Tag Archives: Eggs

Clafoutis Two Ways: Seckel Pears and Blueberries

Seckel Pear Clafouti

I’ve mentioned before that I have a minor problem with purchasing too much produce when I make my trips to the market. It’s not so much that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but more a need to have endless possibilities to experiment with when I am ready to cook. This is completely ridiculous, of course. I haven’t had as much time to cook lately, so getting organized for the possibility has stuffed our fridge beyond its limits with bags of arugula and baby spinach left to rest on top of milk cartons, grapes and berries stuffed into the deli drawer, and the vegetable bin so full I can barely close it. Thankfully the long weekend has given me some time to use the ingredients and not a moment too soon because a few items went from being a salad contender to a shoe-in for something baked.

Such was the cute little bunch of seckel pears I couldn’t resist when I saw them at the market. The smallest variety of pear and the only developed in the U.S., they’re very sweet. Like all pears, they’re best picked when mature, but left to ripen off the tree to prevent graininess. Although I enjoy the mild flavor of most pears, I enjoy them while still firm and the seckels I purchased, having sat for days in a plastic bag were well past that point.

Because I usually end up eating pears raw, I haven’t made that many dishes with pears that involve cooking. Something quick and easy was in order, so a clafoutis seemed to be the best choice. Traditionally a French dessert made with cherries, clafoutis is made with a batter somewhat like that of pancake, but with more egg. The consistency of the cooked custard is not unlike that of crepes, or a German pancake and quite good.

Take a look around your kitchen for fruit that has seen better days and experiment a bit to end up with something just as nice on the breakfast table as for dessert.

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A Pavlova for Tartelette

White Tulips

 

Some of you may know that I was asked to do a guest post for Tartelette.    You know, The Tartelette?

Yes.  I know.

Of course I had a few moments of the puffy ego syndrome after an initial self-indulgent happy dance before I snapped out of it and began to fret about what to make.  Ohhhhhh, the sweet agony of making this particular decision.  I’m a meat and veggie type of person, comfortable with trying a bit of this and a bit of that.  I have a fondness for salad and greens, and a little addiction for the perfect muffin.  But making something special that would look like it belonged up front and center on Tartelette’s site?

Well.  You have no idea the fuss I made over this.  You’d have thought the Queen of England was coming to dinner.  Seriously.  But I had so much fun.  Far more fun than I’d have had if I’d needed to choose a little black dress for an event as swanky as that.

I don’t do little black dresses.  Ever.

But I learned quite a bit making A Pavola for Tartelette — or Helen, who is quite the amazing person if you’re fortunate enough to know her.

I hope you take some time to visit her, read my post,  and decide what you think of my Pavlova — definitely more of a tutu than a little black dress if you ask me.

And no, I don’t do tutus, either.  It just might conjure images of dancing hippos instead of ballerinas.

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Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata

Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata One of the very nice things about having a close friend is knowing that when she calls early on a Saturday and asks if I want to go somewhere with her, I don’t have to worry too much about things like fixing my hair or making sure I have eyebrows on.  On this particular occasion, it was a tomato festival of sorts and since I’ve been thinking about tomatoes I thought it would be great to avoid planting seeds and just cut to the chase with small plants.

You can call me weak.  It’s quite all right.

Nevertheless, we did drive up to the Quail Botanical Gardens to peek at the booths of herbs and homemade soaps, jams, and of course, tomato plants featured at the Tomatomania event.  I purchased several varieties including a few Super Marzanos and have lovingly planted them all in one huge pot.  Yes, I know there’s a rule about how far apart one should plant tomatoes, but I have limited space and I’m planning on watching like a hawk, making sure they get just the right amount of water and sunlight as any good helicopter parent should.

But this isn’t about tomatoes — yet.  Again.  It’s about broccoli.

My good friend is an avid gardener and is already gathering gorgeous heads of broccoli so of course, she gave me one before we set out on our Saturday morning trek.  The broccoli sat on the kitchen counter the rest of the day and I proudly showed my husband, “Look.  Look what Mrs. B grew in her very own garden.”  To my husband’s credit, he was actually quite impressed as those of us who have never grown broccoli might be and I placed the broccoli back on its towel having decided that I’d make a quiche or frittata in the morning for Sunday breakfast.

The next morning…

Picture me still semi-delirious and rinsing the coffee pot so that I might soon enjoy my daily jolt.  Picture my son bending over the very slightly wilted head of broccoli, hands in pockets and observing, “Mom.  It appears your broccoli has aphids.”

