” November Pear-Pluot Tart” (When the going gets tough, the tough start baking!)

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In my house when the going gets a bit tough, I have an overwhelming urge to bake and bake and bake…the next few posts might be baked goods.

Lovely firm pears…juicy pluots…maple syrup and spelt flour all layered, sugared and baked in a short bread crust. Hello November….Hello Thanksgiving in Nashville, Tennessee….Hello?

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Below are step-by-steps….just in case….

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…..you want to make your own…right now…today..don’t you? It’s as Easy As This! Baking will make you feel better….I promise.

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Hello delicious.

November Pear-Pluot Tart

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for Crust:

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 stick cold butter cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon ice cole water, if needed

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons red currant jelly, melted to brush on crust
  • 3 ripe, but firm pears, cored, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 pluots or plums, cored and thickly sliced (or small tart apples)
  • 1/2 cup demerara or other dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
  • Grainy raw sugar to sprinkle over top of tart after baking

Directions:

  1. Place spelt flour in a food processor along with the butter pieces and vanilla bean powder. Process until mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add maple syrup and egg yolk. Process until a dough forms. (Add ice water if needed)  Remove dough from food processor and form into a flatten disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface into a large round. Fit into a 9 inch springform pan, folding extra dough to inside to form a thicker crust all around. Prick the bottom of the crust and chill for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. When filling ingredients are ready remove tart shell from the refrigerator and spread the bottom with the melted red currant jelly.
  5. Fill tart shell with fruit, and then sprinkle the demerara sugar over the fruit. Top with butter pieces.. Bake until fruit is fork tender, not mushy, about 40 minutes. Fruit will begin to caramelize just a bit. Remove from oven and dust with grainy raw sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Notes: You can make this tart with all pears or pears and apples as well. Great Holiday dessert.

Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Thanks-Giving Parmesan Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage & Butternut Squash

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Thanksgiving….giving thanks.

Thanksgiving is upon us and in my life there is so much to be thankful for that my mind reels. The list is long and I try to keep it in the front of my mind most days whether it is a holiday or not. It is not always easy but I try. Do you have a mental list of things you are thankful for?

For these savory “Parmesan-Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage and Butternut-Squash”, if you do not have a classic French madeleine pan, use a cast iron corn stick pan. I bought my pans at Amazon but recently picked up a few more at TJMaxx. You can find a previous madeleine post I did for “Chocolate  Black-Peppercorn Orange Madeleines” here as well. Madeleines are traditionally sweet and originated from the Lorraine region in France. My Southern, seasonal twist uses yellow polenta, sage and butternut squash as well as parmesan cheese and will be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Also great with chili or soups.

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Fresh sage leaves in the bottom of the pan….batter spread on top…..

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…baked for 15 minutes until golden brown…..

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…flipped out onto a cooling rack and while hot I shredded more Parmesan over the top.

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I made this recipe earlier in the year for a project I was working on with a friend. In that recipe I did not use butternut-squash, but I had some left from a photo shoot and did not want to let it go to waste so shredded it and tossed into the batter for a more seasonal twist!

Be Thankful. Be Kind and Share.

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Parmesan-Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage and Butternut Squash

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Ingredients:

  • coconut oil spray
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • 2/3 cup instant polenta
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded butternut squash
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • special equipment: 2 madeleine pans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray madeleine pans with coconut spray.
  3. Place one or two fresh sage leaves in the bottom of each “madeleine” space. Press down into the molds using your fingers. Respray with coconut oil. The oil will secure the sage leaves to bottom of the pan.
  4. In a mixing bowl blend together instant polenta, flour, baking soda, Parmesan cheese, sea salt & black pepper.
  5. Stir in the melted butter, eggs, butternut squash & buttermilk. Blend well. Spoon batter into the pan over the sage leaves just to batter being level. Pat into mold with you fingers. If batter gets too dry then add a bit more buttermilk. This batter is thicker than your regular cornbread batter.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until madeleines are golden brown and puffy. Remove pans from oven and cool for a few minutes. Turn pans upside down to release madeleines from pan. While they are still hot sprinkle more Parmesan on top. It will slightly melt into the surface. Serve immediately or keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Can be reheated as well. Store any leftovers in a plastic bag for a few days.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      www.foodonfifth.com

A Toast to the Holidays / “Poire et Jacques, Y’all”

” Poire et Jacques, Y’all”

Thanksgiving really began at our house one week before November 24th. Thursday, November 18th to be exact.

The Third Thursday Potluck was that evening &  called for something special to take along as it was the last Third Thursday Potluck of 2011. A special cocktail/tonic has become my regular potluck dish. I have made many cocktails to take to this wonderful monthly dinner hosted by my friend and fellow blogger Nancy Vienneau (www.goodfoodmatters.com) and my friend, Gigi Gaskins owner and fabulous hat maker at “HatWRKS” (check it out on Facebook).

