31 May 2009

A Birthday Hot Sauce

Another birthday post! My dad's birthday was yesterday. He's a real character, and I love him to death, but my sister and I want to know why he asked for several survival guides this year. Do you plan on running away to the woods and never coming back, Dad?

My dad also loves spicy food, the hotter the better. He grew up in New Mexico, land of broiling hot days and pretty decent nights...if you can get past the sound of coyotes howling just a football field's length away from you. Dad makes this awesome chili. You wouldn't know how good it was because of how hot it is, but my husband and I have learned that if we request that he put some off to the side on the stove before he adds the final peppers (thai peppers+crockpot=one helluva hot chili) then it's actually a bearable and very tasty chili.

I came across a recipe via Omnomicon for homemade hot sauce. Perfect! I can make Dad his own hot sauce to go along with his survival books. I began gathering peppers from Wal-Mart and Petty's as well as some other ingredients that are needed. Then I remembered his thai peppers (I didn't know at the time that that was what those tiny little buggers hanging from his pepper plant were until I took them from him, but now I know better...) and immediately started planning.

I did a practice run. My dad does not like vinegar which is why he doesn't like Tobasco sauce. Good thing I did a practice run first or he would not have been happy. So I gathered more peppers and decided to try again the Saturday before his birthday (that gives me a week to let it ferment in my fridge or to come up with another idea if it becomes an epic FAIL). During my practice run, I had run out of vinegar. Since the liquid was getting low and I had my trusty beer in hand, I poured a bit in. Then a flash of brilliance (or insanity) hit: TEQUILA! I don't personally like tequila, but I had some leftover from making margarita Jell-o shots a couple months back for a family get-together and decided it was time to get it out of my fridge.

Here we have it. My very own homemade hot sauce packaged in a convenient sized wine bottle sans sticker courtesy of my liquor store buddy.

UPDATE: If you want to try a seriously hot, hot sauce, try Firehouse Subs' 357 Magnum. That stuff could peel the paint off of a wall and set it on fire simultaneously. I'm talking HOT!!! I literally tasted a drop off the tip of a toothpick, and my lips felt like they were on fire and had plumped to the size of gourds (they didn't, but it felt like it). It has a pleasant enough taste and a decent burn at the back of your throat after the first 30 minutes of pain.

Holy Snot! That’s Hot! Hot Sauce
Recipe by Omnomicon, adapted by me
10 jalapeno peppers
2 pablano peppers
10 serrano peppers
Bag full of thai peppers (this was about 2 cups)
1/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup tequila (three nip bottles; I used Patron)
1 bottle of beer, divided (I used Bud Light…it was what I had)
¼ tsp sugar1/8 tsp salt
  1. Chop all peppers. Be sure to use gloves. I used my Kitchenaid chopper because I have very little patience for cutting up peppers.
  2. Add all ingredients and ½ a cup of the beer in a medium-sized pot. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. Use the rest of the beer here. If you notice the mixture is loosing liquid, add a bit of the beer.
  3. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture as many times as desired. Funnel into any bottle of your choice. Enjoy!

27 May 2009

Beefburger Parcels

I feel like I’ve been running out of ideas lately. When I got up this morning, I stared blankly into my freezer not sure what I wanted to make. There was the requisite ground beef and chicken. There was also steak, cubed steak, and ground lamb. For whatever reason, I still have the 4-lb chicken from when I was supposed to make a roasted chicken (that’ll be on here later). So I pulled out a package of ground beef, sure I could think of something quick and yummy to make for dinner.

As I sat at work, a client’s 1040 information in front of me, it hit me. Why not try out that Beefburger Parcel recipe you found ages ago? Basically the poor man’s Beef Wellington, the recipe is simple and straightforward. I found it a couple of years ago while looking around on All Recipes and had just never gotten around to making it.

Being a fairly picky eater and having an even pickier roommate, I had to tweak the recipe quite a bit. My sister does not like onions. Neither of us do mushrooms, not even cream of mushroom soup (I chalk that up to it grossing me out more than anything…it’s a fungus; fungus has been known to grow on people’s feet…BLECH!). So I omitted the onions and mushies, but you certainly don’t have to.

