Posts Tagged ‘Food’

A Perfect Recipe for the Tomato Garden’s Peak

July 8, 2009

Slice of rustic tomato tart, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

Even in a tiny driveway garden like ours, the week comes when there are way, way more tomatoes than two people can eat (especially if only one of us likes gazpacho; ahem). This is a great recipe for the days of unlimited tomatoes–I’ve been baking it for years, just baked it last night. SO delicious, very easy (really), and adaptable (we added onions last night, because we had some to use up; and we used a lot of fresh oregano for the herbs last night, because that’s also in peak supply right now in our garden).

“Rustic Herbed Tomato Tart with Parmesan Crust”
From LA Times Magazine, 7 June 1998, but adapted by Penny

Pastry:
1 cup, white flour
half a cup, whole wheat flour
1 stick (half-cup) cold butter, cut into five pieces
half a teaspoon salt
half a cup, Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
zest from half a lemon
a quarter cup of ice water

Filling:
2 tbsps Dijon mustard
2 tbsps Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsps fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6-8 ripe tomatoes (about a pound and a quarter), cut into quarter-inch thick slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water

To prepare pastry:
In food processor fitted with metal blade, combine flour, butter, salt and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running, add lemon zest and pour water through feeder tube in steady stream. Process until dough begins to bind. Remove dough and shape into 12 inch disk. (The dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. When ready to use, remove from refrigerator and let soften to room temp, about half an hour.)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12-inch circle. Transfer to lightly oiled baking sheet. Using pastry brush, paint pastry with mustard, leaving a generous inch or so border all around. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over mustard.

In a small bowl, combine basil, thyme, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange half of the tomato slices over mustard-cheese layer on pastry. Now sprinkle herb mixture over tomatoes. Cover with remaining tomatoes.

Fold pastry border over tomatoes to enclose sides of tart, gently draping pastry over tomatoes and folding it into soft pleats every few inches. Pinch any cracks to seal pastry and prevent tomato juices from running out during baking. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. Using pastry brush, paint dough with egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until dough is golden brown (not always very easy to tell with whole wheat, but there’s a lot of leeway here). Remove tart and let it cool for about ten minutes, serve warm.

Tomatotart

100 Food Meme

November 27, 2008

Seems appropriate for Thanksgiving time, to write about food…  Found this meme at Ahistoricality, the idea is that you set “foods I’ve eaten” in bold, and “foods I’d like to try” in italics.  As I said in comments there, I’d have to add a category for “foods I’ve eaten but not on purpose,” and add another for “foods I make/cook with at home sometimes.”  And maybe one more, for “foods I ate once, but wouldn’t choose again.”  But here we go….to the best of my knowledge…
1.  Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar  (close but no cigar–ha!)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat  (but shouldn’t I get half credit for Korean goat and Nepalese goat?)
42. Whole insects (uh, I was a camp counselor)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (on our honeymoon, in Edinburgh)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (Nasturtiums, roses, artichokes, lavender)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I can claim 54%–pretty darn close to Ahistoricality’s tally, especially if you give me an extra credit for non-curried goat dishes.  (I deserve extra credit for eating huitlacoche last year, too, I think.)   I wouldn’t really want to try too many of the others–they’re either macho/hot/dangerous/expensive foods (yawn) or meats (generally not interested these days), or both.

Mmmmm, Diwali

October 29, 2008

It’s Diwali time, so I’ve got a ziplock of lovely Diwali sweets (laddoos) made by my friend’s husband (thanks Srini!).   They’re very sweet, crunchy, and taste of ground nuts and cardamom.  Mmmmmmmmmm….. In my ideal universe, all sweets would contain cardamom.   I can walk past the bowl of Halloween candy without a pang–“nope, nothing with cardamom”–knowing I have a stash of laddoos instead.

Happy Autumn

September 5, 2008

Bell Peppers!, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

The farmer’s market still has sunny vegetables like this tumble of red and gold and green bell peppers, and the equinox isn’t for a few weeks, but school’s back in and I’m going to hear the first Bach’s Lunch recital at TLC of the season today…. so it’s still happy autumn to me.

