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Megans Cookin: June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Old Glory Tart

We're going away for vacation on the Oregon coast and our first night out will fall on the 4th of July. We'll make it just over the Ca./Ore. border with our first stop being at the Rogue River State Park. Our celebration will be with a few good friends and of course, a BBQ. I'm making Portuguese Burgers, Kimmy is bringing the macaroni salad, and CeeCee is bringing chips and dips. I thought it would be fun to end the evening with this easy patriotic tart!

I made a practice version this last weekend for two reasons.

1. I wanted to practice and made a smaller version,

2. I wanted to share it with you before the 4th!

Its just a simple crust of store bought puff pastry, with a layer of whipped Creme Fraiche flavored with orange zest and Grand Marnier. Red raspberries make the red stripes while piped creme fraiche make the white stripes. Blue berries and piped stars complete Old Glory. I found my creme fraiche at Trader Joe's but if you can't find it, you can sub heavy cream.

Old Glory Tart
By Nancy Kenmore

1 LB frozen puff pastry, defrosted in refer.
1 egg yolk, mixed with 2 tsp water
1 1/2 LB (3 8 oz tubs) creme fraiche
grated rind of 1 large orange
4 TBSP confectioners sugar
4 TBSP Orange liqueur
1 cup blueberries
1 pint red raspberries
2/3 cup raspberry jam

1. Roll out puff pastry into a 16X12 inches. Cut a rectangle out of the middle of the pastry leaving 1/2 inch stripes all around. Place pastry on foil lined baking sheet.Use the strips to make a vertical lip all around the rectangle. Use ice water to help it adhere. Trim away excess pastry.Chill the pastry shell for about 1/2 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and brush the outside lip with the egg yolk mixture. Line the bottom of the shell with foil weighted with dry beans, keeping the foil away from the lip. Bake the pastry until the edges begin to brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking untill the shell is golden brown, about 7 more minutes.
3. In a small bowl, beat creme fraiche and orange zest till soft peaks form. (creme fraiche will whip more quickly then heavy cream) Add confectioners sugar and 2 TBSP
of the orange liqueur and continue beating till stiff peaks form.
4. Transferee 1/2 the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Spread the remaining mixture on the bottom of the cooled tart shell.
5. Arrange the largest unblemished blueberries in a checkerboard pattern in the upper left hand corner of tart. (See picture for reference) Select the largest unblemished raspberries and place in alternating rows about 1/2 inch apart to stimulate the red stripes. Using the creme fraiche mixture in the pastry bag, pipe in the white stars and white stripes.
6. Melt the jam with the remaining 2 TBSP liqueur. Using a small pastry brush or clean painters brush, glaze the tops of the berries.
7. Play a John Philips Sousa march to celebrate your accomplishment!

In my trial dessert, I ran out of the cream fresh mixture and finished off with whip cream in a can. I don't recommend you do as I did. The cream in a can does not have any stabilizers and it doesn't hold up. (I just used what I had in the fridge)


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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seedless Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Sauce

I went to Costco a couple of weeks ago and saw these lovely berries. I threw a crate into my shopping cart dreaming of the breakfasts I would have in the coming week. When I got home, to my surprise and stupidity, there were 6 baskets of fruit instead of the 3 I was thinking of. But that turned out to be a good thing because I had just came across a recipe from Charlotte at Canning Jars Etc

Chocolate Raspberry Sauce!

I've used it on ice cream,

In my Daring Baker Frangipane Tart challenge,

As a plating decoration for my Molten Chocolate cakes
(I know know, sloppy plating. I was hurting by this time)

and I've used it at as a gift, or actually... a give away prize.

I only got 5 jars instead of the usual 8 jars because I strained my mixture. I decided at the last minute I didn't like it with seeds. This produces a wonderful fruity sauce with a hint of chocolate. Perfect for many things. But the truth be told, I want to make another batch for gifts. I love making homemade goodies to give at the Christmas season. Much more personal and let's face it, cheaper and funner!

Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 cups crushed raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
7 cups sugar

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Bring to boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary. Strain seeds. Fill hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process 10 minutes in a water bath.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Baker Challenge: Frangipane Tarts!

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England. This tart is a rich shortcrust pastry which holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.

I was excited when I saw we were making this tart. I've been wanting to try frangipane for more then a year, so this was right up my alley. Usually I'm more inclined to under bake things but in this case, my tops were a little brown. But they were still tasty!

The ingredients for this recipe were in ounces so it gave me the kick I finally needed to go out buy a new scale. It made it much easier to measure out my ingredients as compared to my old ancient Weight Watcher model.

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

We were also to make our own jam for the tarts. I made a Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Sauce.

This sauce was so good it needs it's own 15 seconds of fame. I'll post the recipe next! Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Killer Artichoke Bread

I remember a recipe we use to make for french bread that mixed different cheeses, and mayo, and butter all together and slathered atop bread. Broiled to perfection, we called it Killer Bread. That's what this recipe remindes me of, but with the addition of Artichoke hearts. So when I saw this bread at Smokey Mountain Cafe, I knew I would be making it.

Still recovering from surgery, I didn't have the energy or gumption to make much of anything for Father's Day. Forget the darling golf cake I had originally planned for today, There was No Way!!! We just stuck to easy good food. Like a couple racks of Baby Back Ribs, a can of beans (gasp), and killer bread! Doesn't get much easier then that, or tastier

I've had this recipe in the "to make" pile for a few months and I'm sending this Killer bread over to Ruth at Bookmarked recipes. Check out her round up every Monday.

Killer Artichoke Bread

¼ cup butter
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 French bread loaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichoke hearts, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir to blend. Remove from the heat and cool.