I wasn’t sure what to make as a side dish tonight. I knew my sister might not be eating with me, but I also knew that she would need me to pack her a lunch for work tomorrow. I’ve wanted to try out a recipe for onion risotto for months now, but since she won’t come anywhere near the onions, I’ll have to save it for this weekend while she’s out of town. Mashed potatoes it is! I don’t know why, but she and I love red potatoes the best (it’s not like we grew up eating them, and I don’t think I ever even had them until I was living on my own, so I have no idea where our obsession with them came from). We leave the skins on to get what little nutrition can be found in potatoes.

Overall, I think the meal came out pretty tasty. It certainly would have been better with more tweaking (or less). I certainly would have liked the onions at least mixed in with the meat, and I wish I had been paying attention at the grocery store and picked up some more garlic. Cheers!
Beefburger Parcels
Recipe from All Recipes. Adapted by me

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 cup red grape juice (I used red wine, but you could also use beef broth)
1 cube beef bouillon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with equal parts water
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, 1 chopped onion, garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add egg, and mix well. Shape into 4 thick patties, not too large in diameter. Cook burgers on grill until brown.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute 1 chopped onion, and chopped mushrooms until brown and caramelized.
Cut puff pastry into 4 squares, and roll pieces large enough to wrap burgers. Divide mushroom mixture into the center of each pastry, then top with burgers. Wrap pastry around burgers, and seal edges. Place parcels seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve with Red Grape Sauce.
Meanwhile, make Red Grape Sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine grape juice, Worcestershire sauce, and bouillon. Mix the cornstarch with water, and stir into sauce. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.

24 May 2009

Rennaisance Faire

I've been working on a post for something I'm making for my dad's birthday next Saturday, but since he reads my blog now, I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Instead I'm going to talk about the Ren Faire in Muskogee.

My sister and I decided to spend a couple hours out at the Castle. It's only about a half hour drive down the turnpike from me. It was beautiful outside with a chance of showers later in the afternoon (we got back to our car just in time too).

One of the great things about our Faire is how in character the workers are. We tried to walk into a gift shop and were stopped by two Scotsmen. "The queen's in there. We just need ta make sure ye donna have any weapons on ye." My sister and I exchanged glances, and being the doofus that I am I said, "Just my cell phone." Both kilted-men looked at me dumbfounded. "Wha..?" Of course! He's not supposed to know what a cell phone is. I'm in his world, not mine anymore. "Nope, no weapons." The big guy let us pass, eyeing us suspiciously. Sis looked around and whispered, "The queen's not in here." But just to the left was the queen, and thankfully she didn't hear her (they will put you in the stocks or make a fool of you in the jousting ring for such offenses).

Mostly we scoped out the Faire, looking at handmade weapons, period garb, beautiful jewelry (I got myself a very pretty ring). Really we were looking for food. Everyone knows that when you go to any kind of outdoor festival, you're really there to try all the fun food. Turkey legs, jugs of beer (literally, JUGS!), roasted corn on the cob! Just the smell is like Heaven! We each decided we were going to get walking tacos (hubbs is the turkey leg fan; neither of us care for dark meat).

Walking tacos are crushed Doritos with all the fixins of a normal taco on top. Lettuce, cheese, ground beef, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos. It had it all. They were decent, nothing to really write home about, but good. The strawberry lemonade on the other hand...WOW!!! It was just the right amount of sweet and bitter to quench our thirst (although we did try to get a second cup; they were out of strawberry though).

We stopped to watch the show put on by The Jolly Rogers. These guys are funny! The show is PG-13 (with the exception of one song that is labeled PG-31; don't ask, you have to see it for yourself). The show is bawdry and clever, the singing is really good, and the set is a pretty cool pirate ship.

