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over-the-top mushroom quiche
This one is personal. Four years, five months and 19 days ago, I was bested by this quiche and as noted by the detailed date count, I may not be over it. Worse, it wasn’t even the quiche that bested me, but the crust. A flaky shell with even more fragility-enhancing butter than a standard pie dough, it was twice as big as a regular quiche shell, and then, instead of letting you press it into a shallow tart pan, it was draped inside the towering (okay, three-inch) walls of an open-hinged 9-inch springform ring. Without a base. This crust takes no prisoners and my 2007 take — a slippery, torn-up, leaky shell that only held half the quiche batter and dribbled much of that, too, onto the oven floor — was nothing to write home about. Not that this stopped me; this is, after all, an Internet Weblog.

I finally got back to it last week and here’s the point in the story where I’m supposed to tell you that four years later, I won. In the Smitten Kitchen vs. Thomas Keller’s Buttery Quiche Shell smackdown, Smitten Kitchen prevailed. Take that, commenter who said “you know, this IS a Thomas Keller recipe so it’s not meant for the casual home cook,” and that “some things should be left to the pros.” Alas, I’d totally not seen and patched the tiniest of holes in my shell and a small amount of filling dribbled out. And then a huge chunk fell off the crust as I was trimming it. I did it to keep it real, okay?


Nevertheless, if anything, that comment is the reason I’m here today because I could not possibly agree less. You are every bit as entitled to make this recipe as the mostentitled commenter; what you may need — and what I needed — is a little more detail, the kind of detail that anticipates where most home cooks tend to struggle with buttery doughs.

And that detail? There’s actually only one: Keep. Your. Dough. Cold. Cold butter is firm and holds a shape; warm butter is mushy and has no structure. We talked about this ever-so-briefly last summer when I made apple pie cookies, and it bears repeating: Promise me that you won’t mess around with soft dough, here or anywhere. The single easiest way to master crusts is to decide at the outset that you won’t waste your energy on limp, stretchy dough. As soon as your dough softens, transfer whatever you’re doing to the freezer for two minutes to chill it again. Soft dough is hard to work with. It gets sticky and you compensate by over-flouring it. It will also annoy you and make you think that you’re bad at working with dough but you’re not. You’re just warm-blooded and you need to put the dough back to chill for two minutes.

The process for this dough is no different, but there’s just more of it: bigger volume, more rolling and a higher proportion of butter to flour. It gets soft faster.

But why, Deb? Why would I make such a pesky-sounding quiche? you ask. Because, my friends, this is the quiche your weekend needs. This is quiche for a crowd. I love thin and delicate savory tarts but the effort that goes into those eight little wedges hardly balances the speed in which they are diminished. And when you want to make quiche for a big brunch, or an Easter lunch, or a bridal or baby shower or for your family that looks suspiciously at quiche and then reaches for seconds, it’s nice to only have to make one. One towering quiche. Thomas Keller gets this. This recipe, even with its fussy crust preparation, is worth fighting for because in the end, you will totally conquer it, everyone will love it and then you get to do this.
[You can come back here in an hour when you’re done hitting Random on that site. I totally understand.]

