Faces, People and Places

29

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

These past few days have been nothing short of amazing, full, intense and authentic. If I had not caught a (stupid) and nasty cold, I would have thrown in a skip and side step. Let's just say I'm dancing inside. It's hard to put into words everything that went down and around at Evo 10 in Park City Utah so I thought I'd post some pictures that illustrate the emotions that resurfaced when I looked at them on the plane to Colorado.

Thank you Jyl and Rachael for having me as a speaker and for handling everything with such positivity, sass and class.

Evo 10 Opening Keynotes
Evo 10 is...it's amazing keynote speakers and being able to hear women that I have admired and read from a long time. Special thank you to Stephanie, Karen and Brene. You are even "more better" in real life.

Evo 10 - Attendees of the Food Photo and Blog Workshop
Evo 10 is... meeting new faces and spending some quality time with old friends. Thanks Maria, Katie, Kristen and Amy for being such the classy bloggers that you are.

My co-panelists at Evo10
Evo 10 is...sharing a panel of Food Blogging and Food Photography with three amazingly witty and smart women: Jane, Helen Jane and Stephanie.

Evo 10 - Young attendee
Evo 10 is....holding babies. And playing with babies. Hearing heart breaking stories about stories. And if the camera is indeed the photographer's third eye well, my lens got as misty and foggy as my heart and veered on the "can't focus anymore! Too much cuteness!"

Evo 10 Conference
Evo 10 is being able to capture your hotel roomates goofing off before a session while Oprah people are less than a feet away except you're clueless. While people find that "refreshing", I still haven not figured out why it does not phase me that much to not be in the know. Actually I do. Because it does not matter if you are a big fish or a small one in this world, you still need to know how to swim.

Sassy Kami and Carina
Evo 10 is....having some pretty darn gorgeous and sassy roomates. Thanks Kami and Carina for laughs.

Evo 10 - Impromptu Concert by One EskimO
Evo 10 is...impromptu concert late at night by the cute guys of One EskimO.

Karen In the Moment-1000 Faces Project
Evo 10 is...being lucky to take a snapshot of the amazingly Karen in action as she works on her project "Photograph 1000 Faces". I am truly honored to be one of them.

Dinner at Jen's from Use Real Butter

And then Evo 10 turned into Food And Light Photography Workshop with this amazing bunch of friends and fellow food bloggers, Todd, Diane and Jen.

Kicking off the Food and Light Workshop
We were joined by Andrea, Lisa, Anita and Susan for dinner and toasted to Anita's recent weddings and to a good and fun workshop.

Kaweah


Before I leave you for the next few days of workshops, travel and laundry (yuck), let me go ahead and announce the winner of The Newlywed Kitchen" cookbook. Congratulations to Anna from Blondie's Cakes! Email me your mailing info at mytartelette[at] gmail [dot] come.
In the meantime Kaweah, Jen's dog was surveying the meat cutting board and subsequent potential scraps...

Gluten Free Nutella Doughnuts & A Cookbook Giveaway!

443

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nutella Doughnuts

I'm in Utah folks! Got in Salt Lake City yesterday afternoon and I'm heading to The Canyons Resort in Park City Utah where the Evo 10 Conference is held this year. To say that I am honored and stoked is putting it mildly. Yesterday as I was watching my inbox implode in between two planes, I just smiled and thought "breathe - take the travel time as a time out". I am looking forward to this week, complete with the workshop in Boulder. Work does pile up when you can't look! It's fine though. It's actually better than fine. It's impossible to complain when mixing work and play in such beautiful scenery as the mountains of Utah and Colorado.

Nutella Doughnuts

Before I left I treated B. to a couple of special treats and of course stocked the fridge and freezer. When I made these Nutella Doughnuts from Lorna's cookbook, The Newlywed Kitchen, they almost ended up being dinner. We just could not stop eating them. Pop. Pop. Pop. Oops... Tender, moist, tangy and filled with Nutella....the one thing we truly fight over in the kitchen. If you finish the jar and do not replace it, be ready to face a mini temper tantrum. And not necessarily from me...!

Nutella Doughnuts

Last week I raved about the simplicity of the Parmesan Roasted Asparagus Tomatoes and Eggs I made from her cookbook. Well, let me raved about how spending a little bit of time in front of the stove to fry these babies up was worth it. Ten times that even. The recipe comes together in no time and the size of the doughnuts makes them the perfect little bite to have after dinner or as a treat (but you won't stop at one, let me tell you that!). The oozing Nutella in the center? Literally the proverbial icing on the cake. Per-fect.

Sour Apples

I love drop doughnuts and the simplicity of Lorna's recipe makes them so easy to adapt gluten free. If you are afraid of deep drying. Fear no more. The temperature given for the oil is right on for these. They turn into perfect airy pockets with a slight tang coming from the ricotta and lemon zest. Love how the Nutella plays so well with the lemon zest. Just the right touch of it too. They are so good plain too. Filled with some strawberry jam I made last month. I even filled some with compote I made after the neighbors gifted me with a basket full of sour apples.

