Cooking

Free-Form Apple-Pear-Cranberry Tart

By Amy Traverso   |   Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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Apple Pear Cranberry Tart (Squire Fox)

I love the rustic look of this tart filled with sliced apples, pears, and cranberries. Rather than baking it in a pie plate, you simply roll out the crust into a circle, fill it with fruit, and fold the sides up around the filling. It's sweet and tangy, doesn't require any fussiness on your part, and makes an impressive Thanksgiving centerpiece.

It's best served with vanilla ice cream.

Apple Notes: Consult the Cheat Sheet on page 30 for a list of firm-tart apple varieties. Any will work very well here.

Equipment: Parchment paper; large rimmed baking sheet

Makes: 8 medium servings, 6 large servings 

Active time: 45 minutes  

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time

Ingredients
For the crust
1¼ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
2 medium (or 1½ large) firm-tart apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes)
1 large ripe pear, such as d'Anjou or Bartlett
½ cup (103 g) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
? teaspoon ground cloves
? cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 large egg, beaten well

Directions
1. First, make the crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and use your fingers to work them in (you want to rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do). Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal with some pea-sized bits of butter remaining (try to work quickly so the butter doesn't melt). Sprinkle the egg yolk–water mixture on top and stir with a fork until the dough begins to come together. If needed, add one more tablespoon water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead three times. Gather into a ball, then press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF and set a rack to the second-from-the bottom position.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into ¼-inch-thick wedges. Peel and cut the pear into ½-inch-thick slices. Gently toss together in a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, orange zest, and cloves; set aside.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle about 16 inches wide and ? inch thick.

The circle doesn't have to be perfect — this is a rustic dessert — but try to get it as round as possible, even if that means cutting a little dough off one side to add to the other. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Arrange half the apple and pear slices over the dough, leaving a 2½-inch border all around. Sprinkle half the cranberries over the apples. Sprinkle half the sugar-cornstarch mixture over the fruit, then repeat with the fruit and then the sugar mixture. Fold the sides of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, allowing the dough to drape over itself at each fold. Brush the dough with the beaten egg, and sprinkle all with one teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 10 minutes; lower the temperature to 375ºF, and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.

Dutch Baby
Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles
Main Greater Boston story


Reprinted from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso
Copyright © 2011 by Amy Traverso
Photograph © 2011 by Squire Fox
With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Spinach Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette
By Annie Copps

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
1 Comments   1 comments.

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spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts

Don't tell anyone, but I am not the biggest fan of cranberries. I know they are one of our regions great ingredients and I have been slowly working my way to a closer relationship with them. Here's a riff on a warm spinach salad that gets a nice burst of flavor from you guessed it—cranberries.

The salad is a simple mix of baby spinach with sliced red onions, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries with a sweet and tart dressing that repeats the cranberry theme with some cranberry juice. What makes this delicious and inviting, is that the pumpkin seeds get fragrant and crunchy from a quick pan toasting, the onions are slowly cooked so they get sweet and unctuous, then the vinaigrette ingredients get added and heat through just enough to wilt some of the spinach leaves—but not all of them for a lovely texture and terrific flavor—now those are cranberries I can eat.

Total time: 25 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, sliced into rings
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup dried cranberries
1 ( 6- ounce) bag baby spinach, washed and dried
Cranberry Vinaigrette

Directions
Toast pumpkin seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat, shaking occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from skillet and reserve.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until soft and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Make Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette (see below).

Gently reheat onions over low heat. Add vinaigrette and dried cranberries and heat gently until warm, 1-2 minutes.

Place spinach in a salad bowl, pour warmed cranberry over salad and toss lightly. Divide among 4 plates and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Vinaigrette

Yield: about 1 cup

Ingredients
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cranberry juice (not cranberry-apple or other blends)
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup plus one tablespoon walnut oil

Directions
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, mustard powder, salt, pepper, garlic, cranberry juice and honey.

Add walnut oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce
By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
4 Comments   4 comments.

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Makes 4 pancakes

Pot stickers, scallion cakes, dim sum… they all have one thing in common, the simplest dough in the universe: hot water dough. Add the great French ingredient, shallots, and you’ve got a combination that can morph into anything.

Hot Water Dough Ingredients
2 cups (16 ounces) all-purpose flour
8 ounces hot water

Directions
In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, gradually add water to flour. Once dough forms a ball and all the dry ingredients are incorporated, remove from mixer. Dough should not be sticky. If it is, add more flour, tablespoon by tablespoon. Very lightly flour a flat surface and bring dough together into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for up to 48 hours.

Scallion Pancake Ingredients
1 tablespoon sambal
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Hot Water Dough
2 cups scallions, white and green parts, cut diagonally, 1/16 inches thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil

Directions
1. To make the dipping sauce, combine the sambal, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine the sesame and olive oils and set aside.

3. Flour a work surface and on it roll the dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Brush the dough with the oil mixture, sprinkle with the scallions, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Starting with one long side nearest you, roll the dough jelly-roll fashion to make a tight log. Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.

