recipe adapted from the William Sonoma book, Fruit Desserts
I am not a baker by any means. There are so many wonderful and competent bakers out there who have inspired me to start my hand in baking. I have always wanted to try baking but I did not think I could be good at it. I still have a long ways to go. But I thought I have to start somewhere and why not try baking a fruit tart. I call it a rustic fruit tart because of the imperfections, not so perfect looking fruit tart. Whenever I see fruit tarts sitting pretty in a window of a bakery, I just stare and admire at the beauty of the tart. My tart is not a perfect looking one but I think it looks good enough to eat. I followed this recipe to the T’s, I have found Williams Sonoma books to be very helpful. Well I hope you will try my rustic fruit tart recipe!
INGREDIENTS for TART DOUGH
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp ice water
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1/14 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
METHOD FOR the TART CRUST
In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water, and vanilla. Set aside.
To make the dough by hand (thats what I did), in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.
Using the pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball, and flatten into a disk. The dough should be referigerated for atleast half an hour.
Roll out the dough round and transfer gently on to a 9/12 inch tart pan. Referigerate for half an hour. Pre-heat the oven 375 degrees(190′C) line the tart shell with foil and I added the garbanzo beans to weigh the tart shell down. Bake for 25 minutes, uncover the foil and remove the beans, let it bake for 10 more minuts. let the crust cool.
INGREDIENTS FOR PASTRY CREAM:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp good vanilla extract
To make the pastry cream filling, in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until tiny bubbles appear. Remove the saucepan from the hear. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the cornstarch an salt and whisk well. Gradually pour in the hot milk into the yolk mixture while whisking constantly to avoid curdling the yolk. Whisk in the remaining milk and return the mixture to the saucepan. Cool over medium heat, whisking costantly, until the mixture is thickened and is like a pudding like consistency. Take off the heat…let it cool and referigerate.
ASSEMBLE THE TART (the fun part :-))
To assmble the tart, smooth the chilled pastry cream first and then cut up fruits. I used Strawberries halves, Kiwi Fruit, Blueberries and Raspeberris.
To Glaze, you can warm up 3 tbsp of Apricot jam and brush over the fruit!
salad recipe adapeted from Claudia Roden's The New Book Of Middle Eastern Food
fresh homemade ricotta recipe from buonapetit.com
As you can tell I am on a healthy salad kick. I am trying all kinds of new salads lately I guess it’s spring and I’m thinking about trying to lose those darn 5-8lbs that I have been trying to lose for years. I liked this recipe in Claudia’s book about roasted peppers, capers & preserved lemons. I grilled the peppers on my handy dandy grill pan and then covered them with saran wrap for 20 minutes and peeled the skin off. For the preserved lemons I followed Claudia’s recipe in her book and It was a breeze to preserve your own lemons. Its just salt and lemons that I kept on my counter top for a month or so. Ricotta cheese was my idea, I have been itching to make fresh ricotta for a while now but never got to it. Home made ricotta is very easy to make and its so creamy & delicious. I boiled whole milk and added salt and fresh lemon juice. Let the milk curdle and then strained it in a cheese cloth for few hours. I really enjoyed putting together this salad, I hope you will like the recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD:
3 bell peppers, one red, one yellow, one orange
2 tbsp of Capers
few preserved lemons
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Few leaves of fresh oregano
1 tsp of lemon juice
2tbsp of fresh ricotta cheese for topping
Roast bell peppers whole on a grill pan, coat them with olive oil.
Char all sides and cover the peppers with plastic or aluminum wrap & let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
Peel and seed the peppers and cut them into long strips.
Add Capers, lemon juice, preserved lemons & fresh oregano.
Plate the salad and top it off with ricotta cheese and drizzle olive oil before serving.
RECIPE FOR RICOTTA:
Boil half a gallon of whole milk in a heavy bottom deep pan. Add 1 tsp salt and 3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.
Take the pot off of the stove. Let the milk curdle for few minutes.
Pour the the curdled milk in a cheescloth and strain all of the liquid. Let it strain for 2 hours.
RECIPE FOR PRESERVED LEMONS:
4 lemons, 4 tablepoons salt & juice of 4 lemons.
