Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Helluva Holiday Salad

Memorial Day weekend is here! Whether you're hitting the beach or the barbecue, we have a salad you'll want to salute...

Arugula, Cucumber and Pear Salad
w/ Yogurt-Mint Salad Dressing and Feta Cheese
adapted by the Tarts

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey
3 tbls greek yogurt
5 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. roughly chopped mint
salt and ground pepper

We used goat yogurt. It's a bit thinner than greek yogurt, but we actually preferred this as the dressing was tangy. Your preference!

In a medium bowl, whisk lemon juice and honey. In another bowl whisk yogurt and olive oil. Add the yogurt mixture to the lemon juice in a thin stream, whisking consistently.

Add the mint and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Chill covered up to 24 hrs.

And now for the salad...

1 bag arugula
1/2 a red onion, sliced into half moons
1 cucumber, halved, seeds scooped and sliced
1/2 pear, sliced (We used d'Anjou)
one avocado, sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Assemble salad and drizzle with dressing...

We got a little jiggy about this salad. The dressing is Buh-na-nuhs! Danielle asked me to taste and this is what it made me do...

It takes a lot to get a pregnant woman to shake her hips...

Seriously, this salad will have you dancing through the holiday. Pair with our Salmon Morissette or Rosemary Tart Burgers and you've got a weekend to remember!

And as we all sit down to break salad together, may we take a moment to remember something else...the sacrifice of the men and women who've died while serving our country. Regardless of our stance on war, may our position regarding one of gratitude. We salute you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Knock-It-Off Bars

Last week, Erin and I made the largest cupcakes known to man. Then ate them...ALL. After I inhaled the last one, my body literally flipped me the bird and said, "Knock. It. Off." Okay, message received...loud and clear. I immediately opened Alicia Silverstone's cookbook, The Kind Diet, and scoured the pages for something that would satisfy my sweet tooth without royally pissing off my body...

I found a recipe for Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips. Yum. Sounds delicious.

Then I took a gander at the ingredients...


And I was like, "Okay, hold the phone, Alicia. You're trying to tell me that those 4 ingredients (plus a pinch of salt) are going to fool me into thinking I'm eating dessert? Shaw. Right."

Gauntlet officially thrown, I called Erin...

"Yo. Me. You want to come over and make...hello?"

She hung up. Doesn't take much to titillate a Tart. She was at my house in 20.

Crispy Peanut Butter Treats
with Chocolate Chips
from "The Kind Diet"

~ 1 box brown rice crisps cereal
~ 1 3/4 cups brown rice syrup
~ 3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
(preferably unsweetened and unsalted..we went rogue and used salted)
~1/2 cup grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate or carob chips (we only had about 1/4 cup)
~fine sea salt

Pour the cereal into a large bowl. Heat the syrup with a pinch of salt in a saucepan over low heat. When the rice syrup liquefies...

...add the peanut butter and stir until well combined. Pour over the rice cereal...

Mix well with a wooden spoon. Once thoroughly mixed and cooled to room temperature, stir in the chocolate chips. Make sure the mixture is cool, or you will end up with melted chocolate instead of chocolate chips in your treats. Turn the mixture out into an 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish. Wet your fingers lightly and press the mixture evenly into the pan...

Let cool for 1 hour before cutting into squares or bars.

Like a true Tart, Erin tried to speed up the cooling process...

I was busy sharing some thoughts with the challenger...

"You better deliver."

And boy, did they. Yum! Not too sweet, but just enough...and chewy. Thanks Alicia. It's the perfect snack to curb the sugar tooth and one you can feel good about. So...

Silverstone - 1
Tarts - 0

* I just served these at a baby shower along with savory lemon bars and delicious cookies and believe it or not, people were raving about these!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Labor of Love

We love lasagna. It's our best friend, our brotha, our boo. It's not only warm, delicious and also yields an insane amount of leftovers. And we LOVE leftovers. So as Erin gracefully gears up for entry into motherhood (sometime in the next few weeks), we think it behooves us to make a few things that could be frozen and at the ready when the last thing she feels like doing is hovering over a stove. Now, I've never met the Erin who doesn't feel like cooking...but just in case a new version of her should rear its head, we chose this lasagna from Barefoot Contessa to help warm her heart and her stomach during what will surely be among the greatest days of her life.

We made a few changes to justify the ridonculous amount of cheese, substituting ground turkey for Italian sausage and brown rice noodles for regular...

We used De Boles and although we're sure a picky palate may not agree, we didn't notice much difference. We also added fresh grilled veggies because, well, they make us slaphappy...

Oh and if you're wondering why we are once again cooking outside, we don't have an answer. But we are seeking professional help.

Turkey and Veggie Lasagna

2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for veggies
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs. organic ground turkey
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. brown rice lasagna noodles
15 oz. ricotta cheese
3 to 4 oz. creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. shredded mozzarella (or fresh)

Heat the grill. Brush both sides of the veggies with olive oil. Grill over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Plate and set aside. (You will most likely have extra veggies, so save to throw in a salad later.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the ground turkey and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 Tbsp.of parsley, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. (Instead of layering the ricotta mix with the mozz, we combined them to create one layer of cheese...not because we're creative, but cuz we don't know how to read.) Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the cheese and one 1/3 of the sauce. Next, layer in the veggies, overlapping where needed.

