Friday, January 27, 2012

Livin' on the Edge.

When you think of Friday nights, you probably think of grabbin' dinner with a friend, maybe meeting up with someone for a drink or even a hot date.  When I think of Friday nights, I think of baked kale chips. Please insert the phrase," foodie" nerd now. 

I have had Smitten Kitchen's recipe for baked kale chips bookmarked for well over a year and finally made a batch tonight. No excuses this time around. What inspired me to make it is the fact that Whole Foods sells bags of them for around $4.50 and while I was tempted to try a bag, I knew I could make it at home for less than 50% the cost (kale at the farmer's market is around $1.50-2.00 for a bunch).  I'm all about saving the "mighty" (or maybe not so mighty these days) dollar. 

I deviated from the recipe slightly - I used less olive oil (about 1/2 a tablespoon) and I sprinkled on a little cayenne before popping them in the oven to crisp up and meet their maker.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can really make it your own, season it up with some cajun spices or maybe some garlic powder.  Get crazy with yo' bad ass self and yo' kale chips, go on now!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Beet you to the punch.

I am going to "beet" you to the punch with what turned out to be one of the highlights at an intimate gathering of friends who craft, converse, eat, drink and were spreading merriment all on an overcast Sunday afternoon. This past week, Clothilde, from Chocolate & Zucchini posted a recipe for beet hummus. I am a sucker for hummus, whether it's homemade or I pick up a tub from Trader Joe's.  It's a staple in my fridge and my heart.

I wish I had taken a picture of the beet hummus I made yesterday, but thanks to the original blog post, you can find the recipe and an image, here. I bought my beets at the farmer's market yesterday morning and the beet hummus turned out bright and cheery looking, a real showstopper on the table.  Tah-dah! It screamed, "look at me, over, here, yeah, the pretty purple dip, yeah that's me, aren't I purty?"  The fact that it was pretty wasn't only appealing, it was a real sweet treat to spoon on top of pita chips or dip baby carrots in.  It would probably make an incredible spread on a grilled veggie panini too. I can't wait to finish the rest of what's left off.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cooking in Paris: Part Tres

The moment of truth.  The moment you all have been waiting for.  And I supposed the moment I've been waiting for and I didn't actually know it! Remember in Part Une, I mentioned that Paule was featured on David Lebovitz' blog for her secret family tart dough recipe? Click here for more info. To say my jaw nearly hit the floor when I watched her combine butter, sugar, oil and water in a glass bowl and then placed the glass bowl in a hot oven for 15 minutes.  Need to read that again? Say what? Double take? This goes against every pastry recipe you've ever read.  I know, pick up your phone, make an emergency call to your sponsor, therapist, mother, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone who cares. Carefully removing the bowl from the oven, Paule worked quickly to add the flour to the mixture until a ball was formed. Paule added the dough to her tart pan and lined the pan with the dough. She pierced it with a fork and baked it for about 15 minutes.

While the tart crust was in the oven, we made the almond cream and sliced 2 pints of the most beautiful figs you've ever seen. Generously, we spread the almond cream into the tart shell and baked for about 10 minutes, just until the almond cream set.  Then we put the final touch on the tart, the fresh figs and popped it back in the oven for another ten minutes.  

Before slicing into this heavenly tart, we sprinkled the tart with crushed pistachios for a finishing touch.  Presentation is everything.
The texture of the tart's crust was sandy, crumbly and oh so buttery.  The nuttiness of the almond cream complimented the natural sweetness of the figs, it was married together beautifully.  What's beautiful about this recipe is that the figs could easily be replaced with a variety of other fruits.  In the summer, fresh raspberries or blackberries will be fantastic (if you choose fresh fruit, you have to cook the almond cream in the tart for longer). It was so much fun making and even more fun devouring.