Snacks

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I never can resist a pun – last year I paid $91 for a t-shirt because it had a vegetable pun on it. Yup, I am a sucker for a pun. But the title here, play on words though it may be, is no joke. These tarts, galettes, or whatever you want to call them, are savory and so good. I can only take a little credit, since they borrow heavily from other sources, and I encourage you to riff still further on their basic elements.

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The starting point was this post on My Name is Yeh (congrats on the new book, by the way!). That everything bagel topping, I started dreaming about putting it on, well, everything. Except, apparently, pie crust. I envisioned a crust that was somewhere between a thin-crust pizza and a cracker, so I turned to a standby recipe that I’ve used plenty of times in the past, this whole wheat yeasted olive oil pastry from the NY Times. To make a more substantial dinner, I filled it with sauteed spinach, FINALLY delicious heirloom tomatoes, and a liberal sprinkling of Gruyere. There’s something really amazing about the garlic-onion-sesame that’s just bang-on with the slight funk of the cheese, and I couldn’t be more proud of these tarts if I’d thought of them myself!

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Spinach galettes with tomatoes and everything
Serves 4
Spinach, tomatoes and rich Gruyere in a crisp crust that brings to mind your favorite bagel.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr
For the dough
  1. 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  2. ¼ teaspoon sugar
  3. 1 large egg
  4. ¼ cup olive oil
  5. 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  6. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  7. ¾ teaspoon salt
For the filling
  1. 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  2. 1 Tbs olive oil
  3. 12 ounces baby spinach
  4. 4 medium tomatoes
  5. 4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese, about ¾ cup
  6. 1 egg, beaten
For the topping
  1. 2 tsp dried minced garlic
  2. 2 tsp dried minced onion
  3. 1 Tbs poppy seeds
  4. 1 Tbs sesame seeds
  5. ¼ tsp table salt
Instructions
  1. Make the dough, about an hour and half before you want to eat.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients. Stir in the oil and egg, plus about half a cup of warm water. Using the dough hook of a stand mixer or your hands, knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball. It's not necessary to work it too long. Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic and leave to rise until doubled, about an hour.
  3. While the dough rises, heat the tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, letting it cook down and release its liquid.
  4. Slice the tomatoes (tip: slice from the bottom of the tomato for slices that hold together the best) and place the slices on a couple of paper towels to absorb some of their liquid.
  5. Mix together all the topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  7. When dough has doubled in bulk, divide it in half; re-cover the half you're not working with while you form the first galette.
  8. Roll out the dough into a circle about 10 inches across. It should be quite thin, about an eighth of an inch.
  9. Place the dough circle on a piece of parchment paper. Brush the surface of the dough with the beaten egg to help keep the bottom from getting soggy.
  10. Place half the spinach in a thin layer over the dough, leaving a generous inch uncovered at the edge. Lay slices of tomato on top of the spinach, and then sprinkle with half the cheese.
  11. Fold the edges of the dough over the toppings, making the prettiest folds you can. Brush the crust with egg wash, and sprinkle the topping mixture generously over the dough.
  12. Repeat the whole process with the second half of the dough.
  13. Carefully slide the galettes on their paper onto a large baking sheet.
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is beginning to crisp on top.
  15. Let rest for 5 minutes on a cooling rack before slicing.
Adapted from Molly Yeh & Martha Rose Shulman
Adapted from Molly Yeh & Martha Rose Shulman
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

Summer! How I miss you. If you’re like me, you think of summer as a relaxing, low-key time; you imagine lazy days, long evenings, letting the schedule slide. But then there’s: reality. The kids lay waste to the house, starting endless glue or paint related “craft” projects, then squabbling, then wanting to play Minecraft instead, until HOORAY, the camps begin. But wait – now it’s making sure everyone has swimsuits and goggles and sunscreen, who’s getting picked up when? Who needs a plain white t-shirt to tie-dye NOW? And the inescapable lunches. So many lunches. In fact you have to redouble your efforts because the long, active days call for extra sustenance. Luckily, summer also means fruit and plenty of it, which makes it much easier to fill up hungry kids.

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So here’s one thing that’s easy. These bars originate on a recipe card my mother gave me many years ago, but every few years I come up with a variation. These days, I’m using fresh fruit instead of a layer of jam, because who can pass up the tumbled piles of stone fruit and the gleaming berries that are everywhere in summer? Not me, that’s certain. These bars are sturdy enough to hold up in a lunch box or even for scarfing in the car as a quick breakfast. They’re full of whole grains and not too sweet either.

