Archive | August, 2010

Tarts R Us

10 Aug

We seem to hoard an awful lot of Canadian Living recipes. This was our very first tomato tart, and we still love it. Nothing’s easier than rolling out puff pastry, but our beloved GR’s parmesan pastry recipe at bottom is mighty tempting.

Recipe from Canadian Living
(our very favourite roasted tomato tart)
9 freshly harvested vine ripened tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 (4 1/2 ounce) package goat cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or parsley
Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices; spread on parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet.
Brush with 2 tablespoon of the oil; sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 400f degrees oven until slightly shrivelled, about 45 minutes; let cool (Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate on tray for up to 24 hours).
On lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry 1 inch larger that 14 x 4 inch rectangular or 9 inch round tart pan.
Press into pan and trim edges; prick bottom with fork.
Brush bottom with mustard; spread with cheese.
Cover with tomatoes; tuck garlic among slices.
Sprinkle with basil, pepper, then remaining oil.
Bake in bottom third of 400f degree oven until pastry is golden, about 30 minutes.
Garnish with basil or parsley.
Note: If all you really want is the tomatoes, the tart is wonderful without the cheese.

By Andreas Viestad

In Norway, this simple dish is usually made with Jarlsberg or Gouda, but Andreas has also made it with Parmesan or Gruyere. This dish goes well with meat or poultry.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4-5 red onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
2-3 whole cloves
fine sea salt
1 sheet puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
1 cup grated Jarlsberg, Gouda, Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and cloves, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown. Season with salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Line a medium-size ovenproof dish with puff pastry. Remove the cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf from the onions and discard.

Place the onions in the dish and add the grated cheese and one teaspoon of thyme. Bake in the oven on the lowest rack for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Just before serving, sprinkle on the rest of the thyme.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons port wine
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces finely grated Gruyère cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 egg, slightly beaten

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or pot. Add onions and salt. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, about 30 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pepper. Cool.

Martha Stewart

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

by Gwendolyn Richards

GR’s pastry looks amazing, and she tops it with a pound of so of cherry/grape tomatoes tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. She tops the whole thing with fresh basil. Amazing.

1½ cups (375 mL) flour
7 tbsp (115 mL) butter, cold and cut into small cubes
½ cup (125 mL) cream
1 cup (250 mL) finely grated Parmesan
pinch salt

Add the flour and pinch of salt to the bowl of a food processor, then sprinkle the butter cubes on top. Pulse two or three times until the butter starts to break down, then add the Parmesan. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is in pieces no larger than a pea.

Add the cream slowly while pulsing until the dough starts to come together. (It will bunch up and the food processor noise will change.)

Empty the contents onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times to pull the dough together.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C).

Toss the tomatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, 1 tsp salt and pepper. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/3 inch to 1/4 inch (8 millimetres to 6 mm) thick. Press into tart tin (9 inch/23 cm round tin or a 14-inch/35 cm rectangular tin), stretching it as little as possible, and cut off excess. Arrange tomatoes in the tart tin.

Bake for an hour until tomatoes are soft and pastry is golden brown. Remove and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Roll basil leaves like a cigar and then slice them to make herb strips. Sprinkle over tart.

Serve while still warm.

Read more:


6 Aug

Again with the fantasy cottage food. Cedar-planked brie topped with a mash of wild berries sounds like a good plan. We may not have a summer getaway, but you can bet these oozy cheese treats will be just as good cooked on our city balcony barbecue.


Recipe by Laura Calder
1 block Camembert cheese with its box
white wine
1 sprinkle chopped thyme leaves
Remove the cheese from its box and unwrap it.
Put the cheese back in its box.
Poke all over the top with a fork, and splash on a little wine to run into the holes.
Scatter over the thyme and sprinkle over the pepper.
Close the box.
Wrap in foil.
Bake at 400ºF/200ºC for 10 minutes or until very hot and runny.
Serve immediately with crusty bread.

A Summer Place

2 Aug

The year: 1983, summertime.

The place: our best pal’s lakeside cabin.

The soundtrack (rather horrifying, courtesy of ever present Top 40 AM radio):

Our House – Madness
Come Dancing – Kinks
China Girl – David Bowie
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics
Too Shy – Kajagoogoo
Rock The Casbah – Clash
Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
Beat It – Michael Jackson
Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler
The Safety Dance – Men Without Hats

When we weren’t waterskiing or holed up in the cabin reading Archie comics, People, and Seventeen, there was baking to do — that’s what 14-year-old girls do.

This is an especially good project for a rainy summer day. Here’s a perfect farmer’s stand classic. It’s light as air, and as we snacked on this last night, we sprinkled a touch of icing sugar over top. We later wondered if we shouldn’t have split the slices and filled them with whipped cream and summer berries. Or added orange zest to the batter, or copied Dave Lebovitz and drizzled a puckery lemon glaze over top.

Recipes from Best of Bridge: Winners
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
2 cups grated zucchini
1/4 cup chocolate chips (we upped to a full cup, naturally.)

Cream butter, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Mix in zucchini and chocolate chips. Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan or a 9″x13″ greased pan at 325 F. for 45 minutes.

Pink and Green Scene

2 Aug

A summer barbecue with pink cocktails and smokey sliders. Lilly’s orders.

(Above, darling Lilly Pulitzer e-cards)

This smokey mayo looks divine, but we can’t help wanting to add a little slice of avocado. You know how we are about pink and green!
1 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotles in adobe
1 tbsp adobe sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and ground pepper

1/2 to 1 pound ground chuck, 80/20
salt and ground pepper
cheese slices
mini burger buns

Grill and assemble sliders, serve with chipotle mayo, pickles and red onion slices.