Nutella Doughnuts

Another successful bite from Lorna's book! And guess what? Today is your chance to get your hands on a copy to see and taste what I am talking about! That's right! Lorna is graciously giving away a copy of her book to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (anonymous please sign a name) - between today Thursday June 24th and Sunday June 27th, midnight Easter time. A winner will be picked at random from the comment pool by my better half.


Salt Lake City Bloggers Meet-Up

While in Salt Lake City I stayed with Maria and Josh, the team behind Two Peas And Their Pod and we are heading together to the conference, meeting up with Kristen, Katie, Amy and a whole bunch of people I'm thrilled to meet for the first time. Since this morning is pretty much the most quiet time I foresee for the rest of the week, I thought I'd post some snapshots of our "Bloggers Meet Up". I'll try to post snapshots of the conference, attendees and speakers as I go along.

Salt Lake City Bloggers Meet-Up
Maria and Christie.

Maria organized a little get together for me and Christie from The Table Runner graciously hosted it at her beautiful home. We spent hours talking about life, blogging, food, kids and so much more. Made me go to bed with a full heart and a skip in my step. Thank you ladies for your generosity!

Salt Lake City Bloggers Meet-Up
Group Shot

From left to right: Becky at Project Domestication, Barbara from Barbara Bakes, Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen, Holly from Phemomenon with baby Kayla, Bonnie from City Home Country Home, Dara from Cookin' Canuck, Becky from The Vintage Mixer and Chrisie from The Table Runner up front.

Salt Lake City Bloggers Meet-Up
Dara.


Salt Lake City Bloggers Meet-Up
Becky


Salt Lake City Bloggers Meet-Up
Jaime from Sophistimom makes the best Italian sodas....


Good luck in Lorna's cookbook giveaway!

Nutella Doughnuts


Nutella Doughnuts, courtesy and copyright Lorna Yee from "The Newlywed Kitchen" cookbook.

Makes about 14 doughnuts

Note: to adapt these gluten free, I replace the flour with 1/2 cup superfine sweet rice flour, 1/4 millet, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, and added 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum for a smooth dough.

3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces whole-milk ricotta
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Canola, vegetable, or peanut oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting doughnuts
1 cup Nutella

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, ricotta, salt, and vanilla extract. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix until just combined.

Heat 3 inches of the oil in a deep pot until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer. Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil and cook for about 3 minutes on one side, and 2 minutes on the other side. (Do not make the doughnuts much bigger, as the outside will brown too quickly and they won’t cook through.) Don’t overcrowd the pot--you will probably need to fry the doughnuts in three batches. Cut one doughnut open to make sure it’s cooked through before removing the rest of the batch from the oil. When the doughnuts are cooked, scoop them out and allow them to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.

Dust the doughnuts with powdered sugar and pipe Nutella into the center of each one. These doughnuts are meant to be devoured warm out of the fryer, so make them just before you’re both ready to eat them.

Variation: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest to the dough and fill the doughnuts with your favorite jelly or lemon curd.

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Eggs

50

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Parmesan-Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Eggs

I have a friend. Her name is Lorna. She writes The Cookbook Chronicles. She is drop dead gorgeous. Kindness and intelligence dance with every word she says. She is generous and humble. Humor and good disposition seem to like her. I have no idea if she is high or low maintenance but if she is the latter, I want to know how she does it. She's got taste and she's got gumption. And she wrote a book. A quirky, funky, well written, beautifully photographed cookbook, The Newlywed Kitchen. No wonder Henri asked her out and then asked for her hand in marriage. Smart man.

Lorna and Henri are newlyweds. They both love food. This is not a loose statement. They met on a food forum. In Lorna's words "Our relationship was founded on our mutual love of food and our desire to nourish one another’s stomachs as well as our spirits." It could sound superficial and barely enough to hold a couple together but as she chronicled the making and writing of the book, you could tell that they were like the vast majority of couples. They love to share with others, spend time learning and give back what they know. Lorna did it with "The Newlywed Kitchen".

Roasted Asparagus & Tomato From The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook

I am not a newlywed and yet I, we, thoroughly enjoyed the book. It does not pretend to be the "essential guide to cooking as a couple", instead it focuses on clean, simple recipes that can be at the foundation of any new couple repertoire. Narratives of other well known couples are dispersed throughout the book and add a charming and quaint little thing to it. I caught myself chuckling along as I was reading with that familiar feeling of "been there done that" of kitchen mishaps and victories. Pictures of newlyweds throughout the book are a little too quaint at times but they're here to illustrate a point: there is plenty in this book to bring people together in many different ways.

