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Posts Tagged ‘Cookbooks’

I love olives.  I am one of those people who can’t leave Whole Foods without stocking up on some goodies at the olive bar.  So when I saw these cookies on Lottie and Doof, I was completely intrigued.  Like, obsessing over day and night until I had a lazy weekend afternoon to devote to them.

The recipe hails from David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table, a cookbook I’ve been lusting after but have yet to purchase.  See, I went on my honeymoon to Portugal and basically ate presunto, Serra da Estrella cheese, and pasteis de Belem for two weeks straight.  So, in addition to this recipe being awesome for having olives in it, it’s awesome because it reminds me of my lovely vacation.

The recipe is a little tricky but by no means difficult.  The dough is dry and crumbly so you’ve got to be patient.  Use good quality olives because you don’t want a really briny, tinny taste coming through.  These cookies would be lovely with some tart frozen yogurt or lemon sorbet, or with a nice glass of prosecco.  Or if you want to be super Portuguese, white port.

Sweet Lemon and Black Olive Wafers
recipe from David Leite

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mild oil-cured black olives, rinsed quickly if particularly salty, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg, beaten

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, olives, sugar, baking powder, zest, cinnamon, and salt.   In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and egg.  I’ve never made mayonnaise before but it was easy for me to see how egg and oil do turn into mayo from this.

I digress.

Pour the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients.  Combine it together with your hands for a minute or two, until it holds together when squeezed.  It’s going to feel a little like pie crust or short bread – dry and crumbly and a little tricky to work with.  I had some crumbs that wouldn’t stick but I managed to get it about 95% there.

Fill a small bowl with sugar and set nearby. Pull out a small ball of dough, about a tablespoon worth, and roll it into a ball, then coat it in sugar.  Repeat this a few times and set the balls down on parchment.  You now need to flatten them out.  The recipe suggests covering them with more parchment, then using a rolling pin to flatten.  I had some difficulty with this so I just left out the top piece of parchment and flattened them out.  You want them to be about 3-4 inches around and 1/16 an inch thick.  None of mine resembled anything like a circle, which if you’ve seen my pie crust attempts, shouldn’t come as a surprise.  No worries, these are rustic cookies.

Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Since I had rolled off most of the sugar that I had rolled onto the cookies, I got a pinch of sugar and just sprinkled it lightly over the cookies on the sheet.  Bake until the wafers edges start to brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and store for up to a few days in an airtight container.

They tasted amazing.  Unlike any cookie I’ve ever had.  The olives mellow out and don’t taste olive-y… almost like the taste a date gets when it’s been cooked wrapped up in bacon – just rich, fatty, slightly salty, slightly sweet.  The lemon makes it fresh and the cinnamon is just perfect.  I feel prepared for an Iron Chef olive battle.  Now, I just need a dessert with arugula.

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I am the pie crust queen!

I have now made pie crust #2, this time in savory form, and it worked like a charm.  I still can’t roll it out in a nice shape to save my life, but I have truly conquered my pie crust phobia.

As the main event in my dinner party, I prepared a leek and goat cheese galette.  Our guests were vegetarian, but even if you are not, you should make this.  It was awesome.  The leeks get all creamy and rich and the cheese is nice and tangy.  We devoured it.

I found the recipe on the Garden of Eating blog, but as it turns out, it originated in a cookbook I own, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Since this recipe was so good, it has inspired me to pour through that book and make more things from it.

I wasn’t sure if leeks were in season, but I managed to find them at the farmer’s market, so apparently they are.  The book suggests using onions or scallions if leeks are not available.  You do need a ton of leeks – 6 to be exact – but don’t skimp.  They cook down and you make a rich sauce for them, so they really are not overwhelming at all. 

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Goat Cheese and Leek Galette

Ingredients

6 large leeks, including an inch of the green
3 tablespoons butter
1 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cream or craime fraiche
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsps chopped parsley or 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1/2 to 1 cup soft goat cheese to taste, about 4 ounces

I forgot the thyme and didn’t miss it.  Also, I found I needed more wine, probably about 3/4 cup so don’t drink the bottle before you are done cooking.

Galette dough (Not wanting to tempt fate, I used Martha Stewart’s pate brisee recipe, but the original one that is supposed to accompany the dish can be found here.)

Directions

Thinly slice and wash the leeks. You should have about 6 cups. 

Melt the butter in a large skillet or saute pan. Add the leeks, thyme (which I forgot and didn’t miss) and 1/2 cup water. Stew over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft and tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the wine and stir, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add a splash or two more of wine if needed, and continue cooking until it’s reduced.  Add the cream and cook until it just coats the leeks and little liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper.

Let cool for  at least 10 minutes.  At this point, since I was not ready to assemble the tart, I just removed the pan from the heat and covered it for a couple hours. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough for one large galette on a counter or upside-down cookie sheet and transfer to a greased baking sheet.

This time, it looked a little less misshapen than last time, but I still do not understand how one rolls out a circle.  Sigh…

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When you are ready to assemble, stir in all but 1 tbsp of the beaten egg and 2 tbsps of the parsley (or all the tarragon) into the leek mixture.  Spread the leek mixture on top of the dough, leaving at least a 2-inch border around the filling. Crumble the cheese on top then fold the dough over the filling (again, depending on how large a border you leave, you can close it up completely or leave some of the filling visible in the middle).

Brush with the reserved egg and bake until the crust is browned – 25-30 minutes.  Remove, scatter the remaining parsley over the top, and serve.

The end result was really good.  I may be buying up leeks every time I see them to try this thing again.  It really makes a fantastic vegetarian main couse.

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Previously:Summer Dinner Party, Part I: Sweet Basil Cocktail, White Bean Dip, Salt & Sugar Pickles

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