Simply Good Chocolate Cake

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Spring. Easter. Trees in bloom. Bright sunshine. Rain drops. Big sneezes. Little colds. Travels. Coming home. And chocolate.

My mom asked me the other day what was my creative process to write posts. Well, there it is. I throw words on paper. Words that go with the pictures I have taken of the recipe I have just made. I take them and elaborate with each paragraph. That's the process. My way of remembering to hit all the key points of what I want to talk about. Sometimes events prompt me to a recipe. Sometimes I just execute for no other reason than the desire to cook, bake or simply eat (I know - how very pedestrian, right?!). Now, that's just me. How do you go about writing a post?

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Words. Pictures. Moments. They all weave together to give you a story. I like stories. For the past two weeks I have been listening to my mom tell the family's stories. Some were old news, others not. Cousins getting married. Some having babies. Planning my grandfather's 100th birthday party. Quarrels and accolades. It's a big family. It bends and it snaps. It mends together and alone too. There are events or moments however that help us cross bridges and stick together, like Easter and Spring.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

And chocolate. A good, simple chocolate cake. One we happily sunk our teeth into coming home from an escapade to Asheville, NC this past weekend. This was the perfect time of year to experience the duality that is early Spring in our region. Each week brings a mix of cold and hot days, sunshine and rain, thunderstorms even. Cardigans, tee shirts, pants, short, boots and sandals. All have to be at the ready for a few more days until the weather balance finally shifts completely.

Back home we say "En Avril, ne te decouvre pas d'un fil" (meaning in April you are better off not shedding all your warm layers yet). Here in the South, that advice rings true comes mid-March but in his usual fashion, my Southern boy pretty much relocated all warm layers to the back of the closet. And got a cold. One of those nasty colds with big sneezes and heavy head, sore throat and low fever. And with men's general low tolerance of discomfort, you would think this is the end of the world of course.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

One thing that reassured me that the world was not going to fall apart for Bill was that he never lost his appetite. How can you in Asheville? One of the best food oriented towns in the South East! We had some of those typical Spring days I was just mentioning above leaving us with just a small craving for something chocolate. A small but nipping feeling that could only get satisfied with a light but intense bite of chocolate cake.

In doubt. Make cake. In craving. Make chocolate cake. The world around you will instantly be comforting and lovely.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

This could well turn out to be my favorite gluten free chocolate cake to date. One that holds many promises for changes and substitutions. We had it plain but I can easily foresee the addition of pecans, walnuts or pistachios in the near future. Maybe chocolate chips added to the batter for that little extra fudgy feeling when they are still warm out of the oven. A ripe mashed banana could easily find its way in there one day soon. Who knows? Can't wait to bake it again!

Before I leave you with the recipe, I must announce the winner of the givewaway last week: congratulations to Julie from Kitchen. The cards and book will be on their way to Vancouver as soon as you send me your address via email {mytartelette AT gmail DOT com}

Simpy Good Chocolate Cake:

Serves 8

Notes: I like to use superfine gluten free flours more and more gluten free baked goods as some people always have issue with the slight change in texture and softness compared to regular all purpose flour. They are easily found online but feel free to use whatever you have on hand and if you don't have to go gluten freee, use regular flour instead.
By choice, I've almost completely switched to baking with maple syrup, honey or sucanat which I used here but feel free to use regular sugar instead.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150gr) sucanat or regular sugar
1 cup (250ml) sour cream
6 oz (180gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 stick (115gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup (75gr) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (75gr) superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup (65gr) sorghum flour
1/2 cup (75gr) millet flour
OR 2 cups (250gr) all purpose flour instead of the 4 flours mentioned above
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (do not use with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Line the inside of 8-10 muffin tins with cupcake liners, or 8 ramekins or one 8-inch round cake tin (use a piece of parchment paper at the bottom). Lightly butter or spray the inside of the tins.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs and sucanat/sugar for 2-3 minutes at medium speed until light and airy. Turn the speed to low and add the sour cream, the melted chocolate and butter and continue to whip until everything looks fully blended. Slowly add the cocoa powder, all the gluten free flours (or all purpose if using), the gum, baking powder and pinch of salt. Turn the speed back up to medium and whip until the batter comes together in a uniform manner.
Divide among the prepared cake tins (or one single cake pan) and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

French Word A Week - Pamplemousse & A Giveaway

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Grapefruit

Planning this edition of French Word a Week was a complete "house" collaboration this time around. My dad picked the word, my mom got tickled pink when I got her involved into styling the picture. What did B. do? What he does best: ate the props! A little family project is always a fun when there is French and English simultaneously flying around. I just watch and take it all in.