Some of the recipes are kicked up classics like the "Four Cheese Mac-and-Cheese", the "Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Thyme Crust". Some are best saved for your first dinner cooking for the in-laws, "Holiday Rib Roast Wtih Thyme Gravy", "Chicken Piccata with Mushrooms and Leeks". Others are made for lazy Sunday mornings in newlywed Bliss like the "Topsy Turvy Apple French Toast", the "Smoked Salmon Frittata". And who would not want to cozy up with their better half with some "Chocolate Mudslide Cookies", "Nutella Doughnuts" or some "Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake"?

I just made myself hungry...

Roasted Asparagus & Tomato From The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook

My better half does not cook. He barely boils water. We have shared custody of the grill. I don't even know if he's any good at it, he's just not interested. And as he says "I married a chef, why would I even consider crossing the line? You don't come in the garage and bleed the break of the MG now do you?". Touche. So you might wonder how this cookbook fared with us...

It did exactly what it was intended to do for a couple like us regarding food: I'd hold the book in one hand, pencil in the other and ask him whether "Grandma's Italian Meatballs" sounded good for dinner or would he rather have the "Fall Apart Pot Roast"? Should I take the "Red Velvet Cake" or the "Strawberry Rhubarb Pie" to a dinner party with friends? My man may not cook or enjoy cooking but he loves to eat and knows his food, making it a pleasure and never a chore for me to cook everyday.

Tomato Heaven

Finding a recipe to illustrate this review was a no brainer (I picked two actually and will write about the other one next week - with a little surprise you guys reading). The "Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Eggs" is exactly the kind of dish I like to fix us for lunch on Saturdays when we come back from the market or on Sundays when we set out to "not have a schedule". It's simple, it's fresh, it comes together fast and needs nothing but maybe a glass of wine and a piece of bread.

It's the kind of meal we enjoy as a couple. It fits us and it felt even more special when we sat down to ingredients we had just picked up at the market from people who loved food as much as we do.

Let's make lunch this week "French Word A Week" feature: "dejeuner". One of our favorite activity and time of the day. (click on the word to hear the pronunciation).

Check out Jen at Use Real Butter making Grandma's Italian Meatballs from Lorna's book. I also love this review of the book from Becky at Chef Reinvented (and don't forget to click on the video link - adorable).

Roasted Asparagus & Tomato From The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook


Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Eggs, courtesy and copyright Lorna Yee for "The Newlywed Kitchen"

Serves 2

1 pound asparagus
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino (I used shredded)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper
2 large eggs
3 spoonfuls pesto (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425F.
Wash the asparagus. Break the bottom stems off and discard. Toss the asparagus spears and tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then place them on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 12=14 minutes, or until tender and cooked through..
Meanwhile, fry the two eggs in the remaining oil, seasoning them with salt and pepper to taste. Place an egg in each portion of the cooked vegetable and top with a dab of pesto if desired.

Disclosure: I received a free copy from The Newlywed Kitchen from Sasquatch Books.

Celebrating A Birthday With Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

71

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

I don't make cupcakes very often. Rarely. As in four times a year maybe. I have nothing against cupcakes. I am as picky with them as I am about any small bite I make, bake or eat. They'd better have a higher interestingness to frosting ratio for me to pay attention. In about everything I do, I go straight for the good stuff. I skip the fluff (rhyming unintentional) but today is special. It's my dad's birthday!

Joyeux Anniversaire mon p'tit papa!

I wasn't going to say anything or blog about it but I know I have written Mother's Day posts and birthday posts to my maman before, made macarons and cakes for my brother, shared a tear with you reminiscing about my grandparents but never about my father. Time to fix this wouldn't you say? Note to my family: don't expect a post per family member's birthday or it would be the only thing people would read. I'd rather make lemon curd instead, ehehe.

Lemon Curd

My father. The unsung hero of this blog seems like! Without diving into the melodramatic, allow me to put down in writing a few things about him. These cupcakes made me think of him in many different ways. They are soft like his hugs. Tangy like his sense of humor. Creamy like...well if I say love, it sounds tacky, right? Well then, be it. Now that years have softened him. Or he's always been a softie but spent a great deal of effort hiding it? I don't know. All I know is that he deserves to be in the spotlight for a little while. If only on his daughter's site.

To know my father, Jacques, is a gift I hope many more people would experience. To say that I am 50% my father and 50% my mother is no understatement. I am as reserved as I am public. I am as righteous as I am mischevious. I am as poised as I am exuberant. I am as leveled as I am dramatic (my dad being the first of all these adjectives).

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

My father lost a lot in his life. He's also gained the never ending respect of his family by the way he's always conducted himself. I could give you a few very sad sad stories to illustrate this point but like him I'd rather look on the brighter side of things so here goes the moment I realized at 6 years old that my dad would always be a "put your money where your mouth is" kind of guy. That story that makes us laugh a great deal now even if I get red cheeks every time it goes around.

