Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Keeper

As you know I'm always trying new recipes. Most of them are good but every once in a while I find one that becomes a keeper. This one is a keeper.......Leek Tart with Bacon and Gruyere. My tart pan was occupied with the dessert for the dinner party last night so I cooked the tart in a pie pan so that is why it doesn't have the "tart" shape but that didn't make any difference it was good. The recipe is from the December 2007 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. I served it with a green salad but you could use it for a main course with a larger salad or other vegetables.

I don't think this is a fast recipe but with a little planning you can make it easier. As I've complained before, I'm not good with pie doughs and crusts but this one was easy and it has fresh thyme in it....very savory and flaky. You could make the dough the day before then roll it out and bake it a few hours ahead of time. You can also make the filling earlier in the day. Then a couple of hours before the dinner party you can put the filling in the shell and bake it. Let it sit out to cool and it will be ready to cut for the dinner party. My cooking friend thought I was really creative to combine the tart with a salad for the first course and I didn't tell him that the combination was straight out of fine cooking. can't reveal all of your secrets!

Actually this was a pretty easy dinner party.

Salmon spread with capers on crackers - this is one of my quickly thrown together appetizers that everyone seems to love. A package of cream cheese, about 3-4 ounces smoked salmon, 2-3 tablespoons finely minced red onion and add a little heavy cream to help smooth it out for a spread. Mix a couple of hours ahead so the flavors can blend. Top with capers and serve with crackers or bagel chips. I also love it on a bagel or rye toast for breakfast.

Next was the leek tart with a green salad. That was followed with a roasted pork loin, wild rice and lightly cook green beans sauteed in olive oil and red pepper flakes. Of course there is nothing to do with roasting meat once you have it in the oven. The wild rice takes a long time to cook at our altitude so I cooked it earlier in the day in chicken stock and then just reheated it, added a bit of butter and adjusted seasonings just before serving. The green beans were steamed earlier in the day and thrown in a skillet with the olive oil and cracked red pepper for a few minutes to warm them up. I sliced the pork loin and arranged all of them on a large platter. It was a pretty presentation if I say so myself.

I made the dessert the day before as suggested in the tips for making the recipe. Again the recipe for the Bourbon Pumpkin Tart with Walnut Streusel was from Fine Cooking.....November 2005. All of this prep work certainly reduced the amount of time in the kitchen on the day of the Dinner Party and avoided a lot of time in the kitchen after the guests arrived. This Bourbon Pumpkin Tart is good.....maybe it is a keeper. I haven't quite decided about it yet but I think it could be slipped right into the traditional Thanksgiving Day Dinner without a rebellion from the traditionalist.

Now that I've made the Leek Tart a keeper, I'm trying to decide if I'm brave enough to make a double recipe of it and use an 11x17 rimmed baking sheet so that I can cut it in squares to serve for a brunch. It is rolling out that dough and getting it into the pan that scares me.


Jonna said...

That looks wonderful! You've talked about so many great recipes from Fine Cooking, I finally followed the link. Do you get the magazine in paper format, in San Miguel? Or, is the whole issue available online if you subscribe? I'm very tempted if I can read it online.

Have you seen the Mexican magazine, Sabor? The Nov issue is about Yucatecan food.

Also, on a completely different subject, do you have any tips for cameras living in humidity and AC? If I have the AC on and take the camera out, the lens completely fogs over. I can't leave the camera outside and I'm not sure if this is damaging it. What do photographers in the tropics do? Probably just don't expect to take any pictures for 10 minutes or so after going outside. I guess more important is the question of whether it is damaging the camera or the lens?

Billie said...

Joanna, I've been taking the paper magazine for about 5 years and I've always gotten the bound annual issues too just so I could keep them all together. But I just recently signed up for their website so I can get it all on-line. I'm going to give that a try but I'm not sure. I love crawling into bed at night to read through the magazine. I have started to "save" the recipes that I try and like to "My cookbook" inside of the magazine website. That should help keep me from pulling several annual editions off the shelf looking for a recipe that I tried before.

Yes, I do think that the fogging will hurt the camera although I haven't seen any reports on it. I know that you always can't do it but try to wrapped the camera in a towel or something when you go out so that it doesn't go from AC to hot humidity in 2 seconds flat.

pitchertaker said...

A lot of folks just put the camera in a plastic Ziploc, and leave it in until the camera warms up close to the amibient temp. Same thing going inside from hot to cool. The humidity itself will not necessisarily hurt the camera (might in the very long run), but condensation of moisture outside and in, is not good.


1st Mate said...

You can buy leeks and gruyere? No wonder you're in a cooking mood!

Billie said...

1st mate, I can remember 7 or 8 years ago when these items were not available but gradually the grocery stores and the one deli have figured out what they can sell and they bring it in. Of course, you can not count on always finding leeks or gruyere but as I say, you can find just about anything you want here but not always when you want it.

Jonna said...

Pitchertaker, thanks for that idea, I'll use it.

Thanks to you too Billie, I got my camera question answered and got recipes too.