Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sig-O Cooks Dinner!

The sig-o has been working on weeks to perfect this recipe. He decided to surprise me with it for one of our date nights. Let me tell you, it was muy impresivo. For someone who's never had pork chops, I think he nailed it! I know what you're thinking, "You've never had pork chops?" Yeah, well, did I mention I was vegetarian for six years, and before that, I was a steak and fish kind of gal. Now that we're all over the shock, back to the pork chops. They were delicious. They were so flavorful, delicious, and juicy. His side dishes weren't too shabby either. The brocolli was just right. They were tender, slightly crisp, not too soggy, and not completely raw. That's hard to do, my friends. The pasta was great. As a recent graduate from college, he has become a master of al dente pasta and tomato sauce.
For dessert, my wonderful sig-o ran out to the store to pick up a tub of vanilla bean ice cream, while I stayed behind and finished my dinner (I'm a very slow eater).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brown Butter Raspberry Tart

When I think of pie crusts, the first thought that comes into my mind is how difficult they are to handle. They are sticky no matter how much flour I use and they never roll so nicely around a rolling pin like on the FoodNetwork. Actually, those days ended a few months ago when I found the perfect recipe that has just the right consistency and bakes beautifully .
Even though I am now at a level where I can handle pie crusts and I believe I have found the perfect recipe, my countless arduous experiences still leave a negative imprint in my memories. It's gotten so bad to the point where, even though I love to bake pies, I only bake them during the holidays, when I can make large batches of pie crust dough at once, and make several pies at the same time.When I came across this brown butter raspberry tart recipe, I was tempted to try it, but my immediate thought and reflexes caused me to cringe at the thought of making the crust. Once again, I had bulk berries, so I took a deep breath and decided to suck it up and give it a go. I am so glad I did. The crust was so unbelievely simple and gave me no trouble at all. After the crust, which was a no brainer, the rest was a cake walk. This recipe was so remarkably easy that I made it twice! Now that's a no brainer.

Brown Butter Raspaberry Tart adpated from epicurious.com


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt


1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries


For the crust:
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F.

2. Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl.

3. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated.

4. Transfer the dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of pan.

5. Bake crust until golden, about 18 minutes (crust will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling:
1. Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend.

2. Add flour and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

3. Cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often, about 6 minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup.

4. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

5. Arrange raspberries, pointed side up and close together in concentric circles, in bottom of cooled crust. '

6. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over berries.

7. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet. Bake tart until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

8. Cool tart completely in pan on rack.

9. Remove tart pan sides. Place tart on platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Summer Fruit Salad

With all the baking that I do, I get more than my fair share of sugar and flour into my body. Considering that my exercise regime consists of walking to and from my car while running errands, and walking around the lab at work, I probably have excess sugar lingering around in my body.
As said in a previous post, it has been really difficult to bake these days because of the summer heat. The recent heat wave in LA didn't help either. The thought of heating up the house with the oven and countering the central air conditioner just didn't seem sound.
No worries, though; with the end of summer looming and fall and winter approaching (my favorite times of the year to bake), I will be baking again in no time!
I decided to make something healthy and heat friendly for a change. Upon a recent trip to Costco, I purchased my favorite bulk fruits and decided to make a fruit salad. Fruit salads are refreshing, nutritious, and contain plenty of natural sugars to satisfy my sweet tooth. Best of all, they are completely versatile!

There will be no recipe for this post because I don't know who's allergic to what and because you should use your favorite fruits anyway. Just chop, toss and enjoy!