Monthly Archives: May 2014

Brooklyn Uncorked 2014 by Edible Magazine

Brooklyn Uncorked signage

Every year I say this, and each year I mean it: Brooklyn Uncorked is one of my top favorite food (and wine) events of the year.  It’s also one of the events that I recommend to people to grab a ticket to when they ask me what local food festivals they should try to attend.  Local restaurants + local area vineyards = great food bites & wines.  It’s the perfect recipe for a fantastic evening.  As with the past few years, it was held at One Hanson Place in Brooklyn, which has some gorgeous architectural features, as you can see in some of the photos below.

Wine glasses at entryEmpty wine glasses waiting to be filled

Chef Annette Tomei and I teamed up to wander around and visit all the tables, food and wine alike.  Having been at this event the past few years, it was really nice to have a wing-person and also to get another viewpoint from a more trained set of tastebuds.  As we’ve worked together in the kitchen many times over the past couple of years, we have a familiar frame of reference and could shorthand some of our findings throughout our adventure.  The slideshow below shows a few of the things that we sampled.

I tried to capture as much as I could, but, inevitably, there were a few tables that we couldn’t get to due to the overwhelming number of folks who wanted to taste the various foods and wines.  There were also a couple of tables that were finished serving their dishes before we got around to them.  It was also lots of fun to bump into our friends and colleagues in the industry, which just made the evening feel even more like a giant celebration of the region’s culinary bounty.

The Good Fork - Mung Bean Pancake with Chilis, Perilla, and KimcheeThe Good Fork – Mung Bean Pancake with Chilis, Perilla, and Kimchee

Macari Early WineMacari Vineyards’ Early Wine

I even ran into one of my culinary school classmates who was helping out the team at the restaurant where he formerly used to work, The Good Fork, a returning participant.  They had one of our favorite pairings of the night, a tangy-spicy Mung Bean Pancake, which went really well with the bright fruit flavors of Macari Vineyards’ Early Wine.

Nightingale 9 - Vietnamese Tacos - Lemongrass Beef Tacos, Coconut, Cilantro, Lime, Chili-Peanut YogurtNightingale 9 – Vietnamese-style Tacos

Ravines Wine Cellars - RieslingRavines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling 2013

Tacos seemed to be the preferred vehicle for edibles this year.  There were lots of them served, as the photos show.  One pairing that I thought worked well was actually a table that we stopped at early in the evening.  Nightingale 9 offered Vietnamese-style Tacos composed of lemongrass beef , coconut, cilantro, lime, dressed with a chili-peanut yogurt.  In other words, this small plate had a lot of different levels of flavors – heat, spice, citrus – happening at the same time.  Fortunately, nearby were the folks from Ravines Wine Cellars who were pouring their 2013 Dry Riesling, which had just the right level of sweetness and acidity to work well with the taco.

No 7 - Double Decker Broccoli Tacos - Black Beans, Feta, Fried ShallotsNo. 7 – Double Decker Broccoli Tacos with Black Beans, Feta, and Fried Shallots

Marco Polo - Marinated Octopus - Mango, Lemon Yogurt, Black Quinoa, HerbsMarco Polo Ristorante – Marinated Octopus with Mango, Lemon Yogurt, Black Quinoa, and Herbs

A couple of other dishes that I thought were stand-outs for the evening – one taco and one non-taco – were the plates presented by No. 7 and Marco Polo Ristorante.  I went back (unashamedly) for seconds on the first dish and seriously contemplated doing another loop around the venue to grab a another plate of the second one.  Both of these had amazing flavor combinations with or without the addition of a wine pairing.

Bridge Lane - bottles on tableBridge Lane Wine

On the wine front, there were definitely some interesting vintages to sample.  Bridge Lane brought their boxed wine which are a whole different species of the unpleasant college experiences with the original boxed wines.  They also had a White Merlot, which was very intriguing and, when lightly chilled, has all the hallmarks of a perfect summertime food wine.  No surprise that I also enjoyed their Rosé, as they are the second label producer for Lieb Cellars, whose Rosé has been a go-to beverage of mine when I can find it on tap.