I admit I drew a blank when picking this week's word (too many options I guess) until I stripped it down to the bare essential of something we see or eat daily. It has to be grapefruit for us. My dad eats half a grapefruit daily, B. drinks a glass every morning and I nosh on grapefruit sections in the afternoon for a little vitamin pick-me-up. Mom? She buys them. By the crate. Especially when we are all together!

Grapefruit

Today's word, pamplemousse, makes me think of plump, ample, soft, sunshine. It's one of those words I love to hear B. say outloud. It makes me giggle. You can listen to the pronunciation here.

Thanks to my mom I recently discovered the artist Catherine Martini who dedicates her work to painting all sorts of sweet things. I love the burst of colors, the shapes and subjects she choses to illustrate. Visiting her site always brings in some sunshine in the house. I wanted to share her work with you and thought a giveaway would be fun.

Catherine Martini's Card Set

But...it's not all. I am throwing in a copy of "Unforgettable Desserts" by Dede Wilson which contains 140 thorough recipes for desserts you can make all year round. The handful of recipes I made from it were a hit with everyone so I am confident you will find something tasty in it also.

To enter to receive a set of 3 cards from Catherine Martini and "Unforgettable Desserts": leave a comment on this post (one entry per person) between Friday March 26th 2010 and Monday March 29th, 11pm (US Eastern time). Anyone can enter, I'll ship worldwide.

We will be out of town this weekend and since I moderate the comments manually, bear with me if you don't see yours appear right away.

Have a great weekend!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Roasted Root Vegetable "Pink" Soup

Growing up, root vegetables were not something my mom would cook often. Except for potatoes and carrots it was pretty much never actually. Too many turnips and rutabagas during the shortages of World War II made my mother a little reluctant to use them, even decades later. I don't think my dad would have minded at all. He never minds anything he can eat. That's what I like about him. He's always game to try new things. Mom too don't get me wrong. Even pink soup.

Golden Beets

Yes, looks like I did channel my inner Bridget Jones when I put a bunch of roasted vegetable in the blender and walked away for a minute to turn some dough. You see, after an ok venture into blitz gluten free puff pastry with Shauna in Seattle a few weeks ago, mom and I have been working on cracking our own puff pastry code. Her health condition benefits from a little less gluten too and it's been really fun to come up with gluten free versions of her favorites. Seeing what Jeanne did, I know we'll get there.

Roasted Root Vegetable "Pink" Soup

Here I was, giving our doughs one last turn when I heard my mom go "hmmm...sweetie. The soup is pink. Did you make it pink on purpose?" Ugh no...shoot! Wait! What did I do? Who is going to want to eat pink soup? "Oh no! Les betteraves rouges! (the red beets!) I forgot to remove the red beets!" I had roasted a mix of root vegetables for soup, pushed some red beets to the corner of the pan for a salad and instead just dumped the whole thing in the blender. Hence, the pink soup and B. calling me Bridget when he saw it.

There is always one kitchen blooper when my parent come visit. Too many things, too many languages going on at once. Too many jokes and giggles. And there you have it, one of us has a brain freeze. Or two.

Roasted Root Vegetable "Pink" Soup

But they love me, discombobulated or not, and ate the pink soup. Yes, Bill ate beets. People in Charleston surely did not feel the earth shatter from it but we did. Actually we held our breath as he looked hard at the soup in front of him. "Interesting. I don't think I have ever had pink soup before." I told him it was a bunch of roasted root vegetables, including roasted red beets. "not pickled? not boiled? not raw?" he asked. As I shook my head negatively three times in a row, he exclaimed "Well then. It's lovely. Just as it is. Bridget."

