30 minutes or less, I think

-1 T olive oil
-1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in to 2-inch lengths on the bias
-3 garlic cloves
-1/4 cup water
-1 T chopped fresh parsley
-T tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Heat he oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet medium heat until just smoking. Add the green beans, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Ad the water, cover and cook until the beans are bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and continue to cook until the water evaporates and the beans are crisp-tender and lightly browned 3 to 5 minutes longer.

3. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Kale Frittata

A few months ago I purchased the All Clad 12 inch skillet based on Cook's Illustrated recommendation. Well, I recommend it too. It's wonderful. Omelets are super tender, fonds develop. Not only can you use it on the stove but you can use it in the oven too. I've been struggling for years to make frittatas by flipping them but inevitably half the contents slide onto my kitchen floor! Big mess. So I was very excited to try this skillet out in the oven. I bought it on sale for $90 in the New Year at Sur la Table; it usually goes for $135.

I found this recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food.
Time: 30 minutes or so

-2 T butter or olive oil
- 5 or 6 eggs
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other cheese
-Salt and freshly ground pepper
-Minced parsley leaves for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the butter or oil in a medium-to-large ovenproof skillet, preferably non-stick, and turn the heat to medium. While it's heating, beat together the eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, pour the eggs into the skillet and turn the heat to medium low. Cook, undisturbed for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the frittata is firm.

3. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake, checking every 5 minutes or so, just until the top of the frittata is no longer runny; 10 to 20 minutes more. Garnish and serve hot or at room temperature.

So this is the basic frittata. If you want to add a vegetable like kale, Bittman suggests adding one cup chopped kale or other green. I find kale is a little tough so I recommend sauteing the kale in olive oil and shallots until it is wilted a bit. Then proceed with step 2 above.

Also, do check the eggs every 5 minutes. I did not read that instruction and looked at frittata after 10 minutes, and it was done and may be on the dry side. So watch carefully, and enjoy!

Simple, easy and healthy.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Snap Peas

Snap peas are so hardy and easy to grow. I think mine will be ready to harvest in a week or so! Can't wait. At least something is coming along. My second set of radishes are not great. You win some, you lose some. It's all in the name of learning and having fun.