Gelato in memoriam

August 7, 2008

Gelato in memoriam, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

Went out for ice cream (well, gelato) with the kids, to mark the passing of my grandmother today. She was a big ice cream fan, to the end, and it seemed like the right way to spend the afternoon. Rest in peace, Weesie.

McWay Falls

August 4, 2008

McWay Falls, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

We’re home from our trip, which included a stop to see the lovely McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, above. Much of the park (including the wheeled access) was damaged by the recent fires and closed to visitors, but the cove and falls were still visible from the terraces on a sunny July morning. Son woke up to his 13th birthday in a dorm suite at SFSU, and we had little chocolate lava cakes to celebrate; he got a new toy, and a t-shirt from a friend at the same conference.

The conference went fine, it was great to see old friends and meet folks I’ve “known” online for years. But I still get intensely bored with the format of conferences (sitting and listening and sitting and listening some more). As a not-so-young independent scholar, I’m not really in synch with the young academics who are there mostly to network and talk about tenure and funding and this and that, so I don’t have a lot to chat about. It was a very small conference, so there was no book display to offer refuge, either.

Also, I ran out of yarn before I ran out of need for yarn.  That’s not the conference organizers’ fault, though.

I acquired, uh, ten used CDs on the trip–but spent less than $20 total, in three shops (Amoeba, Boo Boo Records in SLO, and Streetlights in Santa Cruz).  If you’re ever in the neighborhood near the SF Amoeba Music store, the New Ganges vegetarian Indian restaurant is friendly (if maybe too insistent about suggestions), on a quiet street, and makes some mighty fine takeout (but there’s no wheelchair access I noticed, so heads up there).  And we were so ridiculously happy with our Afghan lunch from Khyber Pass in Santa Cruz that I have to mention them too.

Crockpot Happiness

June 30, 2008

A local market has a shelf in back where bagged produce is 99 cents. Sometimes it’s a bit ugly, which is fine. Whenever there’s a bag of apples or pears, I get it, and make this (before bed, so it’s ready by morning, and the whole house smells great all night long):

4-5 apples or pears, chopped–experiment with varieties

A couple handfuls of raisins, any color

a thumb’s worth of ginger root

A generous shaking of cinnamon

Water to cover–don’t be tempted to use oj or even apple juice–it’s too acidic and will create mush.

And ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT BE GOOD–I’ve thrown in craisins, dried cherries, frozen berries, cranberries, dried apricots, nutmeg, cardamom, a little molasses or honey.

Crockpot overnight. Discard the ginger chunk.

In the morning or for a snack, spoon the stewed fruit into bowls and top with granola or chopped walnuts, and vanilla yogurt. It also works for dessert with some pretty pecan bits and vanilla ice cream.

Vietnamese grilled beef salad

May 22, 2008
beef salad

Vietnamese grilled beef salad, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

From dinner last night. There were so many courses, and we were sharing with a tableful of people, but I managed to get a picture of one of the platters before anyone dove in. These little beef tidbits were wrapped in onion and grilled. Meant to be eaten with lots of veggies and a splash of sauce.

Tonight’s dining: Saigon-style Vietnamese

May 21, 2008

We’re in this dining group that has special meals at various local restaurants. They’re usually off-menu and explore a regional style that the chef knows well. Some of the restaurants get very elaborate, with musicians and dancers and rare ingredients; others never turn off the TV; but it’s always an adventure. Tonight, we’re at a Vietnamese restaurant nearby–the organizer says “Owner Hai Vong of Pho Thai Long Restaurant serves Saigon-style cuisine with flavors that may surprise you, and he’s cooking a banquet for us exactly as he would for a Vietnamese wedding or family reunion.” Hmmm! Here’s the preview menu we’ve been given (subject to change):

Appetizers: Crispy Shrimp Paste, Cha Gio Rolls, Goi Cuon Shrimp Rolls.

Main courses: Crispy Fish, Lemon Grass Chicken, Grilled Stuffed Beef Over Salad, Vegetables With Shrimp And Pork, and Special Fried Rice.

Obviously, you can’t be too picky if you go on these dining adventures….and I’m not. Can’t wait!