Raspberry Chocolate Tart

I first got into cooking because I was bored. Matt once lived in Norwalk, CT, which has very little to do in the wintry months. When I visited I decided that making elaborate dinners and desserts and breads would be a good way to pass the time. Before I got into cooking, however, we would go out to the nice restaurants in town, including one with the irresistible name of Chocopologie. Google informs me it no longer exists, but back in 2009 and 2010 it was a great place to get fondue in southwestern Connecticut.

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Anyhow, many years later, we were visiting Cooperstown, NY and stopped into the gift shop of the farming museum. (Long story.) Among many cookbooks, we noticed one with “Chocopologie” emblazoned on the cover on top of a picture of delicious-looking truffles. A quick flip through the book suggested it had lots of tasty items, so we got it.

For some reason it took a while to find an occasion to use it, but finally we decided to go with this amazing recipe. Serving size suggestions seem silly since the two of us finished the entire thing in two sittings…

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground blanched or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg

Filling

  • 14 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli but Guittard or Scharfen-Berger would also be great)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp butter (although I apparently forgot about this and it turned out fantastic anyways)

To make the crust:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, almonds, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the butter pieces and cut them into the mixture, and then add an egg until the dough comes together.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours (or make it ahead and freeze it).
  4. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8″ thick and at least 12″ in diameter. Life the dough and drape it over a 10″ tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the tart pan. Trim the overhanging dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
  6. Line the tart crust with parchment paper or waxed paper and fill it with dried beans to weight it.
  7. Bake the weighted tart crust for about 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until the crust is light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes more.
  8. Transfer tart pan to a wire rack, remove the parchment paper and pie weights and cool completely (about an hour).

To make the filling:

  1. Put the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream, 1 cup of the raspberries, and the honey and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it’s bubbling, pour the cream mixutre over the chocolate, adding one-third at a time and stirring after each addition.
  3. When the filling is as smooth as possible, add the butter, mixing until the filling is well blended.
  4. Pour the filling into the cooled tart crust. Let set at room temperature, 3 to 4 hours. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  5. Decorate the tart with the remaining 1/2 cup raspberries (or use more, if you want) and serve.

From Chocopologie, by Fritz Knipschildt

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

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If you have only thought of tahini as an essential ingredient in hummus or as part of a savory sauce or dressing, you have been missing out on the delicate richness it can add to sweets. I have had it in ice cream and cookies and while a skeptic at first, I am now a believer.

For me, the perfect chocolate chip cookie has just the right balance between the sweet, unctuous dough and the bitter edge of the chocolate. Equally important, though, is that the outer skin of the cookie has a slight crackle to it and when you take a bite, your teeth sink into the slightly chewy center. These cookies come from David Lebovitz. The only change I made from his recipe was in the baking temperature and timing. Now some of that could be because of the vagaries of my particular oven, but it is also personal taste. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you only need to bake up what you want to eat right then. And these are best eaten the same day. The dough, however, will last in the fridge for a week. I know – who allows cookie dough to go uneaten for an entire week?! Point taken.  The tahini flavor is delicate so for anyone who is unsure, give it a try, but use a really good quality tahini like Soom brand.

I made mine using a small cookie scoop so I will get between 2 and 3 dozen cookies out of this recipe. I would have used chocolate chunks that I made from some wonderful dark chocolate disks that I have, but since my pantry currently is holding about 10 pounds of chocolate chips, I thought I had better start using them up instead. How did I end up with so many chocolate chips, you ask? Well every time they were on sale, I bought a couple of bags thinking I would be making lots of my banana bread or ricotta rum cake completely forgetting that without Matthew at home, that wasn’t happening. After a year of doing this, I developed quite a stockpile. Fortunately, while dark chocolate may develop a bloom, it doesn’t actually go bad. Milk chocolate (which I personally dislike and never use) is another story. If you are using chocolate chips, please only use a very good quality chocolate chip – the darker the better and only real chocolate. For an incredible Tahina Shortbread Cookie check out Frances’ earlier post.

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies by David Lebovitz

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Yield: 2- 3 dozen cookies depending on size

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark since that is all I ever buy)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel
Directions
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, tahini, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. (The dough can also be made in a large mixing bowl, stirred with a spatula.)
2. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Add the egg, the yolk, and vanilla, and continue to mix for another minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl during mixing, to make sure the eggs are getting incorporated.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and kosher or sea salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined, then add the chocolate chips. Do not over mix. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. ( I found that mine baked better at 350 degrees F.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (I only made 6 cookies at a time so used just one baking pan.)
5. Form the cookies into rounds using an ice cream or cookie scoop, or your hands. For small cookies make each 1 1/2-inch, for larger cookies, make them 2-inches round. Place them evenly spaced on the baking sheets, 3-inches apart). Bake one sheet at a time, so you can keep an eye on them, in the middle rack of the oven.
6. Bake the cookies, turning the baking sheet in the oven midway during baking, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges but still pale in the center. For small cookies, about 12 minutes, for larger cookies, about 14 to 15 minutes. (Here you will have to go by the visual and smell test since ovens really vary. My cookies took closer to 17 minutes at 350  degrees F…) Remove from the oven, sprinkle cookies with a bit of flaky sea salt, and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until easily handled. Bake the remaining cookies the same way.
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Storage: These cookies will keep for two or three days at room temperature, but are definitely better the same day they’re baked. You will lose the crispy outer texture and chewiness; the cookie will be uniformly a soft cookie. The unbaked dough can be refrigerated for up to one week, and frozen for up to two months.