Walking past the Celtic Quarter and the Gypsy Encampment, we came across the king himself, Henry VIII, escorted by a French knight and several other liveried gentlemen. The entire time we walked around, my sister kept saying under her breath to me, "Well I didn't vote for 'im." Needless to say, she was none too happy to come across her least favorite monarch (she didn't know that Henry and his daughter Elizabeth are the royal figure-heads for the Faire. Somehow I managed to get her to sneak a picture of him while the frenchie kept giving us curious looks as if to say, "What is that strange contraption you've got there?"

I wish we could have spent more than the two hours we got, but very dark clouds were rolling in pretty fast followed by increasingly more threatening thunderclaps. It's still open through tomorrow, so who knows. I may just make a second trip out this weekend.

23 May 2009

Birthday Dinner

EDIT* I know the picture does not do justice to this dish. I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table since my sister and the friend were starving*

Jamie Oliver is my hero! For our anniversary last year, my husband bought me Jamie's cookbook, Jamie at Home. It's all about growing your own fruits and veg and then using it in your cooking. Beautiful pictures with lots of helpful hints makes me one happy cook! I still haven't gotten up the nerve to start my own garden (I live on the second floor with nothing but a tiny balcony to call my own, and I just don't have the space to grow everything that I want; I made a list because of this book though). Let's put it this way, if he and I both weren't married, I'd marry him just for his garden. It's that fantastic!

The reason I bring this up is because of Daniel. Daniel is one of my husband's best friends. When C was deployed the second time, we had literally gotten married the month before, I was still in college, and we were living in two separate cities. After I graduated, I lived with my parents for the summer and found my own place just before he came home on leave (that is always the most bittersweet two weeks of the year). Daniel promised my husband that he would keep an eye out for me and come over to keep me company from time to time (he helped move me in and crashed on my couch the entire first weekend of living on my own for the first time).

Daniel's birthday was last month, and I missed it (I was my own worst enemy for being such a flake). To make it up to him, I offered him dinner and beer. I'd make dinner and buy beer and let him crash on my couch afterwards since we always end up drinking too much beer for me to feel comfortable with him driving home (this always ends up with us out on the balcony discussing religion and politics like we're great geniuses when we really have no idea what we're talking about, and I almost always end up crying because I start missing the hubbs).

Jamie Oliver's cookbook comes into play here. I decided to try out one of his recipes, a pork loin roast with potatoes and onions. With my sister being present, I had to modify the spices a bit (she and my mom hate rosemary; I have no idea where this comes from). Basil and thyme for rosemary ought to do it (I'm not losing the onions just because she doesn't like them; they're only quartered so it wasn't like she couldn't eat around them). I think it came out pretty damn good. What say you?

Daniel is not a cake man (thankfully I didn’t make a cake beforehand or I would have been out of luck). So I asked him, “What kind of man are you?” Turns out, he’s a pie man. No flavor preference, just told me to surprise him, and surprise I did.

One of my absolute favorite shows is Pushing Daisies. Although it’s no longer on the air, I own season one and am anticipating the release of season two. Anyway, one of the characters makes her cheese-loving aunts an apple pie with gruyere cheese baked into the crust. PERFECT! I pulled out my recipe cards and found Nana’s recipe for apple pie. I must say, the addition of cheese to the crust is genius. I may have to try the other cheese pie mentioned in the show later (pear with brie…could be interesting).

Happy belated birthday, Daniel! I hope you enjoyed dinner as much as I enjoyed cooking it!

Balsamic-baked Onions and Potatoes with Roast Pork
Recipe from Jamie at Home, adapted by me

For the potatoes and onions
3 ½ lbs medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise (I used red potatoes and did not peel)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive Oil
7 oz butter, cubed
A bunch of fresh rosemary leaves picked and chopped (I substituted basil and thyme)
1 whole bulb of garlic, quartered or smashed
5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1 ½ cups balsamic vinegar