I cut the lemons and sliced them. Added the salt and the lemon juice. Use a plastic or a glass container with a lid to store the lemons. Keep on a cool spot on your kitchen counter for a month. Shake the container once or twice a day to mix the ingredients.
Turkish tea or Chai-Çay is a popular beverage in Turkey. Tea is an important part of the Turkish culture. Offering tea or coffee is considered to be a sign of hospitality at homes, even in bazaars and shops. I remember walking around in the mother of all bazaars , The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Grand Bazar is one of the largest covered market in the world. It opened its doors in the year 1461, it is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops.
While walking around in the Grand Bazaar I came across one of many carpet shops. This shop in particular caught my attention since there was an older gentleman sitting at the doorstep and he said hello and smiled at everyone who walked by. So I stood in front of the shop for a minute to admire the gorgeous carpets and rugs with intricate designs and colors. The gentleman at the doorstep politely asked me to go in the shop and his son, Osman will be happy to help me in my selection. I remember as soon as I walked inside & Osman greeted me with a warm smile and told his assistant to bring out some chai for me. I was so delighted and felt welcomed and I thought what a beautiful gesture. In Turkey it doesn’t matter if you buy from a merchant or not, they will offer you tea or coffee to welcome you, that’s all.
I used a Turkish black tea which I bought from my local Turkish specialty store. It’s a loose tea, so you can add as much or as little tea that you like. Turkish like to drink a strong-tasting tea. Boil the water, then add a teaspoon of loose tea for one cup and let it simmer for five minutes. Enjoy the tea with some Turkish delights, above is a Turkish Floss Halwa with Pistachios, more like a Turkish cotton candy available in any Turkish specialty goods shops!
Recipe adapted from Author Claudia Roden'sThe New Book of Middle Eastern Food
I am always looking for new eggplant recipes. I love eggplants. I think that eggplants are the most versatile of a vegetable around. I use them in so many different dishes and eggplants are also International. They are used vastly in Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern actually all of Mediteranean cuisines, Japanese and Indian cuisines. I used thin and long Japanese eggplants in my dish, you can use any kind that you like. I used a grill pan to grill my eggplant, I brushed them with extra virgin olive oil. I made my own sauce with fresh Roma tomatoes, garlic, & for some heat I used crushed red pepper. I think this eggplant dish will make a great appetizer, side dish or even a main course with some good pita or lavaash bread. I feel fortunate that I am able to get fresh pita bread from a Syrian bakery near me.
3 Japanese or any eggplants
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (some for brushing the eggplant, also for the tomato sauce & for drizzling over the dish for garnish)
1 1/2 lb Roma tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
1/4 tsp salt
flat leaf parsley for garnish
tsp of plain yogurt for the topping
Cut the eggplant 1/2 an inch thick lengthwise.
Heat up the grill pan.
Brush extra virgin olive oil on the eggplant.
Grill the eggplant for 2 minutes on each side until tender.
METHOD for the Tomato Sauce:
For the sauce, chop up Roma tomatoes.
Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a sauce pan.
Saute some chopped or minced garlic in the oil.
Add the tomatoes.
Add salt, crushed peppers, sugar .
Cook the tomatoes uncovered over low heat for 20-30 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir.
Add the parsely & let it cool.
Serve the eggplant room temperature with the tomato sauce & yogurt topping.
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil for extra flavor.
This Soup was inspired by a similar lentil soup I had when I last visited the mystical & ancient city of Constantinople also known as Istanbul. This is a traditional Turkish Lentil Soup but I added baby spinach for freshness and besides I love baby spinach. Also this soup can be a great meal with some Turkish sesame bread on a brisk day in Autumn! I remember it was a chilly evening in October, we were walking around in the historic neighborhood of Sultan Ahmet. We walked into a very cozy little restaurant & we requested if we could sit on the rooftop section of the restaurant with the gorgeous view of the Blue Mosque in sight! I remember eating this soup and thinking I will never forget this moment, which is embedded in my memory forever. Everytime I make this soup, it takes me back to Istanbul!
Restaurant rooftop with a gorgeous view of the Blue Mosque!
Beautiful Blue Mosque
A typical outdoor market in Istanbul with a bounty of Fresh Pomegranates, Dried Fruits & Nuts!
