Loving the Windy City and Cantaloupe, Peach and Strawberry Smoothies

Chicago-head

The other weekend my best friend and I went to Chicago for the first time. We had heard so much about the architecture, the food and the lively music scene. Since Chicago is only a one and a half hour flight from Toronto, it is an easy place to visit for a long weekend.

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We took in the architecture by taking a boat cruise offered by the Architectural Society. I strongly suggest one of these cruises since the tour runs through the city along the river and features evidence of the historic transformation of Chicago from its rebirth after a major fire burned it to the ground in 1871. The city planners have done a wonderful job of protecting the river front by ensuring that all new buildings and renovations feature a river walk area that meets their standards.

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A visit to The Art Institute of Chicago was a great way to spend the afternoon taking in the contemporary art and photography exhibits.

Chicago Architecture 1

When not touring the river front area, we found great places to eat that could accommodate my friend’s gluten-free, vegan diet and still provide a great variety for my tastes. One place that I really loved was Eataly, a gourmet Italian food experience that was like Disneyland for food lovers. The large space is filled with a variety of delicacies from Italy from wines to pasta and wood fired pizzas. There are 9 mini restaurants nestled in between each department of this store. Since they were able to accommodate my friend’s diet, we had lunch there twice. I understand that there is also and Eataly in New York City and that they might be opening one in Toronto. I cannot wait.

Another thing that is well worth doing is taking in some of the local music scene. We went to a local club called Kingston Mines to hear blues bands one night. This low-key, earthy bar hosts 2 acts per night and rotates sets between two different rooms until 5 AM. It is really worth the short drive from downtown to see these talented blues artists.

Chicago-Bean

We also saw Motown the Musical as part of the Broadway in Chicago line up. The musical revue acts out the history of the Motown music scene from the beginning to the 25th anniversary. It was a great evening filled with the music made famous by groups like the Temptations, the Supremes and the Jackson 5.

We tried to see as much of Chicago as we could fit into a long weekend so like most tourists, we made sure that we visited the famous Bean in Millenium Park. It is difficult to really see a city in four days, but my first impression was that I would like to go back and see more of this lively place.

After a weekend of food and wine and fun I though I should get back to my healthy diet at home. A great way to help get back on track is to drink smoothies for breakfast or lunch. This smoothie recipe is really light and fresh while also being very healthy.

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Cantaloupe, Peach and Strawberry Smoothie

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, without stems
2 cups chopped peaches, peeled
1 cup coconut water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 tbsp. honey, to your taste

Directions:
Blend the cantaloupe into a juice.
Add the strawberries, peaches, coconut water and lime juice.
Blend again until smooth and frothy.
Add honey to sweeten to your desired level of sweetness.

Recipe modified from Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris

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Parsnip, Aged Cheddar and Chard Frittata

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“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
― John Lennon

I was looking at some material online and I came across this quote. It reminded me of this past few weeks and made me smile.

I have been having hard time, lately, and a few of my close friends and family have rallied around to help me through and make sure that I am okay. The great thing about friendship is that a good day with a close friend can have great healing powers.

I spent yesterday with a girlfriend helping her choose a dress for her son’s upcoming wedding. We wandered for hours from shop to shop looking for the exact style and colour. We found a wonderful gown for her to wear and then celebrated over a long lunch on a patio while watching the world go by.

My friend did not need me to help her find the perfect dress, but instead, she knew that having a project would stop me from feeling sorry for myself. I started my day with a mission of helping her. By focusing on someone else’s needs, I forgot my own troubles and had a fun day. It was about the friendship, not the shopping.

I know that keeping busy is good therapy. Whenever I am stressed, I throw myself into a project and the next thing I know is that I am content, again. Maybe it is that sense of accomplishment when you create something that you enjoy.

I also know that good friends are for a lifetime.

I cannot see all of my friends as often as I would like so I am hoping that each of them will make this recipe for their families and friends so we can all celebrate life together. I hope to hear the stories about how you chose to make it and how you enjoyed the flavours.

I am including all of my online friends in this invitation as well. The makes a wonderful brunch for a lazy Sunday either at home or at the cottage.

I hope you enjoy it!

