Flamiche aux Poireaux: Leek Tart

by Anne Maxfield on November 5, 2018

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart SliceA friend of mine posted on Facebook that her husband (who happens to be a professional cook) was making her favorite tart, a Flamiche aux Poireaux from Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking.

Since I trust her taste and happened to have the book and the leeks, why not give it a try?*

I took my time and made it in stages. Serves about 4 happily.

For the Pâte Brisée:

  • 1-1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Place 1 cup of the flour, the butter and salt into the work bowl of a food processor. Process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.

Add the ice water and pulse about 6-8 times, until the pastry just begins to come together. Do not let it form a ball.

Transfer to a piece of waxed paper and flatten the dough into a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle it with a little flour, incorporating it 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart Pre BakeFor the Leek Tart:

  • 1 batch Pâte Brisée
  • 3 pounds of leeks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 slices, about 3 ounces, Parma ham, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup, about 3 ounces, Gruyere cheese, grated

Prepare the tart shell. Roll out the dough to line a 10 1/2” tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Prepare the filling. Trim the leeks at the roots. Cut off and discard, or save for another use, the tough dark green portion. Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning and rinse well in cold water. Coarsely chop the leeks.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat. Add the leeks, salt and pepper, and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes. If the leeks have given up a lot of liquid, drain them into a colander.

Combine the eggs and crème fraiche in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Mix in the leeks. Reserve ¼ cup of the ham and the cheese to sprinkle on top. Add the rest into the leek mixture and mix well.

Pour the leek mixture into the pastry shell. Sprinkle with the reserved ham and the cheese. Season generously with black pepper.

Bake until nicely browned, about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart BakedMy verdict: Delicious! Glad I held on to my copy of Bistro Cooking! The crust was flaky on the sides and the filling was wonderful. I used crème fraiche, as my container of heavy cream was a little past its prime.

I used Plugra unsalted butter for my tart crust and it came together beautifully. I was a little surprised that the recipe didn’t call for the shell to be blind baked, and might try doing that for a few minutes the next time, just to give the bottom of the tart a better chance to stay crisp.

I almost substituted some smoked lobster I’d picked up in Maine for the ham but used some Italian Copa that we had in the house. Crabmeat would probably also be lovely with the leeks.

 

*Okay, possibly one (or ten) too many episodes of the Great British Baking Show, convinced me that Pâte Brisée, was well within my capabilities, even though it’s been ages since I made anything resembling a pie crust. Osmosis?

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Lolita’s: Pizza in Poughkeepsie

by Anne Maxfield on October 29, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lolita's Clam PizzaPromise me pizza (or almost anything else) cooked in a wood burning oven and I’m there.

When Lolita’s opened in the former Crave space, with a shiny new wood-burning oven, producing pizzas and pasta, we needed to check it out.

In nice weather you have your choice of a secluded terrace under the Walkway Bridge, lined with plants, or the lively dining room.

After joking about the pea appetizer, we decided on the cucumbers with ricotta salata, mint and basil in a spicy vinaigrette. The cucumbers were great with the ricotta, and bread crumbs added a nice crunch.

Accidental Locavore Lolita's Pizza Cucumber SaladThat night’s special was a white pie with clams. For some (unknown) reason, I thought there would be clams in the shell on the pizza, but the clams had already been shucked and were carefully placed on the pie. The creamy white sauce must have had some clam juice in it, because you got a good hit of clam with the lemony sauce. The crust was good—could have been a bit more charred for me, but I like all my bread on the almost burnt side.

Accidental Locavore Lolita's Pizza PastaWe were torn between pastas, and went with our server’s recommendation, the lumache with a spicy tomato sauce with chiles and bread crumbs. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce had a nice, but not overwhelming spice to it.

A couple of months later, I went back with another friend for a second visit.

Once again, we went with some of that night’s specials. Since my friend had never had shishito peppers, I convinced her to give them a try. They were roasted in the wood-burning oven, which gave them a wonderful smoky flavor. The garlic scape aioli with pine nuts and sesame seeds was a great sauce for them.

Accidental Locavore Shishito Peppers at Lolita's PizzaThat night’s pizza was Coppa ham with Gorgonzola, Fontina, Chippolini onions, shaved Brussels sprouts and slivers of Granny Smith apples. It was a surprisingly good combination, although I would have liked a little more ham, but the Gorgonzola made up for it, flavor-wise.

Accidental Locavore Pizza With ApplesIn the interest of research, we were going to go for a dessert, but none of the choices really jumped out at us, so we had some tea and called it a night.