I wanted this holiday cocktail to contain ingredients that represent my geographical place as well as a Southern based liquor & be wintry. This recipe, which is a Toast to the Holidays and an Ode to Winter, is one I hope you will  try. On warmer fall days like we have been having here in Nashville it was perfect over ice, but as the days become chillier it is very cozy served hot and I am sure it has medicinal properties that will ward off colds & flu during the holidays. I could not think of a name for my concoction….Wouter came up with the perfect name don’t you think?

Ingredients: (for about 2 quarts for a party)

6 cups Pear Cider

2 cups Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey

1 cup Pear Liqueur

2 TBSP Ginger Jam or Preserves

Mix all ingredients together in a large container.

Add one or two whole peeled winter pears to a pitcher. Pour cocktail mixture over pears and chill until ready to serve. (Later these pears will make a very nice dessert)

You can make this cocktail ahead of time and keep refrigerated over the holidays to have on hand ready to serve when the moment calls for a relaxing drink with friends. Add a few crispy pear slices and a small teaspoon of ginger jam to each glass whether serving cold or hot.

The remainder of my week between the Third Thursday &  the Fourth Thursday of November was a bit of a blur. This was not due to imbibing to much Poire Jacques by the way!

There were calls to work out-of-town, calls to work in town, shoots booked, cancelled and rebooked, recipe development & testing to be done, a food video shoot in my  kitchen on Wednesday so by Thanksgiving day I had already cooked & styled 2 pork loins with fruit stuffing, baked  some yummy chocolate cookies, Wisconsin cherry scones & cupcakes with a buttercream frosting, pie crusts, pies, roasted red bell peppers and a garden greens saute, and that is just part of the list. We had bid happy holidays to our grown children going to Wisconsin & Knoxville to visit relatives and taken in our grandson’s Jack Russell, Bill to spend a few days with our dog Ella.

Our Thanksgiving was a day of walking dogs in crunchy, colorful fall leaves, watching four “Boardwalk Empire’s” back-to-back, going to see “Descendents” at the movies, stopping by to see the progress on an inn our friends John and Liz are getting ready to open here in Nashville, eating big bowls of Perciatelli with MeatBalls & Red Sauce along with some red wine and being thankful for all of this and more.

“A Quick Sweet/Savory Breakfast Frittata with Pears & Blackberries” (for the folks working on the video at my house to enjoy)

Ingredients:

One sheet of puff pastry slightly thawed

4 slices of good sharp white cheddar

2 cups thinly sliced hard pears

1 cup fresh blackberries

4 eggs whisked with 1/2 cup cream, 4 ounces softened cream cheese & 1 tbsp raw or brown sugar

Extra raw sugar for  sprinkling on top

Maple syrup for drizzling on top of servings

Directions:

Turn oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Line skillet with sheet of puff pastry.

Arrange cheddar slices over bottom of pastry & top with pear slices. Pour egg-cream mixture over pear slices and sprinkle with blackberries & raw sugar.

Bake until puffy & golden brown and until eggs are set in the middle. Remove from oven & let sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup.

The crispy-flakiness of the puff pastry along with the naturally sweetness of the fruit, the savory egg & cheddar cheese topped with a bit of sweet maple syrup & the crunch of raw sugar makes for the perfect quick breakfast that is not cloying sweet nor too savory.

“A Little Seasonal Gallery of Fun”

Francis Ann enjoys a Poire Jacques.
Tammy & George’s Kitchen Clock
Melted Cheese-us on Burger
Not sure of the connection?
Table Talk Pie Pan
Bill
Early morning kitchen board.
Ella
…..or Else!

“t(wo) for Thanksgiving, t for Tennessee”

We all know the phrase “t for Texas, t for Tennessee, right? This year we added “t(wo) for Thanksgiving”.  That’s right, this year was the year we had to share our children with all their other extended, far-away families. We do this every other year. If your family is like ours it is a combination of birth family, married-into families, step-families, long-time & new-friends-families. So Wouter & I had great day cooking a simple meal, a meal of not-too-much, a meal of local bounty and international recipes. We spent the day together cooking, talking, laughing and telling stories.

“t(wo) for Thanksgiving” Menu


Asian Roasted Hen & Gravy


Hutspot (A Dutch dish of Onion, Carrots, Potatoes & Meat Juices)

A simple salad of shredded spinach, julienned pears & plums (photo on finished plate image)

An Australian Malbec

Jill’s Fresh Citrus Granita with Limoncello Drizzle

For an afternoon tea time snack:

Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cookie)

Yazoo Stout & Barista Pinotage (both great with a piece of butter cookie!)

First things first…………..

“Asian Roast Hen with Au Jus-Gravy”

For recipe: Go to relishmag.com. In search enter: “Asian Roast Turkey with Sticky Rice Stuffing” This is the cover story for the November 2010 Issue.  I wanted to cook a roasting hen using the same ingredients so I just cut everything in half for the basting glaze. Also I wanted the have Hutspot, so I did not make the Sticky Rice Stuffing, although I highly recommend it. The original recipe is by cookbook author Corinne Trang and is one of the most delicious bird recipes I have ever tasted.

