Suzi's Blog

A Tray of Tartines

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Le Pain Quotidien is a chain of lovely restaurants, European inspired and bread-centric. The new cookbook, thrillingly titled Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook, has favorites from the restaurant but also an abundance of the emblematic tartines that are the Le Pain specialty.

In short, a tartine is a good piece of sourdough bread topped with an inviting array, no spectacular array, of flavors.

For dinner with friends, Suzen scoured this book to find a trio of recipes that would create a complete dinner of multiple, contrasting, yet not competing flavor components. Suzen’s favorite was the first one listed here: Hummus and Curried Cauliflower. I loved the Spicy Shrimp and Avocado. But the Pea, Pancetta and Radish Tartine was a great contribution to round out the night.

Suzen made a double portion of each of these recipes, easily enough for 4 for dinner. Add a dry white wine, perhaps some dried fruit on the side, and you have a feast that cannot be topped. [That’s a food pun, you know: topped? Tartine?].

Never mind.

You probably want to find a copy of the cookbook, itself, and take a journey through the entire bevy of recipes here. There are 40 pages of tartines, but also breads, breakfast ideas, soups, salads, things to share, and desserts to treasure. When you see the picture of the Banana Pastis Pie, you will begin to caramelize the bananas on the spot.

Each recipe comes with a matching full page photograph. These are the perfect food-GPS directions for you to follow, if you wish, or simply be inspired, if you feel a tad creative. This book itself is inspired, but also inspiring. You’ll enjoy reading it, cooking from it, and tasting what are sure to be among your best culinary accomplishments.

 

Hummus and Curried Cauliflower Tartine

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the curried cauliflower:

  • ½ cauliflower, washed, dried and broken into very small florets
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

For the hummus:

  • 1 ⅔ cups canned chickpeas, drained [reserve the  liquid]
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch of sea salt

To serve:

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Start by making the curried cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with spices, thyme leaves and olive oil, mixing well. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly brown on top. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Place all the hummus ingredients into a food processor or use a hand blender to process until smooth. If necessary, use a little of the reserved chickpea liquid to thin the mixture to a smooth puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To serve, spread the hummus on the bread and top with the curried cauliflower. Sprinkle the scallion on top and drizzle with the olive oil.

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Tartine

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 10 shrimp, cooked and peeled
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon thinly sliced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion, green part only
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sea slat
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, just ripe, peeled and pit removed
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 lime, peeled

Preparation:

Cut the shrimp or prawns into half across their length and then their width if they are very large.

Put the shrimp into a bowl with the tomatoes, jalapeno, scallion, garlic and cilantro. Seaton with salt, then add half the lime juice and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Mash the avocado flesh with a fork together with the remaining lime juice. Spread the avocado on the bread slices, then top with the shrimp mixture.

Using a sharp knife, segment the lime by cutting away the skin and pith. Place the lime slices on top of the shrimp mixture and serve immediately.

Pea, Pancetta and Radish Tartine

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the pea hummus:

  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas, or frozen petit pois, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • Black pepper

To serve:

  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 4 very thin slices of raw pancetta [very dry] or fired, if preferred
  • 4 radishes, cut into thin slivers
  • 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoon shelled fresh peas or frozen petits pois, defrosted

 Preparation:

For the pea hummus, pout the peas, tahini, olive oil, salt and black pepper into a food processer or use a handheld blender to blend into short burst of 10-15 seconds, until you have a smooth puree.

To serve, spread the pea hummus on the bread, then top with the pancetta, radishes, mint and peas.

Source: Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 1/80th second, ISO 500.

 

 

Curry Roasted Cauliflower from Good Housekeeping

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roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower is becoming one of our favorite veggies. The trick has been to extend the basic flavor. Usually, you’ve had steamed cauliflower and, I think, at best that result could be described as distinctive, but not something you’d crave every day. Well, if you change technique and add some accenting flavor, wonders can occur.

Instead of steaming, try roasting. Roasting the cauliflower until it caramelizes turns starch into sugar. Starch versus sugar? Easy choice. Add in a hint of curry and you have this wonderful side dish.

And, there’s a side benefit to this side dish. The leftover cauliflower can be converted into a delicious dip — more on that later this week.

Curry Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower [2 pounds] cut into 1 ½-inch florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a jelly-roll pan, toss the cauliflower, oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated. Roast until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting.

In a small cup, combine the cilantro, garlic, and curry powder. Sprinkle over the cauliflower and stir to mix evenly. Roast 3 minutes longer. Spoon into a serving dish.

Notes:

Feel free to add more pepper or curry powder to heat up this dish. When you serve it, accompanying slices of lime or lemon can be used for one last flavor spike.

Source: The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 125th Anniversary Addition