Wednesday, July 28, 2010
1. Are the ingredients within my budget?
2. Is it healthy?
3. Is it worth the time?
While I ponder such questions when looking at a recipe, I've been waiting to find a really great soup book that will answer all the above with YES! Why just one book? Because it will be an easy one stop shop. Also, I'm trying to challenge myself like Julie Powell did with Julia Childs' "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and cook every single recipe in one book. I think I've found the BOOK that will allow me to cook everything in it! Well I didn't find it but my awesome friend Ben did :). He gave me this
50 vegetarian soup recipes that all sound so scrumptious!!! I can't wait to crack into it this weekend. THANKS Ben!!! Get ready for some more soup recipes to come up soon :)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
With such a small kitchen, I try not to buy anything I don't usually need. I have only two spoons, three forks, one large mixing bowl, one spatula and a few plates/bowls/bake ware. I'd love to have a bazillion other gadgets but I'm content with what I have now as I have been able to make many recipes that I've wanted to. The only thing is that I've never had a tart pan so I wasn't able to make all these awesome tart recipes that I've read online. I decided that Daniel's dad's birthday was a great occasion to finally get one and make him something yummy and fun. I must also mention that while in Brazil, Daniel and I had an awesome slice of apple pie and it got me thinking about baking all kinds of apple-y sweets like pie and tarts since I've never done it before. Seriously, I didn't stop thinking about making a pie from the moment we took a bite out of that slice (it's a weird thing I have about certain recipes; I become a bit obsessed). I came home and bought a tart pan right away.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water
2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart kind), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced (I used Golden Delicious and Granny Smith Apples)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sugar (I used about 1/4 cup of sugar so it made my glaze really water but still enough to make the tart sweet)
MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend with a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas. (Mine did not look anything like peas... but it still turned out just fine).
DRIBBLE in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers (mine did not fall through my fingers but felt just right), until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush (or sprinkle it evenly with your hands - no fancy tools needed ;))
PLACE dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
OVERLAP apples on dough up to the sides of the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals. (The funny thing is that I forgot to look at the pictures on Smitten Kitchen so my apple slices were huge! But it still tasted good).
BRUSH melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples.
BAKE in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.
MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.
REMOVE tart from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes.
BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.
What did it taste like?!
Honestly, I have no idea. I didn't get a chance to try it since it was headed up to Irvine with Daniel for his dad's birthday. I took the opportunity to stay at home and rest since I was going through withdrawals from my vacation! But according to Daniel, it was really good! The dough was perfect (my first dough ever from scratch) and the apples had a nice little sweetness to it that wasn't overwhelming to his taste buds. He usually doesn't like anything too sweet (neither do I) so I knew that it must have been the right amount of sugar. I can't wait to use my tart pan again soon!
Monday, July 19, 2010
While in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, I stayed in an apartment and tried to cook whenever possible since I was eating out almost everyday for the past 2 weeks in Salvador Bahia. Daniel and I went to the grocery store and tried to purchase some things that were different and exotic to the local area. There were some great fruits like passion fruit (maracuja), pineapple (that's actually white), papaya ( I don't like this but Daniel does) and cherimoya (another thing I don't eat). While some of the fruits were appealing, the meats were something I tried to stay away from because they didn't look much like what we have here. They hung on racks with flies hovering over all of them and they look salted to death. I stuck to things that I knew I couldn't really get sick from like bread, deli meats (that's already cooked and prepared for me :)) and basic vegetables (carrots and corn; I didn't eat the corn though because it was the strangest texture ever). Since I didn't cook as much while I was there for almost a month, I was ready to get back into my kitchen and make some comfort foods for myself like soup :).
I went on a little bit of a soup frenzy, finding every kind of soup recipe there is to see what I could make over the next couple of weeks. I was really set on looking for a pumpkin soup recipe because I had one of the best pumpkin soups in Brazil that Daniel fell in love with so I wanted to try and recreate it. I didn't have much luck since it isn't pumpkin season and most of the recipes called for canned pumpkin. I decided that I wanted to make something more fresh and similar to pumpkin soup such as butternut squash. I found this great recipe from that was delish. If you like pureed soup, this one is for you. It's sweet and super easy to make. Enjoy!
Melt butter in a medium to large pot over light to medium heat. Cook onions with the dash of salt in melted butter. Stir onions until it is softened (about 4 minutes).