Parsnip-Kale-Cheddar-Frittata

Parsnip, Aged Cheddar and Chard Frittata

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped ham
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 bunch of rainbow chard, drained well, leaves removed from stems and chopped
1 red pepper, finely diced
8 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) 18% cooking cream
2 tbsp. (30 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. (30 mL) fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup (175 mL) Canadian Aged Cheddar, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
In an oven-safe, non-stick pan over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil until softened.
Add the ham, garlic and parsnips, and cook until parsnips soften.
Add the chopped chard leaves and red pepper. Stir to evenly combine and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, cream, Dijon mustard and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Lower the heat, pour egg mixture over vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle Cheddar over the top and keep cooking on low heat until edges are just set.

Transfer to oven and cook until centre is set, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, invert onto serving platter and serve.

Cooks Note: You can omit the ham and make this a delicious vegetarian frittata.

Recipe adapted from http://www.dairygoodness.ca

Salami, Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Hash

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It is time to say good-bye to a dear friend, my wonderful bike Victoria. I bought her 2 years ago so I could get back into cycling after many years. She was a second-hand bike listed on Craigslist that was built from some very oddly matched components. Quite honestly, she is a Frankenbike!

Did I just say that?

The truth is, I have really enjoyed spending time with her riding the bike paths of our city. She has taught me that no matter how out of shape and tired you may feel, you can still get out and have fun. There is nothing like that feeling when you catch a breeze in your hair or when you coast down a hill feeling as though life is filled with laughter. It is a very childlike feeling. Victoria and I shared many days filled with fun and challenging rides, picnics and adventures.

So why am I saying so long to Victoria? I am ashamed to say that I have cheated on her by purchasing Victoria 2. I felt I had to move on. I needed more bells and whistles and speed. I was enticed by a newer model. Oh My!

Thankfully, my oldest daughter has offered to give Victoria a loving home. She is also hoping to get back into cycling and was looking for a nice bike. Now when she and I go for brunch in the neighbourhood we can ride our bikes and meet up at a local bistro.

If there is one meal that I love, it is Brunch! Our neighbourhood hosts a number of quaint bistros and cafes that specialize in all day breakfast or wonderful weekend brunch. Some of these cafes are so popular, they are lined up all day on Sunday.

Often, I will make something delicious for brunch at home. I recently saw Giada De Laurentis make this Sausage, Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Hash on TV and decided it looked good enough to try. It turns out to be a hearty recipe that works well for a group of 3-4.

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Salami, Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Hash

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

8 oz. bacon (5 to 6 slices), cut into ½-inch pieces
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
3 cups baby spinach leaves
5 oz. dry salami, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
zest of ½ medium orange
4 large eggs, at room temperature

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Directions

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan juices. Cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the oil, onion, bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, salami, nutmeg, orange zest, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the bacon and potatoes.

Make 4 indentations in the hash and break an egg into each. Cook until the eggs are cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.

Recipe from Giada De Laurentis

Oat Muffins With Cranberries and Pears

Oatmeal-Muffins-v2

I have a confession to make.

I am hooked on Downton Abbey. There is something about the intrigue that happens upstairs among the aristocratic family members, as well as downstairs among the servants. Last week a set my PVR to tape the show and it shut down half way through the episode. I tried searching the guide to see if I could get another chance to see it on time shifting, without any luck.

I am always entertained by period films like Downton because they take us back to a time in history when life was simple and predictable. Not that I would be comfortable living in an era where there was such a class distinction. I also would hate to be treated as a second class citizen because I am a woman.

So what is it that we find so interesting about these films?

I think for me, it is the beautiful estates, the wonderful costumes and the great acting. The series does a wonderful job of representing what life might have been like as we entered the 20th century. The characters are well-developed over the series to the point that you choose your favourites and watch faithfully to see what will happen to them next.

Perhaps I would not want to have lived at that time, but it is fun to imagine how others did.

These rich dark oat muffins are reminiscent of something that might have been enjoyed with a cup of tea and some homemade jam at Downton Abbey.

Oat Muffins With Cranberries and Pears

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups (330 ml) rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
1 ¼ cups (310 ml) Plain yogurt (not low-fat or fat-free)
½ cup (125 ml) fancy molasses
½ cup (125 ml) packed light brown sugar
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
½ cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 ml) whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp. (7.5 ml) baking powder
½ tsp. (2 ml) baking soda
½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg
2/3 cup (160 ml) peeled and diced pears
1/3 cup (80 ml) dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚ F (190˚ C) and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Stir the oats and yogurt together in a large bowl. Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, melted butter, and egg.
In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the flour mixture into the oat mixture until blended, then stir in the pears and cranberries and sprinkle with a few oats. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when gently pressed. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing to cool completely. The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe from Back to Baking by Anna Olsen

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Sausage and Broccolini Frittata

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What is it about the cooler weather that makes us crave comfort food? I have worked so hard to get in shape for the past 2 years but this last month I have been craving all of the foods that are bad for me. I find myself dreaming of pumpkin pie smothered in whipped cream and heavy foods like burgers and fries. I am trying very hard to ignore my cravings and get back on track.

