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Posts Tagged ‘Yummy’

Chocolate Strawberry Tart

 mmm…Chocolate and even better Strawberries!!!  I know I have for years put my nose up to baking, but these days I find when I am really stressed out I bake. For whatever reason baking relaxes me.  I think it is because of how much focus it takes to get the recipe correct.  When you cook you can throw a little bit of this and that and save the dish, but when you bake it has to be exact to the umpteenth degree and if you mess up there is no saving it.  It is that level of focus that allows me to take my mind off of whatever problems I am having at that time.

I made this dessert back in mid July to impress a date.  Dinner ended up being so filling, Egg Plant Rollatini with Angel Hair Pasta in my families age old Marinara Sauce with Garlic Bread, that we never made it to dessert, instead moving right on to a nice bottle of Prosecco on the beach while basking in the beautiful lighting of a full moon.  It was quite the spread, although I would later find out from that unappreciative bitch that as she put it “my cooking was trash”.  Whatever (see yesterdays blog The State of Lisanti Land Address all about Whatever).

Anyway this Tart is bound to impress any female you decide to bake it for.  I mean it has a splendid strawberry walnut crust filled with a rich chocolate strawberry filling topped with fresh strawberries.  It’s a girls best friend.  Pair it with a bottle of Moscato D’Asti or a Champagne or Prosecco and you are bound to have a good night.  Maybe that is where I blew it, not taking the tart with me to the beach.  In hindsight I am glad I did not cause that chick was definitely not worth it.  Its rather tasty and somewhat simple to make although a bit time consuming.

Serving Size: 8
Total Cost: $13.75
Prep Time: 1 hr
Bake Time 25 mins
Rest Time: 2 hrs

Ingredient List:

  • Crust
    • All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
    • Sugar – 3 table spoons
    • Salt – ¼ tea spoon
    • Walnuts – 1 ½ oz
    • Unsalted Butter – ½ cup (chilled)
    • Egg Yolk – 2 yolks
    • Strawberry Jam – 1/3 cup
  • Filling
    • Whipping Cream – ¾ cup plus 2 table spoons
    • Semisweet Chocolate – 6 oz (chopped)
    • Strawberry Jam – 1/3 cup
    • Strawberries – 2x 1 pt basket (hulled and halfed)

 Step 1: Mix ingredients for your crust: In a food processor mince walnuts till they are a sand like composure.  In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and processed walnuts.  Add in butter.  Make sure to break the butter up into tiny pieces before addition to the mixture.  Mix by hand or with an electric mixer (I used an electric mixer) till it resembles a coarse meal.  Add Yolks and Strawberry Jam and mix until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Your meal like conformity of dry ingredients and butter.

Your rough dough after adding jam and egg yolks

Your dough disk pre-cooling

Step 2: Form Crust: Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9” diameter pan with removable bottom if possible, you can use a fixed bottom pan if it is all you have, I did.  Roll out your chilled dough between two sheets of wax paper to around an 11” diameter.  Remove top sheet of wax paper. Turn you dough upside down so that the wax paper on the bottom is now on the top and firmly press it inside the pan till it fits snug.  Remove paper and trim the edges of your crust so that it just comes over the pan.  Fold edges  just over the top of pan.  Freeze crust for 15 minutes.  Bake 25 minutes or till golden brown.  Spread another 1/3 cup of Jam over the crust and bake another 4 minutes till jam sets. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature.

Crust pre-baking

Step 3: Make Filling: Heat cream in heavy small saucepan on a medium flame until bubbles appear around edge of pot.  Remove from flame and add chocolate.  Stir till completely melted and blended with cream.  Cool until mixture is beginning to thicken, stirring occasionally.  It should still be pourable, probably around 40 to 50 minutes.  Pour Chocolate filling into crust. Refrigerate for at least two hours till filling solidifies.

Chocolate filling poured into my very sad looking crust. I suck at crusts still, but they are getting better.

Step 4: Arrange Strawberries: Cut the tops off of all berries and then half them.  This can be down while you wait for step three to finish.  Arrange on top of tart as shown in the picture or whatever way your little heart desires.  Enjoy.

Now Tell me that does not look to die for. Still think this wont get you laid?

