Suzi’s Blog

Mixed Berry Galette from Dessert of the Day by Kim Laidlaw

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Kim Laidlaw’s Dessert of Day has lovely recipe ideas for every single day of the year. This gallant galette is perfect for the coming 4th of July holiday. On the 4th, you may be overbooked. There’s the fireworks, of course, but also that feast before. Perhaps a picnic, soccer games or a family outing. You may even be spending time in the parking lot of the grocery store searching for a place to park. Why do we all shop at the last minute?

Oh, dessert. On the 4th you want dessert and the 4th deserves something really special. The next big holiday isn’t until Halloween. This July summer day and evening mean a lot.

Kim has this galette idea that lets you easily prepare a dessert pleasing both your mouth and your eyes. More and more we make galettes instead of pies because, well, it’s easier. It’s just plain easier. I’m a pie guy and I love my upper crust, perhaps thick, solid and crusted with egg and sugar or perhaps woven from strips of dough in some pattern that is almost too pretty to cut. Almost. No pie can or should withstand the knife.

It’s just that with the galette, there is less fuss. If you’ve ever tried to put a top crust on and failed, failed with disaster, then you know the feelings that can then arise with every new pie project. The fear, the dread of crust. With a galette, you fold the damn thing over and proclaim it a work of art. Done.

It doesn’t quite seem fair. It’s almost cheating. But it is not because the French invented this and do it all the time so it is not wrong and not a sin. It’s a galette.

This recipe, and the picture, calls for blue and blackberries. If you are making this on the 4th, then strawberries give you the red of the Red, White, and Blue. The ice cream is the white, although I understand in France they sometimes put whipped cream on top. It’s probably not French at all, I know. Some American ex-pat living in Normandy, sipping calvados, and being grateful that no one there does an upper crust.


Mixed Berry Galette

Yield: serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • Flaky Pie Dough for single crust, recipe follows
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp water (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preparation:

Prepare the dough and chill as directed below. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a round about 12 inches in diameter and about ⅛-inch thick. Transfer to the prepared sheet.

In a bowl, toss together the berries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Spoon the filling onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered around the edge. Fold the edge up and over the filling, forming loose pleats. Brush the border with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar, if you like.

Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving with scoops of ice cream.


Flaky Pie Dough for Single Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 5 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

Preparation:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large zip-top plastic bag and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day before using, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Source: Dessert of the Day by Kim Laidlaw [Weldon Owen, 2013]

 

Cookbook Review: Super Grains by Jenni Muir

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Growing up, for most of us “grains” meant wheat and perhaps whole wheat and, if the day was exotic, rye. Those were the grains and flours of our kitchens for decades.

Today, at least our awareness is raised to a higher level. If you walk past a display of products from Bob’s Red Mill — which appear in seemingly every high end grocery store — you see packages with contents that really do seem exotic: kamut, triticale, teff, buckwheat, amaranth. Ok, maybe you were lucky enough to have buckwheat pancakes as a kid, but I suspect those other grains are new.

Ah, but they are not new at all. When our hunger-gatherer ancestors began to settle and to farm, many grains were discovered, advanced and used. Some of those early grains are surely lost to history, but a number remain. In other parts of the world, Asia and Africa, these grains are common and it is the wheat flour that is the rarity.

Thanks to internationalization and firms like Bob’s Red Mill, having access to an extended range of grains and flours is literally just a reach away in your supermarket.

If you are holding package of amaranth, what is it good for? What should you pair it with? To get answers to all your questions, you just need a copy of Super Grains by Jenni Muir. With this book, you start at the back. Her Grains Glossary gives you 1-page summary of 15 major grains: the characteristic flavors and texture, what foods to pair it with, the nutritional elements it provides, and a history of culinary use.

That package of amaranth, a grain discovered and cultivated by the Aztecs, goes best with corn, black beans, chiles, honey, apple, coconut and chocolate. Given the Aztec origins, that all makes perfect sense. Jenni provides a simple, disarming amaranth recipe, Alegria [“happiness” in Spanish]. You pop the grain like popcorn in very small batches, combine with honey and coconut, drop the mixture into small balls to dry, and then savor them one bite after another.

