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June 2006

My Sister's Quite a Tart!

Ellens_tart Isn't this strawberry tart Gorgeous!!!!! My sister Ellen baked it yesterday, and she promised to tell me how she did it! I WILL share what she teaches me! Her secret is that she makes the BEST crusts ever. They always taste the way that you want them to, and that's half of the battle of creating a perfect tart or pie that tastes as wonderful as it looks (not always the case!)! She's also a painter, so everything that she makes has to be pretty!

Hi Beth,
I would recomment Julia Child's sweet pastry in " Mastering The Art of French Cooking." It combines the use of butter and vegetable shortening, which provides flakiness and a really nice flavor. The trick is to keep everything COLD. I melted two kinds of bittersweet chocolate, Valhrona and something else and poured on the prebaked crust to form a thin bottom layer. If you put it in the frig for 15 minutes it will harden quickly. I then spread a layer of good quality raspberry/strawberry jam and on top of that piped a mixture of mascarpone cheese, sweetened with a little vanilla and confectioners sugar( piping is the only way to avoid smearing the jam.) An easy trick is to put the cheese in a ziplock bag, snip off the end of one corner and squeeze.You can top with any berries. I began on the outside with strawberries and then did an interior of raspberries. Finally I sprinkled confectioners sugar over the top, which makes the tart really pretty.........
O.K. that's done!
love, me

Julia Child's Master Recipe

To Make a Butter Dough for Pastries and Pie Crusts:
Pâte Brisée Fine/Pate Sucree

For two 9-inch tart shells or a 14- by 4 1/2-inch rectangular crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached (scooped and leveled)
1/2 cup plain bleached cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
(or, for dessert tarts, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and diced
1/4 cup (2 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed

Special Equipment Suggested: A food processor with steel blade

Blending flour and butter. Have all the ingredients measured out and ready to use (mise en place, mise en place, mise en place!]. Put the flour, salt (or salt and sugar), and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half-second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly. Add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the 1/2 cup of ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times. Remove the cover and feel the dough – it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together [illustration in cookbook]. (It’s important not to overmix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine.) If to dry, pulse in droplets more water. From now on, work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.
Final Blending.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass. For the final blending, rapidly and roughly, with the heel (not
the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you
in a 6-inch smear [illustrated in cookbook].
Resting and Chilling.
Form the dough into a cake [illustrated] – it should
be fairly smooth and pliable. Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax
the gluten.

After the dough has rested, roll it out until it is larger then the tart pan, drape it over the pan and press it into the pan gently. Take a fork and use it to prick  the crust several times.  If you have those cute little baking stones , place them on top of the crust as well to weigh it down. Bake the crust until golden brown in an approximately 350 degree oven. When the crust is ready, remove from the oven, remove the baking stones and let it cool.


My Sister's Quite a Tart!

Ellens_tart Isn't this strawberry tart Gorgeous!!!!! My sister Ellen baked it yesterday, and she promised to tell me how she did it! I WILL share what she teaches me! Her secret is that she makes the BEST crusts ever. They always taste the way that you want them to, and that's half of the battle of creating a perfect tart or pie that tastes as wonderful as it looks (not always the case!)! She's also a painter, so everything that she makes has to be pretty!

Hi Beth,
I would recomment Julia Child's sweet pastry in " Mastering The Art of French Cooking." It combines the use of butter and vegetable shortening, which provides flakiness and a really nice flavor. The trick is to keep everything COLD. I melted two kinds of bittersweet chocolate, Valhrona and something else and poured on the prebaked crust to form a thin bottom layer. If you put it in the frig for 15 minutes it will harden quickly. I then spread a layer of good quality raspberry/strawberry jam and on top of that piped a mixture of mascarpone cheese, sweetened with a little vanilla and confectioners sugar( piping is the only way to avoid smearing the jam.) An easy trick is to put the cheese in a ziplock bag, snip off the end of one corner and squeeze.You can top with any berries. I began on the outside with strawberries and then did an interior of raspberries. Finally I sprinkled confectioners sugar over the top, which makes the tart really pretty.........
O.K. that's done!
love, me

Julia Child's Master Recipe

To Make a Butter Dough for Pastries and Pie Crusts:
Pâte Brisée Fine/Pate Sucree

For two 9-inch tart shells or a 14- by 4 1/2-inch rectangular crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached (scooped and leveled)
1/2 cup plain bleached cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
(or, for dessert tarts, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and diced
1/4 cup (2 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed

