Monday, September 28, 2009

Tarts! (Is "Let's get reTarted" offensive?)

First, a quick note, I have some recipes being featured on Meatless Mondays! If you haven't checked that campaign out, definitely do it! Even better, pass it around to your resolutely omnivorous friends. All they ask is that you don't eat meat one day of the week, easy I know, rite?! Anyway, onto the food bits...

Pictures above is a leek and roasted red pepper tart topped with a confit of slow-dried tomatoes, on a bed of sriracha, a thai hot sauce also known as "rooster sauce," or "cock sauce." It is a fun kitchen accessory, many believe it an absolute necessity. But what are we doing talking about cock sauce, when this post is about tarts?

I wish it were about tarts! But the above tart did not dazzle the tongue's palette. Oh the things that went wrong, I can't even begin to think about! It definitely needs work and I think the platform may be a good thing to explore... so today's recipe is only going to be a base. I will surely toy with it in the future, it has the potential to be both a great platform as well as a good dish for dinner parties and pot lucks. It can also be cut up into two-bite bits and served as an appetizer.

The tofu base is creamy, with a bit of tang (from the ume plums) that one would find in a cream cheese base. It is definitely a dish that could be mistaken for a non-vegan fritatta. Oh I can't wait to explore it!

For all my talk this dish wasn't _bad_, just wasn't as awesome as I thought it could be... So here is the base, and instructions on how to explore from there... I also made this in a 8x13 inch baking sheet, but it could also be done in a 9 inch removable-bottom tart pan, or perhaps in two smaller pie pans.

DIY Quiche

Quiche/Tart crust
3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat pasty flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 c canola oil
3-5 T cold water

2 T olive oil
3 T umeboshi paste
2 pounds firm water packed tofu, drained
3/4 t sea salt

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375, with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. In the food processor, blend the flours, baking powder, and salt together. Pulse in the oil until the mixture becomes mealy. Mix in enough water to form moist clumps. Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk. Press it into the pan you are using, going up the sides.

To make the filling: Blend the tofu, umeboshi paste, olive oil, and salt. Pour into a bowl and stir in your fillings.

Bake the quiche for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling is set.

*Fillings: Honestly, you could probably leave this plain and just have a simple sort of tart... But more excitingly, I would recommend tossing a garlic clove or two into the mix, at least... I would look through any cook book for quiches, and simply whatever they add to the egg and dairy base, you add to this.. Spices, sauteeded mushrooms, carmelized onions, artechokes, roasted red peppers, etc. To give it a nice bit of flair, a drizzle of sauce, a spoonful of topping will make a lovely difference.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Radicchio

Radicchio is, likely, one of the most neglected objects of my CSA share. It isn't that I don't like it, or find it appealing, but rather it is something that doesn't lend itself well to my meal-prep styles... which you'd be surprised to know consists largely of putting a lot of whatever I get into a blender and mixing the hell out of it (kale + tomatoes + garlic + radishes + radish greens + basil + romaine + apple=GO).

Radicchio has long held the title for "most likely to rot in my vegetable crisper," as I never knew of what to use it for. This has always paind me, given te plant's history as a medicinal tool thanks to its quantities of intybin, which infuses the plant with its bitter character. I always felt it was limited to a fine shred in salads, something I rarely make.

Now I have learned a way of tempering that bitterness in a dish that elevates my radicchio heads into a stand-alone dish. Today's recipe is a two-prong approach, both reducing the bitterness with roasting and counterbalancing it with a sweet balsamic and brown sugar glaze. Even better, this recipe can be made in about 5 minutes.

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Radicchio

1 lb radicchio (about 4 large heads, or 2 small)
2 T olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 T brown Sugar
Salt & pepper

Turn your oven to it's low broil setting, and make sure a rack is at the highest point about 4 inches from the heat.
Quarter or halve (depending on head-size) the radicchio and gently remove the core, keeping the pieces whole.
Brush heads with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Mix the balsamic and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Place the radicchio into the oven for one to two minutes, remove and brush with the glaze. I drizzle the heads with all of the glaze (I pour it into the cracks), place back in the oven until the edges begin to crisp and char, another couple of minutes.
Remove, transfer to the serving dish, sprinkle with a little salt and a few fresh grinds of pepper.
Can be served hot, or at room temperature.