Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Eggs’

Tarting it Up – Sunchoke and Tatsoi Tart

In my mind there are few things more perfect than a french tart filled with peak season vegetables. And there are few things that give me more joy to pull out of the oven. That is what I am here to talk to you all about today. A tartilicious creation of perfect proportions, and one that I think you should try out in your own kitchen. Before we get too far in this dialogue, I will admit that, yes, a proper french tart can be a bit of a time suck to produce. However, like bread, most of this time is down time when little active work needed. In fact, in some ways, it is even simpler to produce than bread as the crust can chill in the refrigerator for an extended period of time, and the success of the tart does not require that you are in a specific place at a specific time to conduct the next step of the process. Additionally the tart crust recipe listed below produces not one but two tart crusts, so you can use one for this tart and reserve a second for a later use.

While we are on the subject of peak season produce, I want to talk to you about the two, slightly unusual, vegetables used in this dish. Lets start at the source. As I may have mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of the large Downtown Farmers market, most of the vendors there seem – well, not so farm like. It has always stuck me as more of a big farm farmers market, where the largest of the area’s farms come to sell truck loads of mass produced fruits and veggies. But, after a recent Saturday morning trip to the downtown venue I realized that there are some real gems at the market that I had not noticed before.

The tatsoi is from one of my favorite farms in the Nashville area, Devlin Farms, which also makes an appearance at the weekly east side farmers market on our block. Dustin and I have a particular penchant for greens and I was excited to see this varietal I had never from one of my favorite growers. I didn’t hesitate to buy a bunch and took the green goodies home in hopes of transforming them into some delicious recipe. As it turns out, tatsoi tastes quite similar to one of my favorite leafy green vegetables, mustard greens. Like mustard greens the tatsoi is relatively quick cooking, especially when compared with tougher greens like collards.

But the true star of the show in this dish, and the highlight of my Saturday morning trip to the market were the Sunchokes. As of late, I have been visiting a new stand that makes an appearance at the market on saturday mornings. This small farm reminds me so much of the CSA I joined back in Philly, their produce is so clearly small farm produced, each week new veggies make an appearance picked just at the peak of ripeness. This week, sitting in a basket at the front of the stall was a grouping of odd shaped, craggy tubers. I asked the stall owner what they were and he explained to me that they were jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, a North American root vegetable that is a member of the daisy family. I had had sunchokes in purees at upscale restaurants before and remembered that they were potato like with a slightly sweet and distinctly nutty flavor. I bought just under a pound and took them home to plot out a plan of attack.

Scouring through stacks of cookbooks for recipes incorporating sunchokes, I came across a recipe in the “Ottolenghi” cookbook for a sunchoke tart with kale and feta and it stuck me that I could use both of my farmers market finds to make one of my all time favorite treats, the savory tart. And, TADA, we come full circle, to this recipe below for a french style, quiche-like tart which marries seasonal nutty sunchokes and herbaceous tatsoi into a single cohesive dish with relative easy. I highly suggest you try it out at home, it is simply outstanding when paired with a simple salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. I warn that you though, that you may get hooked, as I have, on making tarts – but luckily, your family and friends will love you for it.

Sunchoke, Tatsoi, and Feta Tart

Start with the flaky pastry dough – this will require making the dough, chilling it, rolling it out and forming the crust, and chilling again before baking. Start this one day ahead of when you want to serve the tart.

Flaky Pastry Dough

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 TSP Salt
1 TSP Baking Powder
12 TBSP Unsalted Butter, Cut into 12 Pieces
2 Lg Eggs

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse in 1-second intervals until the butter appears in small pieces that are no more than 1/4 inch across.

Add eggs and pulse until the dough almost forms a ball (don’t over do it – over mixing will make the dough tough and less flaky)

Invert the dough onto a floured work surface and gently press into a cohesive mass.

Divide the dough in half and gently flatten each half into a disc (again, remembering not to over work the dough here.)

Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 3 hours.) Dough keeps in the refrigerator for around 3 days and can be frozen to use at a later date for about 3 months.

Once dough has chilled remove it from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a large circle, being careful to flip the dough and re-flour after every few strokes. The circle should be about 13 inches in diameter.

Gently fold the dough in half and slide your hands under it. Lift and place atop the pan. Unfold the dough onto the pan. Evenly fir the dough into the pan making sure it is flat against the bottom. Fold the extra dough in against the sides, if there is a lot of extra in a single area trim it so that there is only about 1/2 inch hanging off the edge before turning it in to reinforce the sides.

Wrap and chill for at least 6 hours – if you have the type of tart pan that has a removable bottom – be careful how you carry it as the bottom will pop out and create a mess. If you have room for it in the fridge, you can place the pan on a baking sheet which will make moving it a lot easier.

While the dough is chilling start on the filling. (I’m quite the poet aren’t I)

Filling

3/4 Lb Sunchokes, Scrubbbed (not peeled) and Sliced into 1/2 cm Slices
1/2 a Large Bunch of Tatsoi, Chopped Crosswise into 1.5 Inch Strips and Then Halved Down the Center
1 Small to Medium Yellow Onion Sliced
2 Cloves Garlic Smashed and Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TSP Kosher Salt, Divided
1/2 TSP Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, Divided
1 Cup Half and Half
2 TBSP Creme Fraiche
2 Eggs Beaten
1/2 Cup of Feta, Broken into Small Pieces
2 TBSP Flat Leaf Parsley, Thick Stems Trimmed off, Chopped

When the tart shell has about 30 mins left to chill preheat the oven to 375 degrease.

Place sunchokes in a large sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil until softened but still toothsome, don’t overcook – they will become rather mushy in the center.

Drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Set a large frying pan over medium het. Once the pan is hot add olive oil and heat. Add onions and sautee until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add tatsoi and toss to combine. Cook until just wilted, remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

Mix together half and half, creme fraiche, and eggs, add a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

Remove tart shell from the fridge and place on the counter, unwrap. Layer (drained) sunchokes, feta, parsley, and tatsoi on the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the filling over the top being careful not to entirely submerge the filling, you  want to be able to see specks of greens and bits sunchokes peeking over the surface of the egg mixture.

Place the tart, on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. Remove from the oven and carefully tent with tin foil, making sure to cover the edges of the crust with the foil to protect them from burning. Place back in the oven for an additional 30 mins.

Once the tart filling has set, and the tart is no longer wet in the center, it is done. Place on a cooking rack to cool and serve warm.

It is just so good that I recommend you try to remember what your kindergarten teacher taught you, and share with others.

Advertisements

Happiness is a Hot Breakfast – Bacon and Broccoli Frittata

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I was watching a preview for a new movie the other day – the movie focused on the impact that technology, and more specifically mobile technology and connectivity, has had on our lives. The movie centers on what has to be the biggest theme in film and literature in the past two or three years, globalization, and the effect that the new global economy and global society has had on citizens of this modern age. I worry that all of this connectiveness has, in some ways, taken us further away with the loved ones that are right in front of us.

Today is Dustin’ Birthday. As I am writing this we are in the car en route to Chattanooga TN, Dustin is on the phone with his parents and I am typing this post on my iPad. For us, who have so recently moved away from our long-time home base in Delaware, technology has enabled us to keep in touch, via phone, photos, chats and even blog posts with friends who are now hundreds of miles away. Also miles and miles away is the place where, almost exactly 4 years ago, Dustin and I met and fell in love. The last four have been the best years of my life so far and I am looking forward to many more with this amazing man of mine.

D started his new job this week. He has already thrown himself into his new work and is really enjoying it. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows him that he is a pretty spectacular engineering in training. His supervisors are noticing his eagerness and team spirit shining through in even these first few days. And with all this, it already seems that the pace of our lives has quickened. Dustin is working long hours and I foresee that trend continuing. Despite the fact that life seems to want to speed up, I have my heart set on doing what I can to slow things down whenever possible.

