Lemon Tart

Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve been making this tart about every two weeks. That’s much more frequently than before when I would just make it once or twice a year. I have definitely been eating a lot more desserts, that is at home or outside in restaurants. I’ve been making a lot more ice-creams too.

Makes 8-inch tart.

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[100% organic]

For Pâte Sablée (Short Bread dough)

  • 150 g butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 90 g powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 255 g cake flour (sifted)
  • 1-2 TBS cold water (optional)
  • Butter, as needed, for tart pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a rubber spatula or spoon, flatten out butter and powdered sugar. Add yolk one by one and then add sifted cake flour. If you don’t have cake flour, substitute with pastry/AP flour (for every 1 cup of pastry/AP flour, remove 1 TBS of it and add 1 TBS cornstarch). Mix slowly to combine. If dry, add the cold water. Form into a ball and flatten it, wrap with plastic and place in refrigerator until firm.

Butter the tart pan and put in freezer.

In between two sheets of parchment paper/plastic wrap/SilPats, roll dough to 1/16 inch. Carefully place into buttered pan, press into place and roll over the top of the pan to remove excess hanging dough. Using a fork, puncture tart shell with holes. Blind bake with weights for 20 minutes. Remove weights and continue baking until golden.

Reserve shell at room temperature before pouring in the tart filling. Lower oven to 300°F.

For the Tart Filling

  • Pinch of flour
  • Butter, as needed
  • 5 eggs
  • 6 lemons: zested, and 150 g juice
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g heavy cream

Zest lemons and mix the juices together. Infuse for as long as possible.

In a bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add cream, mix lightly and continue to whisk. Stir in lemon juice, zest, and pinch of flour. Skim the foam off. Strain before putting it into the cooled pastry shell.

Bake 25-30 minutes. When removing from oven, the custard should jiggle. Cool on wire rack and serve with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Citrus Marinaded Quail with Parsnip Purée, Arugula, Pea Leaves Salad, and Satsuma

This was the second course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

I’m really happy the way this dish turned out. It’s EXACTLY how I pictured it!

Serves 6.

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[100% organic]

For the Citrus Marinade

  • 6 semi-boneless butterflied quail
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 3 TBS EVOO
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1-inch ginger roots, peeled and finely minced
  • Pinch of salt

In a large bowl, mix together all marinading ingredients and add quail. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the Parsnip Purée

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup butter
  • EVOO, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place parsnips along with thyme and bay leaf in a tray and season with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes.

Remove parnips from tray and place in a bowl along with cream and butter. Smash with a fork and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning.

Keep warm before serving.

For the Quail

  • Marinaded quail
  • Leftover marinade, for basting
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly grounded pepper

Remove quail from bowl and reserve mixture for basting.

In a hot pan, add canola oil and sear quail breast-side down on high heat. Turn heat to medium and be sure to press down. Flip quail after 5 minutes while basting continuously. Cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes and remove from pan. Rest quail before slicing.

For the Salad

  • 4 satsuma mandarins, peeled
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 6 cups pea leaves
  • Citrus Vinaigrette or other simple dressings (such as EVOO + lemon juice)
  • Salt

Peel satsumas, simply dress the greens before plating.

TO ASSEMBLE

Slice quail into 2 sections: wing & breast and leg. Spoon parsnip purée onto plate, place salad greens nicely and arrange quail along the plate.

Lemon Saffron Risotto with Mussels

This is a very much long over due post! Wow, this month flew by! I’m not really surprised though because July always goes by so fast for me since it’s my birth month and it’s a constant reminder that I am at the third week of my new age…

I thought work would die down but it hasn’t and I am constantly so very tired and stressed. Not having my usual two consecutive days off contribute to my being tired all the time; my days off are split. I miss my Sunday food parties… I haven’t had the time nor energy to hold house parties since May!! But I insisted to myself that I post something for July because August is right around the corner… and not updating my blog is not an option!

The lightness of the lemon flavoring definitely balanced out the heaviness of the saffron!

Serves 4.

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[100% organic, wild mussels from Canada]

For the Mussels

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 3 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 garlic head, cut in half horizontally
  • Parsley stems
  • 1 TBS black whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt

Clean, scrub, and soak mussels in salted cold water for 15 minutes. De-beard mussels.

In a pan on medium low heat, melt butter with olive oil. Sweat shallots with a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat to medium and add in aromatics (garlic, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf) and sweat for 1 minute. Turn heat to high and add in mussels. Cover the pan with a lid and shake the pan over the heat vigorously. Add in white wine and simmer until mussels open up, 3-4 minutes. Mussels will be halfway cooked. You will finish cooking the mussels in the risotto.

Strain the mussel liquor and set aside. Remove each mussel from its shell and set aside, either over ice or in the refrigerator. Discard shells, unless you want to plate mussels in their shells.

