Sunday, October 23, 2011


There is a class of desserts made in French homes that does not seem to exist here in the United States. It's a pie or cake made of unhealthy things, but topped and flavored with fruit, delicately nested in with the unhealthy parts. The purpose of the fruit is not to make one feel like this dessert is somehow healthier, no no no. The fruit is there to make it more sweet and delicious. Because really, fruit that has been baked doesn't really have any nutritional value anymore. It has just become jam.
Berry Coulis
This isn't true of fruit pies of course. Don't try to use logic on baking rationalizations, it just doesn't work, OK? Because if you make a fruit pie, it's practically healthy. If you make a pie that happens to have fruit on/in it, like instead of mounds of whipped topping or meringue, it's adding deliciousness (much like whipped topping or meringue) without adding heft or fat, just a very light touch of sweetness. My aunt Nadia makes this chocolate pear tart which is absolutely delicious, but I don't have the recipe. What I did manage to put together is this apricot almond tart. Yum.
sliced almond apricot tart
I used a pre-made pie-crust for this, but I bet a graham cracker or cookie crust would work well too. Parbake the crust while you make the filling and cut up the fruit.

pie crust
7-8 apricots
1 scant cup ground almonds (100g)
1 stick of butter (100g)
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cream
2 eggs
1 Tbsp dark rum
pinch salt
Room temp butter
Mix it!
Pour in almond dough
slice apricots
Place apricots skin side up

I used a hand mixer, but I bet a stand mixer would work really well here.
Preheat oven to 450F.
1. Cream the butter and sugar.
2. Add almonds and combine.
3. Add eggs one at a time and combine.
4. Add cream, then flour, then salt and rum. Combine until homogeneous.
5. Pour batter into pie shell.
6. Halve apricots and nestle them into the pie. Get as many as you can in there.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until dough no longer jiggles.
You don't need to cool this pie very long before cutting into it. Just wait until it won't burn you anymore.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fried zuke

My mom was not a big baker, but she did like making zucchini bread. Unfortunately for her, I did not like zucchini as a kid. I'll tell you, I was not a picky eater at all. I ate everything, including artichokes, and fish, and most everything else. But zucchini, and black olives, I would not eat. And for a couple of years in the mid nineties I completely refused to eat pizza. I digress... zucchini.
I have since grown to like zucchini, although not in all applications. I'm still not big on the zucchini bread, but I do like zucchini fritters.
fried zuke
They're pretty easy to make. I imagine these could go very well with hummus or in a pita or sandwich of some kind. I just eat them with flavored mayo. I don't typically measure my ingredients, so this is roughly how I made these, but feel free to add, reduce, or entirely remove the parts you don't like.

1. Crack and egg in a bowl.
2. Shred 4 to 5 zucchini into bowl.
Grated zucchini
3. Add some bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and any flavorings you may want to add.
The ingredients
4. Form into patties. I used a number 10 scooper - it's the same one I use for making muffins.
scoop 'o zuke
5. Coat in breadcrumbs. I found that without this step, the patties just don't brown up as nicely as I'd like.
rolled in bread crumbs
6. Fry in a pan with some olive oil, or whatever you like to use. When I say "fry" I mean pan fry. Lie, just use enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Frying in cast iron
7. Enjoy! Make some fresh mayo in just a few minutes, maybe with some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Yum.
green dinner

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pink Sweater

I've made a bunch of socks, so far, including a baby pair! Now, I'm moving on to a full blown sweater. OK, it's not a full blown sweater, it's a sweater vest cardigan. So, no sleeves and one button. I'm making it for my grandma and I started making it in a large size. Now that I've knit the back, though, it's looking a bit small. This may end up being for my cousin or my mom or something... we'll see.
left side start
Also, I've been making muffins nearly every week. It makes for a very convenient breakfast. Here are my corn-pine nut muffins with currants.
muffins out of oven

These remind me of the multi grain pancakes because I used three grains.
three grains

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup AP flour
1 cup stone ground cornmeal
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt

2 large eggs
3/4 cups sugar
1 stick butter, melted and cooled (or consider using half canola oil instead to keep muffins moist)
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup dried currants

Making muffins is so easy. Combine dry ingredients, then combine wet ingredients. Then add the mix-ins and wet ingredients to the dry, and gently fold until combined. Scoop dough into greased muffin pan (I use an ice cream scooper) and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.

hot split muffin