One of these nights, also in the interest of research, I’ll have to go back and try one of their more classic pizzas.

Open for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays.

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Insta-Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

by Anne Maxfield on October 22, 2018

Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot Short RibsShort ribs are a great winter food and I’ve worked and eaten my way through a lot of short rib recipes.

This one from Gordon Hammersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home has become my go-to recipe and I recently decided to use my Insta-Pot for it.

Use 1-2 short ribs per person depending on size. This is scaled down for 2 people.

Insta-Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

  • 2-4 beef short ribs (depending on size and appetite)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium sized red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds (cut across the onion to make rings)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (if you buy it in a tube it costs more, but you always have it for weird amounts like this)
  • 1 bottle Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Generously salt and pepper the short ribs.

Turn your Insta-Pot to “Sauté”. Add the oil and when it’s shimmering, sear the ribs until brown on all sides.

Remove the ribs from the pan, and pour off the excess oil, but don’t clean the Insta-Pot.

Add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.

Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes (don’t worry if the onions start to fall apart–they will).

Stir the tomato paste in and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Add the beer, vinegar, beef stock, and the ribs. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Cover the Insta-Pot and put it on “Slow Cook” for 6-8 hours until the short ribs are fork tender.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the ribs and onions from the pot and set aside.

Put the Insta-Pot back on “Sauté” and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until it’s reduced by at least a third (or as thick you want the sauce). Skim fat off.

Taste and check for seasoning. Add the ribs and onions back to the sauce, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Searing Short Ribs In Insta-Pot

My verdict: This has become our favorite short rib recipe. I serve them with mashed potatoes, usually with horseradish added. It really brings out the flavor and helps to cut some of the richness.

While this is equally as good made in the oven or in a slow cooker, the Insta-Pot advantage is that you can do it all in one pot and the high sides of the Insta-Pot keep the fat from spattering all over your stove when you sear the ribs.

Figure on 1-2 ribs per person, depending on the size (and whether you want leftovers).

Like most braised meats, these are even better the next day (and you can get a lot more of the fat off).

Click here for the original recipe.

 

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Jaeger Haus, German Food in Tivoli

by Anne Maxfield on October 15, 2018

Accidental Locavore German SchnitzelFriends of ours have been trying to get us/me to Jaeger Haus for German food for months now. Finally a serendipitous text, got us together and we headed up to Tivoli.

Since I was the only one who hadn’t been there before, we decided to get a bunch of different dishes and share them, so I could get a better sense of the menu.

Accidental Locavore German FrittersWe started with the smoked trout and the sauerkraut fritters. The fritters were like a German take on tater-tots or arancini. It was a small bundle of sauerkraut surrounding bacon, kielbasa and Emmanthaler cheese, deep fried and served with Paprika Aioli. Delicious (and a huge improvement on tater-tots)!

Accidental Locavore German Smoked TroutThe trout, smoked in-house, was served with a mustard vinaigrette, cucumber salad and big slices of rye bread to pile everything on. Everything was good on its own, but even better in combination.

The surprise dish of the evening was a special of apples and potatoes—Himmel und Erde (heaven and earth). It was something I never would have ordered, but our server insisted that we try it, and we were blown away by it! The apple and potato wedges were sautéed in butter and tossed with parsley. A simple dish, if it’s on the menu when you go, order it, you’ll be so glad you did!

Accidental Locavore German Apples and PotatoesMain courses are large and perfect for sharing. We spilt a sausage plate with weisswurst, smoked baurenwurst and bratwurst. All three were really good and went well with the warm German potato salad, sauerkraut and mustard.

Schnitzel is a must and Jaeger Haus has several different varieties. We went for the classic Weiner schnitzel—veal with red cabbage and spaetzle—all good.

Accidental Locavore German Sausage PlatterAlthough we didn’t order it this time, I was the happy recipient of some leftover Schweinshaxe when my husband went there the first time. It’s a huge portion of crispy confit of pork shank, with mashed potatoes and it was tasty, even the next day. Plan on sharing it or bringing home leftovers.

Accidental Locavore German DessertIf the dessert we had is any indication, desserts are also large and very shareable. The Windbuetel is a German version of profiteroles. Instead of ice cream, these cream puffs are filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream and topped with a caramel sauce. A delicious order is 4 puffs–one for each and we were happy.

There are local and German beers and ciders. If you follow them on Facebook, you’ll get the latest specials and special beer events.

 

 

 

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