Pizza Rustica - Baking with Julia

What a difference a week makes!  Last week, I was planning to make this recipe and serve it for dinner with salad.  Well, things have changed.  Our household has turned into a heart-healthy, diabetic diet zone.  Can you believe it?  Gary's back from having a cardiac tune-up, and I'm joining him in solidarity.  Never fear,  I'm not closing my pastry business or considering dropping out of BWj.   We'll just need to find good homes for many of the delights.   As I've been perusing a whole new world of cookbooks and recipes, I've decided to blog about the adventure.   So, my 2nd blog is Cooking for our Health.   I'll review tips, tricks and recipes for low fat, low carbohydrate meals.   Please check it out, and join in with your ideas. When I read through the Pizza Rustica recipe, I thought it sounded a little cheese heavy, and maybe not so good.  Yes, even a Wisconsin girl can have too much cheese.  I was also wondered about the absence of sliced or some sort of tomato sauce.  My worries were unnecessary. The pizza tart/pie was delicious and really pretty.   The crust was easy to manage and the filling easy to put together.

I made a call to our neighbor with three children.  It seemed like a sure thing that the pizza would be a hit.  The results came in, and the boys loved it!  They added salsa for extra zip, which sounds pretty good.

One of my favorite parts of this recipe was cutting the strips for the lattice.  I have this little tool from Paris that I've had for about 12 years, and never remember to use it.  It's a pastry cutter.   I believe it made by hand by the same man who makes the rolling pins for E. Dehillerin, the famous cooking equipment shop.  I've included a photo later in my post.

 The dough rolled out to just the right size.  Here's the dough and the boxwood rolling-pin I mentioned.

The lattice wasn't browning as much as I liked, so I tented foil around the browned edges and let it bake a little longer.  It never browned as much as I would have liked, but all the components seemed to be fully baked.

Well, Wordpress  and I are having trouble working together.  My last photos don't want to upload a just into the post.  I'll keep trying, and hopefully you'll get to see the finished Pizza Rustica!

The next recipe is Lemon Loaf -  Very Springy!

Chocolate Darlings - Cocoa Sables from FFWD

This week's French Friday's with Dorie recipe is Cocoa Sables.   Sweet, crisp, chocolatey little darling French cookies.  The should be an accent over the "e".  I've been trying to figure out how to create that character without much success.  From here on, please pretend it's there. Sables were the very first recipe we made in pastry school.  For those of you sick and tired of pastry school stories, please skip ahead.  This is a good one though.   Our class went to the very first demonstration where we carefully watched the chef make a variety of sable, or butter cookies.  He stacked butter cookie dough  on chocolate dough and made beautiful stripes, swirls and lunettes (eyeglasses.)  One sable he called "dee -a -monde".  The translator repeated the word Diamond.   The name reflects the way that the tube of dough is brushed with egg and rolled in coarse sugar to make it look like it's rolled in diamonds.   There were a few moments when I can think back and know they had me.  This was one of those moments.

I used a block of bittersweet chocolate and chopped/grated it very fine.  It added a lot to the cookie, and I would highly recommend it.

Back to school.  When we got into the kitchen, we were introduced to weighing ingredients for the first time.   The recipe called for 5 grams of salt.   If we had thought about it, how much salt can there be in a cookie recipe?  Well, we set off to the salt bin carrying mixing bowls that could have held 10 pounds of bread dough!  We can back with what equaled about a teaspoon!   We can laugh now.  At the time, all business.

Dorie's recipe uses a creamage method, using room temperature butter and gently mixing in all the dry ingredients.  I really liked adding the chopped chocolate for a little extra boost of chocolate taste.  I don't have a lot of how-to pictures this week.   Here's the dough sliced and ready for the oven.