Happy holidays, from all of us.
One year ago: Apple Tarte Tatin, AnewTwo years ago: Tangy, Spiced Brisket and Radicchio Apple and Pear SaladThree years ago: Bialys, Braised Artichokes with Olive Oil and Lemon and Chewy Amaretti Cookies and Artichoke Olive CrostiniFour years ago: Shaker Lemon Pie and Spring PanzanellaFive years ago: Mixed Berry Pavlova, Artichoke, Cranberry Bean and Arugula Salad and Arborio Rice Pudding
Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche From Thomas Keller
[Adaptation notes: I tweaked the ingredients, just a little; added weights and lots of directions that I hope will make this recipe easier for the pastry-averse.]
Keller recommends that you use 1 pound of oyster mushrooms and 1 pound of white button mushrooms for this recipe. I used a smaller mix of the two, plus a pound of cremini (or baby portobello) mushrooms. Use whatever you’ve got around. I insist that while a large mix mushrooms are wonderful to cook with, you can get plenty of delicious flavor in this quiche from any everyday mushrooms you can get at a good price.
He also recommends that you use 2 cups milk and 2 cups heavy cream. I did this, but have made many quiche successes in the past with all milk, some milk and some half-and-half, or just a higher proportion of milk (say, 3 cups) to heavy cream (i.e. 1 cup).
To par-bake or not to par-bake: Par-baking tart shells is, honestly, my least favorite cooking task. I would rather empty the dishwasher twice in an afternoon. However, doing so ensures a more crisp, browned crust. If you’re not overly concerned about this, you can skip this step and just pour the filling into the chilled unbaked shell. If you’d like to go the extra mile, the directions are included. Warning: A 9-inch pastry ring holds 15 cups of filling. You will need 15 cups of pie weights, dried beans or rice (that you don’t wish to cook later, as the toasting will make them take forever to cook) or pennies/loose change. I used a canister of old rice and pie weights and still came up an inch short.
Update 4/12/12: After reading a few comments about the softness of the quiche, I realize it would have been helpful to mention at the outset that this quiche is a bit softer and creamier than most. Keller says he prefers his that way. It’s likely to be less sturdy than many of us are used to. For example, in the two Julia Child quiche recipes I know, the proportion of milk/cream/dairy to the same number of eggs (6) would be anywhere from 2 to 3 cups, not 4. So, if you’re concerned you may not like a softer quiche, you can add another egg or even two to it.
Buttery Pastry Shell 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup (2 sicks or 225 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into a small dice 1/4 cup (60 ml) water, ice cold Neutral oil, for brushing springform
Filling 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or vegetable oil 2 pounds (905 grams) mushrooms (see Note up top for suggestions) Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter 2 shallots, minced (I used 4 small because I’m a rebel) 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (use 1 teaspoon only if dried/jarred) 3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 70 grams) Comte, Emmantel or Gruyere, grated 2 cups (475 ml) milk 2 cup (475 ml) heavy cream 6 large eggs, lightly beaten Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Make buttery shell: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of the flour with all of the salt. Then, with the machine on low speed, add the bits of butter, a handful at a time, until the butter is completely incorperated. Add the remaining flour until just blended, then the cold water until thoroughly incorporated. Dump dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a flat, round disc. Wrap it with the plastic and chill it for at least one hour, preferably overnight, and up to two days.
Prepare shell: Set the ring of a 9-inch springform pan, leaving the hinge open, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the inside of the ring with lightly with oil and set aside.
Generously flour your counter, then place the chilled, unwrapped dough on the flour and flour the top of the dough. Roll you dough into a 16-inch round. The dough is going to be very hard at first, but keep at it, pressing your rolling pin gently from the center; it will get easier as it stretches out, and it’s best to start when its very cold as it will remain the coolest/most firm longer. Re-flour your surface as needed, continually lifting and rotating your dough to make sure no parts are sticking. If at any point the dough becomes sticky, soft and, frankly, annoying, just slide it onto a floured baking sheet and pop it into the freezer for two minutes for it to cool down again. If it tears, just overlap the sides of the tear and roll them back together. Don’t fret tiny holes; there will be time to patch later.
You can transfer your dough to the prepared pastry ring in one of two ways. Keller’s method is to roll it up on your rolling pin, then unroll it in the ring. I like to gently fold mine into quarters, without creases, and unfold it in the ring. Gently lift the edges so that the slack of the dough drapes in. Press the dough into the corners and up the sides of the ring. Trim the overhang to 1-inch and please, save your scraps. (I did not. The ring your see pictured is round two. I don’t want to talk about it.) Chill the pastry shell (and the scraps, so they don’t get mushy) in the fridge for 20 minutes (if par-baking) or until needed (if not par-baking).
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Decide if you want to par-bake your buttery pastry shell: Read the Note up top first.
To par-bake your pastry shell: Line your chilled buttery pastry shell with a 14-inch round of parchment paper, or, if your parchment paper isn’t that wide, two sheets in opposite directions. Fill with pie weights/dried beans/uncooked rice/loose change and bake in your preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly golden at edges. Carefully remove weights and parchment paper (I did not and then had to dust bust uncooked rice stragglers. For the sake of honesty and all.) and return shell to oven, baking another 10 to 15 minutes longer, until “richly brown” (as per Keller) on bottom. Set aside to cool while you make your filling. Leave the oven on.
Prepare filling: In a very large skillet, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the butter, shallots and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, about 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.
Assemble quiche: Whether or not your par-baked your buttery pastry shell, check it for holes or cracks that would cause leakage. If you see any, seal them with the trimmed scraps from the dough. Scatter 1/4 cup (one-third of) cheese and half the mushrooms in the bottom of the pastry shell. Either in a blender (Keller’s recommendation) or with a hand whisk (what I did), mix half the milk, cream and eggs with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (this seemed like a lot, I used less, wish I’d used the full amount), several grinds of black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (if using) until frothy. Pour into the pastry shell. Top with another 1/4 cup of the cheese and remaining mushrooms. Make the custard again with the remaining eggs/milk/cream and same seasonings and pour it into the shell. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top.
Bake quiche: For 1 1/2 hours, until nicely bronzed on top and the custard is just set. (My tester came out damp but not eggy; i.e. clean.) Let cool in pan until warm.
Serve quiche: Using a serrated knife, trim the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Run your knife around the outside of the quiche, inside the ring to make sure it’s not stuck anywhere. Take a deep breath. Lift the springform pan ring off the quiche. Applaud. You can trim your crust further if there’s a big gap between the top and the top of your crust but you might want to do so more neatly than I did. Cut the quiche into wedges and serve warm, with a delicate greens salad.

over-the-top mushroom quiche

This one is personal. Four years, five months and 19 days ago, I was bested by this quiche and as noted by the detailed date count, I may not be over it. Worse, it wasn’t even the quiche that bested me, but the crust. A flaky shell with even more fragility-enhancing butter than a standard pie dough, it was twice as big as a regular quiche shell, and then, instead of letting you press it into a shallow tart pan, it was draped inside the towering (okay, three-inch) walls of an open-hinged 9-inch springform ring. Without a base. This crust takes no prisoners and my 2007 take — a slippery, torn-up, leaky shell that only held half the quiche batter and dribbled much of that, too, onto the oven floor — was nothing to write home about. Not that this stopped me; this is, after all, an Internet Weblog.

the chilled buttery shell dougha ruler helps, sometimesto transfer the doughunfolding the dough inside

I finally got back to it last week and here’s the point in the story where I’m supposed to tell you that four years later, I won. In the Smitten Kitchen vs. Thomas Keller’s Buttery Quiche Shell smackdown, Smitten Kitchen prevailed. Take that, commenter who said “you know, this IS a Thomas Keller recipe so it’s not meant for the casual home cook,” and that “some things should be left to the pros.” Alas, I’d totally not seen and patched the tiniest of holes in my shell and a small amount of filling dribbled out. And then a huge chunk fell off the crust as I was trimming it. I did it to keep it real, okay?

draped over, like a blanketall pressed in pie weights and uncooked riceready to remove the weights

Nevertheless, if anything, that comment is the reason I’m here today because I could not possibly agree less. You are every bit as entitled to make this recipe as the mostentitled commenter; what you may need — and what I needed — is a little more detail, the kind of detail that anticipates where most home cooks tend to struggle with buttery doughs.

a mix of mushrooms
a great big pile of sliced mushrooms
sauteeing the mushrooms
assembling the epic quiche

