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Fresh Fruit Tart June 14, 2009

Filed under: dessert — swedblue @ 11:27 pm
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Yesterday, I tried a new recipe and made a fresh friut tart.  I have never done a tart before, so I was interested how it would turn out.  I adapted a recipe I found on Food Network.   After reading the reviews for the recipe, I did some adaptations.  One thing to keep your crust from getting soggy is to make sure that both the crust and glaze are completely cooled.  After making this, I would not use the glaze given. The taste was ok, but it was too liquidy.  I had to cook it longer than the recipe required.  I have adapted it below with what I would do next time.  You will still end up with more glaze than you will need for the tart.   If the glaze still looks to thin, you can add more cornstarch.    If you want a really easy glaze, heat 1/2 cup of apricot preserves/jam, orange marmalade, red currant jelly and 1 tablespoon of water till liquid.  I have also heard of using warm honey.

Next time I will layer the fruit better.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Fresh Fruit Tart

Fresh Fruit Tart
(adapted from Paula Dean)

* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and sliced

* 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)

* Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices, blueberries, raspberries (any fresh fruit would do)

* 4 oz frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 1-2 tablespoon apricot preserves
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* Whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust: In a food processor (if you don’t have one, you can do this by hand or in a mixer), combine the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and butter, and process until the mixture forms a ball. With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, taking care to push the crust into the indentations in the sides. Pat until the crust is even. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned (Note: I ended up baking my crust for 25 minutes-just watch the crust-if you don’t bake it long enough you will end up with a soggy crust). Set aside to cool.

For the filling and topping: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. For the next circle, use kiwi slices. Add another circle of strawberries, filling in any spaces with blueberries. Cluster the raspberries in the center of the tart.

For the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pastry brush, glaze the entire tart. You will not use all of the glaze.

Keep the tart in the refrigerator. Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Slice into 8 wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.


Classic White Bread June 10, 2009

Filed under: food — swedblue @ 1:44 am

Over the past few months, I have been trying different breads.  One recipe I got, I tried a couple of different ways, and always had the same issue of very little rise on the second rise.  I came across this recipe at Baking Bites, a blog I read every day.  I made this bread today, and it turned out great (compared to my other past attempts).

Classic White Bread

adapted from Baking with Julia

2 1/2 cups warm water (105-115F)

1 package active dry yeast (.25 oz)

1 tbsp sugar

6-7 cups ap flour

1 tbsp salt

4 tbsp butter, softened

Combine 1/2 cup water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let stand until foamy – about 10 minutes. Add remaining water, flour and salt to yeast mixture and mix with a wooden spoon (or in a mixer) until dough cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in butter until dough is smooth and not sticky. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue kneading for an additional minute or two. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise until doubled, about 1- 1 1/2 hours.

Butter two 8×4 inch loaf pans and set aside. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide in two equal portions. Shape as described above and place seam side down into prepared loaf pans. Cover loaf pans lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Dough will rise above the lip of the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.

Place loaves in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. After 35 minutes, use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. It will read 200F when the loaves are done. If you do not have an instant read themometer (meat thermometer), simply cook the loaves for 40 minutes and keep an eye on your oven thermometer to make sure the temperature remains constant.

Remove loaves from pans immediately and let cool completely (2-3 hours) before slicing.

Makes 2 loaves

The book recommends storing the bread in a brown paper bag at room temperature for up to two days, or freezing the loaves.


Orzo with Chicken and Parmesan June 4, 2009

Filed under: food — swedblue @ 4:08 pm
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I have been trying out new recipes over the past few months. This one I did last night and Josh enjoyed it.  I made a few adjustments to it (as I tend to do).  It is easy and turned out good.

Orzo with Chicken and Parmesan

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
12 ounces skinned, boned chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 -3 cloves garlic, minced (or use 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 cup water
1 (16-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed  (I used green beans)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, basil, and oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until opaque; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add water, broth, and poultry seasoning to the pan and bring to a mixture to a boil.

Once boiling, add pasta and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peas, and continue to cook until the peas are heated through and the pasta has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally. (I put the herbs in for the last few minutes of cooking)

Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup cheese (I went ahead an put all the cheese in), herbs, salt and pepper. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.