I call it "the day I got (justifiably) whipped back into shape for misbehaving".

One evening my parents had an important dinner on Base (my father is a General in L'Armee de L'Air), my brother Thierry was put on babysitting duty of my brother Arnaud and myself. Everything was just dandy until I thought it'd be hilarious to throw peas across the table with my spoon, catapult style. My brothers got quiet. My father looked at me straight in the eyes and said "you do that one more time and you will get spanked. Bare bottom." For my father to say that, you know I had crossed some major line. I looked back as straight as I could hold it, lifted my fully pea-loaded spoon and catapulted them across the table.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

Silence fell upon the room. My brothers were looking at me like as if I was a green alien with red antennas. Without flinching my dad commanded me to come see him after I was done with my dinner. Going up the stairs to meet my fate felt like the 12 steps up to my room suddenly were 120. Five minutes later, I was sporting my father's hands neatly and naturally tatooed on my derriere. The one and only time this would ever happen.

However difficult it was for him (and he told me so years later), he was right. We both had to own it. He did gain my respect and my trust forever. Different times, different ways. Let me end by saying that this blog is not the place to have a "how to raise your child, slapping-no slapping" argument. This is just a story of why every time I see parents counting to 3 and then 3 more I think about that day almost 30 years ago. Not sure it would have worked the same with my brother though.

Note to my dad: it had the desired effect but no need to slap me to get your point across anymore. Bringing me chocolate will, ahaha!

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

My father is one heck of a man. He's resilient and patient. He wrote a novel. He paints beautiful sceneries that my mom frames. He's patient. Yes, I know. I've said it just a second ago but that's because I debited a lot of my "father's patience" credit this past year without collateral. He did not say a word and let me find my way and establish myself in my work. I hope that being too busy to call as promptly as before is a good indicator that I am paying him back rightfully. I hope so.

I love you Papa! Hope you spend the rest of the week celebrating, you deserve it.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcake liners from Bake It Pretty.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes:

Makes 24

Note: for non gluten free readers, replace the sweet rice, millet, sorghum flours and cornstarch with 3 cups all purpose flour. Omit the xanthan gum.
I use sucanat for the lemon curd which gives it a bit of a molasses taste and a darker color but regular sugar works the same.


For the cupcakes (adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home):
1 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons coconut oil (solid stage preferably)
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
6 egg whites (use the yolks in the buttercream)

For the lemon curd:
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the buttercream:
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean

Prepare the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter 24 cupcake liners.
Sift together all the flours, cornstarch, gum, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, coconut oil and 1 cup sugar at medium speed until pale and thick. Add the vanilla, then the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk. Transfer the batter to a separate bowl and wash your stand mixer bowl very well.
In that clean bowl, whip the egg whites to a foam at medium speed. Increase the speed and slowly add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until you get a glossy and firm meringue with stiff peaks.
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the flour batter to lighten it and then fold in the rest carefully not to deflate the meringue completely.
Divide in between the prepared cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes.
Let them cool completely. In the meantime, prepare the curd and buttercream.

Prepare the lemon curd:
In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk to break them up. Beat some of the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes. Remove the curd from the heat, let cool five minutes then whisk in the butter slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Let cool completely before using.

Prepare the buttercream:
Place the yolks in a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
Bring the sugar and water to 238F in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg yolks and continue to whisk until cold. Change to the paddle attachment and beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Split the vanilla bean open and scrape the seeds out. Add to the butter mixture. Continue to beat for a few seconds until completely smooth.

To assemble:
With a pairing knife or the large opening of decorating pastry tip cut a whole in the center of the cupcakes. Fill with lemon curd and top the hole back with the cupake piece you just cut. Frost as you like either with a straight or star tip or just by "spatulating" some buttercream on top.

Grilled Peaches, Poached Cherries and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

53

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grilled Peaches Poached Cherries & Fresh Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

B. jokes that every four years, he loses me to the World Cup. I smile and add "and the rugby Six Nations Championship, the Tour de France and the Formula One races throughout the year. Let's not forget the 24 hours of Le Mans". That's the environment I was raised in. I grew up with Platini, Maradona, Sella, Camberabero, Prost, Schumacher, Fittipaldi, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon. All year long. All these years.

And yet no one in my family actually played a sport past 16 years old! That is unless you consider four or five- hour long dinners a sport, which my husband happens to do, especially after many a Sunday dinners shared back home. Competitive longest meals followed by competitive moonshine. My uncle Jacques is still reigning supreme in the "moonshine so strong it will bleach your coffee cup" department.

Poached Cherries & Grilled Peaches

I have mentioned Sundays in passing with my grandmother's apricot tart but they were much more than that. They usually started with a trip to the market behind our house where my grandmother would get tiny grey shrimp and peppery radishes. Getting flowers, setting up the table, cutting saucisson for the aperitif. Waiting for everyone to finally start lunch around 12.30pm and linger all afternoon in between the TV room and the dessert plates. Coffee, petits fours, chocolates. Heaven.