And that detail? There’s actually only one: Keep. Your. Dough. Cold. Cold butter is firm and holds a shape; warm butter is mushy and has no structure. We talked about this ever-so-briefly last summer when I made apple pie cookies, and it bears repeating: Promise me that you won’t mess around with soft dough, here or anywhere. The single easiest way to master crusts is to decide at the outset that you won’t waste your energy on limp, stretchy dough. As soon as your dough softens, transfer whatever you’re doing to the freezer for two minutes to chill it again. Soft dough is hard to work with. It gets sticky and you compensate by over-flouring it. It will also annoy you and make you think that you’re bad at working with dough but you’re not. You’re just warm-blooded and you need to put the dough back to chill for two minutes.

a towering, crowd-feeding quiche

The process for this dough is no different, but there’s just more of it: bigger volume, more rolling and a higher proportion of butter to flour. It gets soft faster.

the crust-trimming begins!
this is where I hold my breath
some more trimming is in order

But why, Deb? Why would I make such a pesky-sounding quiche? you ask. Because, my friends, this is the quiche your weekend needs. This is quiche for a crowd. I love thin and delicate savory tarts but the effort that goes into those eight little wedges hardly balances the speed in which they are diminished. And when you want to make quiche for a big brunch, or an Easter lunch, or a bridal or baby shower or for your family that looks suspiciously at quiche and then reaches for seconds, it’s nice to only have to make one. One towering quiche. Thomas Keller gets this. This recipe, even with its fussy crust preparation, is worth fighting for because in the end, you will totally conquer it, everyone will love it and then you get to do this.

[You can come back here in an hour when you’re done hitting Random on that site. I totally understand.]

a quiche to feed a crowd
over-the-top mushroom quiche

Happy holidays, from all of us.

One year ago: Apple Tarte Tatin, Anew
Two years ago: Tangy, Spiced Brisket and Radicchio Apple and Pear Salad
Three years ago: Bialys, Braised Artichokes with Olive Oil and Lemon and Chewy Amaretti Cookies and Artichoke Olive Crostini
Four years ago: Shaker Lemon Pie and Spring Panzanella
Five years ago: Mixed Berry Pavlova, Artichoke, Cranberry Bean and Arugula Salad and Arborio Rice Pudding

Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche
From Thomas Keller

[Adaptation notes: I tweaked the ingredients, just a little; added weights and lots of directions that I hope will make this recipe easier for the pastry-averse.]

Keller recommends that you use 1 pound of oyster mushrooms and 1 pound of white button mushrooms for this recipe. I used a smaller mix of the two, plus a pound of cremini (or baby portobello) mushrooms. Use whatever you’ve got around. I insist that while a large mix mushrooms are wonderful to cook with, you can get plenty of delicious flavor in this quiche from any everyday mushrooms you can get at a good price.

He also recommends that you use 2 cups milk and 2 cups heavy cream. I did this, but have made many quiche successes in the past with all milk, some milk and some half-and-half, or just a higher proportion of milk (say, 3 cups) to heavy cream (i.e. 1 cup).

To par-bake or not to par-bake: Par-baking tart shells is, honestly, my least favorite cooking task. I would rather empty the dishwasher twice in an afternoon. However, doing so ensures a more crisp, browned crust. If you’re not overly concerned about this, you can skip this step and just pour the filling into the chilled unbaked shell. If you’d like to go the extra mile, the directions are included. Warning: A 9-inch pastry ring holds 15 cups of filling. You will need 15 cups of pie weights, dried beans or rice (that you don’t wish to cook later, as the toasting will make them take forever to cook) or pennies/loose change. I used a canister of old rice and pie weights and still came up an inch short.

Update 4/12/12: After reading a few comments about the softness of the quiche, I realize it would have been helpful to mention at the outset that this quiche is a bit softer and creamier than most. Keller says he prefers his that way. It’s likely to be less sturdy than many of us are used to. For example, in the two Julia Child quiche recipes I know, the proportion of milk/cream/dairy to the same number of eggs (6) would be anywhere from 2 to 3 cups, not 4. So, if you’re concerned you may not like a softer quiche, you can add another egg or even two to it.

Buttery Pastry Shell
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sicks or 225 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into a small dice
1/4 cup (60 ml) water, ice cold
Neutral oil, for brushing springform

Filling
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or vegetable oil
2 pounds (905 grams) mushrooms (see Note up top for suggestions)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced (I used 4 small because I’m a rebel)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (use 1 teaspoon only if dried/jarred)
3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 70 grams) Comte, Emmantel or Gruyere, grated
2 cups (475 ml) milk
2 cup (475 ml) heavy cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Make buttery shell: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of the flour with all of the salt. Then, with the machine on low speed, add the bits of butter, a handful at a time, until the butter is completely incorperated. Add the remaining flour until just blended, then the cold water until thoroughly incorporated. Dump dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a flat, round disc. Wrap it with the plastic and chill it for at least one hour, preferably overnight, and up to two days.

Prepare shell: Set the ring of a 9-inch springform pan, leaving the hinge open, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the inside of the ring with lightly with oil and set aside.

Generously flour your counter, then place the chilled, unwrapped dough on the flour and flour the top of the dough. Roll you dough into a 16-inch round. The dough is going to be very hard at first, but keep at it, pressing your rolling pin gently from the center; it will get easier as it stretches out, and it’s best to start when its very cold as it will remain the coolest/most firm longer. Re-flour your surface as needed, continually lifting and rotating your dough to make sure no parts are sticking. If at any point the dough becomes sticky, soft and, frankly, annoying, just slide it onto a floured baking sheet and pop it into the freezer for two minutes for it to cool down again. If it tears, just overlap the sides of the tear and roll them back together. Don’t fret tiny holes; there will be time to patch later.

You can transfer your dough to the prepared pastry ring in one of two ways. Keller’s method is to roll it up on your rolling pin, then unroll it in the ring. I like to gently fold mine into quarters, without creases, and unfold it in the ring. Gently lift the edges so that the slack of the dough drapes in. Press the dough into the corners and up the sides of the ring. Trim the overhang to 1-inch and please, save your scraps. (I did not. The ring your see pictured is round two. I don’t want to talk about it.) Chill the pastry shell (and the scraps, so they don’t get mushy) in the fridge for 20 minutes (if par-baking) or until needed (if not par-baking).

