In the Kitchen

Kitchen

Happy Friday, sweet readers. We’ve made it through another week! And in anticipation of another beautiful weekend ahead of us, I thought I’d share another easy and delicious dish to highlight one of my favorite summer vegetables… tomatoes.

Have a last-minute BBQ to attend? I suggest you make this. I made it for my book club ladies a few weeks back and they all begged for the recipe before they left. I promise, everyone will love it!

Tomato and Cheese Tartlett

Ingredients

  • Frozen pie shell
  • 1 Tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 1/4 cups Fontina cheese (shredded)
  • Handful of parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil/salt + pepper
  • 1 egg/water {for egg wash}

Directions

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Remove frozen pie shell from freezer and brush with 1-2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard. Place a layer of the shredded Fontina cheese over the mustard, followed by a layer of the quartered tomatoes. Repeat this twice and finish with another layer of cheese.

Make an egg wash by whisking together 1 egg with about a tablespoon of water and brush the pie edges with a pastry brush. Place in over and bake for 45 minutes till cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

While the tart is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one peeled clove of garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic infused olive oil to your mini food processor and add in a handful of parsley and salt/pepper. Pulse until it forms a paste.

As the tart cools, spread this parsley/garlic paste on top.

A special thanks to my Mom for this recipe. As the Office Administrator for Sustainable Nantucket, she works alongside farmers and growers who are working to build  a more locally based, self-reliant food economy on the island. This recipe was shared at one of her events a few years back. I know it will be in my recipe collection for years to come!

In the Kitchen

Food

Is it really only Wednesday? I’m ready for the weekend!

Since making my award winning chili last week, I must be honest and say very little has happened in my kitchen. While catching up on my blog reading this am, I read this interesting piece on the five things in your kitchen you wouldn’t be caught without. So, I thought today I would add my five things to the list, which include:

  • A block of delicious cheese
  • Crackers (I could easily make a meal out of crackers and cheese)
  • Olive oil (I’m obsessed with Frankie’s 457 oil at the moment)
  • Eggs (I’m a huge fan of breakfast for dinner)
  • San Pellegrino (I think their glass bottle is one of the prettiest things on a table)

Do share yours too!

In the Kitchen

cookies of the world

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to join a wonderful group of women at my friend’s charming South End shop for a cookie swap. And what fun we had. While searching for the perfect holiday cookie recipe, I came upon a Cookies of the World post on Food52 and decided on the homemade mint slices from Australia. I was sold on these as the author said these cookies are better than thin mints. I wasn’t sure such a thing existed!

The truth is in the pudding as these cookies were delicious and a huge hit not only at the cookie swap, but at my office and Kristen’s office. Do you need to bring a little something to a Christmas celebration, I suggest you try these!

Homemade Mint Slice Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling and the coating:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil {I used vegetable oil}

Directions

Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and continue beating until the egg is incorporated and the mixture lightens in color. Add the cocoa powder to the egg mixture and beat until there are no lumps. Finally, fold in the flour until it is all incorporated. You should expect the dough to be very soft.

Turn it out onto a piece of baking paper, roll it into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick, and wrap the dough. Place the log into the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough is finished chilling, take it out of the freezer and slice it into 1/2-inch pieces; you should get about 20 rounds. Place the cookies onto the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them to cool completely on the baking sheets.

To make the mint filling, simply stir together the powdered sugar, the peppermint extract, and 1 tablespoon of water {I used a little more than 1 tablespoon and used my hands to incorporate}. Take a scant teaspoon of the mint filling and use it to top each cookie, patting and smoothing it with your fingers so that it covers the top but stops shy of the edge of the cookie.

To coat the cookies, melt the chocolates and vegetable oil in a metal bowl over boiling water {my version of a double broiler}. Make sure the water is not touching the metal bowl. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, dip each cookie in the chocolate, coating it completely. To speed up the process on my second batch, I just dipped just the tops of each cookie and let them set.

Once complete, make sure to store cookies in the fridge. This will help the chocolate harden as well.

Image Credit: Food52

Good News

Rifle Paper

It is a good day indeed.Two of my favorite companies have joined creative forces. The collaboration of Rifle Paper and Paperless Post is a match made in heaven.Take a look at the collection. So many amazing choices! And did you know, you can now buy actual paper through Paperless Post. Can’t believe I missed that!

