Tag Archives: thyme

An Unexpected Savoury Treat: Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Tart

26 Nov

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I’m not a good baker. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. Baking is too precise, with the measurements and temperatures and ingredients. My foolish experimentation has resulted in failure about half the time. I much prefer to cook and create my own recipes with various substitutions and additions. I find it super fun!

I also don’t have a huge sweet tooth. A piece of dark chocolate satisfies me rather than an extravagant cupcake. Not to say I haven’t had some successes , and even a few great ones. As they say, sometimes with great risk comes great reward. However, behind those baking triumphs lingers stressful memories, of wayward flecks of sugar-butter spinning uncontrollably about the kitchen, and nervous peeks into the oven every 5 minutes to check if the bread has risen, heart in mouth.

The beauty of this tart is that it was a result of another baking failure. Even though I made a successful batch of lemon curd just last week, this time I couldn’t get it to thicken (sadly a huge casualty of lemons and eggs). I was planning on bringing some cute lemon tart-lettes to a friend’s clothing swap, but this was just not meant to be!

Instead I saved the dough and the next day used it to make this cheese and onion tart.

It was a lovely plan B.

Crust

  • 1.5 cups all purpose or pastry flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 egg

1) mix flour and salt
2) in separate bowl, cream butter and sugar and slowly add egg
3) add flour to butter mixture and mix until ball is formed
4) on a floured surface, roll evenly and fit into a pie mould
5) chill

Meanwhile, do this:

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Over high heat, caramelize about 5 to 6 thinly sliced onions in oil or butter. Mix so the onions don’t burn, but not too frequently otherwise they won’t brown! Add pinch of salt and one teaspoon of sugar. Once browned, add drizzle of balsamic to cut the sweetness and mix. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 325.

Add grated cheddar evenly over cooled tart crust and then top with onions and fresh thyme. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crust is browned at the edges and top with more fresh thyme and a sprinkle of salt.

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Note: this crust has a sweet, shortbread like consistency. If you’d prefer to use a different pastry recipe, please do!

The cheddar and thyme were a great combination with the onions, but Gorgonzola or chèvre would also be lovely. Maybe even some pear or sautéed mushrooms. The options are endless really.

Serve in small slices. Great for a holiday party!

Tell me: are you a cooker or a baker, or a candlestick maker both?

Roast chicken with fresh garlic, rosemary and thyme

13 Dec

Never again, Loblaws, never again will I buy a pre-roasted chicken from you.

This bird was easy to prepare, tasty and very juicy!

Food 346

  • Served up with apple and arugula salad, roasted root veggies and onion gravy.

Food 365

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (organic preferably)
  • 1 head fresh garlic, with cloves peeled
  • 2 whole lemons, one peeled
  • 1 bunch of rosemary and thyme
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  1. Rinse chicken with cold water and dry the chicken, inside and out (with paper towels)
  2. Preheat oven to 425
  3. Rub chicken with generous amount of salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Stuff cavity with peeled lemon, herbs and more crushed garlic.
  5. Add some more crushed garlic under the skin, without loosining it too much.
  6. Chop onions and make a bed at the bottom of roasting pan
  7. Place dressed chicken on top of onions, and roast uncovered for about 1.5 hours, squeezing fresh lemon on top every 25 minutes or so. (This was a pretty small chicken, maybe 4 lbs. If yours is bigger, cooking times will be longer)
  8. To check for done-ness, make small incision into leg and breast. If juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. If pink, it needs longer
  9. Once cooked, broil for 10 minutes, to brown the skin
  10. Let rest before carving, for 10 to 15 minutes to let the juices settle.

Onion Gravy

  1. Remove the onions and juice from the bottom of the pan and transfer into a small pot. Remove the stuffing from the chicken and add some of the roasted garlic to the pan.
  2. Skim the chicken fat off the top, as much as possible.
  3. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 tablespoon of honey,  one tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a splash of dry white wine.
  4. Heat mixture over medium heat for about five minutes, skimming more of the fat off of the top.
  5. Remove from heat and mix with hand held blender until creamy and smooth.
  6. Bring to a boil and stir continually.
  7. Taste. Adjust with salt and pepper.
  8. Delicious onion gravy! Top carved chicken with gravy and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.

Once the chicken is polished off, I plan to make some homemade stock with the bones. Perfect for holiday soups and sauces.

Standby!

Back to the Kitchen-Avocado Pasta with Fresh Garden Herbs

8 Jul

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Cooking for one isn’t all that fun, hence the drop off in recipes that you may have noticed lately (sorry). It can be a lot of effort and mess when cereal or a smoothie would probably suffice, amiright? While Scott has been in Asia, I’ve been feeling less than inspired cooking wise, especially since I’m usually working during dinnertime hours. But today, a gorgeous and sunny Sunday that included a run in High Park followed by a terrific Ashtanga class left me feeling simultaneously famished and inspired.

I had a bag full of quickly ripening avocados on my hands, and wanted to try something other than a guilt-inducing solo guacamole binge. Besides, it is no secret that I love avocados. To me, avocados are one of nature’s greatest triumphs. So delicate, rich and subtle. Sometimes I find them just plain beautiful. Don’t these ones look perfect? And besides besides, my blog needed some love. Cooking for one? Pha! Cooking for all. (Sorry about that). 

The recipe was inspired by this one, from one of my new favourite food blogs A Cozy Kitchen, and also Pinterest, in which people are seemingly fascinated by all-things-avocado (as well as lots and lots of ways to use mason jars).  I added fresh broccoli into the mix, as well as some edamame for protein, and skipped the cheese in favour of nutritional yeast.So yes, this dish is perfect for vegans! I also used spiral Kamut pasta instead of linguine.

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Avocado Pasta with Fresh Garden Herbs

  • 1 and a half medium, ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of almonds
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pasta of choice (about two cups)
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup edamame (shelled)
  • some broccoli

1.Boil pasta in well salted water until al dente. During the last 3-4 minutes of cooking add broccoli and edameme into the boiling water with pasta.

2. Meanwhile, blend the basil, thyme, almonds, garlic, nutritional yeast and some olive oil into a paste (as smooth as possible).

3. Add the avocados and mustard to the pesto and blend well, adding a bit more olive oil. If too thick, add some water. Blend until smooth.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add lemon juice and stir well.

5. Drain pasta with veggies, and incorporate the sauce. Mix well. Sprinkle with more nutritional yeast, pepper and fresh herbs. Serve immediately!

This was incredibly fast and easy. If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand, or are just plain skeptical, I encourage you to use Parmesan instead (actually, I encourage you to try it first before you knock it! But Parm would also be delicious) . Next time, if I wasn’t in a rush ( to relax in front of the T.V) I would roast the garlic first for added depth.

Added bonus: on a hot day this does not require standing guard over a hot stove (with the exception of the pasta-boiling part), but keep in mind that avocado turns brown after awhile, so this is best served immediately if you are concerned about things like presentation.

All in all, a great summery solo meal!

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