Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No DB challenge Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream.. this is why

This month I have decided to skip the DB challenge for the first time. First it is too hot in Southern California, then this cake reminds me the Opera Cake so I do not understand the point of repeating almost the same challenge.
Summer is the perfect season for all kind od juicy, sweet, colorful fruits.
So I decided to bake a Apricot-red Plum tart-galette instead.

I started with a Pate Brisee from Lindsey ( Chez Panisse).

6 servings
-1 cup Organic flour
-6 tablespoon of real organic butter, chilled and cut into very small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
-1/4 cup cold water

You just put it together flour, salt and half of the butter. You mix everything with your hands. Then you add the extra butter then the cold water.
You make quickly a big bowl, wrap in plastic and place in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Then you roll it as fine as you can an place in a 9" inch cake pan.
You bake it for 15 minutes at 360F.
You cut in small pieces all your fruits ( I used 3 apricots and 3 plums).
When your dough is pale gold, add your fruits. I sprinkle on the top 3 teaspoons of sugar, a pinch of cardamon, a pinch of cinamon, and some butter on the top.
Bake until the dough looks crisp and the fruits are soft.

You can serve it with Vanilla Ice cream or chantilly. We had it plain...
It was Summer in my mouth, just what I wanted and needed on this beautiful, sunny, but very busy Sunday lunch!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The best Soup in the World

This gorgeous garden soup is a favorite from Provence it reminds me my summers when I was a teenager still living with my parents in the Basque country. My family and myself discovered this soup years ago from a great-great cousin family who was living in Provence. Basil was not a commun herb in Basque coubtry back then. Then it became my sister’s soup. Each summer she was devoted a complete morning to complete her soup. Our late neighbors had basil in their vegetable garden and it was a ritual to knock at their door asking for some basil for our favorite soup.
This is a French farm-country soup , since it uses so many seasonal garden vegetables, like carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and squash. “Pistou” is the French version of pesto, a rich and flavorful sauce of healthful olive oil, herbs, and garlic. The colorful vegetable-rich soup and the savory pistou make beautiful music together.
I like to add some grounded Swiss cheese.
1/2 cup dried white (Navy) beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 small carrots, scrubbed and diced
2 small celery stalks, diced
1 medium zucchini or summer squash, diced
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
4 cups good-quality vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup French green beans, ends trimmed, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1 recipe Pistou (see below)
1. Soak the dried beans in enough water to cover for 3 hours, or overnight. Drain beans and place them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boll, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes, until slightly tender. Drain and set beans aside.
2. Warm olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat and add onion, carrots, celery, and squash. Cook, stirring once in awhile, for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft, then add tomatoes, broth, water, and cooked beans. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then add green beans and simmer 15 more minutes.. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Serve soup in individual bowls with a dollop of pistou on top of each serving and some cheese. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
2 bunches fresh basil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 cup raw pistachios
1. Remove basil leaves from stems. With a mortar and pestle crush the garlic gloves, with the basil, and oil then the pistachios.

Friday, July 4, 2008