Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fresh Tomato Tart

This tart makes people swoon, really. Of course my son pulls the fresh tomatoes out-go figure, what is it about kids who love spaghetti sauce but won't go near a fresh tomato? I got the original recipe from the lady who trims my hair, Deb is a real treat.
I started with a cream cheese pastry crust that was so tender I am imagining all kinds of different fillings for next time. Add to that thick slices of fresh tomatoes, cheesy goodness and crumbled, smokey turkey bacon. If you want a vegetarian option just omit the bacon and add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, either way it's just plain  good.
Cream Cheese Pastry
4 oz. cream cheese, chilled
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (white spelt flour works well too)
2 large, meaty tomaotes
1/3 cup minced red onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
3 tablespoons mayo (to bind the cheeses together)
1/2 pound turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled and/or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Start the pastry a few hours or the day before your meal so it will be well chilled before rolling out.
Put into the bowl of a food processor the flour, sugar and salt.
Pulse this a few times to mix. Then add the butter and cream cheese, pulse just until it forms a ball, no longer or it will be a tough crust.
Form into a thick disc and wrap in plastic, refrigerate at least an hour to chill well.
About an hour before serving, remove disc from refrigerator, sprinkle rolling surface with bench flour (a fancy term for the flour you sprinkle on the rolling surface),
and roll the dough about 3 inches larger than the tart pan (or pie plate). Be sure to use enough flour that the dough will not stick to surface when lifting.
Gently fold dough in half,
then in half again and place point in the center of tart pan.
Unfold and work the dough down into the edges of the pan being careful not to stretch it but keeping it loose so it doesn't shrink when baked.
Fold the excess over on the inside, it won't show once the filling is in.
With a fork, prick tiny holes on the bottom of the dough, this will allow steam to be released and keep it from bubbling up.
We are going to "blind bake" this dough which simply means to bake the dough empty, this way the juicy tomatoes won't make it soggy.
Put a piece of foil on top of the dough, fill it with a cup or so of dry beans or pie weights.
Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are beginning to turn golden, remove foil, if bottom is not cooked return to oven for another 5 minutes (without the foil or beans).
While the crust bakes,slice the tomatoes thickly,
and place on an old towel. This is what I keep that ratty old dish towel for that my daughter tries to throw away.
Now sprinkle with good salt, I like Celtic Sea salt or Real salt because it has lots of trace minerals instead of a blast of sodium. The salt will pull some of the liquid from the tomatoes so it won't soak the crust. Just give each side a nice sprinkle, perhaps a pinch on each side.
Cover and refrigerate until crust is done.
 Mix the cheeses, onion and mayo in a medium bowl and set aside.
When the crust is done, uncover the tomatoes, they should look considerably drier.
Layer 1/2 the cheese mixture on the bottom of the crust,
Place the tomatoes on top of the cheese so the spaces are all filled.
Top with the remaining cheese. And last, the bacon.
Bake 350F. for 10-15 minutes until melted through and bubbly.
Allow to cool for 8 or 10 minutes to set. Remove from tart ring and cut into wedges or cut in pan if not a 2 piece pan.
Serve with salad or fruit.
No, I did not take a bite, the crust was so tender the tip broke off, nothing went to waste, mmmmm!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glazed Orange Bread

In the mood for something sweet, rich and bursting with citrus. I judge most recipes by the "face" factor, I say to my son "I'm making _______" and watch the expression. This is one of those treats that evokes much more than a grin, often accompanied by a quiet groan.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour ( I used white spelt and it worked well )
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (heaping-non level but mounded on top) plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( don't use anything fake)
Zest of 1 whole lemon
Zest of 1/2 an orange
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup orange marmelade
4 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease or oil then flour a loaf pan.
 Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
 In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup yogurt or sour cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon and orange zest and the butter until just combined.
Add to dry ingredients, stirring gently until just combined lest you have a tough bread.
 Pour into prepared loaf pan
and bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 12-15 minutes then loosen edges and turn onto a cooling rack.
Prick the top of the loaf with a fork while still slightly warm so the glaze will absorb into the bread.
 While the bread is still in the pan cooling, heat the marmelade in a small pan until melted, stir in the 4 tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream.
 Place the bread on a serving plate while still slightly warm; drizzle the glaze over the bread in small increments so it can ooze down into the bread and not just run off.
 When completely cool, slice and enjoy.
You might need to set a guard over this until cool, don't call my boy-he is definitely his mother's son. There was, one day, a loaf of yumminess found cooling on the counter, curiously shorter than the loaf pan. It had been sliced, the middle slice gone, and the two ends pushed together. Except that the loaf pan was still on the counter would anyone have known? Really!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fresh Blueberry Bread

Ah, blueberries! As Samuel was grousing about picking these splendid little morsels, I pointed out how God must love us to hang these sweet little beauties from bushes for us to come along and pluck for our delight. I had intended to take some photos at the blueberry farm but forgot my camera in the car. But this is just some of what we brought home.
16 1/2 pounds in all. The lady let's people pick and will take 1/2 of what you pick as payment or you can pay $2 per pound (U-pick).
Leah picked through them after I washed them then bagged and froze most of them.
We shall have blueberry treats all winter! But here is one for you now, this bread is rich and tender, bursting with the fresh berries and a crunch topping. Use frozen berries when not in season.
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon flour (for dusting berries)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 tablespoon flour (for topping)
1 tablespoon softened butter
Butter a loaf pan well and dust with flour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the 1 tablespoon flour. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.
In a medium bowl, combine the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese.

Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and beat well.
Add milk and flour mixture alternately in thirds. Just combine it - don't beat it or the bread will be tough.
Gently, fold blueberries into the batter.
Fold this into the prepared loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, I used the same one I tossed the blueberries in (I don't like to do dishes), combine the brown sugar, oats, pecans 1 tablespoon flour and the 1 tablespoon butter.
 Mix with fork or fingers to make coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle on top of batter.
Bake for 1 hour or until pick comes out clean.
I left a little over a quart of berries in the fridge, I think blueberry pancakes are in our future!