Friday, July 27, 2012

The Oregon Coast

No recipe this week as I am taking a little vacation from my kitchen. Instead, I will share a photo from the Oregon Coast-Cannon Beach's famous Haystack Rock.  One of my favorite destinations ever and always!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tea Time Tarts

I posted about English tarts once in the very early days of this blog and at that time I only did a few jam tarts.  I can't imagine what took me so long to post about some more wonderful tarts using my grandmother's recipes.  One is for Maids of Honor and the other is for Coconut Cheesecakes.  Not sure why they're called cheesecakes as there is not a speck of cheese in them.  As I mentioned in my first blog on the subject of tarts, my grandma always had a tin of tarts when we came to visit and the Maids of Honor (or Honour in England) were my favorite.  It tickles me to no end to be able to make these using her recipes and have them turn out so well.  I thought of her fondly as I set some out on my Old English Rose china serving plate to serve to my friends. 

Making all of these tarts in one cooking event may seem daunting, but if you do a little organizing, it doesn't take long at all.  I put the dough together the day before and stuck it in the refrigerator.  The next day I just had to roll and cut it out for the tart tins.  Putting together the two batters is very quick and then it's just a matter of putting together the tarts and baking them.  With the leftover dough, I always make some plain jam tarts. Not only are they tasty, but they perk up the serving plate with some color.  It took me a total of 1 1/2 hours to make 3 dozen tarts. Not a huge time commitment. These freeze very well, by the way.

English Tea Tarts


3 Tbsp cold butter, cut in small cubes
2 Tbsp cold Crisco, cut in small cubes
1 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2-4 Tbsp ice water
In a food processor or with a pastry cutter, cut the butter and Crisco in with the flour and salt until pea size clumps appear.  Add water, 1 Tbsp at at time until mixture forms a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  Makes 16 tarts.

Coconut Cheesecakes
(makes 12 tarts)

3 Tbsp softened butter
2/3 cup fine coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp rice flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream butter, sugar and egg together.  Add rest of the ingrediants and mix. Line the tart tins with pastry.   Put a dab of any flavor jam or lemon curd on the bottom of the pastry. Add the filling over the jam.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let sit in tart tin for 5 min. then remove onto cooling rack.
Maids of Honor
(makes 12 tarts)

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1 egg
2 tsp. ground almonds
1/8 tsp almond extract of vanilla extract

Cream butter, sugar and egg.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Line the tart tins with pastry. Put a dab of any flavor jam (cherry is very good) on the bottom of the pastry. Add the filling over the jam.  bake at 400 degress for 20 min. or until golden brown.  Let sit in tart tin for 5 min. then remove onto cooling rack.  Mix together powder sugar, a few drops of water and a few drops of vanilla to make a thick glaze.  When tarts are cool, put a small spoonful of glaze on tops of tarts and let set.
Jam Tarts

Fill empty tart pastry with any flavor jam. Do not overfill or you will have a mess to clean up!  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let set in tin for 5 min. then remove and let cool completely.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Salad Caprese, Part Four

Each year since I started my blog, I've put together some combination of my favorite summer salad, Caprese.  This year it makes its appearance as a very easy to put together appetizer I recently took to a barbeque.  I found some wonderful long toothpicks at an Asian store and simply alternated yellow and red cherry tomatoes along with a half small ball of mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf.  I combined 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup of good olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste and drizzled if over the plate of appetizers.  It turned out to be a beautiful plate of summer!  I've also included some lovely sights from my brother and sister-in-law's wonderful yard where the barbeque was held.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pad See Ew

That's right, you heard me. Pad See Ew.  My favorite Thai dish.  I must admit I haven't explored Thai cuisine too much, but whenever I go to a Thai restaurant, this is what I order.  The only problem with ordering it is pronouncing it.  If I'm lucky the dishes are numbered on the menu and I can just confidently announce "I would like #17 please, with chicken."  If not, I have to try and say it without mumbling.  I could just point to it on the menu, couldn't I?

I Googled quite a few recipes for Pad See Ew and tweeked a couple of them to come up with my own version.  Most recipes cook everything together, starting with the chicken and ending with the noodles, and always in a wok.  Since I don't own a wok, I used my trusty cast iron frying pan and took each element out as it was finished cooking and then combined everything at the end.  It made for a far less messy stove and the end result was absolutely delicious.  What a treat to know that I can make this at home and I don't even have to try and pronounce it!

Pad See Ew

Yields 2 servings
8 ounces fresh wide, flat rice noodles (sen yai)
1/2 cup chicken, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 cups Chinese broccoli, chopped coarsely (with stems sliced very thinly on diagonal)
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons sweet dark soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Prepare your sauce by mixing the sweet dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, thin soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar together. Set aside.

Prepare your rice noodles by blanching them in simmering water for a few seconds. Use your fingers to separate each noodle if they are stuck together.
Add a bit of oil to your pan and heat it to high heat. Add the garlic and saute until it's almost golden brown. Then add the chicken and a tablespoon of the sauce and saute until it's cooked through. Add the broccoli and saute until al dente.  Take everything out of the pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil and once it's hot, scramble an egg and then remove immediately.
Add the blanched rice noodles and sauce you prepared earlier. Let saute in the pan until the sauce reduces.  Add the rest of the ingredients back in the pan and mix. Once done, take off the heat and serve immediately!