Monday, August 29, 2011

Peach Custard Tarts

What do you do when you have a bag full of delicious ripe peaches ?



Make them even more delicious by placing them in tart shells and enrobing them in sweet custard!

Just scrumptious!

The subtle sweetness of the custard wonderfully compliments the ripe peach flavour.




A great summer dessert for an August night.




The crumble on top is a delightful touch, too!


They were irresistible when fresh out of the oven, both the custard and peach were soft and warm.


They weren't too shabby after cooling either ;)


Here's a warm tart just waiting to be eaten.


Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart
adapted from Sweet Tarte by way of Tender Crumb

For the Streusel
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped almonds (omitted)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For the Filling
3 large ripe peaches, halved, pitted and peeled*
1/2 cup heavy cream (we substituted 1% canned milk to make them a little less indulgent)
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To Make the Streusel: Working with your fingertips, blend all the ingredients together in a small bowl until evenly combined. Cover the streusel tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed.
Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
To Make the Tart: Slice 5 of the peach halves crosswise. The best way to do this is to place each peach half cut side down on a cutting board and slice it crosswise into thin slices, keeping the sliced half intact. Then lift each half on a spatula, press down on the half lightly to fan it just a bit and place it in the crust, with the edge of the outer peach slices almost touching the edge of the crust, so that you have 5 peach "spokes" and an empty space in the center. Trim the remaining unsliced peach half so it will fit into the center of the tart and, using the tip of your knife, cut a little tic-tac-toe pattern in the center of the peach. Set aside while you make the creamy filling.
Whisk the cream, egg, sugar and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. When blended, rap the bowl on the counter to knock out the air bubbles, and pour the filling over and around the peaches.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Remove the streusel from the refrigerator and the tarts from the oven. Using your fingers, break the streusel up into small bits. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the creamy parts of the tarts.
Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is set and the streusel is golden. Remove the tarts from the oven and transfer the pans to a rack to cool until barely warm or at room temperature.

The Crust
adapted from Eclectic Recipes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Method
Press into tart pans and prick with fork. Pre-bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fresh Israeli Couscous Salad


Here's a couscous salad that is just the most perfect summer dish.


It's not just any couscous salad but an Israeli couscous salad.


Israeli couscous are like toothsome, chewy pearls. (which is a good thing!)


It's light, it's fresh, it's healthy, it's a snap to prepare... I could keep going...



but I'll only say one more thing...

it's delicious! Everything you want a summer meal to be!




Green Israeli Couscous Salad
adapted from Joy the Baker
four small or two large servings
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry Israeli Couscous
generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups sliced snap peas (substituted with green string beans and yellow wax beans)
1 English cucumber, cut into chunks
1/3 cup chopped parsley (omitted this)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (we did not add this)
1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios (and we omitted these too)
salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
about 3 tablespoons olive oil
about 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, bring three cups of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, followed by Israeli couscous. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until couscous is just tender, with a slight bite, about 10 to 13 minutes.
Drain into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Toss cooled couscous with the rest of the ingredients. Taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary.







Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Roasted Eggplant and Veggie Pasta



This is one of the best pastas we have ever made. Simply delicious, fresh, and satisfying. AND super easy!


Roasted Eggplant Pasta


(makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
1 eggplant (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 handful salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used roasted tomatoes)
1 green pepper (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
1 pound pasta
1/4 cup feta (crumbled)

Directions:
1. Toss the eggplant in the salt and let sit in a colander for 20-30 minutes.
2. Rinse the salt off the eggplant and pat dry.
3. Toss the eggplant in the oil, salt and pepper to coat.
4. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet.
5. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
6. Heat the oil in a pan.
7. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
8. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
9. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, green pepper, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
10. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 30-40 minutes.
11. Meanwhile start cooking the pasta as directed on the package, timed to finish when the sauce will be done.
12. Stir in the parsley and remove from heat.
13. Serve the roasted eggplant sauce on the pasta and garnish with crumbled feta.

                                                    

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beet and Fennel Soup!

BEET SOUP!


 We served ours a little chunky but it was perfect for us. You can serve this chilled also. 

This soup was really sweet and the fennel lent a nice licorice-y taste which kind of made it taste more like dessert. We served it as an appetizer but it could also work as a dessert maybe topped with some candied ginger (oooh! how fancy!).


P.S. This is totally VEGAN.


Beet and Fennel Soup

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 large (2 1/2- to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
Fennel fronds (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add cubed beets and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until beets are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to same saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup unflavored kefir and season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rewarm soup.
Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with fennel fronds.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies




 Yummy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!


 These are really chewy and oaty and delicious. We normally don't bake with butter but it was worth the splurge in these cookies.



Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe by Michael Smith from Chef at Home


Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and molasses together in a stand mixer. Beat until well combined and ‘creamy’. If you don’t have a stand mixer beat vigorously by hand in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile whisk the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and continue beating until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and gradually add the flour mix, beating just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. You may try using ground oats if you prefer a smoother cookie texture.
  4. Using a tablespoon scoop out a ball of the dough and drop onto a lightly greased cookie tray. Flatten slightly. Repeat leaving lots of room in between the balls for the cookies to expand. Bake for twelve to fifteen minutes. Cool for two minutes then remove from the tray and try to eat only one!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chocolate Diablo Cookies



These cookies are absolutely delicious. They're really different from the average cookie and we always like different. The summer is still hot like these cookies - the cayenne pepper is a really nice and unexpected touch. If you don't tolerate heat well then I would suggest only using about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  We added the sunflower seeds because they're colourful and cute :)




Chocolate Diablo Cookies

Recipe from Tacofino Food Truck, Vancouver, BC (as seen on Eat St.)


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot!)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed ginger juice or fresh grated ginger root
  • extra sea salt and sugar mixed together for rolling cookies in before baking
  • chocolate covered sunflower seeds for topping *(our addition)

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. In a seperate container, whisk wet ingredients.
  3. Combine mixtures.
  4. On a greased cookie sheet press fist size cookie dough balls out and sprinkle with rock salt and sugar. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 11 minutes or until the cookies start to crack. They should be nice and fudgy in the middle! This recipe should make 12 BIG cookies or many more small ones.


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