Tart with Figs and Sweetened Lemon

Ingredients

Pastry Crust (enough for two 9-inch tart shells)

1/2 lb pastry or all-purpose flour
9 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp finely crushed fennel or anise seeds
pinch of salt
1 large egg

Sweetened Lemon

1 large (6-oz) lemon
9 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt

Filling

1 egg yolk
1 large egg
1-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tbsp almond meal or 1-1/2 tbsp flour
1-1/2 lbs (about 24) fresh green or black figs
2 tsp lightly crushed fennel seeds

Method

  1. To prepare the lemon, use a 1 mm slicing blade fitted on a food processor, or a mandolin, to make paper thin slices. Remove all seeds and put slices in a bowl. Mix with sugar and a pinch of salt and let sit at least 24 hours, covered, at room temperature.
  2. To make the pastry crust: Pulse the butter with the sugar, seeds and a pinch of salt in a food processor 4 or 5 times. Then add 1 egg and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine.
  3. Add the flour and pulse until crumbly, 3 to 4 times. Dump into a sealed baggie and press the mixture to form a dough, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary.
  4. Chill for 1 hour. Divide and form each half into a flattened round. Wrap up individually and chill overnight.
  5. The next day, butter a 9-inch shallow tart pan. Remove 1 pastry round from the refrigerator and let soften for 10 minutes. Roll pastry out until it is an 11-inch round and fit it into the prepared pan. Chill in the coldest part of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (The second round of pastry can be kept up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 6 weeks.)
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. Prick the bottom of the pastry shell in several places with a fork. Use a foil or parchment paper liner and weights, then put the pastry shell on baking tile or the bottom rack of the oven to bake for 12 minutes.
  8. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
  9. While the pastry shell is cooling, drain the lemon slices and reserve the juices. In a food processor, combine the egg yolk, egg, butter, drained lemon slices, almond meal or flour and pulse until well blended. You will have about 1 cup filling. Taste for sugar and correct if necessary.
  10. Raise oven heat to 400°F.
  11. Spread the lemon filling over the cool tart shell. Top with halved figs, sprinkle with the fennel seeds and bake for 40 minutes.
  12. In a small saucepan, heat the reserved lemon juices, reducing it to 2 tablespoons glaze. Let cool to just warm to the touch.
  13. Remove the tart from the oven. Coat with the lemon glaze and serve at room temperature.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Met Home magazine

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Quinoa Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Sesame Orange Dressing

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups white quinoa
3 cups water
3 or 4 roasted sweet potatoes. cut into small chunks.
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
3 green onions, chopped
2 handfuls of chopped fresh parsley, cilantro or other green herb
2 tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish.

Dressing

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup gluten-free tamari sauce
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
zest of 1 orange (if organic)
juice of 2 large oranges

Method

  1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy.
  2. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together well. Taste and adjust. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, sweet potatoes, spinach, green onions and herbs.
  4. Pour over dressing just before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Vista magazine

Breakfast Brioche Toast with Banana and Nut

Ingredients

4 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
unsalted butter, for cooking
1 loaf brioche bread, thickly sliced
2 firm bananas, sliced
maple agave syrup, for serving
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half of the walnuts. Pour into a pie plate or a rimmed dish large enough to accommodate a slice of bread.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add a little butter to melt.
  3. Meanwhile, dip slices of brioche into the egg mixture, coating both sides of the bread.
  4. Place coated bread slices in the heated skillet. Lay some of the banana slices on top of each slice and press down on the bananas so they do not fall off when you flip the bread.
  5. Cook the slices for about 1 minute before flipping, and flip each slice once more until the bread is a nice golden brown color. Keep warm while you cook the remaining slices, or begin serving with maple agave syrup, a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar, extra walnuts on top, and a side of banana slices.

Makes 5 servings.

Source: The Organic Family Cookbook

Light, Flaky and Buttery Mille Feuille with Chocolate and Blackberry

Ingredients

1 (1-pound) package ready-to-bake all-butter puff pastry
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3/4 cups blackberries
confectioners’ sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Chocolate Cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons creme de cassis, plus extra for drizzling

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle and sift half of the cocoa powder over it. Fold one end of the rectangle into the center and repeat with the opposite end, so that each end meets in the middle. Repeat the process, adding another dusting of cocoa powder, then roll out the pastry to a thin rectangle, about 13-1/2 x 11 inches.
  3. Place the pastry on a large baking sheet and trim to fit if necessary. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, cover with a sheet of parchment paper, and weigh the pastry down with a second baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry begins to brown.
  5. Remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper, then return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until cooked. Let cool.
  6. To make the chocolate cream, put the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Put the light cream into a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point.
  7. Pour the cream onto the chocolate, stirring gently until smooth. Let cool.
  8. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Mix the cooled chocolate mixture into the whipped cream, then fold in the creme de cassis.
  9. To assemble, cut the cooled pastry into 16 small rectangles. Using a pastry bag or spatula, pipe or spread a thick layer of the chocolate cream onto all the pastry rectangles.
  10. Arrange the blackberries on half of the rectangles, reserving eight for decoration, then add a little more chocolate cream between the berries.
  11. Sandwich the cream-covered pastry rectangles on top of the berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder.
  12. Cut the reserved berries in half, drizzle with cassis, and use to decorate the mille feuille.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Chocolat

Pasta with Cauliflower and a Sauce of Bold and Ancient Flavour

Ingredients

1 small head cauliflower, broken into flowerets, green stalks chopped if fresh
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet
2 tablespoons currants, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water for 5 minutes
a large pinch of saffron threads, toasted in a dry skillet, soaked in 1 tablespoon warm water
2-1/2 cups ditali or other short pasta
1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons toasted
bread crumbs, to serve
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Method

  1. In a vegetable steamer basket, steam the cauliflower (and the stalks, if using) for about 10 minutes until just tender. Reserve the steaming water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion, and saute for 15-20 minutes until golden.
  3. Add the anchovy fillets and let soften in the oil over a medium to low heat. Add the pine nuts, drained currants, and saffron and its soaking liquid. Simmer, stirring, until well mixed.
  4. Add the cauliflower and stir gently in the sauce. Let cook over a low heat.
  5. Cook the pasta in the reserved cauliflower cooking water, topping up with boiling water if necessary, until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a ladle of the cooking water. Add to the sauce, then add the pasta and toss well.
  6. Season with lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs and freshly grated Parmesan.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Noodles and Pasta