This post makes my heart sad and tears come to my eyes. I follow Jennifer Perillo (@jenniferperillo) on Twitter and this past weekend she post a tweet that simple said, “He’s gone. And my heart is shattered in a million pieces.” Her young husband, Mikey, had died suddenly of a massive heart attack that came with out warning. This tragedy has touched many people who know her well and also those who have only glimpsed the love of this family through her blog posts.
For those that asked what they could do to help her healing process, she requested that they make a peanut butter pie today (Friday) and share it with someone you love. She closed the post with, “Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”
I made the Peanut Butter Pie. My thoughts and prayers are with Jennifer and her two girls.
Did you know there are different colored beets and that each color has its own level of “earthy” taste? The “earthy” taste of beets comes from the presence of geosmin, which literally translates to “earth smell”.
The following three varieties are key players at my local farmers market:
“Burpee’s Golden”, a beet with orange-red skin and yellow flesh.
“Chioggia”, an open-pollinated variety originally grown in Italy. The concentric rings of its pink/red and white roots are visually striking when sliced. As a heritage variety, Chioggia is largely unimproved and has relatively high concentrations of geosmin.
“Detroit Dark Red”, with relatively low concentrations of geosmin, and is therefore a popular commercial cultivar in the United States.
When I was growing up, my grandmother & aunties would get together in the fall and have huge canning parties. They would can a variety of items; beets, tomatoes, green beans, apples and peaches. I was too young to do more than cause problems & be in the way. I was usually shooed out of the kitchen.
Fast forward about 10 years & I moved to Southern California. I saw all the seasonal fruit & veggies and thought, “I should be canning this stuff”. I ask my peers & they looked at me like I had lost my mind. Canning? Who does that? I called my mom and grandma for advice & recipes. I canned quite a bit the first couple of season. I enjoyed it, labor intensive, but after a few years I gave it up.
About 6 months ago, I found The Lazy Ox Canteen. Their dishes are made from farm fresh ingredients. Chef Centeno draws his inspiration from modern and traditional French, Mexican, Japanese and Catalan cuisines. The plates are always changing depending on the seasons. One of the appetizers was pickled veggies – onions, beets and cucumbers. I fell in love with the beets! I ordered them every time I went, with hopes of re-create the recipe. There was one small problem, what was the acid ratio to sugar ratio? I called my Aunt Lisa & she gave me some suggestions, but I was still clueless. At wits end, I approached Chef with hopes of getting the secret. He gave me the list of ingredients, but not the measurements.
The next day I went to the farmers market and purchased orange beets, pink beets, orange, dill and garlic. The reason you want to avoid the red beets goes back to the intro of this post. There is too much geosmin-”earth smell” in them & the flavor will delete the spices. My next stop was to get white wine vinegar & champagne vinegar. The champagne vinegar was the flavor that confused me when I was attempting to re-create the recipe. I ran home, grabbed quart jars & stuffed them full. I put them in the refrigerator and waited 2 weeks. Amazing!
Orange & pink pickled beets.
Since the pickled beets were a huge success, the back of my refrigerator and the dark corners of my pantry have turned into a food science lab. Pickled beets, balsamic pickled onion, cherry balsamic preserves and pickled cherries to name a few.
(This is my base recipe & a work in progress. Makes 1 quart.)
8 medium orange or pink beets
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup champagne vinegar
Zest of 1 orange, use a sharp peeler to remove. Avoid the white pith
1 jalapeno pepper, slice in half, remove or leave the seeds – depending your heat preference
2 large sprigs of fresh dill
1 tsp. dill seed
4 cloves garlic, peel & slice in half
Remove the tops & roots of the beets. Take a large sauce pan & fill half way with water. Bring to a boil. Add the beets. Boil 15 to 20 minutes. (They should be just fork tender.)
Once they are done, place them in a colander & run cold water over them. When they are cool to the touch, peel & slice off a thin layer of the top & bottom. Cut each beet into quarters or smaller if they are bigger beets.
