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Archive for July 20th, 2009

Remember what I said about Deborah’s extraordinary vegetarian cooking?  She was gracious enough to send me her recipe for Swiss chard tart.  Here’s what she says:

As for chard tart, tip of the hat to Patricia Wells, from whose recipe this jumps off with a few modifications–it’s actually an olive-oil crust:
The crust is l cup of flour (I use something called white whole-wheat made by King Arthur, but you can use whole-wheat pastry, or some combo of wh wh and white),plus a couple of large pinches of salt, to which you add l/4 cup ice water–mix in–and then l/4 cup olive oil. It can be mixed with the hands, and it will be very moist and soft, like cookie dough sort of. Doesn’t need to be refrigerated–press it into the tart pan with your hands (the recipe fits something like an 8-9 inch pan, but can easily be multiplied to larger vessels). Filling is–well, I don’t know how to describe the amount of chard, but a very big bunch, anyhow–chop it roughly after washing, wilt it in its own water in a saucepan, add to 3 beaten eggs, l/2 to one cup Parmesan or other cheese, salt, pepper. Coat bottom of crust with Dijon mustard, put in filling, and bake at 400 degrees until firm and golden, roughly 30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Doesn’t need to be served absolutely hot from the oven–perhaps more flavorful having cooled off a bit…

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Catskills

After spending the weekend driving up and down mountains in the Catskills, crossing rivers with names like Beaverkill and Deepkill, where flyfishermen waded in the sparkling water, and eating a late breakfast at Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia—a destination breakfast spot for Brooklynites, where we had inch-thick mixed berry pancakes with maple syrup, poppyseed swirled challah French toast, lox-scrambled eggs, bacon, and iced lattes out at a sunny streetside table with Chris and Kate and baby Chloe—the day before Aaron and Kelly’s pastoral wedding, we drove east through the Berkshires to Boston.

the ring bearer

the ring bearer

me & J
The roadsign names and route numbers flashed childhood drives through my memory: visits to the grandparents outside Hartford, field trips to time-capsuled Sturbridge Village, highschool jaunts to the thrift stores and coffee shops of Northampton.

We stopped at a rest area on the Mass Pike, which was having a small farmers’ market.  There were two tables: one full of odd pesto medleys, soaps, and knick-nacks, the other stocked with blueberries and strawberries.  I bought some blueberries, and we snacked on them for the rest of the drive.  (Not organic, but infinitely better than anything else at the rest area.)

rest stop berries

We still had a container of Deborah’s berries, too, so that night I decided to throw together a blueberry dessert of some sort.  I was dreaming of buckle, but felt far too unmotivated to make a multi-step cake.    The solution for a last minute, lazy sweet-tooth? Clafoutis!

The dessert from the Limousin region of France is traditionally made with fresh unpitted cherries, (which reminds me of a trip Peter and I took to the Dordogne region of France, where we stopped at the most amazing country restaurant, Le Temps des Cerises…) but it lends itself well to fruit substitutions.  This recipe is an adaptation of Julia Child’s.  The combination of big cultivated blueberries, the small ones from Kenoza Lake, and the more tart huckleberries was delicious, and pretty, too.

Blueberry Clafoutis

3 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
¾ c. milk
¾ c. cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. salt
½ c. flour
3 c. blueberries
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter a 10-inch tart pan or cast iron pan, and sprinkle sugar to coat.  Pour in blueberries, in one layer.  With an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy, then add sugar and continue mixing until thick and foamy.  Gradually add the flour.  Meanwhile, combine cream, vanilla, almond extract, and salt in a small bowl.  Mix these ingredients with the egg mixture.  Pour over the blueberries.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it sets and is golden brown.  Dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

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