Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Confits de tomates

This amazing recipe came from David Lebovitz.

Buy some tomatoes, just about any variety will do. 2 pounds (1 kilo) is a nice amount.

Wash and dry them, then slice them in half. Pour enough decent-quality olive oil in a baking dish so that it just covers the bottom of the dish, somewhere between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup should do. Sprinkle in coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper, add a few branches of fresh thyme and/or a few sprigs of rosemary. Then line the bottom of the baking dish with the tomatoes, sliced-side down. Don't be bashful; it's okay to really pack them in.

Peel and slice 3 or 4 garlic cloves, slice them in half lengthwise and tuck them in the gaps between the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit more salt and a small sprinkling of sugar (less than 1 teaspoon... you're not making dessert) and add a few bay leaves.

Bake the tomatoes in a 350 degree (180 centigrade) oven until they are soft and cooked throughout, which should take at least 45 minutes.

Once they're soft, remove them from the oven and let stand until room temperature. You can scrape the tomatoes and juices and herbs into a container and refrigerate them for up to 4 to 5 days or use them right away. They will actually improve as they sit.

Use them to toss into pasta, slightly chopped, or warm them and spoon them whole onto hot garlic toasts, perhaps with a few filets of good anchovies, and shower them with lots of fresh herbs. They're also nice served alongside a summer salad with some goat cheese, all drizzled with a bit of the tasty olive oil and juices.

Jonathan's ice cream

No ice cream maker? No problem. This light recipe is perfect for summer.

In a large Tupperware bowl mix:

3 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup cream (15%)
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp sugar

Whisk to dissolve sugar.

Optional: Add chocolate chips, sliced berries, toffee chips....

Seal the bowl and shake well. Freeze, removing once each hour to shake well.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Kiwi banana tart

1 premade crust (pate feuilletee)

Make 10 or more small holes in crust with a fork then bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let crust cool.

Pastry Cream
1 1/4 cup milk (separated)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp flour
2-3 drops vanilla
3-4 Tbsp plain yogurt (optional)

Beat the egg yolk, then add in flour. Mix until smooth. Add 1/4 cup milk and mix well. In a saucepan over medium heat remaining 1 cup milk and sugar, stirring often, until just boiling. Very slowly pour the egg mixture into the milk and sugar, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in yogurt once cooled.

Spread a thick layer of the pastry cream onto crust.

Slice fruit thinly, then dip in orange juice to keep it from browning. Layer fruit slices on the pastry cream. Cover and chill before serving.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Homemade yogurt

Many of you have heard of or read the book "French Women Don't Get Fat." It's a best-seller by Mireille Guiliano, a French woman who fell victim to US-style gluttony but managed to shake it off using traditional French methods and mentality. Here's what I took away from it for me, my condensed version:

Eat more yogurt. I like a challenge. I love a challenge in the kitchen. So when Madame Guiliano suggested a recipe for homemade yogurt, I was on the bandwagon, riding shotgun.

What you'll need:
1-2 tablespoons plain yogurt (with active cultures)
1 quart 2 percent milk
glass or ceramic bowl with cover

Heat the milk in saucepan over medium heat until steam rises and small bubbles appear on edges. Remove from heat and cool to 120 degrees. Put the yogurt in the bowl. Add an equal amount of milk and mix well, blending thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup more milk and blend. Keep adding milk slowly, blending well after each addition.

Cover the milk mixture and put it in a warm place for eight hours. The temperature should be between 90 and 100 degrees the entire time. I put mine in the oven with the pilot light on. Refrigerate the yogurt for six to eight hours before serving.

Serving suggestions:
Add fresh fruit, honey, or granola.

Other uses:
Use as a substitute for sour cream, heavy cream, or strain overnight with a cheese cloth to make cream cheese substitute.