That’s surely the easiest recipe in Super Grains but not the last one you’ll want to try. Jenni presents over 120 recipes from around the world: Scotland, Spain, France, Morocco. Korea, the Caribbean, South America, and of course the United States. Everyone uses grains. The spectrum of that use, the creativity, is astonishing. You’ll find recipes here for:

Dutch Breakfast Honey Cake with Rye Flour

Mushroom Ragout with Barley

Farro with Apricots, Pomegranate and Pine Nuts

Quinoa and Chia Pancakes with Mango and Basil Compote

Roast Carrots with Dill Granola

Spicy Shrimp and Quinoa Cakes

Corn Ice Cream

From breakfast to late night candy snack, from side dish to entry, there are recipes here featuring the 15 grains from that back-of-the-book glossary. The book is not organized into chapters but instead is a running stream of recipes devoted to:

  • Breakfast cereals and pancakes and waffles
  • Breads
  • Soups and salads
  • Couscous and pasta
  • Fritters and burgers
  • Polenta and risottos
  • Stews and stuffing
  • Crumb coatings
  • Side dishes
  • Desserts, cakes, cookies, crackers, snacks and sweets

Somewhere in this deep stack of recipe idea, somewhere you’ll find a delight to try. Expanding the grains you use will extend the flavors and textures of your kitchen. You may actually find yourself to be an amaranth fan.

I have mentioned Bob’s Red Mill here because they do offer excellent products. It’s an employee-owned firm in a town, Milwaukie, just south of Portland, Oregon. I grew up in the town just south of Milwaukie. Bob wasn’t there then, but there was a road-side stand with the best whole wheat hamburger buns.

That hamburger joint is long gone. But there has been culinary progress. It’s all on display in Super Grains.

Pimento Cheese Tomato Pie from Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook

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Ever been in the Deep South in the deep of summer? It’s hot. Hothouse hot. That makes the land just about ideal for tomatoes. Along the byways you’ll see acres and acres of green leaves studded with red balls. At times it seems you would be knee deep in tomatoes if you got out of that car of yours. But you aren’t going to do that, are you? You want the air conditioning.

Folks in the South know how to enjoy that tomato abundance. Tomato sandwiches with mayo on white bread are a tradition. And, from that beginning, comes this Tomato Pie filled with tomatoes, pimentos, scallions, and, yes, the ever present mayonnaise.

This recipe comes from Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness. This pie presentation is authentic and complete, right down to Perre’s recipe for a perfect pie crust.

When July rolls around and you see the stacks of tomatoes at your farmers market, remember this idea. Just get that jar of mayo at the store on the way home!


Pimento Cheese Tomato Pie

Yield: serves 6

Ingredients:

For the pie pastry:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the tomato pie:

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pastry for one 9-inch pie crust (see above)
  • 8 scallions, white and palest green parts only, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • One 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 garlic clove

Preparation:

MAKE THE PIE PASTRY: Put the flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse a few times to combine. Drop in the small pieces of cold butter and pulse several times until the mixture is crumbly, but some minute pieces of butter are still visible. Sprinkle the ice water over, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse to combine. When the pastry dough just comes together, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a disk about 3A inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.

PREPARE THE TOMATOES: Cut the ends off the tomatoes and discard, then slice them about V2 inch thick. Lay the tomato slices on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Let the tomatoes sit for at least an hour, turning them over after 30 minutes and salting the opposite sides. Sprinkle the second side with black pepper as well.

When ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and place the pastry disk on a lightly floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the pastry to a round about 14 inches in diameter, large enough to fit a Winch pie plate. Carefully drape the pastry over the rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Cover the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, remove the paper and weights, and set the pie crust aside to cool.

ASSEMBLE THE PIE: When the crust has completely cooled, layer half the tomato slices over the bottom. Sprinkle the scallions, parsley, and half of the pimentos over the tomatoes, then V2 cup of the grated cheddar cheese. Layer the remaining tomatoes on top.

Mix together the mayonnaise, the remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese, remaining pimentos, and paprika in a small bowl. Put the garlic through a press or very finely mince it with a sharp knife and stir it into the mayonnaise. Spread the mixture over the tomatoes, spreading it all the way to the edges.

Bake the pie at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and the top. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving

Source: Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness [St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014]

Photograph by Jennifer Davick