Archive for the 'appetizers' Category

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

ham mushroom tart 11 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

My youngest sister is a really fantastic cook. She’s a total cake boss and makes other delicious things, like baked yams with piles of butter and brown sugar, roast hams with wedges of Bosc pear, and this mushroom tart, which made an appearance at the last few family dinners and was so good I would have gladly forsaken the turkey (and the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes) for it. It’s a rich, dense, cheesy-creamy-buttery tart – the sort every 80′s quiche aspires to be.

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mushroom tart Collage 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

If I called this a ham quiche, it wouldn’t do it justice. It deserves more words. It’s no quiche Lorraine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

My sisters’ are long and elegant, baked in rectangular tart tins with removable bottoms and cut crosswise into slices. Mine is round because much rummaging around in the basement resulted in the discovery of many spiders and one Santa suit but zero tart pans of the rectangular variety. I used mine as a vehicle for leftover ham bits – and I figured if two thirds of a cup of grated Gruyère is good, a full cup is better, and a cup and a half even trumps that. If Gruyère isn’t your favourite, I imagine aged Gouda or white cheddar would be equally fab.

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I used rosemary because that’s what was here, and fresh crimini mushrooms (they look like brown button mushrooms) rather than reconstitute the dried kind, which was called for in the original recipe, but I’ve never been much fond of doing, with all the rubberiness and the gritty-bottomed leftover mushroom water. Really, you could sauté any number of ingredients (spinach! kale! onions! peppers!) and spread them out over the bottom of this buttery crust, pour the rich egg custard overtop and bake it, scattered with more cheese. But this – it’s like rich mushroom soup pie. In a very good way.

ham mushroom tart 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Inspired by Bon Appétit, May 1994

Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold water

Filling:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb cremini, brown or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Cognac, sherry or brandy (optional)
1 cup grated Gruyère, aged Gouda or white cheddar
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg

To make the crust, in a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) combine the flour and salt, then pulse or blend in the butter until almost combined – the mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together. Let it sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to rest – or stick it in the fridge if it’s warm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 10-12-inch circle – just bigger than a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit it into the pan and fold the edges over inward, making a double-thick crust; trim to about 1/8-inch above the edge of the pan. (I used a larger pan and so didn’t do this – just trimmed it to within 1/8 inch without folding it over.) Preheat oven to 375°F and chill the crust for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms until soft; add the rosemary, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the liquid has cooked off and the mushrooms are starting to turn golden. If you like, add a shot of Cognac, sherry or brandy and cook until it evaporates.

Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Cover with the mushroom mixture. Whisk together the cream, yolks and egg – add a few extra snippets of thyme if you like – and pour the custard over the mushrooms. Scatter with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serves 12.

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April 22 2014 | appetizers and breakfast and one dish | 5 Comments »

Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

Barley Risotto 585x384 Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

I know I’ve been pretty vocal about my love for barley around here. I love that it’s local, high in fibre, dense and nutty and chewy, and great for simmering with dry lentils for a hefty salad. I love that you can buy it in flour form to make pancakes and chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake.

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And I love that so many farmers grow it around here. So when Alberta Barley asked if I would help spread the news of their very first cookbook, Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain, I was more than happy to. It comes out next month, but I have an advance copy to give away – remember when we did Free Stuff Fridays? I miss that. So even though it’s Tuesday, let’s get back on that horse. Some of you know the drill – leave a comment below, and I’ll try to remember to make a (random!) draw at the end of the week.

(Two great Canadian food bloggers, Amy of Family Feedbag and Renee Lavalee of Feisty Chef are playing along too – Amy already posted a fab Mushroom Barley Soup, and I think Renee is posting something barley-ish this week.)

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This barley risotto is far more nutrient-dense (and fibre-rich) than that made with the traditional short-grain rice, and as a happy bonus, it requires only one bout of vigorous stirring, halfway through the cooking time. No need to stand by the stove, afraid to stray from the pot. Shrimp and peas and a good squeeze of lemon make a perfectly springy risotto – we can pretend, can’t we?

Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

Excerpted (and slightly adapted) from Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain by Pat Inglis and Linda Whitworth

1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
1?4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 cup (250 mL) pot or pearl barley
4 cups (1 L) low sodium chicken stock
12 oz (350 g) peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen peas
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley or sprigs of fresh mint

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat; add the onion, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper, and saute until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in barley and stock and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat; cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring vigorously halfway through for 15 seconds. Stir in shrimp and peas; cover pan and simmer until shrimp are pink and peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley or mint and serve.

Serves 4.

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button print gry20 Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

February 25 2014 | appetizers and grains | 79 Comments »

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