Monday, March 29, 2010

sunday in the kitchen

What better for a cold and somewhat gloomy Sunday than The New York Times, a good workout, buckwheat pancakes and blueberries for breakfast and a few hours in the kitchen. Although I prefer fat asparagus to skinny, I'd come upon bunches of pencil-thin stalks for only a dollar a pound, so I bought four pounds with the idea of aspaaragus tarts, a touch of spring. I prepared a savory dough that included a generous pinch of baking powder, producing an easy to work with crust that was rich and tender. Next, I blanched the asparagus stalks after peeling them, shocked them in ice water, and after they were drained I wrapped them in a heavy terry towel to absorb any residual moisture. Then I cleaned and chopped some leeks and cooked them slowly in butter, along with chopped garlic. After pre-baking and cooling the tart crusts, in nine inch pans with removable bottoms, I mixed heavy cream, eggs, parmesan and seasonings. I layered the tarts with the asparagus and leeks, poured in the custard and baked them. I'd also made a half dozen individual tarts, one of which I enjoyed for dinner. Scrumptious. Oh, I forgot to mention that two or three minutes before removing the tarts from the oven, I cut up little pieces of camembert and sprinkled them atop, baking for just a couple of minutes till they became nice and gooey.
I had three glistening young eggplant in the fridge and decided to prepare an eggplangt parmesan, grilling half inch slices in a grill pan rather than frying them. I made a light and simple tomato sauce which I cooked for fifteen minutes, laid a bit of the sauce in a rectangular casserole, then a generous sprinkling of parmesan,followed by a layer of the vegetable. I repeated these layerings, and topped the final layer with a mix of bread crumbs and fresh oregano. I froze it immediately, to be baked and served midweek.

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