Monday, March 19, 2012

roasted cauliflower tart

Almost as soon as my fork hit the plate after finishing a piece of this squash tart, my mind was spinning with other vegetable tart possibilities. I remembered this tart and I decided to put a tart together using elements of Deb’s version (which for some reason I remembered as being fairly labour intensive but reading the recipe, I didn’t really see why), last week’s squash tart and this lovely tart from Luisa. I toyed with using the polenta crust but in the end I went with my tried and true pastry crust. I roasted sliced cauliflower with a drizzle of olive oil and some pepper. While that was roasting I sauted 3 diced shallots with some sage and made the crust. I spread some mustard over the tart shell, then layered on grated smoked gouda, the roasted cauliflower in a single layer, sprinkled the sagey shallots over the top and poured an egg/yogurt mixture over it all and topped with finely grated parmesan. The result was everything I'd hoped for although my husband did suggest tossing in a few toasted pine nuts next time for some crunch.

Roasted Cauliflower Tart (with lots of inspiration)
1 medium sized cauliflower, sliced
olive oil, pepper
3 shallots, diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp dried sage
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 c grated smoked gouda
2 large eggs
1 c thick greek style plain yogurt
1/4 c finely grated parmesan

Tart dough
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
125 g cold butter, diced
1 egg
2-4 tbsp cold water

Slice the cauliflower head (stripped of all greenery and most of the stem), into 1/2" slices. Place in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper. Roast at 425 deg F for about 10 minutes until a bit brown on one side. Toss to mix.

Saute the shallots in the butter until translucent. Add the sage and garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside.

Make the tart dough by combining the flour and salt in a food processor. Whiz briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is spread throughout the flour in a chunky texture. Beat the egg and 2 tbsp of water together and pulse into the mixture. Add water, little bits at a time until the dough just comes together. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a circle large enough to fill a pie plate. Ease the dough into the pie plate, roll off the excess and dimple the bottom of the pie with your fingertips. Brush the mustard over the bottom of the pie as evenly as possible.

Add the grated cheese over the bottom of the pie as evenly as possible. Add the cauliflower in a single layer over the cheese (any leftover make a nice nibble for the cook!).

Spread the shallots over the cauliflower, distributing them as evenly as you can. Mix the eggs and yogurt together and pour over the pie - shaking slightly to even out the top. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top.

Bake at 400 deg F for 40-50 minutes or until the top starts to brown in places. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.

I had a bit of dough, cauliflower and cheese left over so I made a little pie with a layer of the grated gouda, cauliflower and a sprinkling of parmesan. A good tidbit for someone's lunch.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Today, being Sunday, the boy and I were on our own during the day (husband works). So today's adventure was going to the garden store and buying a birdhouse kit for the boy and lots (and lots) of seeds and bulbs (me). I need to come up with a plan for the garden rather than wing it, I suppose.

After the boy ran around the seed section and begged for everything from the super deluxe birdhouse ($129) to a plastic hawk (bird deterent), getting cups of water from the water fountain, with me playing bad cop (|"no, come here, behave, etc") I was a bit on edge. So I decided we would stop on the way home, weather permitting (ie no snow or hail or driving rain) and we would go for a walk on a trail I read about a while ago but still haven't ventured on. The boy bargained hard for a stop for ice cream on the way home but in the end we settled on walking in the woods until he was tired and then a trip for ice cream. We set off up the path, the boy running ahead. When we were about half way up the hill the boy decided he'd had enough. So we played dodge-em up the hill - he would stand in front of me to stop me from continuing, I would dodge around him and so forth. We could hear rushing water from the trail and had glimpses of rushing water through the trees. We came to a fork in the trail and one side led to a lookout. And a view of the falls.

And then we set off back home, at which point the boy was upset as I hadn't let him take a picture of the falls with my phone.

We stopped for ice cream and all was better again. The boy even did the happy boy ice cream dance. So I wasn't surprised when ice cream made the list as one of the two best things* that happened today. But I was surprised by the second - the falls. And nothing made the one bad thing that happened today list - not even stepping on his lego warship and destroying the guns.

Cypress Falls

*I took to asking this question occasionally after I read about it on Tea and Cookies. You ask each member of your family to identify two good things and one bad thing that happened that day. Try it and it might give you insight into your family too. I'm usually surprised by some of the answers.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

roasted squash tart

I actually decided to make this because I had some smoked cheddar in my fridge. I had made a variation of this tart a few years ago but recently got the Rebar Cookbook off the shelf to make peanut sauce and wound up reading through a few pages and found the recipe for this tart. So I picked up a butternut squash and when dinner plans with family fell through, made this for supper the other night. It sort of made up for not going out.

I started off with my tried and true tart dough recipe, from David Lebovitz. I roasted some sliced squash, sliced apples green and red (not in the original recipe but for some reason I thought they were so I added them anyway), sauted some shallot with sage and grated some of the smoked cheddar. It all added up to a delicious dinner and has meant some tasty leftovers for lunch this week.

Roasted Squash Tart (adapted from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook)
1 tart shell
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 c peeled and sliced butternut squash
1 medium apple, sliced thinly (I used half green and half red)
1 medium shallot, diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sage
1 c grated smoked cheddar
2 large eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
salt and pepper

Tart Dough (from David Lebovitz)
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, diced
1 large egg
2-4 tbsp cold water

In a foil lined roasting pan, toss the squash with a sprinkle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 400 deg F for about 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, saute the shallot in the butter until translucent, add the sage and cook until very fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Make the tart dough by whizzing the flour and salt in a food processor until mixed. Add in the diced butter and pulse until the butter is distributed through the flour but still in small pieces. Mix the egg with 2 tbsp of cold water and pulse into the dough. Add more water and pulse until the dough barely comes together. Dump the dough onto a floured board and roll out until the diameter is enough to fill a tart pan (I use one with a removable bottom). Ease the dough around and into the pan, pressing slightly into the edges. Roll off the excess dough. Dimple the dough in the bottom of the pan with your fingertips and then spread the dijon mustard in an even layer across the tart bottom.

Add the grated cheese evenly across the bottom of the tart. Layer the apple slices over top. Sprinkle the sauted shallot mixture over the apples as evenly as possible. Layer the squash slices in a single layer over the top. Beat the eggs, milk and cream together and pour over the tart.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 400 deg F or until the tart is slightly brown and the middle is firm. Let cool for a few minutes to set.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

memories of france

So I’m late again. Here I am posting about pancakes a few weeks after Pancake Tuesday. A couple of weeks ago while looking for a recipe for sourdough pancakes, I came across this recipe from Nigel Slater on the And it reminded me of lovely buckwheat crepes I’ve eaten in France. And while my resulting crepes were not as big as the ones typically served at Creperies in France, they taste very similar. Or at least, similar enough to have me flipping through our photo albums.

My husband and I spent our first honeymoon week in Provence, which is our/my most recent trip to France. We spent days travelling around, visiting markets and looking at some of the sights, roman ruins, Vincent Van Gogh’s hospital, old medieval towns. We were stopped on a country road by a flock of sheep, including one which got itself caught on our rental car’s (aka sewing machine) side mirror and bleated pathetically at my husband until it freed itself. We stopped at a small winery and bought a bottle of local wine and admired the collection of bidets posed behind a stone wall. We followed seemingly bizarre directions to get to places – “turn right at the Virgin Mary”, “go under the bell tower, turn right at Nostradamus, and look for the door in the castle wall” and “take the first road off the roundabout with the melon statue” which lead to a charming B&B, a lovely restaurant and the road to Loursmarin, with a castle and a market to visit. And we had some wonderful meals. One was at a small café in a square off the Vieux Quai in Marseilles where they served crepes. The menu read something like

Crepe avec jambon
Crepe avec jambon, fromage
Crepe avec jambon, fromage, oeuf
Crepe avec jambon, fromage, béchamel
Crepe avec jambon, fromage, oeuf, béchamel

I chose the crepe avec jambon, fromage, béchamel which is a favourite of mine. Perfect with a glass of cider at an outdoor café on holiday. And good for a weekday dinner when spring seems like it is taking too long to get here.

Buckwheat Crepes (from Nigel Slater at
1 ¼ c buckwheat flour
½ c flour
2 eggs
2 ½ c milk
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter
cooked ham slices
2 c grated gruyère cheese

Whisk together the flours, eggs, milk, and salt. Put the batter in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Heat a pan over a medium heat. Melt a bit of butter in the pan, spreading it over the bottom and ladle some batter into the pan to form a thin crepe. Cook until the edges crisp and then flip and cook the other side. Set aside. Repeat until the crepes are all made.

To fill the crepes lay each one top-side down, place a slice of ham on top, sprinkle with cheese, and fold in half and half again. Put the crepes on a baking sheet and pop into a in a preheated 400 deg F oven until crisp.

I served mine with bechamel over the crepes. And I know that usually, in France, the bechamel is smeared over the inside of the crepe, and then the ham and cheese are folded inside the crepe.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 ½ c milk

Whisk together the butter, flour and milk over medium heat. Once the mixture is smooth and bubbling, turn down the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes. Add a handful of cheese if desired, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over crepes. (And an apology for the pictures, I find it hard to take a good picture of a brown crepe.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

chutney chicken

The time has come again. My freezer is so full that I cannot fit anything new into it, so I must make a concerted effort to use things in the freezer. I’ve been doing this slowly over the past couple of weeks and I’ve found I keep a lot of chicken thighs. I buy them in a big pack and divide them up but it got a bit out of control. So the other night, somewhat inspired by Jamie Oliver, I made up this recipe totally stealing Jamie’s method. It took me a bit longer than 30 minutes to make dinner but not much.

Chutney Chicken (inspired by Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals)
8-9 chicken thighs (I used bone in, skin on)
Salt and pepper
½ c chutney (I used my peach chutney)
½ c greek style yogurt

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken and lay the chicken skin side down into a hot pan. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat until the skin is brown (~ 8 minutes), flip and cook for another 8 minutes or so until the chicken is well on it’s way to being done. Mix the chutney and yogurt together in a small bowl. Drain most of the fat out of the chicken pan (wipe down as much of the surface as you can with paper towel), and then add the chutney yogurt mixture. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked and the sauce has formed a kind of glaze over the chicken. Serve with your favourite sides. (I had leftover potato cakes and some mashed carrot and turnip.)