Roasted Root Vegetable "Pink" Soup

The soup is a mix of parsley roots, celery root, sunchokes, golden and red beets, potatoes. To add some depth, I added roasted garlic and oregano from our garden. I saved one sunchokes that I sliced thin and pan fried in a bit of olive oil until golden brown to garnish the soups with and served them with gluten free English muffins. The nex day we had leftover with freshly picked crab and gluten free puff pastry croutons (!). It was a hit with everyone which made me wish I had made a bigger batch right from the start.

P.S: My brother says "thank you" for all the birthday wishes. You really made his day!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup:

Serves 4 to 6

6 parsley root, peeled and diced
1 medium celery root, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and dice
3 golden beets, peeled and diced
3 red beets, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed, skin removed
1 spring oregano
6 sunchokes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Place them all in a large roasting pan and roast at 375F - 400F until tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven, remove the oregano (discard) and let cool completely.
Once cooled, place all the vegetables in a blender and add as much as little water as you like to reach the soup consistency that you prefer (we like ours on the thick side) and puree until smooth.
To serve, reheat as needed and serve with bread, croutons, oregano leaves, etc...

Upside Down Pear Cardamom Cake (GlutenFree)

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gluten Free Pear Cardamom Cakes

Growing up, my brother and I did not have any kind of special relationship. We did not dislike each other but we did not like each other either. I guess you could say we had one typical brother-sister relationship. I had crushes on his friends just about every week and he found my friends a bit too Strawberry Shortcake for his taste. We had wrestling fights, screaming fights, pillow fights and he often hid in my closet to scare me before bedtime. Typical.

I often wondered if we would ever find some common ground. Some place of understanding. We did find it when our brother passed away. Right there, in front of me, stood a broken man. He was not this "my brother-this pain in the rear" boy anymore. He was in pieces. I was too. And we picked them up together. We held each other up and found each other then. There is no reason why things happen. They just do. And we knew what we had to do then. And we still do it. Our way.

Baking With Pears

We still don't call each other that often. Or send cards. Or email. He knows I got his back and he's got mine. He's always smart with business and techie advice for me. He loves food and is an amazing cook. He gave me two beautiful and smart nieces.

While chatting on the phone the other day, we were catching up on each other's work, progress, accomplishments and to hear him say that he was proud of me was the biggest validation of my life. Like Christmas had come in March. There was also a pause. Very unusual if you know the speed of my brother's conversations. That's when he dropped a line that I didn't expect...

Gluten Free Pear Cardamom Cakes

"Hey, I really like when you write me a post on your blog for my birthday. I also really like when all your virtual friends come wish me a happy birthday." Silence on my part. A bit surprised that he would admit this. I laughed. Out loud. Then I apologized and promised that, yes, I would post something on his birthday. I virtually made him some (gluten free) Upside Down Pear and Cardamom Cakes that we quickly devoured last night.

As a kid, his birthday dinner would always include frog legs with tons of parley and garlic and a chocolate cake with walnuts and oranges that I was not particularly fond of. I did think about making it for him again as a wink to the past but my mom had brought over the new French Saveur and Elle a Table and I kept coming back to the article on upside down cakes in Elle a Table. So many variations from one simple base that it would have been difficult not to find one that suited everyone.

Gluten Free Pear Cardamom Cakes

I adapted the base recipe to make it gluten free and added some cardamom to the ripe pears I used in the cake. There is something about pears and cardamom that is almost magical once baked together. Instead of doing the cakes and the caramel with sugar, I used wildflower honey. I am really enjoying baking with sucanat, honey and maple syrup versus regular granulated sugar these days. So much more fragrant. So many more health benefits too.

The cake was moist from the millet and sweet rice flour, oozying with honey and vanilla bean caramel, and the smell permeating the kitchen was unbelievable. We quickly brewed some fresh coffee and sat down with some cake.

Gluten Free Pear Cardamom Cakes

So here's to you Arnaud! Happy Birthday! Joyeux Anniversaire!