Brooklyn Winery selectionBrooklyn Winery

Another wine that I tasted at the event, that really made me say “Wow!” was the 2012 Barrel Fermented Riesling by Brooklyn Winery.  It has some of the same acidity as a traditional Riesling, but, having been fermented and aged in oak barrels, it comes out with extra earthy, funky notes due to the time spent in the wood rather than in stainless steel.  I sipped this wine independently of any food, and I’d like to spend some more time getting to know it and its particular personality.

Brooklyn Uncorked entry way2014 Participants

As always, there’s far to little room in a website post to cover all the wonderful food and drink that we had that evening.  Thank you to all the folks who made this event possible this year.  For information on the participating restaurants and vineyards from previous years, as well as to see photos of some of what was available to eat and drink, please see my write-ups from 2011, 2012, and 2013 (links take you to other pages on this website).

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Uncorked 2013 by Edible Magazine

Brooklyn Uncorked 2012 by Edible Magazine

Brooklyn Uncorked 2011 by Edible Magazine

Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website.  The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.

Farmers Market Dinner at Jimmy’s No. 43 with Chef Annette Tomei

Chef Annette shopping at Union SquareChef Annette Tomei picking out vegetables

More than a few times folks have told me that they get a bit stumped when trying to figure out what to make with the produce that is on display at the local farmers market.  They ask me for helpful hints as to how to navigate the stands, advice on what to buy when, and how I come up with things to make using what I purchase.  On Wednesday of this past week, a handful of guests assembled for a dinner at Jimmy’s No. 43 featuring Chef Annette Tomei where she which did just that: pulled together a 3-course dinner based upon ingredients gathered from the Union Square Greenmarket, complete with beverage pairings.  We did the shopping for the meal the morning of the event, schlepped the bags of food back to the restaurant, and then got to work fixing the dishes, with me as her sous chef for the evening.  Chef Tomei made several menu adjustments along the way and even tweaked plans for what we were going to make while we were at the market, having looked around at what everyone was selling that day.

Bowl of ramp butter popcornRamp Butter Popcorn

The evening started out with a platter crostini of farmers cheese from Ronnybrook Farm topped with a ragout of local oyster and cremini mushrooms and topped with sautéed fiddlehead ferns.  I also whipped up a batch of the Ramp Butter Popcorn I mentioned that I’d been making at the restaurant to serve as well.  To go along with this, the guests were served a glass of Foggy Ridge sparkling cider.  The high acidity of the cider was a great balance to the butteriness of the popcorn and the richness of the crostini.

Salad - Asparagus with Sorrel SauceSalad of Asparagus with Sorrel “Pesto” and Shungiku

For the second course, some of those asparagus that Chef Tomei is holding in the first photo were sliced thinly and turned into a light, crispy salad.  The asparagus were trimmed and served raw, no cooking involved.  They were super fresh and crunchy, needing just a drizzle of a fruity extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  On top of them are shungiku, edible micro chrysanthemum greens from Windfall Farms.  To go along with the asparagus, we had made a sorrel “pesto,” giving the salad a lemony lift.  To drink with it, we poured Barrier Saisoff Saison, which played well with the greenness of the vegetables as well as the citrus notes in the herb. 

Main - Duck Breast with Ramp Greens, RhubarbSeared Hudson Valley Duck Breast with Rhubarb Gastrique and Candied Rhubarb on a bed of 5-Spice Braised Red Cabbage with Roasted Parsnip garnished with Ramp Greens

The centerpiece of the main course was the gorgeous, seared duck breast from the folks at Hudson Valley Duck Farm, who also supply the duck that is on the regular menu for the restaurant.  To showcase this high-quality protein, Chef Tomei created a sweet-tart rhubarb gastric and then candied small cubes of the rhubarb that we had picked up at the market.  Thinly-sliced cabbage and chunks of roasted parsnip, which was also still available at the market, were seasoned with a mock Chinese 5-spice mixture to lend an additional layer of flavor to the dish.  A deep caramel-colored Proletariat Other Half Stillwater Collaboration Dark Amber was our choice to go along with the duck and this complex combination of tastes.  

