Monthly Archives: January 2013

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tart

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tart

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tart

Our little tart here was inspired by Five and Spice’s beet and fig tart (which we have also made, and it is fantastic as well).  While eating the aforementioned figgy tart, I had this mini revelation:  I love savory tarts!  I also made this unofficial pledge to make and eat more of them.  The crust is the foundation upon which all else is built and Emily (at the above mentioned Five and Spice) rocked out an excellent crust recipe.   From there, you have seemingly infinite topping possibilities.  Granted, one cannot help but mention the odd similarity between the tarts proposed here and my other favorite food – pizza.  Be that as it may, I’ll not be drowning any tart in mozzarella and the two crusts are decidedly different.

These are the Ingredients...minus a thing or two

These are the Ingredients…minus a thing or two

The first savory tart to come of my unofficial pledge was a shrimp and goat cheese tart.  My wife came up with this one, and it was wonderful.  I’ve recreated it below so that we might once again joyously devour it.  When my wife decided to make this tart, we were out of goat cheese.  Unfortunately, the selection of quality cheeses at the nearest grocery store leaves something to be desired, so, we ended up getting a goat cheese that as it turned out was not crumble-able.  This ended up working out rather well since we were able to spread a nice layer onto the crust which had the benefit of allowing the cheese to be more evenly dispersed.  We were also able to avoid the occasional mouth-full of chalky goat cheese from a crumble left a bit too large.  This might not bother everyone, but it was a slight issue I had with the beet and fig edition.  So for this time around, I’m using that cheese again.  Feel free to crumble, if you like.

The quality of the shrimp played a big role, I’m sure.  10/15 count wild caught, flash frozen Gulf Shrimp.  These are very delicious.  A pre-cooked cocktail shrimp is not going to do this justice.  Just sayin’.

Pulse the Butter into the Flour

Pulse the Butter into the Flour

Alright, here’s how you work the crust.

1-1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt

6 T  Butter, Cold (the quality of your butter does matter, particularly with baked goods)

1 T  Distilled White Vinegar

3-4 T  Ice Cold Water

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and the salt.  Remove the butter from the refrigerator and cut into pieces (8-12) and add them to the food processor.  Process until there are no more chunks of butter and the flour reaches a coarse texture similar to corn meal.  With the machine still going, add in the vinegar and then, 1 tablespoon at a time, add the water until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

The Dough Ball has Formed

The Dough Ball has Formed

Remove from the machine and reform it into a ball then press it down to form a thick disc.  Wrap that in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

And that Wraps up the Dough...Ha Ha

And that Wraps up the Dough…Ha Ha

On with the tart:

While the dough is chillin’, we prep the rest, starting with shelling and deveining the shrimp.  Give them a chop, 3-4 bit sizes pieces per shrimp (give or take, our shrimp were very large).

Bacon and Garlic

Bacon and Garlic

9  Shrimp, 10/15 count is what we used

4  Thick Cut slices of Bacon, cut into cubes or small strips

4- 5  Cloves Garlic, roughly minced

2-3 tsp.  Fresh minced Rosemary

2.5 oz  Goat Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Saute the bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon keeping that fatty goodness in the pan.  Turn the heat down slightly, wait a minute, then add the garlic.  Stir it around constantly for 30 seconds to a minute, careful not to let it burn.  Next add the shrimp and rosemary.  Cook for another 30 seconds or so.  We want the shrimp to start taking on a bit of color, but not to fully cook.  Turn off heat and set aside while you proceed with the crust’s next step.

Roll it out

Roll it out

Remove the crust from the frigo.  Roll it out on a lightly floured surface in a rough circular shape to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  You can certainly rustic this up a bit more and decorate it on a baker’s peel and bake it on a pizza stone.  Or use a tart pan like we did.  (Feel free to prick the crust all over with fork, pre-bake for 10 minutes or so, just before it starts to color and then continue.  I didn’t do this this time, but I probably will next time. )

Spread the goat cheese on the dough.  Now, fold over the edges, or roll them if you prefer.

Sprinkle the bacon on top of the cheese and then the shrimp mixture.  Pop it into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (less time if you have pre-baked the crust) until the crust is a nice golden brown.