Upside Down Pear Cardamom Cakes, adapted from Elle A Table

Makes four 4-inch cake or one 8-inch cake. Serves 6-8

For the honey caramel:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded

For the cake batter:
3 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (125ml) honey
1 1/2 (160gr) stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 1/2 oz (100gr) superfine sweet rice flour
2 oz (50gr) millet flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 350F. Line the inside of four 4-inch springform pans or one 8-inch pan with parchement paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet and set aside.

For the caramel:
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, place the honey, water and vanilla bean seed and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and let the syrup simmer down until thickened, should take 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Divide the caramel among the prepared cake pans.

For the cake:
Divide the pear slices among the bottom of each cake pan and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and honey on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the melted butter. Add the flours and cardamom and mix until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Divide the batter in between the pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Unmold carefully over a plate. Watch out for the oozing honey caramel.

French Word A Week - Topinambour

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sunchokes

It hit me the other day at the store that it was taking me longer and longer each year to remember a few French words. Primarily because they were already rarely part of my vocabulary but I realize that they are as much fun to remember as they are for Bill to pronounce and learn.

In the spirit of sharing and remembering, practicing and growing I have decided to start a new category to this blog, related to food of course, a "French Word A Week" type thing.

Today's word is "topinambour" a.k.a sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke. (listen to the pronunciation here)

That word in French always make me smile and hearing Bill say it is even cuter. And you know what...they are delicious! I wish my mom had cooked more with them when we were kids, but now I do everytime they appear at the market. Stay tuned for an upcoming recipe with sunchokes. Won't be dessert though!

P.S: I realize I forgot to add the recipe instructions in French for the Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Creme the other day and will remedy that tonight.

Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Creme

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Creme

It hit me while on the plane back to Charleston last week. I was fidgetting with excitement at the thought of seeing B. again soon. I did have a blast in L.A and Seattle but it would have been nice to share that with him. All the moments. On the moment. I just couldn't wait to get home and tell him all about the week. I still need to sift through my hundreds of pictures and thoughts.

The people I met, the friends I saw again. The exchange of information. Being part of a community. All these things are always better shared. He laughed with me and listen to my stories. Dozens of names he had never heard before. Patiently. He asked questions and encouraged me. And so, while sitting on the plane, about ready to take off, it hit me: Saint Patrick's Day was just around the corner.

Comfort

This household is half Irish after all. I had to do something to mark the occasion. Knowing us we will be debating the virtues of historical markers versus those of green foods, green shirts and green beer. Still, he never fails to help me keep up with my roots so I wanted to do the same for his. Minus the green. Plus whiskey instead.

Green is far from being my favorite color to start with and I also did not feel like messing with green coloring. There was plenty of that during the Seattle workshops, well done and beautifully mastered. I was worried of ending up with Shrek green instead of Irish green. (I did before, hence the reference).

Chocolate Whiskey Pots De Creme

I like to have an easy dessert ready to be served for the first meal after my parents get in town. Tonight it's quiche and salad and these Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Creme served with some plain almond macarons to use up the egg whites left from the custard recipe. It's pretty sums up perfected comfort this time of year when the days still have this distinct nip in air. A foot in between two seasons.

Pots de creme always make me think of a warm motherly embrace. Trust me. We've been hugging. And catching up. My parents got here last night and in the middle of my mom's health problems, it is no small battle. But she's a rockstar. She's my rockstar. Even when she tells me half of everything (grrr...) She also tends to agree that a lot of problems are better solved around a good glass of Irish liquor. Whiskey is not my thing. Unless it is surrounded by chocolate. Oh yes...

As soon as I am done squeezing my mom silly, get done with work this week and go through my thoughts, I'll post more about the workshops but you can start by reading Rachael's recap of L.A here.

Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Creme:

Serves 6 to 8

6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (60ml) honey
1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
6 oz (180gr) bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup Irish whiskey

Place 6 to 8 ramekins into a roasting pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the honey for 2-3 minutes.
In the meantime, bring the milk and cream to a simmer in a large saucepan set over medium high heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the mixture. Slowly whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. (return over low heat if it needs a bit more heat to dissolve). Slowly pour the chocolate mixture over the egg yolks and honey, whisking constantly until both mixtures come together. Add the whiskey and stir briefly.
Divide the chocolate batter evenly among the ramekins. Pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cream appears just set. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before eating.