Desserts were most often kept very simple with a big bowl of fruit salad. Some cookies. Some ice cream. Came summer, the table was graced with an abundance of deep dark cherries and juicy peaches. Two of my favorite summer fruits.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Peaches, Cherries

Perfect French Word A Week opportunity if you ask me. And that's two words to boot.
If you ever travel to the South of France, they will quickly become crucial to know as they are everywhere in those parts. Perfectly kissed by the Provencal sun.
Click on the words Peche (click on word for the pronunciation).

When sports start to tie up the little bit of free time I have, especially in the summer time, I'd better have something quick and easy ready for us, whether we dine alone or get together with friends. I have a strong affinity for ice cream paired with fresh fruits when warmer and sunnier days roll around and things happen a lot more in a impromptu manner.

Cherries - Cut Peaches

If they are perfectly juicy, ripe and a bit tangy, then I am in heaven. Sometimes, dessert needs to remain this easy. Sometimes, it needs a little pimping out and it gets even better. Over the years, I have become completely addicted to grilling stone fruits and serving them with fresh yogurt, fresh cheese or ice cream. The combo is just brilliant. When it comes to cherries, B. is not a big fan unless I poach them with honey until soft and tender.

Such a simple combination and so easy to put together with friends around the barbecue one summer evening. Homemade vanilla bean ice cream, grilled peaches and warm juicy poached cherries. Next time I think I'll pair lavender ice cream and grilled apricot. Non?

When I combined the two the other day, it got me a two-day free pass to not have to walk the dogs during a World Cup game. I took it. Right now, it's better than a free laundry pass to me, eheheh!

Grilled Peaches Poached Cherries & Fresh Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

So...what is your secret culinary weapon to earn yourself some "house points"?

Before I forget: Thank you Mom for the pretty plates from Asya at www.gleena.com for my birthday! They arrived still warm from the kiln. Kidding. Just about.

Grilled Peaches, Poached Cherries and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

Serves 6-8

Notes: once the ice cream is set, everything else comes together in less than 20-30 minutes. You can also start with the cherries and let them cool while you prepare the peaches.

For the ice cream:
4 egg yolks
1 cup (100gr) + 2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and one cup of sugar until pale and thick. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk, cream and vanilla bean to a simmer, without letting it come to a full boil. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolks mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. It should register 170F on a candy thermometer. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise". Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold.
Once the custard is cold, process it according to your ice cream maker manufacturer's instructions and freeze for 2 hours or more.

For the fruits:
4 peaches (preferably not completely ripe so they don't disintegrate)
1 to 1/2 cups cherries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice

Prepare the peaches:
Wash them thoroughly but do not peel them. Cut them in half and remove the pit. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grill grate. Place the peaches cut side down on the prepared grate, and grill for about 5 minute. Remove and set aside.

Prepare the cherries:
Wash them thoroughly, cut them in half and remove the pits with the tip of a sharp knife. Place them in a large saucepan with the honey and orange juice over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit. Too warm and it will melt the ice cream way too fast.

To assemble, simply layer the ice cream and the fruits in bowls, cups and ramekins.

Fresh Berries Tartelettes

77

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fresh Berries Tarts

I love that my mother stopped asking me about the weather a month ago. My answers were fast turning into "hotter" "sticky crazy humid" "yuck". I could complain about it until the cows come home. I try not to but sometimes it just feels good to vent it out loud. Especially if you're in line somewhere. Then it's instant validation that you're not exaggerating. It really feels sticky as glue out there.

Except today. Today was one of those days you just want to hug. Like Lucy hugs the snow. I wanted to hug today. It looks cuter with a toddler than a 35 year old though. But heck, if Jen is willing to give it a go during the Food And Light Photo workshop this month, maybe we can do a little "Helen hugging the gorgeous Colorado" weather photo shoot. Nah....it still is not as endearing as little Lu.

100% Sweet

You could think that now would be the time we only eat ice cream or frozen treats. And we do. Some. Not only and not always. The only things keeping us cool are the shades and a quick dip into the ocean. As far as desserts go, we don't really change our eating habits that much beside more salads instead of cooked vegetables and more sorbets than usual. Honeydew and peach sorbets are currently "curing" in the freezer actually.

With B's college friends visiting these past few days I made sure that we had plenty of food to put on the grill, cold drinks to be mixed and lots of homemade ice cream to dig our spoons into. Turns out, the first thing they asked me to make was some tartelettes. Go figure. They've known my nickname upon ten minutes of meeting me 10 years ago.