Carrot and Harissa Soup

I’m always on the hunt for easy soup recipes, especially ones that are hearty and can last through the week as a side or main when in a rush for weekday dinner. I stumbled across this one recently and was reminded how much I love harissa. Adding a dollop to this soup really kicked up the flavor and an otherwise basic soup ended up bursting with flavor!

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Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 (2-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or if you’re like me and lazy you can buy pre-chopped ginger in a little jar that ends up saving so much time!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 quarts low-sodium homemade or store bought vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken stock)
  • kosher salt
  • lemon juice and lemon zest

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add leeks, onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add cumin, coriander, and harissa paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and stir to coat in spice mixture.
  4. Add broth, season with a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are completely tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Let cool for a few moments, then stir in parsley, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
  6. Using an immersion blender, blend it all together, serve with parsley and a little harissa (careful, it’s spicy!)

From Epicurious Carrot and Ginger Harissa Soup

Fourth of July Cook-“in”

We were excited to be at home this year for July 4th after having missed it the last few years due to summer travel abroad. We also are lucky enough to have fantastic views of the East River so enjoyed watching the fireworks show!

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Typically for New York, it was extremely humid and hot outside so while we briefly considered going to our deck and having a patriotic cook-out, we decided to stay inside, and do a cook-in. How did we keep from the smoke filling our apartment? Well obviously, “someone ooooo-pen up a window!” (see around time 1:36)

As part of the Klein family tradition, we of course had a 1776 viewing and after discovering that friends of ours had been meaning to see it, we had them over and did a little Fourth of July party.

 

I knew I wanted to cook burgers on our Staub grill pan which is one of our favorite kitchen tools, so went into the grocery store looking for some good grass fed beef. After lengthy conversation with the butcher, it turned out that apparently 80/20 meat is the best for juice burgers.  Leaner cuts will sometimes end up drying up too quickly and there ends your party, so get the slightly fattier stuff!

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Served with a refreshing potato salad, and a blueberry pie dessert (complete with lopsided stars as I made them free-form), we ate a very American dinner!

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<<Menu>>

  • Burgers
  • “Spring” Potato Salad – this salad a friend brought to a bbq where we had rack of lamb and it was divine (I used shallots in lieu of spring onions)
  • Blueberry pie

<<Recipes>>

Burgers

  • 1 – 1.5 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • About 2 tsp kosher salt
  • sliced tomatoes (for filling)
  • butter or romaine lettuce
  • thinly sliced onions
  • cheddar cheese, sliced
  • pickles (optional)
  1. Break the ground beef into 4 or 6 big chunks, roughly the same size. Mix in salt and pepper.
  2. Gently shape the chunks into patties and press a finger into the middle of each to create a “dimple” (this apparently helps the patty cook evenly).
  3. Set your pan over medium heat and heat up some butter or oil (about 1 tbsp)
  4. While the pan is heating up, toast the buns in an oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or just in batches in the toaster.
  5. Going back to the burgers, increase the heat to medium-high, and when it’s hot cook the burgers for 3-5 minutes on each side.
  6. Throw on buns and have guests fill with their favorite toppings!
  7. (If you want to add cheese and have it melty and gooey, add it after flipping the burger on top of the patty.)

Adapted from the Kitchn which also has fantastic videos to guide you through!

Spring Potato Salad

2 pounds small new or fingerling potatoes
1 pound asparagus
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, green beans or other spring pea
4 small-to-medium radishes, thinly sliced

Pickled spring onions
3 spring onions (about 6 ounces) or shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Sharp mustard vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with one inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, and then drain. Set aside to cool
  2. Meanwhile, pickle your spring onions (or shallots). Whisk vinegar, water, salt and sugar together in the bottom of a small container with a lid until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  3. Slice the bulbs and paler green parts into very thin coins and submerge them in the vinegar mixture. Cover and put in fridge until you’re ready to use them.
  4. Refill the saucepan you used for the potatoes (here’s to fewer dishes!) with salted water and bring it to a boil. Prepare an ice bath, a large bowl with ice and water in it. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus.
  5. One minute later, add the sugar snap peas. Two minutes later, drain both together then dump them in the ice bath until chilled. Drain the vegetables and spread them out on towel to absorb excess water.
  6. Slice the cooked asparagus spears and sugar snaps into 1/2-inch segments and place them in a large bowl.
  7. Chop potatoes into moderate-sized chunks and add them to the bowl.
  8. Cut the radishes as thinly as possible, with a mandoline if you have one.
  9. Whisk the dressing and vegetables together when the vegetables have all cooled off. But don’t mix together more than about 2 hours before serving as the color of the greens is less vibrant afterwards (though the salad is still delicious).

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Spring Potato Salad.