While the beets are cooking, wash quart jar with soap & water. Fill jar with boiling water & leave for 5 minutes. Empty water from jar. Put in the orange zest, jalapeno pepper, fresh dill, dill seed & garlic into jar. Add the quartered beets, pressing down gently. Fill almost to the top.
Pour the vinegars & sugar into a small saucepan. Place saucepan on stove & bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. (At this point you can taste the mixture to see if it needs more sugar.)
Slowly pour the hot sugar/vinegar mixture into the jar. Fill to the very top of the jar. Wipe off edge of jar with a clean cloth & place on the lid & ring. Tighten ring, but not too much because you will have to get it off later. Shake jar well to move the spices around.
Place in the refrigerator and shake everyday for 7 days. Leave another 7 days. As temping as it is to taste them, they need this time to pickle & develop their flavor. After two weeks, they will be ready. Try not to eat the whole jar in one setting.
P.S. The pickled cherries are hanging out in white vinegar. After 10 days, they will end up in lots of sugar for 3 months. I will blog the results.
I’m sure you have all come to a point in your life, that so much change happens that you hardly know yourself or your life. That has happened to me in the past year. I know I have not updated in a long time, but I have shifted so much in my life and business. People come, people go and a lot is learned… this is know as the circle of life. This blog started out as a foodie blog that was going to morph into a site to tell you about the development of my “kitchens for lease concept”. But, with the down turn in the market in 2008, my concept was shelved. It was not what I wanted at the time, but in hind sight it was the best thing that could have ever happened. I have moved out of food preparation into doing social media management for restaurants. Talk about a huge jump & learning curve for me. I am loving it, but still hold my dream of the “kitchens for lease” close to my heart.
Now that you a very brief overview of my life, lets talk food. I have been flipping through a lots of different Thanksgiving magazines. A recipe caught my eye, it was for a Crusty White Bread in the Food and Wine magazine. The picture was gorgeous and the bread was baked in a dutch oven.
The next morning when I was putting the pre-ferment together, I scanned the recipe and was shocked to realize that the original recipe made two “HUGE” loaves. The recipe called for approximately 15 cups of flour. This was about four normal size loaves and was not going to work for my small family. I made a quick decision and cut the pre-ferment in half. The next step called for letting it ferment for 10 to 14 hours. After 10 hours, I had lost interest in making bread, so I left it on the counter and went to bed. The next morning when I check the pre-ferment, it looked the same and smelled sweet. I was so excited!! On to step two, but at the same time remembering to halve the recipe. Eight and half cups of flour later, I had a perfect dough.
This is a very forgiving dough, because it only has a quarter of a teaspoon of yeast. When a dough is completely dependent on traditional yeast, it has a certain window of raising time and then the yeast dies. With this recipe, the fermentation processes helps the dough develop its own yeast base. I have made this recipe twice. The first time I forgot the dough out on the counter, an extra four hours, during its finally rise. It was fine. The second time I punched it down after it first rise, put it in the refrigerator and left it overnight. The next day I took it out, shaped it and let it rise for 6 hours. Again, beautiful loaves. So, until I decided it’s time to experiment again with a different type of bread, this will be my go to recipe.
(The original recipe was in Food & Wine Magazine November 2010 issue. I have made many changes.)
Crusty White Bread
PRE-FERMENT 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water 1/8 teaspoon dry granulated yeast 1 1/4 flour
BREAD DOUGH 2 3/4 cups warm water 1/8 teaspoon dry granulated yeast 8 to 8 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt dissolved in 1/4 cup of warm water all purpose flour, for dusting corn meal, for during baking
1. Prepare the Pre-ferment: In a medium bowl, mix the water with the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Stir in flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 10 to 24 hours.
2. Prepare the Bread dough: In your stand mixer, combine the warm water with the yeast and pre-ferment: mix until the pre-ferment is broken up and mostly dissolved. Add 8 cups of flour and mix until a smooth dough forms. Let the dough rest while you mix the salt and the 1/4 of warm water together.