1/2 cup chopped Onions
1 packet of baby spinach
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
1/4 cup chopped Carrots
1/4 cup Red Lentils
2 tablespoons Bulgur Wheat
4-6 cups Organic Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 teaspoons Tomato Paste
1/2 teaspoon Sumac
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 sprig Fresh Italian Parsley
Saute chopped onions & minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped carrots; let the carrots cook for few minutes. Now at this point you can chop & add the baby spinach. Saute the spinach. Add red lentils & bulgur wheat & sauté’ some more. Add the chicken stock. Add tomato paste & stir well. Add sumac, paprika, salt & pepper. Now you can add the baby spinach, you can chop it or leave it whole. Let the soup simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes until lentils & the bulgur wheat are tender. Serve hot with freshly squeezed lemon juice. I feel lemon juice is a very important ingredient since it brings out the true flavor of the soup. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley!~Enjoy~
~This salad was inspired by my visit to a favorite Korean Market of mine called ASSI Supermaret in North Wales, PA which is a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I love this supermarket, they have the freshest of produce & a vast variety of seafood and last but not least a great collection of delicious kimchi. I was walking around in awe of the produce section and came across such gorgeous green unripe mangos and guavas. My mouth was watering and could not wait until I brought these beauties home and made them into a salad. I also use the unripe green mangos to make a spicy mango chutney which is sweet, sour & salty & spicy. Guavas are also great to use in a fruit salad or you can also make a guava jam. The dressing for the mango & guava salad have Thai ingredients. I love these tantalizing flavors especially the salty, sweet, sour & spicy element of Thai cuisine. Also this salad dressing was inspired by Jaden Hair’s wonderful book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook This cookbook is beautifully illustrated with wonderful recipes which I found very easy to follow. I am an avid collector of cookbooks & I highly recommend that you add Jaden’s gorgeous book to your cookbook collection!
- SALAD INGREDIENTS:
- 1 large size green semi-ripe mango
- 1 large size semi-ripe guava
- 1 carrot
- 2 red thai chillies
- 2 sprigs of green onions
- few srpigs of fresh cilantro
- METHOD FOR THE SALAD
- Peel the Mango
- I used Pro-Slice Thai Peeler, Kiwi brand to shred the mango, guava & carrots.
- add some chopped green onions
- add cilantro leaves (not chopped)
- Now pour the salad dressing over the salad, toss the salad before serving.
- SALAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 5 tbsp canola oil
- 1/4 tsp peeled & grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 thai chilli peppers finely chopped
- I also added some grated lime rind about 1 tsp for extra lime flavor.
- METHOD for SALAD DRESSING:
- In a medium size bowl, add all of the ingredients accept for the oil.
- whisk in the the oil into the salad dressing.
~Happy Spring! I guess I had a case of spring fever when I was thinking of cool & refreshing granita. Granita is a semi-frozen dessert which includes a fresh fruit or fruit juice, sugar & water. Granita was originated in Sicily, Italy and has a coarser texture than regular italian ice or a sorbet. I was in a tropical kind of a mood and I love lychees. So I wanted to combine some of my favorite ingredients in with the lychees like coconut milk and Pom pomegranate juice. If you are able to find all of the 3 ingredients fresh, that would be better. But I think the canned lychees, coconut milk & pomegranate juice worked perfectly for this granita recipe. ~ ~ ~ ~ I used a blender to mix all of the ingredients together. I did not add any sugar or water to this recipe since the lychees and the syrup were quite sweet. I felt if I added the sugar, it might give the granita a crystallized taste. I warmed the coconut milk for about 10 seconds in the microwave just so it will blend better. Please note to pour the coconut milk into a microwave safe container first. ~
- Two 8 oz cans of Lychees
- Juice from only one of the Lychee cans
- One 8 oz can of Coconut Milk
- 1 cup of Pom pomegranate juice
- fresh lime juice from one lime
- 1 tsp lime rind
- Combine all of the ingredients into a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a 6 in x 10 in freezer safe dish.
- Place the dish into the freezer.
- I checked the dish every 30 minutes and scraped the mixture lengthwise with a fork.
- Repeat the same method for about 4 more times.
- Serve with lychees and a sprig of mint.