This weekend I plan to go ice skating in order to train for skating the Rideau Canal again this year. Being outdoors and having fun makes the long, cold winter much easier to live with.

When I am not out exercising I try to take some time to relax on weekends. Usually, I am cooking, reading, photographing, writing and spending time with my close friends and family.

I also love having Sunday Brunch. I love getting up out of bed a little later than usual and going out for eggs and lattes. I also love making brunch at home. It is a great way of entertaining friends without too much fuss.

Frittatas are always a hit at brunch and they are relatively easy to make. This one is light and fluffy yet still packed with the rich flavour of the sausage and cheese.

Sausage and Broccolini Frittata

Ingredients:

12 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup grated cheddar, divided
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ medium onion, chopped
½ lbs. fresh Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 bunch broccolini, coarsely chopped

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Directions:

Preheat broiler. Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Mix in ½ cup cheddar; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Add onion and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and sausage is brown, 6–8 minutes. Add broccolini; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8–10 minutes longer.

Reduce heat to low and pour reserved egg mixture over vegetables. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until edges are just set, 10–12 minutes. Top frittata with remaining ¼ cup cheddar; broil until top is golden brown and center is set, about 4 minutes longer.

Cut frittata into wedges and serve warm or room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine-October 2013

Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Muffins

Dorie-V1I had a great experience at IFBC2013 yesterday. I met my favourite cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan.

Dorie gave the keynote speaker address and for 45 minutes she had the entire room charmed. Her message was one of collaboration and building community.

Dorie spoke of her 11 cookbooks and her experiences working with other great chefs like Julia Child and Paul Hermes.

She spoke of her long career trying to make her life as a secretary, a teacher, a grant writer, a wife, a mother, a writer and a TV producer. The road to her wonderful life in Paris was filled with hard work and sometimes, very little pay. She was tenacious in building her dream and she always said yes to projects.

Her words inspired us, her honesty touched us and her charm was infectious.

Dorie left us with a few words of wisdom: “Say yes and follow your dream”.

I made these muffins from Dorie’s book Baking From My Home to Yours before coming to the conference.  As always, her recipes are accurate and the results are delicious.

Pumpkin-Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 12 medium sized muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground allspice
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
¾ cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup moist, plump golden raisins
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds for topping

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Butter or spry 12 molds in  regular-sized muffin pan or fit molds with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both of the sugars and continue to beat until light a smooth.

One by one, add the eggs beating for one minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. Continuing at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. Turn off the mixer and stir in the raisins and nuts using a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with a few sunflowers seeds.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a thin knife into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan and cool muffins for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the molds and finish cooling on a rack.

Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature.

Cooks Note: If you want to kick these muffins up a notch, cut a small hole through the centre of the muffins from the top down and insert a squirt of cream cheese frosting using a pastry bag.

Recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

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Cinnamon Apple Stuffed French Toast

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What a beautiful Sunday! The sun is shining, there is  cool breeze wafting through the window and I am very excited! Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

I am going to Vancouver Island this week. My mind is filled with dreams of the fun that we are going to have. We plan to do some sea kayaking and go hiking and exploring wonderful places on the island.

One thing I love about traveling is the planning part of the trip. I spend time trying to find the perfect place to stay, the best airfare, and the most interesting things to see. Half the fun of traveling is the planning.

Today I will choose the clothes that I want to take and decide what types of photos I want to shoot while I am there. Then I will choose the camera lenses to take for those types of shots. My problem is trying to get everything I need into my bags while staying within the airline’s weight allowances.

With all of the planning one never knows for sure that it will all work out. I only hope that everyone has a good time. Once the trip is planned and we are on our way the best thing to do is relax. There may be delays and unexpected mix ups, but we will be on vacation and having fun.

I will post a blog about my trip when I get back, so stay tuned.

Another thing I love to do on Sundays is to linger over a delicious brunch, relaxing with friends, and enjoying great conversation. One of my favorite brunch recipes is this Cinnamon Apple Stuffed French Toast. It works best if you slice french bread, thickly so you can make a slit for the stuffing.

This recipe would be great for a cottage or a camping breakfast.

