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Wednesday
Aug242011

Apricot and basil shortbread tart

This is Week #34 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

The end of August, and the end of SUMMER, my dear beloved summer, is approaching, which means I am attempting to squeeze in as many summer-time recipes as I can. I love summer recipes. Salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, anything on the grill, ice cream, cold cold margaritas, I could go on and on..  

I was excited to make this apricot tart because I thought it would be a fresh, light end-of-the-summer (sniff) treat. It was totally scrumptious. I have to mention that the shortbread crust on this thing? OMG! Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. LOVED IT TO PIECES.

First, make the pastry cream.

In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. 

Remove the basil from the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup whole milk

2 large egg yolks

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted. 

Scrape into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.

Looks like lemon curd, doesn't it? Well it is a little bit shocking when it tastes nothing like lemon curd!

Now make the pastry (the yum yum delicious pastry that I'm madly in love with).

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 

Spray a 14x4-1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Or do like I did and use a 9-inch round tart pan without a removable bottom.

Add to a medium bowl:

1 large hard-boiled egg yolk

1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

(Do you see a person in a coffin? Or perhaps a child sleeping?)

Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes.

Add:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Beat at low speed until just combined.

Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool for 1 hour.

Now prepare the topping!

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 6 apricots, halved, cut side up, on the paper and sprinkle all over with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the apricots are tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush all over with 1/3 cup melted apricot jam.

Cut tart crosswise into strips and serve.

You might notice that I left the tart in the tart pan and cut it like a pie. It worked just fine this way!

Decorate with basil leaves, if desired.

ENJOY!

Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart

Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. With apricots. (recipe source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Aug 24, 2011

Serves: 6

Total time: 3 hrs

Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart

Ingredients:

  • PASTRY CREAM
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • PASTRY
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg yolk
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • TOPPING
  • 6 apricots (1 1/4 pounds), halved
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam, melted
Instructions:
  1. MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM: In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup of the milk with the sugar and basil; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the basil; squeeze any milk back into the pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup of milk with the yolks and cornstarch. Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk; bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Scrape into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
  3. MAKE THE PASTRY: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 14x4 1/2 –inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. In a standing mixer, beat the hard-boiled egg yolk with the butter and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Add the flour, potato starch and salt and beat at low speed until just combined. Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled. Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool on a rack for 1 hour.
  4. MAKE THE TOPPING: Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the apricot halves cut side up on the paper and sprinkle all over with the sugar. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  5. Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush with the melted jam. Cut the tart crosswise into strips and serve.

 

 

Sunday
Aug212011

Our KODAK photo book

This post is part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with KODAK Gallery. I was honored to be asked to create a KODAK Photo Book for myself so that I could share the experience with all of you, and also offer a Photo Book discount to anyone who is interested. I'll get to that in a bit.

I was excited to create a Photo Book detailing this past year because it has been a momentus one. Ohhhh this past year. There is no way for me to describe the past 13 months in words. I'll type out a few key phrases that will give you an idea of the ride we have had. Non-sleeping newborn, hard-working and rarely-home husband, starting a food blog, lovely Fall, lots and lots of cooking and food blogging, nasty nasty winter, fun trip to North Carolina to visit my parents, Elijah's seventh heart cath, major work change, lots and lots of cooking and food blogging, Elijah's second bronchoscopy/laryngoscopy, major Mama anxiety, Elijah's third open heart surgery, Sammy's first awesome birthday, the unexpected and debilitating aftermath of Elijah's heart surgery, still lots and lots of cooking and food blogging, and here we are, enjoying our summer as best we can.. 

So that's our past 13 months in a nutshell.

Please click on this link to create a Photo Book detailing your own story! You will receive 40% off a medium hardcover or large Photo Book. Offer available through 8/31/11.