As part of this effort to put on the breaks and spend quality time with my lover and partner in crime I am hoping to uphold one of our longest traditions. Breakfast. You see Dustin and I have been eating breakfast together, almost every morning, since we met. Even when life is at its craziest it is nice to have a few moments together in the morning to start the day with a cup of coffee and a warm meal in eachothers company. Dustin and I love to eat eggs for breakfast and this recipe is fairly easy to throw together at the last minute and makes a fairly impressive morning meal. The dish is fairly flexible and could easily be adapted to include whatever ingredients are in season. Feel free to improvise with what you have on hand. One of the best things about this dish is that it can easily  be sliced into portions to feed a few people (2-3) so share with your loved ones and enjoy the morning respite.

Bacon and Broccoli Frittata

3 Strips of Bacon Cut into 1/2 Inch Lardons
One Head of Broccoli Florets Chopped into Small Bite Sized Pieces
Pinch of Hot Pepper Flakes
5 Eggs
3 TBSP Milk
Good Cheddar Cheese Cut into Small Cubes
3 TBSP Chopped Parsley
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together milk and eggs an set aside.

In a 10 inch ovenproof pan fry bacon until crisp and browned. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a small plate until needed.

Fry broccoli in the remaining bacon fat until just cooked. Add pepper flakes and stir.

Now this next part must be done fairly quickly so that the eggs don’t cook too much. Add egg mixture, cheese, and parsley and stir. Sprinkle liberally with freshly cracked black pepper and stir again.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 10 mins or until eggs are just set.

Cut into slices and serve.

Shakshuka – Not Your Momma’s Peppers and Eggs

August 26, 2011 2 comments

Shakshuka, come on, say it with me, shak-skuk-a. Doesn’t that feel good. It does to me as well. Now lets discuss what this amazing word means and why I think you should give it a go. Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli street food. To those not familiar with the dish it can be likened to another one of my favorite breakfast foods, Huevos Rancheros. Like Huevos Rancheros, this morning delight consists of eggs which are half poached, half steamed in a flavorful tomato sauce. Rather than the traditional spicy and tomato based ranchero sauce that is emblematic of Huevos Rancheros, this dish is cooked with a cumin scented mixture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

It is simply the best breakfast food I have ever had. Really. And it is so seriously easy to make at home that you must try it, I implore you. Like Nike says “just do it.”

Its easy to see why this dish is such a hit in Israel. It is simple, cheap, and amazingly flavorful. I mean, seriously, whats not to like. While it was criminalized for its cholesterol content during the 90s the egg is back on top and in favor with many in the nutrition industry in recent years. As Web MD explains “The confusion over eggs stems from their cholesterol content. One large egg contains 213 mg of cholesterol, accounting for two-thirds of the recommended daily limit.” Not only are eggs off of the list of suspects but they are now being touted as an amazing source of complete vitamins and protein. As web MD’s Kathleen Seldman explains “Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. And brain development and memory may be enhanced by the choline content of eggs.

The sauce for the shakshuka can be made several days in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in a pan before cooking the eggs. The sauce makes enough for approximately 8 eggs or around 4 servings. It can easily be doubled, without affecting the integrity of the dish so please feel free to double or triple if you would like to make additional servings. Just be sure you have a pan big enough for the peppers and tomatoes to sit comfortably. Traditionally this dish is served in Israel in individual small pans, I used a larger pan when I made this which works just as well. Whatever pan you choose be sure you have a lid which fits snugly on the top, it is imperative that the cooking vessel is lidded to trap in the steam which will cook the tops of the eggs while the bottoms solidify over low heat.

I like to serve these eggs sitting atop nice thick pieces of toast. As you cut into the eggs the bread will absorb the sauce and and runny part of the yolk and the combination is simply delicious. I imagine that any leftover sauce would make a great topping for bruschetta with or without the addition of a bit of goat cheese.