Pots de Creme Chocolat Whisky:

Pour 6 a 8 personnes

6 jaunes d'oeufs
60ml miel
125ml lait entier
250ml creme entiere liquide
180gr chocolat 60%
3 - 4 cs whisky

Prechauffer le four a 180F et mettre une plaque au milieu.
Dans un grand bol, battre les jaunes d'oeufs et le miel pendant 2-3 minutes.
Dans une casserole, faire chauffer le lait et creme jusqu'a ebullition. Retirer du feu et ajouter le chocolat et remuer jusqu'a ce que le chocolat soit fondu.
Verser l'appareil sur les jaunes d'oeufs. Ajouter le whisky et melanger.
Verser l'appareil dans 6 a 8 ramequins et les mettre dans une plat profond allant au four. Verser de l'eau chaude jusqu'a a la moitie de la hauteur des ramequins. Faire cuire 30 a 40 minutes.

Unexpectedly So...

58

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getty Villa - L.A

Just looking at this picture, I'd say it looked I just took a trip to my beloved Provence. But I did not. This was taken at the Getty Villa in California last week, in between two workshops.

Getty Villa - L.A

If I did not know any better I'd think these were shot right outside the window of the house where I grew up. Cherry blossoms. Figs just starting to budd. Olive trees. Cypresses. Sun and warmth. The ocean in the distance. Still at the Getty Villa.

Getty Villa - L.A

More cherry tree blossoms. Just because I can't get enough. Because I even love baking with their extract. Because I grew up surrounded by them. In another South. Feeling dangerously like home. Mine. Back home across the other ocean.

Monkey Tree - Vashon

Lunch at the Monkey Tree on Vashon Island, Washington where I stayed with Shauna, Danny and Lu for a couple of days. Giggled with Lu reading books after books. Baked gluten free goodies and ate with friends. Family now.

Monkey Tree - Vashon

Warmth and comfort. Blackboard specials and used wood. Worn. Shared. Felt a community coming together in a great little quaint spot around a good bowl of soup and a crusty loaf of bread.

Monkey Tree - Vashon

On top of the piano at The Monkey Tree. Where things that don't belong suddenly start to make sense.

Monkey Tree -  Vashon

If I did not know any better, I'd say I were in North Carolina for a couple of days. This cafe. The trees. The fields. The houses and the greens. I could get used to this. There are piers, docks and seagulls. I'm thinking this is so easily familiar...

Monkey Tree - Vashon

Oh Vashon! Temptress... I could easily forget I can't have any of these. Not with friends who are constantly searching a way to make great foods just a tad bit differently. That's all. We tried and experimented. The process. The friendship.

Snowy Lucy

And this little one. Who steals my heart each and everytime. And the snow. Big fluffy watery flakes of snow that made the moment just that much more magical.

Thank you dear friends...


All The Way Away In L.A

45

Friday, March 05, 2010

Blossoms

I bet that when you think about L.A, Japanese plum blossoms are not the first things coming to your mind. Me neither but when your first night in town start with dinner at Todd and Diane's, this is one of the things you can expect. A delectable tour of their edible garden, a fantastic dinner and plenty of great discussions, laughs and good times. Made my heart giddy with happiness and gratitute. And that was just day one...

Pacific

Since I am staying on the beach, the first thing I did was to go check out the Pacific ocean. Nice plump and beautiful waves. The kind we usually see at the beginning of a storm here but it's nice to be close to something familiar. I keep thinking how much fun Bailey would have in these waves...crazy pup.

Jen

Yes, I made it to L.A without a glitch on Wednesday and it's pretty much been a whirlwind since then. Jen has been the most wonderful host. Attentive and generous of her time, making sure we see everything that makes L.A while avoiding the tourist pitfalls. Jen is definitely a rock star!