Just in case you were wondering what the Lisanti Land kitchen where all of these master pieces get cooked up in looked like here it is. Pretty gnarly huh?

 

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Berry Apricot Tart

Well we have not had a fresh recipe up here in quite some time.  All I can say is that writing, cooking and photographing the recipes is very time consuming.  Not to mention that sometimes I cook them anywhere from two to ten times.  I don’t post anything that I am not 100% confident on making myself.   To make up for it here is a recipe for a scrumptious dessert I just recently made on Monday.  Its very seasonal correct (Alice Waters would be proud).   After all what could be more summer like then an Apricot Berry Tart?

Serving Size: 6
Total Cost: $12.50
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 1hr 
 

Ingredient List:

  • Crust
    • Flour – 1 ½ cups
    • Sugar – ¼ tea spoon
    • Salt – pinch
    • Butter – 6 table spoons (3/4 stick)
    • Ice Water – 2 ½ table Spoons
  • Filling
    • Flour – 2 table spoons
    • Sugar – 4 table spoons
    • Apricots – 8 (Halved & Pitted)
    • Raspberries – 1 cup
    • Strawberries – 8 (Quartered)
    • Butter – 2 table spoons
    • Almonds – 2 table spoons (crumbed)

Step 1: Make The Dough for your crust – Combine the flour, salt and sugar, whisk together.  Add in the butter making sure you break it into little chunks and then work it into the flour mixture till you have little balls.  Pour in the ice water, adding it as needed to get desired conformity of the dough.  Remember it is better to slowly add the water because you cant take it out once it goes in.  If you do end up using too much water, just add a bit more flour.  Kneed dough with hands till you have a nice ball. Cover in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator anywhere from one hour and no more then 24.

This is what your crust dough should look like prior to rolling.

Step 2: Prep The FillingHalve and pit the apricots and quarter the strawberries.  Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a bowl mix flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar

Your prepped fruit for the filling.

Step 3: Make the TartRoll out dough in a circle about 11” in diameter.  Put flour/sugar mixture from step 2 in center and spread out over dough leaving about an inch all around the perimeter. Arrange the apricot halves, cut side down.  Add the strawberries, cut side down.  Add the raspberries.  Pour three tablespoons of sugar over filling.  Fold crust around fruit.  Put in baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake in oven for total cooking time of 1 hour.  After the first ten minutes, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, pull out tart from oven and brush the melted butter around the crust.  Sprinkle sugar on crust, add crushed almonds on top and put back in oven for fifty minutes or until crust starts to brown.

Filling before folding up crust.

Ready go bake.

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mmm...wonderful Potato Knishes

Potato Knishes

Potato Knishes are one of my favorite side dishes.  Nothing pairs better with a big thick hot dog, kielbasa or corn beef sandwich.  I used go to this grimy but renowned deli in New York City called Katz Delicatessen (I believe there was a myspace blog on it at one point).  They made a killer corn beef sandwich and their round knishes were almost as big as my head.  The sandwiches are great too.  Enough about Katz though, find the blog on Myspace if your still jones’in for more on that.

 

Jewish Russian immigrants first brought the knish to the United States circa 1900.  Back in the New York/New Jersey area you can get knishes just about everywhere.  They are sold frozen and even sometimes fresh in the average supermarket.  Here in California I found them nearly impossible to come by, especially here in Santa Barbara.  After an exhausting search I gave up looking and decided to learn to make them myself.  I must say my knishes did not come out too shabby either.  Here is my now perfected potato knish recipe.

Total Cost – $6.87

Feeds about 6-8 People (yields about six medium sized Knishes)

Ingredient List:

  • Potatoes – 6 (I used russets, but the variety does not matter)
  • Vegetable Oil – ¼ cup
  • Salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Pepper – ½ teaspoon
  • Butter – ½ cup
  • Onion – 1 diced
  • Cold Water – ½ cup
  • Egg – 1

 

Step 1: Cook Potatoes Peel potatoes and cut into even chunks.  Place chunks into a pot of boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft.  Strain in colander.