Cinnamon Apple Stuffed French Toast

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
Cinnamon Apple Filling (see below)
4 slices diagonally cut French bread (about 1 inch thick)
½ cup fat free milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tbsp. powdered sugar

Directions:
Prepare Cinnamon Apple Filling.
Cut a horizontal slit through the side of each bread slice to form a pocket. Stuff 3 tbsp. apple filling into each pocket.
Place milk, vanilla, and egg in a shallow dish; stir with a whisk until blended. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Dip each side of stuffed bread in egg mixture to coat. Add stuffed bread to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Top evenly with remaining filling.

Cinnamon Apple Filling:

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups chopped unpeeled Gala apple
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:
Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients; sauté 3 minutes or until apples are golden.

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Recipe from Cooking Light 300 calorie main dishes

A Little Taste of Paris and Warm Apple Quinoa Crepes

Elora Mill

Elora reflections

A few weeks ago we were in an area north of Toronto for a family wedding. On the way home that Sunday we decided that since we were already in the area, why not go exploring some of the places that we never get to see. One place that came to mind was Elora, Ontario.

Elora is a historic village  1 1/2 hours north-west of Toronto that is nestled along the Grand River. It is well-known for the Elora Gorge Park and Quarrie, The Elora Festival and The Elora Mill Country Inn and Restaurant.  The village has become home to numerous artisans and performers and is a favourite spot for a weekend getaway.

The Elora Mill, at the head of the Elora Gorge, was constructed in 1833. It is considered one of Ontario’s finest historic mills and was made famous in the 1930s by a painting by Canadian Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson. When the mill ceased operating in 1974 it was turned into a lovely country inn and fine dining establishment.

Our original intent was to have lunch at the Inn while looking out over the river, but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. Still hungry, we started to wander along the shops that back onto the Grand River on Mills St. and came upon a quaint little spot called Cafe Creperie.

After choosing a cozy window seat we were greeted by a charming French gentleman who inquired as to whether we had tried their crepes before. We said that we had not and he just smiled and told us we were in for treat. As we waited I glanced around the room at the warm, rustic decor and small intimate tables. There was a collection of photographic portraits on the walls that showcased Elora’s talented artistic community.

The menu offered a variety of sweet and savoury crepes with wonderful fillings like goat cheese, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, etc. I ended up choosing the Provencal and my friend ordered the Tuscan crepe. Minutes later we were served the most delightful lunch. Let me start by saying I am a crepe lover from way back and I have tasted crepes in Canada and France many times. The crepes that we had this day were the best I have ever had!

The batter was exactly the right consistency and each crepe was topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper. It was light and flavourful and so very French. It was a little taste of Paris in Elora, Ontario.

As it turns out; our charming server was actually the chef, Jacques Dion. His warm demeanor, delightful smile and culinary prowess are a treasure to find in this little village. The restaurant often hosts artists works and musical events and contributes regularly to other village events. It is worth the drive next time you are in the area.

Crepe chef Elora

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Although I was not able to get the recipe from Jacques for his wonderful crepes, I was able to find this one from one of my favourite cookbooks. These Quinoa Crepes with Warm Apples are a healthy option served with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and are vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Warm Apple Quinoa Crepes

Apple Topping

Makes 6 crepes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. (30 ml) non hydrogenated margarine

4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar, packed

½ tsp. (2 ml) ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg

1 ½ cups (125 ml) low-fat vanilla yogurt

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Prepare Quinoa Crepes (see recipe below).

Add the margarine to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they are translucent.

Add the brown sugar, stirring to coat the fruit, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble.

Add the spices and continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the apple slices are tender but not mushy. (Recipe can be made in advance to this point. Cool, refrigerate and then reheat before serving.)

To serve, fold the crepes in quarters and place on a plate. Add a few tablespoons of the apple mixture and a dollop of yogurt on each. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add a sprig of mint to each plate.

Serve.

Basic Quinoa Crepes

Makes 6 crepes

Ingredients:

¾ cup (185 ml) quinoa flour

3 large eggs

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil

1 cup (250 ml) organic vanilla soy beverage

Directions:

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the flour, eggs, oil and soy beverage for 10-15 seconds, until smooth and lump free. Refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Lightly grease a small 7-8 inch crepe pan with canola oil. Spoon 3 tbsp. of the batter into the pan and rotate the pan around so that there is an even coating on the bottom of the pan.

Turn the crepe after 30 seconds. Crepe will be lightly browned and will be flexible for folding.

