Tag Archive | french vegetarian

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.

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

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!

Leeks Vinaigrette

Once again the need to use something that had been in my fridge for a while provided the basis for this week’s recipe. I don’t remember why I bought it precisely, but I bought a leek awhile ago and needed to do something with it, and I found a recipe for “Leeks Vinaigrette” in the French Market cookbook. Well, since I needed to use the leek, and miraculously had everything on hand (except mustard, I don’t like mustard and avoid it like the plague) I figured I should roll with it.

1 medium leek, halved and sliced lengthwise into ribbons
olive oil
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 hard-boiled egg

Put the leeks, tossed with a little olive oil, in a smallish pan. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the leeks are limp but still have some crunch. While the leeks are cooking, mix the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil together. When the leeks are done, toss them with the vinaigrette and let it sit for a few minutes. Once the leeks have marinated a little, stick them on a plate and sprinkle some parsley on top. Chop the hard boiled egg into little pieces and add that on top as well and serve.

leeks vinaigrette

Really good. It’s not spectacular, quite frankly it’s far to basic to be a wow of a dish. But it’s good and with a few slices of bread and cheese makes a lovely and fast meal. It’s a good – I made something cool and elegant-looking with few ingredients and work – dish (totally a thing). I had this with a Reisling, and I think it’d go pretty well with any number of white wines. Honestly, this felt more like a spring dish than a fall one from my perspective. Song of the Week: Habits as done by Postmodern Jukebox. This was insanely hard this week because I’ve basically be obsessively listening to Postmodern Jukebox and Sam Tsui all week and choosing between those two insanely difficult. But Habits won (watch and you will understand). But just go on YouTube and lose yourself in both of their channels.

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
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.

Gratin au Choufleur avec Noisettes – aka Cauliflower Gratin with Hazelnuts

I finally bought a new cookbook. First time in about two years, so I bought the French Market Cookbook, which I have been lusting after for about six months now. So lust eventually won, as it always does, and I have a new cookbook to play with! The cool thing about this cookbook is that it’s divided up not by recipe type, but by season. So I looked up various winter recipes, and found “Cauliflower Gratin with Hazelnuts and Turmeric.” A few adjustments based on what I had in my fridge, and a lovely new recipe was made.

1/2 a head of cauliflower
1/3 head of broccoli
1/2 cup of hazelnuts
Bread crumbs
Cheese sauce (below)

Take the hazelnuts and spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so. Pull them out of the oven and, once cooled a bit, rub the skins off the nuts. Roughly chop and set aside for later. In the meantime, chop the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, and steam until slightly tender but still a bit on the crunchy side. Set aside.

Cheese Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup and a bit of milk
1/2 cup or so strong French cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once its melted add the flour and mix it in. Pour in the milk and whisk continuously – making sure the butter-flour mixture melts completely into the milk. Its important to stir constantly, to prevent any sticking on the bottom, or lumps. Once the sauce has thickened, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg – a pinch or two of each, according to your taste. Then add the cheese, as stir it in until it is all melted into the sauce. The recipe suggests Gruyere or Comte, but I used raclette. Pour the hazelnuts in as well and mix. Put the veggies in a baking dish, and pour the cheese-hazelnut sauce on it. Mix so that the veggies are coated. Pour bread crumbs on top, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Forgot to take a picture til after I started eating ... oops

Forgot to take a picture til after I started eating … oops

Tasty! Less guilt than one would normally feel because the cheese sauce is on vegetables, not pasta or bread or anything. The recipe called for turmeric, which I actually have, but couldn’t bring myself to use as the sauce just tasted so good already. I didn’t want to mess with that. I served this with a French red bordeaux, naturally. I’m sure a California red would have worked too, but I felt the need to go with a French wine for authenticity’s sake. Song of the week: Coin Operated Boy by Dresden Dolls. We’ve all been there – it’d be so much easier that the messiness and confusion that comes with real boys and girls. Bonus – this comes as a fun Buffy fanvid!