Archive for April, 2011

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Tartelettes

Posted by: · Apr 06 2011 · Comments (3)

While baking this dessert yesterday, my fire alarm sounded.  I frantically stumbled downstairs to my kitchen not to find an emergency, but a dirty oven smoking because I have neglected to clean it for some time.  My fear of fire is warranted.  Two years ago I received a call at work alerting me that our house was on fire.   Our fish, “The Man,” and his salt water tank had erupted into flames leaving the basement destroyed and smoke damage throughout the remainder of the house.   The Man was a nasty little fish who was named for his ability to kill any living thing we placed in his tank.  Throughout his 6 years with us he killed scores of other fish, bit my fingers on a number of occasions and somehow managed to work his way into our hearts.  The Man and his two inch stature were a force to be reckoned with and it seemed he decided if he was going to die, he was going to try to take us down with him.  Fortunately, our dogs escaped the fire unharmed, but our house was not so lucky.  We now have a fully rehabbed basement, new furniture and a strong argument to never have a fish tank again.  So while fire and fish tanks are not our friends, these tartelettes are most definitely a welcome addition to our home and palate.  Warm, creamy and delightful.

Makes 6 tartelettes

Ingredients:

Crust

- 1 ¾ cups flour

- 1/8 teaspoon salt

- 2 tablespoons sugar

- 1 egg

- 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

- 2 tablespoons water

Filling

- ½ cup goat cheese, at room temperature

- ¼ cup tiramisu mascarpone cheese- can be bought in the cheese section of most grocery stores

- 1 egg

- ¾ cups sugar

- ¼ cup cream

- 1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices

- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°.

Start with the dough.  In a standing mixer fixed with a dough hook combine the flour, salt and sugar.  Mix on low speed and add the egg, followed by the butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and the water.  Mix until an elastic dough forms.  Add additional water if necessary to get to the right consistency.  Remove the dough, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, clean the bowl of the standing mixer and replace the dough hook with a whisk attachment.  Mix together the goat cheese, mascarpone, egg, sugar and cream on high speed for 2 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the stand and gently fold in the lemon rind.  Set aside.

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface to 1/8” thickness.  Lay your 6” round tartelette pans on top of the dough and cut a circle around the pan that is ½” bigger around than the pan.  Transfer the dough cut- out to the tartelette pan.  Use your fingers to gently press the dough into the corners of the pan.  Now top each tartelette with ½ cups- ¾ cups of the filling.  Use a spatula to spread the filling evenly across each pan. Layer the sliced strawberries on top of the filling.  Start from the outer rim of the tartelette and work your way towards the center creating a flower-like design. Place the tartelettes on a cookie sheet and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350°.  Reduce the heat to 250° and continue to cook for 45 minutes or until the tartelettes are slightly firm and the visible crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Categories : Desserts
Comments (3)

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

Posted by: · Apr 03 2011 · Comments (0)

This soup is perfect for a weekend dinner or lunch.  Easy, flavorful and pretty.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

- 3 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

- 4 cups corn, canned or straight off the husk

- 2 tablespoons butter

- ½ cup chopped scallions

- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in half

- 4 cups chicken broth

- 1 cup Half and Half

- 1 teaspoon salt + extra for seasoning the chicken

- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper + extra for seasoning the chicken

- Sour cream

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 375°.  Place the chicken on a baking dish and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.  Once the chicken has cooled, use a fork to shred it into thin strips.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot filled half way with water to a boil.  Carefully lower the sweet potatoes into the water with a slotted spoon.  Continue to boil for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the corn and coat with the butter.  Sauté for 5 minutes then add the scallions, ginger, salt and pepper.  Continue to cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer all but ¾ cups of the corn mixture to a food processor.  Set the other ¾ cups aside for later use.  Also add to the food processor the cooked sweet potato.  Mix until fully incorporated and smooth.  Return the mixture to a stockpot medium-high heat.  Fold in the reserved corn as well as the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and stir in the half and half.  Fold in the chicken and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.  Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as you see fit.   Ladle into soup bowls, top with a spoonful a sour cream and enjoy.

Categories : Dinners, Lunches, Poultry, Soups
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