Fresh Berries Tarts

We are extremely lucky to have bushes upon bushes of wild blackberries in the neighborhood and I seem to be the only one interested in picking them. One morning, I took my sweet time and picked about three cups worth. We ate some with creme fraiche one morning, they were sweet and juicy but remembering all the scratches I got and spiders I met on my picking expedition, I decided to freeze the precious blackberry loot.

Fresh Berries Tarts

Dear friends call for uncorking the bubbly, busting out the pretty plates and using said precious berries in simple and fragrant tartelettes.

This is pretty much my go-to recipe for fresh fruit tarts. The dough is really easy to come together and is sturdy enough to give just the right amount of crunch. I chose a mix of blackberries and raspberries from the market but you could make these with any fruit that is in season. The trick, what sets them apart, comes from the 20 minutes that the fruit spends marinating in a fragrant herb sugar.

Baking Mixed Berry Tarts

Yep. That's my little secret: I simply rub some sugar with one of the herbs growing in the garden for a minute and let the fruit steep in it. If it's just us, I won't remove the herbs at all but for guests, I'll usually strain the sugar before sprinkling it on the berries. Right now I am on a lemon thyme or lemon balm kick but mint, lemon verbana, chamomille work quite well.

Such a simple thing to do and yet it takes the tarts from good to intriguing. Like adding another layer of goodness. One simple step. I hope you will give it a try and let your imagination or your garden lead you to discover new flavor combinations.

Fresh Berries Tarts


Fresh Berries Tartelettes:

Makes four to six 4-inch tarts

Notes: if you are not baking gluten free, replace the rice, millet, sorghum flours and cornstarch with 1.5 cups of all purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.

I use this flour combination the most because 1/ these are the least expensive gluten free flours out there and like most of us who bake a lot, I have to pay a close eye on the budget and 2/ because their flavors combined are mild enough that non gluten free folks are not taken aback by the taste or the texture.

If you choose to make one 9-inch tart with this, you might want to double up on the berries and add more sugar to taste.

I used a combination of butter and leaf lard (more info on this here) but feel free to use all butter or half shortening - half butter which keeps the crust nice and flaky. Lard also has less saturated fat than butter.


For the crust:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used half butter and half leaf lard I got at the market this time)
3 egg yolks
pinch salt
1/2 cup (80gr) superfine sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) corn starch (or tapioca flour)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup cold milk

For the filling:
1 pint blackberries
1 pint raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 chopped tablespoon lemon thyme (or your favorite herb)

Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip the butter 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 the salt, and all the different flours, and the xantham gum and mix briefly. Add enough milk to moisten it. 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. 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 10-15 minutes until almost completely baked. Remove the weights and parchment paper. At this point you can refrigerate the baked crust for up to 3 days before using. Roll some extra dough to form lattice pattern on top if desired. You can also freeze the extra raw dough for up to three months.

For the filling:
Place the berries in a non reactive bowl. Rub the sugar and thyme together and sprinkle over the fruit. Gently mix with a spatula. Let the fruit marinate for about 20 minutes.

Assemble:
Divide the berries among the tart shells, top with lattice if desired and bake 20 minutes. Let the tarts cool completely before eating. Depending on the water content in the fruits, some may release more juice than others so be aware when you eat...it might drip.

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Tartelettes Aux Fruits Rouges:

Pour 4 a 6 tartelettes

Pour la pate:
70gr beurre mou, non sale (j'ai utilise moitie beurre et moitie panne)
3 jaunes d'oeuf
pincee de sel
80gr farine de riz
60gr farine de millet
30gr farine de sorghum
40gr de maizena
(ou de 210gr de farine blanche)
1/2 cc de gomme de xanthan
2 a 4 cc de lait

Pour la garniture:
215 gr de mures
215 gr de framboises
100 gr de sucre
1 cc de thym citron

Preparer la pate:
Dans le bol d'un mixer, battez le beurre pendant 1 minute. Ajoutez les jaunes d'oeufs un a un, tout en melangeant bien apres chaque jaune. Ajoutez le sel et les farines sans gluten, le sel et la gomme de xantham. Ajoutez assez de lait pour humidifier la pate. 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, mettre une feuille de papier sulfurise dans le fond, et des pois/riz. Faire pre-cuire 10-15 minutes. Sortez la tarte du four et laissez refroidir. Roulez des bandes supplementaires de pate pour faire le motif du dessous si desire.

Pour la garniture:
Placer les fruits dans un bol non reactif. Melanger du bout des doigt le sucre avec le thym citron. Verser en pluie sur les fruits et melanger delicatement avec une spatule. Laizzer macerer 20 minutes.

Assembler:
Repartir les fruits rouges au fond des tartes, ajoutez les bandes de pate si desire et cuire 20 minutes at 180C.

