Your viewing "Tart" (7 posts).

I received a surprise in the mail today--Recipe Zine #1 from Thank You For Coming.

Thank You For Coming is a soon-to-be community-run restaurant and art space that plans to, among other things, invite resident artists to "run" the restaurant and host all sorts of programs and events in the space. I forgot how I found out about their Kickstarter campaign but was glad to see they surpassed their fundraising goal.

A multipurpose space, community outreach, education, friendship, good food...all are reasons why I supported this project. Will they succeed? Time will tell. I last heard the team is still setting up the space.

Yo Mama

Photocopies, Courier font, hand-drawn illustrations

Buddhism and knives

What are these seeds?

Obviously unrelated to the zine, but I would like to note that this iced Debello coffee from Intelligentsia reminded me of artificial grape flavor. Apparently my palate is not as refined as that possessed by people at Intelligentsia.

Do I drink it because I like it or because that's the law on Abbot Kinney? Sadly, probably both.

 

This is how the starter looked after a vigorous stirring today.  A little sluggish, probably because it hasn't been fed in a day.  But it is more or less ready to use, and all I have to do now is maintain it.

Maintaining Your Sourdough Starter:
If you keep your starter at room temperature, feed it daily.
If you keep your starter in the fridge, you can feed it once a week.

Be sure to store your starter in a large enough container, for a healthy starter can double in volume after feeding.  On that note, don't store starter in a completely airtight container.

To feed your starter, first pour out and discard one cup of starter.  Then add 1 cup each of water and flour.  You might add a bit more water than flour, if desired.  Stir vigorously after each feeding. 

Oops, I missed a day.  The good thing about starter is that a little bit of imprecision or neglect is unlikely to be fatal.  This is how the starter looked today after a vigorous stirring and before I added any additional flour or water.  By now, there are plenty of bubbles, and as expected, the starter is definitely smelling sour.

Sourdough Starter, Day 3 (or 4):
Add 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of water.
Stir vigorously.  Cover and leave for another 24 hours.
Give the starter a vigorous stir a few times during the day.

Tiny bubbles have appeared, and the mixture smells like benign flour.

Sourdough Starter, Day 2:
Add 2 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of water. 
Mix well.

 

I spent the summer of 2010 trying to perfect sourdough bread.  I spent hours researching how to create the perfect starter, how to keep it happy, how to coax the best flavor from it.  This blog began with a self-conscious post about starter

The starter traveled with me to Los Angeles, nestled in the front seat of a Budget moving truck.  But the obsession was temporary, and the starter was left for dead in the back of my sister's refrigerator. 

I've been here for over a year, and it's time to try again, with a more simple, temperate approach.  I can't guarantee success, but for anyone curious about breadmaking, consider me your vicarious experiment.

Sourdough Starter, Day 1:
Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 2+ tablespoons of water.
Let sit in a covered but not airtight container for 24 hours.

 

The theme of the day is change.  Change in plans.  Change in approach.  Change of heart.  External change.  Invisible change.

I changed my mind about making Korean food and testing out a new cookbook this week.  I saw this beet salad from Lottie + Doof and recalled a few lonely beets sitting in my fridge.  I then remembered that The Flavor Bible was sitting, similarly neglected, on the bookshelf.  I pulled it down, looked up beets.  I picked out every ingredient I had and loosely matched them.  Dijon mustard, Parmesan, chives, balsamic vinegar.  I remembered my mini muffin pan, which could do double duty as a tartlet pan (although purists would decry calling these little bites tartlets, I say, this is a welcome shortcut for the home cook).  The result: A little bit sweet, a little bit savory, and very, very good.  Is it strange to say that the taste evoked childhood memories of a small McDonald's hamburger with pickles and ketchup?  Well, it did.

It's not easy for me to put down the recipe and improvise.  But I'm glad I did, and I hope to do more of it.  Slowly, I'm learning that the way to become a competent cook is not to memorize hundreds of recipes but to learn techniques, and how to taste.

On another note, my parents are staying over tonight.  Now that their daughter is grown up, she can hopefully show them that she no longer eats snacks as meals.  Maybe she will even cook for them.

See?  Change is good.  

