Friday, June 6, 2008

What a Tart!!!

It is amazing what these red stalks turn into when they are mixed with a little sugar, strawberries and wrapped up in delicious pastry dough. STRAWBERRY RHUBARB TART is the obvious, however it is so much more than that. As a child our neighbours grew rhubarb. They would give my mother stalks of rhubarb to put in her pies. I have fond memories of rhubarb with sugar sprinkled on top.

A few weeks ago I spent a few hours in a book store. I was browsing through cookbooks and came across Tartine's Cookbook. Given that I had eaten breakfast there a few weeks ago I spent hours studying the recipes. On one page there was a photo of a fruit tart. My mouth started to water. I thought what a great idea, why don't I bake a fruit tart.

While the plan was good there was one slight problem. The fairy pastry goddess had yet to pay me a visit. My pastry sucks. There is no nice way of putting it. Try as I do, I have never mastered the skill of pastry. How hard can it be. Butter, flour and ice cold water. The thought of fruit tarts faded away until I went to the produce store. There were stalks of bright red rhubarb and plumb strawberries. This was it, I was determined to enjoy a rhubarb tart. Off I went in search of a recipe. I remembered reading recently about using ice cold water. That afternoon I purchased a pastry cutter. I am not sure if this was the magic I had been searching for all along, however my pastry was perfect.

The tart was just as I imagined it. Tarty, slighty bitter rhubarb with sweet strawberries. The crust was flaky. I must say I enjoyed shaping the crust around the fruit. Hooray!!! I finally conquered the fine art of pastry.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yum! Yum! Tuna Melt Sandwich

Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Into the tuna melt I bite. That is what I love about tuna melts, the sandwich crunches as you bite into it. Depending on what you are in the mood for, you can garnish the taste of the melt according to your mood. Tuna melts take me back to my childhood. It is a more sophisticated version of the grilled cheese sandwich.
I am curious to know, how the tuna melt came to be?? When you think about it, who would ever pair fish with cheese and then heat it up. However once you are over that concept, anything goes in the tuna melt. To me it is one of the ULTIMATE comfort foods with all the cheese melted on top.
Recently I discovered mache - which is also known as lamb's lettuce. What a cute name for lettuce. I am not sure how to explain the taste-it is probably more sweet than bitter but definitely not as strong as arugula. It is the perfect spring lettuce. I discovered it at Trader Joe's-I have found that at the grocery store no-one seems to know what I am asking for. The mache is the perfect pairing to add to the tuna melt. Alas, spring is here.


Mix can of tun with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Add a good splash of hot sauce (I love banana hot sauce-Durkee's Hot Sauce works well)
Add 1/2 chopped Granny Smith Apple

Toast whole wheat bread.

Thinly slice pepperjack cheese

Traditionally, the tuna melt is placed in the oven under the grill for about 5 minutes. I place the tuna mixture on a plate and add the cheese on top and microwave it for 30 seconds. I then remove it from the plate and place it on top of the toast with the mache underneath.
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