Fresh Pea, Cheese and Herb Salad

35

Friday, June 04, 2010

Pea Salad Ingredients

Everytime I look at the picture above, I think what a perfect metaphor it is for life. At least mine. It's got shadows. It's got color. Texture. Spice. Flavor. It's got old parts and it's got new ones. It's got roundness and it's got angles. It's good in so many different ways. Everyday we put things in a pot and try to make them work. Sometimes the pot gets too full and tilts over. Most times, my attempts at making things right result in pretty good things. Literally. This Fresh Pea Salad being one of them.

I got these gorgeous peas during the early days of the farmers market, shelled them and froze them. I was still undecided as to what their fate would be but I could not pass on this much freshness in a pod. It's been a month now that I have taken a still life of them for the French Word A Week feature but I just did not want to post a shot of a peas in bowl and run off the page.

Like a bunch of petit pois running off my plate.(click on word to hear the pronunciation)

Fresh Peas & Goat Cheese Salad

I think that I like saying "petit pois" as much as I like pomme de terre or pamplemousse. The word just jumps on your tongue before jumping on your plate. I told you. Little things make me insanely happy. The muffled sound of beer being poured in a glass, the shattering of the sugar crust on a creme caramel. The pop that little peas make between my teeth.

Forget what the calendar reads, it's Summer here already. With this heat, there isn't a day without a salad. A big bowl with fresh ingredients from the farmers market thrown in together. They don't have to match. They just have to play well with one another.

This salad is perfect as a side dish whether you use fresh or frozen peas, and lends itself to enough variations it can make your head spin. It's best served lukewarm with its sauteed onion and garlic and you can skip the cheese on top of need be. The first batch we had was actually just peas, salt and pepper and plenty of fresh herbs from the garden. It made a refreshing, light and easy side to a grilled piece of salmon on a warm and humid evening.

Fresh Local Peas

We also turned it into lunch by adding fresh cheese I made the day I did faisselle, a poached egg and a piece of bread. I thought B. would ask where was the meat but it turned out to be satisfying just as it was on yet another scorching day. I used a basic recipe for paneer to make the fresh cheese but you can substitute any soft variety that you like or pick a harder cheese like parmesan (or skip it altogether). We like ours with a chiffonade of basil and oregano but the choice is yours. The possibilities are only limited by what's not around pretty much.

I am really tempted to morph it into something similar to what Sean posted the other day: a snap pea, radish and mint salad. Hmmm....

One more thing before you ump on to the recipe:
Congratulations to Katie G. - lucky winner of the Evo 10 conference pass. See you in Utah!

Fresh Peas & Goat Cheese Salad


Fresh Pea, Herb and Cheese Salad:

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
2 cups freshly shelled peas (use frozen if you have to)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup fresh cheese (I used this recipe for paneer)
salt and pepper to taste
freshly chopped basil and oregano (or whatever you like instead)
splash of balsamic vinegar and oil (roughly 2 teaspoons each)

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, heat the oil and sautee the onion and garlic until translucent. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil in large stock pot and cook the peas until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain them from the water, rinse under cold water and drain well.
In a large bowl, combine the peas, onion, garlic, fresh cheese, salt, pepper and the herbs. Mix until combined and add a few splashes of vinegar and olive oil. You're set!

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Le P'tit Coin Francais:

Salade de petit pois et fromage frais:

1/2 oignon, coupe en des
2-3 gousses d'ail, emincees
120gr-150gr de fromage frais (recette ici)
1 litre d'eau
500gr de petit pois (sans ecosses)
sel et poivre
basilic et origan (ou autre)
1 cc huile
1 cc vinaigre balsamique

Dans une grande poele, faire revenir l'oignon et l'ail jusqu'a ce qu'ils soit translucide. Mettre de cote.
Dans une grande casserole, porter l'eau a ebullition et faire y cuire les petits pois pendant 5 minutes. Les passer sous l'eau froide et laisser bien egoutter.
Dans un grand saladier, melanger l'oignon, l'ail, les petits pois, le fromage frais, sel, poivre et ajouter un peu d'huile et vinaigre. C'est pret!

Fresh Cheese & Raspberries Semifreddo Popsicles

111

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Faisselle Ice Cream and Raspberry Popsicles

Every Monday I look forward to Saturday. The attraction of the weekend is a tad lost on us given our schedules, but from April through December, Saturday mornings are set aside for the farmers market. Rain or shine, we are making our rounds as soon as the market opens up. It gets pretty busy around 9.30am but by then we have already stopped by the patisserie and are on our way home.

I've got my market route down pat and beside spreading my budget to as many farmers as I can, after a while you can tell who specializes in what. I know where to get round zucchinis for my petits farcis, peas for my salads, deep purple Spring onions and potatoes, peaches, etc...Last stops are always the same, meat guy, pasta dude, milk and egg ladies. For half of what I would spend at the grocery store, I have everything we need for the week and sometimes more.