Dessert - Maple Pain Perdu with Maple FluffSourdough Pain Perdue with Grade B Maple Syrup, Grated Maple Sugar,Maple Candy Floss, and Nasturtiums

While perusing the stands at the market, we’d had a few ideas about what to fix for dessert.  Apples still seem to be plentiful right now.  No berries or other early summer fruit has yet to appear.  Passing by Roxbury Mountain Maple‘s stand and seeing a bunch of people trying their maple cream spread and their maple cotton candy gave Chef Tomei an idea for a sweet finish to the evening.  We picked up some of that same cotton candy, a bottle of maple syrup, and a block of maple sugar.  At another nearby stand, we added a loaf of sourdough bread to our purchases in order to make a batch of Pain Perdue, or fancy French toast, for the final course.  Aside from the appetizer course, this was probably my favorite of the parings that we did that evening.  Carton Brewing Company’s “BDG” Brunch. Dinner. Grub. was the ideal match for the sweet, buttery, toffee layers in the dish and the perfect note on which to wrap up this Farmers Market Dinner.

Buon appetito!

Crostini with Ramp-Ricotta Pesto & Spring Pea Shoots

Crostini with Ramp-Ricotta PestoCrostini with Ramp-Ricotta Pesto & Spring Pea Shoots

The gorgeous green hues on this plate, to me, epitomize spring eating.  After all the browns, tans, and beiges of wintertime fare, the pop of color makes my palate perk up in anticipation of all the beautiful berries, corn, tomatoes, and other summertime produce yet to arrive in the local farmers market.  As with my previous post for Ramp Butter Popcorn, this is a bit of a recycled recipe in a new format.  I’ve written about making Ramp Pesto in the past as a way to prolonging this vegetable’s lifespan in your refrigerator.

Dwarf Snow Pea ShootsDwarf Grey Sugar Snow Pea Shoots

Also in season at the moment, if you can find them, are these pea shoots.  They have a delicate pea-like flavor and wonderful crunch.  For those pea-averse (including several people to whom I’m related), I say, try them.  They are a bit more like salad greens than those green orbs you detest.  For this dish, they add a nice balance of color and a fresh, crispness that balances out the creamy, garlicky-ness of the pesto.  These tidbits are an item that I had created a few weeks back to add to the restaurant menu, so that we could have a locally-sourced, seasonal small plate for patrons to enjoy while sipping on their beers.

CrostiniCrostini*

From time to time we run some type of crostini on our food selections, and they always tend to be quite popular.  They are substantial enough in flavor to satisfy one’s tastebuds while at the same time light enough to be enjoyed as a pre-dinner snack or late-night nibble.  Again, these have proven to be a popular item on our menu, as they always sell out, well in advance of my being able to make enough of the toppings.

Crostini with Ramp-Ricotta Pesto & Spring Pea Shoots

Serving Size: Makes about 1 cup of mix

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients:

Baguette or mini-baguettes

Olive Oil for toasting baguettes

1 recipe Ramp Pesto

6-8 oz. Ricotta Cheese

1-2 tsp. Lemon Juice

1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Salt

Freshly-ground Black Pepper

4 oz. Dwarf Grey Sugar Snow Pea Shoots (you can also substitute seasonal microgreens)

Lemon Zest

Assembly:

Slicing bread for crostiniBread rounds for crostini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place however many pieces of bread you are planning to serve (allow 3-4 per person) on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.  Using a pastry brush, dab each piece of bread with olive oil.  Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly colored and crisp.  Pay close attention to these as, depending upon your oven, they can go from unbaked to burnt quite quickly.  Remove from oven a set aside to until ready to use.