3. Mix in the salt water and mix until most of the water is absorbed by the dough. Add the additional 1/2 cup of flour until you have a smooth, slightly tacky dough. You may need a bit more than a 1/2 cup of flour to reach the desired consistence. Cover the dough and let stand for 3 to 4 hours.
4. (At this point you can either continue with the recipe or you can punch down the dough and chill it until the next day.) Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it in half. (Each half will weigh about 2 1/4 pounds.) Gently shape the dough into 2 rounds, folding the dough under itself as necessary.
5. Line 2 medium size bowls with kitchen towels and generously dust the towels with all-purpose flour. Transfer the loaves to the bowls, rounded sides down. Cover the loaves with clean towels and let rise for 4 to 5 hours. Alternatively, let the dough rise for 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate the loaves overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before baking. (Again, this is very forgiving dough and if you rise it a bit longer than the suggested times, it is not going to complain.)
6. Put in your 2 large enameled cast-iron casseroles or cast-iron skillets with lids and preheat your oven to 490 degrees. Once the oven is to temperature, remove the cast-iron pans from the oven and dust bottoms with cornmeal. Turn the loaves, gently, into the cast-iron pans, rounded side up and score the tops with a sharp, thin knife. Reduce the heat down to 450 degrees. Cover the cast-iron pans and bake the bread for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat, again, to 400 degrees and bake 15 minutes longer. Remove the lids from the cast-iron pans. Continue baking until browned and the crust just begins to smell like toast, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the bread to a rack: let cool, if you can, before slicing. (When you first place the bread on the rack it with make snapping and crackling sounds, this will let you know that your bread is baked through. I love these sounds.
(I do not have two large enameled cast-iron casseroles or cast-iron skillets with lids, I do the above directions twice. I just wipe the cornmeal out of the hot pan, and put it back in the oven and pre-heat it to 490 degrees and do the process again.)
This morning it was cool outside and that mixed with the desire to cook had me jumping out of bed. I was excited to start, but I decided to detoured by the computer to check in with my Twitter friends (www.twitter.com/miacucina). In the first couple of tweets I quickly learned that Gourmet had ran it’s course and was being retired. I was shocked and saddened. Here is a link to a memo from the CEO of Conde Nast: http://bit.ly/bq51U
The most recent Gourmet (October 2009) lays on my coffee table with a radiant red cover graced with a wine red caramel apple. I pick it up and flip through the pictures which for a foodie, is “eye candy”. I’m still sitting here wondering if this will be my last issue or if I will be lucky enough to receive the November issue.
Confusion, questions & whys lay in a tattered path and we may never know the answers. Earlier today Gourmet’s, Editor in Chef Ruth Reichl, said she found out the news only this morning. Her response via the LA times Russ Parson was, “I can’t talk about it now, it’s too raw. I’ve got to pack up my office.”
It is a sad, sad day for most foodies. As a final tribute to a magazine that never forgot amidst all of the important issues about food politics, farm strategics, celebrity chefs, farmers, butchers, winemakers, waiters, mixologists and governmental control, that much of the true joy in life is based on simple, delicious food shared amongst family and friends, at the table, over dinner.
A recipe from the October 2009 issue.
RED WINE CARAMEL APPLES
ACTIVE TIME:30 MIN
START TO FINISH:1 HR
Red wine reduction is a simple yet sultry addition to the caramel that enrobes these apples. Its rounded, fruity acidity balances the sweetness, making a fall favorite feel particularly special.
8 small McIntosh apples, stemmed, washed well, and dried
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Need: Wooden ice-pop sticks; a candy thermometer
Insert a wooden stick halfway into each apple at stem end. Line a tray with wax paper and lightly grease paper.
Boil wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 21/2- to 3-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Add reduced wine (mixture will bubble up and steam) and swirl pan. Add cream and simmer, stirring, until incorporated, then continue to simmer until thermometer registers 238°F. Remove from heat and cool to 200°F.
Holding apples by the sticks, dip them in caramel and swirl to coat, letting excess drip off, then hold apples up (stick end down) for about 15 seconds to allow more caramel to set on apples. Put caramel apples, stick side up, on greased wax paper and let stand until caramel firms up, about 30 minutes.