Dinner at Todd and Diane's

Back to Todd and Diane for a second. I was so thrilled to finally walk around in their beautiful edible yard. Fruit trees, salad, root vegetables...you name it. Nothing beats dinner where most of the ingredients come directly from their labor of love over their gorgeous space and sanctuary. Add dinner guests such as Matt and Adam and Broderick and you can expect flying jokes and hilarious work stories. Hmmm...hmmm....what a night!


Matt and Adam invited me to come by their studio the next morning and see their creative space. Oh my! I wanted to move in. Or make myself so tiny they'd forget I was there. A couple of hours talking and laughing away and Jen and I were back gallivanting around town.

Jimmy Stewart - L.A

She knows my heavy addiction for old Hollywood movies, my crushes on Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant and at the detour of a conversation, I found myself staring at the famous actors footprints at the Grauman's Theather on Hollywood Boulevard. And so I snapped. Happy to be doing the same thing everyone was doing. At least this once. Let's face it: I don't get to L.A that often (read never) to pass on the opportunity to get this close to dear old Jimmy. Heck no! Ahahah....

Oscar Time!

And Oscar. It just so happened that I am in L.A during Oscar week. Pretty cool considering my TCM addiction. Almost makes me want to see ghosts of actors passed. Almost...

Time to get a few more things done before tonight's workshop...

Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Tart

85

Monday, March 01, 2010

Gluten Free Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Tart

Almost a week without posting makes me feel like I am missing out on all the fun. Can't believe February is over and gone. Makes me wonder why so much always gets packed into such a short month but I am relieved that all the projects have been completed and deadlines met. So, "Hello March! Let's get going!" Yep, this month is definitely another kind of busy, filled with travels, workshops and visits and you can bet I am looking forward to the change of scenery. Oh yes.

Taking small breaks throughout the work day is vital for everyone. You've probably noticed it just by peeking your head outside for 10 minutes or taking a walk with a colleague. One thing I find most invigorating is lunch. I can't do without. I guess it stems directly from my childhood when my mom would pick us from school for lunch. She had nothing against cafeteria meals but she enjoyed taking the time to do it. It was nothing fancy really but breaking away for an hour also meant picking up a new book at the library, getting more stickers at the book store, stopping by the bakery for a treat. A little fun in the middle of a long work day. Always a treat when you are a kid. Or an adult.

Swiss Char, Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Tart

I love a good salad with tons of colorful vegetables, sometimes topped with a hard boiled egg, or two. Soups are another favorite staple but nothing says lunch break more than a savory tart and a side salad to me. Quintessential French bistro food. One that warms my very soul being so far away from home. One that makes me feel all grown up although I have been there for a while. Savory tarts are the perfect vessels to get a good dose of all the food essentials your brain and body need to function properly without too much effort or planning. Once you have the crust, thrown in anything that strikes your fancy or whatever you have on hand. The sky is the limit regarding fillings, spices, herbs, etc...

Funny thing is that in my family a savory tart is also the meal of choice for any exhausted traveler. Whenever we go home, I know our first meal will be my mom's quiche Lorraine with a salad and my dad's shallot vinaigrette. Whenever they come visit, there is quiche ready for them to get a quick bite after a long day of travel. How did it come to be this way? I don't know. It's tradition. And you don't mess with tradition. Well at least no this one, ehehe.

Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Tart

I guess you can call this Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto tart a rehearsal of sort for my parents' arrival in two weeks. I finally came up with a savory gluten free crust that I am in love with. Tastes good, bakes good and rolls like a charm. For the filling, I used what I had on hand: a bunch of Swiss chard languishing in the fridge, some goat cheese and prosciutto left over from a tapas night with friends. Next time it might simply be bacon and onion. Who knows...

I can't believe I'll be in L.A on Wednesday and Seattle on Sunday! If you are registered for any of the workshops, well, "thank you" in advance and I can't wait to meet you! There are some tweet-ups/meet-ups being organized as I write this so if you are interested, the best thing is to check my Twitter feed (@SweetTartelette) or any of the (crazy - awesome - fun) gals who will be showing me around town this week: Rachael (@fujimama), Jen (@jenjenk) and Gaby (@WhatsGabyCookin).

