Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Sundays are a special day in our home.
We spend time playing and reading and talking together as a family. We attend church meetings where we worship, pray, sing, study the scriptures and gospel doctrine. We enjoy quiet moments, visiting friends and family, and of course, we always look forward to a delicious Sunday dinner followed by a yummy dessert.
On Sundays it is easy to remember just how blessed our little family has been.
Last Sunday, my husband was lying down on the couch looking through a cookbook with a couple of my girls draped all over him. They were going about the very serious business of deciding what treat would grace our table that week.
Mint-chocolate layer cake? Nope.
Lemon meringue pie parfaits? Nope.
Chocolate mousse? Negative.
They came across a really beautiful photo of a fruit tart from The Roof Restaurant in Salt Lake City. And as is pretty typical of most things, the aesthetics won the day, and the dessert was chosen. (FYI: The Roof Restaurant is crazy-fancy, so I'd expect their desserts to be top-notch... and it was.)
I was actually short on an ingredient or two (heavy cream and whole milk), and had to make very minor modifications, but the result was still absolutely delicious.
I think I could have eaten the whole thing on my own... especially the pastry cream. That stuff was sooooo good. It took all my willpower to allow my daughters to eat the extra bits on the whisk and in the pot. My belly was bellowing at me to horde it for myself.
I should get an award or something.
This recipe is a little more intensive than most things I post, but give it a try. It really is worth the effort! We will definitely be making this again and again.
(Note: If you don't have the ingredients on hand for the crust, you can use a portion of your favorite sugar cookie recipe in place of the crust.)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup melted semisweet chocolate chips
Kiwis, blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, or your favorite fruit or berries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup whole milk (sim, 1%, and 2% works fine... it just turns out slightly thinner)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and then add egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and cream. Mix together and beat until smooth. Add flour and mix well. Roll dough and put into well-greased, 9" fluted pan. (I don't own one. I used the bottom of a 10" cheesecake pan. If you don't care about how it looks, you could pretty much it on any baking surface, and it will be fine.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool. Brush the top with melted chocolate and let cool.
For the pastry cream: Mix sugar, cornstarch, and milk together in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring continually, and then bring to a boil. Cook about 2 minutes until thick. To prevent cooking the eggs, mix the egg yolks with a small amount of hot mixture first, and then combine both mixtures together. Bring to a boil again, stirring continually. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla and let cool.
Spread pastry cream on top of brushed chocolate inside tart crust.
To serve, decorate top of tart with any desired amount of your favorite fruit or berries.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Summer is at it's mid-point. School will start up soon (end of July for my kids). My home will be a lot quieter, and a lot cleaner.
...I don't really want to talk about it.
Instead of dwelling on the impending school year, I want to focus on the fruits of the season:
Fresh, in-season berries make for a treat that's hard to beat. And while not the cheapest food item around, NOW is definitely the time to be enjoying their deliciousness and their prices, as fresh produce tends to be cheaper when it's in season. We love berries plain, as a topping on vanilla ice-cream, mixed in oatmeal and cereal, made into jams, and in salads...
...And we will eat them in a box,
And we will eat them with a fox,
And in a house,
And with a mouse,
And over here,
And over there,
We'll eat berries ANYWHERE!
You get the idea. We feel about berries the way "Sam-I-Am" feels about green eggs and ham.
When I was young, we used to make the long drive from Idaho to Des Moines, Washington (near Seattle) to visit my grandmother who lived in a beautiful home on the Puget Sound. I loved going there!
One of the best things about that area is that blackberry bushes grow wild all over the place. And I'm talking HUGE, gorgeous, perfectly flavorful and juicy berries.
We would go on a short walk from my grandmothers house with plastic buckets/tupperware, and go to town picking wild berries, eating them, and making a sticky berry-stained mess of our fingers and faces.
We'd bring them home, and my mom would proceed to bake them into the most delicious pies you've ever tasted.
Mmmm... pie... I'll definitely have to post that in the future...
Back to this salad.
I feel a little silly posting this "recipe" because I don't feel it really qualifies as a recipe... more a concept. But definitely one that deserves recognition.
There's no real measuring involved... though I'll give you some measurements below to use as a guideline, and really, the ingredients are subjective to what you have on hand.
I used fresh spinach, and an equal amount of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. I shopped up a small handful of walnuts (not even toasted or candied... though you could toast/candy them if you wanted) and topped it with a lemon-poppyseed dressing I bought for myself with a coupon. I know... store-bought. For shame. But it's sooooo good!
My husband and kids eats it without dressing. Wierdos. (Just kidding.)
Although amazingly simple, this salad is a favorite in summer-time.
So, enjoy those delicious berries before summer bids us farewell till next year!
Spinach, Berry, & Walnut Salad
9 oz. spinach
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
*dress as desired (dressing, feta cheese, bleu cheese, etc. I used a lemon-poppyseed dressing)
In a large bowl, toss the spinach. Top with berries and walnuts. Chill till ready to serve. Dress as desired, and serve immediately.