Closet Cooking: Roasted cauliflower and aged white cheddar gratin
Tender roasted cauliflowerin an aged white cheddar sauce that is baked until golden brown and bubbling with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping. Ingredients 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets 2 tablespoons oil salt and pepper to taste 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons flour (rice flour for gluten-free) 1-1/2 cups milk 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg Optional salt and pepper to taste 1 cup aged white cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (gluten free for gluten free) Directions 1 Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet. 2 Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. 3 Bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, mix in the flour and let cook until it just starts to brown a little. 4 Mix in the milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cheese and heat until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. 5 Mix cauliflower into the bechamel sauce, pour into a baking dish and top with the bread crumbs. 6 Bake in a preheated 350F oven until it is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes. Servings: Makes 4-8 servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes Kevin Lynch came to realize that his meals were boring and that he had been eating the same few dishes over and over again for years. It was time for a change! He now spends his free time searching for, creating and trying tasty new recipes in his closet-sized kitchen.
Chocolate Shavings: Tomates Provencales
This dish is the ultimate reminder of the food I grew up eating in France. When baked, tomatoesbecome incredibly sweet. These are filled with breadcrumbs and herbs that complement the juicy tomato flesh. Ingredients 3 large plump tomatoes, halved 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely diced 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley Salt and freshly ground pepper Extra virgin olive oil Directions 1 Preheat your oven to 375F. 2 Lay out the tomatoes seed side up, in a large oven-proof baking dish. 3 Scoop out some of the seeds to make more room for the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 4 In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley. 5 Using a small spoon, fill the tomatoes with the breadcrumbs mixture. 6 Drizzle with some olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves: 2-4. Jennifer Bartoli is a Toronto-based writer, photographer and recipe developer who grew up in Paris, France. Her longstanding passion for food took her to New York City, where she studied at the French Culinary Institute. For delicious recipes and more, check out Jennifer’s blog, Chocolate Shavings.
Dessert First Girl: Pear and almond frangipane tart
This lovely tart combines several of my favorite things: tart crust, frangipane, and fruit. When I first started baking, one of my goals was to master French tarts. It was this desire that led me to attend pastry school and conquer my fear of tart crust. I made this tart to celebrate my graduation from pastry school. The shortcrust in this recipe is everything I dream of for crust: buttery, tender, and crumbly. It's a perfect container for the frangipane, a heavenly almond-scented pastry cream. Almost any fruit would work on top of this tart, but for the fall season I love the subtle sweetness of pears. Every time I make this tart, I'm reminded of why I got into pastry. Ingredients Pate Sablee 1-1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 9 tablespoon butter, very cold, cut into small pieces 1 egg yolk Poached Pears 3 ripe medium pears (I used Anjou) – you only need 2 pears but I suggest having an extra one just in case you mess up a pear 3 cups water 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 cinnamon stick 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon salt Frangipane 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 2/3 cup sugar 3/4 cup ground blanched almonds 2 teaspoons flour 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 large egg 1 egg white 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons almond extract Directions For the pears 1 Combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. 2 Meanwhile, cut the pears in half, remove the seed core and fibrous cores at either end, then peel the pears. 3 Add the pear halves to the simmering syrup and reduce heat to low. Cover, and let pears poach for about 10 minutes, turning them halfway. The pears will become slightly translucent, very tender, and easily pierced with a knife or skewer. Let the pears cool in the liquid until room temperature before using. Or, you can store them in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For the tart shell 1 Put the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. 2 Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. 3 Add the egg yolk and combine in several pulses until the dough starts to turn from dry to clumpy. Do not let the dough form one giant ball or it will be be overworked – just keep checking after every pulse and when the dough pieces looks like they will stick when you press them together, stop. 4 Butter a 9-inch tart tin with removable bottom. 5 Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. You probably will not need all the dough – save the extra for patching the shell after you bake it. Do not press the dough too hard or it will become tough – just enough for it to form to the tin. 6 Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. You do not need pie weights. 7 Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. If any places have cracked, repair with the extra dough. 8 Let cool on a rack until room temperature. For the frangipane 1 Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor and combine until smooth. 2 Add the ground almonds and blend together. 3 Add the flour and cornstarch, and then the egg and egg white. 4 Process the mixture until it is very smooth. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts just to blend. 5 The frangipane can be used immediately or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If it becomes too firm in the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for a while to soften before using. To finish the tart 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2 Spread the frangipane evenly into the cooled tart shell (It should be liquid enough to smooth out on its own so you don’t need to work to much on it). 3 Take the poached pears out of their liquid and drain them on paper towels. You don’t want too much excess liquid or they will make the frangipane soggy. 4 Cut each pear half crosswise into 3/8 in thick slices. Do not separate the pear half yet. Slide a spatula or other flat utensil underneath the pear so you can transfer the entire half onto the tart. 5 Press on the pear to fan the slices toward the top narrow end of the pear. Slide the pear half onto the frangipane carefully – you can move the pear after you place it, but not much. 6 Repeat with three other pear halves until there are four halves on the tart, evenly spaced. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed, golden brown, and firm to the touch. 7 Cool the tart on a wire rack. Before serving, you can brush the pears with some warmed apple jelly to glaze, or dust confectioner’s sugar over the tart. Makes one 9-inch tart. (Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.) Anita Chu, also known as pastrygirl, is the creator of Dessert First, an award-winning blog dedicated to all things sweet. Anita is also the author of sweet cookbooks, Field Guide to Cookies and Field Guide to Candy.