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Decide if you want to par-bake your buttery pastry shell: Read the Note up top first.

To par-bake your pastry shell: Line your chilled buttery pastry shell with a 14-inch round of parchment paper, or, if your parchment paper isn’t that wide, two sheets in opposite directions. Fill with pie weights/dried beans/uncooked rice/loose change and bake in your preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly golden at edges. Carefully remove weights and parchment paper (I did not and then had to dust bust uncooked rice stragglers. For the sake of honesty and all.) and return shell to oven, baking another 10 to 15 minutes longer, until “richly brown” (as per Keller) on bottom. Set aside to cool while you make your filling. Leave the oven on.

Prepare filling: In a very large skillet, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the butter, shallots and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, about 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

Assemble quiche: Whether or not your par-baked your buttery pastry shell, check it for holes or cracks that would cause leakage. If you see any, seal them with the trimmed scraps from the dough. Scatter 1/4 cup (one-third of) cheese and half the mushrooms in the bottom of the pastry shell. Either in a blender (Keller’s recommendation) or with a hand whisk (what I did), mix half the milk, cream and eggs with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (this seemed like a lot, I used less, wish I’d used the full amount), several grinds of black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (if using) until frothy. Pour into the pastry shell. Top with another 1/4 cup of the cheese and remaining mushrooms. Make the custard again with the remaining eggs/milk/cream and same seasonings and pour it into the shell. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top.

Bake quiche: For 1 1/2 hours, until nicely bronzed on top and the custard is just set. (My tester came out damp but not eggy; i.e. clean.) Let cool in pan until warm.

Serve quiche: Using a serrated knife, trim the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Run your knife around the outside of the quiche, inside the ring to make sure it’s not stuck anywhere. Take a deep breath. Lift the springform pan ring off the quiche. Applaud. You can trim your crust further if there’s a big gap between the top and the top of your crust but you might want to do so more neatly than I did. Cut the quiche into wedges and serve warm, with a delicate greens salad.

Dash of Dan: Sour Cherry Scones

dashofdan:

You start to see sour cherries in May through the end of June.

Not too sweet, not too bitter, sour cherries strike the perfect balance in a scone.

This scone tends to be more cake-like not dry or crumbly. Enjoy with your favorite tea or coffee.

image

2 1/4 cups flour               1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup milk                    1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, cold

1/2 cup sugar                  2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder  

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cherries, pitted, quartered

 *Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

* Lightly butter two baking trays

Use this streusel recipe for the topping!

  • In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • Sprinkle the cubed butter atop and with a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon peel. Add the egg mixture to the flour, and stir until a dough forms. Mix in the chopped cherries, until well blended.
  • Using a 1/4 cup, scoop the dough onto the prepared sheets, press the crumb topping onto each and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks and enjoy!

taste-the-world-recipes:

Grilled Cheese with Avocado Spread
I think that anyone who loves cheese probably has a special affinity for a good, old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich. For me, images of gooey yellow cheese and crispy, buttery bread bring back a flood of happiness and a twinge of longing for the simplicity of childhood. Alas, as an adult I am horrified by the processed cheese that nevertheless haunts me in the form of fond memories. Fortunately the solution is a simple one: thoroughly embrace the grown-up grilled cheese. I promise it will make your visions of skinny bread slices and rubbery yellow cheesefood look lackluster by comparison.

The beauty of a grilled cheese is that it can become a complex delicacy while still retaining that essential and almost indescribable quality that makes it such a timeless, comforting favorite. Simply choosing flavorful cheese is the first step toward greatness and it only gets better from there. The trick is to think big. Move past your obsession with cheddar, pair cheeses, experiment with breads, add unexpected ingredients. Think caramelized onions, apples, pears, vegetables, cured meats, spices, and yes, creamy and delicious avocados. You will find a whole world within this culinary escapade!

In this case I have created an avocado spread to adorn my creation. I like the texture of the cool, creamy but slightly chunky avocado spread next to the melted cheese and crispy bread. I also chose to continue my childhood experience of grilled cheese by serving it with soup, so I swapped out a classic tomato for Carrot, Ginger, and Sesame Soup. As always, be creative and have fun when you re-envision your old favorites—it will make you a tremendous force in the kitchen!      

Ingredients
8 slices of sourdough bread (or any other bread you like)
Butter, at room temperature
4 ounces of English cheddar, shredded
4 ounces of Gruyère, shredded (use more of each cheese if you have extremely large slices of bread to cover. The trick is to have a pile on each sandwich that will become super gooey, so don’t skimp!)
2 ripe avocados
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions
Cut the avocados open and scoop the flesh into a small bowl; add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and cilantro and mash with a fork until fairly smooth, but some larger chunks of avocado remain. Stir in the diced tomatoes, cover, and set aside for an hour to let the flavors mingle.

Meanwhile, shred the cheese (an important step to ensure it melts evenly). Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Liberally butter the bread slices. Cover 4 of the slices with the shredded English cheddar. Top the cheddar with the avocado spread, using a quarter of the spread for each sandwich. Top with the Gruyère and another slice of buttered bread.