Place cooled crepes on a plate lined with parchment pepper to cool. They can either be used in crepe recipes or frozen for later use. Freeze in small amounts, placing a small piece of parchment paper between the crepes and wrapping them in clear plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Recipe from The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook edited by Marilyn Smith, PHEc from the Ontario Home Economics Association.

 

 

Let Them Eat Quiche-Gerard’s Mustard Tart

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I am continuing with my Culinary Arts classes at George Brown College.  Since the beginning of the program we have mastered sauces, stocks, roasting, poaching, and even a little baking.  What at first appeared overwhelming during the first few weeks, has now become routine.

The Chef takes the time each week to demonstrate the correct way to prepare the evening’s menu. He shows us everything from the correct way to chop, julienne, sauté, roast and poach to how to bake.  After we watch him demonstrate he lets us taste the results so we have a baseline on the texture and the flavours. Once we have tasted the meal we return to our workstations to try to replicate the dish ourselves. This comes with success most of the time.

So far my dishes have turned out to be a reasonable imitation of what the chef created with the exception of a crabmeat quiche. The recipe provided for the crust was not at all like the pastry crusts any of us had made at home.  In fact it was so different none of my group had success in getting a tender crust for our quiche. My pastry crust was as hard as a rock and as flavourless as paper. I took one taste and quickly sent it to the garbage bin.

When I think if quiche I think of times that I have spent in France. Some of my favourite memories are of meals where French cooks and chefs have taken simple flavours and fresh ingredients and combined them to create memorable dishes. Somehow my attempt at quiche was memorable, but for the wrong reason.

In order to master this part of the course and learn to make quiche like a French cook I decided to try a different recipe. I found these from one of my favourite authors, Dorie Greenspan who writes recipes that are complete and consistent.  I knew if I followed the pastry crust recipe carefully it would turn out as it should.

Gerard’s Mustard Tart is a carrot and leek quiche with Dijon mustard added for a punch of French flavour. I found the recipe for the pastry crust by Dorie on Epicurious.com and the tart recipe in her cookbook called Around My French Table which is a must have book for anyone who enjoys cooking French cuisine.

This quiche would be a nice entre for a spring brunch or lunch.

Carrot-and-leek-quiche

Gerard’s Mustard Tart

Ingredients:
3 carrots, trimmed and peeled
3 thin leeks, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise in half and washed
2 rosemary sprigs
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons crème fraîche or 6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart shell-(Recipe for pastry crust below)

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Cut the carrots and leeks into slender batons or sticks: First cut the carrots lengthwise in half, then place the halves cut side down on the cutting board and cut crosswise in half or cut into chunks about 3 inches long. Cut the pieces into 1/8- to ¼-inch-thick matchsticks. If your carrots were fat and you think your matchsticks don’t look svelte enough, cut them lengthwise in half. Cut the leeks in the same way.
Fit a steamer basket into a saucepan. Pour in enough water to come almost up to the steamer, cover, and bring to a boil. Drop the carrots, leeks, and 1 rosemary sprig into the basket, cover, and steam until the vegetables are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the vegetables and pat them dry; discard the rosemary sprig.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the crème fraîche or heavy cream. Add the mustard, season with salt and white pepper — mustard has a tendency to be salty, so proceed accordingly, and whisk to blend. Taste and see if you want to add a little more of one or the other mustards.
Put the tart pan on the lined baking sheet and pour the filling into the crust. Arrange the vegetables over the filling — they can go in any which way, but they’re attractive arranged in spokes coming out from the center of the tart. Top with the remaining rosemary sprig and give the vegetables a sprinkling of salt and a couple of turns of the peppermill.
Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, or until it is uniformly puffed and lightly browned here and there and a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan.
Recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Quiche-Pastry Crust

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1 tsp. cold water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Directions:
Blend flour, salt, and sugar in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms. Whisk 1 egg and 1 teaspoon cold water in small bowl; add to flour mixture. Using on/off turns, process just until moist clumps form. Transfer to work surface and knead gently until dough comes together, about 4 turns. Form into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.
Do ahead: Dough can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Butter 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to pan, pressing onto bottom and up sides of pan; trim any excess dough. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter large square of foil and press, butter side down, onto crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Using fork, pierce bottom of crust all over (about 10 times). Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Brush lightly with egg white. Cool.
Do ahead: Crust can be baked 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Quiche Crust Recipe by Dorie Greenspan from Epicurious.com