Of course I haven’t wished you all a Happy New Year, but I take the opportunity to do so now and hope it will be happy, prosperous and full of good health for you.
Having supper the other night, I had made a simple salad with iceberg lettuce. I got to thinking about iceberg, I was eating it with no dressing, just a little salt and the flavours from the other salad ingredients. Experts say iceberg is nothing but water and is tasteless. I totally disagree, I think it has a great taste and I prefer it to most other lettuces. Another way I enjoy it is with a simple vinaigrette, particularly the nice crispy centre. I don’t know why the “experts” put it down.
Just caught a story; in Stratford, Ontario, they put on a play with real judges and lawyers to see how The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare) case would play out under Canadian law in this day and age. The event is fascinating but the case doesn’t seem to have reached a verdict although maybe it isn’t over. The play was just called Shylock. I would love to have seen it. This picture shows Shylock going to extract his pound of flesh from Antonio. It was staged as an appeal which one judge objected to after 400 years. Another wanted to know if Shylock expected his 3,000 ducats with compound interest.
This looked like an unusual dessert from Food and Wine although apparently pretty simple to make.
Flaky Blood Orange TartContributed by Zoe Nathan
Zoe Nathan, the pastry chef at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California, prefers to be called a baker, which better reflects her unpretentious style. "I like making crostata, which uses juicy blood oranges at their peak, is nothing but sweet-tart oranges and a bit of sugar on a flaky, buttery crust.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the stick cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 8 to 10 blood oranges (about 5 ounces each)
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
- Salted Caramel Sauce, for serving
- In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.
- Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for another use.
- Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the tart cool for 30 minutes. Carefully slide the parchment paper onto the rack and let the tart cool completely. Serve with the Salted Caramel Sauce.
Make Ahead The unbaked tart can be tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 2 weeks.
Contributed by Zoe Nathan
SERVINGS: 1 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons gray sea salt, crushed
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream, butter and salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.
- Make Ahead The salted caramel sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm before serving. Serve With Flaky Blood Orange Tart.
Have a great day