Wednesday, May 23, 2007

strawberry tart

i made this strawberry tart from an everyday food recipe found here. i added about 1/8 c ground almonds to the dough. it turned out fine, but there were two aspects that were less than perfect:

1. fresh out of the fridge, the dough was too tough. you had to exert a fair amount of force with a fork to break off a bite. after the tart came up to room temp an hour or two later, the dough had a nice shortbread-y consistency and was easy to eat. however, by this time the cream cheese had really gotten runny. i can't figure out if this is a function of the dough recipe or temperature. i don't know enough about pastry to figure it out and that frustrates me. mix it less in the food processor? don't add almonds? serve at just below room temperature? grrr.

2. also, the glaze wasn't as smooth as i wanted. despite spending about 20 minutes in whole foods examining every jelly they had by holding it up to the light to see if it looked clear enough, i still had trouble with it. this happened with the orange, honey & pistachio tart too and i used orange marmalade. it seems like the jelly gets up to a certain temperature, boils a little and then doesn't fully liquefy. i'm trying not to burn it and i both times i heated for over 20 minutes. next time maybe i should use a whisk and heat even longer?

lack of patience and an unwillingness to follow a recipe to the letter are just a few examples of why baking is not my calling. this being said, i do love to consume baked goods, so i guess i'll soldier on and hope to improve along the way.

on a positive note, the taste of the tart was really delicious and was a great way to highlight strawberries that are finally in season!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

farmer's market treats

the worthington farmer's market is back and my withdrawal symptoms are beginning to subside. because it's early in the season, there wasn't much produce to be had (other than asparagus & rhubarb) but i did come back with some favorites i've been craving all winter.

sweet thing gourmet, created by kyla touris, has a fantastic selection of gourmet jams and biscotti. and although i'll branch out to other flavors as the season progresses, strawberry champagne jam is my favorite. her raspberry jalapeƱo and ginger peach jams are fantastic as well. sweet thing gourmet is made with only ohio fruit and is hand-stirred in small batches. her jams capture the impossibly fresh flavor of fruit picked at its peak. yum!

sweet thing gourmet
479 north stanberry avenue
bexley, oh 43209

pleiades maple products, purveyors of a large line of maple goodies started making maple butter this year! i have a maple weakness and maple butter is a treat that is hard to find. for the past few years, i have hopefully asked every maple vendor i know if they make it and until last week i have always been disappointed. maple butter has the sweet and rich flavor of maple with the creamy goodness of butter. so delicious!

pleiades maple products
eddie lou meimer
3870 twp rd 115
mt. gilead, oh 43338

Friday, May 11, 2007

grilled pineapple

this is so tasty, it should be much more difficult to make.
i bought my pineapple already peeled and cored. all you have to do is slice it, sprinkle brown sugar on the slices, pour a little rum over it and let it marinate for a bit. then grill it on medium heat for 15 or so minutes, occasionally spooning the leftover brown sugar & rum until it's done. i had these with a meal of bison burgers and grilled vidalia onion slices.
so fresh and juicy and sweet. the perfect summer side dish.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

pistachio, a sweet kitchen

pistachio, oh how i love thee.



this is the dulce de leche mille feuille. a dessert so agonizingly delicious, i wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. the layers: flaky and flavored with dulce de leche. the cream: light and yet rich.
yuzu chiboust: the slight zing of yuzu paired with creamy coolness, on top of a rich crust. the top is lightly caramelized. garnish of orange powder and raspberry coulis.

coconut macaroon (american style, not the traditional and wholly unrelated version pistachio is famous for pictured below in the center). dusted with pistachio powder for garnish.
not only are these the most delicious and beautiful desserts in columbus, the service and atmosphere are lovely. i cannot find one point of criticism on pistachio. even the prices are great, the mille feuille is only $4 for pete's sake! don't believe me, check out the menu. thank goodness for pistachio.

pistachio, a sweet kitchen
680 north pearl street
columbus, oh

Monday, May 7, 2007

grilled asparagus and strawberries with balsamic reduction

two summer foods that rule: asparagus and strawberries.

grilled asparagus and strawberries with balsamic reduction

1 bunch asparagus
1 lb strawberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked peppper
3 tbs crumbled feta

place balsamic in a small saucepan and turn heat to medium low. allow to reduce by half or more until it coats the back of a spoon.
trim asparagus and hull and half strawberries.
toss asparagus in olive oil, pepper & kosher salt.
grill asparagus over medium heat. toss with strawberries. sprinkle feta over and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

i love the way these flavors go together. something very magical and heavenly happens when ripe strawberries, balsamic and feta get together. it is important to patiently cook the asparagus at medium. cook them too fast over high and you'll get char-y asparagus on the outside with centers that are still too raw.
tonight i served this with some grilled baguette, first drizzled with olive oil, grilled, then generously salted with kosher salt.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

orange, honey and pistacho tart

a while ago, three flavors were bouncing around in my head.
orange, honey, pistachio. orange, honey, pistachio. orange, honey, pistachio.

after mulling things over for a while, this is what developed.
it's cool, juicy, and refreshing with a crispy, rich crust. a yummy summer dessert.

orange, honey and pistachio tart

tart crust:
1/4 cup pistachios
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, cold & cut into small pieces
1/3 c sugar

mascarpone filling:
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tbs honey
2 tsp orange zest
2 tbs orange juice

segments from 6 oranges


1/4 c orange marmalade (clear variety)

2 tbs honey

1/8 c pistachios, roughly chopped

preheat oven to 350 degrees. put pistachios in the food processor, and run until finely ground. add remaining tart crust ingredients and blend until moist crumbs form. place in tart pan and press dough evenly into pan. freeze crust for about 15 minutes.
pierce crust with a fork and bake for 25 minutes.

cut oranges into segments and set aside.
blend ingredients for mascarpone filling with a spatula in a metal bowl and set aside.

when crust is golden, remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

take a break, and enjoy a pom pomegranate lychee green tea. i love that stuff.

when crust is cool, spread mascarpone filling evenly and arrange orange segments on filling. heat marmalade and honey over low heat until smooth and liquid. brush over orange segments and garnish with chopped pistachios.
chill for at least one hour before serving.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

what's not to love about linked meats?

carfagna's is a wonderful local purveyor of italian foods. so good, in fact, that i'm having them cater my wedding this summer. more on that later.
i love linked meats and carfagna's has an extensive selection of house made sausage. pictured here is the spinach and feta pork sausage. it's really tasty, and i have only one point of criticism. i wish carfagna's would tie off the casing on each end of the sausage. the ends are open, more or less, and the fat runs out when you cook them. i can't get enough pork fat.

recently carfagna's started bottling their own sauce, and here it is paired with colavita pasta.