Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life In The Fast Lane


The Eagles got nothin' on a Tart. Especially one who also happens to be a new mom. They thought their lane was fast? Try making dinner while br**stfeeding and changing a baby, doing laundry, cleaning the house, revamping a computer, grocery shopping, working and oh yeah, attempting to spend quality time with what's-his-name? That guy? You know, the one who helped make the baby? You think you live in the fast lane, Don Henley? I don't think so.

This week, we're posting something simple...in honor of you moms out there who want something easy, delicious and nutritious that you can whip up in a snap. This couscous is from one of our favorite finds, Veganomicon. This book is packed with delicious, vegan recipes that you can serve to any palate and without the fear they're thinking, "WTF?!"

We served this between 3 of us along with some sautéed kale and it was plenty. But if serving solo for more than 2 or 3 people, we'd suggest doubling the recipe. And if you've never tried Israeli couscous, you're in for a real treat! Similar to Italian orzo, this wheat-based baked pasta is shaped into little pearls and therefore is also referred to as pearl couscous. Check the bulk section of your grocery store as it's hard to find a boxed version with 2 cups in it. For a gluten-free version, we'd suggest substituting brown rice. Just adjust the water and cooking time.

Israeli Couscous w/Pistachios & Apricots

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (we used olive)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, chopped to the size of raisins (we used Turkish)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
Juice from 1/2 lime

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Place garlic and oil in the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add the couscous, raise the heat to medium and stir constantly for 4 to 5 minutes; the couscous should start to toast.

Add the water, cinnamon stick, cumin, cardamom, pepper, salt and lime zest. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat again to as low as possible and cover. In about 10 minutes, most of the water should have been absorbed. Add 2 Tbsp. of mint, all the apricots, pistachios and lime juice. Stir, cover and cook for 5 more minutes. At this point, the water should be thoroughly absorbed. (We didn't go the full 5 as it was starting to stick. Just eyeball it.)

Remove the cinnamon stick, fluff the couscous with a fork, garnish with remaining mint and serve. This is sooooooo good!


Try not to eat it all before serving.

I see you, Erin. I'm right here...


Okay, clearly you're not getting it. I WILL drink all your wine. Oh, wait, I already did. Oops!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Big Love


I am in the midst of a love affair with the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook. A full-on, put on my baggie pants, cholesterol be damned, throw the weight scale out the window...tryst. This cookbook is like an albatross of love wrapped firmly around my neck. Whatever it wants, it gets. Today, it told me to make this doughnut recipe...ASAP.

Never one to 'dough it' alone and without Danielle for back up, I enlisted my friend Michelle who is visiting from NYC. Michelle makes a Tart proud as she's tried many of the recipes we CTs have posted over the last year. She's turned into a talented little Tartalini and was eager to get her Big Sur on.

So we did, of course...for Big Sur Bakery. All in the name of love. Ahhhh...

Big Sur Bakery Doughnuts
w/ Lemon-Honey Glaze

1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2-1/4 cups bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
1-1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon pastry flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
5 tablespoons whole milk powder
3/4 cup cold water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
canola oil, for frying

*Jelly or preserves, optional

In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over. Stir and leave for 5 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, pastry flour, baking powder, sugar, nutmeg, and milk powder until combined. Take about 1-1/2 cups of this and add it to the activated yeast, along with the cold water, unsalted butter, and egg. With the dough hook fitted, mix on low for a minute. With the mixer still on, add the remaining flour mixture in the span of a minute. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 2 minutes, then scrape down the sides and knead on high speed for 2 minutes. Spray a large bowl with baking spray, place the dough inside and cover the top loosely with cling film. Refrigerate overnight.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut out 3-1/2 inch doughnut rounds, with a hole diameter of 1 inch.
(For jelly doughnuts, do not cut a 1 inch hole.)
Line a sheet pan with a linen towel and dust it with flour. Place the doughnuts and the holes on the pan and cover loosely with cling film. Let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.


Fill a pot with oil about 2 inches deep and heat over low heat until the oil reaches 350°F. Fry the doughnuts without crowding, flipping halfway through cooking, which should take about 4 minutes in all. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

Lemon-Honey Doughnut Glaze

  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
    • 3 tablespoons whole milk

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Dip the top half of the cooled doughnuts and shake off the excess.


Yes, some are a little overdone and one has a large bite taken out of it, but what can we say...we're Tarts.
For the jelly doughnuts, poke a hole with the back of a wooden spoon or use a pastry gun with a filling attachment and fill with jam of choice (we used raspberry) until the doughnut feels a little heavy. Then dip in glaze.

These were the hit of the party...you know, the one in Michelle's mouth.


Wondering why I'm not posting pics of me eating a doughnut? I just had a baby...and I'm EATING DOUGHNUTS! I may be in love, but I'm not stupid:)