Set sandwiches (two at a time) in the skillet and cook until golden brown, making sure to press down on the top of the sandwich with a spatula periodically during cooking; the goal is to get the cheese to really glue the entire gooey inside to the bread. After two minutes or so check the underside of the sandwich to see if it is golden and then flip. Remove from the heat when both sides of the bread are golden and crispy and the cheese is completely melted. Enjoy!

eattheolympics:

Filo feta cigars (Turkey)
Ingredients: 250g filo pastry Block of feta cheese Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped Oil, for fryingMethod: 1. Mix feta cheese and parsley in a small bowl 2. Place pastry sheets on top of each other and cut them in half. Then again cut the 2 pieces crosswise from the corners and form 4 pieces 3. Place 1 tsp of filling on the wide sides and fold the corners inside 4. Roll them up, soak the end to water and close them up. Roll all the sheets up in the same way 5. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry until golden brown 6. Place on a paper towel to soak the excess oil up before servingScore: SILVER

eattheolympics:

Filo feta cigars (Turkey)


Ingredients:


250g filo pastry
Block of feta cheese
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Oil, for frying

Method:

1. Mix feta cheese and parsley in a small bowl

2. Place pastry sheets on top of each other and cut them in half. Then again cut the 2 pieces crosswise from the corners and form 4 pieces

3. Place 1 tsp of filling on the wide sides and fold the corners inside

4. Roll them up, soak the end to water and close them up. Roll all the sheets up in the same way

5. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry until golden brown

6. Place on a paper towel to soak the excess oil up before serving

Score: SILVER

(Source: eattheolympics)

gossipchef:

Asparagus and Ham Oven Frittata



INGREDIENTS
8 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped ham
6 sun dried tomato halves, softened in water and thinly sliced
14 asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Whisk eggs and milk until well combined, and stir in cheese, ham and tomato.
3. Pour into a greased 9 inch round pan. Arrange asparagus like the spokes of a wheel.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes and cut into wedges.

gossipchef:

Asparagus and Ham Oven Frittata

INGREDIENTS

8 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped ham
6 sun dried tomato halves, softened in water and thinly sliced
14 asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Whisk eggs and milk until well combined, and stir in cheese, ham and tomato.
3. Pour into a greased 9 inch round pan. Arrange asparagus like the spokes of a wheel.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes and cut into wedges.
haveyrcake:

Spinach, Onion and Gouda Quiche (Adapted from Cooking Light) Calories: 342 | Cost: $1.01 
I’ve had a frozen pie shell in my freezer since a potluck last fall. Fearing that it would become inedible at some point, I whipped up a quick quiche this week. 
Quiche are great ‘cause they kinda feel fancy, but are actually … not. Using a store-bought crust keeps it cheap and simple, and if you pair this with a spinach salad, it’s a pretty nutritious meal. I was also pleased to find generic-brand grated gouda at my local Safeway. BAM. If your supermarket doesn’t have that, use Monterey Jack instead. 
Without further ado …
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped 6 cups fresh baby spinach 1 cup 1% low-fat milk 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gouda cheese 3/4 teaspoon salt Dash of nutmeg or cinnamon 3 large eggs 9-inch pie crust, thawed
Preheat oven to 350°. Put the pie crust in the freezer for 15 minutes; then bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for five minutes or until tender. Add spinach and sauté two more minutes.
Combine one cup milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes, or until eggs are firm. (In my oven, that took closer to 50 minutes.) Cut into six wedges.
* Obligatory cost explainer: I always assume you have spices and olive oil. (Unpleasantly surprised to discover that my pal Aubrey has neither salt nor pepper.) Prices and calories are per serving.

haveyrcake:

Spinach, Onion and Gouda Quiche (Adapted from Cooking Light)
Calories: 342 | Cost: $1.01 

I’ve had a frozen pie shell in my freezer since a potluck last fall. Fearing that it would become inedible at some point, I whipped up a quick quiche this week. 

Quiche are great ‘cause they kinda feel fancy, but are actually … not. Using a store-bought crust keeps it cheap and simple, and if you pair this with a spinach salad, it’s a pretty nutritious meal. I was also pleased to find generic-brand grated gouda at my local Safeway. BAM. If your supermarket doesn’t have that, use Monterey Jack instead. 

Without further ado …

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gouda cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of nutmeg or cinnamon
3 large eggs
9-inch pie crust, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°. Put the pie crust in the freezer for 15 minutes; then bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for five minutes or until tender. Add spinach and sauté two more minutes.

Combine one cup milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes, or until eggs are firm. (In my oven, that took closer to 50 minutes.) Cut into six wedges.

* Obligatory cost explainer: I always assume you have spices and olive oil. (Unpleasantly surprised to discover that my pal Aubrey has neither salt nor pepper.) Prices and calories are per serving.

Cookism: Shakshuka

cookism:


Salaam! Shakshuka, sabsuka, shakshouka…there are many ways to spell this Tunisian favourite, but there is no mistaking its uniquely awesome taste. Shakshuka means “mixture”, and is very much the exotic cousin of the French ratatouille. In Tunisia, Shakshuka is typically eaten as a…

goddessofscrumptiousness:

Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes

This pasta recipe I came up spontaneously. And cooked this dish 30 minutes right after I conceptualized and imagined how the taste would be.

I just thought that lemon (juice and zest), thyme, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to marinate and flavor the chicken chunks would already make the meat so delish. I had a tray of cherry tomatoes in the chiller and the sauce… I figured that it would be wonderful if I can taste some chickeny goodness in the pasta itself, so I decided that instead of making a proper pasta sauce I’ll make a gravy (make that as the sauce), flavor it with a tiny hint of basil and some big savory medium punch of garlic.

Ingredients:

500 grams spaghetti pasta (cooked al dente)

1 pound chicken breast fillets (skinless and boneless, sliced into 1 inch chunks)

For the chicken marinade:

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped (if using dried, use half of the amount)

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse salt (not table salt)

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to sauté the marinated chicken)

-  Add all the marinade ingredients into the chicken and marinate for 20 minutes (if making this dish in pronto) or over night (if making this dish the next day… much better).

-  Saute the marinated chicken in extra virgin olive oil until cooked (about 4-5 minutes) then set aside.

For the garlic gravy:

½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 large cloves garlic, finely minced

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup parsley, chopped (to sprinkle/finish the pasta)

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cups whole cherry tomatoes

-  Place sauté pan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil.

-  Saute garlic until fragrant and soft.

-  Add the flour and cook for a minute.

-  Add chicken stock and simmer gravy until thickened then add the chopped basil.

-  Season with salt and pepper.

-  Add the sauteed chicken in the gravy then toss the cooked spaghetti into this  sauce.

