Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tomato and Eggplant Galette

Tomatoes and Eggplant, two late summer vegetables fresh from the garden, on top of  melty, stringy, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, all wrapped up in a light and flaky crust.  Simple and delicious!


For the crust...
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4-6 tablespoons ice water

For the filling... 
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil leaves
salt and black pepper
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 375° F  Serves 4-6

1.  For the crust, mix together in a large bowl, the flour and salt.  Add the cold butter and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, until flour resembles course crumbs.  Drizzle 4 tablespoons of cold water over the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture starts to form a ball.  If the dough looks to dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together in a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  


2.  On a floured table, roll out the dough into a 14 inch circle.  Transfer the dough on to a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet.


3.  Drizzle the dough with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle the mozzarella and the 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese on top, leaving about a 2 inch boarder.

4.  Overlap the tomatoes and eggplant rounds in a fan on top of the cheese.  Scatter the basil over the top of the veggies.  Add a little salt and fresh ground pepper, then drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top.  Fold the edge of the dough up over the filling.  Brush the surface of the crust with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of parmesan over the entire Galette.

5.  Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the veggies are tender.  Serve warm, or at room temperature.  Enjoy!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marinated Garden Tomato Pizza

The garden is overflowing with tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes are ripe and begging to be used.  I wait with such anticipation for this time of year.  I love tomatoes and so the bulk of my garden consists of various variety's of heirloom tomatoes.  
This is my all time favorite pizza, a crispy thin crust sprinkled with fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then baked until bubbly and golden.  A colorful assortment of fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette, then a dose of fresh basil chiffonade on top.  This pizza is over the top, delicious!


For the crust...
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (110°F)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1.  In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1/4 cup warm water and 1/4 cup of the flour, stir well and then let sit for about 30 minutes.  Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water, olive oil and salt.  Mix the dough thoroughly with a wooden spoon and turn out onto a floured work surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic and just a bit tacky to the touch, about 10 minutesRoll into a ball and place on a floured counter top, place a large bowl over top and let rise until double in volume, about an hour.  


For the pizza...
12 oz. of cherry tomatoes, assorted varieties and colors, if possible otherwise all one color works also, cut in half
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, I used white balsamic vinegar, either is good
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips (chiffonade) 
salt and fresh ground black pepper
16 oz. coarsely grated fresh mozzarella cheese
2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
extra olive oil

Preheat oven to 500° F

 1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together, olive oil, vinegar and garlic.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Add tomato halves and toss gently, set aside.


2.  Punch down the risen pizza dough and shape into a large 16" circle, or 2 smaller 9" circles.  Place dough on a pizza pan or a mesh screen.  Rub a small amount of olive oil over entire crust.

3.  Sprinkle grated mozzarella evenly over dough, then add the parmesan evenly over mozzarella.

4.  Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

5.  As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, top the pizza with the tomatoes and sprinkle with basil and serve immediately.  Enjoy!


For more great recipes click below!

Lavender and Lovage  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Strawberries And Cream Puffs

Pâte A Choux or Cream Puff Paste is used to make èclairs, cream puffs and profiteroles.  It's one of the easiest pastries to make and the end result is a light and tender crust with an interior that is soft, eggy with an almost custardy perfection!  Fillings can range from ice cream, pastry cream or a creamy seafood stew.  I filled my little pastries with a whipped cream lightened, cooked custard (pastry cream), and added sliced strawberries.  Call it a sophisticated Strawberry Shortcake! 


For the Pastry Cream...

2 cups/500ml milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup/100g sugar
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream

For the Pâte A Choux...

1 cup/250 ml water
1 cup/250 ml milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1-3/4 sticks unsalted butter (200g) cut in pieces
1-2/3 cups/235g all purpose flour
6-7 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped sliced or slivered almonds and 2 tablespoons course sugar mixed together in a small bowl

Preheat oven to 425°
makes 12-24 puffs depending on size.

Note:  Shells may be frozen for up to a month.  Recipe may be cut in half or doubled with out any problem.

1.  For the pastry cream, combine the milk, the vanilla bean and about half the sugar in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining sugar and whisk vigorously until the yolks are a pale color, about 5 minutes.  Sift the flour and cornstarch into the yolk mixture and blend together thoroughly.

2.  Gradually pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture in a slow stream, mixing gently until blended.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Boil and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes, strain the cream into a mixing bowl, if you are using vanilla extract, add it now, stir to blend.  Pour the custard into a clean bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on to the cream, to prevent the formation of a skin.  Refrigerate for 2 hours until completely cooled.

3.  When the pastry cream has cooled, and your ready to fill your cream puffs, whip the heavy cream in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold into the cold pastry cream by hand, using a rubber spatula until well incorporated.


1.  For the pastry, in a large heavy saucepan, combine the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat stirring to melt the butter. 

2.  Sift the flour onto a piece of parchment paper.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once, stir quickly with a wooden spoon to incorporate the flour.
Return the pan to medium heat and stir vigorously with the wooden spoon for 1 minute, until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan.  

3.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, add the first 5 eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed, incorporating the eggs until a nicely smooth dough is achieved.  After the fifth egg, beat the last 2 eggs one at a time using only as much as you need so that when the mixture is lifted with a spoon, a peak stands up, then drops over slightly. 

 4.  While the dough is still warm, scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. At this point, you can sprinkle the almonds and sugar mix, lightly over the top of the puffs, (love the added crunch) or leave them plain if you like. 

5.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on top.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

 To fill the cream puffs...

Split the puffs gently in half horizontally with a serrated knife.  Place a layer of sliced strawberries on the bottom half of the puff.  Spoon a generous amount of pastry cream over strawberries and lightly set the top half onto the cream.  Dust lightly with confectioners sugar, or swizzle melted chocolate over the top if you like.  Enjoy!