Friday, November 21, 2008

rib eyes with foie gras sauce and french apple walnut tart

sigh . . .this was such an amazing dinner and i forgot to post this too!
every fall as my work year draws to a close, i start cooking like a mad woman. i don't really get the time throughout the summer to cook what i want to.

i had been craving a good steak and a killer sauce so we invited our friends with a brand new baby over for a great meal. ribeyes with foie gras sauce, roasted fingerlings, roasted brussel sprouts and great bread followed by a rich and buttery french apple walnut tart with homemade ice cream of course - mmmmmmmmmm. . . . fall.

i basically made up this dinner but here is my guestimate of my amazing foie gras sauce.

foie gras sauce

1 large shallot chopped
3 tbsp apple brandy
4 oz. foie gras
1 cup cream
2-4 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

saute shallots in butter then when soft add in apple brandy until evaporated. add in 4 oz foie gras in chunks and saute until very soft. whisk in cream a little bit at a time then cook until reduced a little and able to coat the back of a spoon. add salt and pepper to taste then a little bit of balsamic vinegar to give it some acid. serve with great steaks!
french apple walnut tart

i really don't love fruit desserts and especially pie but the super rich almost shortbread like crust and the addition of the walnut filling made me want seconds of this one! you gotta try it! this is basically my favorite tart shell, and walnut fillings rolled into one recipe. definately make the dough and the walnut filling the day before to save some time.

Tart shell

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Walnut filling

1 1/4 cup walnuts

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp calvados

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp butter

Apple filling

1/3 cup sugar

½ tbsp brown sugar

½ cup apple juice

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 lb apples

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp calvados

Blend together flour, sugar, salt, butter, and shortening with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 3 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in food processor) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again. (If you overwork mixture, pastry will be tough.)

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion. Gather dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface and fit into tart pan. if dough is difficult to work with, just press with fingers into tart pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom and sides with a fork. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line tart shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven until pastry is pale golden along rim, 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden all over, 10 minutes more. Cool in pan on a rack.

Apple Filling

Cook 1/3 cup sugar in a dry 10 inch skillet over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into an amber caramel. Tilt skillet and carefully pour in cider and vinegar (caramel will harden and steam vigorously). Simmer over moderately low heat until caramel dissolves, stirring occasionally.

While simmering, cut apples into 1/8 inch thick slices. Add apple slices to hot syrup, tossing gently to coat. Remove from heat and let stand until apples are wilted, 10 minutes.

While apples marinate. Combine walnuts, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, 1 tablespoon Calvados, vanilla and salt in processor. Blend until soft paste forms. Add 4 tablespoons butter; blend 10 seconds. Chill till ready to use.

Drain apples in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve syrup. Spread walnut filling into bottom of cooked crust. Mound apples slices into tart shell. Dot apples with 1 tbsp butter and sprinkle with ½ tbsp brown sugar. Bake until tart is browned and bubbly 35-45 minutes.

While baking, boil reserved syrup in skillet with calvados and remaining 2 tbsp butter until thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Brush over hot tarts.

Serve with ice cream and caramel. I use homemade vanilla with 3 tbsp calvados added in just before freezing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

what are YOUR favorite recipes?

i'm nearing that time of year when i start to slow down shooting and channel all my photographic energy into the kitchen. i'll have a lot more time to cook and blog. i'd love to share some of my favorites with you but what are your favorites? comment on this post with recipe requests and i'll cook and publish my best version of your faves!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blue corn banana pancakes

i discovered these pancakes years ago at a breakfast place in venice. they were an instant favorite and i have turned my family and now my great friend steph into fans. if you can't deal with the color or don't like bananas, yellow corn blueberry are a great variation. just substitute the yellow cornmeal for the blue and blueberry for the bananas.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

dinner at ANIMAL

i loved everything about animal! from the casual atmosphere to the beautiful but simple details to the amazing food! its an amazing combination of high end ingredients, simple preparations and mind blowing flavors! i wish i was eating there again tonight and promise you i will be there again soon! especially since the menu changes daily!

thanks to bonnie for organizing such a great night of fun foodies and great food!

if you like meat, make a reservation at animal now!

love the paper menus to set the chill tone

my favorite puppet! and might i say the only sign.

bonnieeric and sarahfries with oxtail sauce
the best heirloom salad EVER!petit basque and chorizo

whole branzino
tomahawk steak with fois gras sauce - omg delish! and proof i am not a vegetarian!

strawberries, biscuits and cream

the food dudes!
and they love sarah!