Tag Archive | french recipe

Corsican Square Squash Tarts

To be honest, I wanted to do this recipe, again adapted from the French Market Cookbook (I love that thing), because of the shape. I’ve done circles, half-moons, triangles and little cups when making various tarts and tartlets, but I had never done one in a square form. I thought it looked cool, and I had some leftover squash from my pasta experiment a couple weeks ago so it seemed like a good idea to roll with it.

Tartlet dough
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
several tablespoons cold water

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. If compressed, the dough should almost be able to stick together. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Filling
1/2 medium butternut squash, diced
1/3 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
salt
olive oil
pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Toss in a bowl with the squash, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Roll out the dough into a large square and divide it into about 4 squares. Stick an equal amount of the filling in each square. Take a square and fold two of the corners to the center, pressing them together. Then do the other two corners. There should be a little space for steam but otherwise all pressed together. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400.

tartlet with tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella

tartlet with tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella

This was pretty good, but I’ve made a bunch of different butternut squash tarts and this was not my favorite. I liked the fresh rosemary, but it tasted like it was missing something honestly. I melted some raclette (a fairly intense french cheese) and that help but I was still sort of like, yeah, it’s good, but it’s not great. Sadly not a “holy shit try this!!!!”  recipe.  I like the French Market Cookbook, but I find the recipes to be a bit hit or miss personally. Song of the week: Lean On/Lean On Me mashup by Sam Tsui. I said last week that I was equally obsessed with Sam Tsui and Postmodern Jukebox. Well, since last week I did PM Jukebox, this week I’m rolling with Sam Tsui. He’s ridiculously talented though (and makes me feel kinda lackluster since we are effectively the same age, le sigh) so enjoy!

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Provencal Tartlets

Over the weekend, I took and impromptu trip to CA to visit my family, and in the process, I made dinner for my mom one night I was there. Since she has many many more cookbooks than I do, it seemed a perfect opportunity to find something for new recipe day. And since she swears by the Greens cookbooks (as does everyone in my family) I decided to make something from one of those. Since it was still effectively summer back in NorCal, I decided to make late-summer Provencal Tartlets. Ok, this recipe does take awhile to cook (about 2 episodes of Star Trek) and it looks like a ton of ingredients, but its pretty straight-forward to do.

Tartlet dough
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
several tablespoons cold water

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. If compressed, the dough should almost be able to stick together. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

The Filling
1/2 smallish eggplant, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 a red onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic
olive oil
1-2 pinches dried thyme
1 pinch dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cups fontina cheese

Dice all the veggies and stick them in a bowl. Toss with the garlic, olive oil, and dried herbs. Roast at 400 for about 10-15 minutes. The diced veggies means it goes pretty quickly. Stick back in a bowl. Roll out the dough and cut it into circles large enough to fit a cupcake pan. Then line the cupcake pan with the little dough circles. Toss the now-cooked and slightly cooler veggies with the parsley, tomatoes, and cheeses. Fill the tartlets, and then bake for maybe 30 minutes at 375 (until they are golden and the cheese is bubbly. Cool slightly and serve!

provencal tartlets

I love when foods turn out pretty as well as tasty

Oh man these were good. Lots of veggies to be sure, but since its not a ton of any of them, it can basically be an “odds and ends” sort of filling for the tartlet. I mean, these are all pretty common summer veggies to have, and the only things I bought specifically for the recipe was the fontina cheese (fontina works amazing with eggplant as a general rule). I had this with at California Sauvignon Blanc which I thought was a good pairing. Sav. blancs are good with most summer veggie recipes, and I drink CA wines when I’m in the state as a general rule. Song of the Week: Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. Another catchy pop song I rather like. My mom said it was her new favorite song this weekend, and since I enjoy it too, I figured it would be perfect for this week.

Summer Tea-Time: Breton Shortbread with Strawberries

Summer means delicious and awesome fresh fruit! It also means delicious and awesome fresh fruit desserts. I love fruit desserts, and even on the east coast there is enough quality fruit for me to celebrate and do things with. This week, I was flipping through one of my cookbooks, and saw a sort of strawberry shortcake recipe, but with “Breton shortbread” rather than shortcake. I’ll be honest, I never liked shortcake when my mom made it. But I had fresh strawberries, so I figured I should this other version.