COOKS’ NOTE: If caramel becomes too thick to coat apples, reheat over low heat to loosen.
I spend the first part of my trip to the farmers market following my nose. I start at the first stand and wander from one vendor to the next. I gently pick up a sample of fruit or vegetable and smell its sweet mouth-watering aroma; feel the texture of the skin and look upon its vibrant color. I take a bite and feel the juice and flesh tickle my palate.
The other day when I was at the farmers market, I found O’Henry peaches. They are my favorite peach because when this variety is ripe, they are on the firm side. This makes for a perfect peach to bake with and macerate. Currently the peaches are called “freestones”.
Peaches are divided into 2 categories; clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone (pit) or not; both can have either white or yellow flesh. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly. Both colors often have some red on their skin.
To find the best peach, first smell it: a ripe peach should be sweetly fragrant. Next give the peach a gentle squeeze: a ripe peach won’t be too hard; it should slightly give to the squeeze. Keep in mind that the color of a peach tells more about what variety it is than its maturity or ripeness. So don’t pick your peach based on color; it could be more white or greenish white than peach colored.
When I arrived home, I had many pounds of peaches and I started to bake; peach cobbler, peach pie, peach scones. I was down to my last pound and I remember the amazing peach shortcake I had made in the past. I went to the kitchen and with a grind of this, a cup of that and few turns of the dough, I had shortcake. I then sliced up the peaches and macerate for a short time. Finish with a dollop of whip cream. I love peach season.
Makes 6 to 8 shortcake
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoon sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks of unsalted, cold butter, 12 tablespoons, cut into cubes
½ cup heavy cream
Oven temp 400 degrees, preheat
Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Process to blend, add cubes of butter and process until the butter is the size of small peas. Lightly mix the eggs and cream together and add to the flour and butter mixture. Process until it just starts to come together. The dough will be sticky
Dump the dough out onto a flour surface. Pat the dough into a circle, about ¾ inches thick. Cut out 6 cakes with a 2 ½ inch round cutter. Place cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Brush the top of each cake with a bit of water & sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
While the cakes are baking, slice up 6 peaches. Place in a medium bowl and mix in 2 tablespoon of peach brandy and 4 tablespoons of sugar depending on sweetness of peaches. Let them macerate.
Mix together 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar. Whip in electric mixer until soft peaks form, add 1 tablespoon of peach brandy and mix until peaks are stiff.
Split each cake in half crosswise and place the bottom half on a plate. Spoon on peaches and some whip cream. Place on the other half of cake and put on a dollop of whip cream.
Tomorrow, 8-4-09, I will have the privilege to guest post for Tamra Klaty. The URL for her blog is: http://www.tamragirl.com. I’m so excited and looking forward to you guys dropping by and leaving her some sweet comments. See you back here toward the end of week. Thank you for the support and for reading my ramblings. ~ Amy
Pile a generous scoop of slightly soft ice cream on one chocolate chip cookie, place another on top and take a bite. This is how I love to eat my cookies in the summer.
I have played with many different flavors and they all have worked. Use what ever flavor of ice cream you like. My favorite brand is Hagen Daz because there are no stabilizers in their ice cream and it tends to freeze more solidly than less expensive brands.
If you are like me, you have to eat one sandwich before you continue assembling the rest of the cookies and ice cream. Clean up the edges of each sandwich and you may want to gently roll the side of the sandwich in chopped nuts, coconut, sprinkle on a bit of gray salt (I love to do this when I use caramel ice cream) or whatever else may strike your fancy. Pop them in the freezer until the ice cream firms up and serve.
My two little men love to help me roll each sandwich in the toppings. They can hardly wait for the sandwiches to set. The dialogue goes something like this.. “Are the cookies done yet Mom?” No, son they have another 45 minutes.” Before long, the same question is asked and a similar answer is given. When the hour has finally past, the 3 of us sit on the patio in the evening sun and eat to our hearts content.
