Sunday, March 14, 2010

Only in New Harmony (Blackberry Apple Rustic Tart)

New Harmony, Indiana.

Seriously, who goes there? Well, there were these folks called Harmonites and then there was the Rapp family and all kinds of other religious beard wearing fellows who settled a town on the Wabash River and called it New Harmony.

What's there? Surprisingly, a lot. It's a cultural center. Music, art, theatre, architecture, etc all has it's place. A couple of famous architects built there. The Atheneum by Richard Meier and the Roofless Church by Philip Johnson. The food it pretty tasty too. I recommend the White House for brunch rather than dinner personally.

Why was I there? Studio of course. My professor this semester, Ben, lives in New Harmony and serves as our visiting professor. He stops into town once every other week or so and this is the second time we've come down to visit him. It's sweet. Really. I loved it.

Last time we went in the beginning of February and we bought a pig. He's a miniature pig and his name, because he was friends with Ben, was Jerry. Jerry was spared slaughter because the day he was going to die, the Midwest got a TON of snow. Ben's family was against blood on the snow in front of their house so Jerry got to live...until Friday. Ben was there when he died, but Grant, who was to be the executioner was not. Probably a good thing. The piggy parts were cooked over an outside fire at Ben's house last night and boy was he tasty. Along with the pig, Laura, Ben's wife, made a couple of side dishes and some biscuits. The sides were parsnips, a dish with sweet potatoes, onions and other things and Sam made a black bean and mango salad for her and her vegan friends. For me, I got to bake. :)

Laura mentioned that they had put up some blackberries last summer and I eagerly jumped into the idea of a rustic tart. I used a couple granny smith apples and some golden delicious apples along with the berries and oh my goodness was it tasty.

Blackberry Apple Rustic Tart

1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons melted
1/3 cup cold water
4ish apples (depending on size)
1-2 cups blackberries

Slice apples into thin slices or small chunks. (See pictures) Toss with sugar and set aside. Make sure the blackberries are clean and don't have any stems on them. Set those aside too.

Put flour in a bowl and cut in butter. (First time to use a pastry cutter. LOVED IT!) Cut until it's about pea sized. Slowly add water and mix until it's doughy. Turn it onto a floured surface and knead it until everything is together. Roll out to 14-16 inches round and about 1/4" thick.

Place on a greased cookie sheet or put a piece of parchment paper under it. Lay the dough out and put the apples and blackberries in the center, leaving 2-3 inches around the edges. Fold the edges around the tart. The center will still be opened. Brush the melted butter over the top of the fruit and on the dough. Put in the oven at 400 for about an hour. (Mine only took about 40 minutes). It's done when the fruit is tender and the crust is golden brown.

I would say it's optional, but it should be a requirement to put whipped cream on top. Super simple and super delicious.

Mmm, whipped cream. Also pictured is one of Laura's butterscotch brownies.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to Save a Life (Pasty Pies?)

Cooking for one is lame. Cooking for two is better. I made chicken pot pie to share for dinner on Monday and of course, there was left over bits. I always cut up too many potatoes and have too much gravy. So, I found something to do with it.

I was inspired by a recipe that I found on a blog called "The Other Side of Fifty." I dislike tuna a lot, but I liked the idea of biscuits and pie. I had bought some frozen biscuits the last time I was home because I was planning on making beef stew. I took out four biscuits the night before I was going to make my dinner. They thawed over night and when I got home from school that day, I rolled them out so they were about 6 inches across. I plopped the pot pie insides on one of the circles and then put the other rolled out biscuit on top. Then the edges got pinched and pushed down with a fork to make them look pretty. They baked for about 20 minutes at 325. Mom convinced me that it would be a better idea to pour gravy on top rather than mix it in so I did that and it was DELICIOUS! I want to make pot pie like this every time. The crust was buttery and delicious, the insides were nice and warm and the gravy was gravy-y as all gravy should be. I'm not one to turn down anything that has biscuits and gravy in the ingredients.

I've got enough for one more, and along with all the other leftovers I have plus going out to dinner when Alice is here tomorrow (!!!!!!!!!!!!) and then dinner with Terry this weekend, I am set on not cooking for a while. That's kind of against what I was planning on during my Spring Break, but I'm okay with it for now.

Pasty Pies (Like a pasty, but with pot pie filling)
Depending on how many you want to make, change the amounts. Here it is for about one.
1 smallish potato, peeled, cubed and boiled
2 chicken tenders, cooked and cubed (we don't buy breasts, but the tenders are a good size)
some frozen peas and corn or any other veggie you want
2 frozen biscuits for each pie, thawed

Preheat oven to 325.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place a rolled out biscuit on it. The biscuit should be about 6 inches across.

Pile on the insides (chicken, veggies, potatoes, etc) and cover with the other rolled out biscuit. Crimp the corners with your fingers or a fork. Poke a few hole for steam to escape and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. I'd follow the cooking directions of the biscuits since most everything else has already been cooked. The biscuits should be golden when they come out of the oven. Pour some gravy over it and enjoy!

Gravy (this will make a big batch that you can freeze for later use)
2 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup butter

Melt the butter and stir in the flour and onion. Wait until it gets bubbly and smooth is. Take off the heat and add the milk and chicken stock. Return to the heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. It'll just take a couple of minutes.