Ramp PestoRamp Pesto

Make a batch of Ramp Pesto (click on recipe link).  If not eating the crostini immediately or within a few hours, set aside the pesto in an air-tight container and place in the refrigerator.  The ramp-ricotta mixture is best eaten as close to the time it is made as possible.

Ramp Pesto & RicottaRamp Pesto with Ricotta

Just before getting ready to serve the crostini, combine ramp pesto with ricotta.  It should be a roughly 50-50 mixture.  If you can find (or make) fresh ricotta, that would also give a great flavor to this dish.  Add 1 tsp. of the lemon juice, a dash of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Taste.  Adjust seasoning as necessary, adding a bit more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and/or pepper.  The pesto should have a fresh, not overwhelmingly garlic taste, and a light creaminess from the cheese.

Crostini with Pesto & Pea ShootsRamp-Ricotta Pesto and Spring Pea Shoots on Crostini 

Spread a thin layer of the ramp-ricotta mixture on the crostini.  Sprinkle each piece with a few of the snow pea shoots, tearing them into 1-inch pieces, so there aren’t any unwieldy, long tangles of them hanging over the crostini.  Grate a bit of fresh lemon zest on top of each crostino.  Enjoy for yourself or share with others!

Buon appetito!

*Kitchen Witch Tip:

Crostini in general are an item perfect for cocktail parties, as a starter before dinner, or even as an afternoon break.  They are also easy to prepare in advance, keeping the toasted bread separate from the topping until just about ready to serve them.  These can be made the day of use, or stored for a few days in an air-tight container and kept out of the refrigerator.  I’ve made piles of them for catered events and the special, themed, dinners that we have in the restaurant, so having the bread base pre-made makes serving them to the hungry guests a much smoother task.

Ramp Butter Popcorn

Ramp butter ingredientsRamp butter ingredients

I have made Ramp Butter in the past, but it has been a little while.  Today, I took a trip to the Union Square Greenmarket in the afternoon and managed to pick up a few bunches of ramps as well as some butter from Ronnybrook Farm.  My usual M.O. is to whip of batches of the butter and pesto during this vegetable’s short season and save it to use throughout the year.  So, I decided to put the first batch of this season’s ramp butter recipe to a great use – in popcorn!*

Ramp greens mixed inRamp butter mixed together

I know, it doesn’t sounds like much of a recipe, but when I made this at the restaurant where I do some kitchen managing and prep work a couple of times a week for networking event held there, it was a big hit.  It is a lightly garlic-flavored, kind of herby popcorn with a nice pop of salt.  (Someone mistakenly sent us 50 pounds of popcorn, instead of the 5 we actually ordered, so I’ve been experimenting with different popcorn recipes to try to use up the whole tub of it that we have in our walk-in refrigerator.)

Popcorn with ramp butterPopcorn with ramp butter

It was by far the most popular of the plates of nibbles that I put out that evening.  I made several trips back and forth to refill the bowls, so it must have a been a huge hit.  I guess it also went well with the drinks they were serving, as I saw folks pulling the bowls of it a little closer to them during the evening.

Ramp Butter Popcorn

Serving Size: As much popcorn as you want to eat

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

One recipe Ramp Butter

Popcorn kernels

Canola Oil

Assembly:

Finished popcornPopcorn (plain)

Make Ramp Butter.  Pop popcorn.  My favorite method, and one I use in the restaurant, is to put a thin film of canola oil on the bottom of a heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in a single layer of popcorn, cover the pan with a lid (or foil), turn on the heat, and let nature and the properties of heat + steam do their work.  You can also make the air-popped version or whatever kind you’d like.