Be sure to roll each cookie into a ball and press each cookie flat before baking. If you skip this step, the cookie will have a bump in the middle and will be too thick. Once the sandwiches are set, you may dip each cookie in melted chocolate (dip half of the sandwich) and freeze about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
Kendra’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Servings: Makes about 18 medium ice cream sandwiches (or 36 cookies)
3 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag of chocolate chips
In the bowl of a stand mixture using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and the sugars at medium speed until light, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and mix well to incorporate. Add the vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
In a medium bowl, stir together the salt, flour and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, one-half at a time, until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the chocolate chips by hand. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or longer.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Lightly press down on the balls to flatten them and place the balls 2 inches apart on lightly buttered baking sheets. Bake until the cookies darken slightly, 14 to 15 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking. Cool the cookies for 1 minute on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies from the sheet to a wire rack to cool.
To assemble, spread a generous one-fourth cup ice cream (slightly softened) over a bottom cookie. Press firmly but gently to avoid breaking the cookies. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges to clean up any ice cream hanging over the edge. If you wish, roll the cookies in topping of choice. Freeze for at least 1 hour to firm the ice cream. Repeat with all the cookies.
(I know this is a food blog, but so many of us are on Twitter. I just could not resist telling you all this fun story.
The Seven Sins of Twitter: 1. If your avatar (picture) looks like it belongs on a corner after 11pm, not so good. 2. If your avatar is a photo of your child, dog, your favorite food and etc, maybe worse. (And so on, but I will save the rest for another day.) Your smiling face is gorgeous, so use it.
This past Friday I went to a marketing seminar given by Dave Lakhani – @davelakhani. Lots of fabulous information was shared by Dave and his guest speakers. During a break, I introduced myself to Dr. Rachna Jain. We said our pleasantries and she asked if I was on Twitter. I said, “Yes”. She asks if my Twitter name was @MiaCucina. I said,”Yes” and she said, “You look like your picture.” I was surprised and flattered that she recognized me. I ask for her Twitter name (@rachnajain). I looked for her in my followers and I was not following her. So, how did she know my Twitter name?
Rachna is a contributing author and has an essay in Dave’s book, “How To Sell When Nobody’s Buying”. Since social media is her thing, she had been viewing the tweets about the book. I was reading the book and tweeting some things that I found helpful. She found me in someone else’s Twitter stream and remembered my name and what I looked like. Amazing!
Yesterday when I did my Julia post, I put up the recipe for her Pate Brisee Fine recipe from “The Way To Cook”. Today I was reading through my copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and found another recipe for a tart shell. I am sharing that recipe and directions to roll out the crust. I did not include the instructions for rolling out a crust, and by doing that I was asuming that you know how to do it. Not everyone does, as I remember my first attempt at making a crust. It was not the best, but with practice it improved. If you have any questions please post them here, find me on Twitter: or on my Facebook Fan page.
How to roll out a tart/pie crust
If you would like a visual, I found this great link done by Cat Cora.
Things You’ll Need:
All-purpose Flour For Dusting
A. Ensure that the dough is chilled and has rested for at least 30 minutes, unless otherwise directed in your recipe.
B. Have your other ingredients ready to finish the recipe, such as pie or tart pans and fillings.
C. Clean off your work space to allow enough room to roll the dough. Ensure that the work surface and the rolling pin are clean and dry.
D. Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Unwrap the dough and turn it out on the work surface.
E. Lightly dust your hands, the dough, and the rolling pin with flour. Only a little is necessary.
F. Pat the dough down with your hands if the dough is not already shaped in a thin circle.
G. Position the rolling pin in the center of the dough and roll it away from you to slightly flatten half the dough.
H. Reposition the pin in the center of the dough and roll towards you to slightly flatten the other half. Use even pressure on the rolling pin.
I. Always roll from the center of the dough. Use several passes to roll it to the desired thickness. Don’t try to flatten it all the way in one pass.
J. Keep the dough at an even thickness as much as possible. Make sure it’s at one even level of thickness before flattening it further.