-  Add the cherry tomatoes and finish the dish with the chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese (serve extra on the side).

Makes 5-6 servings.

baierblog:

Turkey meatballs and spaghettiThe meatballs are made with zucchini and butter which makes them moist and delicious. The dish is very kid’s friendly and cooked in an easy to make tomato sauce. Perfect for a casual dinner and can be used the next day for a great lunch if it’s sandwiched in a roll like a meatball sub. This recipe produces 20 medium-sized meatballs, about 6 servings.Meatballs ingredients:5 tablespoons olive oil850 grams ground turkey meat1 zucchini, peeled, grated1 egg70 grams butter, frozen, grated¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped¾ cup Italian style bread crumbs1½ teaspoons of table salt½ teaspoon ground black pepper2 tablespoons minced garlicSauce ingredients:2 cups of boiling water1 can of crushed tomatoes (800 grams)1 tablespoon minced garlic½ teaspoon dried oregano½ teaspoon of table salt½ teaspoon ground black pepperSpaghetti Ingredients:1 package of 100% whole semolina durum wheats spaghetti (500 grams)4 liters of boiling water4 tablespoons olive oil1 teaspoon table salt1 teaspoon ground black pepperPreparation:In a large skillet over a low heat, pour the olive oil. In a large bowl mix well all the ingredients of the meatballs (using your hands), create your desired size of balls from the mixture and fry in a pan on both sides for about 10 min total (the goal is to close the meat).In a large bowl mix all the sauce ingredients well and pour over the meatballs that in the skillet. Let the balls cook with the sauce on low heat for 30-40 minutes.In a large pot place the water and bring to a boil, add the spaghetti for a short cook (not more than 10 min). Drain the water from the pot. Add the oil, salt and pepper and mix gently. On a large platter place the spaghetti and spread over it the meatballs and the sauce. For those who like some cheese on top, you can decorate using shavings of parmesan cheese, and serve.Bon appetit!

baierblog:

Turkey meatballs and spaghetti
The meatballs are made with zucchini and butter which makes them moist and delicious. The dish is very kid’s friendly and cooked in an easy to make tomato sauce. Perfect for a casual dinner and can be used the next day for a great lunch if it’s sandwiched in a roll like a meatball sub. This recipe produces 20 medium-sized meatballs, about 6 servings.

Meatballs ingredients:
5 tablespoons olive oil
850 grams ground turkey meat
1 zucchini, peeled, grated
1 egg
70 grams butter, frozen, grated
¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¾ cup Italian style bread crumbs
1½ teaspoons of table salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Sauce ingredients:
2 cups of boiling water
1 can of crushed tomatoes (800 grams)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon of table salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Spaghetti Ingredients:
1 package of 100% whole semolina durum wheats spaghetti (500 grams)
4 liters of boiling water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation:
In a large skillet over a low heat, pour the olive oil. In a large bowl mix well all the ingredients of the meatballs (using your hands), create your desired size of balls from the mixture and fry in a pan on both sides for about 10 min total (the goal is to close the meat).

In a large bowl mix all the sauce ingredients well and pour over the meatballs that in the skillet. Let the balls cook with the sauce on low heat for 30-40 minutes.

In a large pot place the water and bring to a boil, add the spaghetti for a short cook (not more than 10 min). Drain the water from the pot. Add the oil, salt and pepper and mix gently. On a large platter place the spaghetti and spread over it the meatballs and the sauce. For those who like some cheese on top, you can decorate using shavings of parmesan cheese, and serve.

Bon appetit!

(Source: baierblog)

veganexperience:

ok… Chili lime chocolate icing is what got me….
avry:

super decadent, vegan, gluten-free, soy-optional chocolate cake with chili lime chocolate frosting!
the important thing about this cake is that all the ingredients came from the tiny mexican grocery store closest to where i live, not a natural foods store or co-op that carries special vegan/gf stuff. hopefully these ingredients are accessible to you, too. if you are okay with eating gluten, just use all-purpose wheat flour instead of the rice/garbanzo/tapioca flours and omit the xanthan gum.
for the cake:
2/3 c rice flour
1/3 c garbanzo flour
1/3 c tapioca flour
2/3 c sugar
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
pinch of salt
nutmeg to taste
cinnamon to taste
1 c water or hemp/soy/rice/etc. milk
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease yr pan (mine was tiny, probably like 4x6”).
Whisk dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then stir wet and dry together until smooth.
Pour batter into the pan, bake it for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick/fork stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes, then take it out of the pan to cool. Frost when cake is cooled completely, and let the frosting set in the fridge.
for the frosting:
3/4 c vegan chocolate (chips, bars, baking chocolate, whatever)
3/4 c vegan sour cream (i made my own! here’s the recipe)
chili powder to taste
juice of 1 lime
(optional) coconut milk/cream to taste 
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. I don’t have a double boiler, so I melted mine in a ceramic bowl inside a colander over a boiling pot of potatoes. I always seem to burn it in the microwave, so… watch out for that.
Stir chocolate until smooth and cool to room temperature. Stir in the sour cream, chili powder, and lime juice. I added a little bit of coconut cream that was in the fridge, but it’s not necessary.

veganexperience:

ok… Chili lime chocolate icing is what got me….

avry:

super decadent, vegan, gluten-free, soy-optional chocolate cake with chili lime chocolate frosting!

the important thing about this cake is that all the ingredients came from the tiny mexican grocery store closest to where i live, not a natural foods store or co-op that carries special vegan/gf stuff. hopefully these ingredients are accessible to you, too. if you are okay with eating gluten, just use all-purpose wheat flour instead of the rice/garbanzo/tapioca flours and omit the xanthan gum.

for the cake:

  • 2/3 c rice flour
  • 1/3 c garbanzo flour
  • 1/3 c tapioca flour
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • pinch of salt
  • nutmeg to taste
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1 c water or hemp/soy/rice/etc. milk
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease yr pan (mine was tiny, probably like 4x6”).
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then stir wet and dry together until smooth.
  3. Pour batter into the pan, bake it for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick/fork stuck in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Let cool for 15 minutes, then take it out of the pan to cool. Frost when cake is cooled completely, and let the frosting set in the fridge.

for the frosting:

  • 3/4 c vegan chocolate (chips, bars, baking chocolate, whatever)
  • 3/4 c vegan sour cream (i made my own! here’s the recipe)
  • chili powder to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • (optional) coconut milk/cream to taste 
  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. I don’t have a double boiler, so I melted mine in a ceramic bowl inside a colander over a boiling pot of potatoes. I always seem to burn it in the microwave, so… watch out for that.
  2. Stir chocolate until smooth and cool to room temperature. Stir in the sour cream, chili powder, and lime juice. I added a little bit of coconut cream that was in the fridge, but it’s not necessary.