Radish Slaw with Remoulade and Pistachios

Looking for a light, refreshing summer salad? This the answer to any steak or other rich, red meat dish that needs a zesty sidekick (though this also went very nicely with salmon).screen-shot-2017-06-03-at-8-57-20-pm-e1496538875297.pngWe made this originally to pair with our steak with corn salsa, and then quickly realized it went well with an assortment main meats.

Ingredients

Remoulade

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp coarse grain mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp cornichons
  • 1/2 tsp liquid from canned chipotles in adobo sauce (optional but if you have the chipotles from the steak recipe then why not?)

—–

  • 1 large daikon radish, about 8 oz, peeled and dice
  • 1 bunch red radishes, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • (optional but good if you’re repurposing leftovers) handful of mixed greens

Directions

  1. Place the egg in boiling water for 90 seconds using a slotted spoon.
  2. Take the egg out of the water, let it cool slightly. Tap the top of the egg to peel of the top of the shell and using a small tsp, carve out the egg from the shell (think of it as a flash soft boiled egg). Add to a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon juice, mustard, salt and the pepper and pulse or blend. With the motor running, add the olive oil until it is emulsified.
  4. Add the tomato paste, parsley, chives, capers, cornichons and the chili liquid and keep processing until well mixed.
  5. Separately, combine the radishes and celery in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the remoulade to coat completely and mix. (Save the remaining remoulade for seafood dishes or sandwich condiment. We still haven’t figure out what to do with our leftovers quite yet. Mainly because we forgot about it.)
  6. After mixing thoroughly, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  7. Prior to serving, add the pistachios and mix.

Adapted from the Wine Lover’s Cookbook.

Steak with Corn Salsa

It’s always exciting to find yet another steak recipe when it seems that we’ve been cooking steak for years. This one was yet another gem from our favorite Wine Lover’s Cookbook that we feel vindicated in having picked up while in Healdsburg in Sonoma, California wine country.

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After all, we are truly wine lovers and food lovers, so who could turn down an entire book of pairings?! Food-wise, the recipe calls for a pairing with a radish daikon slaw, but easily would have been fine with just the salsa. In terms of wine, the recipe recommends a Zinfandel, and that a Sangiovese could work just as nicely. (We used the Zin and it was fantastic.)

Ingredients

Flank steak (1/2 lb/person)

Marinade

  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup of sliced yellow onions
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chiles in adobo

Salsa

  • 1 can corn
  • 1/2 cup roasted bell pepper (chopped, I buy the jar of roasted pepper which makes this a cinch)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of white wine Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp of minced jalapeños
  • 2 tsp sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a plastic bag or bowl and add the steak. Turn the steak a few times to make sure it is all covered in the marinade, and then let it sit in the fridge, in the marinade for 4-5 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. When oven comes to temperature, cut off the top of the head of garlic. Place it on foil and pour olive oil over the top. Stick in the oven for 45 minutes to make roasted garlic.
  3. Once roasted and soft, scoop the garlic cloves out of the head and place in a medium sized bowl and mash them lightly.
  4. Add the corn, chopped bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, jalapeños, sherry vinegar and basil. Mix thoroughly and then cover and refrigerate to let the flavors meld.
  5. Once the steak is finished marinating, bring a cast iron skillet or grill pan to high heat.
  6. Scrape the marinade off the steak, and add to the skillet for about 3 minutes on each side. Turn off the heat, cover in foil and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve the steak over the the corn salsa.

Adapted from the Wine Lover’s Cookbook.

Soft Shell Crabs in Lemon and Butter

About a year ago, a new fishmonger opened up in our neighborhood. Curious, and great seafood lovers, Matt and I decided to walk in.

IMG_20170603_194948.jpgMuch to our pleasant surprise, it turned out that not only was our new fishmonger a great source of cooking information, but also a purveyor of the rarer fishy creatures of the sea.

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While we haven’t quite made the plunge to try sea urchins, we did jump on the opportunity to cook soft shell crabs which we happened upon this weekend.

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As it turns out, they’re very easy to make, as in basically you dredge them in milk, and then flour, and then you sear them for 4 minutes total.

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Following Lisa’s advice, we went the simple route of lemon and butter and it was a perfect light summer dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk (we used skim milk and turned out fine)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 small (4-inch-wide) live or already dressed soft-shelled crabs, cleaned (I didn’t want to deal with live crabs and our trusty fishmonger had them fresh)
  • 1 cup Wondra or all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose and it was fine)
  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (we used ghee)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Combine milk, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and soak crabs 5 minutes. Lift 1 crab out of milk, letting excess drip off, and dredge in flour.
  2. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a tray.
  3. Repeat with remaining crabs, arranging them in 1 layer as coated.
  4. Heat clarified butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté crabs, upside down, 2 minutes.
  5. Turn over and sauté until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  6. Transfer crabs to a serving dish. Add butter pieces to skillet and cook until golden brown with a nutty aroma. Add lemon juice and parsley (mixture will bubble up) and remove from heat.
  7. Season sauce with salt and pepper and drizzle over crabs. Serve with fingerling potatoes or a light green salad.

Adapted from Bon Appetit Soft-Shelled Crabs Meunière.