For the pork
A small bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped (substituted basil again)
2 Tbl freshly ground fennel seeds (substituted thyme)
1 x 3 ½ pound boneless rolled pork loin
Olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
4 bay leaves
2 wineglasses of white wine (about ¾ of the bottle)
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 8 minutes. Drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan.
To prepare the meat, scatter the herbs over a large chopping board. Roll the pork across the board, pressing down hard so all the flavorings stick.
Get a large roasting pan that the pork will fit snugly in, and place it on a burner over medium-high heat. Pour in a little olive oil and place the pork in, fat side down, sprinkling with any remaining flavorings on the board. After a few minutes, when the pork is lightly golden, turn it over and ass the garlic, onion, celery, and bay leaves to the pan. Place on the bottom shelf of your preheated oven for an hour, basting halfway through.
Get another roasting pan, into which the potatoes can fit in a single layer, and heat it on the stove. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary, and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavors. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on the burner to reduce the vinegar a little. Place the pan on the top shelf and cook for around 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy – removing the pan to toss the onions and potatoes halfway through.
After an hour, the meat should be cooked. Prick it with a sharp knife – if the juices run clear, it’s done; if not, pop it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping the potatoes warm. Remove from the oven and let it rest on a plate for 10 minutes. Pour away most of the fat from the pan and mash up the onions and garlic. Place the pan over the burner and add the wine. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, scraping all the meaty, marmitey goodness off the bottom to make a tasty little sauce. Season if necessary. Pass through a sieve. Slice the pork and serve with the potatoes and onions, drizzled with the sauce. Can be served with a salad.

Nana’s Apple Pie with Gruyere Cheese

For the pastry
1 ½ cups sifted flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup shortening (I would use butter or lard)
¼ cup Gruyere, shredded
4-5 Tbl cold water

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender. Add the cheese,
Add water one tablespoon at a time, pushing mixture to side until all flour is moist.
Form into two balls. Roll out into a circle one inch larger than the pan.
Put one crust in bottom of pan; bring up sides to the edge.

For the filling
5-7 tart apples (I used Granny Smith, my mom uses Red Delicious)
¾-1 cup sugar
2 Tbl flour
Dash of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Dash each ground clove, ground allspice, ground cardamom (don’t tell Nana I added these)
2 Tbl butter, chopped
Pare and slice apples into wedges and place in medium-sized bowl.
Mix dry ingredients together and pour over apples. Stir to coat.
Place filling into prepared pie pan and top with butter pieces. Place top crust on top and pinch edges of crust together. Flute edges.
Bake for 50 minutes. Can be served with ice cream.

21 May 2009

A Little Comfort Food

Lately, I’ve been craving comfort food. I don’t know if it’s because I’m missing my hubs or if my body just wants a carb overload. Either way, I’ve been craving cheese and potatoes with a good helping of meat. My family is Irish, so I could literally live off of potatoes and be happy especially if you throw some cheese into the mix.

My sister had made a casserole with chicken earlier in the week, and there was plenty of chicken left over, so I decided I wanted fried chicken and au gratin potatoes (I don’t usually eat the two together, but I was really craving this).

I borrowed the recipe for the potatoes from an acquaintance that I watched make them one time. For the chicken, I recommend using your own recipe. Everyone has their favorite way to make it, whether it’s Nana’s secret recipe or your childhood best friend’s mother’s. Personally, I just throw a bunch of fun spices in with my flour and dredge away to my heart’s content.

Au Gratin Potatoes
2 lbs potatoes (Yukon work best)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups cheddar cheese (this can be adjusted to your taste as well as the type of cheese)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Wash potatoes and slice thinly. Place in pot of water and cook until half-way done (about 15 minutes).
In an oven-safe dish, spray Pam (or use butter). Place a layer of potato slices followed by a layer of cheese (about 1/4 cup). Pour 1/4 cup cream on top. Continue layers until finished. Top with cheese.
Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

20 May 2009

Partylite Party!

The other day I had a Partylite party. For those of you not familiar with Partylite, they have some of the best candles in the world! Go check them out sometime and maybe find yourself a consultant and host a party. You'll never look at candles the same way again. I know I haven't.

