Friday, February 11, 2011

ffwd - orange-almond tart

Here we are at another French Friday with Dorie! Whew, what a week. I feel pretty beat up from the street up! But, this too shall pass. Of course, I have next week to look forward to: I jet off to Puerto Rico for a week (for work), and I'm looking forward to a little Island Time! I get to see all of my friends that I work with there (I think I've shared a little about the wonderful cookies I made with their recipes...). It should be a teriffic trip. Maybe I'll even come back with something new and interesting to make for my friends on the mainland!

I made this week's recipe on Super Bowl Sunday (yay cheeseheads!), and while it was a little more sophisticated than the rest of the menu, it offered me an opportunity to get a little extra feedback. I'd kind of hoped to make this again this week, because I think... I can do better! That said, there was a pretty good reception to this week's ffwd recipe.

ready to go as usual
(I confess, I almost forgot this step...oops!)
and also as usual, ingredients I already had on hand

for the crust, first you blend together the flour, powdered sugar and salt
then pulse in the butter
next comes the egg to bind it all together, and probably add a little more richness

this is what it looks like when it's come together properly
Dorie had us knead this together a couple of times
(my poor zillion-year-old food processor - stained by the red velvet cookies at Christmas!)

I pressed in the crust, I love that alternative
it's pretty even, and so much easier, I used a stainless measuring cup to even things out
I did keep the step of chilling/freezing

just as I was getting ready to compose this post, I realized why my crust was "over baked"
my favorite tart pan is dark - duh, reduce the temperature!
but it was really a bit over-done (for me)

despite the fact that I live in Arizona, and we have amazing citrus available right now,
I ended up using some California "Cara Cara" oranges, which are "pink"
I thought that the color would be pretty

the finished tart
I added a bit more fruit than Dorie showed, because I thought it would be even better
I have to say, looks pretty ok!
 Some cook's notes:
  • I should have used the local oranges - these were nice, but almost a cross between pink grapefruit and a navel orange
  • I'm sorry I used the almond flour I had on hand - I've actually ordered some new, or could pick some more up, I want to try this again with a fresher bag
  • Next time, I want to bake the crust a shorter time and/or at a lower temperature
All of that said, both times I served this (I shared some the next day as well), my friends really liked the dessert. What I loved most was the contrast of the buttery crust and the juicy burst of flavor from the oranges, which really came through the day it was baked. I thought the crust was too much, others - it was their favorite part. So I want to make this again, with a couple of corrections, because I think it was a really nice tart, but I didn't get it exactly right.

Of course, who knows what I'll just by dying to make when I get back from Puerto Rico? - but hopefully I'll still get a chance for a do-over!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

ffwd - basque potato tortilla

As I was preparing everything to get together with a couple of my friends to make the double chocolate mousse cake (see previous post) last weekend, I was kind of casting around for an idea of what kind of snack-ish thing I might have on hand... after all, we were likely to go through lunch time, plus there's that whole waiting for the first baked layer to chill thing. I thought... soup? but that might be too much, plus I didn't know what kind. I though maybe a tart or quiche, or some kind of sandwich/bread-ish thing? but no, one of my friends is gluten-free, and that hardly seemed right. So, I brought out Dorie's book. Hey... wait a minute... our recipe for this week is the basque potato tortilla!!! Not only was my dilemma resolved, but I could make my next recipe for French Fridays with Dorie!!

I resolved to make the tortilla in the morning before they came over, so that it would be ready (and I wouldn't need to fuss, or get in the way!). After going out to the garden to pick some fresh rosemary (I love that part!), I got my ingredients together, and I was ready to go! I had read Dorie's comments on what kind of pan to use. I decided not to bring anything up north. Since she said "a heavy skillet with a diameter of 9 to 10 inches... smaller is better than larger here", I decided that I would throw caution to the wind, and use the Sur la Table regular skillet - no non-stick this time. I crossed my fingers, hoping that it would turn out (literally!).

this could no be simpler... eggs, onion, garlic potatoes, herbs, olive oil... who doesn't have that
in their kitchen (ok, I don't usually have potatoes, but...)?
prepped and ready
I love the rosemary we have - the trailing kind with beautiful blue flowers

ready to start the first step - a nice saute of the potatoes

set aside to cool a bit and allow for the cleaning of the skillet

and the eggs and spices

here's the really tricky part
eggs? in a not non-stick pan? had me uber-worried!

but, after following directions on temperature
and numerous runnings of the spatula (another blatant product plug - the "Joseph"
utensils, also at SLT, are perfect - thanks Craig) around the sides/bottom,
I was totally amazed that it was not sticking!!
I probably should have had the heat lower, because this is when I took it off the stove
and placed it under the broiler

maybe a bit too toasty, but I wanted it cooked through
I probably started with broiling a bit early!

the finished tortilla! beautiful!

So, while this was fun & tasty, what was more fun was hearing one of my guests say "this is exactly what we had when we were traveling through Spain... you order a glass of wine, and they serve you a slice of this potato tortilla"!!! What a wonderful confirmation that something turned out right! We really enjoyed this. In keeping with the authentic way of serving, we had an excellent glass of wine (thanks JC) along with.

I thought this was really good when I first made it. I think it suffered a little bit as a "leftover" - but let's face it, sharing a piece of the tortilla over a glass of wine with friends is always going to be better than a quick lunch at work during a busy day!!

I want to try some of Dorie's other Bonne Idees as well, or even some other combinations. I think I'll adjust the pan size (up! - sorry Dorie) if I make it with the same ingredients - but what a terrific quick meal/snack. What a great thing to wind down on a Friday evening with... an easy basque tortilla and a nice glass of wine!

(and on an important side note... wow! the directions for cooking, with eggs (!), in a regular pan worked beautifully! I thought it would stick and I'd be scrubbing for days! I'm so excited to try that again... very, very cool. Thanks, Dorie!)