French Style Supper: Apple Cardamom-Cream Tart

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Last but certainly not least in this series: the apple tart. For this tart, a loose bottom pan is also ideal, but not necessary. However, don’t use a deep one like I did – it takes forever to cook! A 9-12″ shallow tart pan should be good.

You’ll want the same Pâte Brisée recipe from the Quiche. However, since this is a sweet tart, I like to up the sugar just a touch (maybe a scant tablespoon). Whether or not you do that is totally up to you. Now for the filling: Read More:

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French Syle Supper: Steak Tartare

IMG_1086Rather a long while back, I posted an entry about a French Style Supper that I made inspired by Becoming Madame and Market Day Canelé – but, me being me, I never posted the recipes. Shame on me! So, here is the first recipe of three. A little disclaimer: this is not a recipe for the squeamish – it’s got raw things in it. 🙂 Steak Tartare

Chocolate “Hostess” Cupcakes

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Another fun thing to do when you’re home alone is to bake – and then bring things into work so that you don’t eat it all yourself, and so your coworkers like you. 🙂 I’m particularly partial to cupcakes myself – chocolate please! Usually I just make my favorite chocolate cake from Gourmet, Dec ’87. After all, that’s the year and month I was born – it must be made for me, right? But, this time I decided to switch things up a bit. I’ve never made a chiffon cake before ’cause I’ve always heard they were more finicky. Maybe they are, but I had good luck with this recipe, and now, in my opinion, chiffon is the way to go for cupcakes. Light, fluffy, moist. But they have a firm enough texture that they don’t fall apart when you take a bite. Perfection. I even ate one without any frosting and it was good! But then, to top it all off – to guild the lily as the saying goes – I decided to fill them with pastry cream and smother the top in chocolate-coffee ganache. What?!

The Revelation of French Buttercream

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You know how American buttercream frosting is always really sweet (4 cups of sugar?!) and no matter how long you heat and stir it, it never seems to get smooth? You know how those nice bakeries always have really smooth, buttery buttercream? Well, as usual, the French have the culinary answer. Read More

Roll Your Own: Sushi

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Not too long ago, we decided to try a little experiment. We all love sushi – I mean love it. We can’t get enough. Especially with that totally un-authentic spicy mayo. But good sushi is SO expensive, and who KNOWS what they’re putting into that spicy, creamy deliciousness?! So, why not try making it ourselves? There’s a fish market in Stockton that carries INCREDIBLY fresh fish, and although his prices are high, it still comes out to way less than three people eating out at a sushi place.

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Sunday Lunch: Salad Lyonnaise

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Salad Lyonnaise is, possibly, the perfect brunch dish. Salty bacon bits. Vinegary dressing. Ooey, gooey egg. In other words: salty, crunchy, egg-y perfection. What’s not to love? Add some crisp potatoes and you’re on the road to nirvana. Get ready to be converted to Sunday Lunch done right. You’ll never go back. Promise. See Recipe

French Style Supper

Inspired by Becoming Madame.

Every few weeks, we go to a farmer’s market in Chestnut Hill, a neighborhood in Philly, and we get these amazing French-style tarts (sweet and savory) from Market Day Canelé. The flavors vary from week to week depending on what is fresh and in season. This past weekend we were not going to get there because we had prior plans.

I had recently discovered the blog Becoming Madame, and I had read her three posts on “Eating like the French“. So I thought, inspired by these posts, why not make my own French-style tarts? Especially since I already had beef for steak tartare thawing in the fridge and needed a second course to accompany it. Done. I would make a quiche/tart. And while I was at it, I might as well use those apples sitting in the fridge. Apple tart it is! The resulting menu was: Steak tartare, bacon and onion quiche, and apple, cardamom cream tart. I had small serving of yogurt between the main course and dessert, my parents opted for a small glass of kefir – same concept. We accompanied all this with a bottle of Gruet Blanc de Noirs, because who doesn’t like a little dry bubbly? The result was quite satisfying – and my first attempt at steak tartare was a success, if I do say so myself. Thanks for the idea, Becoming Madame!

Cocktail of the Week: Nectarine Whiskey Smash

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So, I came across a couple of overripe nectarines in the fridge a couple days ago. They smelled wonderful, but I admit, I’m very picky about the texture of my fruit, and I knew I didn’t want to eat them out of hand. What to do, what to do? Make a cocktail of course! I had just picked some of my sadly neglected, but thriving mint, which I threw into the mix, and as it was a cool night, out came the rye. Three rocks glasses, two thirds of a nectarine in each with 10 or so leaves of mint, a squeeze of lemon all smooshed together and covered with rye and ice. Yum, yum.

Recipe.

Experiment: Nectarine-Lavender Muffins with Coconut Flour

So, I saw this pin on Pinterest (yes, I spend too much time on that site. But, all the cool ideas I find there!). Anyway, someone pinned Lavender Nectarine Muffins. Sounds damn good, I thought. So (after repinning, of course) I clicked for the recipe. Despair! It was in German! What now? I don’t speak German! Ahhh, but the internet can do anything – right? Hasty Google search. Some copy and pasting. Soon I have a VERY rough translation. Well, I’m creative. I can make this work; I WANT ME SOME MUFFINS.

Of course, being the impatient person I am, I decided to experiment on my first go. I wanted to use less flour by substituting coconut flour. This is not quite as straightforward as I thought it would be since you have to add equal parts extra liquid to coconut flour and sometimes you even need more egg for loft. Add to this that I was working with oz (weight) instead of cups (thanks European measurements). Anyway, for a bit, it was very confusing. However, in the end I actually came out with a batch of tasty muffins. Turns out the combination of nectarine, lavender and coconut flour results in a something that tastes a little like a corn muffin. Who knew? I think I may want to try making the straight flour version just for the sake of comparison. We’ll see…

See recipe.

Cocktail of the Week: Alpine Fizz

The weather has finally turned here in NJ, and we have been enjoying some Vermont style summer days. To celebrate the beautiful weather, after church this Sunday, we strolled around town for a bit. We thought about finding a restaurant with outdoor seating, but decided that our own porch and a bottle of bubbly with bakery treats would be just as pleasant and less expensive. So home we came bearing our precious bag of assorted croissants, and down I went to the fetch a bottle of sparkly. Then I thought, since we’re celebrating, why not French 75’s instead of plain sparkling wine? Turned out we were all thinking along the same lines. Great minds, right? But, to our dismay, we were practically out of lemons! <gasp>. We were, however, swimming in limes. Gin goes with limes, I thought. Champagne goes with limes. Gin goes with Champagne. St. Germain goes with all three. And thus, the Alpine Fizz was born. Alpine, because St. Germain is made with Alpine flowers. Fizz because sparkling wine is fizzy!

See recipe…