For the Risotto

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • Reserved mussel liquor
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • 2 qts vegetable stock
  • 4 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Reserved mussels
  • Salt
  • (Optional: grated Pecorino Romano)

Heat up vegetable stock in a saucepan and keep hot.

In a pan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add in the diced onion and sweat until soft. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter fully coats each grain of rice and cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the mussel liquor and saffron, and cook until completely absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding 1 cup broth at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is short of al dente, about 15-20 minutes.

Before the last addition of stock, fold in reserved mussels, lemon juice, lemon zest, and half of the chopped parsley.

Season and taste to adjust seasoning. I like to fold in finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese into my risottos so I rarely have to season with any salt since the cheese is very salty.

Scoop risotto into bowls and top with more chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Pickled Vegetables with Winter Citrus, Warm Purple Potatoes & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

My plans fell through for this 5-course dinner with that someone someone but I didn’t want to scrap this 5-course dinner. I had half of the groceries already so I went ahead with the prepping. I invited a friend over instead. Why have all that food go to waste right?

I had most of my shopping done already and when I went to Whole Foods, they didn’t have beets nor farro. I had to come up with a new salad on the spot. I decided to do something simple since I still had to make 4 of the 5 courses.

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[100% organic]

For the Pickled Vegetables

  • 1 carrot
  • 2 daikon radishes
  • Pickled peanuts
  • ½ cup pear white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup pomegranate white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar, divided in 2

Peel the carrot and using a peeler, continue to peel the carrot to make carrot ribbons. Bring the pomegranate white wine vinegar with equal parts of water and ¼ cup sugar to a boil. Once boiling, take off from heat and pour into a container with a lid. Add in the carrots ribbons and set aside at room temperature until cool then place in fridge.

Peel the daikon radishes and cut into obliques. Bring the pear white wine vinegar with equal parts of water and ¼ cup sugar to a boil. Once boiling, take off from heat and pour into a container with a lid. Add in the daikon and set aside at room temperature until cool then place in fridge.

For the Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

  • One 15 oz. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until it forms a thick, smooth paste. Season it to your taste and set aside.

For the Blood Oranges & Vinaigrette

  • 2 blood oranges, suprêmed, juices reserved
  • Pomegranate white wine vinegar
  • 2 lemons, juiced, separated
  • EVOO
  • Salt, to taste

Suprême each orange and reserve juices for vinaigrette. Set suprêmes aside. After suprêming each orange, squeeze the core to get more juice. Strain juice before making vinaigrette.

Ratio: 1 part vinegar :: 2 parts juice :: 3 parts EVOO. Using an immersion blender, blend vinegar, juice, EVOO, and lemon juice from 1 lemon. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Before dressing, blend again.

For the Finish

  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 black radishes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 10 small purple potatoes
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Aromatics
  • Butter
  • Salt

Clean and pick watercress. Using a mandolin, slice thin shavings of black radishes and place in ice water. Peel celery stalks and then using a peeler, make celery ribbons and place in ice water.

Boil and cook purple potatoes with aromatics and a pinch of salt. Once potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel them and cut into bite-sized pieces.

TO ASSEMBLE

Using a large spoon, spoon a good amount of hummus on a chilled plate and slide the spoon through it so it creates a streak. Place pickled vegetables on top of the streak, along with the orange segments.

Warm potatoes in a hot pan with butter, parsley, and salt, and place onto the plate.

In a mixing bowl, lightly dress watercress, celery ribbons, and black radishes. Carefully place greens on top and sprinkle pickled peanuts and toasted pumpkin seeds over everything.

Mini Fruit Bites with Lemon Crème Chantilly, Strawberry Compote & Consommé

Like I wrote in the previous posts, I’m still obsessed with making finger food. I have leftover dumpling wrappers in my freezer and I’m trying to find a good way to use them. A couple of years ago, I made something similar but with mango, avocado, and tomato. I find them to be so cute.

I wish I could find/buy microbasil because the addition of a little green thingy would complete this dish.

[100% organic]

For the Fruit Bites

  • Dumpling/wonton wrappers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Butter @ room temperature

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray a mini muffin tray and place one dumpling wrapper in every space. Using a brush, butter each wrapper. Place muffin tray into oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. Take crispy dumpling wrappers out of the muffin tray and set on a cooling rack.

For the Lemon Crème Chantilly

  • ½ lemon, juiced & zested
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar, as needed

Whip cream until stiff peaks and add 1-2 TBS powdered sugar, or to your liking. I don’t like overly sweet things. Add in the lemon juice and zest and fold well. Place in a pastry bag with a small star tip and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Strawberry Compote & Consommé

  • 2 cups strawberry trimmings
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

In a saucepan, add whatever overripe strawberries and strawberry scraps/trimmings that you have, and all the other ingredients. Toss and bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and turn off heat. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area and let it infuse for as long as possible, 4 hours ideally.

