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Archive for September, 2010

Soup Season

Autumn in the Northeast is the season for cool evenings, the annual color fest, and Soup! My colleague and friend, the pediatric practitioner Brian Maurer, has just posted a piece entitled “Soup” on his blog “Marginal Musings from a New England Author.”  This lyrical essay also contains a great recipe for Minestrone!

Read it and enjoy!

David (aka Kawika) Elpern

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Peace Cookies i.e. Peanut Butter Kisses

Last Monday, my week got off to less than a stellar start.  As I was getting in the elevator to go and meet a client, I miss-stepped and realized one of my greatest fears since moving into an apartment building: my keys falling through the 1/2 inch space between the hallway floor and the elevator into the black abyss below.  It was like a movie; me standing there, helpless, with my arms full, a look of total horror on my face and pity on the faces of those in the elevator watching it happen, as if in slow motion.  The best part is, it was the wrong elevator.

In total despair (without a way to 1 go meet my client, 2 get back into my house, and 3 go anywhere in my car) I went down to the lobby and by the grace of something found the Resident Manager working late.  He called the security guard to help us assess the situation, and my heart dropped when the ONE security guard who absolutely despises me (because I do naughty things like move furniture after “official furniture moving hours” and the such) walked around the corner.

Despite our differences in the past, he was quite helpful and nice throughout the process of me, on my hands and knees, trying to fish my keys out of the elevator shaft with a string and paperclip (which didn’t work of course).  After waiting what seemed like hours for the locksmith (what real estate agent doesn’t have an extra key in a lock box my resident manager wanted to know!?!), I thanked the guard for his help and gave him the container of freshly baked Peanut Butter Kiss cookies I had intended for my client, for which I received a very unenthusiastic thank you.  Whatever, you can’t win ’em all right?

But I am happy to report that I was just downstairs in my lobby and oh how the tides of security guard vs. resident contention have turned!  As I headed for the elevator he says “don’t drop your keys!” and then “hey, where did you get those cookies?”  When I replied that I had made them he says, “wow, those were really good, thank you!”

Note to self: when being a rebellious homeowner, make sure to come bearing cookies.

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Milestones…

In life we all hit many milestones.  I bet you are waiting for me to drop some news about Zoe or I getting married, someone we know (not us!) having children etc. etc.  Nope!  WAY more exciting … Zoe and I have officially posted 500 recipes, stories, articles, and all of that other goodness on this blog in less than 2 years!

Mahalo to everyone – our family, friends, and those we don’t yet know who have supported us and contributed to our baby … and especially to my dear friend Zoe, love you!

xx

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Birthday Worthy!

It was my friend Sky’s birthday a few weeks ago, and to celebrate we went to his favorite Japanese restaurant Gaku (more on that later), and afterward we all went to Krazy Karaoke where we continued to celebrate with much singing, libations, and of course, cake and ice cream….or at least my version of it.

When I called Tori to see what I should make, she informed me that Sky’s favorite dessert is fruit pie.  I’m going to come clean right now and admit that until just a few weeks before that, I attempted to bake a pie for the first time in my life; sure I had helped eat the extra pie dough when my grandma made them, but I was a total novice.  And let me tell you, although it looked pretty and tasted amazing, it was in desperate need of refining (more on this later as well).  But you can’t really tell the birthday boy “sorry, I’m not great at pie so I made you cake,” so I dug deep and gave it another go.

I remembered finding a recipe for a free form summer fruit tart (that came with an idiot proof video and all) in my email, and immediately went looking for it.  What I am learning is that a successful pie is a delicate balance between crust and filling…flaky but not soggy crust and moist but not overly wet filling…not the easiest thing in the world.  Much simpler than my last pie recipe, I stocked up on peaches and blueberries, gave the tutorial video a once-over, and came out on the other side with a beautiful and I dare say tasty pie.

Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 10 Tbsp butter cut up into half inch chunks and frozen for about a half hour
  • 3-6 Tbsp ice water
  • 3 cups fruit
  • 3-5 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt a few times so that it is evenly distributed.  Add in butter and

Getting the sides up and pinched around the fruit was a little tough...I think my dough wasn't quite soft enough at first, but it all worked out.

pulse again 10-12 times until the butter is in pieces smaller than a pea.  Add water into the food processor one tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse until the mixture can be pinched together to form a dough (the amount of water you need will be determined by the temperature and humidity of your kitchen).

Empty the dough out onto the counter and gather into a mound.  You are now going to “fressage” the dough across the counter to create small sheets of dough – watch the tutorial on the video for this part HERE.  Afterward, form a disk with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge after letting it set, and leave out on the counter for 15 minutes or so to make it more pliable.  Spray the counter lightly with water and put a piece of parchment paper down (the water will help it to stay put).  Roll the dough out on the parchment paper, using just enough flour that the process is a smooth one.

When the dough measures 12 inches across, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and return it to the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.  While you’re waiting, cut up three cups of fruit (I used peaches and blueberries, they use plums and raspberries in the video) and sprinkle with 3-5 Tbsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit), and mix gently until the fruit is coated evenly.

Take the dough out of the fridge and put the fruit in the middle, gently folding the edges up around the fruit and pinching it closed so that none of the fruit spills out while baking.  Lightly brush the outside of the crust with water and sprinkle the entire tart with 1 Tbsp sugar.  Bake on the bottom, middle rack at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  Leave the tart on the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it to a wire baking rack to cool completely for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

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