Ready to Bake

Ready to Bake

Salad Fixin's

Salad Fixin’s

For the salad:

A couple handfuls of Greens: Arugula, Spinach, Mache, Watercress, or a Spring Greens Mix, etc.

Juice of half a Lemon

2-3 Tablespoons  Olive Oil

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until somewhat emulsified.

When the tart is done baking, let it cool for a few minutes.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top followed by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  If your balsamic is not a nice and syrupy vinegar, then reduce it down a bit in a small sauce pan.

That's the Balsamic We Used

That’s the Balsamic We Used

Toss the greens in the lemon vinaigrette and arrange on the tart.  It is easier to arrange the greens once you’ve plated the tart.  You could also serve the salad on the side just note that the lemony flavor of the greens adds a brightness to the tart that really ties the whole thing together.

Enjoy!

Encore!

Encore!

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Glögg: Mixology Monday LXIX

Each year for the holidays, we select a different country and explore their traditions and perhaps, most importantly their cuisine.  This past season we spent some time with Sweden and made a full on Smorgasbord.  It was hit or miss, but a lot of fun none-the-less.  I actually have started considering a rematch.  Since I now have the framework of tradition under my belt (figuratively and literally), I’ve brainstormed some tweaks and revisions here and there that could really make the various dishes shine.  But that’s another blog altogether.

The Line Up

However, one of the best elements of the dinner was the glögg!  It really hit the spot and went down pretty easy…maybe a bit too easily.  The warm depth of baking spices blended wonderfully with the raisiny and nutty density of the port wine.  The rum and bourbon took the warming quality to the next level.  As the spice aromas filled the house and the light boozy burn warmed us from the inside, we decided that glögg was the perfect foil to the cold snowy night outside our door and would definitely be a tradition that we carry over from year to year.

So when Jordan Devereaux of Chemistry of the Cocktail, this month’s host of Mixology Monday, announced that his theme would be fortified wine, I knew exactly what I would be making.  It was the perfect excuse to make this again.  Here is Jordan”s description of this month’s theme,

Fortified wines began, in large part, as a way to deal with the difficulties of shipping wine long distances in the holds of sailing ships. Without the rigorous sterilization that is possible today, wines would often spoil en route. However, increasing the alcohol concentration to around 20% ABV was enough to keep them from going off. Coincidentally, this also made it possible to age those wines for very long periods, increasing their richness and depth.

These wines held an important place in the ur-cocktails of punch and have continued on in cocktails proper, the personal punches of the past several hundred years. Though less common nowadays, sherry, port, and, to a lesser extent, madeira and marsala, all find their way into various mixed drinks.

For this month’s Mixology Monday, I’d like to see what you all can do with these versatile wines. They can play many different roles – from taking the place of vermouths in classic drinks, to providing richness and sweetness in winter tipples, to serving as a base for lighter aperitifs. Whether forgotten classics or new creations, let’s see what you can put together.

Click here to read the MxMo round up.

Granted glögg is one of those things were you can find seemingly infinite variations.  Everyone of them claiming to be the most authentic recipe that so and so’s Swedish/Norweigen/Danish/Finnish/etc. grandmother/grandfather made and passed down as had been done for generations.  I make no such claim.  I found a couple of recipes that looked decent and co-mingled them to come up with this version.  So here is our recipe: …At least I think this is what I did last time… 🙂

All in the Pot

All in the Pot

Glögg (gleug)

1 (750 ml)  bottle Port, Ruby or Tawny (I used the tawny last time and I think I prefer that)

6 oz  Bourbon or Rye

6 oz  Rum

2-3  Cardamom Pods, cracked

1  Cinnamon Stick, cracked in half (or about 2 tsp. Cinnamon Chips)

3-4  Whole Cloves

3 points of a Star Anise

1 small sliver of Ginger

Peel of half a large Orange

1-1/2 oz  Raisins, plus some for garnish

1/2 oz  Almonds, blanched and slivered, plus some for garnish

2 Tablespoons  Turbinado Sugar

Combine everything in a medium saucepan except for the sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the temperature so that only a few bubbles surface at a time.  Let it slow simmer, or just under simmer, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fire!

Fire!

Then light the pot on fire with a match and let it burn for about 30 seconds.  Pour the sugar into the flames.  Woohoo!  Now cover the pot with a lid to put out the fire.  Give it a few good stirs to dissolve the sugar and then return to lid to the pot and let it rest for an hour.