Breton Shortbread
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix those in too. When they are all thoroughly combined, add the flour and baking powder (ok, I ran out of baking powder and substituted baking soda – it will work in a pinch but I don’t recommend it). Normally you would add a pinch of salt, but I cook with salted butter, so I don’t bother adding even more salt. A soft dough will form. Stick it in the fridge for a few hours. Once it has chilled, take the dough and mush in along the bottom of a pie plate or cake pan, so the bottom is covered and the dough is relatively even. Yep, mush – there is no reason to roll it out. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 and let cool on a rack.

Once the shortbread is done, you can either a. eat it as is, b. add strawberries and sugar to it, or c. add other things, such as a strong cheese, to it. I went with option b.

Strawberries
sugar
powdered sugar

Slice a bunch of strawberries,stick them in a bowl and add a little sugar. Let them sit until awhile. Once they’ve sat a while, place them on either a slice (if you are making a single serving) or over the whole shortbread if you are making it for a group. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and enjoy.

stawberries and shortbread

The was very good! The shortbread isn’t particularly sweet, so the lightly sugared strawberries go well with it. The shortbread is, in my opinion, a bit on the dry side. So I’d like to recreate this concept in the form of a trifle. I think that would be fairly awesome. As evident from the title – have this with a cup of tea, preferably as a tea-time snack. Song of the week: The River of Dreams by Billy Joel. Just a pleasant, enjoyable song and there is nothing wrong with that. I also find it very comforting – like a song equivalent of a hug.

Corsican Bell Pepper Stew for Summer

This week, I was at a loss for inspiration. Sad but it happens. However, this is why we have cookbooks! and food blogs! Rather than flipping through Greens again, I went through the spring and summer sections of my French Market cookbook, and in the summer section, I found something that I actually had nearly all the ingredients for. Not quite all, but close enough for me to attempt my own version: Corsican Bell Pepper Stew.

1 1/2 red bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
splash of wine (like 1-2 tablespoons)
wine vinegar
Salt
olive oil

Prep all the ingredients first. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, and saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes, like five. Then add the diced (not chopped, diced) bell peppers and the rosemary. Let the whole thing stew on medium-low heat until the bell peppers have softened, about 25 minutes or so. Then add the tomatoes, wine, and salt to taste. Stew until the tomatoes have broken down, about another 15 minutes. Let the stew cool (seriously you can let it just sit for hours, it actually improves it), then splash with a little wine vinegar and adjust the salt to taste if necessary. You can serve it as a side, but I had it spread on some bread.

corsican bell pepper stew

Tasty! So tasty. It reminded me of caponata, albeit without the eggplant or pine nuts. Which, geographically makes a certain amount of sense. I’m pretty sure you could do a lot with this stuff besides sticking it on bread – which admittedly was pretty awesome. I’ll have to experiment and see how that goes. Serve with a glass of whatever wine you cooked with – and drank while cooking if you are anything like me. I went with a French rose – its late spring and hot out so I’m off red wine until fall, and French wine seemed appropriate to go with French food. Song of the week: It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy. This came on the radio when I was driving a week or so ago and I was singing along and still know almost all the words. It’s so messed up and yet.

Green Pancakes for Spring

Ok, so it’s not really spring yet. But there were a couple nice days and spring normally begins in February, right? Just in NorCal I guess. However, the weather encouraged me to flip through the spring section of my nifty new cookbook, and I found a recipe for Green Pancakes. I adjusted slightly based on what was in my fridge, as per usual, namely substituting kale for chard, but the basic concept is the same.

Green Pancakes
1/2 cup flour
salt
pepper
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup milk
2-3 large kale leaves, chopped into little pieces

Mix the flour, salt, and pepper together. Add the eggs, garlic, and milk, and beat until smooth. Let the batter rest a little bit. While the batter is resting, chop the onions and the kale. After about 30 minutes, fold both of those into the batter. Heat olive oil on a frying pan. Place some of the batter (about a 1/3 cup) on the frying pan and spread it out so its flat and pancake-shaped. Once the bottom begins to brown, flip it over and cook the other side. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up extra oil. Serve warm.

kale pancakes

These were good, and very light, but oddly bland. Maybe I didn’t add enough salt and pepper, or garlic. I added ketchup or blue cheese to the pancakes, and that improved them immensely. I feel like I should recommend the blue cheese in particular, but, honestly, I love ketchup so its up to you. I had this with red wine, a Bordeaux actually, but white might be better. Song of week: La Tortura by Shakira. Anyone who has been in a confusing, doomed, or complicated relationship or couldn’t stop with the feelings even when they wanted to (aka basically everyone) can appreciate this song. Also, it’s just awesome.