Bowl of ramp butter popcornPopcorn with ramp butter

Sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the popcorn.  Melt the ramp butter (just the amount that you need to dress the popcorn, save the rest for a later use).  Drizzle the butter over the popcorn and toss together to coat each kernel evenly.  Taste.  Add more salt and more butter to suit your tastebuds.  Enjoy!

Buon appetito!

*Kitchen Witch Tip:

Ramp Butter Ready for the freezerRamp butter ready for the freezer

The unused portion of this batch of ramp butter is in the all wrapped up and in freezer for another day.  It keeps for quite a while, if double-wrapped in plastic wrap.  When those cold winter winds are blowing, a slab of this butter mixed into pasta sauce or added to scrambled eggs gives a nice lift to a meal and reminds us that warmer weather and days full of sunshine are just around the corner!

Working the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards

JBF BadgeEvent Credentials

Monday night was the 2014 James Beard Foundation awards gala.  This year, I had the opportunity to work with James Beard Award winner Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat and Little Goat, both in Chicago, one of the chefs who was serving food at the reception after the official awards part of the evening.  I managed to get photos of some of the activity, as best I could when I wasn’t prepping food for serving.  Here’s a worker bee’s eyes view of the evening.

The hall before the partyThe main hall before the reception

The photo above was one I took as I left the awards ceremony, getting to my station so that I could be ready as the hungry guests exited the auditorium.  No food or drink was served while the awards were being handed out.  This means, lots of hungry folks were milling about while the chefs and their teams were putting together the plates of food, just waiting in anticipation of the feasting to come.

KB at JBF AwardsRunning errands before the event (photo courtesy Susannah Gold)

Midway through setting up, I was sent on an errand to locate more quart-sized containers so that we’d have extra vessels in which to keep the prepared ingredients.  On my way back into the building, someone said, “Excuse me, miss.  Can I take your photo?” Stunned, as I’m about the furthest thing from a well-known culinary celebrity, I replied, “Sure.”  Then, I looked up to find it was one of my friends, Susannah Gold, a wine industry professional, who was waiting to go into the event.  She took this great photo of me, having accomplished my task.

Sign for stationSign for our station

We were located on the ground floor, which meant that we were basically in the thick of the arrivals.  It was terrific people-watching, in which we definitely indulged, as we held tight to our viewing spot behind our prep tables, all of our mise en place (ingredient setup) stashed away out of sight.

Waiting for arrivalsWaiting for arrivals

Just as with any other awards ceremony, we looked around to see who arrived and with whom, watching the hugs, air kisses, and backslapping and trying to spot our favorite chefs and to figure out just whom everyone was.  Of course, we also did a bit of observation on the attire for the evening.  Black suits for the men seemed de rigueur, with facial hair carefully groomed and tattoos tastefully kept out of sight, after all this is a black tie affair.  Nominees had a black and yellow identifying pin so you could pick them out.  Many of the ladies seemed to wear sparkly attire.  A few furs were sported as well, although it did seem a bit warm of an evening for that.  Who says that the culinary crowd can’t clean up and look nice?

Garrett Oliver accepting JBF AwardGarrett Oliver accepting his award

After the guests filed into the auditorium, which took a bit of doing, we were given a break to go watch part of the ceremony itself.  Trekking up to the nosebleed section, where there were some vacant spots, I managed to snag a seat to view the awards, sitting along with my other white-coated, black-clogged colleagues.  This photo isn’t very good, but it sort of shows the arrangement: little stage + big screen.  It was also kind of fun to take in the spectacle from this angle, as I could see the teleprompter and watch the presenters ad lib or just get lost in the words.  As with any industry party, there were inside references, lots of thanks given to family, friends, mentors, and co-workers, and just a general sense of camaraderie.

Getting our table readyGetting the table ready

After seeing only some of the ceremony, it was time to head back downstairs to get ready to feed everyone.  Chef Izard along with her team from Chicago (Nicki and Chalmers), another volunteer (Jess), and I went to work to get our set up and organization figured out so that we could get the food out to the guests as efficiently as possible.

