Archive for August, 2010

Rustic Lemon Tart

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

About a month ago, my company hosted a “team-building” cooking class at the Whole Foods Culinary Center. I coordinated the event, so I knew full well what was on the menu. Meaning, I had already decided what I wanted to contribute to the meal: dessert (obviously). So, when cute Whole Foods chef asked who would like to make the lemon tart, advising us that it was the more “involved” of the two dessert options, my hand was the first one up.

All the ingredients were pre-measured; pre-measured but not labeled. It’s possible that other people asked for clarification, but not me. No, I in all of my self-declared baking genius, knew I could figure it out on my own. You know the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef where the chefs are blindfolded and have to guess the ingredient just by tasting it? Yeah, I would fail that test. Apparently, I would also fail without a blindfold.

Did I wonder why the “flour” looked a little chunky? Maybe a little, but I threw it in the bowl anyway. And then, when I went to look for the powdered sugar, I realized I had made a horrible mistake. Yep – Ellen “baking blog” Reynolds put powdered sugar in the tart batter. So then, cute Whole Foods chef and I sifted my dry ingredients in an attempt to remove the major chunks of powdered sugar. Classic.

Amazingly, it still turned out, and it was GOOD! Good enough that I asked to take the recipe home with me so I could replicate it (this time without extraneous ingredients). The combination of lemon, cornmeal, and almond flour gives this tart a rustic, homey flavor. And when you get a bite with fresh berries? Heaven.

Gather Up:
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. almond flour
1/3 cup corn flour (finely ground)
4 large eggs, yolks and whites divided
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp. salt
Fresh berries for garnish
Powdered sugar, sifted, for dusting

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8″ or 9″ spring-form pan with parchment paper, and then coat the entire pan with cooking spray. (Note: the pan size is fairly important. I tried to “make do,” and it wasn’t entirely successful.)

Combine 1/3 cup sugar and flours in a bowl.

Whip 1/3 cup sugar and egg yolks in another bowl with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Beat in zest, oil, lemon juice, and orange juice. Then, fold in your dry ingredients.

This is where it’s going to get annoying, if like me, you don’t have an extra mixing bowl… Beat egg whites and salt in a third bowl with an electric mixer until frothy. Beat in remaining 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of egg white mixture into batter. Fold in remaining egg white mixture in two parts, mixing well.

Pour batter into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool. Invert pan, remove parchment, and turn cake right side up onto a plate.

Garnish with fresh berries and sifted powdered sugar.

This tart would be perfect for a Labor Day picnic or BBQ – it’s one last hurrah of red, white and blue!

Recipe courtesy of Whole Foods Lamar Culinary Center.

Savory Acorn Squash Pudding

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Lately I have become obsessed with puddings… Good or bad, I have never really cared about dessert puddings. I would always choose cakes or pies or cookies or ice cream, you name it, before I would think of assembling a dessert pudding.

But savory bread puddings are another story. Really they are just one step away from STUFFING, which is probably the best invention ever for eating corn bread! And really, they are just one more step away from BAKED ONION SOUP, which is definitely the best invention ever for eating giant croutons!

So, what is not to love about a dish of rustic toasted bread layered with onions and garlic and cheese, all tucked amongst slices of slightly sweet yellowy squash happily soaking up the savory goo collecting all around it…  (Wow that is a mouthful.)  Just like this dish…

This is another recipe from Nigel Slater’s new cookbook, Tender, one of only two souvenirs I brought home from Ireland – the other being some silly rainbow-colored silicon measuring spoons. It is organized by vegetable, a concept that is starting to pop up in other cookbooks as well, and is wonderfully useful in an ingredient driven kitchen!

Trust me when I tell you this dish is other-worldly – and you can use any hard-skinned squash you have on hand.  Plus, Ur Dad said three times, “This is reaaally good. What is in it again???” Success!

Gather Up:
1 Hard-Skinned Squash: Acorn, Butternut, Pumpkin, etc
4 Thick Slices of Artisan Bread
1 Small Onion, sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, worked into a paste with salt
Pinch of Thyme
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
3 Cups Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth
Olive Oil for Drizzling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Peel and cut the squash into thin slices. Toast the bread.

Sauté the onion in a little olive oil until soft and beginning to caramelize.

In a small to medium size casserole dish fit the toasted bread into the bottom, reserving at least one of the slices to cut into croutons for the top.

Spread the onions and the garlic paste over the bread. Sprinkle lightly with thyme, salt and pepper.

Lay the squash slices over the onion and garlic. Spread the grated cheeses over the squash.

Cut large croutons from the reserved bread. Spread over the top.

Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the layers. Drizzle olive oil over the assembled dish.

Cover and bake 45 minutes. Check to see if the squash is tender. When tender, remove the lid and let go another 15 minutes or so to crisp up the croutons.

Oatmeal Cookies

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

There’s something so comforting about a homemade cookie. And quite frankly, we were all in need of some comfort this week. Classes start Wednesday, and we’re all upset about it for various reasons. I’m dreading the additional 30 minutes it’s going to take me to get to work. (We live in a college town, and when school is in session, traffic is a HOT MESS.) Robin isn’t looking forward to homework. And perhaps hardest of all…our baby brother left for college yesterday. For obvious reasons, the last part has been hardest for my mom.