K. Dust with more flour if needed.
L. Work fast but don’t rush. Try to roll out the dough before it has a chance to warm up.
Pate Brisee Tart Crust
Makes one 8-inch tart crust
Recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons (or more) cold water
8-inch-diameter tart pan
Dried beans or pie weights
Whisk flour, salt, and sugar in medium bowl. Add butter and shortening; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons cold water. Work mixture with fingertips until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Roll out dough on floured work surface to 10-inch round. Carefully transfer dough to 8-inch tart pan. Press dough onto bottom and about 1 1/2 inches up sides of pan, pressing to adhere to sides. Fold down and roll 1/2 inch of dough sides inward, forming double-thick edge at top of crust sides. Using dull edge of small knife, make small indentations at 1/2-inch intervals on double-thick edge. Chill 20 minutes.
Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides of crust are set, about 18 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Pierce bottom of crust all over with fork. Continue to bake until bottom is set and pale golden, about 14 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool in pan on rack.
August is a special month for those that love Julia Child: On the 7th, Julie & Julia, a movie that intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends…until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible, opens. The role of Julia Child is played by Meryl Streep. Then, on the 15th, people all over the country will celebrate her birthday by cooking her recipes or dining at their favorite French restaurant.
She was (born Julia Carolyn McWilliams August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004) was an American chef, author and television personality, who introduced French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream, through her many cookbooks and television programs. Her most famous works are the 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the television series The French Chef, which premiered in 1963 and showcased her fabulous persona.
I had the privilege of meeting Julia Child in early 2000. I was employed at Sur La Table and one morning when I walked into work, I saw a memo that simply said, “Julia is coming!” I was so excited that I danced around the back of the store. I was finally going to meet Julia Child!
On the morning of the book signing the whole staff was at the store ready to greet her. The line of customers, waiting to meet her, snaked through the store and out the door as far as one could see. Everyone was eagerly awaiting her arrival. We all greeted her and then she sat down at a table surrounded by eager fans and she began to sign her books. She was gracious, kind and answered as many questions as she could. She was supposed to sign books for an hour and a half, but she did not stop until every single book was signed. The one thing that stays with me was how she made each person feel like she was there just for them.
Once she finished signing the last person’s book, she came into the back of the store where she chatted with us, posed for pictures and signed our books. Finally it came time for her to say good bye. It was sad to see her go, and it was even harder to hear of her passing, but I still have my signed copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Each time I cook out my signed books, I still flip back and look at her signature and feel so blessed to have been in her presents for that small window of time.
One of my favorite recipe is from “The Way To Cook”
Master Recipe for Pate Brisee Fine
Makes two 9-inch tart shell
1 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 cup plain cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, quarter & diced
1/4 cup (2 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed
Blending flour and butter. have all the ingredients measured our and ready to use. Put the flour, salt and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the 1/2 cup of ice water then pulse 2 or 3 times. Remove the cover and feel the sough. It should look like a bunch of small lumps and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together. (It is important not over mix: it should not mass on the blade of the machine.) If too dry, pulse in droplets more water. From now on work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.
Final Blending. Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it in to a rough mass. For the final blending, rapidly and roughly, with the heel of your hand , push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you in a 6-inch smear.
Resting and Chilling. Form the dough into a cake – it should be fairly smooth and pliable. Srap in plastic, slide into a plastic bag and refrigerate. Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax the gluten.
The dough will keep 2 day in the refrigerator before the flour will start to turn grayish, but it can be frozen for several months.
Cheese and Bacon Quiche
For a 9-inch quiche, serving 6
Seasonings: salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
The custard: 3 large eggs blended with enough milk or cream to make 1 1/2 cups
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Break up the pieces of bacona nd stew them in the bottom of the shell. Sprinkle on all but a spoonful of the cheese. Season the custoard and pour in to within 1/8 inch of the rim; sprinkle on the rest of the cheese. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and browned.
A 9-inch prebaked shell
6 crisp strips of cooked bacon
1/2 cup coarsely grated Swiss cheese
With fresh fruit, this makes a lovely breakfast. I also enjoy serving this quiche with a salad for a light lunch or dinner.