sweet green surprise

March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

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A quick note is better than no notes on what I am trying in the kitchen.

I had two bunches of chard in the fridge, I had forgot I had already bought one at the end of last week at Sigona’s I needed to use it up. Over a year ago I made a interesting chard tart and my friend Jen told me she had a similar tart in Italy I think. She passed along a recipe for the Italian version of a chard tart, Torta Verde di Lucca. The version I had previously made (from Epicurious/Gourmet) was from Southern France. Both versions combine savory and sweet flavors with the leafy greens. I used a combination of rainbow chard and regular chard. Kale and spinach can be substituted or added in (I added some spinach to my first attempt.)

[I am trying to write and post this in 15 minutes or less]

This recipe posted on a blog, is in European measurements, so I followed those instead of converting. Authentic, eh? Plus, I have a cool digital scale that has grams, and measuring in ML is easy in any measuring cup unless it’s American made from the 50s. So I was measuring the European way, by weight, rather than the American method of using volume (cups/spoons).

I made the dough in the food processor but only briefly then hand blended it by hand to combine the dry bits. I left out the vanilla and liqueur the recipe called for, as well as reduced the sugar by one-third. The greens filling is easy enough. I used some of the tender stems only discarding the big white sections, I just chopped them finely.

The dough is a bit odd in that it has eggs. It ends up being like a Pate Sucree dough, though the recipe said to roll it out. I think that pate sucree is usually just pressed into the pan, but I rolled it. It ended up a bit dry even though it was not overcooked.

Torta Verde di Lucca has a very similar flavor combo to the Epicurious recipe: sweet and savory with a bit of citrus, which is a great combo.Though but this one was more sweet and a bit drier overall. It’s hard to remember exactly, but the Epicurious version of the chard tart was a bit better. I do like the open face of this one. The other version uses a double crust which is topped with confectioners sugar–which would be hard to do with the open top.

Yeah, it looks pretty good. It did the job for dinner, with a salad. But I’d give this version a 6.5 out of 10 and the Epicurious Chard Tart an 8/10.

Photo note: I tried the flash tonight for these photos, also quick endeavor. All handheld: camera and off-camera flash. The camera has a cool wireless flash triggering capability. Room lights were low, so looking in the viewfinder there was a very dark platter and tarte. I focused by distance. I guess you had to be there. And I am not a flash user. But a few snaps and then I ate.

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[OK that took 20 minutes just to write, now to post.]

03.31.11 edit: So when one tries quickly write a blog entry there’s no time for research. This morning from my friend who had the tart in Luca and via the interwebs, I learned that this tart is SUPPOSED TO BE SWEET/DOLCE! So I was having dessert for dinner. That’s fine by me!

I found another recipe with a little background of the Torta Verde di Lucca [here]. And judging by her recipe, another egg to my recipe would have made a better filling.

this tart is aka
Torta di Verde Lucca, Torta coi becchi, Torta di Lucca, Torta di verdure and Torta d’ erbe.

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happiness bowl

March 24, 2011 § 3 Comments

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Late start for dinner as usual. Tonight I got sucked into youtube, allmusic.com and pandora looking for some unique additions to a playlist mix for an Eighties party that I’m heading to this weekend.  Instead of late night cereal-for-dinner routine when I forget to eat, I had to make something good, and warm.

Recently I’d come across this online and had nearly all of the ingredients, so I went for it. Quinoa is a new pantry item for me. I added it because it is super easy to prepare and super healthy. It’s packed with protein, even though most would think it would be only a carbohydrate. I’ve tried a couple of quinoa recipes and this dish is my favorite by far. I used mostly red quinoa with a small amount of the regular variety.

It’s a bowl of happiness. Because it tastes wonderful and also because it takes less than thirty minutes to make. only about 10 minutes chopping and preparing.

Lacinato kale (Dino or tuscan) gives it a firm crunchy, chewy texture. Packed full of goodness too. It essentially gets steamed along with the fast cooking quinoa. Similarly, the quinoa has a chewiness as well, so I think you burn a few calories eating this!

Ultimately it’s the unique combination of flavors that makes this a great dish: tangy, earthy, salty. The Meyer lemon (thanks Li and Berndt) adds a nice fresh backing flavor. My variation was to stray from the “one pot recipe” by adding a shallot and garlic, which were sauteed in a small skillet. The recipe calls for toasted pine nuts which I pan toast anyway. Toasted pine nuts are a favorite of mine, reminds me of bacon bits–addictive.

I can see this recipe being the basis of many variations of happiness bowls-add any fresh vegetables which are in season–those that can cook by steaming within 10 minutes.

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Listening to stuff like this:
Kid Frost ‘Terminator’ [link]
Secession- The Magician
Camouflage – The Great Commandment
Public Image Limited – This Is Not a Love Song [link]

Happiness recipe after the jump… « Read the rest of this entry »

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