Tuesdays With Dorie: French Apple Tart

Well, where were we? It was the 2nd week in January, and I had just returned from the Ragnar Relay in the Keys….oh yes. And then I went and ran the Disney marathon. Here’s me and David after the race. We both ran it…but not together. He’s much faster than I am.
after the race we detoured on the way home to get me one of these:
That is a blurry photo of an amazing strawberry milkshake from the Parksdale Farmers Market in Plant City, FL. Did I mention they make a spectacular strawberry milkshake? They’re famous for them. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, you should pull off the highway and get one. Especially if you just ran a marathon!

I baked these tarts on Friday, before the marathon, because I figured it would make a good dessert after a good pasta (gotta get those carbs) dinner. And I was right. It was delicious. And not too terribly difficult, either….a winning combination, in my book.

The dough was the same one we used for the blueberry-nectarine pie over the summer. This time, I paid closer attention when I was splitting the recipe. I think it paid off in the end. The dough was flaky and tender and buttery. I used Kerrygold Irish Butter, which no doubt added extra flavor to the dough. I bought the fancy butter because I thought we’d be making croissants over the holidays, but we didn’t…so I took this occassion to use it. I usually use plain old Publix butter, because it is less expensive. But it is clearly lacking in the flavor department. This is definitely the place to go for the good stuff. It just tasted more ‘buttery.’ I’m serious.
I may not have cut the butter into the flour well enough…some of my tarts had small holes in them, which I can only assume came from the butter melting. It didn’t matter. They were delicious.

The apple filling could not have been more simple. I chunked up the apples, tossed them with sugar, lemon juice, spices and some fresh bread crumbs (I used challah that was in the freezer) and popped it in the oven. It took longer to cook than the recipe said, but otherwise was delicious. I ate some of it right after I mashed it up, and then as leftovers on saturday afternoon.
The crusts were pre-baked, and mine shrank. Which was dissapointing, but not the end of the world. Perhaps my beans didn’t get all the way into the corners? Next time I’ll try aluminum foil and do a better job at mushing them into the corners of the crust/pan.
And then filled with the apple ‘compote’ and covered with thinly sliced apples and baked again. Mine didn’t get terribly brown…I think they needed more time in the oven? Whatever….they were delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again.

The apples were light and tart against the buttery-flaky-ness of the crust. So good! I can’t wait to find an excuse to make this again. You should find an excuse to make it too. The recipe can be found on page 379 of the book, and you can find the recipe at Gaye’s blog, Laws of the Kitchen. As always, you can find other tasty examples of this recipe at the Tuesday’s With Dorie blog.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Pizza With Onion Confit

The last month has been crazy, and January is possibly shaping up to be even more so. I participated in the Ragnar Relay. My team, the Real Housewives of Pinellas County ran 197 miles from Miami to Key West this past weekend. My last run for that race was over the 7 mile bridge. I didn’t look quite that cute while I was running. In the group picture, I’m in the bottom row with the black do-rag.
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The Relay was a spectacular experience. I’m seriously contemplating going back and doing it again next year

Next weekend, I’m running the Disney Marathon, and then we head out for vacation in Sun Valley, ID. I’m exhausted just writing that down. Well, I’ll need lots of carbohydrates for this journey, so these recipes were a good place to start

These were two delicious recipes. The pizza dough was super easy, even though it called for making a sponge….and then the final dough. I doubled the recipe and put half of it into the freezer, which was smart. I made the kids pizza one day during winter break as lunch when we had another friend over for lunch (4 kids….it was a fun day!)
The confit came together very easily, and it was delicious. I even ate it on english muffins for breakfast!
I made one pizza with goat cheese and the onions for myself and David (though it was really for me….he doesn’t love goat cheese) and the rest of the dough was transformed into regular pizza’s to celebrate Adam and Reid’s 5th Birthday.

The recipe for the dough will definitely go into regular rotation around here, and I’ll continue to double the recipe and freeze half. It was nice to not have to think about making dough the second time I made it. And the onions? I think I’ll keep that recipe in my back pocket. I think it would make a lovely onion tart on our future puff pastry.

The recipe for the pizza and the onions can be found on page 159 of Baking with Julia. You can also find the recipe at Paul’s Blog, The Boy Can Bake. Also be sure to check out everyone else’s delicious examples at the ‘Leave Your Link LYL’ post at Tuesdays With Dorie.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Best Ever Brownies

This weeks assignment was to make brownies. The recipe can be found on page 331 of Baking With Julia

When I make brownies I like them to be easy, and maybe only use one bowl. I never bake from a mix, but when it comes to brownies, I like them easy. And dense. And incredibly chocolately. These were not easy, nor dense.