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Photo Credit: Paperless Post and Rifle Paper

Found

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Have I mentioned I love music? I love having it on at home but since K and I haven’t been home much as of late, we didn’t really notice until recently that we didn’t have a proper sound system. With city life, comes limited space so we knew whatever system we chose would have to not only be functional but have great design. With a little patience and some due diligence, we found what I think is the perfect addition to Melrose Place. The Marshall Stanmore Speaker. Isn’t she just perfect? I am happy to share her as this week’s found item.

*Unfortunately the lighting in our apartment wasn’t working with my photography skills this morning so I borrowed this image from Urban Outfitters. 

In the Kitchen

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57 weeks ago I posted the above photo on Instagram of one of my favorite soup, promising to share the recipe soon. Since today is the first day of fall, I thought today would be the perfect day. I’ve been making this soup for nearly 15 years now as it is super easy and super delicious. Plus, it has a pretty high wow factor.

French Fish Chowder

*slightly modified from New York Times recipe

  • 1 lb. cod fillets
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion {1 medium onion}
  • 1 cup chopped celery {usually about 3 stalks}
  • 1 cup diced red pepper {1 red pepper}
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. turmeric {an Indian spice with cancer fighting power}
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups of broth {fish, vegetable or chicken}
  • 1/2 cup orzo

Directions

  1. Cut fish into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan {I use my dutch over} and add onions, celery, red pepper and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add turmeric, wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, pepper flakes, broth, and season a little with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the orzo, stir well and simmer for about 8 minutes.
  5. Add in the fish and return soup to a boil. Remember to remove the bay leaf.

I like to finish the soup with about a tablespoon of cream and a dash of curry powder. I serve with grilled french bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic. I think the soup tastes better with a little time to rest so I tend to make the base ahead of time and just bring to a boil a few minutes before serving and then add the fish.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Found

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My move back to Boston last summer was quite easy as I had very few things. You see, when I end a chapter, I tend to purge and thus beginning a new chapter means sourcing many new things. As one who loves to entertain, I knew finding the perfect dinner set would take a little time. Luckily it didn’t take as long as expected thanks to Crate and Barrel’s Hue Collection… this week’s found item.

Created by London-based designer Aaron Probyn, this contemporary porcelain collection is hand-glazed in seven soft, soothing hues. Since Ina Garten always told me {on her show, of course} to use a white dinner plate to allow the food takes center stage, I opted for a classic white dinner plate but added color with the light grey salad plate and blush bowl. I just love the mix-and-match nature of this collection. And the price point, you can’t go wrong!

Just take a look at the color options.

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Looking to add a little color to your dinner table? I can’t say enough about this week’s found item. I hope you all enjoy this last week of August enjoying good food, family and friends. I’ll see you on Monday!

In the Kitchen

kitchen
When hosting a dinner party, I try to keep my appetizers fairly simple. A beautiful crudite board with green goddess dressing or a cheese board bursting with bread, grapes and of course cheese {my rule of thumb is three: a hard, a soft and a really smelly one}. In addition, though, I always like to add a wow bite. And for me, those more often than not are Ina Garten’s Gruyère Cheese Puffs. The first time K tried these, she asked “are these homemade?” To which I responded, “Sweetie, I only make homemade.” As you can imagine, this is now a running joke in our home.

Don’t let the above photo scare you. These cheese puffs are super easy to make, I promise.

Ina’s Gruyère Cheese Puffs

  • 1 cup milk {I use whole milk for the flavor but any milk will do}
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter {I always use unsalted butter when baking}
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs {make sure your eggs are at room temperature}
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Pour this mixture into your kitchen aid mixer bowl and immediately add the eggs, Gruyère and parmesan and mix until eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag {I use a large zip lock bag and cut off one corner}. Pipe onto the lined baking sheet in a round {similar in size to a golf ball}. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash {made with 1 egg and 1 tsp. of water whisked} and top with a pinch of Gruyère cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Voila! You are done. Give them a try and let me know if you house guests love them as much as mine!