Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holla!-day Cookie

The Holiday season comes in many different shapes and sizes. For the Tarts, it generally arrives in a circular shape about the size of our fists and wallops one helluva sugar crash. How this cookie-slamming tradition, ahem...obsession, started...we have no clue. But I, Erin, will never forget fashioning cookies with my mom and grandma, tying them up with a red and green bow and handing them out to the people we loved, "Happy Holidays!"

So...what we bring you today is not your typical Christmas cookie; there's no colored marshmallows, gingerbread or little green edible balls, but there IS a crazy amount of this...

...along with countless other ingredients we probably don't need. But hey, it's the holidays!

Let's cleanse later! So here's the link to the spirit of our season...

They are crazy town! What makes them cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? Well, we're betting it's good quality white chocolate...all one and a half pounds...

Yes. You actually have to use that much. Did we mention these cookies aren't on the cheap side? But they're worth it!

Danielle is convinced that what makes this cookie delectable is the use of Kosher salt...

Tart Tip: Make sure it's Kosher. Don't sub with sea salt or a smaller, refined grain! You'll regret it and your Tart will haunt you, right Danielle?

Now, Ina bakes them on parchment, which we highly recommend as it protects the bottom of the cookies and makes cleanup easy. She also uses an ice cream scoop to give the cookies shape. We had a giant scoop so ours were on the colossal side...

Ahhhh...look how yummy. Hmmm. Too bad we have to give those away. Danielle? Put the cookie down. Danielle??!!!

So there you have it...our White Chocolate "What, what?!" Christmas Cookie. Wrap it up, adorn with a pretty bow and you have the perfect gift for someone you love. Now, it may not be your usual holiday fare, but we're pretty sure this "Holla!"-day cookie will have you rockin' around the Christmas tree...

Happy Holidays from the Tarts!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pizza de Résistance

Pizza...mmmm...the word alone gives us goosebumps, not to mention a deep pang of hunger that can only be satiated with a wedge of crust smothered in tomato sauce and cheese. We could pretty much live on the stuff, but we don't. Why? Because if we did, we'd be gross. And greasy. Greasy and gross.

So when we're feeling the pizza pang and want to avoid the 'grossies,' we often spin out a healthier version...


This time we started with a Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough that uses equal parts whole wheat flour/enriched flour. We didn't have quick-rising yeast so we let it sit for an hour before rolling. There is also a 1/4 tsp. of sugar in this recipe; if sugar is out-like-sauerkraut, replace with a bit of honey or agave nectar.

We then smeared it with tomato sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. For the non-dairy crowd, feel free to sub with vegan cheese.

Now for the part that will make your momma proud! The veggies...

We used diced eggplant sautéed with garlic and olive oil, Russian kale sliced and steamed in water and a wee bit of olive oil, sliced Anaheim chili pepper, fresh basil, sliced green tomatoes and finally we sprinkled this bad boy with dried oregano, a pinch of kosher salt and a little more cheese if you please.

We baked this veggie gem on a pizza stone at 500°F until the bottom was crisp and golden, about 10 to 14 minutes...

...and then served it immediately...

...and burned the holy hell out of our mouths.

Tart Tip: Don't serve immediately.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Faves from Fantastic Friends

This year, on the first Thanksgiving since our wedding, my Hotcake and I decided to stay in for an intimate celebration. Although the food was delicious and the day with my Hub was precious, there's truly nothing like a home cooked meal with my family. The dishes I grew up with have been passed down from generation to generation, and whether made by my mom, aunt or grandma, I can taste love in every bite.

But what's also wonderful about family recipes is they can be shared with friends, who in many ways become part of our family. This Thanksgiving, I was a very lucky Tart as a good friend did just that. Rusty, our resident "Tart-taster," dropped off a little clay pot full of heaven...

"Why wouldn't I?"

...Annie's Challah and Onion Roll Stuffing, passed down from none other than Annie Schwimmer, Rusty's super special mom. Remember when I said our food was delicious? Well, it was thanks to this stuffing. It sure wasn't the turkey or green beans that slowly made their way to the edges of my plate. I ate stuffing. I am still eating stuffing.

And now, we're sharing it with you. Do you know how lucky you are??

Annie's Stuffing (Chicago)

1 bunch of celery, chopped
4 small onions, chopped
3 Tbsp. of Thyme, chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 eggs
1 Challah loaf (w/poppyseeds if available)
10 onion rolls
1/2 quart chicken stock (we used homemade turkey stock)
4 sticks butter (one stick equals 8 Tbsp.)

Let the bread stale for a few days or break apart and crisp in oven.
Preheat oven to 350
Melt butter in large saute pan, add celery and onion and cook until onion is translucent.
Toss torn pieces of bread into a large pot.
Add celery and onion to pot. Add a few pinches of salt, pepper and all of thyme.
Mix well with wooden spoon. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. If cool enough, use your hands.
Slowly add chicken stock. Consistency should become mushy but not watery. Season to taste.
Transfer stuffing to two casserole dishes so that it stays extra moist. Cover with foil, cook for 30 min. Take foil off and cook for another 15-20 min.
Enjoy and remember to try and eat those green beans.

A few other friend favorites we'd like to share with you...

Dave's Cranberry Sauce
(from Epicurious)

Danielle is still eating this cranberry sauce on sandwiches. Let it go, Danielle.

Here's a great alternative to pumpkin pie...

Vivian's Flourless Chocolate Cake
w/raspberry sauce
(from the Gourmet Cookbook)

8 oz. good bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus additional for dusting
10 inch springform pan

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pan, line bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper, and butter paper.

Melt chocolate with butter in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into pan. Bake until top has formed a thin crust and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out with moist crumbs adhering, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove side of pan. Invert cake onto a plate and reinvert onto rack to cool completely.

Dust cake with cocoa powder before serving.

Raspberry Sauce

1 10 oz package of frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
2 table spoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Combine raspberries, with their syrup, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and puree. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids; discard solids.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.