Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cardamom-Scented Apple Tart with Buckwheat Crust





Winter arrived in Cleveland a little early and abruptly with last week's cold snap. So, instead of the normal weekend chores of gardening and raking leaves, this past Saturday was spent gazing out the window at a surprisingly snowy yard. While sipping coffee and surfing the web, I stumbled upon a newly edited version of Norah Ephron's wonderful film Julie & Julia. In this clever little "half of a movie" entitled simply & Julia, all the Julie parts have been neatly edited out. What remains is the uninterrupted, hour-long story of Julia Child, her adoring husband Paul, and their adventures in 1950's Paris when Julia was discovering her palate, learning to cook and laying the culinary foundations that would launch her infamous career. Watching this charming little version of the movie reminded me of just how inspiring Julia Child's story is. And of course, it made me hungry for French food.

After perusing both volumes of Julia's "masterpiece", Mastering the Art of French Cooking, my husband and I headed to the West Side Market. The beautiful scallops we found there settled it -- dinner would be Seared Scallops with Beurre Blanc. And with a fridge full of apples, I knew dessert would have to be this simple apple tart inspired by another favorite French cook and author, Patricia Wells.

For years, I've been relying on Wells' recipe for Lionel Poilane's Apple Tart from her book, Bistro Cooking. I'm always tweeking and modifying recipes to suit my mood, the season, or the ingredients I have on hand and my experiments don't always work out. But this one was a success. I substituted locally grown buckwheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour in the crust which resulted in a nutty flavor and a pleasantly sandy, crumbly texture that paired with the buttery, caramelized apples perfectly as did the addition of cardamom.

The crust for this tart is a basic pâte sucrée made from butter. I make it in a food processor which I find to be quick and foolproof when I've been sure to chill all the ingredients ahead of time. You can also make it using a pastry cutter, a couple of butter knives, or working quickly with just your fingers, in the traditional manner that Julia Child would prefer.

Cardamom-Scented Apple Tart with Buckwheat Crust

For the Buckwheat Pâte Sucrée:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour*
1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
7 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp ice water

Place the buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour, the butter, sugar and salt, in a food processor.  Process until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, about 10-15 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse 6-8 times until the pastry just begins to hold together. Do not let it form a ball. Transfer dough to a piece of parchment paper and flatten into a disk. If the dough seems to sticky, sprinkle it with additional flour, incorporating 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap in parchment and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the Cardamom-Scented Apple Filling:

4-6 good sized baking apples (about 1 1/2 lbs, I used Melrose)
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.

Remove pastry from the refrigerator. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out dough into a 12" circle. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Peel and core the apples. Cut each apple into 12 even wedges. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it's hot but not smoking, add the apples, sprinkle on the granulated sugar, and cardamom and sauté until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Place the apples in the center. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples to form a 1-inch border. Brush the border with beaten egg. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake the tart for 30 minutes until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream if you or a scoop of salty caramel ice cream.


*Locally grown buckwheat flour is available from Stutzman Farms. They can be found on Saturday mornings at the North Union Farmer's Market at Shaker Square.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

FarmShare Pop-Up @Evie Lou this Friday!















































THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 12.12.14! 

I'll be at Evie Lou this Friday, November 14 with tasty, locally made cheeses.

Stop in and sample fall selections from some of our favorite Ohio cheesemakers including Lake Erie Creamery, Kokoborrego Cheese Company, Mayfield Road Creamery, and more!

This is a great opportunity to stock up on some locally made cheeses for your upcoming holiday celebrations. And while your sampling, you can browse Evie Lou's beautiful fall and winter collection to find that perfect holiday outfit or maybe a little something to keep you warm on the cold days ahead.

Hope to see you! 

FarmShare Pop Up at Evie Lou
Friday, November 14, 2014, 5-9pm
2509 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's Apple Season










A couple weekends ago, we enjoyed a perfect fall afternoon of apple picking, hayrides, great food, and friends at Quarry Hill Orchards in Berlin Heights, Ohio.

With plenty of sun-filled autumn days ahead, be sure to plan a visit to Quarry Hill or your favorite local orchard soon and stock up.

I'm always on the lookout for new apple recipes to make delicious use of our abundant supply of local apples.  Here are a few simple ones you might enjoy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cardamom-Scented Banana Bread


On this first official day of fall, the weather could not be more fitting. Bright sun, crisp air, and the leaves are just on the cusp of turning.

Maybe it's the weather or perhaps it's all the British books I've been reading, but my cravings for iced tea seem to have waned overnight. What I want now, especially in the late afternoon, is a little pot of hot tea -- Earl Grey in particular. This cardamom-scented banana bread makes a perfect companion.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tomatoes All Year Long


Simmering pots, tomato-scented steam, open windows, and Indian summer sunlight. That's the scene in our kitchen this time of year as the season's tomato harvest winds down.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shop, Sip & Savor at Evie Lou This Friday!


Join us this Friday for an evening of shopping, cheese and wine!

Our friends at Evie Lou are hosting a pop-up featuring FarmShare's seasonal selections of Northeast Ohio cheeses paired with wine by Private Reserve Fine Wines. 

It's the perfect opportunity to toast fall and check out what's new at Evie Lou. Bring a friend, sip some wine, and take home some delicious cheese.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just Being Neighborly


An extra few extra ears of sweet corn, a second basket of tomatoes, two pounds of green beans instead of one, and an assortment of adorable, baby zucchini. These were among the extra items I added to my already-overflowing market basket at this morning's weekly trip to my local farmers'  market.

I had bumped into an elderly neighbor of mine earlier this week and our conversation, as usual, turned to food -- fresh produce in particular. As she lamented the sub-standard, supermarket sweet corn and tomatoes she's had to endure all summer, I remembered that she doesn't drive doesn't enjoy the luxury of just hopping over to the market like so many of us can. I see this woman two or three days a week, but I had completely forgotten. So, instead of offering my usual "try the farmers market" response, I asked if could pick up a few things for her when I went on my normal Saturday morning market rounds. 

We local food advocates are constantly encouraging everyone we meet to support a local farmer or their community farmers market. But it's all too easy to forget that there are many among us who simply can't eat this way. We're quick to assume that this is due to financial or time constraints. But sometimes, maybe more often than not, it's simply logistics.

So, what if we all just acted a bit more neighborly and remembered to ask folks if there's something we could fetch for them while we're at the market? Since this week is National Farmers' Market Week, it's the perfect time to make this a new habit. It doesn't require any extra time or burden, just a moment of reflection about who might need a little help or really enjoy some of this beautiful harvest that's upon us now.

My neighbor's face lit up when I delivered this little basket of sunshine to her this afternoon. But it made my day even brighter.