Using up my CSA Farm Veggies, Part 1

My farm box vegetables have been piling up in the fridge. This week my leftovers included zucchini, basil, daikon and the new box of: chard, mustard greens, green beans, cucumber, leeks, garlic, purslane, and farm eggs.
Something had to be done:

    *The biggest pot of zucchini soup I have ever made (with leeks, garlic and basil)
    *Purslane salad,
    purslane quino, purslane in soup
    *My favourite pesto recipe from Lidia’s Italy
    *Pasta & roasted tomatoes with lots of garlic and a bit of pesto and some fresh basil
    *a beautiful Chard tart, with leeks, garlic, basil, tomatoes, my farm eggs and goat cheese

Instead of adding yet another tart to the web I thought I’d share some techniques. To make a perfect tart every time you need to master three things:

1) Pie Dough: “As easy as 3-2-1.” that is what Chef Christophe taught as at the Northwest Culinary Academy. Tarts are usually made with a basic pastry dough called pate brisee. The ratio of flour/butter/water is 3 parts flour :2 parts butter :1 water. It is quite simple. Please note that ratios are always by weight (grams), not volume (cups).

Here is the recipe for Pate Brise we made in cooking class at the Northwest Culinary Academy:
Pate Brise for one 9″ tart shell:

      225 grams (1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
      150grams (1 cup) Butter, chilled (unsalted)
      75ml (5T) of ice water
      1 pinch Salt

Chill the butter in the freezer for 1/2 hour. Usually recipes call for cutting up the butter into small pieces and adding it to the flour and mixing. Chef Christophe taught us to grate the butter right into the flour, this makes the butter parcels the right size right away. Add drizzles of ice water water until the dough holds together. This is usually the misleading part. Your dough will not ‘come together’ by itself in the bowl- and actually, if it does you have really added way to much water).Note: to test if your dough is ready, grab a small handful and squeeze lightly, if the dough sticks it is ready. Form your dough into a ball, flatten into a round disk and let rest 30 minutes in the fridge.

Roll out your dough so it is larger than your tart pan. Leave a high lip on the tart since the dough shrinks as you bake it.

2) The custard filling: This recipe has never failed me and always seems to the exact amount of filling for my vegetable tarts.
For one 9″ tart, combine:

      3 eggs
      1 C creme fraiche
      4 oz cheese (I usually use a mix of parmesan and goat cheese)
    Fill your tart with your vegetable mixture and pour the cream mixture over the vegetables. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

3) The Vegetables: I’ve made vegetable tarts many time with different ingredients using up what is in the fridge and what I feel like eating. The thing to be aware of is some vegetables should be cooked before you put them in the tart. Some vegetables ie. greens and mushrooms and zucchinis will release their juices into your tart as it cooks which makes for a soggy spongy tart.
For this tart I used: Chard, bacon, leeks, garlic (sauteed) and added fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes.
Have fun experimenting.

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