I thought it was time I made an appearance, before LivingTastefully no longer recognizes me and refuses to let me post onto my blog.
I also want to let you know what I've been up to the past couple of months. You might find this hard to believe, but I haven't been spending as much time in my kitchen. I have a new granddaughter who was born in September. Monday is Liv's day with "Oma Lady"... a name not chosen by me. The other days of the week, I am usually in my studio (a.k.a. the sunroom). I started painting again last spring after stopping 45 years ago (geez, that's a long time!) when, at the last minute, I switched from painting to fiber before classes started at the Kansas City Art Institute. It scared me how consumed I was by painting and didn't think I could live like that. I'm seeing signs of it again now, but I'm so happy to be painting it doesn't matter. I feel I have so much lost time to make up. I had always painted in oils, but decided this time to plunge into watercolor. It's a struggle. I found oils easy... watercolor for me is a challenge. I like to layer...
After doing a couple of paintings for Liv, my daughter convinced me to start a little business with her. It will be called Winks & Inks Design. I abhor the business part of anything I do creatively. That's my daughter's job in our collaboration. But she has recently returned to her real job after having baby Liv and that has slowed down the launch of Winks & Inks. Our offerings will consist of birth certificates for framing, invitations, etc., and what I've really enjoyed... paintings with French phrases. Of course, dogs are playing a starring role in all of these. The majority of items will be archival pigment ink prints (giclée, if you like), but I will also have some originals for sale, framed in vintage frames (examples below). I have my sister to thank for that. She deals in European antiques (German and French) and concentrates heavily on frames and mirrors -- tramp art being both of our passion. Although, she deals in what I consider rare and sometimes extravagant frames, I prefer them to be very simple.
I may occasionally put framed paintings and prints that are available onto Instagram. If interested, follow me HERE. Those of you as passionate about French Bulldogs as I am, can also see the occasional photo of Bisous on my Instagram. He will be, unfortunately, having surgery this month on a Luxating Patella. Oddly enough, this hasn't slowed him down. But the constant limping/skipping made it quite obvious that something was terribly wrong. He/we will endure an 8 week recovery. Anyone who knows Bisous well, understands how difficult those 8 weeks will be. Bisous is not about sitting still.
And above... the Bacon, Green Peas, and Tarragon Tart (recipe HERE). This tart, and several other recipes, are in David Lebovitz's latest book, L'appart, where he writes about the grueling year-long purchase and renovation of his home in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. This book totally confirmed my husband's belief that buying an apartment in Paris (or France for that matter) would not be in our best interest. This week, for the second time this year, I will be making David's French Beef Stew with Olives (also in the book). My son-in-law said he could eat it everyday. I might have to agree with him. The deep-freeze has returned and this stew is perfect Minnesota winter food!
I consider savory foods encased in pastry about as good as it gets, and this Pizza Rustica has been in my baking repertoire for many years. When the temperatures drop and daylight hours wane, I start craving meals like this.
The following post is from Passions to Pastry's 2008 archives:
My daughter was in NYC over New Years. She was born 18 miles from Manhattan, across the George Washington Bridge, when we lived there for two years in the 1980's. I spent much of those two years exploring NYC. I rarely would take the subway. I preferred walking so I could see everything there was to see. One day I covered 112 blocks. When friends came for a visit, we would go into the city and the first place I would take them was a food emporium. My favorites were Zabar's, Balducci's and Dean & DeLuca. Luckily, most of my friends felt the same way about food as I did, but occasionally there would be the visitor who was wondering why we weren't at the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. So, when my daughter was planning her trip to NYC and asked me for suggestions on where to eat, knowing how I roamed and combed that city, I realized the names I gave her were restaurants I read about and would like to try the next time I visited NYC. Many of the places I frequented when we lived there almost 25 years ago no longer exist. The average life expectancy for a restaurant in NYC is 2 years. But it got me thinking about the places I used to go and one of my favorites was the DDL Foodshow on the Upper West Side. DDL stood for Dino De Laurentiis, movie producer, restaurateur and grandfather of Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network fame. My favorite item on the menu was the Pizza Rustica. I had never eaten it before and this one was really good! Giada has a Pizza Rustica recipe (possibly her grandfathers??). I don't know if it's the same one that was served at the restaurant, but it is very good and it's the one I now make and you see in these photos.
PIZZA RUSTICA | Giada De Laurentiis
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 8 ounces hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 16 ounce bag chopped, frozen spinach, thawed and drained
• 1 15 ounce container whole milk ricotta
• 12 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
• 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
• 4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
• Pastry dough, recipe follows
• 1 large egg, beaten to blend
1. Position rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy, large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and sauté until golden brown, breaking the sausages into pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
3. Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, the spinach, and the prosciutto, and stir to combine.
4. Roll out the larger piece of dough on a floured work surface to a 17-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan (I used a 9-inch high-sided tart pan with a removable bottom). Trim the dough overhang to 1-inch. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown; about 1 hour.
5. I let my Pizza Rustica set for about 1 hour before unmolding. The recipe says to unmold after 15 minutes, but I have had the hot filling break through the pastry before, so I like to be certain the filling has cooled sufficiently.
• 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1/4 cup cold, solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs, beaten to blend
• 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1. Blend the flour, butter, vegetable shortening and salt in the bowl of a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into two pieces with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
TAKE a LOOK:
There are still fresh peaches in the grocery stores. Go buy several and make this galette. It's the best dessert I've baked this summer...
Peach Raspberry Galette
recipe from Martha Stewart
• 1 disk Galette Dough (recipe below)
• 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
• 2 1/2 pounds peaches (about 5), halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• Pinch of coarse salt
• 3/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
• 6 ounces fresh raspberries
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds
• 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
• 1 cup plain yogurt or full-fat sour cream
1. Roll the galette dough to an 18-inch round on lightly floured parchment.
2. Combine peaches, lemon juice, flour, salt, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Gently stir in the raspberries and mound the mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 3-inch border. Dot the top of the fruit mixture with butter. Pleat the edges of the pastry around the fruit filling and brush pastry with eggs wash. Sprinkle with almond and turbinado sugar. Slide the galette and parchment onto a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake galette 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until pastry is golden and juices are bubbling, another 30 minutes (or more, depending on your oven). Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
4. Stir together yogurt or sour cream and remaining 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for serving.
NOTE: If there is a hole or crack in the dough, you will have seepage of juices. Using a spoon, occasionally scoop up juices and drizzle over the fruit while baking.
• 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 cup ice water
1. Place about 3/4 of the butter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, refrigerate remaining butter.
2. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add refrigerated butter and pulse to combine. Add frozen butter and pulse until mixture is coarse with some pea-size pieces.
3. Slowly, add ice water while pulsing. You may not need all of the water. Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together. Add more water and pulse a few more times, if necessary.
4. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Bring edges of plastic together and gather dough, pressing into a mass. Form the dough into a 1/2-inch disk, wrap in the plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes (and up to 2 days).
TAKE a LOOK:
This past weekend my daughter Claire hosted a baby shower for her sister, Whitney, along with Whitney's close friend, Allison. Yes... I'm going to be an Oma. The event took place in my home, and my contribution for this gathering was lunch. The plan (for months) had been a luncheon outdoors on the patio and in the garden, of course! But the weather turned against us with 90+ degree heat and unbearable dew points that forced everyone attending inside; not ideal in our minds, but we made it work...
Appetizers were placed in the living room.
Tomato tarts (recipe HERE) and main course salad were served in the kitchen.
I have been making my version of this chicken, corn and avocado salad (recipe below) since eating it at a local restaurant this spring.
Dessert was 3 Rhubarb and Almond Cakes and Chocolate Bouchons (recipe HERE) Yes... I always prepare more than we need.
Drinks consisted of Mimosas made with Prosecco, Rosé, and non-alcoholic Watermelon-Ginger Spritzers (recipe HERE), which were just the thing on a hot, sultry day.
The baby girl is due in September... a sister for Midge the French Bulldog.
CHICKEN, CORN, and AVOCADO SALAD
The ingredients of the salad below are approximate
• 1 Rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat from the bones cut into bite-size pieces
• 16-ounce can organic corn, drained
• a handful of Medjool dates, pitted and diced
• 1-2 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 5-ounce bag of Italian greens (or combine romaine, butter lettuce, and radicchio)
• 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
• goat cheese, as much as you like for tossing on top of salad
• apple cider vinegar
• extra-virgin olive oil
• salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large bowl, gently combine the chicken, corn, dates, avocado and greens.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Poor dressing over salad and gently toss. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
3. Sprinkle almonds and goat cheese over the top of the salad and serve.
RHUBARB and ALMOND CAKE
adapted recipe from The Floating Kitchen
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup almond meal
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 pound rhubarb
• 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
• 1/3 cup sliced almonds
• Confectioners' sugar for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. Generously coat the parchment paper and the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup of the sugar and the butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the yogurt, orange zest and extracts and beat until just incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Add dry ingredients to the cake batter, adding in one-third at a time, mixing on low speed until none of the white streaks remain. Set aside.
4. Trim rhubarb of leaves and if the stalks are wide, slice them in half lengthwise. Cut the rhubarb stalks into pieces 1 1/2-inches in length.
5. Spread about half of the cake batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Layer about half of the rhubarb over the batter in a single layer, leaving a half-inch space uncovered around the edges of the pan. Spread the remaining cake batter over the rhubarb and arrange rhubarb pieces on top. You may not need all of the rhubarb. Sprinkle the sliced almonds and turbinado sugar over the cake.
6. Place the cake on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Cut into slices and dust with the Confectioners' sugar.
• The cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
TAKE a LOOK:
Yes... I'm still here. And to prove it, I've made the most delicious savory tart.
The recipe is from an old (and favorite) cookbook, Once Upon a Tart. Family members have been out of town this week and when that happens, I usually don't spend time in the kitchen. But I've been asked recently why I haven't posted any recipes lately, and thought it was time I made an appearance. This savory tart seemed perfect for my reentry ... a 9-inch tart pan (on the smallish side), and as good this morning (at room temperature) for breakfast, as it was last night right out of the oven. If you bake this tart, make it easy on yourself (like I did) and defrost your spinach. But if you want to use fresh, take a pound of spinach and wilt, using a large pan, with a little butter and olive oil.
This painting (of an actual woman with her dog on the upper eastside of NYC) is one of the reasons I've disappeared. I put my paints & brushes away 40-some years ago in art school. I was obsessed and did nothing else. I didn't think I could continue that way, so I entered the fiber department instead of painting/printmaking. I often wonder what my life would be like now if I had continued in painting... and I've been missing it. So, now I will be dividing time between painting and LivingTastefully... oh... and the garden that I need to start planting. I'm busy, but I'll still be around. Maybe just not as frequently.