Since I know it's going to be pretty tight to get any major post in and to avoid a major "post travel" blog post, I thought I'd do quick and fun entries throughout the weeks. Capturing the moment. I have never been to any of these cities so I figured it'd be fun to post quick accounts of things that strike me. Landscape, people, food, the macaron and photography workshops, whatever... I am looking forward to it all and everything in between.

Gluten Free Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Tart


Gluten Free Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Tart:
Serves 4

For the crust:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 egg yolks
pinch salt
1/2 cup (80gr) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) tapioca starch
(or 1.5 cups of all purpose flour if not using gf flours)
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (I used 1/2 of a giant sweet Vidalia), sliced thin
1 bunch Swiss chard (red - green rainbow - your choice), washed and patted dry
4-6 slices prosciutto
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup whole milk
salt and pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 to 6 oz (120gr - 180gr) crumbled goat cheese
a few sprigs of thyme

Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip together the butter and mustard on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add all the different flours, and the xantham gum and mix briefly. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured (use more rice flour) board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic to fit your prefered pie pan. (I went with rectangular this time) If the dough tears while you roll or/and transfer into the pan, just patch it with your fingertips. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, fill with pie weights or dy beans and par bake for 15-20 minutes until completely done. Remove the weights and parchment paper. At this point you can refrigerate the baked crust for up to 5 days if not using right away or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Prepare the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Heat the oil in a large sautee pan over medium high heat and cook the onion until translucent (about 3-4 minutes), add the Swiss chard and cooked until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. In the same pan, quickly sautee the slices of prosciutto to get them nice and crispy. Remove from the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Layer the onion and Swiss chard at the bottom of the crust and slowly pour the egg mixture over it. Top with slices of prosciutto and crumbled goat cheese.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the tart starts getting golden brown and the custard is cooked. Spinkle with freshly chopped thyme.

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Le P'tit Coin Francais:

Tarte aux Bettes, Chevre et Prosciutto:

Pour 4 a 6 personnes:

Pour la pate:
70gr beurre mou, non sale
1 cc moutarde de Dijon
3 jaunes d'oeuf
pincee de sel
80gr farine de riz brun
60gr farine de millet
30gr farine de sorghum
40gr de farine de tapioca
(ou de 210gr de farine blanche)
1/2 cc de gomme de xantham

Pour la garniture:
2 cs d'huile d'olive
1 oignon moyen, coupe en tranche fine
1 petite bottes de bettes
4-6 tranches de prosciutto
3 oeufs, legerement battus
150ml lait entier
sel, poivre
pincee de muscade fraiche
120gr a 180gr de fromage de chevre emiette
quelques brins de thym

Preparer la pate:
Dans le bol d'un mixer, battez le beurre et la moutarde pendant 2 minutes. Ajoutez les jaunes d'oeufs un a un, tout en melangeant bien apres chaque jaune. Ajoutez les farines sans gluten, le sel et la gomme de xantham. Melangez brievement et verzes le contenu sur un plan de travail. Ramassez en boule et metter au refrigerateur pendant une heure.
Prechauffez le four a 180C et positionnez une plaque au milieu.
Etalez la pate sur un plan de travail legerement farine (farine sans gluten de preference), ou entre deux feuilles de papier sulfurise. Foncez en un plat a tarte (rectangulaire ou rond), mettre une feuille de papier sulfurise dans le fond, et des pois/riz. Faire pre-cuire 10-12 minutes. Sortez la tarte du four et laissez refroidir.

Preparez la garniture:
Prechauffez le four a 180C.
Dans une grande poele a feu moyen, faites revenir l'oignon dans l'huile. Ajoutez les bettes et cuire jusqu'a ce qu'elles apparaissent fanees. Retirez de la poele et faites-y revenir les tranches de prosciutto. Laissez refroidir.
Dans un grand bol, melangez les oeufs, le lait, sel, poivre et la pointe de muscade.
Repartissez les oignons et bettes au fond de la tarte. Versez dessus le melange oeufs/lait, parsemer des tranches de prosciutto et de fromage de chevre. Faites cuire 30-40 minutes. Parsemez de thym frais a la sortie du four.




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