Straining

Straining

Strain out the solids and your ready to go.  Serve warm and garnish, if you like, with some raisins and almonds in the bottom of the glass.  Optionally, you can also add an orange peel garnish.

I think it actually gets better if you allow the glögg to cool completely and then reheat to serve.  It gives the flavors more time to mellow and blend together.

Glögg

Glögg

Enjoy the pleasant burn and keep warm.  Skål!


Colorado Chow

We just picked up our last CSA share from Grant Family Farms [note: this post was started in Nov].  This was our third year as members, and probably the easiest as far as using all of those tasty farm fresh veggies.  Our shares were a little more diverse this year, and I think we’ve just got better at thinking up unique ways of using it all (so as not to get stuck in the ‘sauteed greens’ rut).  However, there are a few veggies that still find us scratching our heads and wondering “How the heck are we going to use all of that?!?”.  Enter, kohlrabi.

kohlrabi and friends

We’re definitely not the first CSA’rs to express kohlrabi distress.  As we scoured the web in search of recipes, we ran into many bloggers talking the same talk.  We’ve tried kohlrabi a lot of ways – roasted, mashed, slawed, etc.  They’re all pretty good, but then we had kohlrabi that really knocked our socks off …Colorado Chow.

While attending an impromptu family/friend get together, I (wifey’s writing the blog today!) was happy to see Anne in attendance.  Not only is Anne a great conversationalist, but she has a wealth of knowledge about cooking and gardening (she owns her own landscaping company, and has beautiful gardens herself).  Well, somehow the conversation turned to chow chow.  Chow chow is a pickled relish (popular in the South, we hear).  It’s usually made with cabbage and a medley of other veggies.  Anne updated the recipe to include habaneros (!) and replaced cabbage with her garden’s abundant kohlrabi.  She also changed the name to reflect the regional shift.  We tried the chow she gave us on brats…..spectacular!  I immediately asked for the recipe.

This was our first go at canning, and I’m happy to say it was successful.  We altered Anne’s recipe a little, including more habanero (!) among other things.  We still have around 20 kohlrabi, I think some more Colorado Chow is in order!

veggie mixture

veggie mixture

Colorado Chow

8 Cups Shredded Kohlrabi

2 Cups Chopped Sweet Onion

1.5 Cups Chopped Red Bell Pepper (we used 1/2 Orange Bell 1/2 Red Bell)

2 Cups Shredded Carrots

7 Large Cloves of Garlic

1/2 Cup Cilantro

5 Habaneros Chopped (we didn’t seed them)

3.5 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar (We used 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar and 1.5 Cups White Vinegar)

2.5 Cups Sugar

1.5 Cups Water

1 Tbsp Mustard Powder

1 Tbsp Celery Seed

3 Tbsp Salt

Combine vinegar, sugar, water, mustard powder, celery seed, and salt in a large pot.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins.  Add remaining ingredients to pot.  Bring to a boil again, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 mins.  Pack in clean 8 oz jars (we used a a few bigger jars as well) and leave 1/2 inch head space before screwing on lids.  Water bath can for 20 mins (for 5000 ft altitude).  Remove jars from bath and allow to cool completely before handling again.  You’ll have to re-process any jars that don’t seal (lids will start making popping sounds when cooling as they form a vacuum.  Lids should seal ‘down’ and not pop back up in center when you push on them).  For more information about canning and preserving, check out Preserving Summer’s Bounty.

049

Colorado Chow in Jars


Happy New Years, People!

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years!

Wishing you all, whoever you are, wherever you are, a most wonderful New Year!  I hope your 2013 is everything you hope it will be!

Tonight we’re jamming out to KEXP‘s end of the year count down and  toasting to the success of future changes and to our continued good fortune.  May many more glasses see their end…

Bollinger Champagne

Bollinger Champagne

Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut Champagne is the sparkling of choice ce soir.

It starts our with bright green apple with some fugi and honey crisp apples mashed into a cider.  It shows more sweetness mid palate with some vanilla and custard notes before drying out with a lemony zip.  The finish, however, lingers with pleasant and soft apricot, almond flavors.  Definitely recommend!   Especially, if you get it on sale like I did…

Cheers!


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