To bring out the juicy best of the fruit, I like to dice it up and let it macerate with some sugar for a few minutes while I assemble the other ingredients. And it really is just a few minutes – this recipe is supremely unfussy, mixes in a single bowl and can be modified any number of ways to suit your taste or what you have in the cupboard. Now that school days are here again, make the most of the last fruits of summer and make a quick batch of these bars for snacks. They pack well, or are the perfect after-school treats, and easy enough the kids can make them with just a little help.

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Fresh Fruit Crumble Bars
Yields 16
Quick and easy snack bars loaded with whole grains and fresh fruit.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound fresh fruit - strawberries, apricots, blueberries, peaches, plums are all good.
  2. 1 Tbs granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 1 cup rolled oats (regular or quick cooking)
  5. 1/4 cup almond meal
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  9. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  10. 4 Tbs water or fruit juice
  11. 1 Tbs honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line an 8" square baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the fruit: pit and chop larger fruit into fine dice, toss with the granulated sugar in a medium bowl and allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in the oil and honey, and add the water or juice, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is uniformly moist and beginning to form clumps.
  4. Reserving about 3/4 cup of the mixture, firmly press the remaining mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Spread the fruit evenly over the oat layer, making sure to get all the collected juices in as well.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the fruit.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and toasty and the fruit is beginning to bubble.
  8. Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

One day Katy suggested we make grilled corn as an end of summer treat. For me as a Central European used to actual cold winters, the concept of “end of summer” in California is slightly weird. But so be it; it’s a great reason to celebrate and everybody likes corn.

We’re always trying to teach our kids about food: not only to eat it but also to make it, and to think about what they like and to try new things. There are flavors we all like more or less, which of those flavors taste great together? What works, what doesn’t? Can we make something EVEN MORE delicious? Neither of our kids is really adventurous, in life and at the table, but we’ve found ways to encourage them to taste a wider range of stuff. Corn is a great vehicle for experimentation. Each of the family member got the task to make their own version.

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I decided to limit the number of ingredients on the corn to three since my son made a series of bacon and … trials and errors. Unfortunately I had to be the one to judge and while bacon with cocoa and brown sugar was ok, the “find all spices and dump them on the bacon” version was definitely an error. I could not even lie, my expression and running off to brush my teeth said everything. Based on this experience, everybody had to eat their own corn!

Unfortunately our little one decided to not participate, because she is missing her front teeth and she has a hard time fighting with the corn on the cob. She promised to make it up at the next challenge.

Stilton Rocket – Corn & Stilton Cheese

This was my choice. I shaved few shards of Stilton and put it on the hot grilled corn. The shavings melted and took this friendly corn into a different universe.It is hard to describe the decadent pleasure of this one. It is like the heat coming from a fireplace on a cold day dressed in warm fuzzy jammies and wearing warm slippers. Perhaps the house is a very old one and here and there a whiff of mold completes the picture.
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Miso & Brown Butter Corn

The combination of miso and brown butter is amazing – I first read about it on Cookie and Kate, and it’s a perfect match for the sweet and smoky corn. We browned about 2 tablespoons of butter, added a generous teaspoon of white miso and brushed it over the roasted corn.
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Cotija Cheese, Lime and Chile

A Latin classic. Or maybe a specifically Mexican one? Educate us, please. Cotija has just enough salty funkiness to offset the zip zap of the lime and the burn of the chile.

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Italian Snow – Corn with Pecorino

A very adult choice for Bennett. I was surprised when he came up with this idea, but hey. This works! Salty sheep cheese sprinkled over warm and sweet corn. Flavor bomb!
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Butter and Chives

The last improvisation. We had one last ear of corn left and did not know what to do with it. Katy suggested herbs and I ran out to cut some of our chives from the garden. We used butter as glue and sprinkled on the chopped chives. Turned out excellent.
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One More “Corny” Group Photo

Just when you thought there won’t be a “corny” joke in a post about a corn, we totally fail you. It had to happen and you know it!
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I sure am sorry I didn’t think to post this recipe for International Talk Like a Pirate Day – I just missed it, on September 19. Ajvar is pronounced aye-var, and it’s awfully fun to say it with a little nautical sneer and swagger. Arrrr!

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