{twd} quick classic berry tart

Ugh. I have a severe case of blog apathy and writer’s block. These days it seems the only new post I can write is the one for Tuesdays with Dorie. I’m baking and cooking. Sometimes taking pictures, sometimes not. Some are incredibly delicious and I want to share–like Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cumin (you need to make this) from the May 2010 issue of Food & Wine. Some are for other baking groups.

Anyway, thanks to Cristine of Cooking with Cristine for hosting this week’s recipe– Quick Classic Berry Tart. I made it for Mother’s Day. It’s a simple tart with vanilla pastry cream topped with fresh berries ( I used strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and some jarred cherries). It was very delicious and a big hit with the family. I can see myself making a tropical version in the near future with rum pastry cream and pineapple, mango and kiwi. YUM.

For the recipe, visit Cristine’s blog or buy the book.

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Rice Salad Primavera & Banana-Blueberry Sorbet

Last summer I ate a lot of different variations of rice salad. I was cooking a lot from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. In the salad section he has a table full of different twists you can take with rice salads. I think I made almost everyone listed.

I made a big pot of brown basmati rice one weekend and every night as I packed my lunch for the next day I would dish out my rice and make a single portion rice salad.

Rice Salad Primavera comes from the July/August 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times. The addition of tofu to the salad makes it a complete meal. I love the colors: red tomatoes, orange bell pepper, yellow squash, and green onions.

The salad is dressed in a simple vinaigrette made of hearty spicy brown mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It’s light, refreshing and perfect for a summer lunch or picnic or for Vegan Tuesday.

Rice Salad Primavera

Adapted from July/August 2009 Vegetarian Times
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 8 0unce package of Italian garlic baked tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, quartered, and sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hearty spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Bring rice and 2 cups water to boil in covered saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Stir tofu, tomatoes, green onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and squash into rice.
  3. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Whisk in oil until mixture forms smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir vinaigrette into rice. Chill well before serving.

Serves 8.

We’ve had a bounty of locally-grown blueberries, so for something sweet I made the Banana-Blueberry Sorbet from The Perfect Scoop. Even though there is no dairy, it’s creamy from the bananas. It’s light and refreshing without the heaviness of ice cream. Perfect on a summer night. I also think it would be great frozen into popsicles. You can find the recipe HERE.

(Of course, when I mentioned to the co-workers the great tasting blueberries they wondered when something baked  would show up. Can’t take this to work. 😛 )

Pasta Della California

Isa Chandra Moskowitz writes in Veganomicon that you can add avocado to anything and call the dish California. It’s true we do take avocados for granted here in California. I grew up eating them and adding them to everything. I’ve never had them in a warm pasta dish before and that’s why I wanted to try this recipe.

In addition to the avocado, Pasta Della California is made with broccoli and argula. A simple sauce of 8 cloves of garlic (yes, eight!), lime zest & juice, red pepper flakes, vegetable broth, and white wine coats everything. It did require a bit of prep work. I had to mince those 8 cloves , chop the broccoli, and slice the avocado. Once all the knife work was done, I made the sauce while the pasta was cooking.

You can find the recipe for Pasta Della California HERE. I used whole-wheat linguine.

Also, fruit from the farmers’ market this year is outstanding. The locally-grown blueberries are the best I’ve ever tasted. They taste like someone added brown sugar to therm. They are so sweet. I’ve been eating blueberries straight  out of the bag. I do occasionally make a fruit salad with them:

Please visit Michele’s Blog–Veggie Num Nums–to see what she cooked up for Vegan Tuesdays.

{db} strudel

strudel3

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

strudel2

I had decided not to make this month’s challenge. I had too many things going on both in the baking/blogging world and the real world.  So, of course, shortly after I publicly announce I’m not going to participate this month I go ahead and make it.

strudel4

The strudel was easier than I thought it would be. The instructions were a little intimidating. All the stretching and pulling and holes. I made a 1/4 of the recipe and instead of the traditional apple filling I used fresh blueberries and cherries.

strudel

The end result? It looks horrible. My strudel reminds me of Necron Slime. I don’t know what Necron Slime is exactly–just something from a cartoon I vaguely remember from childhood.  I now think my strudel looks like a psychedelic sea cucumber. I think it fits my baked strudel.

strudel5

Update: I also realize I over-stuffed it, which is a problem with me and burritos. Now that I know how to do it right. I’m definitely making again.

{TWD} Rugelach

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Recipe #293

In July, I went blueberry (and cherry and raspberry) picking with my mom and my aunt at Hick’s Orchard in upstate New York in the Adirondacks. It’s near Lake George, so if you are ever in the area check it out.

It was tons of fun and would definitely do it again. We made blueberry scones, mixed berry cobbler, a cherry pie, and lots of blueberry jam. Looking at these pictures is making me miss summer. And it’s only just gotten *relatively* cold here in Southern California. I’m a summer-girl through and through.

My aunt and my mom.

My aunt and my mom.

So, why am I writing about blueberries in November?

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Rugelach, chosen by Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal.
You can go to her blog to check out Dorie’s recipe.

I’ve never made rugelach before. The dough is fairly simple–just flour, cream cheese, and butter. The filling is basic–jam, chocolate, currants, a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. It should have been easy, in retrospect maybe it was but I just didn’t realize it.

I followed the recipe for the dough, made it the night before and stuck it in the refrigerator. For the filling, I used my homemade blueberry jam (yup that’s right) instead of the apricot or raspberry that was suggested. I also used Trader Joe’s orange-flavored dried cranberries instead of currents, almonds instead of walnuts or pecans, and milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.

Assembling these things is the point where it got sticky {literally}. I think there is a window of opportunity for rolling out the dough when it is not too cold, but not too warm. I missed it. The dough got sticky real fast. I used more than a light sprinkle of flour to make it not stick. My uncooked rugelach looked fugly, even after I brushed on an egg wash and sprinkled the cookies with sugar. On top of that, I wasn’t impressed with the little tastes of raw dough.

Fugly rugelach

Fugly rugelach

Somehow my oven worked its magic and the cookies came out looking gorgeous. Not only that, the rugelach taste great. The flavors of the dough, jam, sugar, chocolate all melded together. Even P, my picky husband [ex-husband since 2009], loved these. He calls them “arugulas”. 😛

Oven magic

Oven magic