Monday, November 22, 2010

A Friendly Thanksgiving


What does a Tart do when her best friend since preschool makes her first trip to Los Angeles? Take her to Universal Studios? Hollywood Blvd? Venice Beach? Hardly. She throws an apron on her, pulls a 15 pound turkey from the fridge and says, "Welcome to Cali!! Let's peel some carrots!" Sorry Eve!

This Barefoot Contessa's version is the bomb. If roasting a turkey is intimidating for you, this is your recipe. It's simple and really good. We added root veggies around the turkey which made an insane side dish. Trust me, if we can do it, you can do it.

with root veggies
adapted by the Tarts

1 fresh organic turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 whole lemon
1 spanish onion, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

10 carrots, peeled and cut into 2- inch chunks
8 parsnips, peeled and cut into french fry slices
10 red potatoes, halved
3 heads of fennel, fronds removed,
cut into wedges through the core

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Cut veggies into medium size pieces. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Set aside.

Take giblets out of the turkey and wash turkey inside and out. If it grosses you out, force your best friend to do it...


Pat outside until dry. Place turkey in large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, onion, lemon and garlic.


Brush the outside of turkey with butter (or olive oil). Salt and pepper liberally. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.


Roast the turkey for an hour and 15 min. Then add the veggies around the turkey and continue roasting for another hour and 15 min
or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. S
tir the vegetables in the pan and continue to cook in the juice while turkey rests for 20 minutes.


Then plate, slice and serve! This turkey smelled so good, we couldn't wait to get going. We didn't even stop and take a final shot to show my fellow Tart! Sorry Danielle!

* We used leftover turkey and the veggies for a turkey pot pie the next day. YUM!

For other Thanksgiving faves, check out these links...

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 5, 2010

You Make Me Wanna Soup


We Tarts love a good soup and this one from Cristina's Restaurant in Sun Valley makes us wanna sang with some Salt-N-Pepa...

Hey yeah I wanna soup baby...

Soup soup ba-doop
Soup ba-doop
Soup ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop
Soup ba-doop
Soup ba-doop
Soup ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop

Here I go here I go here I go again
Girls what's my weakness? (Soup!)

Butternut Squash Soup with Pears, Apples & Leeks
adapted from Cristina's Cookbook
serves 5

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sliced leeks
1 cubed apple (save core for stock)
1 cubed pear (save core for stock)
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (reserve stalks for stock)
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme (reserve stalks for stock)
1/8 cup of marsala wine
6 cups pear stock (recipe below)
3 cups roasted butternut squash (recipe below)
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter. Add leeks, apples and pears. Sauté over medium heat until leeks are translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in sage and thyme, cook 2 more minutes. Add wine, simmer for a few minutes, then add stock and squash. Simmer for an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. (We used a good amount of salt as it needed it.) If you prefer a thicker soup cook 20 more minutes.

We puréed our soup and garnished it with pears sautéed in vegan butter and sage. The end result was delicious!


Roasted Butternut Squash

2 medium size butternut squash
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 Tbsp fresh sage
1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450˚

Cut squash in half lengthwise, seed, and place on baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle with all ingredients and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 1 1/2 hrs or until soft. Cool, then scoop out squash from skin.

Apple-Pear Stock

1 gallon water
1 apple core
1 pear core
2 small leeks, green part only
2 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs each of thyme and sage
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp maple syrup

*The recipe called for 1/2 tsp celery seed, but we opted out and added a tsp of sea salt.

In a stockpot, bring ingredients to a rolling boil, then simmer for 30 min. Strain and reserve stock.


Oh, you make me wanna soup
Hey yeah, I wanna soup, baby

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 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 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:)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Apple Cake A Day...


...keeps the doctor away. We're pretty sure we read that somewhere. So, in pursuit of good health, we will force ourselves to eat this wtf?! cake from the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook. It's a bit labor intensive, but come on, our health is on the line.

The star of this recipe is freshly grated nutmeg...


Fresh nutmeg is known to have some serious medicinal properties. See how good this cake is for us? If you don't have access to fresh, don't fret, just use whatcha got in that there cupboard.

Apple Upside-Down Cake


Apple Butter:
(This makes more than you need, but the leftovers are a delicious addition to pancake batter, a turkey/brie sandwich or stirred into oatmeal.)

1 vanilla bean
6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar

Split vanilla bean and scrape out pulp. Add pulp and pod to medium saucepan. Add apples, lemon juice, apple juice, nutmeg and sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes. Apples should be steamed and soft. Smash apples with the back of a wooden spoon to form a sauce. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook til moisture evaporates another 10 to 15 minutes. Let the apple butter cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla pod.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350˚.


Caramel Apples:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minute. Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and cook over medium heat until it caramelizes to a deep golden brown, about 5 to 8 min. Carefully add the apple wedges, fanning them in a circle, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the apples are tender but still retain their shape, about 10 min. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely in skillet. Leave the oven on.


The Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 cup apple butter
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

While the apples are cooling down, prepare the cake batter. Cream the butter, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the egg and 1 cup apple butter and mix to combine. Add flour, taking care not to over mix. Gently pour the cake batter directly over the caramel apples in the iron skillet and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Cake is ready when skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Using a pair of kitchen towels or mitts, invert the cake onto a plate that is slightly larger than the skillet. Flip it quickly. Slowly lift off the skillet. If any apples stick, remove them gently with a spatula and place back on cake. Let cake sit for 20 minutes before serving.


Time to kick back, enjoy a slice and pat ourselves on our very healthy backs!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Pizza final

We know, we know, asparagus isn't really in season anymore, but the Tarts who rarely show up to a party on time, pay no mind. Besides, California asparagus has been taking a hit in recent years thanks to its cheaper competitors in Mexico and Peru. So when we saw some lingering asparagus at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, we pounced on it, eager to boost Cali's market share...ever so slightly. Your welcome Spears.