(via veganfeast)

Two great documentaries about bees - VANISHING OF THE BEES  and QUEEN OF THE SUN 
Both films center around the sudden disappearance of honey bees from beehives around the world, caused by the poorly understood phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Vanishing of the Bees does not draw any firm scientific conclusions as to the precise cause or causes of CCD, it does suggest a link between neonicotinoid pesticides and CCD.  Queen of the Sun explores the historical and contemporary relationship between bees and humans. 

Two great documentaries about bees - VANISHING OF THE BEES and QUEEN OF THE SUN

Both films center around the sudden disappearance of honey bees from beehives around the world, caused by the poorly understood phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Vanishing of the Bees does not draw any firm scientific conclusions as to the precise cause or causes of CCD, it does suggest a link between neonicotinoid pesticides and CCD.  Queen of the Sun explores the historical and contemporary relationship between bees and humans. 

Nettle Pasta

It’s quite easy to find nettles in the markets for most of the year here. But don’t worry if you can’t get a hold of them, you can substitute kale or spinach, no problem.


6 - 8 ounces stinging nettles* 8 ounces small dried pasta (orecchiette, orzo, etc) extra virgin olive oil 1 large clove garlic, minced a big handful of toasted almond slices 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds a handful of onion sprouts feta cheese, crumbled - as much or as little as you like fine grain sea salt


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well, as you would for pasta water, and add the nettles straight from the bag so as not to get stung (or use gloves to handle them). Boil until the nettles wilt, just 20 seconds or so, then use a slotted spoon to remove the nettles from the pot. Run under cold water, drain well, then strip the leaves from any big stems. Chop the leaves into a paste.

In the meantime, bring the nettle water back to a boil, add the pasta, and boil until just tender. Reserve a cup of the nettle water, and drain the pasta.

Place the pasta pot back on the burner over medium-high heat, adding 1/2 cup / 120 ml of the reserved pasta water, a splash of olive oil, and the chopped garlic. Bring to a simmer, the add the pasta and chopped nettles. Add more pasta water if needed. Stir well, and add most of the almonds and sesame seeds. Taste and add more salt if needed. Remove from heat and stir in most of the onion sprouts before turning out into a bowl. Serve family-style topped with feta, the remaining almonds, sesame seeds, and sprouts, drizzled with olive oil.

Serves 4.

*Use gloves when handling raw stinging nettles. A quick blanch in boiling water will neutralize their stinging power.
Prep time: 5 min  - Cook time: 15 min

Nettle Pasta

It’s quite easy to find nettles in the markets for most of the year here. But don’t worry if you can’t get a hold of them, you can substitute kale or spinach, no problem.

6 - 8 ounces stinging nettles*
8 ounces small dried pasta (orecchiette, orzo, etc)
extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
a big handful of toasted almond slices
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
a handful of onion sprouts
feta cheese, crumbled - as much or as little as you like
fine grain sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well, as you would for pasta water, and add the nettles straight from the bag so as not to get stung (or use gloves to handle them). Boil until the nettles wilt, just 20 seconds or so, then use a slotted spoon to remove the nettles from the pot. Run under cold water, drain well, then strip the leaves from any big stems. Chop the leaves into a paste.

In the meantime, bring the nettle water back to a boil, add the pasta, and boil until just tender. Reserve a cup of the nettle water, and drain the pasta.

Place the pasta pot back on the burner over medium-high heat, adding 1/2 cup / 120 ml of the reserved pasta water, a splash of olive oil, and the chopped garlic. Bring to a simmer, the add the pasta and chopped nettles. Add more pasta water if needed. Stir well, and add most of the almonds and sesame seeds. Taste and add more salt if needed. Remove from heat and stir in most of the onion sprouts before turning out into a bowl. Serve family-style topped with feta, the remaining almonds, sesame seeds, and sprouts, drizzled with olive oil.

Serves 4.

*Use gloves when handling raw stinging nettles. A quick blanch in boiling water will neutralize their stinging power.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 15 min

gastrogirl:

vegan chocolate mousse tart with peanut butter, caramel, and a pretzel crust.



I’m not one for candy and chocolate bars usually, but I will admit that the mood strikes here and there. We just had Hallowe’en so I was feeling a bit nostalgic and remembering the pillow cases of treats from my youth. After sorting the bars, bags and packages out the next morning, I would start laying into my preferred varieties. Mum would tuck a couple of items into my lunch bag and it was great. Happy days to be sure. I was always way more excited about the saltier snack options though. Huge smiles when a wonderful, saint of a human being dropped a tiny bag of savory potato, pretzel or cheesy snacks into the trick or treat bag. Take 5 candy bars came into my 8-year-old world and everything changed. Chocolate and salt collided and I fell in love.
To elaborate: pretzels, peanuts, chocolate and caramel. Together. Whoa. So! To rekindle that most sincere of loves, I made a slightly more sophisticated and admittedly fussy version in a tart pan. I wouldn’t say it’s a totally guiltless and healthy version of my cherished bar, but it’s fairly wholesome by comparison. It has a lovely crust of graham crumbs and crushed up pretzels, date and peanut butter-based caramel and an incredibly luscious avocado chocolate mousse. We used to make these avocado chocolate terrines at a restaurant I worked at. It was so elegant looking and loaded with Jack Daniels. So delicious. So I took that basic idea, loosened it up to a mousse-y/pudding consistency and it worked out perfectly.
I know I just posted a dessert recipe a little while ago and maybe you overdid it on Hallowe’en night already, but it had been quite a while to be frank. So I thought something totally over the top would make up for everything. That’s just my style sometimes. But mostly I just wanted a chocolate salty thing to eat up without making the trek to the USA for a Take 5. Just sayin’.




