Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin

I have one weakness when I travel, and that's airport newsstands... oh, and seven-dollar beers. Okay, that's two foibles, but I'm gonna write about the former here. I simply can't help it; I'm a sucker for all that shiny paper and artificially lit subject matter, and price is no object. Give me a pretty picture and I'll shell out criminal amounts of cash. But you'll never find me perusing the entertainment section of Hudson News. People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive? Who gives a damn. Naked pictures of Brett Favre? Puh-lease! And who the hell is Kim Kardashian anyway? No, predictably, I'll waltz boldly over to the perfectly legal food porn aisle. Saveur, Bon Appétit, La Cucina Italiana, Southern Living, Coastal Living, and Sunset Magazine. But the most insidious of them all? Gourmet Magazine. Their stylists and photographers ought to be recognized by the Museum of Modern Art, or the Louvre or something. On my way back from the Bay Area last month, the latest volume reclined in a rack with a "come ye hither" stare. As if using Photoshop® weren't cunning enough, the words Special Edition cried out to me from the masthead like some maddening siren's song. My pulse quickened, my breathing grew raspy and shallow, my eyes rolled, glazed, into the back of my head. Once again, and adroitly so, Condé Nast had played unpitying dominatrix to my willing submissive.
But the really nice thing about food magazines? They're actually useful. They're chocked full of recipes and ideas that you can take and apply in your own kitchen. Try that the next time you pick up an Us Weekly.
Roasted-Tomato Tart - from Gourmet Quick Kitchen, Nov 2010
  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet
  • 2 lb plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings
    plus additional for garnish
Put oven racks in middle and lower third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed backing sheet with foil.
While oven is heating, roll out pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 11 x 9 inch rectangle. Transfer dough to an ungreased baking sheet. Chill until ready to use.
In a bowl, toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons thyme, ¼ teaspoon each of salt & pepper until well coated. Roast tomatoes, cut sides up and in one layer, in foil-lined baking pan in middle of oven for one hour.
Brush pastry with 2 teaspoons oil, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme. After roasting tomatoes for 1 hour, move tomatoes in pan to lower third of oven and put pastry on baking sheet on middle rack.
Bake pastry and tomatoes until pastry is golden brown and puffed, and edges of tomatoes are browned but still appear juicy, about 15 minutes.
While pastry is still warm, scatter ½ cup cheese shavings evenly over it. Top shavings with warm tomatoes, cut sides down in an even layer (pastry layers will collapse under tomatoes), then sprinkle evenly with remaining ½ teaspoon thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and additional cheese.
Tomatoes (without pastry) can be roasted 1 week ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Reheat in 350°F oven until heated through before using.
Gourmet says, "Sometimes the easiest way to cook something also happens to be the best." I couldn't agree more, and that was certainly the case with this tart. My sweet Lone Ranger championed that doctrine by whipping up a salad out of practically nothing and amazed me for about the one hundred and eleventieth time since our relationship began. I'll never doubt him at the produce market again!
Try this tart. You will be amazed by how five simple ingredients can produce such delicious results.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Lonely Kitchen

Tonto has been flying solo this week, as the Lone Ranger is still off gallivantin' on the west coast. He isn't much of an email writer, or conversationalist on the telephone, but the photos have been coming in fast and furious. He must be like a kid in a candy store out there. I know just how he feels.
The Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge, Lincoln Park Golf Course
Palace of the Legion of Honor, Seacliff
Coit Tower, Sentinel Building (Columbus Tower) and the Transamerica Pyramid.
Sausalito waterfront, San Francisco Bay
Back here in NYC, the weather has been clear, crisp and clean. Perfect, simply perfect for comfort food. The LR's favorite? Soup.
Split Pea Soup - adapted from James Peyton Shea
  • 1lb dried split peas
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp flour
Sweat mirepoix in a large heavy stock pot, until translucent, then add peas, stock, hot sauce, bay leaves and pepper. Bring to a low rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer on stovetop for 2-3 hours. Remove bay leaves, and whip soup. Make a slurry with the flour and a little water, add to the soup and whisk again.
You can serve this with crisped bacon bits and a dollop sour cream, or fresh mint leaves and swirl of crème fraîche. Be sure to have thick slices of warm rustic French or sourdough bread on the side.
See, when pressed, I can still find my way around the kitchen.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food