Friday
Aug192011

Godiva raspberry ice cream coffee

This post is a part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Godiva Coffee. I was honored to be asked to sample this amazing product! When I opened up the box I received in the mail, I instantly began salivating upon reading "Chocolate Truffle" on the packaging. Chocolate Truffle-flavored coffee? Are you kidding?! My mind started swimming as I pondered what I should create. I decided upon a summer-themed drink, as I cherish the summer-time so very much. It turned out to be tastier than I could have imagined. I plan to make this very recipe again soon and serve it as dessert to guests. 

Start by purchasing a 12-ounce bag of ground Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee.

The following makes enough for one serving, so adjust according to number of servings.

Brew 4 ounces of coffee and allow it to cool to room temperature. Pour the coffee into a large mug or coffee glass.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 2 teaspoons of raspberry preserves, to soften. Mix the softened preserves in with the cooled coffee.

Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream to the mug/glass and top with fresh raspberries.

Enjoy!

I have in my hands two $2 off (any 12-oz. bag of Godiva Coffee) coupons to send to the first two interested parties to contact me (use contact button at top of page). Send me your mailing address and I will put them in the mail!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Aug182011

Creamy feta vinaigrette

This is Week #33 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I'm not gonna lie. This week has been a tough one and it has left my head spinning. So tough that even food blogging is a challenge for me, which is saying a lot because cooking and blogging about food happens to be one of my favorite things in the world. So I was pleased to see an easy recipe on my challenge list for this week. Easy and delicious...even better! Once I made it, I kind of fell in love. I want to put this dressing on everything! And now I'm encouraged to make more of my own salad dressings. Who needs Paul Newman?! 

In a food processor, add:

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)

2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pulse until smooth and season with kosher salt and pepper.

Drizzle over a salad or grilled veggies. I can imagine this to be delicious drizzled over just about anything. It is one tasty, creamy little dressing.

Creamy Feta Vinaigrette

This dressing is AMAZING atop veggies or salad! (Source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Aug 18, 2011

Serves: 1

Total time: 10 min

Creamy Feta Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces feta cheese, preferably French, crumbled (3/4 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions:
  1. In a food processor, pulse the crumbled feta with the vinegar, water, oregano and oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Sunday
Aug142011

Reese's cheesecake brownies

A few weeks ago we celebrated a friend's life, which sadly ended far too soon. Our celebration of his time on earth was bittersweet. It was great fun, but we missed our friend. The celebration involved food and martinis. Food because, well, everyone needs food, and martinis because our friend loved martinis. I decided to contribute a "dish" to the potluck that was totally indulgent. I didn't feel like being healthy that day and based on all of the martinis consumed, nobody else did either. These delicious treats were supremely indulgent and I only needed a teeny tiny square to be satisfied. If you have a reason to be indulgent, you must give these a try. We don't always need a reason, though, do we?

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Prepare a 19.5-oz. box of chocolate fudge brownie mix according to package directions. Spread the batter in the pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat one 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese with a hand-held mixer until fluffy.

Add:

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Beat until smooth.

Stir in a 12-ounce package of Reese's Pieces candies.

Spoon the mixture over the brownie batter and spread evenly.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set and the edges are golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the following ingredients to a small microwaveable bowl:

One 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips

3 tablespoons whipping cream

Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until the chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle 12 large Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (chopped) over the top. Store covered in the refrigerator.  

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies

Indulgent, chocolatey, peanut-buttery and irresistible!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Aug 14, 2011

Serves: 12-18

Total time: 3 hrs

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies
Ingredients:
  • 19.5-oz. box chocolate fudge brownie mix
  • 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 12 oz. Reese’s Pieces candy
  • 12-oz. bag milk chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 12 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions. Spread the batter in pan and set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with hand-held mixer until fluffy. Add condensed milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Stir in the Reese’s Pieces candies. Spoon the mixture over the batter. Spread evenly.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and whipping cream for 1 minute, or until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake layer. Sprinkle Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces over top. Store covered in the refrigerator.