You may think that tomatoes are a weird ingredient for a jam but if you remember that they are a fruit, it might make more sense. We used this jam as a condiment spread for the turkey meatloaf sandwich that we served when I owned Alchemy Market and Wine Bar back in the 2000s. It lends a sweet, spicy and tangy taste to most anything you pair it with—goat cheese and crackers, grilled chicken or shrimp, roasted pork tenderloin, even grilled cheese. It makes about 4 cups and lasts for a couple of weeks in the fridge so, make a batch and get creative!
Tomato Ginger Jam
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh ginger, peeled - a 2" knob or so
1/4 cup garlic, peeled - about 4 large cloves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 t cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 T ground cumin
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t ground cloves
2 cups chopped, canned tomatoes (or you can also use fresh apples)
1/3 cup honey
Drop the garlic and ginger through the feed tube of a food processor and chop finely. Don't bother to wash the bowl as you will be puréeing the sauce after cooking it. Sauté the garlic and the ginger on low heat, without browning, until translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the honey, and simmer for 25 minutes covered.
Purée the sauce in the food processor until smooth and then return to the pan. Add the honey and cook for a few minutes over medium heat until thickened and jammy.
This recipe is from my days at Alchemy Market and Wine Bar in the early 2000s. We had a turkey meatloaf sandwich on the menu with tomato-ginger jam (recipe coming in a separate post next week!) and peppery arugula on fluffy house-made focaccia. I recently resurrected this popular sandwich for my friends at Diestel Family Turkey Ranch in Sonora for a "farm-to-pasture" lunch. It was set out in a verdant pasture with turkeys strutting nearby—so cool. This recipe doesn't have any onions, celery or carrots in it like most meatloaves, which saves time because you don't have to sauté them before putting the meatloaf in the oven. It goes together in a flash and is in the oven in minutes. It also holds together well and makes for great sandwiches. If you can't stand rosemary (like my dear friend and colleague Kataleena) or just want to play with different herbs, you can substitute equal amounts of basil or thyme. Let's do easy.
Rosemary Turkey Meatloaf
2 lbs ground turkey meat, I use our local turkey supplier, Diestel Turkey Ranch
2 T chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley, flat or curly leaf
2 stalks of fresh rosemary, stripped and chopped
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce or pureéd tomatoes
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper
Mix all ingredients together well and place in a loaf pan. Smear with catsup and bake until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 150 degrees about an hour and 15 minutes. Let rest for 10-15 minutes then slice and serve warm or cool and slice for sandwiches, yum!
When I was a chef at Parigi in Dallas in the 1980s, we made this tart every week. It's more like a nutty cookie than a tart, and is chewy, buttery and delicious. The original recipe is in the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters, but Lindsey Shere, one of the first bakers there, made it famous. I was recently reminded of its deliciousness by David Liebowitz, an American ex-pat and former Chez Panisse chef who is now living in Paris, when he posted a picture of it on his Instagram feed. I was immediately transported back to my Dallas days and began to wonder why I had not made this circle of divine yumminess in so long. Well, here it is once more, not to be forgotten ever again. Just ask my friends Sheila, Mike, Tim and Cynthia, who are still in dessert coma at last check!
Caramelized Almond Tart
1 c flour
1 T sugar
1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
1 T ice water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 c sliced almonds
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 tsp Grand Marnier or Amaretto (the original recipe calls for kirsch if you have on hand)
For the dough
Mix the flour and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces, the size of rice. It should be pretty well-integrated with no large visible chunks. Add the water and extracts and mix until the dough is smooth and comes together. Press into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and chill thoroughly. Let the dough come to room temperature and press the dough into a 9"-10" tart shell using your hand. Save a little bit of dough to patch the shell if holes form during baking. It takes some practice but don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. Try to get the dough relatively flat on the bottom, and push it evenly up the sides, a little bit above the edge of the pan, with your thumbs. Put the tart shell in the freezer and chill thoroughly. To bake the shell, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the shell for 20-30 minutes, until it is set and light golden-brown. Remove from the oven and patch any holes with leftover dough.
For the tart filling
To bake the tart, line the rack under the one you plan to use with a sheet of aluminum foil to catch any spills and drips. Heat the cream, sugar, and salt in a big, wide heavy-duty pot (use one that’s at least 4 qts) until it begins to boil. Continue to cook and when it starts to foam up, remove it from the heat and stir in the almonds, the almond extract, and the liquor. Scrape the filling into the shell. Make sure that everything is evenly distributed, then put the filled tart shell into the oven. Bake, remove the tart from the oven when the filling is the color of coffee with a light touch of cream in it and there are no large pockets of gooey white filling, about 30 minutes. Let the tart cool a few minutes on a cooling rack.
