Mini Tarts

I love a good tart. One of my favorite tarts is from Beyond Bread which I live close enough that I could get it any time, however I decided I wanted to try my own hand at it. Here is the recipe I used. They turned out deelish!

Ingredients
  • Tart Crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), chilled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Cream Filling:
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (I use 2-1/2 cups nonfat milk + 1/4 cup whipping cream but any type will work)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Crust:
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Cut butter into 8 slices and add to flour, pulsing several times until mixture resembles oatmeal. Add egg yolk mixed with cream. Pulse until all ingredients are moistened but not yet a solid ball. (Add additional drops of cream if dough seems too dry.) Lightly press into a ball, cover and chill 30 minutes.
  2. Spray molds generously with Baker’s Secret or something like it. (Baker’s Secret is an aerosol spray that mixes flour and oil.)
  3. Pull off small amount of dough roll into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll dough between two pieces of plastic wrap into a circle slightly larger than tart molds. Press into mold with fingers being careful to keep thickness consistent. Use a knife to trim off any extra at the top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
  4. Place frozen tart shells on cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Watch carefully as the time can vary according to the thickness of the crust.
Cream Filling:
  1. Add milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, and butter to medium sauce pan on medium-high, whisking until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and mix until it is evenly dispersed.
  3. Set aside and let the filling cool.
Assembly:
  1. Fill each baked tart shell with cream filling. Top with fruit of your choice.
Notes

1. If dough in food processor seems too dry to press into a ball, add a teaspoon or two of milk, cream or yogurt.
2. Tarts are best eaten the day they are assembled.

3. The crust is difficult to get into the perfect shape. Leave an edge around the mold so that the crust does not sink in. You can also freeze the crust before you bake it but this is much more time consuming if you ask me!

4. If the crusts puff up in the middle, use your thumb to gently press it down. Some people prick them with a fork.  Do this BEFORE the crusts start to turn brown to avoid breakage.

5. Turn the crusts out of the pan within 3-4 minutes after coming out of the oven. Do it quickly, but gently.  These are a bit fragile.

Good Luck and happy Baking!

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The BEST scones in the WORLD!!!

I do not usually like scones all that much but after having discovered Raging Sage scones, which really are the BEST IN THE WORLD I decided I needed to be able to reproduce them. Mostly so if I leave and live in a foreign culture again I can satisfy my cravings! Seriously, these are INCREDIBLE! You simply must try them! It is probably a good thing I don’t live next door anymore because I went far too often for these gems!

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Scone recipe
2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 c Unsalted butter frozen
2/3c heavy cream
1 egg
Toppings of your choice
Milk for brushing the tops

Mix flour cloves baking powder and soda and salt together
Cut butter into cubes and mix until course quickly so still cold
Whisk together cream egg
Add to flour mixture
Mix in toppings (almonds, Craisins, chocolate chips, whatever you like in a scone)
Work dough together Until just together
Make into a circle cut into pie shaped pieces
(if you are doing a jam flavored scone add jam now and gold over your triangle so that the jam is in the middle)
Bake at 400 for 14-16 mins on aluminum foil
Enjoy!!!

Happy Birthday DADDY!

We celebrated my Dad’s birthday this weekend! I made my first attempt at baking Eclairs, a favorite of his. They are lots of work but turned out pretty good. We went out to lunch and finished the night off watching Downton Abby which we are obsessed with right now!
I could not be more grateful for such a wonderful father! Love you Daddy! Praying many blessings on this year and many more to come!!

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Recipe for the Eclairs here
**note I did note use a package of vanilla pudding, instead I made that from scratch too**

Back to the Kitchen

Now that I have a bit more time on my hands I have been able to spend time planning out our dinners and time for cooking too. This makes me super happy as I really began to like cooking while we lived in Tanzania, especially cooking from scratch. I am still working on gathering all of my “it” recipes for some of the staples but I am getting closer all the time.

Here are some of my more recent adventures:

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Delicious and super EASY granola

Lazy Granola Recipe

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Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Egg Plant Parmesan

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Grilled Chicken served with a Mango Chutney

This Recipe is one that I stole from one of the cooks we worked with in Tanzania. You can use Pineapple or Mango (Pineapple makes it a bit more juicy and brings out the flavors well). You can serve it over chicken or fish with rice.

chopped pineapple or mango

chopped red peppers

one diced jalapeno

chopped cilantro

1/2 a juiced lime

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Stuffed Peppers

Just kinda made this one up after watching a friend make these. I stuffed them with brown rice, ground beef, zucchini, and tomato sauce and topped them with cheese. I boiled the peppers for a few minutes on each side so they would soften a bit before stuffing them and putting them in the oven.

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Ham, Tomato and Spinach Quiche (I didn’t get the picture of this one from right out of the oven. It tastes much better than this picture looks. I promise)

Ham and Tomato Quiche I added some cooked spinach to the quiche to get some greens in for the meal.

Chicken Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While living in Tanzania I really wanted to learn how to make Chicken Curry. I tried to learn it but never got it right. In fact, to date Austin says it is the worst thing I have ever made, and he was right. This just made me want to find a good recipe even more. This recipe is pretty good, I did not use sugar or lemon but followed it otherwise. I would love some pointers on curry if anyone has them. Chicken Curry Recipe

I have also made one of my standards Calabasitas, which are SO DEELISH as well as a pasta with chicken, peas and broccoli in a cream sauce that is to die for. I made brownies from scratch, which in my opinion are much better than the boxed kind. I also tried to make some cornbread. The recipe I used was pretty good but I think it could still use some tweaking. Cornbread recipe Lastly, I made chicken tacos, a family tradition.

Well, I am sure I have overwhelmed you with recipes for now, so I will leave it at that. I am sure there will be more to come.

Spanish Tortilla

In case you don’t know Spanish Tortilla has NOTHING to do with what we picture when we here the word tortilla. Instead, it is more like an omelet, although, to me if made right does not taste like one at all. It is made with potatoes, eggs, an onion (optional) a bit of sea salt and olive oil. Simple ingredients yet so tasty. Here is a detailed description and history for the curious, provided by Wikipedia.

After living in Spain for a semester, Austin fell in love with this Spanish treat, and after a summer there studying myself, I too came to appreciate its simplicity and deliciousness. While in Tanzania, I decided why not try to make this dish. Well I quickly learned after a few trials that this dish although seemingly easy, was one that you are either born into a family that makes it and it is second nature to you, or if you are a foreigner you need some serious practice, help and tips to make correctly. Disappointed with all of my tries in Africa, I still wanted to find a recipe that makes this “simple,” “everyday” dish for the Spaniards one for me as well.

Just the other day I was going through my cookbooks in attempts to eat more at home, and low and behold I came across a recipe for Spanish Tortilla, in our Spanish Cookbook. Excited, and optimistic, I decided I should give it another try, and boy am I glad I did because it came out GREAT! Best Tortilla I have made yet! Hopefully, I can cut down on the time it takes now that I know it is a good recipe. Austin is SUPER PUMPED and so am I. It is like being in a Spanish Tapas bar right in our own dining room. Hooray for good recipes!

Here it is in case you are feeling experimental. Enjoy : )

My latest attempt. No, it is not perfect, but pretty dang close.