Shakshuka

1 TSP Cumin Seeds
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Lg Onions Sliced Thinly
2 Red and 2 Yellow Peppers Cut Into Thin Strips
2 TSP Muscovado Sugar
2 BayLeaves
6 Sprigs Thyme, Picked and Chopped
4 TBSP Parsley Chopped
6 Ripe Tomatoes, Chopped
1 Pinch Saffron Strands
Pinch of Cayenne
Salt and Pepper
About a Cup of Water
8 Farm Fresh Eggs

Heat a large skillet over med heat. When the skillet is hot add cumin seeds and dry toast until fragrant and slightly darker in color.

Once the cumin has toasted add the oil, once the oil is hot add the onions and sautee for 5 mins. Add the peppers and sautee another 5-7 mins or until the peppers are very soft.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and cayenne. Add some salt and pepper (about a 1/2 TSP salt and a TSP pepper). Add the water and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

Separate the sauce into the pan you plan to use. Make wells in the tomato and pepper mixture for the amount of eggs you plan to use, crack an egg into each well and turn the heat to low. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top and lid the pans. Simmer 8-12 mins depending on how done you like your eggs. I am traditionally a runny yolk sort of a girl but with the tomato sauce I like the yellows to be a bit more set and trend towards 1o mins on cooking time.

When the eggs have finished cooking sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley on top.

Carefully remove the eggs from a pan and set atop some thick slices of toast. Serve and enjoy!

How to Flip a Flop – Cake Failure, Trifle Success

I think I may have mentioned this before but just in case I was not clear or did not really impart this bit of fact strongly enough on you all – I am not really the worlds best baker. Rather frequently my attempts at baking success turn into baking flops. From pop overs that never pop to cakes that never set I find myself more often than not answering the beckoning call of my egg timer to find a gloopy, gooey, sticky, or alternatively, extremely over-baked mess.

Generally there is not much I can do to rectify whatever misstep I made that landed me in baking hell. Amazingly, however, when we looked at what was supposed to be genoise that had turned into a hardened cakey rock as a result of a miscalculation of cooking time I had a lightbulb moment – “Aha! (thought my brain in a rare moment of clarity) I shall make a trifle!” and so I did. And it was delicious. And I would seriously recommend that next time you peer into the oven to find an over baked cake you do the same.

20110702-113459.jpg

Strawberry Trifle with Custard and Whipped Cream

1 Over Baked Cake Cut into Cubes (or a pound cake cut into cubes – feel free to make one yourself no need to over bake or alternatively buy one from the store as cake perfection is seriously not required for this recipe to succeed)

For Strawberries
1 Quart of Strawberries Sliced
1/4 Cup Sugar

For Whipped Cream
1.5 Cups Whipping Cream
2 TBSP Sugar

For Custard
2 Cups Whole Milk
2 Cups Cream
6 TBSP Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod Sliced Lengthwise
8 Egg Yolks

Mix strawberries and sugar in a bowl and allow to macerate.

To make the custard mix the milk, cream, and 4 TBSP sugar in a pan over medium low heat. Scrape vanilla pod seeds into the pot and add the pods as well. Stir until boiling. Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit for 2 mins for vanilla to infuse.

Whisk yolks with 2 TBSP sugar in a medium bowl.

Strain cream mixture into a glass measuring cup. With a whisk in hand gradually add cream to yolks mixing all the while so that the egg yolks don’t cook and separate from the cream.

Place custard mixture back on the stove and whisk continuously until thick and smooth.

Place custard in the refrigerator until cooled.

Whip cream medium speed until lightly whipped.

In a large bowl layer the custard, strawberries, cake and whipped cream ending with whipped cream on the top. If desired peak the whipped cream with a spoon to create a wavey texture. Enjoy!

Categories: Strawberries Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: