Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011

Mushroom Tartlets, Apple and Blue Cheese Turnovers, French Apple Cake

Click on recipe to view larger



Click on recipe to view larger



Click on recipe to view larger


Let’s start with dessert, shall we? I ran across this amazing recipe for French Apple Cake by Dorie Greenspan from her book Around My French Table. David Lebovitz posted a great article and her recipe here.  As much as I love pies and tarts, I wanted to do something different with the apples that came in my CSA share. French Apple Cake, now that was different, I was all over it. This is one of those recipes that you’ll probably have all the ingredients for in your pantry – except maybe the Rum. This isn’t a  problem for us, we have Rum coming out our ears here in south Florida, and it’s gifted to us a lot – thank you very much! Don’t skip this ingredient, it’s the backbone of the cake (but if you must, just bump up the vanilla extract by double). Minty Syrup is a great way to use up extra mint and nice to have on hand to use in cocktails (Mojitos immediately come to mind – the south Florida thing again), hot or iced tea and with fresh fruit or berries. This keeps for weeks in the fridge. The Mushroom Tartlets and Apple and Blue Cheese Turnovers are a snap to make since I made them with purchased puff pastry sheets. You can use what ever fruit is in season for the turnovers, mix and match the cheese, herbs, dried fruit and nuts to make it your own. I like to make extra mushroom filling to keep it in the freezer in case surprise guests show up or we have a last minute party invite – it’s ready to put together.


March 23, 2011

Nicoise Salad and Quick Pickled Cucumbers

click on recipe to enlarge

Julia Child, what a true inspiration. It was her that made the Salade Nicoise famous here in America and was one of her favorite main course salads. The classic has tomato wedges, boiled new potatoes, hard boiled eggs, leafy lettuce and canned tuna. I’ve changed it up to suit my taste (and to use what came in my CSA share). I used sweet potatoes, soft boiled eggs, baby spinach, heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh seared tuna and I added the olives and anchovy to the vinaigrette. My version may be debated by purists and not considered a true Salade Nicoise (sorry Julia), but I think she would have approved of this one. “Bon Appétit!”

I pickle anything and everything I can get my hands on. Beets, green beans, cabbage, carrots, jalapenos – sour, sweet or spicy, it doesn’t matter, it’s all good to me. At this moment I have beets, radishes and jalapenos in my fridge patiently waiting to be added to burgers, salads, a sauce or cocktail. I find myself pickling the fresh vegetables I can’t seem to eat quick enough. You know how it is to have a fridge full of beautiful vegetables knowing that it’s not humanly possible to plow through them all before you start having casualties, or to have no choice but to make yet another Ratatouille or soup surprise. So I pickle them to enjoy later – no pressure, no guilt.

March 15, 2011

Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower – Spaghetti with Broccoli, Lemon and Walnuts – Lemon Tart

I ended up with a pile of lemons this week. Along with the ones I received in my CSA share, my fridge was running over with them. This isn’t an accident. I always pick up a few while I’m at the market regardless if I need them or not. Usually when they’re offered at a good price, because nothing kills me more than paying a dollar a piece for a lemon. I’m sort of like a squirrel gathering nuts for a “rainy” day. No matter how may peanuts you set out for them they will keep picking them up! Where do they put them all?

I also ended up with Broccoli and Cauliflower this week, courtesy of my CSA. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to get excited about Broccoli and Cauliflower. Though I will occasionally invite them into my shopping cart and will usually cook them up before they rot in my fridge.

Maybe it brings back (not so) fond memories from childhood. Some of you may remember sitting at the dinner table staring at what seemed to be giant pieces of the stuff, boiled to death. I remember looking across the table at my brother and sister, slouched down in their chairs trying to muster up the courage to eat it while begging for a third glass of milk to wash it down with. We wouldn’t dare take our eyes off each other for fear that an extra piece would somehow end up on our plate. We must have been hilarious to watch, with our scrunched noses and pale faces, green with envy when one of us had been released for finally finishing.

I know they’re good for me, I know how to cook them properly, and I should eat them regularly, but I don’t. I decided it’s time for me to figure out a way to make them the star of the dinner table. And you know what? I did. Really!

Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower – Roasting does something magical to vegetables.
It seems that all the spices and lemon would completely drown the flavor of the Cauliflower but it doesn’t, it mellows it and makes it sweeter, while adding depth. I’m not kidding; these can be served as an hors d’oeuvre, piping hot out of the oven.

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Lemon and Walnuts – This is another quick and delicious dish.
I don’t particularly like doing dishes so I try hard not to dirty too many while I’m cooking. To blanch the broccoli I use a pot big enough to cook the spaghetti in. I use the same blanching water to cook the pasta, and once the pasta is cooked I use the pot, yet again, to toss everything together. One dirty pot, I can handle that. You can use your favorite pasta for this dish, and I like a good amount of fresh cracked pepper.

Lemon Tart – This is one of those desserts I dream of. I had the opportunity to perfect this tart while working at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Everyday for a year it was the first thing I baked, and I usually didn’t leave until I had a bite for the road. My dad would make lemon meringue pies a lot, and it wasn’t one of my favorites, the banana cream and custard pie were! But he loved the lemon; now I understand why it was his favorite.  He put extra love into making his lemon pies, and it makes all the difference, so give this recipe a little love of your own and you won’t be disappointed. Until you make it a few times, it may seem tricky but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making it regularly. I have it here with a simple whipped cream, but it’s also great with summer berries.

March 6, 2011

#2 Getting Comfy with your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Share

I received some exciting (Lemons and Avocados!) and not so exciting veggies (sorry Broccoli and Cauliflower) this week. Let’s get started on my next CSA share, I have some great recipes on the way. Here’s a peek inside box #2.

(Fuji Apples, Orange Cauliflower, Broccoli, Sweet Colorful Mini Peppers, Cucumbers, Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Hass Avocado, Local Florida Green Beans, White Button Mushrooms, Lemons, Spinach, Mint)

Upcoming Menu
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Lemon and Walnuts
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Salade Nicoise
Mushroom Tartlets
Apple and Blue Cheese Turnovers
Lemon Tart
French Apple Cake

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