Faisselle & Raspberries

Yes, I am obviousy in love with our market but I also relish in that one hour of walking around with B. and just be. To get to know the people who are behind the food that gets on our plate, their passions beside food, their hopes, their families. I know my family's health is in good hands with them.

One Saturday morning that we were operating on very little sleep, we went our separate ways for a minute and both got milk. I thought for a second about bringing some back but was actually quite happy to have the perfect excuse to make yogurt and fresh cheese. Specifically my dad's favorite, faisselle.

Faisselle Ice Cream & Raspberry Popsicles

For me, "faisselle" is synonymous with vacations, my father, and our chalet in the Alps. Best memories a child could have. Lots of cousins have taken their first steps there, got rid of their training wheels, had their first kiss, their first sleepover under the stars, built their first fort. Many rocks and stones thrown in the Durance river behind, many of us took our first gliders trip or learned how to ski there.

About twice a week, we would walk across the air field where the cows were enjoying their pasture at the end of the runway to get milk and faisselle. An epic scene for sure! Once back at the chalet, my dad would boil the milk and spread the resulting top cream on fresh bread. That was a ritual and a treat. The faisselle was neatly parked until dinner time and dessert.

Faisselle Ice Cream & Raspberry Popsicles

As a kid I was not too fond of it unless there was enough honey mixed with it. As years went on and my palate evolved, I longed for it again and after a few attempts, I finally got successful results in making it at home. With the extra goat milk from the market, I made a big batch of faisselle and turned some into Fresh Cheese and Raspberries Semifreddo Popsicles.

A few raspberries mulled with honey dropped at the bottom of a shot glass and topped with faisselle ice cream and there you have the perfect mix of tangy, creamy and refreshing. They disappeared in no time with our friends this weekend. That little bit of work brought this dessert to another level of good. Trust me. If the task of making faisselle seems too great, replace with equal amount of Greek yogurt, the taste will be very close.

Faisselle Ice Cream & Raspberry Popsicles

One more thing before I leave you with the recipe:

I am going to be holding a panel on food photography at Evo 10 in Utah June 24th-26th and I was given the opportunity to give away a 2 day pass* to the conference - Yes! TWO DAYS! . It's pretty darn huge given all the great topics this conference will cover. I am honored to be among such amazing speakers. I can't wait to be there!

Evo 10

So if you want to attend or know someone who needs, wants, would love to be there: leave a comment on this post between today and Thursday June 3rd at midnight (US eastern time) when a lucky winner will be drawn at random.

* Giveaway includes full access pass to all panels, workshops, activities as seen on the agenda page but does not include travel to and from, food or lodging.

Fresh Cheese and Raspberries Semifreddo Popsicles:

Makes enough for 8-10 small treats

Note: if you wish to venture (and I hope you do) into making your own fresh faisselle for this, you need to start the day before for the best taste. If you want to skip that part, you can use a good tangy Greek yogurt the day you prepare these.

For the (fresh cheese) faisselle:
1 quart whole milk ( 4 cups - 946ml)(I like to use raw when I can but that is up to your own preference) (goat or cow)
1/2 cup heavy cream (118ml)
1/4 cup dry milk powder (60 gr)
8 drops liquid rennet

In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream and milk powder and bring the mixture to 120F over medium heat. Let cool to room temperature and add the rennet. Stir once with a wooden spoon, transfer to a clean bowl (porcelain, glass or plastic), cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit undisturbed for 2 to 4 hours. Place in the refrigerator and let sit overnight to develop more taste. Drain and used as desired the next day.

For the raspberries:
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons honey

Place the berries and the honey in a non reactive bowl, break slightly with the back of a spoon or a fork and let macerate 10-15 minutes. Divide the mixture in the bottom of your cups, ramekins or glasses. Set aside.

For the ice cream:
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 Tablespoons (50 gr water)
1/4 cup ) honey
200 gr faisselle (drained a bit)(or Greek tangy yogurt)

In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment or hand held one with balloon whisks, beat the cream until it just holds soft peaks. Chill while you prepare the ice cream (parfait) base. Wash your bowl and whisk attachment.
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the water and honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Since you are not making caramel, it is ok to stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Let it boil and bring the mixture to 238°F on thermometer (soft-ball stage).
In the clean bowl of your mixer, still using the whisk attachment, beat the yolks slightly to break them up. Increase the speed to medium high and slowly pour the hot syrup over the yolks. Go fast enough to prevent the eggs from scrambling but not so fast that you end up with most of the syrup on the wall of the bowl or the whisk. Continue to whip until the mass is completely cold and airy.
By hand, whisk in the drained faisselle (or yogurt) and about 1/3 of the ice cream base into the chilled whipped cream to loosen it up and make it easier to incorporate homogeneously. Fold in the remaining base.

Assemble:
Divide the ice cream base on top of the raspberries and freeze at least 2-4 hours or until firm.

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