Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sweet 100s

It's tomato time. I loved Sweet 100s before I even thought of growing them. Sure, they aren't trendy like heirlooms but they are delicious. Our first little crop just finished ripening with more to come. These were a very tasty addition to a pasta dish this evening. Hoping for more of these little gems in the next few days.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Homemade Bread and Fried Eggs

It's a hot as hell Sunday here in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles. A whooping 98.3 degrees as I write this. But, regardless of the soaring temperatures, Dan baked homemade bread this morning for brunch. We love this bread or we would not be heating up the kitchen at this time of year if it was not worth it. This rustic artisanal bread is delicious and easy to make. We got the recipe a couple of years ago from
Mother Earth News. Dan makes fresh bread for us a couple of times a week. There's nothing like. Give it a try and breakout of the store bought bread rut.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Itty, Bitty Tomato and Trouble In Squash Land

Well, we finally harvested (if you can call it that) our first tomato. And, as you can see, it is rather itty bitty. Of course, it is an grape tomato so it is supposed to be small. There are more on the way so hopefully, some day soon, we'll have enough for an actual salad.

Perhaps, our tomato harvest might not be as bountiful as we had hoped for. Time will tell.

And, there has been a bit more bounty from the garden. The herbs are doing great and we have been enjoying them in our meals. We had high hopes for these two zucchinis but only the green one was edible (and delicious). The yellow zucchini looks lovely and promising but looks can be deceiving. The outer skin was so tough that I could have sworn that I had grown a butternut squash instead of a zucchini. And, the inside was a mess...partially rotted and dry. Totally inedible. Sad, but it happens.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Perfect Lemon Tart

For a 4th of July party yesterday at a friend's place, I decided to make a lemon tart. It is a great summertime dessert. Light and refreshing with the right balance of sour and sweet. The tart was a huge hit and there was not one morsel left when I went to collect the platter. So, since it is such a yummy tart and easy to make, I thought I would pass a long the recipe.

This recipe is from cookbook writer, Lori Longbotham's book Luscious Lemon Desserts. If you love lemons the way that I do, then you will want to give this recipe a try.

The Perfect Lemon Tart
(from Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham)
  • Recipe uses approximately 4 lemons.
  • Serves 10
  • Equipment: 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom and a baking sheet
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
6 large eggs
1 cup of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Have ready an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the zest, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Pour the butter mixture in a fine stream, stirring with a fork, and continue stirring until the dough begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan and press it with your fingertips evenly up the side and into the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while making the filling.

3. Process the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground.

4. Whisk together the eggs, the sugar and zest mixture, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

5. Beat the cream in an electric mixture on medium-high speed in a medium bowl just until it forms soft peaks. Whisk the cream into the egg mixture until just blended.

6. Place a baking sheet in the oven, place the crust on the baking sheet, and pour the filling into the still warm crust. Bake for 25 or 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.

7. Just before serving, generously sift confectioners' sugar over the tart. Cut into wedges and serve.

Malka's notes on this recipe:
  • The tart will taste different depending on what type of lemons you use. I have made it with both Meyer Lemons and Eureka Lemons (the ones you usually find in most grocery stores). Both yielded delicious results but they are different. The Meyer Lemon version is sweeter and has a much more subtle lemon flavor to it. While using Eurekas makes for a tart with a much more distinctive lemon taste.
  • I whip the cream by hand. My Kitchen Aid stand mixer just doesn't work for tiny amounts of whipping cream. I find that with a good whisk and chilled bowl that I can whip the cream by hand faster than it takes to pull out my ancient electric hand mixer and the clean-up is a lot less as well. Besides, it's a great little arm workout.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More Than Just Squash

June gloom is over and we finally have more plants producing veggies than just the zucchini. Of course, now we are having to water everyday.

A few of the tomatoes are starting to turn color. The eggplant have finally started sprouting actual eggplants. There are three bell peppers right now but it looks like more to come. And, there are even a few jalapenos. We might even have one jalapeno to use by the holiday weekend if all goes well.

Miracles of miracles our dwarf Meyer Lemon tree looks like it may finally produce a few lemons. We have had it for two years now. It blooms a few times a year but until now, it had not borne any fruits. Of course, we probably won't be able to enjoy them till December given their current size and color.