Appetizer Recipes

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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Pea Guacamole Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on June 5, 2017

Yes, you’re right. Pea guacamole?

I succumbed.

But there’s a reason. A story.

I needed something to take to a Mexican themed party.

The hostess and I have had an ongoing thing about peas.

She’s pro-, I consider them generally superfluous.

She also has a great sense of humor.

This is a tweaked version of the NY Times piece that caused quite a furor last year.

Pea Guacamole

  • ½ pound frozen peas, thawed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped (or more for taste)
  • Salt
  • 3 small very ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, whites only, sliced very thin
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more for taste)

In a microwave-safe bowl, cook the peas with about 1 tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain peas and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Reserve a small handful for garnish.

Halve, seed and de-vein the jalapenos. Cut into small chunks.

In a blender or food processor, chop the jalapenos. Add the peas, cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until the peas are almost smooth, but still have a little texture.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados. Add the scallions, lime zest, juice, ½ teaspoon salt and the pea mixture. Mix well. Taste and add additional cilantro, salt and lime juice as needed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

My verdict: Everyone at the party thought it was great (and finished it off)! I thought it was pretty good, but a little sweet because of the peas.

Would I make it again? No, too much work and too many dirty dishes.

The original recipe called for roasting one of the jalapenos and peeling it. I tossed one on the grill (only because the grill was going) and charred it, but didn’t peel it. If you wanted to toss one or more in a small skillet, you could do that, but I don’t think it’s going to matter in the end result.

The Times also had you shucking fresh peas, a cute idea if you’re making peas for dinner for two, but a huge time suck if you’re making guacamole for a crowd.

When I make guacamole, it’s seven ingredients, a knife and a bowl.

10 minutes, no grill, no Cuisinart, no microplane (zester).

Would or have you made guacamole with peas?

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Hot Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip

by Anne Maxfield on March 17, 2016

Accidental Locavore Onion Dip CookedHow could you resist a dip that has caramelized onions, bacon and crème fraîche? The Accidental Locavore couldn’t and an invitation to friend’s for dinner gave me the perfect opportunity. From Vermont Creamery, it served 6:

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of flakey sea salt (like Maldon)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry (optional)
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. In a cast iron skillet, or other heavy sauté pan, cook bacon until nice and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer it to a paper towel to drain and cool.

In the same skillet, in the bacon fat, cook your onions, sugar and salt slowly over medium heat until the onions are nicely caramelized. This usually takes about 20 minutes depending on how thinly sliced the onions are (don’t rush it!).

Remove from heat, splash in the sherry and hot sauce if you’re using them, stir to combine.

Crumble the bacon into the skillet, add in the Gruyère, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, pepper and mix everything well.

Bake the skillet of dip for 10 to 20 minutes, until it’s golden and bubbly. Remove from oven, allow to cool and set for about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme, serve with pita chips or nice crusty bread and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bacon Cheese DipEveryone’s verdict: Well, it was polished off in 5 minutes…We served it with some local flatbreads, but any sort of sturdy cracker or chip would work well. Even though our liquor cabinet is crammed with booze, surprisingly there was no sherry. I tossed in a bit of bourbon along with the hot sauce and it was fine. Using homemade mayo is always better than the jarred stuff and if I’d had time, ditto the crème fraiche, but the bacon was also mine. Sautéing some mushrooms would be a nice if unneeded addition. Next time, I’m going to chop up a little more thyme and add it in with the onions – they work well together and I wanted a little more thyme in the dip. While I cooked everything in my cast iron pan, I baked it in an oven-proof soufflé dish, as the pan was too big for the volume of dip.

Save this recipe for your next football (or anything else) party, but you might want to double it…

 

 

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Buffalo Cauliflower With Blue Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on November 12, 2015

Accidental Locavore Buffalo CauliflowerAs you know, cauliflower is poised to take over for kale as the next over-played vegetable. Being trendy enough, the Accidental Locavore found this recipe for roasted cauliflower with a “Buffalo” sauce. It’s easy and you can roast the cauliflower ahead of time. Serves 2-4, depending on the size of the cauliflower (and the hunger of your audience).

  • One 2-to-2½-pound head cauliflower, leaves trimmed and base trimmed so the cauliflower will stand up
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Sriracha
  • ¼ cup Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Accidental Locavore Roasted CauliflowerPreheat the oven to 450°. Place the cauliflower, stem-side down, onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Roast until tender and browned on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, trim the florets into 3-inch-long pieces (about the size of chicken wings) and cut the stem into thin slices.

In a large saucepan, combine the Sriracha, Frank’s RedHot sauce and the cauliflower, and toss to coat. Place over medium-high heat, and when the sauce begins to sizzle, add the butter. Cook, tossing and stirring often, until the sauce is slightly creamy and the cauliflower is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the blue cheese, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Buffalo CauliflowerMy verdict: Provided you like Buffalo sauce, this could make a cauliflower lover out of the skeptics out there! It’s really easy, especially if you roast the cauliflower ahead of time, like I did, then you can just pull it out and finish it off. I thought it was maybe a little too spicy and will cut down the Sriracha to 2 tablespoons and add more 2 more tablespoons of Frank’s the next time I make it. Since I had some real Roquefort on hand, that was my blue cheese, which was great, but you certainly will get a fine result with any good blue cheese. Serve it as a snack or side dish.

 

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