Beet Tartlets with Mustard, Parmesan, and Chives
Makes about 24 tartlets


Ingredients

For the filling:
4 small to medium sized beets
Olive oil
Salt
Balsamic vinegar
Dijon mustard
Grated Parmesan cheese

For the tartlet shells:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes

For garnish (optional):
Chives, minced

How-To:

Roast the Beets | Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the stems and leaves from the beets, wash them well, and pat them dry with paper towels.  Put the beets in a small ovenproof dish and toss them with olive oil and salt.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour.  You'll know they're done when you can pierce them easily with a fork (or chopstick, in my case).

Prepare the Tartlet Dough | While the beets are baking, prepare your dough for the shells..  In a small bowl, combine your flour, salt, and sugar.  Add the cubed, cold butter to the bowl and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse meal.  Add 3-5 tablespoons of ice water, one by one, using your hand to gently bring the dough together.  Form the dough into a round disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour in the fridge.

Prepare the Tartlet Filling |
When your beets are done, remove them from the oven.  When the beets are cool enough to handle with your hands, run a paring knife vertically down the skin of each beet and peel away the skin.  Cut each beet into quarters and add to a food processor.  Add a sprinkle of salt, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and about a tablespoon of dijon mustard.  Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse paste.  Set aside.

Bake the Tartlets |
Once the dough is chilled, remove it from the fridge and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Hopefully your oven has still retained some heat from roasting the beets, so preheating won't take long.  On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough until it's about 1/8" thick.  Cut out small circles about 2.5" in diameter (I used a 1/3 measuring cup).  Reroll the scraps once and cut out more circles.  Press the dough circles into a mini muffin pan.  Add about a teaspoon of the pureed beet mixture into each shell.  Sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan cheese over each shell.  Bake for about fifteen minutes, until the shells turn a golden brown.  Slide out the tarts with the tip of a butter knife.  Let cool for a minute or two.  Garnish with minced chives and enjoy.

Notes:

  • You could substitute other cheeses.  The most obvious choice being goat.
  • A shortcut method would be to make one big tart using a tart pan, and slicing the beets instead of pureeing them.  You could layer sliced beets with the cheese, too.  But I like these little guys because you can eat them in one bite, and the pureed texture lends itself well to a small tartlet.
  • Toasted nuts (like walnut or hazelnut) would probably be very good.


It's my last year of law school, which for some people means a downhill coast to freedom.  But as luck would have it, my year is as busy as ever.  But there is still time for food.  First, I'm excited about my food law and policy seminar.  You know it's going to be a good semester when your first assignment is to visit a grocery store and to read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food.  Second, a student still has to eat.  Here are a few things I've whipped up recently:

Remember my last post about the Food Porn photography event?  Well, after two hours of infamous Los Angeles traffic, my cousin and I never made it to the event.  We scrapped our plans and headed to my sister's instead, and we all feasted on a giant dish of japchae, or Korean noodles.  Japchae is dangmyun (sweet potato noodles) mixed together with marinated beef, spinach (or in some parts of Korean, pah), carrots, mushrooms, and onion.  Everything is tossed together with some soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, then topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  It's a popular dish at big Korean parties and potlucks.  So how did our japchae taste?  Pretty good, but nothing like my mom's.

Faced with a glut of berries from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, I armed myself with a new tart pan and made my first ever fruit tart.  This is a butter crust (made from scratch), vanilla cream, and organic berries.  

The finished product.  Thanks to the guy at Sur La Table who steered me toward the fine mesh strainer that, yes, turned out to be perfect for dusting confectioner's sugar.

Then I turned around and used the tart pan to make this mushroom gruyere-swiss quiche for a potluck.  Again, a butter crust, oyster and crimini mushrooms, and both swiss and gruyere cheese.  I later trimmed the crust (I let it hang over after seeing my tart crust shrink).

A healthy dose of eggs, whole milk, and cream later, voila - a savory, soft, DELICIOUS quiche with a flaky crust.  You can see that I could have done a better job beating together the cream and eggs, but I was in a rush, and trust me, it tasted no worse for it.  And note: I think the quiche crust turned out better than the tart's since I let the butter chill in the freezer for a bit before making the dough.

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