Add the rest of the pasta, cheese and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving. If you're as stubborn as we are, screw that noise and cut right into that boo. It won't be as pretty, but it will still blow your mind. Serve with a light salad...

...and freeze the rest, if you can part with it.

Please share any dishes that we could prepare ahead of time for Mama Tart:)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cornmeal Cake-Mind

There are three things that occupy a Tart's mind on a daily, food...oh, and food. The other day, I called Danielle and asked her what she was doing and she replied, "Take a stab in the dark." She was of course reading, writing and thinking about one One of the reasons we're not good at meditating is because we can never reach 'no-mind'. We only get as far as 'food-mind'. "Om, om, om....tuna melt with avocado..."

Determined to think about something else, we planted ourselves in lotus position, closed our eyes and began with a few deep breaths..."Om, om, om...Blueberry Cornmeal Cake..."

Oh well. Let's move this meditation into the kitchen...

The Santa Monica gem, Huckleberry, serves up a Cornmeal Cake that literally, takes the cake. It's the perfect morning treat without being too sweet, somewhere between a corn bread and a cake. Each day, they surprise you, adding a different fruit, like tangerine, strawberry or blackberry. Our personal hero is blueberry, so when Bon Appetite posted the much sought-after recipe, we screamed aloud and ran to the store. And then we screamed some more...until some lady told us to shut our cake-hole. Touché, lady, touché.

Adapted from Huckelberry Cafe

Non-stick vegetable oil spray
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon honey
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup plain yogurt
3 cups fresh blueberries

10-inch diameter springform pan with 2 & 3/4 inch sides

Preheat oven to 325. Spray pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking soda and powder in medium bowl. (we used this cornmeal...)

Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla and honey in another bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar and 1 & 1/2 tsp salt until creamy. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add egg mixture; beat to blend. Beat in flour mixture just to blend. Add ricotta and yogurt; beat on low just to blend. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Scatter 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries over.

Spoon remaining batter over in dollops, then spread to cover blueberries. Scatter remaining blueberries over. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over. (How many times can we say remaining?)

Bake until top is golden brown and tester comes out clean, about 1 hr and 15 min. Cool completely in pan on rack.

Tart Tip: Be patient. Let it bake until done in the center. We couldn't wait and pulled it out early. It's a bit underdone, but that won't stop us.

Now this is a meditation we can get behind.




Ah, the sweet serenity of cake-mind!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Burrata Bizwich

Campanile's Burrata Sandwich from their Thursday Night Grilled Cheese menu is off its rocker insane. The sandwich varies from week to week, but no matter how they do it, it's always bonkers. So, because there are 6 days that are not Thursday and most of you may not live in LA, we're bringing you our version of this 'bats in the belfry' sandwich so you can try it at home.

But first, for those of you not familiar with Burrata, let us introduce you...

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese that looks similar to fresh fact the outer shell is made of pure mozzarella. But it's what's on the inside that makes the difference: mozzarella and cream. This combo results in a richer, softer, more spreadable cheese. And it makes us very, very giddy.

For our version, we are using a recipe for parsley pesto from the cookbook of Campanile's owner and executive chef, Mark Peel...

2 garlic cloves, halved, green shoot removed, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, as needed
*2 cups tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
*1 Tbsp. tightly packed mint leaves, coarsely chopped
*2 Tbsp. tightly packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 to 6 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (we used 3)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

To make the pesto the way Mark suggests, with a mortar/pestle, click the link above for specific instructions. We were short of time and threw the above ingredients in a mini food processor.

*Mark recommends that you completely dry your herbs after washing.

The pesto can be made ahead and stored in the fridge. Use leftovers for pasta, on grilled fish, etc...

Now, let's get down to some Burrata bizwich...

Burrata Sandwich
adapted by Tarts
(Makes 4)

4 slices good quality bread, toasted
(We used LaBrea Bakery whole wheat)
*1 pkg Burrata
Parsley Pesto
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 avocado, sliced
sea salt flakes, to taste

*If you have trouble finding Burrata, fresh mozzarella or fresh ricotta could be a decent alternative.
**If you've never made crispy garlic, click the link above.

While the bread is toasting, toss the tomatoes with 1 Tbsp. of pesto. If the pesto is too thick, add a bit of olive oil to thin it out.

Next, toss the garbanzos with 1 Tbsp. of pesto.

Spread each slice of toasted bread with a thin layer of pesto. Smash the Burrata with a fork to soften, then spread evenly on top of the pesto. Layer with tomatoes and garbanzos, dividing evenly among the slices. Top with avocado and a sprinkle of garlic chips. Drizzle with more pesto if desired and sprinkle with sea salt.

And take one last look at your beautiful creation, because you're about to destroy it:)