Tropical Tartlet

These tropical tarts are inspired from the French colonies; specifically Antilles in the Caribbean. They are made with puréed mango, coconut, lime, pepper flakes, and the optional dark rum baked in our Sweet Tart Dough. Dorie tells us they are as bright as sunshine and the flavors as warm…and also to be generous sprinkling the tops with coconut 😎.

My coconut loving tasters really enjoyed these tarts. They all said they were really good…but I did point out to them they weren’t “raving” about them haha. No “bomb” comments this go around. So I would say it was a good recipe, but not sure I would repeat it when there are so many highly rated ones we have made haha.

It was a fun summer treat!

Lower East Side Brunch Tart

This was a special bake for our group this month…we are honoring one of our own.

Our group is special…most all of us have never met in person as we are all over the globe representing many countries, but after 10 years of baking and creating hundreds of recipes together, we are very connected. Not sure how I can feel so bonded with people I have only blogged with, but somehow over the years, we have become a group of friends.

One thing unique to our group is a mother and daughter who each have their own blogs so they are independent, but together at the same time. I have baked with them for 10 years and did not really realize how remarkable Nana was. We know her as Chez Nana. She bakes, blogs, and comments on all of our posts and I hadn’t realized she did this at the age of 88! How remarkable is that?!! It has inspired me anew.

Unfortunately, her daughter had to inform us we lost dear Nana last month. I think her spirit will be with all of us as we continue on, and we will all hear her say, bake well.

This recipe is one that she had nominated a few times and we hadn’t baked yet, so in her honor we are baking this one for Nana this month. Thinking of you Tricia and the rest of the family. Your mom will be missed.

On a side note, I feel I must mention what the tart is, why it is unique, and that we enjoyed it. It was created in the spirit of the New Yorker’s bagels and lox Sunday morning tradition. The tart uses cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, capers, dill, and tomatoes mixed in cream and eggs and then baked in a Pàte Brisée crust. I thought the dough was pretty easy to work with and looked so pretty.

I want to end on this “keeper” of a thought this month…let’s all be more like Nana…love life, enjoy creating, and not let your age keep you from trying new things. ❤️

Summer Vegetable Tian

Not only did this smell AMAZING while it was cooking, it tasted AMAZING as well!! This was such a pleasant surprise since none of us knew anything about what a tian was suppose to taste like. We decided we could have just had this for dinner alone with the crusty bread…seriously. For some reason it made us remember sitting outside in Tuscany eating dinner and taking in the breath taking view…yes, we truly did say all of that at dinner sitting in our kitchen 😂.

So what is a tian? Tian refers both to the pottery dish it is traditionally cooked in, and just the dish itself. (You can also just use a pie plate) It is a mixture of sliced vegetable roasted in olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper for approx 70min at 400 degrees. Our recipe calls for eggplant, tomato, red onion, and zucchini. We like all of those vegetables but had no idea what it would taste like and why we would put it on crusty bread, but I have learned over my many years of baking in this group to trust Dorie and do as she says. 😂😂

My son and husband “devoured” this dish. I was like, do you realize how many vegetables you just ate haha. We finished the whole plate before even eating our chicken. I don’t know what it was exactly with this dish, but it was utterly delicious. I will most definitely make this one again. The guys told me to put it in the rotation haha. I am totally a vegetable girl, so they don’t have to tell me twice 👍

Ladyfingers

Ladyfingers, we are told, are the ultimate companion. They are fine on their own, but they are best alongside something else…and the options are many. Whether it be chocolate or vanilla pastry cream or part of a more dramatic layered trifle with berries, these ladyfingers will make you believe nothing compares to these tender, light, sponge-cake ones you make at home.

After I tasted one plain, I had this exact thought…why would I ever buy sponge-cake for desserts when you can easily make these at home?? Truly, these don’t compare to store bought and the best part is they weren’t difficult or time consuming and very little ingredients are needed!

I am a believer and will make these again! We had ours for dessert in a “make-your-own berry trifle” with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and whip cream. It was 98 degrees at our house today, so this was the perfect summer night treat.

Three-Pepper Burgers

What says summer more than BBQ right?! 😎

Our Friday group is back to normal again (yay) with all of us making the same recipe…Three-Pepper Burgers. The three peppers being roasted red bell pepper, Peppadew peppers, and jalapeño. All three are diced very finely and added to the mixture. I had no idea what a Peppadew pepper was so, for me, when in doubt…I google it!

Peppadew actually refers to the brand name of a South African sweet piquanté pepper. It is sometimes referred to as a sweet red cherry pepper with a simmering spiciness and a touch of sweet. Apparently they can be hard to find because of their popularity…who knew haha! I bought mine online and figured we had to have them for the burger to fully experience the recipe…and I knew my pepper loving son and husband would probably love them…and I was right…with the peppers and the burgers.

To finish off the burger mixture you add into the peppers, chopped basil and parsley, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese. Gently mix all with the ground beef. Shape into 4 patties and chill for at least 30 minutes. We opted to grill our hamburgers but you can skillet fry them as well.

