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Late Summer Favorites

I may have about 1.5 million things going on in my life right now, but I still like to scour my favorite food blogs for ideas and recipes I’d like to try in the near future. So I thought I’d share a couple with you.

I’ve made zucchini fries many times. They satisfy my desire for “real” french fries (one of my deserted island foods) and they are a tasty alternative to potato fries. Dinner: A Love Story has a simple recipe for these “Green French Fries.” Growing up, green french fries in my house would most likely have meant that the potatoes turned green from mold (my brother and I still ask for an expiration date on every item in the fridge or pantry!) but these “green” fries are just right.

On to another favorite vegetable in season…tomatoes. Lately, everywhere I turn I come across another recipe for a tomato tart – something I’ve thought about making for some time now. There’s just something about that little tart pan I have – I feel like anything made in that pan makes me look like a better cook than I actually am. Pastry chef and Chez Panisse alum David Lebovitz’s shares his version of a French Tomato tart on his blog. He is the author of The Sweet Life in Paris – one of my absolute favorite food memoirs! Yes, my obsession with all things Paris lives on.

Green French Fries

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut and slice 3 zucchinis into sticks as shown. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs, a dash of cayenne, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place 1 cup flour in another medium bowl and 2 beaten eggs in a smaller bowl. Dip the zucchini sticks first in the flour until lightly coated, then in the eggs. Roll them in the bread-crumb mixture until well covered. Transfer the zucchini pieces to a baking sheet lined with foil and bake until they look crispy and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup. Yum!

French Tomato Tart

Ingredients:

Tart Filling

  • One unbaked tart dough (see recipe, below)
  • Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • two generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon
  • 8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds
  • Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorful honey

Tart Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
  • 4 1/2 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Directions

1. Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.

2. Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of ice water.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.

4. Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.

If making a freestyle tart, simply transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet (see headnote); no need to make indentations with your fingers.

5. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). 

6. Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough and let it sit a few minutes to dry out.

7. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.

8. Sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs, then drizzle with some honey, if using.

(If baking a free-form tart, gather the edges when you’re done, to envelope the filling.)

9. Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn’t brown as much as you’d like it, you might want to
pass it under the broiler until it’s just right.

 

 

Happy Second Birthday to Not My Mother’s Kitchen!

This week marks the second birthday of  “Not My Mother’s Kitchen.” I wish I had more to report on from my exciting kitchen but things have been very quiet here. The hot, lazy days of August have left me with little inspiration in the kitchen with the exception of ice cream, which is what summer is all about. So I decided that if I could celebrate this milestone in any way, I would transport myself to NYC for “The Salty Pimp.”

I was watching “Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network this week and Gail Simmons, one of the Top Chef judges, shared her favorite – “The Salty Pimp” – a salty and sweet ice cream creation from The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in NYC. It’s vanilla ice cream topped with dulce de leche, chocolate and sea salt. But the dulce de leche is poured into the bottom of the cone first, then fused throughout the ice cream, dipped in salt and then a hard chocolate coating with a spicy kick. Sign. Me. Up.

The truck has a bunch of unique offerings including the Affogayto Mexicano (vanilla soft serve topped with whipped cream and hot chocolate made of Scharffen Berger cocoa powder and cayenne pepper) and the Gobbler (vanilla soft serve topped with crushed graham crackers, pumpkin butter, and whipped cream). I die.

Unfortunately, it’s just too hot to go to NYC right now. I’ll probably have to settle for the Rita’s that is 20 feet from my apartment.

Happy end of summer. Thanks for reading. I promise to kick-start things on here come September!!

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