Champagne glasses on displayOur neighbors in our small space

Turns out, we were also sharing our station with the champagne pouring guys.  That was a nice bonus, especially as they ran out of it pretty early in the evening.  Yes, they made sure to look after us as well.  Even before the festivities got started a glass went flying off of the table, in the opposite direction of the food, fortunately.

Getting the crackers readyGetting the crackers ready

Jess and I were designated “aioli-ers,” and given the task of putting dollops of the caper aioli on handmade crackers. The crackers had a warm toastiness to them and were sturdy enough to hold the aioli plus the other components of the dish.  We completed the first couple of trays of them and held back until the start of service, so that the others wouldn’t get soggy.

Prepping our stationMixing the trout tartare

Chef Izard prepared the first batch of the trout tartare mixture, which was also put together on an as-needed basis.  We had to wait, however, for the official signal from the event organizers for when we could begin to give out the plates.  Guests were starting to gather around, eagerly anticipating being able to actually taste the dishes, rather than just viewing all the preparation.

Bowl of Trout TartareTrout Tartare

We set up an assembly line-style system for plating, trying to stay ahead of the hungry guests.  One table held the crackers with aioli, which were then put onto plates with the trout mixture added next.

Setting up the tastingsGetting the plates ready

The last step was handing the plates to Chef Izard to add the final garnish and to pass them to the attendees.  Even before we got the signal that we could start to serve, folks were huddled around waiting to get their hands on this dish.

Trout Tartare with Caper AioliTrout Tartare with Marinated Clams and Caper Aioli

We each had a sample nibble when we were prepping earlier, before the crowds arrived.  The combination was hearty and light at the same time, with loads of flavor packed into each bite.  I’m sure that we had more than a few repeat customers throughout the evening.

JBF14 teamThe team

After several hours of non-stop serving, barely lifting my head up to move from one part of the station to the other, pulling sheet trays of crackers out of the proofing cabinet to put more aioli on them and then getting the crackers onto the plates, the crowd seemed to thin out just enough that Jess and I were told that the rest of the group could finish dishing up the remaining portions that we had.  There were just a couple of trays of the crackers left to dress with the trout tartare, and we’d be completely cleaned out of food, except for a few cracker crumbs.

The Beast signBeast sign

Many of the stations were all out of food by the time I had a chance to walk around, so I picked up a drink first and located a friend who was still there enjoying the evening.  Thankfully, some of the tables still had plates left on them, like Beast.  In accepting her award for Best Chef: Northwest, Naomi Pomeroy had mentioned that they had put together a Lobster Crepe for guests to enjoy.

Lobster CrepeLobster Crepe with Lobster Mushroom reduction

I think she way undersold her dish.  It was a lobster flavored work of art, capturing the sweetness and ocean beauty of the seafood.  For me, too, the fact that the musical inspiration came from one of my favorite bands, the B-52s and their hit “Rock Lobster,” in keeping with the theme of the evening of songs and dishes inspired by them, made it all that more enjoyable.

Breaking down stationsBreaking down the stations

Alas, every event has to have an end.  As guests grabbed their coats and polished off the last of their drinks, wandering out into the springtime air of the city, another work crew descended upon the scene to take everything apart.  Many of the stations were being broken down as I was exiting, boxes and sheet trays stacked everywhere.  Time to say good-bye to the James Beard Foundation awards gala for another year.

Buon appetito!

For a complete list of this year’s winners for the James Beard Foundation Awards, please visit their website.

Pie Post Roundup – #PiePartyGE and #TBT

Table of piesPie Party spread

Tonight is #PiePartyGE!  It’s the almost annual celebration of pies (sweet and savory) that Jackie of The Diva that Ate New York and Ken of Hungry Rabbit took from being a virtual gathering of bloggers to an IRL (in real life) get-together we food bloggers and a few industry folks get together to eat pie, lots of pie.  They also line up some great sponsors like Kerrygold and Oxo and organize the GE Monogram design showroom, a really welcoming space, for the event.