2 cups white sugar
9 cups water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice

In a large pitcher combine all. Stir to dissolve sugar.

Piqniq at the Pique

1 Aug

Bow Valley, c. 1920 Carl Rungius

Back in our mountain town days, a squished peanut butter sandwich and an orange was our preferred summit lunch.

You work up a mighty appetite hiking into the back of beyond, but heavy food will just make you feel sick.

Rundle Mountain, Banff Peter Whyte c 1932

Nowadays, we love to surprise our friends with the unexpected at the peak. Something refined. A little alpen hiking fare. We’ve been collecting vintage biscuit and toffee tins — rectangular and small circular — that fit perfectly into our pack, holding gourmet sandwiches, dried fruit and nuts, and other treats.

Another perk for long hikes: a thermos of hot, sweet mint tea and the surprise snack:

Bernard Callebaut chocolate bars tucked into good French bread. Who cares if it gets squished in the bottom of your pack? It will be melty and lovely at the top.

We like the idea of stuffing a soft pretzel or a pretzel bun with Swiss salami and gruyere. A skiff of good butter is mandatory.
We really like these served with cornichons and other pickles. Very civilized. Very Swiss!

Below is our go-to hiking sandwich, evolved from this vintage Martha circular sub sandwich. It packs perfectly tied to our portable wooden cutting board, which features a built-in knife. Packed at the bottom of our backpack, the sandwich becomes a perfectly compressed treat by the time you’ve stopped for lunch. We have many variations of this one. Sometimes its herbed cream cream cheese with artichokes and Parma ham.
We’d like to try a roasted veggie sandwich with our newly purchased balsamic glaze. yummerz.

Martha Stewart
A big loaf-size sandwich makes a dramatic statement, whether it’s the centerpiece of a casual party or the consummate picnic lunch. Ours feeds about twelve: Begin with a ciabatta loaf or some other rustic Italian bread. Remove and discard the center of bread. Spread olive paste on the bottom half. Lay on roasted red bell peppers, fresh goat cheese, and marinated artichokes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Lay on prosciutto and salami, and drizzle again with balsamic vinegar. Top with herbs (basil, cilantro, and parsley) and top half of bread. Double-wrap in baker’s parchment or plastic wrap. Secure wrapped sandwich to wood cutting board with twine. Place a brick or a cast-iron skillet on top of sandwich for at least 1 hour to flatten. Taking care not to cut paper, slide a serrated knife between sandwich and cutting board. Place sandwich (with brick removed) into picnic basket. At lunchtime, unwrap sandwich, slice, and serve. This sandwich can be made a day in advance.
without dressing; add dressing at least an hour before.


Another great mountaintop treat

Parma ham, smoked turkey,
marinated artichokes,
herb and garlic cream cheese,
sundried tomatoes,
fresh basil

Here’s a riff on Dive! Sicilian Sub Rosa

1/4 cup light olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch ground black pepper
Pinch salt
Pinch garlic powder
1 handful of thinly sliced and separated red onion rings (about 1/8 onion)
1 7-inch baguette
1 leaf green leaf lettuce
1 ounce each of deli-sliced prosciutto, capocollo, mortadella, Genoa salami, provolone cheese
1 ounce roasted red peppers
4 to 5 small fresh basil leaves
3 tomato slices

Mix the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and add the sliced and separated red onion rings to the bowl. Let the onions marinate for at least a couple hours. Overnight is even better.

When the onions are ready, slice open the baguette, without cutting all of the way through. Brush a generous amount of the vinaigrette (without the onions) on the faces of the baguette.

Spread the leaf of lettuce on the baguette.

Arrange the meats over lettuce. Add the roasted red pepper on the provolone cheese. Spread the fresh basil leaves on the sandwich next. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on the basil leaves. Remove the red onions from vinaigrette and spread them on top of the tomatoes.  Close the sandwich and use toothpicks to keep it that way to serve it cold. If you want the sandwich hot, leave off the lettuce leaf and place it open faced in a preheated 450F oven for 4 minutes and then broil it for 2 minutes. The cheese should melt slightly and the bread will become slightly browned. Slice the sandwich in half before serving.



SAUSAGE SALAD (Wurstsalat)
Recipes from Delicious Days

(For hiking, we would pack the salad and pita separately and let our guests fill their pita sandwiches or eat the salad on its own.)

200 g sausage (Stadtwurst, Lyoner, RegensburgerCervela)
150 g Emmenthaler or gruyere cheese
100 g pickled gherkins/cornichons
100 g red onions
4 tbsp water from the canned gherkins
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp vegetable oil (or pumpkinseed oil)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

pita bread
Prepare the ingredients: Peel and slice the sausage into either fine slices or stripes, the cheese into fine stripes. Cut the gherkins into little cubes and half the onions before you cut them into thin slices. Add the ingredients to a large bowl.

Dress the salad with water from the gherkins preserve, vinegar and vegetable oil, then season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and toss gently. Chill for at least half an hour – re-season if necessary.

Genoa Salami, Tomato and Cheese Pitas
Canadian Living
Similar to the recipe above. Pack in ziplocks or spill-proof containers and spoon into pita pockets.
8 oz Genoa salami, cubed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cubed Parmesan or Cheddar cheese or provolone cheese
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 pitas, halved

In large bowl, combine salami, tomatoes, cheese, red onion, oil, vinegar and pepper. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.) Stir in basil. Divide among pitas.