I had given my consultant, Heather, my guest list a couple of weeks before so she could send out the invites. The postcard arrives requesting the guests RSVP just like every other party anyone will ever be invited to in their lives. Apparently, my friends living in Tulsa and the surrounding areas don't know what this means. So knowing this, I estimate maybe 10 people are going to show up. I spend my entire Sunday beforehand cleaning and prepping food so that everything will be ready to go on Tuesday night.

Tuesday rolls around, I leave work early. Stop at the gas station, stop at the grocery store, stop at the liquor store to see my buddy Jason (had to apologize for not remembering to bring him some homemade hot sauce and pick up some wine), go home. I lock up my two cats and get to work (they don't like company, I don't like cats plopping down at my feet as I try to clean and cook). As I push the vacuum cleaner around the apartment, begging it to suck just a bit more cat hair up, my cell phone goes off. I've got messages! "Something's come up." "Won't be able to make it." "Just stopping by for a few minutes to see if there's anything I want, but I can't stay long." People were canceling!

Stop here. I get that stuff comes up and that people have lives outside of coming to my apartment to spend their cold-hard cash on candles. Flakiness just happens to be a pet peeve of mine, and I seem to have a lot of flaky friends. I've made appetizers for crying out loud! And dessert!

Looking back now, everything went great. I still had about 7 or 8 people show up, and almost all of the food was gone by the end of the night (my coworkers love me right now since they get to enjoy the leftovers). I never really was angry, just irritated. I had spent a decent amount of time and money making food for my friends to enjoy (and let's be honest, that was the real reason I had the party...I wanted to cook for more people that just my sister and myself). Below are the recipes I used for each item that was served. Two of these recipes came from my m-i-l. Two came from All Recipes (this will be on here often I'm sure). The other two came from two different cookbooks. Sorry there aren't pictures of each recipe. It was a hectic day...

Sausage Cups
Recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law

1 package of Jimmy Dean HOT sausage
2 cups of shredded cheese (I use Fiesta bland, but cheddar and colby-jack are good too)
1/2 bottle of ranch dressing (add more or less as needed)
1/2 can of chopped black olives (fresh works too)
3-4 packages of small phyllo cups
  1. Brown sausage and drain. Allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven according to phyllo package (mine was 350).
  3. Add all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  4. Scoop mixture into cups. Bake approx. 6-8 minutes or according to package.

Frisco Dip
Recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law

1 lb of ground beef
1 package of Jimmy Dean HOT sausage
1 package of Velveeta (the big brick)
1 can of Rotel
  1. Brown ground beef and sausage on stove top. Drain.
  2. Cube Velveeta and place in a slow cooker/crock pot. Add Rotel and meat.
  3. Leave on low for a couple of hours or until cheese is melted. Serve with any tortilla chips you have available.

Pepperoni Dip
Adapted from a recipe on All Recipes
1 package herb flavored cream cheese
1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
1 package mini pepperoni
1 cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an oven-safe dish, spread out cream cheese. Put spaghetti sauce then pepperoni on top. Add cheese.
  3. Place dish in the oven and bake for approx. 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with sliced baguette.

Dark Chocolate Truffles

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 oz butter, cut into pieces (that's about 2TBL)
Cocoa powder to cover

  1. Place cream in a small pot on the stove and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted.
  3. Add butter and continue stirring until melted.
  4. Move mixture to a bowl, cover, and put in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
  5. Scoop uniform balls (I used a melon baller) and drop into cocoa powder. Roll and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Red Velvet and Chocolate Cake Balls - The flavors for this are completely up to you
Adapted from recipe on All Recipes
1 box of cake mix
1 container of frosting
1 bag of chocolate chips (or almond bark)
  1. Make cake according to directions on box. You can make your own scratch cake and icing, This way is just the easiest I've found.
  2. Allow cake to cool and then crumble. Add the container of frosting and mix well.
  3. Form balls with a melon baller to achieve uniform size.
  4. Freeze or refrigerate for several hours.
  5. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Using a fork and spoon, dip balls in chocolate and set aside. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate has hardened.
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 750-ml bottle dry, red wine
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
Ice cubes
Oranges slices (optional)
Lime slices (optional)
  1. In a large pitcher, stir together the orange and lime juices. Add wine and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and chill for 3 to 24 hours.
  2. Serve over ice. Garnish with orange and lime slices if desired.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Lemon Fluff Topping