Step 2: Mash PotatoesAfter straining put potatoes back into boiling pot from step 1 and mash them up with a potato masher, fork, ricer.  Measure out 1 cup of the mashed potatoes for your dough.  Leave the rest in pot for the filling.

Step 3: Make DoughIn a bowl, add the baking powder to the flour. Whisk them together. Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the mashed potatoes put aside in step 2 and mix. In sections, add in all the flour.  Break the three cups into individual one cup portions to accomplish this successfully.  Next, make a small well in the center of the bowl. Pour the cold water right into well. Knead the dough with your hands till you have a nice firm ball. Finally place a wet cloth or towel on top of the dough, and let it sit for 30 minutes to proof.

Your finished dough prior to proofing.

Step 4: Make Potato FillingMeanwhile, cut and peel the onion. Dice it into small pieces. Then melt the butter in a pan on high flame. Add the onions and sauté until they are soft, but not yet brown. Pour the onions into a mixing bowl (separate from your now proofing dough). Add 1 ½ cups of mashed potatoes, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper to bowl. Combine everything together. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Your Potato/Onion mix filling.

Step 5: Roll Out Dough and Form Knishes – Place flour on a flat surface and a rolling pin. Take a handful of dough and flatten it down on floured surface. With rolling pin roll out the dough, flipping it over occasionally, so it is one-quarter of an inch thick.

Rolling out the dough.

  • Round Knishes – Create a circular cut out from the dough rolled. A small bowl can be used as a template.  Place filling in the center and pull all sides into center over filling and pinch closed into a tepee like top.
  • Square Knishes – Create a square cut out from the dough rolled.  Place filling into the center of square and fold over short sides.  Next fold over long sides and mold with a little water to close up edges and corners.

A Round (Left) and Square (Right) knish.

Step 6: Bake KnishesPlace finished knishes onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper or treated with nonstick baking spray.  Beat one egg and brush it over the tops of each knish.  Bake at 425F for twenty to twenty five minutes.  Check for doneness when egg turns a golden brown color.

 

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Mango Salsa

Mmmmm...Mango Salsa shown over a baked pork chop with white rice.

Mango Salsa is such a gourmet type of spread.  Whenever I hear the phrase thrown out I always think of some fancy restaurant using it as a toping for some work of food art.  Well in all truth creating a delicious mango salsa is super easy, rather in expensive and is sure to bring a positive light and many complements to any meal.  Use this with pork, poultry, seafood, beef, rice, chips, just about anything you’re in the mood to spice up.

Total Cost: $6.35

Feeds 4 – 6 people

Ingredient List:

  • Cumin – 1 table spoon
  • Oregano – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 table spoon
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro – 4 oz (minced)
  • Lemon Juice – 2 oz
  • Apple cider vinegar – 2 oz
  • Mangos – 8oz (chopped)
  • Red Onion – ¼ diced
  • Red pepper – ½ diced
  • Jalapeno Peppers – 2 diced
  • Garlic – 1 clove (minced)
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Tomato – 2 (diced)
  • Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon

 

Step 1: Prep Fruit and VegetablesDice up red onion, red pepper, tomatoes and mangos.  As far as the mangos go you can buy fresh mangos, cut them off the pit and then dice it up or you can buy pre cubed frozen mango and dice that smaller to fit your salsa.  I prefer the frozen mango chunks for ease.  Of course nothing is going to beat the taste of a fresh mango, but it is a bit work husking it from the pit and then dicing it.  Next take the jalapenos (I use the mildest because Im a little girl when it comes to hot spices, but you can select yours accordingly), cut in half, chop the top off, then remove all the seeds and insides with a spoon.  Dice the remaining jalapeno shell.  Mince the cilantro and garlic.  Place all prepped ingredients in a medium size bowl.

 

Step 2: Mix Wet IngredientsIn a measuring cup measure out and mix the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice (can be used from fresh lemons, but not necessary.  I currently have a lemon tree in my back yard so I have the pleasure of fresh lemons whenever I so desire).  Add the Cumin, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, and Chili Powder and stir.

 

Step 3: Put it all togetherPour your concoction from step 2 in with your diced fruits and vegetables from step one and thoroughly stir together with a spoon.  Serve over whatever you wish to enjoy it with. 

Your finished Mango Salsa.

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