martha monday: pistachio tartlets with crème fraîche and berries

welcome (back) to martha mondays, where i work my way through her baking handbook ... trying things out, challenging myself, and hopefully learning (and eating yummy things) along the way.

i have to admit i'm a sucker for photos. if a recipe doesn't have a photo, i'm apt to neglect it but if something has a gorgeous photo, i can't wait to dig in even if it has ingredients i'm not fond of (exhibit A, mocha roulade).

so with warmer weather finally here, there are several things i've been wanting to try out, purely based upon martha's photo :)

pistachio dough

i decided to start with the pistachio tartlets with crème fraîche and berries (p. 255) as they seemed easy and fresh. the dough was quite soft, but really lovely and definitely a keeper for other fillings. i loved that the crème made it not too sweet, which was perfect with the berries.

pistachio tartlet with berries

for some other tartlets, please check out zakia over at the frosted bakeshop who also loved the pistachio dough. and new blogger, lynn from bites and pieces also joined us this week. and she made the crème fraîche from scratch, quite impressive!!

tartlet close-up

next martha monday: either the peach, apricot, and cherry pie (p. 236) or the sour cherry cobbler (p. 279). both seem your standard summer fare, but i would love the challenge of doing a "real" lattice top. post by monday, 28 july and email me your link: marthamondays -at- gmail.com!

and i apologize for the poor overexposed non-color corrected photos of my delicious pistachio tartlets! i promise next time not to wait until 11pm the night it is due!! :)


the best savory galette, ever

leek and goat cheese galette

i implore you to make this galette.

it is one of the best things i have made, ever. okay sure, my home made repertoire is pretty darn small, so i guess that isn't saying much! hehe. but really, this is one of the best things i have ever eaten at home.

galette close-up

i know what you're thinking ... mimi, how can something simple be so delish? yes, surely you think i'm exaggerating. but please, make this galette and just try, just try!, to tell me that it isn't also one of the best dinners you've ever made.

leek and goat cheese galette: serves 6
from deborah madison's vegetarian cooking for everyone (1997, p. 498)

galette dough (p. 696)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tb sugar
12 tb cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 - 1/2 cup ice water, as needed

1. mix flour, salt, and sugar together in bowl. cut in butter, leaving some pea size chunks. sprinkle with ice water by the tablespoon and mix with flour mixture until you can bring dough together. (you can also use a mixer or food processor if you like.) press into disk and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2. roll out disk on lightly floured counter about 1/8" thick. you can either make one large galette or six small ones. i'd suggest the small ones because with the filling, it becomes a bit unwieldy. and for dinner, it's nice to serve individual size galettes. either way, roll it out to a circle of your size, and no it doesn't have to be a perfect circle, that's the beauty of the galette.

with herbed goat cheese

for the filling:
6 large leeks, including inch of green
3 tb butter
1 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup crème fraîche
salt + pepper
1 egg, beaten
3 tb chopped parsley
4 oz (herbed) goat cheese, less or more to taste

1. preheat oven to 400F. thinly slice and wash the leeks. you should have about 6 cups.

2. melt butter in medium skillet. add leeks, thyme, and 1/2 cup water. stew over medium heat, stirring frequently, until leeks are tender, about 12 minutes. add wine and continue cooking until reduced; then add the crème and cook until it coats the leeks and little liquid remains. season with salt and plenty of pepper. let cool 10 minutes then stir in all but 1 tb of the beaten egg and 2 tb of the parsley.

3. spread leek mixture on top of rolled galette dough, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. crumble the goat cheese on top, then fold the dough over the filling (fold it over a little or a lot, up to you). brush with reserved egg and bake until crust is browned, 25-30 minutes. garnish with remaining parsley. bon appétit!

perfect dinner

galette slice


just what i needed

some of you may have already seen the new york times article (or maybe even better yet, and you've known about matt since 2005). i actuallly saw that article on the "most popular" links for a few days and with the title i was like whatever.

but now i'm so fortunate that jen over at use real butter posted about it.

after all that i've been thinking about, and all that doubt, and all that i've been struggling with recently ... this video was exactly what i needed.

maybe it will be for you too.

if you want to watch a clearer version, click here and
make sure to click on the link for "watch in high quality" (right below the "views" number)

for more info about matt, click here.


cherry clafoutis

late night snack

this post is going to be short and sweet, as befitting of such a jewel of a late night sweet snack.

the truth is i hate cherries. no really, i do! but when you see the ephemeral pints come 'round just about now, all defenses are down. even a cherry hater couldn't pass up picking these up at the farmer's market.

farmer's market cherries

but what to do with them? because goodness forbid, you can't just eat them ... you have to bake something with them!! (what have i become?!) i didn't have enough to make a pie (plus, that would just give me bad flashbacks of warrant's cherry pie). so i googled around until i found an idea for a clafoutis. i never even heard of a clafoutis until i started blogging and then i saw a couple and they all looked so small and good. never heard of a clafoutis either? clotilde from chocolate and zucchini writes it best:

