Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blueberry Vanilla Bean Tart

After making this blueberry pie—tart for my family a couple of times, and gaining all of their praises... I realized it was about time I shared this with my readers. So just so you know, this recipe has been tested by the harshest critics out there (my mom and grandma!) and has undergone a couple "revisions" before being shareable on here. 

I always see recipes that mix together Blueberries and Lemon, and I was curious... who came up with this and why? Well, I tried to do the research but could not actually find anything having to do with the origin of this combination, except that it is very very popular! Initially, I used preserved lemons in the custard and quickly found that it tasted... "good" but not exceptional. The vanilla bean is really what does the trick. 

A little forewarning to everyone, this recipe is very very... EASY! However, you need to do it a day in advance, as it needs some chilling time for both the dough and the entire tart. I sure hope you enjoy this recipe, as it truly comes from my families kitchen, to this blog, and hopefully to your homes as well! 

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 cup + 3/4 cup AP Flour
2 tbs. water, cold
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbs. granulated sugar
1 tbs. pure vanilla extract

16 oz. full-fat coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, split down the middle and cut in 1/2
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 

2 cup blueberries, washed, dried, tossed in vanilla extract + 1 tbs. sugar

[Serves 12]

Cut your butter down into cubes, making sure that it is cold when using. Combine the butter with your flour. You can use a pastry cutter, or just your hands. I found using my hands worked just fine. Combine the wet stuff ( sugar, water, vanilla extract) in a small bowl with the salt. Slowly combine the dry, combined butter + flour mixture with the wet stuff. Do not over mix your dough, it should look have a couple cracks in it on the sides but be uniformed and coagulated for the most part. Wrap in plastic wrap and set in fridge for 6 hours or 24 hours (recommended 24 hours). 

After crust has chilled, roll it out while making sure to flour your rolling pin and surface first. You want your crust to be about 1" thick. Grease the inside of your 9" removable bottom tart pan, thoroughly. Carefully, roll up the dough onto the rolling pin and set over a tart pan. Using your "floured" fingers, press the dough into the edges and up the fluted sides of the pan. Make sure to dock your tart dough with a fork to allow it to breathe while cooking and not puff up. You do not want a puffed up crust, you want it to be flat so you can fill it with your delicious vanilla cream. 

Cover the dough with a heat-resistant plastic wrap or you can use aluminum foil just place the greased side down onto the dough. Fill it with beans ( you can't use these again, so make sure you toss them when you are done). Bake for only 15 minutes and the crust should be a beautiful golden brown. 

Let crust cool as you move on to your custard. When cooled place in fridge for 30 minutes. 

Using a saucepan, bring your coconut milk, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract to a boil. Its helpful if during this time you whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. As the milk mixture boils, grab about 1/3 cup of it in a measuring glass and add it slowly to your egg bowl. This allows you to temper the eggs as to "tease" them with the hot liquid so they don't cook into scrambled eggs when added directly over the heat in your saucepan. After you've mixed in the teaser, add the egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it thickens up. It should coat the back of your mixing spoon nicely without being too runny. 

Remove the sauce from the heat when it becomes thick enough. Pour custard into a temperature-safe glass bowl and cool it quickly in an ice bath (place custard bowl in a bigger bowl that has ice + water). 

After throughly washing your blueberries, toss them in 1 tbs. sugar and vanilla extract. 

You are finally ready for assembly!

Pour your chilled custard onto your cold pie crust. The pie crust should be cold, not "warm" not "chill"—cold. Add the custard to the pie and coat evenly with a spoon. Custard should not come up over the sides of the pie, but should grace them. Add the sweetened blueberries to the top of the custard and place evenly. This will take some coordination, you can't just "spread them" they will move your custard. I had to hand place mine, but eventually like dominos they fell into place.

Place entire covered tart in fridge for 2 hours before even thinking about removing the pan. Once it is fully chilled, remove the pan sides and serve! Yumm, hope you all ~Enjoy it!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Basil Garlic Fettuccine with Shrimp

 This meal is quite literally the most garlic-y, basil-y, Italian-like bowl of goodness.  The tantalizing smell of roasted garlic is forever ingrained in the fabrics of our furniture— but, I love it! With all the fresh flavors meddled together it truly is something to try. I didn't have very much time to make dinner tonight, all this studying for the GRE has me stopping for food on the way home almost every night. I figured a Saturday night cooking, was going to be a nice study break and a break for my wallet as well.

 I also, would like to shed some light on the yummy noodles I used here. They are called: Shirataki Fettuccini and can be found anywhere from Whole Foods to Safeway's worldwide. Each bag has about 20 calories. Let me repeat, 20 calories! I used 2 bags here for this entire dish and ate the whole meal within two days, so I would say this is totally a low-calorie meal! My advice here, is to make sure to wash the noodles with cold water. Pour the whole bag into a colander and wash with cold water, thoroughly. Make sure to use your hands and separate out all the noodles, clean them well before using.

10 cloves of Roasted Garlic, chopped
2 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb. Bay Shrimp, deveined, detailed
3/4 c. Baby Bell Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c. Dry White Wine
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 bags of Shirataki Fettuccine Noodles, washed
1/4 c. fresh Basil, finely chopped
1/2 c. fresh Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Yields — 4 Servings

Directions: Chop up the roasted garlic (you can buy this, or make them yourself) and add them to a saute pan over medium-high heat in olive oil. Add in bay shrimp, mushrooms and wine and let them saute together. Shrimp will turn a beautiful pink color when they are cooked through. Make sure to not let the shrimp shrivel up, or they will be over cooked and plastic-y. Sprinkle with garlic powder and stir to coat through. Add in your noodles and basil. If you find there is too much liquid in the pan, turn the heat up to evaporate off the excess. After everything seems to be cooked through and coagulated together, about 15 minutes, add in tomatoes. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to liking, and ~Enjoy! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Peppermint Marble Shortbread

As the holidays approach, peppermint, red, white, pretzels and popcorn recipes are everywhere! Don't go this season without trying these Peppermint Marble cookies. These are not Paleo cookies, actually, they're not gluten-free either—oops! But, in my defense... it's the holidays! My stomach won't hate me on Christmas, it just can't!

I absolutely love shortbread, but I love peppermint even more! They have tiny shards of peppermint candy canes with a heaping of peppermint extract for an extra kick! Put these out for santa... you should easily cross over to the nice list!

Nutritional Facts for Non-Decorated Cookies
(for cookies)
1 3/4 c. AP flour
1/4 c. blanched almond flour
1/4 c. powdered candy cane dust
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4c. ghee, room temp. (or 1 c. unsalted butter)
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract

Yields — 18 cookies

(for decoration)
2 c. white chocolate chips, melted
Red sugar sprinkles optional.

Directions: Be sure to make ahead of time, shortbread needs some refrigerator time to set. 
Preheat to 350 deg. F. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flours, candy cane dust and salt. Set aside, as you cream together ghee (or butter) with coconut sugar and peppermint extract. Combine your dry and wet ingredients. Once combined into a thick batter, roll into a tight ball (make sure to flour your station before doing this). Wrap in plastic wrap and set in fridge for 3 hours at least, or 24 hours preferred.

When firm, scoop out rounds with an ice cream scoop. Set on cookie sheet about an inch apart (they don't spread). Make sure to adjust the shape exactly as you want the cookie to come out. Don't just put mounds of dough, flatten it in your hand to about 2 " wide. Bake for 8-10 minutes. When cooled, dip in white chocolate and decorate with red sprinkles if using! ~ENJOY!