I don't claim to be the best chef in the world. I also don't claim to know everything there is to know in the kitchen. My pots and pans may not be the most expensive brand you can find at the store (in fact, my husband bought the set for Christmas last year from JCPenney's...not exactly the gourmet chef's choice). My pictures will never be perfect, even if I were to have a studio style setup in my small apartment and bribed my sister to take all of the pictures (she's seriously got some photo takin' talent). I will claim this: if you join me on this journey, you will not be disappointed. I know I'll make some mistakes along the way, but my successes will hopefully make up for them.

With that said, I'd like to start this blog off right with a variation of a tart I found on David Lebovitz's blog (the man truly is a genius). I'm borrowing his recipe for a strawberry-rhubarb compote that was to be part of a rhubarb tart which got the dreaded FAIL from the man himself. Now when David makes something and claims it a FAIL, and it still turns out amazing, then you know he's onto something. I'm telling you...GENIUS! I'm also borrowing a unique recipe he posted for the tart shell (and I do mean unique...).

To top off this yummy-scrummy rhubarby goodness, I've got a lemony-fluffy-so-sweet-but-oh-so-delicious creamy concoction. My sister and I had a crepe-fest one night shortly after my husband left for his third deployment (the joys of being married to the military...*sigh*). Anyway, we found a recipe for what was called "Lemon Snow Filling." Being that we both adore anything lemon flavored, we rushed straight to the nearest grocery store (Wal-Mart at 8:30 at night is always an interesting experience)...Let me apologize now to the grocery store purists. Wal-Mart is right around the corner from my apartment. I could literally walk there if I wasn't so lazy and didn't live next to a questionable, if not seedy, neighboring apartment complex. I do go to actual grocery stores (my favorite being Petty's Fine Foods...Tulsa, OK does not have the most options for grocery stores, and I have been known to hit up Food Pyramid from time to time. So "Lemon Snow Filling." The recipe came from my very first foray into the world of food: All Recipes. With some tweaking, the filling is absolutely fantastic (although it was really great to begin with).

I hope everyone enjoys the tart as much as I did. My sister doesn't do rhubarb so I couldn't get any kind of opinion on the tart as a whole, but she loved the lemon snow. I think her exact words were, "Omnomnomomnom" but I can't be too sure since she had lemony goodness dribbling out of her mouth (as did I).

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Lemon Topping

Tart Shell
Recipe by David Lebovitz

3 oz (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbl vegetable oil
3 Tbl water
1 Tbl sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 slightly rounded cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 410° F (220°C).
In a medium, oven-safe bowl (Pyrex) combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to turn brown just around the edges.
When done, remove the bowl from oven (be careful!), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it with a spatula.
Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with your hand (David suggests using the heel of your hand, I had better luck with my fingertips). And use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough for patching any cracks (about the size of a raspberry).
Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about 10 times, then bake for about 15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them.
Let the shell coolk before using

Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote
Recipe by David Lebovitz

4 stalks (approx. 1 lb) rhubarb, washed and trimmed
10 blushing-red strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup brown sugar (light or dark; David used muscovado)
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbl kirsch or other liquer

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Slice the rhubarb lengthwise in half and cut into 3-inch long batons. Mix in the baking dish with the strawberries and remaining ingredients.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until the fruit is soft and fully cooked through.
Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 325C° and bake for another 10 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before filling tart shell.

Lemon Snow Filling
Adapted from a recipe on All Recipes

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Zest from one lemon
Juice from half a lemon
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place cream cheese in stand mixer. Mix until creamy.
Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add zest and juice. Adjust amounts according to tastes
In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks,
Gently fold lemon mixture into whipped cream.

To assemble, place compote in tart shell and smooth. Top with lemon topping with as much or as little as you want. Enjoy!