There are a lot of optional condiments and we used all that were mentioned:

  • Avocado mash with salt and lime juice
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Chopped dill pickle
  • Lettuce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce
  • Ketchup

This is a gourmet burger all the way! Definitely elevated the mid-week dinner for us. We were surprised that the burger wasn’t too spicy, just had a great depth of flavor. I am sure my son and husband could have used more heat, but for me, I was actually able to eat it no problem. I always know the new recipe is a hit when they ask, “how hard was this to make?” because what they are really asking is, “can we have these again??“😂

This is a keeper!

Crème Brûlée Tart

This one was a hit. My Crème Brûlée loving family and parents raved about this tart!

  • Wowww that tart is soooo good!
  • Tastes just like Crème brûlée but I like how thin the filling is
  • Wow- we already ate your Creme Brûlée!!!
  • It was so good !!!

I love when a dessert gets reviews like this…especially when it is a pretty easy recipe.

This one does take some planning as the tart needs to chill for 3-8 hours, but also so versatile to make ahead and finish after dinner for entertaining. The only issue I would say, is the tart needs to be eaten after finishing with the sugar topping. It doesn’t really last until the next day…we tried and the last two pieces did get eaten but the sugar doesn’t hold its crispness.

On a side note, not sure if any of you fellow bakers could get the brown sugar through the strainer 😳. That just didn’t work for me…I just ended up scattering the sugar over top before I broiled. Seemed to work fine.

I could see myself making this one again…its a keeper 😃

Marinated and Pan-Seared Hanger, Skirt, Flank, or Take-Your-Pick Steak

Anytime there is a red meat recipe…especially steak, my family is all over it. Me, I am that person that orders the one fish entree at a nice steak house…but you know what, this was mighty tasty, and tender!

I picked this recipe because I still had the Thai Red Curry Paste from a previous recipe. Since we are picking our own recipes during this Covid-19, I am trying to maximize some of these less used ingredients I have..and I knew it would go over well!

The marinade is Asian inspired with the main ingredients soy sauce and oil with the curry paste, ginger..a lot of ginger, garlic, and lime added for the flavor punch…and it does pack a punch!

The meat is marinated with half of the sauce, the other half remaining to be boiled and then spoon over the cooked meat. I opted to use flap meat because that is what I could find and also enlisted my husbands help to bbq since he is working from home. I can’t remember ever using his help on the blog recipes haha. I think he enjoyed being involved, other than just the tasting. 😍.

This was a delicious meal, and one I know my family would enjoy being repeated. There was so much flavor..we think mostly from the spooned on marinade. We thought it tasted similar to the Ponzu chicken marinade. I made the miso corn again to go with it. There were no leftovers of any of it.

Stay safe my friends.

So-Good Miso Corn

We are continuing to pick our own recipes to help with stay at home orders we are all enduring in varying degrees around the world, as we are a global group. I have to say I miss the unity that cooking the same thing brings..the comparing the contrasting of what we all thought on a particular dish. I am so glad we have continued to cook, but I look forward to the time we return to normal…in all things haha.

This month I chose So-Good Miso Corn. Seemed like a good fit…we love corn and miso so why not? See how I gravitate to what I think we will like 😳😂, when it is assigned we just go for it and try something new.

I did follow Dorie’s advice and used fresh corn on the cob, cutting the kernels off using her tip on the double bowl, which is genius. That is the hardest part, the rest is so easy…just throw it in a skillet and stir fry it up. Just butter, miso, and a few optional herb add-ins…which I used oregano, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne. I think my pinch might have been a little light but other than that, perfect.

We loved this…as expected haha. We all had seconds. I will certainly make this again, especially since I have the tub of miso 😂

Stay safe everyone!

Tea and Honey Pots de Crème

We have made a few of these “Pots de Crème” and they are always a hit…this one did not disappoint! My husband and son loved this one as well!

This one has flavorings of tea, honey, and vanilla…although neither my husband nor my son could name any flavor they were tasting. They said it was entirely unique to anything they have had before. In fact my husband said he loved trying something he has never tasted before, which made me laugh because I am quite the opposite…I like having what I know I will already enjoy 😂😂…which usually will involve chocolate!

The recipe called to steep 3 tea bags in the milk, cream, and sugar, but since the cookies we just made had such a faint tea flavoring, I upped the tea bags to 5. Not sure it made much difference but I had practically the whole box still of the Green Tea Orange Passionfruit Jasmine, so why not.

These were super easy to make and got such a great reaction, I may make these again to use up the tea I have left haha!

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy!

Fruit and Nut Croquants

What does the word “Croquant” mean you ask 😃…well, I learned it can either be used as a noun or an adjective meaning either cookie or crunch. Either way, we are making a crunchy cookie, similar to a biscotti, although these are not twice baked.

My family is not big on dried fruit added in dessert so I made a few changes. Our cookies were actually “Nut and Chocolate Croquants” 😂. I used sliced almonds, salted peanuts, and some dark chocolate chips I had leftover from another recipe. I added the optional spices of nutmeg and cloves.

The dough is formed into two logs and sprinkled with sugar. Baked and then sliced.

These were really easy to make and I think a nice, afternoon surprise for my “working from home” son and husband! They were both happy with the nut and chocolate combo! 😃