Deb, who's always on time, posted this recipe for shaved asparagus pizza back in May when the Spears were in their prime...way before they were charged with sexual harassment by their guard. Hold it. I've got my Spears confused.

We adapted her recipe, adding poblano and leeks to ramp up the flavor. We also opted for a whole-wheat crust that uses equal parts whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour. You can choose 12 oz for a thinner crust or 1 lb. for thicker crust. Just click the link below for the 12 oz version.

I had just purchased new yeast that I couldn't find anywhere in my newly organized kitchen (why is it harder to find stuff when you're organized?), so I grabbed some old stuff I had stashed in a drawer. Thank Goddess one of us took a closer look...

Erin discovering

Apparently, it was ancient...

Yeast CC

Ye olde Hub ran out and grabbed us some non-toxic yeast. Thanks Ham!

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
(for 1 lb. dough)

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick rising yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup hot water (120-130˚F)
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. (We didn't follow the temp guideline...shocking, we know.) With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 more Tbsp. warm water. If too sticky, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour. Process until dough forms a ball and then process for 1 minute to knead.

The recipe then calls to transfer to a well-floured surface, etc...but we just put it in a bowl and covered with a towel and let it sit for about 20 min.

CU Shaved asparagus

Shaved Asparagus and Poblano Pizza
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 lb. whole-wheat dough

1/2 lb. asparagus
1 poblano pepper
1/2 cup leeks, sliced into half moons
1/2 lb. mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
5 basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
1 Tbsp. olive oil
course salt/pepper

Preheat the oven to 500˚. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven.

Trim and seed your poblano and slice into full moons...or whatever shape that is...


Next, the most tedious and frustrating part...shaving the asparagus. Try and buy the thickest asparagus you can find. Ours was very thin which proved to be maddening. Grab each spear by the base, lay flat on a cutting board and with a vegetable peeler, shave by pulling from the base all the way to the tip. We found that the first one or two shaved nicely, but the last couple resulted in chunky, broken off bits. Don't worry. Just do your best and pitch it all in a bowl. Then lightly toss with olive oil, a pinch or four of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Marinating asp

On a floured surface, roll out your dough into a 13 inch circle. Don't worry if it's not perfect; just tell yourself it's rustic. Fold the edges under and pinch if you want a thicker edge, otherwise leave it be. If using a stone, place the circle on a floured pizza peel board, otherwise place the dough on a round, floured pizza pan. (You can also form your dough into a rectangle and place onto a floured baking sheet.) Brush the crust with a little olive oil to make it crispy then sprinkle with parmesan. Next, distribute the poblano rings evenly. Top with mozzarella cubes, then leeks and finally...pile with the shaved asparagus.

Raw pizza CU

Open the oven door and slide the pizza from the peel onto the pizza stone. (If you like to rebel against good advice, like we do, and you don't flour your board, you may need some extra hands and a few spatulas to get it from peel to stone.)

Raw pizza

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (we went all 15) until edges are browning, cheese is bubbling and a few spears are slightly charred. Sprinkle the pizza with the basil, serve and watch it disappear. If you want to take it up to a level of insanity, you can also drizzle your slice with this basil oil.

But beware...everyone will want a bite. Even a baby...may hit you up...

Tiny tart more time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Said You Wanna Be TART-in Somethin'... got to be TART-in' somethin'...

Burrata CU

And Big Sur Bakery TART-ed somethin' serious with this Heirloom/Burrata salad...somethin' that's too high for us Tarts to get over anytime soon.

You start with a basil oil that will knock your socks off...

Basil Oil

We halved the recipe and still had plenty left over. Erin drizzled it over eggs the next morning and said it was yummilicious.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Microgreens,
Burrata and Balsamic-Basil Dressing

Basil Oil*
3 bunches of basil (leaves and stems)
1 cup rice bran oil or canola oil
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

*Makes about 1 cup

Fill a bowl halfway with water and about a dozen ice cubes. Set aside.

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt and blanch the basil in boiling water until its bright green, 20 to 30 seconds. Immediately strain the basil and place it in the ice water. Let it cool for 2 minutes (the ice water will stop the basil from overcooking and help it color). Squeeze the basil dry in a kitchen towel.

Put the blanched basil (stems and all) in a blender, add the oil, and puree. Let the puree sit for 2 hours at room temperature.

Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a container. Reserve the basil oil at room temperature until ready to use. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

12 ounces (about 3 balls) burrata
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup rice bran oil or canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 assorted heirloom tomatoes
2 cups (4 ounces) microgreens
1/4 cup basil oil

About 30 minutes before serving time, pull the burrata from the refrigerator and set it aside to come to room temperature. (We used one package that only had two large balls. Balls...he he.)

Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the pine nuts on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Let the nuts cool completely. (We pan roasted them on the stove instead.)

To make the dressing, put the vinegar, basil, mustard, and pine nuts in a blender and purée until smooth. With the blender running, add the rice bran oil or canola oil in a slow, steady stream, blending until the dressing is thick and emulsified. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and set it aside.

This dressing is so DERN good, you won't be able to stop yo-self...

Erin licking

Cut the burrata balls in half and season them generously with salt and pepper.

Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange them on a serving plat ter. Season them generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with some of the balsamic-basil dressing. In a mixing bowl, toss the greens with 1 tablespoon of the dressing; arrange them on top of the tomatoes. Place the burrata halves on top of the greens, soft center up, and finish with a drizzle of basil oil.

Salad final

This salad rocks so hard, even Tiny Tart wanted in on the action...

Tiny Tart

Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, BURRATA Sa!