Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saturday's Theme: Rustic Foods

Confession:  I love grocery shopping.  I like to look at meats and cheeses and products.  And wine.

On Saturday, my mom and I went shopping at the new Fresh Market that opened up in Pawleys.  I know it might be a little ridiculous to get excited over a grocery store, but I love looking at the things I can't get at Wal-Mart or even The Pig.  When I lived in Columbia, I had Earth Fare and Fresh Market within a reasonable distance if Publix didn't have what I wanted.  So yes, Fresh Market excites me.  And it's closer than Piggly Wiggly.

We had a pretty filling lunch at Roz's at the Hammock Shops, so we didn't want a big dinner.  Enter Fresh Market's inspiration.  I'm perfectly okay with hearty bread and cheese for dinner, so that's what we did!  I'd been eyeing this Kalamata olive bread earlier, so we grabbed a loaf of that.  It was big and crusty but not too crunchy like a baguette might be.  My mom wanted a little meat with the spread.  Thinly sliced capicola ham had just a touch of spice to it and was a nice addition to our little meal.

Does anyone else love the olive bar at grocery stores?  I love olives of all sorts, though Kalamatas are probably my favorite.  We chose large green olives with pimientos, Kalamata olives, and some hot cherry peppers.

I have a love affair with goat cheese, so we headed over to the cheeses and picked out a Norwegian goat cheese.  We would later be surprised by it.  Speaking of dairy, how could we not get some European salted butter?  Really, how could we live without it?!  Probably pretty easily, but if you've got the option, do it.
Our spread

That brown stuff on the far left?  That's the goat cheese!  I was completely surprised when I unwrapped it.  As it turns out, it has a slight caramel flavor to it.  Not in an unappealing way either, at least not to me.    I think it might be more of an acquired taste for some, but you won't know if you like something unless you try it.  A little look at this cheese blog explains more about how it's made.  I honestly didn't mind the sweetness since we were getting a fair amount of salt from olives and ham.

And of course, there was wine.
This was a malbec they had on display.  I am by no means a wine critic.  I just know when I like something and when I don't.  I enjoyed this pick along with the rest of the meal.

Don't forget dessert!  In keeping with the rustic theme of the meal, I made a free-form plum tart and served it with Talenti's Tahitian Vanilla Bean gelato.  Gawd, y'all it was tasty.  I combined two recipes to make one yummy tart.
For the dough, get out your:

  • Flour
  • COLD butter
  • Salt
This recipe is from Food & Wine, courtesty of Jacques Pepin.  He made an apple tart, but it's an appropriate dough for really any tart.

Give 1.5 cups flour a quick mix with a pinch of salt.  Add 1.5 sticks of cold butter that has been cut into cubes.
If you have a food processor, this can be mixed in about two seconds.  I decided to use my hands, but you can also use a pastry cutter or a fork even.

Gettin' messy.

Eventually and without too much work, the butter should roughly be the size of peas.

Add 1/3 cup ice water.  I placed ice cubes into 1/3 cup of water while I mixed the butter and flour.  When I was ready for the water, I removed the ice cubes and removed any water that was added from the cubes melting.  I reserved the extra water in case I needed it.

After drizzling the water over, I gently mixed the dough with a fork until it just came together.  Dough can be rather finicky and may need extra water for a variety of reasons.  I ended up adding an extra tablespoon to mine, but you may find that 1/3 cup is just right.  If you need extra water, add it a tablespoon at a time because you can always add water if you need it.  You can't remove it, however.  

Knead the dough a couple of times on a lightly floured surface.  Pat the dough into a disc, then roll that baby out!

Okay, so I would've liked it to be a little rounder.  But hey, that's rustic for you.  You can always trim the edges if you're more of a perfectionist.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the dough to the baking sheet.  Parchment paper is good because it keeps food from sticking and also takes care of any mess you might have.

Here's where recipe #2 came in.  Sunny Anderson on the Food Network has a plum tart recipe that looked yummy.
You'll need:
  • 4 plums
  • Jam (I used black raspberry)
  • More butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg
Start by cutting your plums into about 1/2" slices.  Really all I did was cut around the pit in a crosswise fashion so that the fruit came off the pit easier.  Then I sliced those quarters in half.  The slices should be roughly the same size so that they cook evenly.
The picture says it better than I can.

You end up with a mess of plums.

Spread 2 tbs of jam on the dough, leaving a nice, wide border.  

Arrange the plum slices in a pretty fan pattern.  Actually, you could probably just throw 'em on there and not notice the difference.

And because there's not enough butter in the crust, drizzle 2 tbs of melted good stuff over the plums.  Sprinkle a little sugar on them while you're at it.

Fold the dough over the plums.  You should be able to see the plums in the middle and still have some good surface area to work with on the dough.  Remember that egg?  Beat it with a little water to make an egg wash.  The yolk of the egg will give the dough a golden color, and the white will make it shiny.  Brush the egg wash over the dough and sprinkle with more sugar.  I prefer raw sugar for this because I like that you can see the big flecks of sugar on the dough.

Bake at 400º for about an hour.  I checked it at 45 minutes and it was almost ready, so I let it go a few more minutes and took it out.

Nom.  As you can see, it was a bit juicy.  Not that I'm complaining.  But I was glad to have put down parchment paper because it didn't stick AND I didn't have any mess to clean up.

I had plum slices leftover, so I used them as garnish on the gelato.  I may have licked the plate.  I can't be responsible for my actions when I eat delicious crust.

Here's the easy-to-follow version.

Rustic Plum Tart (serves 6)
Adapted from Food & Wine and The Food Network

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 c ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling
  • 4 plums, sliced into 1/4"-1/2" wedges
  • 2 tbs jam or preserves
  • 2 tbs butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400º.  Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl.  Add cubed butter and mix in with fingers or pastry cutter until butter resembles peas.  Drizzle in ice water and mix gently with a fork.  Knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface, then pat dough into a disc and roll into a rough circle.  Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet

Spread jam on the dough, leaving a border of about 2".  Arrange plum slices on jam and sprinkle with sugar.  Drizzle melted butter over plum slices.  Fold dough around plums, leaving the middle exposed.  Mix the beaten egg with 1 tbs water and brush dough with the mixture.  Sprinkle sugar over dough.  Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve warm with ice cream. 

This tart is just that, a little tart.  It's not too sweet, which is why ice cream or gelato goes so wonderfully with it.  I almost ate it for breakfast this morning but decided I would rather have it with my afternoon coffee.

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