5. Roll 1 piece with your palms to make a skinnier log about 12 inches in diameter. Twist each end of the log in opposite directions 4 or 5 times (this will make additional pancake layers), then wrap the log around itself to make a coil, tucking the outside end beneath the coil. With a rolling pin, flatten the coil to 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 3 more pancakes.

6. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil and swirl to coat the pan. Depending on the pan’s size, add 1 to 2 pancakes and cook until brown and crispy on both sides, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cook the remaining pancakes. Slice each pancake into 4 wedges.

Variation
For a savory pancake addition, mix 2 cups of finely chopped raw shrimp in a bowl with the scallions. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the mixture, and proceed with the recipe, frying the pancakes 3 to 4 minutes per side.

________________________________________________________________

ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Seared Haddock with Beans and Greens
By Annie Copps

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
0 Comments   0 comments.

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Not sure what to have for dinner tonight? I have a quick, easy, healthy and inexpensive meal that will put dinner on the table in 30 minutes. The main ingredients – local white fish and fresh field greens.

Serves 4

Ingredients
½ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 pound fresh, local white fish (cod, haddock, or whatever is on sale)
1 can of cannellini or garbanzo beans
4 cups of fresh field greens (spring mix, baby romaine, arugula)
Juice from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Saute 2 cloves of very thinly sliced garlic in olive oil (about ½ cup—it’s a lot, but you can use the oil after for other things). Start with cold oil in the pan (it tends to burn if you start with hot oil) and let the garlic cook until just lightly golden brown — about 3 minutes, but keep your eye on it (dark brown or burned means bitter).

Drain the garlic onto paper towels. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the oil into a bowl and set aside.

Cut the fish into portions, season with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Just put it in the pan and don’t move it for 2 minutes; then turn it and cook until it’s cooked through (depends on the fish and the thickness, but 3 minutes oughta do it).

Rinse well and drain 1 can of white beans (I used garbanzo, but cannellini or gigante are great for this, too). In a medium bowl, combine four cups of spring mix or baby romaine with beans, toasted garlic, the juice of half a lemon, and about 1 tablespoon of the cooled garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide onto four plates and place the fish on top.



___________________________________________________________
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine’s food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Lobster Nachos By Annie Copps

Monday, April 11, 2011
0 Comments   0 comments.

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lobster nacho with lime

Yield: 2 dozen pieces

Nachos, made with lobster. What is this nonsense you say? C'mon, why not? I am not talking about corn chips smothered in oddly colored cheese at the baseball game (not that they don't have a spot in my culinary heart). I am talking about a slightly elevated hors d'oeuvre that you'll have trouble walking away from.

Instead of a salsa with all kinds of spices and gobs of other toppings, these nachos are quick and easy appetizer with just a few top notch ingredients that really sing. The delicious fun begins by mashing a ripe avocado and mixing in chopped cilantro and a bit of lime juice. Arrange corn chips onto a serving platter—if you can find blue corn chips, this will be even more beautiful. Spoon the avocado mixture on tip of the chips then dot the chips with chopped fresh lobster—you won't need much, about a quarter pound. Sprinkle the top with a bit more cilantro and your work is done—I say OLE to that.

Ingredients
1 large ripe avocado
1 ½ tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces lobster meat, roughly chopped
8 ounces blue corn chips

Directions
In a small bowl, mash avocado; add cilantro and lime juice.

Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 teaspoon avocado mixture onto individual corn chips, top with 1 teaspoon lobster and sprinkle with cilantro.

Serve immediately.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
___________________________________________________________
annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Spaghetti with Beets, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese
By Annie Copps

Thursday, September 30, 2010
0 Comments   0 comments.

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Beets have got to be one of the sexiest of vegetables—whether they are a deep glistening ruby red, vivid sunset yellow or clown-ish, with red & white stripes. Their earthy and rich flavor are all about strength and vitality. But food writer Sara Moulton doesn't agree.

Sara doesn't care for beets, why, we don't know, but her husband is crazy for them, so she developed a quick and easy recipe that even a registered beet hater could love.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook a pound of your favorite pasta—be sure to save some of that starchy cooking liquid, that is going to help make your sauce. In a separate pan saute onions, garlic and grated uncooked beets—there's your big time saver right there. Add some of that cooking liquid and goat cheese. Toss in the pasta and top with walnuts and you are good to go with a healthy and delicious meal in 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 pound spaghetti (or your favorite pasta shape)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 pounds beets, peeled and grated
10 ounces soft goat cheese (about 1-1/3 cups), crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Transfer spaghetti to a large bowl.

In a medium-size saute pan over medium heat, add oil and cook onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beets and cook another 8 minutes, until softened.

Add reserved cooking liquid and goat cheese; cook, stirring, until cheese softens into a sauce.

Add lemon juice; then add salt and pepper to taste.

Add sauce to spaghetti and toss well. Divide among 6 bowls and top each serving with toasted walnuts.

Adapted from Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals (Broadway Books, 2005), by Sara Moulton
 

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