Pear tart

Originally uploaded by kitchenbeard

With Thanksgiving coming up, I figured its time to start planning. Last year my dessert was a total failure and I vowed to never do a last minute tart like that again. So I’ve started practicing. Here’s today’s experiment. I pretty much made it up off the top of my head after researching other recipes. Once I got a good picture in my head of what I wanted to accomplish, I just set to it.

Spiced Pear Tart with Pistachio Crust

For the crust:
1 cup pistachio nuts
1 cup flour
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
3 large pears

1 cup sugar
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 pinches salt

1)Toast nuts in dry sautee pan until just fragrant. Remove from pan immediately and spread on plate or baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
2)In bowl of food processor add nuts and flour until a coirnmeal like consistency forms. Do not over grind. Add butter, in ½” cubes and process until incorporated. With the motor running, add the ice water until a ball forms. Scrape dough together into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
3)While dough chills, slice pears in 1/8” thickness. This is best done on a mandolin. Reserve in a bowl of water to prevent oxidation.
4)Heat oven to 325.
5)Whisk sugar, spices and salt together until uniform.
6)Remove chilled dough from refrigerator. Press into 4 x 8 rectangular tart pan that has been buttered and floured. Ensure that the dough is as evenly distributed as possible. Blind bake empty dough shell for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly.
7)Drain pears as much as possible in salad spinner. Toss with ½ of the sugar mixture.
8)Arrange pear slices in scalloped overlapping rows and layers, using smaller pieces to fill in where necessary. You should end up with about 2 layers of pears. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on top.
9)Bake for 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 and bake for another 25 minutes or until sugar caramelizes and bubbles. Remove and allow to cool completely before removing from tart pan or serving.

Tempeh Provencale

tempeh provencal

I normally cast a cautious eye toward vegan food simply because I am a member of the Cult of Bacon and worship at the altar of Foie Gras. Yet as I was plating this up it dawned on me there’s no animal products in it at all. And guess what? It was rather good. It was a quick throw together meal that I didn’t think about much beyond getting rid of stuff sitting in the fridge. As for the provencale part, that’s debatable, but the olive, basil, tomatoes and orange are all flavors from that region, so why not?

12 oz plain tempeh, diced into 1″ cubes
6 oz, pitted olives, roughly chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp parika
1 tsp minced fresh basil
1/2 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons olive oil

1) Heat 12″ skillet (i used cast iron) and add olive oil and heat till shimmering. Add onion and olive. Sautee for 1 to 2 minutes.
2) Add tempeh and garlic and sautee until you see the first beginings of color on the tempeh.
3) Add mustard, paprika and basil. Continue to sautee for one more minute.
4) Add oj all at once and bring to a boil and then add tomatoes.
5) Cook liquid down to almost dry and serve immediately.