The weekend brought a whirlwind of packing, which in turn spurred a lot of spontaneous crying. I immediately stepped in to help comfort in the best way I know how: baking. Cookies were an obvious choice because we would be able to send some with Sean when he left. And these oatmeal cookies are pretty perfect for a college care package – oatmeal is so familiar, and these cookies taste like a little piece of home.

Gather Up:
¾ cup of butter, at room temperature
¾ cup of brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter, sugar and egg. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Place heaping tablepoons of dough on a greased or parchment-paper lined cookie sheet.

Gently squish the dough down – you don’t want to flatten it, but this is a dough that does not spread. They will bake in the shape that goes in the oven! Bake for 12-15 minutes. (Be careful not to overbake them!)

Roasted Red Pepper Pimento Cheese

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

As we approach the start of school, the cooking around here gets more and more indulgent. And, if you are a college-bound student, pretty much the sky’s the limit for what you can request and probably get!

College Girl is obsessed with several foods. Pickles. Steak. Cheese. Actually, pickles with cheese. Sometimes steak with cheese. And always, cheese with cheese. Which is the very definition of pimento cheese, by the way.

There are lots of good Southern recipes for pimento cheese, but basically you need some yellow cheese, some white cheese, some red tidbits and something to spice it up!

And this particular recipe is pretty addictive. College Girl powered through a bowl of it in 2 days. Impressive, considering we had only the baguette shown in the picture. Meaning I forgot to buy crackers. Oops.

The only slightly different thing I did was to roast my own red garden peppers and douse them in red wine vinegar instead of using jarred pimento. It was a nice touch, but really it is ALL about the cheese!

Gather Up:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 mild red chiles, roasted, skinned, seeded and diced (about ½ cup)
1 small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, worked into a paste with kosher salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Hot sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toasted baguette, crackers for serving

Mix the red wine vinegar and the diced red peppers together. Mix remaining ingredients together and add red pepper mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate before serving to blend flavors.

Rustic Tomato Tart

Monday, August 16th, 2010

UPDATED: If you clicked over from Foodie Fights, welcome! Thank you so much for visiting our blog. If you like what you see, please take a moment to vote for this recipe in Battle Tomato and Corn! And, thank you again to Foodie Fights for featuring our Tomato Tart.

Sometimes I feel like everyone makes pastry except me. Why can I attack a mountain of pickles or an avalanche of pecans without batting an eye, but the thought of rolling out a flaky pastry crust sends me straight to the frozen food case…??!!

I mean, I do buy an organic pie crust made without icky shortening products, but half the time its frozen crankiness splits down the middle, and the rest of the time the filling soaks in and renders it less-than-flaky.

So when I got a look at this sweet corn and these heirloom tomatoes I knew the time had come to GET REAL. (Plus my sister gave me a cookbook for my b-day that had a free form pastry crust in it that was calling my name!)

I started this recipe at 11:00 in the morning. Fueled up with coffee and alone in the house it was now or never! I’m proud to report the dang dough worked! I sandwiched it between two pieces of plastic wrap and rolled it out – genius advice from the book!

This coming after I worked the butter into the flour with my fingers…”rubbed the butter into the flour,” in the words of my new cookbook, which blithely stated, “why bother with a food processor for such a small job, it hardly seems worth getting it dirty…” AGREED. (Plus…our dishwasher broke this weekend, so while we’re waiting for some repair help I’m trying to avoid using anything that needs to be washed…)

I smeared the raw dough with some pesto I had left from another “project,” and then scattered fresh corn niblets and a little white cheese under the glorious tomatoes I honored with my first-ever pastry dough!

Gather Up:
1 Recipe Pastry Dough, rolled into a 12 inch round and chilled
1/3 cup fresh Basil Pesto
1 ½ cups fresh corn, blanched and cut off cobs
3 heirloom tomatoes, assorted colors, sliced
½ cup mild white cheese, Monterey jack or your choice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Place a pizza stone in the oven and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place Pastry Dough round on a sheet of parchment paper covering a baking sheet.

Spread Basil Pesto over dough, leaving a 1 ½ inch edge all the way around.

Scatter corn and cheese over round.

Arrange tomato slices over the ingredients, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Fold the edge up and over the filling, forming loose pleats. (If dough has become too soft to form, return tart to the refrigerator to chill dough.) Brush border with egg yolk.

Slide the parchment paper with the tart off the baking sheet onto the pizza stone. (Another great tip from the book!) Bake 45 minutes, until browned and filling is sizzling.

Cut into wedges and serve. Equally good warm or at room temperature!

Recipe adapted from Cooking from the Farmers’ Market.

Welcome to Like Mother Like gal, stay at home mom, college student. Just 3 girls who love to eat and are dedicated to doing it the old-fashioned way! Plan, shop, cook, bake, clean, sleep, repeat. Hope you enjoy - we are so glad you are here!
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