Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tarts, Tacos and Tomatoes

Summer is coming to an end. The whole month of August has been a blur, but I want to share some of the highlights with you, at least from a gastronomical point of view! I tend to get melancholy as a season passes...but I am trying to get in all of the tomatoes, berries, peaches I can before we get into the crisp fall vegetables and apples. The time shared with family, great friends, (along with the good food) is a shot in the arm to strengthen your immune system! Laughter truly is good medicine. Check out this amazing article: http://www.naturalnews.com/007551.html.

August was filled with time with all of my kids, going to the farmer's market together, cooking, hiking and lots of laughter with extended family and old friends. I celebrated another birthday...at Disneyland of all places. I'm now closing in on 50 and I'm so grateful for Shaklee supplements and how great I feel when I take them regularly and how I love to help other people feel well too.

Vitalizer is a product I take everyday. Shaklee makes it easy for you to get the nutrients you need in a convenient form. Vitalizer is by far the most advanced, comprehensive multi-nutrient supplement you can buy. If you take this everyday, you're guarantees to enjoy the wonderful feeling of health and vitality!

Life is short, so let's start with dessert! Here is a picture of my birthday tart. It's really a recipe from my friend's Susie and Stephanie for their award winning blueberry kuchen, but when we went to the farmer's market...this is what looked good, so we improvised. That's the beauty of this recipe...use the fruit you like. Made it with blueberries and mangos and it was great too.


Blueberry Kuchen (I made with Blackberries and Peaches)

Adapted from Dara & Co. Minnesota Monthly Stephanie Meyer

From Susie Shubert
Serves 10-12

I baked this in a 10 inch Tart Pan with a removable bottem...but you can bake it in a springform pan.

2 1/4 c. flour, divided
dash salt
1 c. (two sticks) butter
1 1/4 c. sugar, divided, plus a little more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
6 c. blueberries, divided
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F. Using a food processor or pastry blender, combine 2 c. flour, butter, 1/4 c. sugar, and vinegar until dough just comes together. Press evenly into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan, pushing the sides up a bit higher to form edges.

In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/4 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the crust, top with 4 c. of the blueberries, and then the remaining flour-cinnamon mixture. Shake the pan a little so the flour sinks down around the berries and the berries are evenly distributed. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are deep golden brown and the berries are bubbling.

Transfer pan to a rack and distribute remaining 2 c. of blueberries evenly over the top. Sprinkle with a little sugar, let cool for 30 minutes, and serve warm with vanilla ice cream (or cool to room temperature).

Here is another very similar recipe with the addition of coconut in the crust!! Equally simple and impressive dessert. A good way to use the Summer's bounty of beautiful berries.

Really Raspberry Coconut Tart (from Alice Medrich)

From Lottie and Doof

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups raspberries, rinsed and spread on paper towels to drain
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

CRUST

Position a rack in lower third of oven. Place your heaviest, darkest baking sheet (or pizza stone) on the rack and preheat oven to 425°F.

Set a medium bowl near the stove. Spread the coconut in a wide heavy skillet, set over medium heat, and stir constantly until the coconut begins to color slightly. Turn the heat down and continue to stir until the coconut is mostly light golden brown and flecked with some white. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes, be careful not to burn the coconut. Immediately scrape toasted coconut into bowl.

Stir the sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt into the coconut. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. This takes a little patience as there is just enough dough.

FILLING

Mix the sugar and flour together in a medium bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups of the berries and gently fold or toss to coat them with the sugar mixture. Pour the berries (including any loose flour or sugar) into the crust and spread them evenly.

Set the pan on a square of foil and fold the edges of the foil up and loosely over the edges of the crust to protect them temporarily. Set on the hot baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350°F, unfold the foil to expose crust edge, and bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the berry juices are bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes more. About halfway through, use a fork to gently break up the berries.

Remove the tart from the oven and arrange the remaining berries attractively, as close together as possible, over the hot berries. Cool completely on a rack.

Remove the sides of the tart pan and dust the tart with powdered sugar before serving. The tart is best if served within a few hours of baking.

Here is the kitchen island before my son Dan started to cook my delicious birthday dinner. We started with a beautiful baguette my daughter Lauren made, paired with radishes, butter, salt and some "stinky cheese"...what could be better?


The next course was clams and mussels in a white wine, fennel, garlic broth. Then....get ready for this, I'm sorry I don't have a picture, but we had the most fabulous stuffed zucchini blossoms with ricotta, herbs and lemon battered and fried (not sure if that is the fancy culinary term) served with a salsa verde. YUM. The entree was a grilled chicken breast served on a bed of roasted baby heirlooms from the market, a nicoise olive tapenade and creamy feta on top. Ok...I know, I'm so lucky to have a son who's a chef. I was an experience...the cooking process is part of the entire pleasure of the meal.

Here is a glimpse of another meal. We weren't sure what we were going to have...and this is the meal that happened. Grilled Shrimp tacos...so good. We just brushed the shrimp with olive oil and some smoked paprika and grilled them along with some scallions and corn tortillas. Dan whipped up a rouille (similar to this recipe http://bit.ly/ceoPVb) and some radish salsa, shredded cabbage (what do I say? Eat something from the cabbage family everyday) plus some rice pilaf . We had a feast!


This is food porn to me: a homegrown ripe tomato sandwich. A piece of great bread toasted with a good slather of mayo, a slice of tomato, and a sprinkle of salt. Hint, hint...if anyone has extras in their garden, you know who would appreciate them sooo much.

Here is a great idea if you have an abundance of tomatoes and you're not sure what to do with them (after you've already given some to me).

Tomato Jam
(James Beard Foundation)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup chopped onion
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
4 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes, seeded and peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

To make the tomato jam, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and sauté the garlic, onion, red pepper, and rosemary in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan until soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes and cook down over medium-low heat until the tomatoes have given up most of their water and turned a deep orangey-red, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste. Here's an idea, serve on toasted baguette with a smear of goat cheese!!


We started with a tart...let's end with a tart...a Tomato Tart :)

Tomato Tart

Store bought Puff Pastry

Tomatoes

Basil leaves

Cheese of your choice
  • Cut the rolled pastry into a circle or rectangle big enough for you or how ever many you are feeding.
  • Slice the tomatoes thickly and place onto pastry layering slightly and keeping a couple of inches from the edges.
  • Tuck some torn basil leaves in here and there. Season and sprinkle the cheese over the tomatoes if you are using it.
  • Brush the edges of the pastry with milk.
  • Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until pastry has risen and tomatoes and cooked through
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3 comments:

Stephanie said...

Kelli you made that tart look STUNNING! Love it! :)

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

You are doing a great job on the photos for your blog. Do you take them yourself?

Miss you Kelli.

Fondly,
Glenda

Kelli Abrahamian said...

Thanks Glenda and Stephanie. Yes, David and I take the pictures...mostly David. We are trying to keep the camera close at hand :)

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