Archive for April, 2011

A warm happy memory

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

A year ago at this time I was preparing to go to France. I was making long lists of things to pack, lamenting my horrible passport photo I am stuck with until I am 32, and tentatively picking out gifts for my host family. A little while later I was in Anncey, a town near the French Alps, on a weekend trip with friends. We had this little picnic by the lake. Tapinade, cheese, fresh cherries, and my contribution, brioche with dried fruit and nuts. I remember thinking at the time I was spending too much money, but now not knowing when I will eat such a thing again I am glad I spent the money.

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Tartines, the madness continues

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Earlier in the week, I thoroughly enjoyed a golden beet and salami tartine with spinach and goat cheese. I have this carton of herb goat cheese from a farm in Harrisburg, MO. It is so good I could eat it with a spoon or just with my fingers. I boiled a golden beet in a sauce pan until it was fork soft. While it was cooling I put a slice of bread in the toaster oven with some goat cheese spread on the top. I sliced the beet. When the bread was done I put a handful of spinach on top of the melty cheese and stacked on some sliced salami and the beet slices. I think this would be great for a picnic lunch with some fruit and a good bottle of rose.

Tartine Madness!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Some of you may remember a blog I wrote a while back about eating tartines in France. A tartine is an open-faced sandwich; a big slice of bread you pile high with so many delicious things that you may have to eat with a fork and knife. Tartines can be sweet or savory, hot or cold, which makes them perfect for any meal. They are so versitile, my friend Danny is thinking about having a tartine party. This week I am going to have a tartine every day and share new creations with you. Today I got a loaf of sourdough from my favorite bakery, Uprise. When I got home and turn the oven on broil to pre-heat. I sliced a bit of mushroom, half a small tomato, and very thinly slice a clove of garlic. I then toasted a slice of bread from the middle of the loaf so it would be nice and big. When the bread was done I put a little bit of olive oil on it before loading on the toppings: first a handfull of spinach, then my mushroom slices, then the tomato, some dollups of goat cheese, then the slices of garil, and last but not least, a sprinkling of dried basil. A tartine doesn’t have to be this big of a production, but I was feeling theatrical. I put my tartine in the oven. By the time I put away all my ingredients it was done. It was delicious, and because I was at home I ate it with my hands and enjoyed the mess.

Breakfast relearned: The busy week crisis

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Last week was a little hectic. Once of those weeks where you are up in the 6:00 hour and don’t get done with what you absolutely have to do until 9:00pm. I know that most people’s lives are like this, but it still gets me down, partially because it is so bad for one’s eating schedule. Breakfast is especially bad for me because I am not really capable of preparing a good meal when I am half awake, so I will either eat nothing and just grab some coffee (Ulcer! Ulcer!) or stop somewhere and spend money. Having to make something the night before, every night isn’t a realistic solution because evitably I will be too tired some nights and find myself back in the same old position. I only thing to do is make a big batch of something I can eat all week. So what was my brillant plan? Muffins? Heck no, too boring! I made myself an apple pie. I love pie for breakfast. Pie as a dessert after a good dinner, all hot and gooey right out of the oven is delicious, but a room temperature slice of pie with a coffee is a whole different animal. And a wonderous animal at that. I suppose my breakfast pie was more like cobbler. I made it sans bottom crust. It’s quicker that way. For the crust mixed 1 cup flour with  1/3 cup of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Then grated in a stick of butter. I mushed the butter into the flour so there were still little hunks of it but butter was evenly distrubuted.  Then I added about 4 tablespoons of milk and mixed until the dough formed a solid ball. I put the crust into the fridge while I made the filling. Normally I am pretty laissez-faire about baking “rules,” but chilling is important for crusts because they turn out better when the fats in them are solid when they go in the oven. If you want to make this pie vegan you can used vegetable shortening and you favorite non-dairy milk. Anyway, back to the filling. I peeled, cored, and chopped five apples. Apples have a tendency to oxydize so I put a little lemon juice in the bowl I was using. Peeling is not completely necessary, I just like the pie better that way. After the apples are chopped add 2 tablespoons of flour, as much cinnamon as you like in your pie, and a heaping tablespoon of sugar to counter-act the lemon juice. I don’t like to add too much sugar to my fruit. The crust is sweet and fruit is naturally sweet, I think too much sugar really alters the flavor of the fruit. Take the crust out of the fridge. Flour a flat surface like a table or countertop. Flour a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle will work, but you will have to flour it more frequently. Roll the doughout until it a about 1/4″ thick. Pour the filling into a pie pan. Place the crust on top. Cut all little little X shape in the middle of the crust to serve as a vent. Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Waiting for asparagus

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

At the beginning of spring I find myself waiting for asparagus. It’s the turning point. When the asparagus shows up then I know the downpour of fresh local produce is about to begin. But the asparagus is holding out on me, and I don’t know why. Everyday I am thinking of things to do with asparagus. I want to roast it in the over with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I want dip lightly cook stalks into soft boiled eggs. Why asparagus? Do you think I don’t appreciate you? I do! I have been eating potatoes, squash and beans for months! Not that I am knocking potatoes, squash and beans. I love all of these things. I am just really ready for tender, new, green things.