Pasqualina is something my mother would make basically only once a year and I have always loved. Spinach is among my top three favorite vegetables, along with broccoli and zucchini. But those also happen to be my sister’s top three least favorite vegetables. So any chance to have spinach was good with me. I know, strange child.
Category Archives: Savory Tarts & Quiches
Once again, I have for you a story of something out of nothing. A glut of asparagus. A rapidly defrosting freezer. And then, one of the prettiest dinners I have made in quite some time.
The base is puff pastry from the story. A mixture of cream cheese and chopped herbs is topped with a single layer of trimmed, thin asparagus. Baked for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven, and then you can present a dish that looks like you have worked for hours. I envision this as a lovely appetizer at cocktails or a light lunch with a salad of tomatoes. So hurry off to the kitchen and no one else will be the wiser.
Book of the Month: Longbourn by Jo Baker
I have no pictures for you. Not at all. I’m really sorry but they were eaten too fast.
Longbourn is much akin to works by Jane Austin in that the food is described in very little detail. There is a lot of ham and tea consumed. That is about it.
I got to thinking about what servants would be eating during this period. Bread. Cheese? I doubt there was that much meat. It would probably be leftover bits from the family’s meal. And how do we make leftover bits of anything taste better? We put them in a cute hand pie!
In this case, it could be called a Cornish pasty but I took some serious liberties here. I chopped up some baked potatoes, carrots, onion, and leftover stew. This was all sautéed with copious amounts of Worcester sauce and some tomato paste. Wrapped up in darling little hand pies and into the mouths of hungry friends.
This will give you an idea of how tasty they look….
It’s amazing how much more interesting food becomes when you wrap it up in a crust. Apples are always delicious. Add a crust and it becomes an icon of American cuisine!
In this case, I had a large butternut squash and little else in the fridge which was remotely interesting. Since serving roasted butternut squash chunks would probably not go over well as an entrée, I set about making it more “meal-like.” You see, I often have a problem getting all the parts of a meal together. Maybe I make an awesome roasted chicken and have to serve it with salad and stale bread. Or I make fresh pasta and used jarred sauce. Pot pies solve that problem beautifully. You can even use store-bought puff pastry to cut down the time.
Yes, I put a sweet potato in a tart. I know that potatoes are starches and that tarts also are carbohydrate-heavy. But I had no butternut squash and I did have a craving for a colorful dinner.
It worked out so well that I am starting to wonderful what other dishes I can slip sweet potatoes into rather than butternut squash or pumpkin. Sweet potato pie obviously. Perhaps sweet potato muffins and scones are in my future? I think that if I went back and tried the original version, I would disappoint the hungry hordes I feed nightly.
The recipe idea comes from Smitten Kitchen though it is a dough from Jacques Pepin in Food & Wine for a plum galette. This is the dough that I use for everything, whether a sweet or savory application.
Recently, I had the privilege to entertain a dear friend while I shared the news about my engagement to the future Mr. Fictional Kitchen. Now a meal like that has to be worthy of the news being shared. Since she is vegetarian, I put extra thought into the meal.
Who better to turn to than Yotam Ottolenghi? I am only now just learning about his creative prowess in the culinary world but I intend to take full advantage of it. Case in point: cauliflower cake.
I know they are completely out of season but for the last few weeks, the only good-looking vegetable in stores have been summer squash. I know summer is long over. The icy glaze on my car each morning reminds me of that. But I am taking advantage of these versatile vegetables while they are still around (or are they fruits?).
Summer squash and zucchini both pair really well with tomatoes. And since I was in the mood for Mexican food, I was going to make something work. What I really wanted on a cold night was the spicy, satisfying dish that is chilaquiles. Chilaquiles are not pretty but they taste fantastic. It is akin to a Mexican lasagna, with layers of tortilla, tomatillos, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. It can be served for breakfast but I normally enjoy it for dinner.
Unfortunately I didn’t have torilla, tomatillos, salsa, or sour cream. Lack of ingredients, the mother of innovation. I was able to find some stale taco shells, canned tomatoes and hot sauce. I set about making my own salsa, with Spanish olives to mimic the tart, addictive flavor of the tomatillos. I used slices of summer squash to add body to the overall dish.