Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My favorite place

red and blue

Don't you hate it when you finally find time to sit down and write a post only to find that everything you type is complete and utter drivel? Things come out as half thoughts and in short, halting sentences? Bleh. yeah, that's me today.

Rather than give up and wait for a seemingly better time that I know will not arise, I will continue on. I didn't really want to do much blabbering anyway; what I really wanted was to show some photos from my recent trip to New York.

union square

I love NYC. Well, that's an understatement. I lurrrrve it. Not just the city itself, but also Brooklyn, which happens to be where my oldest and dearest friend has lived for the past decade. We've known each other since we were both eight years old, which, we realized, means we've known each other for 20 years! Yeah, twenty years. Wow.

walking to the east village

I don't have a recipe today, but a review of sorts. It's food related.

If you ever find yourself in Brooklyn (Clinton Hill, to be exact), needing a little coffee, or something to eat, I know of a place you should go.

It's this place, right here. Outpost.

home away from home

Okay, I might be just a tiny bit biased (aforementioned long time dearest friend is co-owner) BUT - I would still love this place even if that weren't a factor.

How could you not? Just look around...

brick wall art

coffee served

I love the decor, but I'm not quite sure how to describe it. No need though, as I think it really speaks for itself.




coffee corner

orange wall

The coffee here is amazing (better than anything I've had here in Seattle and that is absolute truth) and the food is great too. They have sandwiches, chili (both vegetarian and turkey), soup, mac and cheese, freshly made juices, pastries and even beer and wine if you're so inclined.

la marzocco

condiment bar


They throw events and parties every once in a while. Sometimes there's a DJ.

The garden out back is wonderful in the warm weather. (it's a lot bigger than this)

garden seating

Next to it is the most beautiful wall I've ever seen. They didn't even make it this way, this is just how it was when they moved in. This picture doesn't do it justice.

that beautiful wall

the most beautiful wall

Anyway, if you're in the neighborhood, you should really stop in.

1014 Fulton Street, between Grand and Classon.

orange bldg

Here are some other random photos from my trip. I didn't take as many pictures as I thought I would - I've already done all the touristy things, so I felt a bit of 'been there, done that' as far as those types of pics go. I did however, discover this super awesome iphone app called ShakeItPhoto that I couldn't stop using. I never would've thought some of my favorite pictures would come from using my craptastic iphone camera! But this app is gold and totally worth $0.99 (and is the only app I've ever paid for).

passing through park slope

brooklyn stoop

a calm soho sidewalk

beautiful stoop
can you tell I love front stoops?

les halles
because I'm a bit nutty for Anthony Bourdain

passing thru

soho apt
I could squeeze myself into this tiny soho apartment....I'd just have to get rid of 90% of my personal possessions

sunny in soho
soho is one of my favorite neighborhoods

margarita time

west village bldg
west village

maggie brown's magnificent wallpaper
maggie brown- awesome brunch and the wallpaper is like velvet

chasing the sunset
until next time...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spontaneous Nectarine Tart

nectarine tart

I love when simple things turn out spectacular. What's even better is when you use things you have on hand and put together something really great; something you wouldn't have found in a cook book or in a recipe online. I did pull ideas from both a cook book and a couple of recipes online to make this nectarine tart, but the idea really came from things I already had made that needed to be used.

nectarine tart - nectarines

I recently bought the book Tartine and am absolutely in love with it. Each and every recipe sounds divine and I can honestly say I want to make every single one of them! It's not often I feel that way while flipping through the pages of a new cook book. At first I was a little disappointed because the book features a relatively small number of recipes, but came to realize that they are all so appealing to me that I'm happy to have fewer, more appetizing recipes than a massive book that only contains a handful.

nectarine tart - rolled dough
you can see the butter chunks that make this dough so flaky...if you squint a little!

One thing I love about the Tartine cook book is the basic recipes that are located in the back of the book for things like chiffon cake, pastry cream, sweet tart dough and flaky tart dough to name a few.

nectarine tart - flaky tart dough

The first thing I made out of the bookwas the flaky tart dough. It was simple to make and resulted in the flakiest pie crust I have ever made, and it was absolutely delicious! It's so flaky, it's borderline puff pastry-esque. The recipe makes enough for two 9-inch pie crusts, so I had an extra pie crust just aching to be used for something.

nectarine tart - pre and post bake
pre and post bake

I'd recently seen a nectarine galette featured on Smitten Kitchen, which, along with
a family get together, a box of perfectly ripe nectarines, and left over cheese danish filling gave way to inspiration.

nectarine tart - crust edge

This nectarine tart was an absolute hit at the party and was even proclaimed to be, "the best thing I have ever eaten in my life!" by my future brother-in-law. Wow! That is the greatest compliment I have ever received and absolutely made my day :)

I hope you make this tart and enjoy it as much as we did.

Flaky Tart Dough
adapted from Tartine

1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups + 2 tablespoons flour (or 1 pound/455g by weight, which is the method I prefer)
1 cup + 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (mine was frozen)

1. In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and keep in fridge until ready to use.

2. Using a food processor, add the flour to the work bowl. Cut butter into 1" chunks and scatter across the top of the flour. Pulse briefly until you have large crumbs. Add the cold water/salt mixture and pulse until the dough begins to come together in a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still see chunks of butter (about pea size).

3. On a floured surface, divide the dough into two balls, shape into disks 1" thick (work the dough as little as possible). Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Makes 2 9-10" pie crusts.

Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from David Lebovitz's Black Bottom Cupcake recipe found in The Great Book of Chocolate

(If you're using a standard tart pan, you can probably get away with halving this recipe.)

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature

1. Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the eggs and sugar, beating well until creamy. Store in the refrigerator until ready for use.

You will also need:

Approximately 1 1/2 pounds of nectarines (4-6)
1/4 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 egg, beaten (to use as an egg wash)

4 tablespoons ground almonds (or almond meal/flour)
1 tablespoon flour
4 teaspoons sugar (I used vanilla sugar)

Assembling the tart:

1. Slice about 5-6 nectarines as thick or thin as you'd like (I cut each half into 4 slices).

2. Roll out your tart dough and fit into your tart pan.

3. If using the *optional method, mix the ground almonds, flour and 4 teaspoons sugar. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the tart dough.

*I say this step is optional because I don't think you will miss it if you don't use it. Deb's recipe used this but she didn't use a cream cheese filling, so I assume you'd taste this a lot more if you only had nectarines and no other filling.

4. Pour your cream cheese mixture into your tart crust. I used a very deep dish tart pan that took almost all my cream cheese mixture. If you're using a standard tart pan, you will have a lot of the cream cheese mixture left over.

5. Arrange your nectarine slices however you wish and brush the edges of your tart dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top of your tart and crust edge with 1/4 cup of sugar.

6. Bake at 375 F for approximately 45 minutes, or until the center is no longer jiggly. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the top with the 1/4 cup of sliced almonds. You may have to cover the outer edge of crust with foil to prevent over browning.

Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

nectarine tart - middle