And he was right.  Hundreds of little green bugs lay perfectly around the broccoli as if someone had told them a pot of hot water was looming in their immediate future and they had all jumped ship — erm — vegetable.  The first thing I thought of was my friend because she’d mentioned they were going to have broccoli soup for dinner the night before and I wondered whether she’d noticed the bugs.  Oh, my.  There were so many tiny bugs.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed there were a variety of bugs, or at least bugs in varying stages of metamorphosis.  Stuck to the sides of the stems were dark rounds somewhat resembling scale. I sprayed the broccoli, picking through all the florettes and holding a fine-meshed strainer beneath to see what I collected.  Then I blanched the floretes, watching even more little bugs swirl in the boiling water before floating to the top.  As usual, a douse in a cold water bath to stop the cooking not only made the broccoli’s color quite vivid, but uncovered a few more critters who managed to make it through the previous attempts to rid the broccoli of their presence.

I was convinced I’d won but had to call my friend to let her know.  Yes, they’d enjoyed the broccoli soup, but no, they hadn’t seen any bugs.  Evidently we were the sole lucky recipients of the protein bonus with the broccoli.

Regardless, we enjoyed a lovely frittata that morning.  Bugs or no bugs.  Just don’t ask me to eat a grass hopper, okay?  Even if it’s deep-fried and has bacon wrapped around it.

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Pomegranate Vanilla Pot-de-Creme

Arils from 5 pomegranates
I can't resist pomegranates.  Although I've never owned a tree, I can remember knowing where at least one was growing when I was young — no matter where I lived — and kept an eye on it to see if it mattered to whomever owned it.  If the fruit was left on the ground after it fell, then that meant I was free to pick one from the tree and dig in, no matter how long it took — even if I had to climb over a fence.

The only places I see pomegranate trees now are around older homes, or on the perimeter of lots where homes have been removed to create something new, like a strip mall.  And since fence climbing doesn't exactly mix with middle age, I've succumbed to purchasing pomegranates when I see them at the market these days.  Pushing a shopping cart can be brutal during the rush hour, but I rarely wake up sore the next morning.

I do understand that the semi arid and temperate climate of San Diego makes it a perfect place to grow them however, and that they adapt well to containers, so I just may be in the market for my very own tree.

Why all this talk of memories and pomegranates?  POM, the nation's largest producer of the antioxidant rich pomegranate, is having a contest, so I thought I'd do some thinking about how I might use the fruit in something other than a salad.  I settled on two homey desserts — one for my husband and one for myself.  He loves creme brulee, and I enjoy baked fruit crisps, so that's what I created:  "Vanilla Pomegranate Pot-de-Creme" and "Apple Pomegranate Pistachio Crisp."

And yes, they taste great together if you want lots and lots of pomegranate!  IMG_7331

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Spanish Tortilla: My Tor-Tatta is Born

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Here’s what you do on a Saturday morning when you’re home alone and want to wallow in catching up on reading food blogs you have been sorely neglectful of.  (All cooking and posting makes Kelly a very rude blogger indeed.)

You make your much needed giant cup of caffeine (Starbucks Italian Roast, thank you, with some warm milk and a spoon full of sugar, please?) and hunker down at your beloved Mac to get busy.

It looks to be a long, but very pleasant morning, so clearly, sustenance will be in order, yes?  Something tasty, not too hard on the girth maintenance, and easy.  You know, like take it out of the fridge and heat it up easy?

We had this for dinner a couple of nights ago, and it’s one of those recipes that improves with age.  Definitely perfect for me today.  Now, how to avoid Twittering while I’m reading through my favorite blogs.  So many bright and shiny things to distract me today…Must.  Keep.  Reading…

I’m looking for tonight’s dinner then going to Whole Foods to do what my oldest son, an employee, says is completely possible — fill my basket for $40.  It isn’t that I don’t believe him, but I get over there and want all the unique and different products my other 17 markets don’t have.

Right.

Where was I?  Reading blogs and enjoying my morning cuppa with a nice slice of my version of a Spanish Tortilla.  No, it’s not a flat wheat or corn disk that one makes tacos with.  Instead, it’s a traditional way to prepare potatoes by cooking them in hot oil without actually frying them, and then layering them in a pan to cook with eggs.

Although I’ve prepared the potatoes and eggs in the traditional way, I’ve included vegetables and some cheese from my fridge.  This is a perfect way to make something easy, and include those odds and ends I know you have if your fridge is like mine.  Plus it gives me some much needed practice time with my mandoline which makes such beautiful slices.  Now, how to remember not to purchase humongous potatoes so they fit in the hand guard thingy…

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