Monthly Archives: September 2014

Savory Alsatian Tarte (Tarte Flambée)

Alxastian Tarte1 (1 of 1)While on a business trip this past summer to Frankfurt, I dined on some fantastic Alsatian tartes (Flammkuchen in German, tarte flambée in French). As the name suggests, this tarte has its origins in the Alsace region of France that borders Germany (and was part of Germany in past history), but they are very popular in Frankfurt, as well (and Montréal, where I tasted them for the first time several years ago). I have to say, the Frankfurter version is absolutely delicious, so I did my best to recreate it at home! Rustic and wonderful — here it is…I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

1 1/4-oz packet yeast
1 c warm water
4 oz bacon, finely diced
14 oz flour (weight)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 tsp salt, divided
7 oz crème fraîche
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3 leeks, thinly sliced cross-wise (white part only)
2 oz grated Gruyère cheese
4 green onions, chopped

Preaheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pizza stone on the lowest level.

Stir yeast into warm water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes (do not overdo it on the stove top, as bacon will cook further in the oven). Remove bacon to paper towels with a slotted spoon.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, water/yeast mixture, olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, tuning once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together crème fraîche, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and nutmeg.

Turn dough back onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a thin round piece, about 10 or so inches in diameter. Spread 1/4 of the crème fraîche mixture evenly onto each tarte. Repeat with the leeks and Gruyère.

Using a pizza peel, slide tartes onto hot pizza stone (I only had room to cook one at a time). Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve.

Serves 4.

Indiana “Ham and Beans”

Ham_and_Beans1 (1 of 1) Fall begins tomorrow in this hemisphere, so it’s time to switch to hearty, comforting dishes. This dish is from the state of Indiana. It is so common there that everybody and their grandmother knows about it, loves it and makes it without following a recipe. My readers know that I’m always up for “comfort food,” and this  ranks as one of my favorites. So simple and delicious — I hope you’ll try this in the coming months or so! Also, if you’re not intending to cook it for a crowd, a half recipe turns out just as tasty.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 cups chicken stock
6 15.5-oz cans great northern beans
1 lb diced, smoked ham
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional RB)

Rinse and drain beans. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté 8 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add chicken stock, beans, ham, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until creamy and thick. Serve with cornbread and coleslaw.

Serves 8.

Beef and Leek Sauce with New Red Potatoes

Beef_leek_Sauce1 (1 of 1)Leeks are fantastic, but I typically cook with them only in winter. Not sure why. I think this sauce however, can be made year round — the large amount of leeks (and nutmeg, and gouda) are what make it! These are some of my favorite ingredients, all combined and cooked together to create this mouth-watering sauce. I served it here with boiled new red potatoes and some rye bread, but you can also serve it over pasta or mashed potatoes. Yum — try something new tonight (like this!)

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 leeks, halved length-wise, then thinly sliced cross-wise, white part only
1 large onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef
5 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 c beef stock
1 c grated gouda cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once foam from butter subsides, add leeks and onion. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add beef to leek mixture. Stir to brown and break up meat, about 5 minutes. Add the next 6 ingredients (tomato paste through paprika). Stir 1 minute. Add beef stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gouda cheese. Serve with dollop of sour cream and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.


Roasted Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with a Plum Sauce

Rosemary_Pork_Tenderloin1 (1 of 1)As in recent posts, I’m trying to get as much out of the herbs from my garden before it’s too late. Last night I chose to make something with my rosemary. I made this wonderful roasted pork tenderloin — the pork is prepared by rubbing it with a garlicy rosemary and olive oil paste. The aroma is fantastic! The pork is served over a bed of frisée that’s been slightly wilted in some of the rosemary paste, then topped with a sweet/sour plum sauce (I served it with mashed potatoes). This turned out to be delicious, so I hope you’ll try it out!

8 oz pitted prunes
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cup Sherry vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 lbs), trimmed
1 cup chicken stock
1 large head frisée (escarole), coarsely sliced

Add prunes, water, Sherry vinegar and sugar to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until syrupy, about 20 minutes. Set aside

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper into a food processor. Process to a smooth paste. In a shallow roasting pan, coat pork well with 3 1/2 Tbsp of the rosemary paste (set remaining paste aside). Place pork in oven and roast until middle of thickest part registers 150 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Remove pork to a cutting board and loosely tent with aluminum foil.

Heat remaining rosemary paste in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. As soon as paste begins to sizzle, stir in the chicken stock, then the frisée. Cover and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes.

Divide frisée among 6 plates. Top each with pork slices and plum sauce. Serve.

Serves 6 .

Veal Croquettes with Mushrooms (Verrückte Omas Merkwürdige Kalbfleisch-Frikadellen)

Veal_Croquettes1 (1 of 1)I had a bunch of ground veal left over from my last post, so I decided to make veal croquettes (my spin on Viennese Butterschnitzel). Croquettes are typically deep-fried in oil, but here I try to reduce the fat a bit by pan-frying the croquettes in a little oil and butter until crispy. I really like the depth of flavor provided by the lemon and nutmeg (I could add nutmeg to just about anything!). I served the croquettes with steamed asparagus and a fresh caprese salad, which I think went together well. This crazy dish is truly delicious — please try it next weekend and let me know what you think!

1/8 cup skim milk
1/8 cup crème fraîche
2 slices sandwich bread, coarsely torn into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp finely grated, chopped lemon rind
2 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped chives
1 1/4 lbs ground veal
1/2 cup fine, unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Whisk together milk and crème fraîche in a small bowl. Stir in bread pieces and let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the bread-milk-crème fraîche mixture together with the egg, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, nutmeg, lemon rind, 1 Tbsp chives and veal. Mix with hand until ingredients are well-incorporated. Form into 4 4-inch patties. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Coat patties all over with the breadcrumbs and set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Once foam from butter has subsided, gently place the patties in the skillet. cook patties until golden brown, turning once half way through, about 10 minutes in total. Remove patties (time to call them “croquettes”) from skillet to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil.

Add mushrooms, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 black pepper and 1 1/2 Tbsp chives to the skillet. Stir over high heat until mushrooms begin to release water, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until browned, about 3 more minutes. Serve croquettes, topped with the mushrooms and parsley.

Serves 4.