Special Equipment Suggested: A food processor with steel blade

Blending flour and butter. Have all the ingredients measured out and ready to use (mise en place, mise en place, mise en place!]. Put the flour, salt (or salt and sugar), and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half-second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly. Add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the 1/2 cup of ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times. Remove the cover and feel the dough – it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together [illustration in cookbook]. (It’s important not to overmix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine.) If to dry, pulse in droplets more water. From now on, work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.
Final Blending.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass. For the final blending, rapidly and roughly, with the heel (not
the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you
in a 6-inch smear [illustrated in cookbook].
Resting and Chilling.
Form the dough into a cake [illustrated] – it should
be fairly smooth and pliable. Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax
the gluten.

After the dough has rested, roll it out until it is larger then the tart pan, drape it over the pan and press it into the pan gently. Take a fork and use it to prick  the crust several times.  If you have those cute little baking stones , place them on top of the crust as well to weigh it down. Bake the crust until golden brown in an approximately 350 degree oven. When the crust is ready, remove from the oven, remove the baking stones and let it cool.


Embarassingly Simple Margarita Pizza!

2005_1020week0012_1 Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and it was gorgeous...a picture perfect day with flowers everywhere!  I spent the afternoon preparing dinner for my family and at the last minute decided to make this pizza. Wouldn't you know, the thing that took me three minutes to put together was what everyone loved the most and it was gone 5 minutes after my husband cut it!

This is one of the hor d'ouerves that I always forget to make, mostly because it is so simple and offends my "elitist food snob" sensabilities!

I have been humbled by the fact that after preparing a wonderful meal consisting of Beef tenderloin kebobs roasted with garlic and rosemary on a bed of garlicky spinach, fresh asparagus with truffle oil and pistachios, sliced tomatoes with French feta cheese and arugula and of course the mandatory rosy coloured pickled beets and eggs, that this pizza is the only thing that I don't have leftover for a midnight snack!

You will need one thin Boboli brand whole wheat crust. These are wonderful prebaked pizza crusts that you just unzip out of their plastic wrap. To make this pizza, I lightly brushed the crust with garlic flovored olive oil that was studded with fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. Then I spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, your choice, but like cooking with wine, only make pizza with sauce that you love the taste of!  I really dislike most "pizza sauces" so I always use a good pasta sauce instead! Then I topped it with tons of fresh basil , and covered the whole thing with really good cheese. I baked it for 15 minutes and that was it! I think the garnish took another minute!

There are so many things that you could use  to create a simple pizza like this, but the key is to use the best fresh vegetables,high quality meats and really good cheese. Because this pizza cooks so quickly, the flavours have to be  good from the start, because they have very little time to blend.  I love to use sauteed mixed mushrooms with truffle oil or shredded roast chicken with fresh tomatoes, garlic and spinach. Whatever you choose, keep it simple....that's the important part!  Three different  pizzas at a summer party with a great salad and lots of wine will earn you quite a reputation while keeping you out of the kitchen, and in with your guests! Also, if you make it ahead, this is GREAT picnic food for an alfresco evening with someone special! A little wine, a bit of chocolate, lots of moonlight.................


Embarassingly Simple Margarita Pizza!

2005_1020week0012_1 Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and it was gorgeous...a picture perfect day with flowers everywhere!  I spent the afternoon preparing dinner for my family and at the last minute decided to make this pizza. Wouldn't you know, the thing that took me three minutes to put together was what everyone loved the most and it was gone 5 minutes after my husband cut it!

This is one of the hor d'ouerves that I always forget to make, mostly because it is so simple and offends my "elitist food snob" sensabilities!

I have been humbled by the fact that after preparing a wonderful meal consisting of Beef tenderloin kebobs roasted with garlic and rosemary on a bed of garlicky spinach, fresh asparagus with truffle oil and pistachios, sliced tomatoes with French feta cheese and arugula and of course the mandatory rosy coloured pickled beets and eggs, that this pizza is the only thing that I don't have leftover for a midnight snack!

You will need one thin Boboli brand whole wheat crust. These are wonderful prebaked pizza crusts that you just unzip out of their plastic wrap. To make this pizza, I lightly brushed the crust with garlic flovored olive oil that was studded with fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. Then I spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, your choice, but like cooking with wine, only make pizza with sauce that you love the taste of!  I really dislike most "pizza sauces" so I always use a good pasta sauce instead! Then I topped it with tons of fresh basil , and covered the whole thing with really good cheese. I baked it for 15 minutes and that was it! I think the garnish took another minute!