*Advanced Planning: The dough can be made in advance, and chilled (maximum 4 days) or frozen longer. The dough, once pressed in the tart pan, can be frozen. Wrap in plastic if you don’t plan to bake it within 48 hours. Once made, the tart should be kept at room temperature. If not eaten the same day, wrap in plastic wrap. The tart is best the first day but can be kept for up to 4 days.
Easter is this weekend and I am a bit late in posting some wonderful and easy recipe suggestions. I was originally going to dream up some new ideas for you to cook and create but there are so many good ones buried in my past posts. I thought I should 'archive dive' and bring you the best of the bird blog! There are a variety of dishes to ponder, breakfast, brunch, appetizers or sides and dessert. They are all pretty easy and most can be made ahead.
The egg bake must be made the day before, the scones can be made a day ahead too, just assemble on a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight, the next morning, bring to room temp, then bake as usual. The asparagus tart can also be made the day before, just refrigerate unbaked and bake just before serving. The carrots can hang out for a day (even better) and Claire's eggs can also be made the day before, just put the chutney and chives on right before serving. The 'April Fool' is easy to assemble, you will want to make the cookies ahead or another time, there will be plenty of chocolate eggs after all!
Just click on the photo for the recipe! Wishing everyone a joyous and colorful Easter Day!
I think I have told you about my book club, we meet for dinner once a month and always cook something inspired by the book. Last week I made this Cremini mushroom crostata. Cremini mushrooms are simply white button mushrooms allowed to grow a bit longer, so they have a bit more texture and flavor. We had just finished reading a book called "Circling the Sun" about a woman living in Kenya around the turn of the last century. In one of the chapters, she threw a party and made a mushroom crostata. A crostata is a rustic, free-form tart, usually filled with fruit but veggies work well too! It was actually easy to make the crust in the food processor and easy to handle so don't be intimidated. I served this as an appetizer but it would also be delicious as a light lunch dish served with a simple green salad.
Cremini Mushroom, Roasted Garlic, Fontina & Thyme Crostata
First, make the dough (it has to chill for an hour or make it a day ahead) and then get the garlic roasting.
3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c (6 oz) cold butter, diced
1/2 t salt
1/4 c ice cold water (you will add 1/8 c first and more as needed)
1 egg (for egg wash)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour and salt in a food processor. Add cold butter and pulse until sandy. Add 1/8 cup cold water. Mix or pulse until dough begins to form. Add more water as needed until dough forms. Gather dough, flatten into a pancake, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for one hour or refrigerate over night. Flour surface and roll out dough to a 1/8 inch thick round (won't be perfect, this is rustic!). It will be thinner than you think necessary, but this makes for a great crust. Roll the edges of the crust inward a few times to form a proper edge. Place dough on cookie sheet. Cover dough with a piece of aluminum foil, add weights or dry beans, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and weights, poke all over the bottom with a fork and bake for 7 minutes. Beat egg. Coat entire dough in egg wash and bake for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes.
8 medium sized cloves of garlic, whole & unpeeled
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap garlic cloves in aluminum foil and drizzle with oil. Throw in some fresh thyme stalks and bake for 40 minutes, until soft. Cool. Peel garlic cloves and spread the soft roasted garlic over the bottom of the crust in a light even layer.
1 lb Cremini mushrooms (you could mix in some wild ones too, if you like)
1 T fresh thyme leaves stripped from their stem
4 oz Italian fontina cheese, shredded (any soft, melting cheese with good flavor works)
2 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T extra virgin olive oil
After you have prepared the crust with the roasted garlic spread, raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Clean, trim, and chop mushrooms and stems. Put the mushrooms aside in medium size bowl. Drizzle 1 T olive oil over mushrooms, add a large pinch of salt, and toss. Melt butter in large sauté pan until sizzling and then add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with half of the thyme leaves. Cook over medium to medium high heat until all liquid is absorbed, about ten minutes. Toss in the rest of the thyme, a big dash of salt and pepper and cook for a minute. With a slotted spoon remove mushrooms from the pan. Put back into medium sized bowl. Let cool for ten minutes. Add shredded cheese and combine. Spread mushrooms and cheese evenly across the garlic schmeared crust. Return to oven and cook 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and serve. This is also great at room temperature or the next morning cold from the fridge.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"