"Clafoutis is the epitome of the French grandmotherly dessert: unpretentious, easy to make, and blissfully comforting. The fluffy custard, light as a cloud and studded with fruit, hails from the Limousin region in the heart of France, where each family has its own well-guarded recipe."
easy to make and blissfully comforting sounded perfect. there are many recipes online. i was intrigued by martha's addition of almond, but really, it seemed to only complicate things and on this night i wanted super simple. and when trying a new french dessert, go to a french source, n'est-ce pas?

cherry clafoutis

this classic cherry clafoutis is brought to you thanks to the simple recipe of la tartine gourmande. for the recipe, click here.

i didn't have the exact same size ramekins so i didn't know how high to fill mine. needless to say as you all know, i'm an overfiller, and did so on these.


yet, the custardy overfill peeled off and and was a yummy hint of what was to come. and it was oh so lovely with a little whipped cream melting on top! i think this will be my new favorite way to bake with early summer berries. i want to try this one next!

melting whipped cream


penne with seared scallops and asparagus

last bite
last bite

hopefully most of you enjoyed a better holiday weekend than i. sure, we went to a great beachside party on friday, but the rest of the weekend was plagued with bad weather. no more beach, no tennis, no bbq, no nothing! but ahh, there's always my faithful blog! :)

so back to the photoshop vault for another dish we made back in may. i love pasta with seafood. it's the ultimate easy dinner that leaves you completely satisfied without feeling overstuffed. and as always, simple is better. and for that reason, make sure to befriend a good fish monger and get the freshest pieces of goodies available. we're lucky enough to have a great source at the farmer's market. it makes all the difference in the world. and their fresh scallops are just to die for.

quick dinner

penne with seared scallops and asparagus: serves 4

1 lb penne (or other bulky pasta)
1 lb sea scallops, cleaned and muscle pulled off (make sure they are dry, not treated)
1 bunch asparagus, cut on 1/2" bias
3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
olive oil
salt + pepper
old bay
white wine
chopped chives

1. heat olive oil in skillet on medium high. season scallops (toss in bowl to coat) and then gently place scallops in skillet to sear. don't touch scallops until they can easily release from the pan. gently turn over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes (rough time estimate; they are done when you touch them and they bounce back).

2. take scallops out of pan. add leeks and caramelize for about 5 minutes. add wine to de-glaze and scrape off the fond.

3. meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions. reserve water to blanch asparagus. add to pan with leeks, and add scallops too. mix, and heat through a little if necessary. combine with pasta and chopped chives and mix gently.

like this dish? try this recipe too.

penne with seared scallops and asparagus


"hamburger" pizza

"hamburger" tomato pizza

before i start posting some of my newest baking and cooking adventures, i want to try to get rid of a backlog of older photos from previous forays. here's the first installation.

i am a sucker for pizza. i love pizza. it's my all-time comfort food. so when i saw a recipe for hamburger pizza in may's issue of everyday food, i knew i just had to try it!

there's nothing really all that complicated about making your own pizza at home. even less so if you take the really quicky route and pick up some dough from your local pizza joint. but nothing beats the fresh taste, the endless variations, and lip smacking goodness.

so i implore you, especially if you live outside of new york city (oh please, don't give me no nasty chicago deep dish or tacky california wolfgang puck style!) - make your own pizza! if you really need more validation, from a source that is more respectable than my endless babble, then read smitten kitchen's ode to painless pizza.

have a slice

we were lucky that week to have some leftover marinara sauce with our usual smart ground "beef". the rest of the ingredients were just red onion, tomato, and fresh mozzarella. easy, peasy! for the original recipe, click here.

easy dinner


martha strikes back

well if i have returned back to blogging, then shouldn't martha?

welcome (back) to martha mondays! inspired by my previous forays into tuesdays with dorie, martha mondays is pretty simple. i have her baking handbook and i want to try (almost) every recipe in here and i thought it would be fun to have some company sometimes too. i love learning while i bake, and learning what works and what doesn't. now that it's summer (here) i find myself dying to get back into her book again with all those tarts i have wanted to try.

martha mondays event

so here it is ...

martha mondays will still be a bi-weekly bake. i will choose a recipe to try out from her baking handbook, and will post my results every other monday. you are welcome to join me, sit one out, and join again - whatever strikes your fancy. all that i ask is you link back to my announcement and send me a quick email to marthamondays (at) gmail.com so i can create a link for you too.

to (re)start it off, i'm picking one that has struck my fancy since the beginning, but for which i have been patiently awaiting the arrival in the farmer's market: pistachio tartlets with crème fraiche and berries on page 255.

so go ahead and bake away and post/email me no later than july 13. i will have my tartlets posted with your link on monday, july 14.

to see some previous martha mondays, click here, here, here, and here!