There are so many things that you could use  to create a simple pizza like this, but the key is to use the best fresh vegetables,high quality meats and really good cheese. Because this pizza cooks so quickly, the flavours have to be  good from the start, because they have very little time to blend.  I love to use sauteed mixed mushrooms with truffle oil or shredded roast chicken with fresh tomatoes, garlic and spinach. Whatever you choose, keep it simple....that's the important part!  Three different  pizzas at a summer party with a great salad and lots of wine will earn you quite a reputation while keeping you out of the kitchen, and in with your guests! Also, if you make it ahead, this is GREAT picnic food for an alfresco evening with someone special! A little wine, a bit of chocolate, lots of moonlight.................


The Best Olive Oil I've had Yet!

Dscf0158 Dscf0159_1 Every Sunday in La Jolla California there is a wonderful farmers market and the best part is that it's right around the corner from my sisters house. It's irresistable, filled with local flavour and really wonderful produce. Between the little creperie,the fresh tamales and the amazing steel drum barbecue....well you get the picture! You can eat lunch, have dessert, decorate your home and dress for a night out on the town before you've ever even begun to shop for your produce!

On this last trip  I made an wonderful new discovery! After running around taking pictures of all of the beautiful flowers and fruits, I found my sister and my mother standing in front of the most delightful display of glistening olive oils! The really darling gentlemen behind the table was very busy flirting with my 83 year old mother and my sister, so naturally I was intrigued! I discovered that his name was George Petrou and he is the owner of Petrou Food services, which produces the best olive oil that I've ever had in the United States!

He was wonderful, and really knowledgable about the various oils and their uses. It of course didn't hurt that he grabbed my hand several times and proclaimed that I was "just lovely".....and that taking a teaspoon of his unfiltered olive oil would allow me to keep my radiance way past my 100th year! The unfiltered oil is just so good, like the finest fresh butter, but so much better for you. I also bought a bottle of bread dipping oil, made with George's fresh olive oil, his own vinegar and fresh herbs. I've been enjoying it drizzled on fresh tomatoes with red onion, olives and fresh French Feta cheese! As I was paying for my purchases, George looked soulfully in my eyes and gifted me with a bar of the best olive oil soap that I've ever used. He told me  that  using it would keep my skin young, moist and beautiful forever. WOW!  I'm hooked!  If you want to try these oils ,just go to www.petroufoods.com  and place an order.   If you want to find George, just go to the La Jolla Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. You will be charmed, but don't get any funny ideas....he's all mine!


The Best Olive Oil I've had Yet!

Dscf0158 Dscf0159_1 Every Sunday in La Jolla California there is a wonderful farmers market and the best part is that it's right around the corner from my sisters house. It's irresistable, filled with local flavour and really wonderful produce. Between the little creperie,the fresh tamales and the amazing steel drum barbecue....well you get the picture! You can eat lunch, have dessert, decorate your home and dress for a night out on the town before you've ever even begun to shop for your produce!

On this last trip  I made an wonderful new discovery! After running around taking pictures of all of the beautiful flowers and fruits, I found my sister and my mother standing in front of the most delightful display of glistening olive oils! The really darling gentlemen behind the table was very busy flirting with my 83 year old mother and my sister, so naturally I was intrigued! I discovered that his name was George Petrou and he is the owner of Petrou Food services, which produces the best olive oil that I've ever had in the United States!

He was wonderful, and really knowledgable about the various oils and their uses. It of course didn't hurt that he grabbed my hand several times and proclaimed that I was "just lovely".....and that taking a teaspoon of his unfiltered olive oil would allow me to keep my radiance way past my 100th year! The unfiltered oil is just so good, like the finest fresh butter, but so much better for you. I also bought a bottle of bread dipping oil, made with George's fresh olive oil, his own vinegar and fresh herbs. I've been enjoying it drizzled on fresh tomatoes with red onion, olives and fresh French Feta cheese! As I was paying for my purchases, George looked soulfully in my eyes and gifted me with a bar of the best olive oil soap that I've ever used. He told me  that  using it would keep my skin young, moist and beautiful forever. WOW!  I'm hooked!  If you want to try these oils ,just go to www.petroufoods.com  and place an order.   If you want to find George, just go to the La Jolla Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. You will be charmed, but don't get any funny ideas....he's all mine!