Slice the bread lengthwise. Spoon the artichoke mixture evenly onto the bread. Broil till cheese has melted an bread is hot. Slice and enjoy!
The only difference I woul make next time is to sprinkle a little chopped parsley over the top to add that bit of freshness. Otherwise, this recipe perfect!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2 Winners! Caramelized Onion Pie and...

Fist of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their love, prayers, and good vibrations. We were hoping my operation would be an in and out procedure with no nights spent in the hospital. That was not the way it ended up. I spent 4 WHOLE days and 3 LONG nights for a triple hernia repair. Want to talk about the gory details???
About the ALL the scar tissue in my abdomen and the cyst they found on an ovary??? I even have pictures to share! Yea! Of the scar tissue and the cyst. Now that's getting your moneys worth when you leave with the surgeons photography.
O.K. Not all of you want to hear about it.
I understand! It is a food blog. Not a "How I survived a Triple hernia" Blog.
For the rest of you, I'll meet you on tweeter! Hehe!

So I'm back, but I'm in no shape to be up and cookin. I'm still extremely sore and a shower is enough to send me back to my recovery chair. Thank God for The Food Network! But I do have a few tasty pleasures waiting in the wings to share with you. Like this Caramelized Onion Pie

I first made this onion pie last year after seeing it on Deborah's Blog Taste and Tell. It was delicious then and it's delicious now! I saw a slightly different version on Rita's Blog Pink Bites, and it sent me straight to the frying pan. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00!

The recipes are very similar, using different cheeses, so I kind of went with both. You can do that you know. And I did! With Gruyere cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Yum. I have to thank both Deborah and Rita for the inspiration to make this pie again. It was caramelizedonionpielicious if I may say so myself. :)
Try it, You'll like it.

And now the moment we've all been waiting for.

The winner for the modest little prize package goes to....

Reeni! from Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice.

I hope you enjoy it. Send me your name and address and I'll get it in the mail as soon as my abdomen will let me get up and out of the house!

And for the rest of you? A winning pie recipe. Just cause I'm giving like that. ;)

Caramelized Onion Pie
inspired by Deborah and Rita

1 flaky pie dough, store-bought or homemade
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, chopped
2 large onion, thinly sliced
3 eggs

1 cup of milk ( I use 1%)
1 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese (or more, I wont tell!)
2 pinches of nutmeg
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll the dough until you have a circle 10-11 inches in diameter. Lay dough into a 9 inch pie pan. Be careful not to stretch the dough, or it will shrink back in the oven. Trim edges around the pie plate leaving a 1/2 inch border. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.

Cover pie plate with foil paper and top it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, removing the foil paper and beans on the last 10 minutes. Set aside until it cools.

While dough bakes, melt butter over medium-low heat, add the onions and thyme and cook slowly until onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/2 cup of the cheese on the bottom of the quiche, add the onions on top and cover with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Pour the egg mixture and bring quiche to the oven. Bake it until golden brown and puffed, about 40 minutes.


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Smothered Pork Chops

Did you enter my giveaway?

Did you vote for me?
I'm like a thousand votes behind and I need your vote!

OK. Good!
In other news, today is my surgery day and the hospital just called. My surgeon had an emergency surgery and that bumped mine back an hour. It's not till 2:15.
And I can't eat anything.

So I figure I'll give you my last pork dinner.
It's a keeper! And a great way to use up buttermilk.

I grew up in a pretty much pork free home. Oh sure, we had some bacon and sausage, but there were no tender chops or succulent tenderloins ever cooked in my mom's house. We ate beef.

My dad grew up eating mutton (which is old sheep, not pork)
and that ruined him for life. No sheep, No pork! No chops of any kind!
I didn't know what a pork chop tasted like till I was about 12 years old.

We had taken a trip to S. Dakota and I was at my uncles. I don't remember why I was there, or where my parents were, but I remember he was frying up some pork chops and
my love affair began.

The Hubby cringes when I pull out the pork chops.
I don't care, I love pork. So I got him real good with these chops!

He liked them!!!

And I'm making them again, real soon.


Smothered Pork Chops
By Tyler Florence

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in (I used boneless, but next time will use bone in)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Rated: 5 stars out of 5

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A Contest and A Giveaway!

Do you remember these?

These were my Sausage, Caramelized onion and Apple Wontons. They were so good and I still have some in the freezer for a special occasion. It's killing me not to break them out and dig in.

Marx Foods is having their sausage contest I told you about. The one I made the wontons for. The contest is now live and voting has begun. The poll will close on June 12th at 12:00 PM PST!

This is where I shamelessly ask you to vote for me.


How about if I entice you with a giveaway?

Do you need a cute Domestic Diva apron?

I have one that I want you to have.

And with it, I'll throw in these recipe cards and
a jar of my fresh made Chocolate Raspberry Sauce.
Just made it Monday! It's delicious.

You'll be eating this stuff out of the jar. It's that good!

So here is how were gonna play this game. I'm going in the hospital for surgery on Wednesday. I'm not too proud to ask for prayers, good vibes, best wishes, or whatever it is you believe in. So...send me some love.

Just leave me a comment on this post.

Want more chances?

Vote for me!
I'll give you 2 more entries!
But you must vote before June 12h at midnight.
The poll will close on June 12th at 12:00 PM PST!

Is that shameless?

I don't care, I hate coming in last place.
Plus I sure would like to win that sausage sample pack!

Tweet, or blog about this giveaway.
Do both, each one gives you an entry.
Just leave me the URL of your post or your twitter name.

Subscribe to this blog through E-mail subscription, RSS, or Follow my blog.
What ever your favorite way is.

Just leave a separate comment for each thing you do! That's up to 6 entries per person.
I'll pick a winner next Monday Morning.
you have till I draw the name to get your entries in.

Good luck and go vote for me!

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