chocolate salty tart with peanut butter caramel & pretzel crustmousse adapted from hereserves: makes one 10 inch tartspecial equipment: a food processornotes: Be ginger when you’re spreading the caramel on the crust. It picks up the crumbs so easily. A palette knife is incredibly helpful.
crust: 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 1 cup pretzel crumbs (a heaped handful blitzed in the food processor until fine) 3 tbsp natural sugar 2 tbsp spelt flour 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
caramel: 1 cup pitted dates (as soft as you can get) 3 tbsp natural peanut butter 2 tsp vanilla extract juice from half a lemon 2 tbsp non-dairy milk pinch of salt
chocolate mousse: 2 medium, ripe avocadoes, pitted and peeled 1/2 cup light agave nectar 1/3 cup non-dairy milk 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used raw cacao for the deep, almost bitter chocolate taste) 1 tsp arrowroot 2 tsp vanilla extract pinch of salt 1 heaped cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir all of the ingredients together except the coconut oil to combine. Add the oil and mix until clumps begin to form. Press firmly into a 10 inch tart pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is firm. Set aside.
For the caramel: Place dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until dates are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain dates, saving the cooking water.
Place dates and remaining ingredients into food processor and pulse until a puree forms. Add date cooking water if necessary. Scrape caramel into baked and cooled tart shell and spread evenly.
For the mousse: Place everything except the melted chocolate into the food processor. Now’s the time to add some booze if you’re feeling up to it. Turn the processor onto high and puree until mixture is very smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and add melted chocolate. Turn to high again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Scrape mousse into tart shell on top of the caramel. Chill the tart for at least 1/2 an hour before serving. Garnish with chopped pretzels or a sprinkle of salt if you like.

gastrogirl:

vegan chocolate mousse tart with peanut butter, caramel, and a pretzel crust.


I’m not one for candy and chocolate bars usually, but I will admit that the mood strikes here and there. We just had Hallowe’en so I was feeling a bit nostalgic and remembering the pillow cases of treats from my youth. After sorting the bars, bags and packages out the next morning, I would start laying into my preferred varieties. Mum would tuck a couple of items into my lunch bag and it was great. Happy days to be sure. I was always way more excited about the saltier snack options though. Huge smiles when a wonderful, saint of a human being dropped a tiny bag of savory potato, pretzel or cheesy snacks into the trick or treat bag. Take 5 candy bars came into my 8-year-old world and everything changed. Chocolate and salt collided and I fell in love.

To elaborate: pretzels, peanuts, chocolate and caramel. Together. Whoa. So! To rekindle that most sincere of loves, I made a slightly more sophisticated and admittedly fussy version in a tart pan. I wouldn’t say it’s a totally guiltless and healthy version of my cherished bar, but it’s fairly wholesome by comparison. It has a lovely crust of graham crumbs and crushed up pretzels, date and peanut butter-based caramel and an incredibly luscious avocado chocolate mousse. We used to make these avocado chocolate terrines at a restaurant I worked at. It was so elegant looking and loaded with Jack Daniels. So delicious. So I took that basic idea, loosened it up to a mousse-y/pudding consistency and it worked out perfectly.

I know I just posted a dessert recipe a little while ago and maybe you overdid it on Hallowe’en night already, but it had been quite a while to be frank. So I thought something totally over the top would make up for everything. That’s just my style sometimes. But mostly I just wanted a chocolate salty thing to eat up without making the trek to the USA for a Take 5. Just sayin’.

chocolate salty tart with peanut butter caramel & pretzel crust
mousse adapted from here
serves: makes one 10 inch tart
special equipment: a food processor
notes: Be ginger when you’re spreading the caramel on the crust. It picks up the crumbs so easily. A palette knife is incredibly helpful.

crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup pretzel crumbs (a heaped handful blitzed in the food processor until fine)
3 tbsp natural sugar
2 tbsp spelt flour
1/4 cup + 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

caramel:
1 cup pitted dates (as soft as you can get)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
pinch of salt

chocolate mousse:
2 medium, ripe avocadoes, pitted and peeled
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used raw cacao for the deep, almost bitter chocolate taste)
1 tsp arrowroot
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 heaped cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir all of the ingredients together except the coconut oil to combine. Add the oil and mix until clumps begin to form. Press firmly into a 10 inch tart pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is firm. Set aside.

For the caramel: Place dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until dates are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain dates, saving the cooking water.

Place dates and remaining ingredients into food processor and pulse until a puree forms. Add date cooking water if necessary. Scrape caramel into baked and cooled tart shell and spread evenly.

For the mousse: Place everything except the melted chocolate into the food processor. Now’s the time to add some booze if you’re feeling up to it. Turn the processor onto high and puree until mixture is very smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and add melted chocolate. Turn to high again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Scrape mousse into tart shell on top of the caramel. Chill the tart for at least 1/2 an hour before serving. Garnish with chopped pretzels or a sprinkle of salt if you like.

(via veganfeast)

evhuwa:

JEFFREY BUCHOLTZ

Some great work by Jeffrey Bucholtz.

peegaw:

I thought it was really cool when I found Kate Arends of Wit and Delight’s (top picture) and An of Sunny Sunflower’s (bottom picture) take on my Pesto Potatoes & Eggs recipe.

It’s always nice to know that people have enough confidence in your food posts to try the recipe out.