This recipe used no less than 3 bowls plus a fine-mesh strainer that I use for sifting. One bowl for the flour, one bowl to melt the chocolate in, and one bowl to mix up the eggs and sugar.

I melted the chocolate and butter in a bowl set atop a pot with some water in it.
It melted and then I added some sugar and took it off the heat
Then I whisked together the eggs and sugar and whisked half of that into the chocolate
Then I whisked the remaining eggs and sugar until they doubled in volume and folded them into the chocolate
And then I folded in the flour. I licked the bowl
And finally they went into the oven
And I brought them to my bunco group on Monday night. Nobody complained, but everybody knew that I’ve done better

I probably won’t be making these again any time soon. But, check out our host for the week, a Beautiful Mess, it looks like she got the beautiful, fudgy brownies I was looking for, she’s got the recipe posted on her site. Also, take a look at our leave your link page to see how other people did it.


What’s for dinner? Sticky Chicken

I’ve been cooking a lot lately, but none of it has been terribly exciting. And the stuff that has been exciting, I haven’t taken pictures of. Bad blogger. Bad blogger. In fact, today is Tuesday, and I didn’t even make this week’s Tuesday’s With Dorie selection, a pumpkin/walnut/cranberry loaf. It just didn’t interest me at all. But you should take a look at what other people did, here.

I made dinner last night, Sticky Chicken. I pulled the recipe from a magazine about 2 years ago. Which magazine? I have no idea. I wasn’t even going to post it because its not the most exctiting meal in the world. But then all my kids ate without any complaint and cleaned their plates, and then Reid (my scrawny child) asked for seconds. And then thirds. I was beginning to wonder if hell was freezing over. Because THAT just DOES NOT happen in my house.

So, I don’t have any pictures, but that’s okay. Take my word for it, this is good. And flavorful. And easy. Here it is

Sticky Chicken

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon (or more, depending on your preference) sriracha
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 or 4 good sized chicken breasts. I use bonless and skinless, but I think you could really use whatever cut of chicken you prefer.

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a baking dish. Stir to combine
Add chicken and toss to coat
Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, turn about 1/2 way through cooking.

I serve this with steamed broccoli and either brown rice or quinoa.

In a pickle: quick pickled red onions

I had 1/2 hour between when I came home from the co-op before my appointment to get my hair colored. After I put my vegetables away I sliced up a red onion and poured some boiling water over it. I put the red onion in a bowl with some white vinegar, water and salt. And into the fridge it went. And it came out a few hours later tasting great.
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Would you believe it if I said that all three of my children ate it? I even bribed them with more onions if they ate all of their chicken. They ate all of their chicken to get more pickled onions. I served the onions with chicken breasts that I roasted with some peaches and quinoa. The chicken with peaches were solidly ‘eh’. The onions were clearly the star of tonight’s show. I put the leftovers in a jar and left them in the fridge. Every now and then I reach in and grab a slice of onion. they’re really, really good. Go grab an onion and make this.

Quick Pickled Onions
recipe from Fitness magazine

1 red onion, sliced thinly
boiling water
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons agave nectar

Slice the onion and place in a colander, pour boiling water over.
Place onions in a bowl and add vinegar, water and agave nectar. Stir and cover. Place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Toss occassionally.
Will keep for a few weeks covered in the fridge. Enjoy!

Tuesdays with Dorie: French Strawberry Cake (and perfect genoise)

Our next assignment is to make a French Strawberry Cake. So, on the last day of school I decided to take my few hours by myself and bake the genoise sponge for the cake. The recipe for the genoise can be found on page 39 of Baking with Julia.

A genoise is a whole egg sponge cake. The eggs are whipped with sugar until they are pale yellow, frothy and form a ribbon that takes a few seconds to ‘re-absorb’ back into the eggs once its fully whipped. That process takes at least 5 minutes. I used my trusty hand mixer since my Kitcchen-Aid is so big, I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough ingredients in it for the machine to fully whip everything up. The photo in the lower right is the finished whipped eggs. See how much lighter  yellow and more voluminous they are than in the one above?
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Then you take cake flour*, a little sugar and salt and sift it together, and fold that into the eggs in 3 parts. The eggs are the only thing holding the cake up, so you’ve got to be gentle. Then you take a bit of the batter out and stir it up with only 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then fold that back into the batter. All of that goes into a buttered and floured and parchmented cake pan and baked. Ta-Da!

The cake sat in the freezer minding its own business until yesterday morning. I hosted my Bunco group last night, and served Sour Cream Enchiladas they were amazing. The only changes I made to the recipe were that I didn’t fry the tortillas, and I added a box of frozen chopped spinach to the filling. They were amazing. And I served this cake for dessert. Here’s how it went down. Continue reading