Unfortunately, the flip-flopping weather and a severe allergy season have waylaid me this year, so I had to give back my coveted ticket to attend the festivities tonight.  I’m super sad to miss this, not only for the pie that I’m not eating but also for not having the chance to catch up with some of my wonderful fellow pie bakers.  So, I decided to round up my own list of pies (and tarts) that have appeared on this website over the years.  I have to say, I didn’t realize that this collection would be quite so large!

Slab of duck pieA slab of Peking Duck-style Pie from 2012’s event

I was supposed to bring a larger, modified version of this pie tonight but won’t be able to do so.  This gives me more time to figure out how to turn it into a Peking Duck Galette for the next time!

Lemon-Lime-Coconut TartLemon-Lime-Coconut Tart

I also brought a sweet creation to the same pie party.  It was a riff on the classic Lemon Tart that we’d been making in culinary school at the time.

Mixed-Berry CrostataMixed-Berry Crostata

For the first Pie Party Live, I made this classic Italian dessert – a Mixed-Berry Crostata.  It’s super easy to throw together for a dinner party, and the leftovers are great with coffee for breakfast or snack.

Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan PieChocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Pie

This is the sweet pie that I was going to make to bring tonight.  I thought it kind of fitting as the other name it sometimes goes by is Kentucky Derby Pie.  It’s sweet and a bit boozy, which is a great way to kick off the race this weekend.

Apple Tart TatinApple Tarte Tatin

Yes, tarts do fall into the acceptable category for the pie party (as they have a crust).  This one is a recipe from my London living days and has been a family favorite for a while.  It was also a bit hit when I made it for a client dinner a few weeks back. Fig-Almond TartFig and Almond Tart

Not all attempts to re-create European recipes are successful, as this photo shows.  The Fig-Almond Tart ended up with much more almond paste than figs and puff pastry.  I haven’t worked on it yet to get the right proportions.

Pear-Almond TartAlmond and Pear Tart

Other Euro recipes like this Almond and Pear Tart from a BBC dessert cookbook seem to come off without a hitch.  This was also the first time I’d made anything using my new oven after moving apartments.  As you can see, I couldn’t wait to dive into it.

Apricot TartTarte Abricot Verlet

Then, there’s a few pie and tart recipes that I have in my files that need the seasons to change in order to make them properly.  This Apricot Tart is definitely one of them.  Hopefully, this year, we’ll have a good harvest, as we haven’t had one for the past few years.

Apricot CrostataApricot Crostata

This is another mouth-watering recipe to save to use when apricots come into season.  It’s hard to choose, but I think that this Italian-inspired version adapted from Domenica Marchetti might just edge out the French one by Patricia Wells that I posted above.

Tomato TartTomato Tart with Cheddar Crust

I’ve also showcased a few savory tarts on this website, although the sweet ones far outweigh them.  This one for a Tomato Tart with a Cheddar Cheese Crust makes a wonderful light summertime summer (when the tomatoes are in season, that is).

Asparagus-Ramp TartAsparagus-Ramp-Goat Cheese Tart

The time to make this beauty is, however, fast approaching with the arrival of ramps in the local famers markets just last week.  Asparagus are sure to be soon behind, so I’m going to have to get my puff pastry making chops in order to whip up one of these.

Peanut Butter PiePeanut Butter Pie

Then, there’s the time that pie can help to try to mend a broken heart and to build a community.  When a fellow food blogger lost her husband suddenly several years ago, word went out that to remember him, everyone would make his favorite pie and post about it on our respective websites.  The response was overwhelming.  Hopefully, it also brought comfort to his friends and family.

To everyone attending tonight’s gathering: I hope you eat lots of pie!  So sorry to miss it, but I hope to join you again next year!

Buon appetito!