20 June 2011

Pizza Night

When I was staying with my family in Spain, every Friday night we would make pizzas and watch a movie. It was my small contribution for them generously letting me stay at their house and corrupt my teenage cousins. Anyway, my uncle would make pizza dough and I would take the cousins to go load up on delicious toppings at the market. My specialty, the Carmel special, basically just had everything on it. Saturday night, with a busy week ahead, we decided to have a little pizza/movie night at home. It was another drizzly day in Portland, so instead of the plan to grill the pizzas, we ended up just doing them inside. I also forgot to make dough, so we bought a couple pounds from Trader Joe's. Their dough is actually pretty good and a good deal at around $1/lb.

Our toppings, starting at the top (clockwise): fontina cheese, fresh tomatoes,
sage, jamon serrano, mozzarella, and sauteed mushrooms

From farthest to closest: plain cheese, mushroom/fontina/sage,
jamon serrano/fresh tomato/arugula

Cheese...ready for its close up. Made with a combo of the plain and whole wheat dough.
Little fresh basil from the garden on top.

Sauteeing the mushrooms beforehand rids them of excess moisture ensuring the crust stays crisp during baking

Although we put the arugula on at the end, I stuck it back in the oven to stay warm for seconds.
The wilted arugula was delicious, as well. I can see it going in for a minute at
the end of baking to char it a bit for an even more pleasantly bitter addition.

Trio of fresh pizza

This has nothing to do with the pizza, but it's the salad I made the next day with the rest of the arugula.
All that paired with a delicious bottle of Barbera from Rosa D'Oro, made for a delightful evening. We watched The Social Network, and although it was entertaining and pretty interesting, I'm not sure why it was nominated for so many awards (other than the soundtrack, which was well done). Oh well, at least the food and wine was great!

14 June 2011

Farmers Market Inspired Weekend

This Saturday, Shawn and I finally took the time to head down to the PSU Farmers Market, which I believe is the largest in Portland. It was a somewhat drizzly morning being that it was the Grand Floral Parade for the Rose Festival, of course it had to be! It worked to our advantage as it wasn't too crowded when we arrived a half hour after it opened. First things first--we had to get food. Shawn opted for the chile and potato filled breakfast burrito from Enchanted Sun Breakfast Burritos. It was a tough decision for me, but ultimately I had to pick the egg, cheese, and fried chicken (?!) biscuit sandwich from Pine State Biscuits. I've been dying to go there and when opportunity presented itself, who was I to say no? And it was as good as everyone says it is. Next time, I'm going for the McIsley, though (Fried chicken with pickles, mustard and honey). Yes, please!

Our real purpose at the market was to find rhubarb, maybe some of our weekly veggies, and definitely some starts for our garden since my poor little starts all died when they weren't able to be planted at the time they were ready (Portland weather FAIL). Apparently Shawn is not much of a fan of my Farmers Market wandering, just like he is not a fan of my grocery store wandering. After a little perusing, I finally found my rhubarb and settled on a genovese basil plant, dill, two types of tomatoes (one called "Mr. Stripey"...tee hee), and a lemon cucumber plant. The rest of the afternoon was spent weeding and planting. I also transplanted the mysterious carrots that have appeared in the beds, and some seeds that didn't need to be started indoors. Busy day and hopefully we'll see the fruits of my labors this summer.
Now those are some nice egg yolks!

Sunday morning I ended up skipping the run I had planned to go on with friends and instead made us breakfast (worked late Saturday night and 9-mile run was planned for 7am...ugh). It turned out to be a kind of  hash with sausage from the market, shallots, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. 

Needing something slightly more healthy than the previously planned biscuits and gravy,
this hash kept me energized for most of my 9 miles.
For dinner, I planned to do a Mediterranean rub on grilled chicken drumsticks. We had a little buttermilk coleslaw on the side, and what fits naturally with coleslaw and chicken? Biscuits of course! I eventually got to indulge my addiction to carbs and fat with my super simple drop biscuits. I swear I'll never buy that packaged crap again.
I think I could've called this post "Biscuit weekend" instead.

As for the rhubarb, I had many ideas, but finally settled on a combination dessert of a tart with oatmeal crisp topping. I wish I had done two things differently: toasted the oats beforehand and cooked the tart crust a little longer. It came out delicious and I'd definitely make something like it again, but I would like a little more of buttery crunch from both the crust and the topping. I used a combination of recipes and ideas, though, so it was bound to need some tweaking.

Love that fluted crust!

Rhubarb Tart with Crunchy Oatmeal Crust

Tart Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)
Cook's Illustrated

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar (about 2 3/4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1. For the tart pastry: Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor with four 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about twenty 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough comes together, about 12 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk; wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

2. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 11-inch round. (If dough becomes soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable.) Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely over rolling pin and unrolling over 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners and sides of pan with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan, patching breaks or cracks if necessary. (If some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet or large plate and freeze 30 minutes. (Frozen dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen up to 1 month.)

3. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet; lightly spray one side of 18-inch square heavy-duty extra-wide foil with nonstick cooking spray. Press foil greased side down inside frozen tart shell, folding excess foil over edge of pan; fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until pastry appears dry and pale gold under foil and edges have just begun to color, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Return baking sheet with tart shell to oven and bake until sides are medium golden brown, about 5 minutes; set on wire rack to cool.

Rhubarb Filling

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 3 x 1/2-inch strips lemon peel (yellow part only)
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 pounds fresh rhubarb, trimmed, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (about 6 cups)

Combine sugar and water in heavy large skillet over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Increase heat and bring to boil. Add rhubarb and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pan and simmer until rhubarb is just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Let stand covered until rhubarb is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and cool completely.
Using slotted spoon, remove rhubarb from cooking liquid and arrange in concentric circles in crust. Strain cooking liquid into heavy small saucepan. Boil liquid until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely. Spoon syrup over rhubarb. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)*

Oatmeal Topping

Combine about 1 cup of oats with about a 1/4 cup brown sugar, a little cinnamon and a few tablespoons of unsalted butter (cold). Mash together until pretty uniform and top rhubarb. Bake the whole dish on a cookie sheet until bubbly and top is crisp--about a half hour at 350 degrees.

*I omitted this last step of spooning over the rhubarb since I was baking it again and didn't want too much liquid. I reserved the extra sauce and have been using it over yogurt instead.