MIXED BERRY GALETTE–VALENTINE’S DAY DO-OVER

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Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries baked in an all-butter super flaky crust

 

 

All week long I’ve been anxiously awaiting my family’s arrival this Thursday night, perfect timing for Valentine’s Day. Not to mention I miss them terribly and haven’t seen them for 2 weeks. I’d planned a super nice menu and had a whole host of activities scheduled (and booked). Snow storms in New York AND Birmingham (2 @ 10-inches and 1 @ 2-inches, respectively), plus the threat of freezing rain down here has had me on pins and needles for days. The big storm  this Thursday up north threw air travel into a tizzy and my guys have been rescheduled three times now due to cancellations and over-booking. Thanks, Delta! So glad I’m a frequent flyer with you! It’s Sunday and I’ve just heard they won’t make it in now until later this evening.  So much for planning. My poor guys will be sitting in the airport for hours after getting there at the crack of dawn to be on time! That’s all the more reason to have a special treat for them when they get here.  

The threat of ice and snow this week brought the Birmingham school system to a grinding halt, so for 3 days my test kitchen and photo sets were operating at a diminished capacity and consequently there was a good deal of un-used, just-this-side-of-rotting produce. I found myself with a ton of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. My husband and kids love fruit pies, especially with ice cream or whipped cream and I had all the raw materials to make something yummy. In fact, for a book-cover photo shoot that I actually got to style (yay!) I’d made an extra batch of pie pastry that I didn’t need (3 pies a charm!) and found it in the fridge. 

I’m including the pastry recipe here to make it more convenient for you to find. And in case of a dessert emergency (don’t we all have them occasionally? I know I do), the recipe below makes enough pastry for 2 galettes–1 for now and 1 for the freezer. It’s all so super easy and something you can throw together pretty quickly–especially since it’s kind of amazing warm. I’d show you a cut piece, but my family still isn’t here yet… In fact, if you make yours now, you’ll probably be eating it before us.  

MIXED BERRY GALETTE

Makes One 10-inch Galette

4 cups sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup blackberries 

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

Pinch of salt

1 disc Flaky All-Butter Crust (1/2 recipe) (chilled but pliable)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375° and arrange a rack in the center of the oven. In a large bowl, gently toss the berries with the lemon juice, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup flour and the salt and let sit for 10 minutes, until the juices just begin to run.

2. On a floured board, roll the pastry to a neat (-ish) 13-inch round and ease it into a 9-inch pie dish or oven proof skillet (I used a non-stick skillet, so be sure to use a plastic knife and pie server to cut). Scrape the fruit and any accumulated juices into the pastry and spread into an even layer. Fold the sides up over the filling and brush with water. Sprinkle with sugar. If so desired, and you don’t mind using some of the 2nd pastry disc, roll out a small bit and stamp out a shape to place on top. (Just be sure with the next galette you use a smaller baking dish and 1 cup less filling). Brush it with water, sprinkle with sugar and place it over the fruit. Bake the galette until golden and bubbling for about 50 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche or sweetened whipped cream. 

FLAKY ALL-BUTTER CRUST

Makes 2 (9 to 10-inch) Single OR 1 Double crust  

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, chilled

1/2 cup ice water

 

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the cubed butter and pulse in 1 second bursts 5 times. The butter should be the size of small peas. Lift the lid, pour in the water and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until the dough is moistened, but doesn’t form a ball. Turn the crumbs onto a work surface,  and gather into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 parts.  Flatten each into a disc, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

 

STONE FRUIT GALETTE, NEVER ENOUGH OF A GOOD THING

Making my way through the farmers’ market in August puts me into stone-fruit sensory overload on (healthy) par with my annual pre-Halloween trip to Economy Candy. Of the peach variety, there are Saturn, yellow, white and donut peaches (also yellow … Continue reading

BRUSSELS SPROUTS–WHY WAIT FOR AUTUMN?

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Brussels sprouts in season August through December

Brussels sprouts in August? Huh? After nearly 2 decades in magazine publishing, I’m still bewildered by the fact that we always work at least one season ahead. Flat, tasteless hot-house tomatoes in March have to (using taste memories, a great sense of imagination and an even greater suspension of disbelief) approximate July’s luscious juicy heirlooms. Of course shipping from parts west (and warm) is always an option, but very costly. The irony of publishing “Locavore” stories in season while  working on them out of season is one that never escapes me, but probably never occurs to readers. And why would it?  Who could know? Working on wintery stories in the Spring and Summer is a bit less of a stretch  because many of those fruits and vegetables store fairly well. Taste is not always optimal but chances are, they’ll be roasted, braised, gratinéed, puréed or baked into a pie and that mitigates much of the un-seasonality . 

Brussels sprouts, the stinky cornerstone of Thanksgiving, are now just starting to pop up at the market, which is convenient for magazine work. But I’m always happy to see Brussels sprouts–any time of year and take full advantage of their presence whether I’m developing out-of-season recipes or just making dinner…or today’s brunch as luck would have it. 

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Brussels Sprout Shakshuka ready for the oven

One of my absolute favorite dishes is Shakshuka–a Middle Eastern version of my beloved Italian Eggs in Purgatory. Both dishes are nothing more than eggs baked in tomato sauce. Today I wanted something a little different and not so saucy. Back from a beautiful, drizzly trail run, and starving, I did a quick check of my pantry: eggs, sandwich bread, scallions, rosemary and yes, Brussels sprouts. (I was working on a Thanksgiving story and had half a basket in my fridge.)  My post-run go-to meal always combines protein, carbs and veggies and I had everything I needed.

I toasted some croutons in the skillet, then shredded and sautéed the Brussels sprouts in olive oil to softened them and bring out their sweetness. Rosemary and scallions were all the seasoning, besides salt and pepper, necessary, though I suppose some fresh chiles would’ve been delicious. (Enter hot sauce!) I then transferred the mixture to individual baking dishes, made a little well in the center of each, into which I cracked an egg. They popped into a very hot toaster oven (no need to turn on the big one) for about 4 minutes and emerged with runny yolks, crispy croutons and tender Brussels sprouts. A perfect all-in-one meal!

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The perfect all-in-one brunch: Brussels Sprout Shakshuka

BRUSSELS SPROUT SHAKSHUKA

total time: 20 min

2 servings

 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 slice packaged white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 large Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 large eggs

hot sauce!

 

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the bread and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining oil to the pan along with the Brussels sprouts, scallion and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Return the croutons to the skillet and toss to combine. Divide the mixture between 2 individual baking dishes or gratin dishes and make a small well in the center. Crack an egg into each dish and bake until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with hot sauce. Yay!

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Perfection in every bite.