The dough is rolled into logs and chilled.   During the chilling time, I pulled them out a few times to reroll and reshape the logs.  As the soft dough chills, it can get a flat bottom.  Rerolling, helps make the roll even and not lopsided.  The dough sliced easily.  A few of the disks had to be schmoosed back together.    The smell of the cookies baking a amazing!  Here's a tip.  When you can smell chocolate in the room, you can be sure that your dessert is almost done.  I always wondered how the chefs knew that things were finished before the timer ever went off.

The Sable are so good.   This is a great dough to have in the freezer to quickly slice and bake for an impromto dessert, or to satisfy a chocolate craving!  No need to defrost, just slice and bake.

Have a great weekend, next week is Crab and Grapefruit Salad- curious?

Irish Soda Bread - Baking with Julia

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!  I'm not Irish, and don't really have any Irish traditions so this was a nice way to start one. The recipe has only four ingredients.   With so few, they have to be good, and they have to be treated and executed well.  Don't overmix, bake enough, don't over bake.  And most of all, don't dilly-dally around once the buttermilk is combined with the dry ingredients.   Baking Soda, the star of Soda bread, needs two actions to start the CO2 flowing.   Liquid and Acid.   The buttermilk provides both.  Once it's added, the magic begins.   The key is to mix quickly and completely and get the bread into the oven so it can start baking and rising even more.   My dough took off right away.  You can see it start to spring just after I made the slashes on the top.

The bread baked evenly and had a nice hollow thump when tapped.   We tryed to wait overnight to have it for breakfast, but we couldn't wait.   After about 15 minutes of cooling, I cut off two slices for tastes.   It was really tasty.    I added golden raisins, which added a gentle taste and texture.    If you'd like to try the recipe, Carla and Cathleen , are the Tuesday's with Dorie/Baking with Julia hosts and will have the recipe on their blogs.

Here's the finished Irish Soda Bread, a new tradition!

Our Dear Julia

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking and referencing the great works of dear Julia Child.   Her personality radiates through the pages of her books. At the recent demo day at Bekah Kates, a kitchen store in Baraboo, I used Le Crueset cookware to demonstrate its wonderful uses.  The recipe I made was Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon.   I made it three times, actually.  Once at home before the store opened for tasting during the morning, and another while people shopped.  The smell of the deep, rich sauce greeted shoppers as they entered the store.   Several times people asked me, "it that "HER" recipe?", or, "did you see the movie?"   We all knew who we were talking about.   It just wasn't right not to make it just one more time the next day while spending time with friends.   Julia would have insisted!   As the leaves fall, give it a try!

About a month ago, I had a surprise arrive in the mail.  I had pre-ordered a cookbook and it arrived.   Not just any cookbook.  One of the best I've seem in a long time.   Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking With Julia, just wrote another amazing book,  Around My French Table.   Each recipe is well written and looks delicious.   While it's a beautiful book, it will be used and will be marked with the little sauce here, and a drip or two there.   Ms. Greenspan has a great blog if you're interested in learning more.

Another piece of Julia news!  In late October, ahead of schedule, As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto is being released.   I can't wait!   It's hard to imagine a book being better then her My Life in France but it will be fun to see. 

My most recent Julia moment was on Friday.   I made a wedding cake with spice cake and apricot lekvar filling.   The lekvar recipe was Julia's from Baking with Julia.  It's a delicious apricot paste with almonds and hint of brown sugar.  It's similar in consistence to thick applesauce.   The color is a deep pumpkin color which makes it a wonderful topping for scones, too.

Here's my recipe: 1 bag dried apricots (about 1 1/2 cups) 1/2 cups slivered almonds 1/4 - 1/3 cup brown sugar 2 tsp.  grated lemon or orange zest dash of lemon juice 2/3 cup water

Simmer the apricot, water and zest until the apricots are soft.  Combine apricots, brown sugar and almonds in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Spread in a pan, and cool, covered with plastic wrap.  Enjoy on scones, muffins or even as a cake filling.  Will keep 7-10 days in the refrigerated.

Enjoy autumn baking, cooking and entertaining.  Until next time, Bon Appetit!