1 Pie Crust (in refrigerated section...or you can make your own)
6 Tbsp Butter
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
3 or 4 firm ripe pears (Barlett or Bosc)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cupe apricot preserves
1 Tbsp pear liquer (optional)
Pear Chips (optional)
1. Preheat Oven to 450 F - precook the crust according to the directions.
2. For custard filling, in a small saucepan, heat the 6 Tbsp of butter over medium heat until golden brown; cool for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat the 1 egg and the egg yolk with a wire whisk until combined. Whisk in the 1/3 cup sugar, then the 3 Tbsp flour. Whisk in cooled browned butter, set aside.
3. Halve, core, and peel pears. Dip pears into a mixture of the 1 cup water and the lemon juice; drain on paper towels. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife and beginning about 1/2 inch from the narrow end of each pear half, cut pear into 1/8-inch slices, leaving pear attached at the top. Carefully transfer pears to crust lined tarte pan, placing narrow ends toward center of pan; press pears slightly to fan them. Spoon custard filling around pears. NOTE: If you are having trouble fanning them just slice individually. That's what I did and it worked fine.
4. Bake 35-40 minutes or until custard filling is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. In a small saucepan, melt preserves; strain to remove pieces of fruit. If desired, stir pear liqueur into melted preserves. Spoon or brush preserve mixture evenly over pears. If desired, garnish tart with Pear Chips. Makes 12 servings.
For Pear Chips: using a mandoline, very thinly slice a Seckel or Forelle pear. Place pear slices on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 300 F oven about 20 minutes or until slices are golden and crisp, turning once.
***This recipe is from Taste of Home
Coconut Crusted Tilapia for Two
2 tilapia filets
1/2 cup of coconut shavings
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup cooking oil
- Rinse the tilapia filets then pat them dry
- Mix the coconut shavings and bread crumbs on a plate
- Beat the eggs in a bowl
- Pour the flour onto a separate plate
- Heat the oil in a pan
- Dredge the filets in the flour then dip into the eggs.
- Coat with the coconut/bread crumb mixture
- Place in the pan and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side.
- You may need to split the oil up in between "flips" (i.e. only use half the amount for the first side then before you flip add a the rest). This will ensure both sides are browned and crispy
Serving suggestions - for an easy meal that looks like you spent more time than you really did try this...Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Red Curry, Rice and a pineapple orange salsa
- Before you start the fish bring the water to boil for the white rice (I used Basmati). Also, get the Red Curry sauce to start as well. I used Thai Kitchen but the next time I think I'll get some additional curry paste to add a bit more kick to the flavor of the curry.
- For the salsa I just used crushed pineapple from a can and added a fresh orange, peeled and crushed.
- To present I poured some curry onto the plate. Then I put some rice into a small coffee cup and flipped it over onto the plate to give it a nicer restaurant-like presentation.
- Lean the filet against the rice and top with a spoonful of the pineapple orange salsa.
Bacon Sage Roasted Chicken
1 roasting chicken (4.5-5.5 lbs)
4 slices of bacon
Fresh Sage - about 6 leaves
Dash of pepper
1 clove of garlic
1 apple, cored and cut into wedges (I buy extra to garnish the plate)
Sprigs of Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, etc
Years ago I found a recipe for a Roasted Chicken that I loved but after years of making it for special occasions I felt I needed to add to my repertoire. So I hunted for a new recipe and tracked this one down...found it an about.com site written by Diana Rattray. I cooked it a few months ago for some friends but to really make sure that wasn't a first time fluke (it turned down great) I decided to give it another shot for my team from work.
Anyway to get started heat the over to 450 F. Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Set the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. (If you don't have a rack you can use a few ribs of celery).
In a food processor or chopper, process the bacon, sage or thyme, pepper, and garlic until the mixture resembles a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat and put your finger(s) between the skin and meat of the chicken breasts and legs. Spread the minced bacon mixture under the skin.
Put any excess minced bacon mixture in the cavity of the chicken, along with apple or orange chunks and sprigs or leaves of fresh herbs, if desired. Rub the chicken with lots of butter (softened). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken for 10 minutes at 450° breast side down. Flip the chicken breast side up and tie the legs together with butcher string. Twist and tuck the wings behind the thighs. Cook another 10 minutes at 450°. Reduce heat to 350° and roast for about 17 to 20 minutes per pound, or until an instant-read thermometer reads about 165 to 170° when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Be careful - most thermometers aren't over proof. haha...I for some reason stuck mine into the breast and shut hte over. a couple minutes later my fancy thermometer from Crate & Barrel was melted and would no longer turn on. Oh the woes of cooking.
Remove to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. I garnished with additional apples and springs/leaves of the herbs left over. Keep it simple and clean for a great presentation for guests.
It turned out delicious - perfectly moist and flavorful if I do say so. I served it with homemade mushroom risotto and asparagus along with some white wine. A great meal for a cold winter night.
Country Sausage Gravy
1/2 lb of sausage
2 TBSP of sausage and/or bacon grease
2 TBSP of flour
1/4 cup of an onion
2 cups of milk
1-2 TBSP Heavy Cream (optional)
I haven't made gravy for over 2 years - mainly because my first attempt turned in a thick floury goo. It was so "tasty" that when I told my dad this past Saturday morning that I was making it for some friends he laughed and said "I sure hope you've improved since the last time." To remember that I was that bad at making gravy from 2 years ago says a lot. Anyway, I fancy myself a much better cook than "back then" so I did decided to attempt it again. This time for my husband and two unsuspecting friends.
To begin, whenever I make something a common dish and want to make it my own, I research it to figure out the main basics. So here it goes....
Basics: Grease, Flour, and Milk. Easy, right?
To get started I cooked the sausage and then moved it to a bowl - be careful to leave the grease behind in the skillet. I used sausage from my family's farm so I also had to poach some of the bacon grease that I had reserved for eggs. I didn't say this was a healthy meal. So I used a total of 2 TBSP of grease and sauteed the onion. This was just an optional piece that I thought would had a bit more flavor and hopefully prevent my gravy from being too "floury". Once those are nice and clear add the flour a little at a time and stir it up. Cook for 2-3 minutes...you want to COOK the flour taste out of the flour. This was my big problem all those years ago. Now you add the milk a little bit at a time and WHISK the milk and flour mixture together. Continue to add the milk until you are out. This is where I changed it a bit...I left about 1-2 TBSP of the milk in the measuring cup and instead thru some Heavy Cream into the gravy. It gave it a perfect creamy consistency.
Be sure to season along the way and let the gravy really absorb the seasoning before you go all crazy and add 3 handfuls of salt to it. Who would do that? Goodness - talk about a heart attack. Okay...so I did get a bit anxious when the gravy was a bit bland. I thought I tasted a bit of that "floury" taste and I panicked so I thru not only cayenne pepper (good addition) and black pepper but enough salt to salt the Dead Sea.
I will definitely be making this gravy again but will be sure to lighten it up a bit with the salt. And to my dear friends who were kind enough to be my taste testers this past weekend - if your hearts are still working please come to brunch this Saturday. I promise to take it easy on the salt.