Strain the liquid and place inside a clean saucepan, set aside the solids. Bring strawberry liquid to a small boil and whisk in cornstarch that has been mixed with a little water. Bring back to a boil and turn off heat. Place both liquid and compote in the fridge.

TO ASSEMBLE

For one serving: place 5 blueberry halves as the base and pipe a rosette of whipped cream in the center. Place the dumpling cup on top and pipe more whipped cream in it and decorate with strawberry compote, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries. Drizzle the strawberry sauce around the base at the end.

For party presentation: pipe a tiny amount of the whipped cream on the plate so that dumpling cups don’t move. Pipe more whipped cream in it and decorate with strawberry compote, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries. Serve with strawberry sauce.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Fettuccine in a Lemon Garlic Sauce with Asparagus & Fava Beans

Having a dish with no meat, this recipe took me foreverrrrrr – mainly because I made chicken stock from scratch.

I really enjoyed making Pasta alla Chitarra with Morels, Peas & Asparagus in class (garde manger) because the sauce is something that I’ve never done before. First of all, it’s not tomato-based. Second, the pasta is so refreshing!! And third, I am a pro at making the pasta noodles with the chitarra now. It took me 2 minutes to figure out the secret!

If I had a pasta machine and a chitarra, I would make my own pasta noodles.

[100% organic]

For the Brown Chicken Stock

  • 2 lbs poultry bones
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, white & pale green parts only, roughly sliced
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • Bouquet garni – ½ head garlic, 1 TBS whole black peppercorns, few parsley stems, few thyme sprigs
  • Canola oil

Preheat oven to 500°F. Trim the bones of fat and skin, then rinse the bones under cold running water. Roast bones with drizzle of canola oil in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until bones are golden. When bones are done, degrease by straining and let the oil drip for a few minutes while you do something else.

In a stockpot, place the roasted bones and a little of canola oil over medium heat. Add in the onions, carrots, celery, and leeks. Sauté until a little bit of color is reached and then add in the 1 TBS tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste before adding enough cold water to cover the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Add in bouquet garni and then simmer for 2 hours.

Strain the stock and transfer to a clean pot. Reduce the stock by a quarter, or until chicken stock becomes gelatinous. Cool in an ice bath. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

For the Sauce

  • 1 qt reduced chicken stock
  • 6 garlic heads, peeled
  • 6 lemons, zested (save 1-2 lemons)
  • EVOO
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Using a vegetable peeler, zest the lemons. Be careful not to peel the pith of the lemon or else your sauce will be bitter. Blanch the lemon zest 3 times: boil in cold water, strain, boil in cold water, strain, boil in cold water, strain, and set aside.

After peeling all the cloves, degerm the garlic by remove any green parts. Blanch them in cold water, 3 times, too. In a clean pot over low-medium heat, confit the garlic by adding equal parts of canola oil and EVOO, and then cook until tender and sweet, 10-15 minutes.

Purée the chicken stock, garlic, and zest in a blender. Season with salt and black pepper, and taste. Sauce should be bright and garlicky. Set aside.

For the Finish

  • Fettuccine, as needed
  • 1 lb fresh fava beans
  • ½ lb asparagus
  • Tarragon leaves, as needed
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Boil a large pot of salted water.

Remove fava beans from pods and then set aside. Cut off 1-2 inches from the bottom of the asparagus and peel the asparagus one inch from the bottom of the head. Cook the asparagus whole before cutting them. In the salted boiling water, cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes. Immediately shock in cold water and ice. Once asparagus is cold, cut asparagus on the bias and set aside. Boil the fava beans for 3-5 minutes and shock in cold water and ice. Shell the fava beans and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Reheat ½ cup of sauce, taste and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the sauce and add some asparagus and fava beans, then toss in sauce. Cook pasta until al dente, drain well, and add to sauce. Toss to coat pasta to allow the flavors to blend. If sauce is too thick, add a little bit of heated reduced chicken stock. Add some tarragon leaves and grated parmesan. Plate pasta in a warm bowl and garnish with more grated parmesan.

Salmon Tartare with Avocado, Mango & Cucumber

I want spring and summer to come as quickly as possible to this miserable weather in NYC. I miss Texas so much! Yesterday was gloomy and rainy. Since today is quite sunny, I decided to make tartare and the colors turned out very bright and spring-like! I lightly dressed the salmon with some leftover vinaigrette that I still had in my fridge.

[100% organic, conventional avocado, farmed salmon]

Ingredients

  • 5 oz. salmon
  • Half of English cucumber
  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • Salt & pepper

Juice and zest the lemon. Work with the least likely to oxidize ingredients first. Peel and dice the cucumber, mango, avocado. Toss all ingredients separately with little lemon juice, zest, and salt. Dice up salmon and season with salt and pepper at the very end.

Layer with avocados at bottom, then mango, then cucumber, and top with salmon. Serve with toasted bread slices or tortilla chips!

Click here to see with Ahi Tuna and here for another Salmon rendition.