Archives for the month of: April, 2012

Do you ever find yourself wanting to disappear? I find that I’m quite good at it. When something is on my mind, I pretty much disappear into it (obsession maybe?). And then when I finally am done with one obsession, I find a way to disappear into something else. It’s my own little version of work-life balance….and a way to try to minimize the ridiculous amount of multi-tasking that we modern ladies seem to have to do in order to stay relevant.

After a month of disappearance into work (and prior to what looks to be like another month’s worth), I relocated my disappearing act to home. Mostly because I realized that DH and I hadn’t washed the dishes in over a week. And I couldn’t really walk in the front door anymore because there were two weeks’ worth of shoes (yes, different ones!) blocking the entryway. I thought this kind of stuff stopped happening by the time you’re 30….like the switch just comes on and suddenly both you and your husband actually clean up after yourselves. It has most definitely not switched on here.

To celebrate a clean kitchen, I decided to destroy it again yesterday afternoon with my next Baking with Dorie recipe and a pot of soup from Cook This Now. I’ve been meaning to try this one for a few weeks because it has coconut milk, and I pretty much love anything with coconut milk (coincidentally, I made the mistake of getting my lipids tested after our trip to Thailand where I ate coconut milk 3 times a day…..not good!)

I adapted this recipe from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now. Her version was delicious, but I added a few things to adjust it to my taste (and I admit, hide some of the tomato flavor).

Curried Tomato Soup
Adapted from Cook This Now

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2 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Pinch chili powder
32 oz vegetable broth, no salt
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
1 can lite coconut milk
1 tsp Thai curry paste (optional)
Chopped basil for garnish

Heat oil in stockpot. Add onions, sauté them on medium low heat for about 12-15 minutes, or until really tender. Add spices, sauté for another 2 minutes or until the onions are very fragrant.

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Add the vegetable broth and the tomatoes. Bring soup up to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and curry paste. Stir in the basil just prior to serving.

This soup fits the bill for comforting and rich. Highly recommended and easy to do!

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Unfortunately I have to undisappear tomorrow for what is shaping up to be a pretty crazy week. Time for bed!

Beth

Actually, this morning was the first morning where I actually did remember where I was the moment I opened my eyes. But that was because DH was right next to me in a bed that is significantly smaller than the king-size we’re used to. Being on the road for a weekend when you’ve just gotten home for a business trip results in a CRAZY Friday morning, complete with re-packing, scrambling to do the work that you should have done on the plane the night before but you decided to read that Fifty Shades book instead, and this week I had to have the cleaning ladies in since I have visitors coming the following weekend and am out of town again this upcoming week.

So another week has slipped by, although it was energizing from the perspective of meeting another office of new people and completing an impromptu presentation (via conference call) of my recent work to a meeting of senior leaders for critique (albeit it would have been nice for my boss to give more warning than an IM with “can you join this call now…please….thanks!”)

Is it too late to talk about Easter? DH and DomesticSis and I had a great one. It was a beautiful day and I managed to put something on the table that was quite delish. Duck L’Orange, leeks au gratin, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and a strawberry and cream tort.

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I am pretty proud of the duck, and it had the most amazing orange duck sauce…I froze the rest and am going to use it in orange chicken stir-fry throughout the summer. It was a 3 hour process to roast the duck and make the sauce, but so totally worth it. See Jacques Pepin’s recipe on Food and Wine‘s website for inspiration.

Of course, my favorite part of dinner was dessert. And since DH and DomesticSis and I ran a 5k as part of church that morning, dessert we had. It was a really easy way to use the “Ah-mazing” strawberries sold at the farmer’s market, which I imagine will still be in season for several weeks yet.

Strawberries and Cream Tort

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Shell
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold butter
1 egg
2-4 tbsp ice water

Mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, mixing until the butter is the size just a little smaller than dimes. With your hands, combine in the egg, working to bring the dough together. You may need to add water, 1 tbsp at a time, to get the dough to come together depending on the size of your egg. The dough should be a little crumbly. Once together, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Heat your oven to 350. Take you dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a pastry mat until it will fit your 10 inch tart pan. Put the pastry in the pan, pushing the dough into the fluted edges. Place foil over the dough and fill with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the weights and foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Let cool

Vanilla pastry cream

2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla paste or 1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
4 tbsp butter

Heat the milk and vanilla beans in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture starts to boil. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and eggs u until beaten. Slowly add in about 1/2 of the milk mixture, whisking as you are adding it, to bring the eggs up to temperature without cooking them. Then add the egg mixture to the saucepan and place it all on the heat, whisking frequently. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick (it will look like pudding consistency). Strain the pastry cream into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap (place the plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to keep it from developing a film) and cool in the fridge for about an hour.

To assemble your tort, spread the cooled pastry cream on the shell, then decorate with your strawberries. Serve that same day.

I need to go find the energy to get some running in as a diet full of carbs and lacking in green veggies is surely waiting for me. Enjoy the weekend!!

Beth

I almost forgot about this week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe! I thought it would be next week since we would be squarely in April. Of course that would have meant that many of us would be serving Pizza Rustica on our Easter tables!

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this recipe, as I’m not a huge fan of cheese-laden pies. But I’m glad that I tried it – it was delicious and very easy to make!

First, I was thrilled that the dough came together so easily! My pastry dough always seems to turn out a little dry and needs additional ice water, but this one was a snap. I skipped the food processor in favor of a pastry blender and a spoon. I rather enjoy the little clumps of butter that shows up in my crust when I bake them. 🙂

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Next, the filing? Easy. Although DH bought me curly parsley at the grocery. While I always think of parsley as garnishy, curly parsley is especially so. But, in it went (and the leftover bunch went into lasagna!).

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Once my dough was chilled, I went on to the task of rolling the dough. I am not gifted at this at all! The base turned out beautiful…..Until it went into the dish. Someone really needs to teach me how to trim edges…

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After the filing went in, I did my top crust. I started to run out of dough on the round, so it required a lot of rolling, slicing, and re-rolling. But I managed to get all 12 recommended strips onto the pie!

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After that, baking. And it turned out beautiful. I wish I had taken a picture of the first slice, but DH and I had company over for supper and while I have no problem interrupting DH’s dinner, I don’t like to do that for guests.

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This is definitely a recipe I will make again! Visit our hosts for the week Emily and Raelynn to find the recipe and try it yourself!!

Enjoy the springtime! I am trying to wait patiently until my peas and kale have sprouted.
Beth