1. Rinse and dry bird. Make basting glaze according to the recipe. Following original recipe, loosen skin of the bird, add glaze under skin and on top. Roast following recipe based on the size of the bird you are cooking. Roast bird until the skin is very brown and crispy. Use the pan juices to make an au jus-gravy by whisking in a bit of flour & black pepper.

“Hutspot”

1. For this you will need: 2.2 lbs (1 kilo) each carrots, onions & potatoes. 1/2 lb beef sirloin (or similar cut) sliced into 2 equal pieces, 8 ozs butter, salt & pepper, 1 cup water. A large dutch oven or stock pot.

2. Brown butter in a pan over medium-high heat, add meat seasoned with salt & pepper. Meat will sizzle & turn brown, lower temp and continue to cook for about 1/2 hr. until meat is tender.

3. While meat is cooking, wash & cut carrots into thick “coins”.

4. Place carrots in the bottom of pan and top with slices of cooked beef.

5. Chop onions into large chunks and add to pot on top of carrots & meat. Add 1 cup water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 1.5 hours. Carrots & onions should be very “mashable” soft.

6. About 1/2 hour before carrots & onions are cooked, peel potatoes, cut up and put into a pan of water. Cook for about 20 minutes until very soft.

7. When soft remove potatoes from heat, drain and mash-up.

8. Remove meat from the pot of carrots & onions. Set aside for later use. Drain liquid from pot. Add mashed potatoes to pot of drained carrots & onions.With a potato masher or large fork “stomp” all the vegetables together until they are well incorporated. Add salt & pepper to taste. This dish has everything you like about mashed potatoes with the added sweetness of carrots with a hint of onion added it. Wouter used Yukon Gold potatoes which are very “mashable”. Cover and keep warm until ready to eat.

(Note: If we were just having Hutspot as our main dish we would serve it with the pieces of cooked meat thinly sliced. Since we are having it with our “bird” we saved the meat for another meal.)

“Boterkoek”

For this you will need: 150 g all-purpose flour, 125 g butter, 125 g basterdsuiker (more about this later) or castor sugar.

Basterdsuiker – Wouter brings this back from Amsterdam and is what all his dessert recipes  call for. I have investigated and found there is no comparable sugar sold in our supermarkets. You can substitute Caster Sugar, or in a pinch regular sugar I suppose. Basterdsuiker has the wonderful consistency of our light brown sugars but is a very white, moist sugar that incorporates into your recipe more readily than our regular granulated sugar. You can order this online just by Googling it. After using it for desserts I really love it and wish we could buy locally.  I like that Wouter used Irish Kerrygold butter, Dutch sugar and Tennessee White Lily flour in this recipe!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until you can form a pastry ball. Add a bit of flour to your fingers if necessary.

2. Press soft dough into a buttered & floured pan.

3. Bake for about 25 minutes or until dough is a light golden brown. Remove from oven to cool. Dough will still be a bit soft, but as the sugar & butter cool the dough will set up like a cookie.

4. To serve, turn out on a cutting board and then invert onto a serving plate.

Serving suggestion: We had originally planned to have this in the afternoon with hot tea, but as the day got darker and windier and it got cozier inside we decided the boterkoek would be fabulous with a glass of Nashville’s Yazoo Brewery Onward Stout for Wouter and a glass of Barista Pinotage from South Africa for me, both very dark wintry tastes. As we thought….the perfect tea time!

Salad Note: At the last minute I rummaged through the fridge and came up with a simple salad by shredding fresh Spinach leaves, cutting some baby Pears & ripe Plums into julienne strips and drizzling with a bit of a Feta Vinaigrette. This is a non-recipe dish and you could substitute any greens or fruits that you have for the ones I used. I always like to have something a bit crunchy, green and fruity with my Thanksgiving dinner.

“Jill’s Extremely Fresh Citrus Granita with Limoncello Drizzle”

Recently the Relish Magazine folks were shooting some video at our house and Jill made this great Citrus Granita. I did not get the actual recipe but it is so easy that anyone can do it without a recipe. Jill made this on camera, put it in my freezer and there is has been for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I wanted something really easy & fresh tasting for after dinner. This fit all my requirements. When I showed it to Wouter and let him taste it he loved it and said that it would be really great with a drizzle of my Limoncello. This is how recipes are born I think.

For this recipe you will need:

6 cups of freshly squeezed Citrus Juice – Jill used a combination of blood oranges, ruby-red grapefruit, navel oranges & lemons. Try clementines, tangerines or any of the wonderful citrus that is available all year-long.

A simple syrup made using granulated sugar & water.  About 1 cup.

1. Mix together the cooled down simple syrup and the 6 cups juice. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary. Pour mixture into a freezer container. Freeze until hard.

2. When ready to serve, use a sturdy fork to “scrape” frozen juice into “granita”

The color is so absolutely lovely. As I scraped I could actually see all the different colors of each citrus used.

3. Put Granita into a short glass & drizzle with very cold Limoncello. Very elegant, very easy and the perfect after dinner dessert-nightcap.

The table was set……

…night fell, we filled out plates, poured some wine……

….and toasted our day….bon apetit.