Archive for October, 2011

October 28, 2011

Starr Ranch Meyer Lemon Tartlet Squares

by cillefish

Starr Ranch had a winetasting during the Paso Wine Harvest Festival last weekend, and served these tartlet squares paired with their Starr Ranch Viognier (that stuff is delicious — a nose like the meringue on lemon meringue pie, plus apricot and baked pear). Anyway, this is a quick 1-bowl recipe; very easy and tasty, and lends itself well to a double batch.

  • For Original Crust (thinner, denser, butterier):
    • 1 stick (1/2 c) butter, sliced into strips and piled loosely in a Pyrex bowl
    • 1c flour
    • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • For Shortbread Crust (thick, biscuity, also buttery)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 to 1 1/2 c slivered almonds, whirled in food processor until mealy
  • Custard layer (same no matter which crust you choose):
    • juice of 1 Meyer lemon (about 4 Tbsp)
    • zest of 1 Meyer lemon (about 2-4 tsp)
    • 2 eggs, beaten slightly
    • 1 c sugar
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the butter in in the bowl and melt it in the microwave. Thoroughly mix in the dry ingredients for the crust, and press into a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish.

While the oven preheats, zest and juice the lemons into the same bowl you used for the flour mix. Add the eggs and sugar, and mix. When the crust is in the oven, set the timer to 12 to 20 minutes. Add the baking powder and flour to the egg/lemon mix and mix thoroughly, then set aside while the crust cooks.

When the crust is just barely blushed on the edges (NOT toasted — remember, it will get more oven time in a minute!), remove from the oven. Briefly mix up the lemon mix again so that the settled sugar isn’t stuck on the bottom, and pour the whole schamole over the crust. Return the whole thing to the oven and cook again for another 17-20 minutes, until the top has set and appears to be firm but not dried out.

Chill 10 min to several hours, sprinkle with more powdered sugar (you can put a tablespoonful at a time into a wire-mesh sieve and sprinkle it that way). Cut into 1″ squares and serve chilled. Store in an airtight container in the fridge; should keep about a week.


The winery owner says the original recipe calls for just 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp grated lemon peel, but she instead uses one whole Meyer lemon per recipe (all the zest and all the juice), which comes out to about double the lemon of the 2T/2t version). If you do not have Meyer lemon, you can use the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon combined with the zest and juice of 1/3 to 1/2 a medium orange (1/2 is better). The shortbread crust is adapted fromthe Chocolatey Raspberry Crumble Bars.

October 10, 2011

Curried Rice Salad

by cillefish

Main-course salad with plenty of flavor and fiber. Make sure to let it sit for at least an hour before serving; also excellent the day after. Recipe adapted from the one in Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin (LOVE this book!) — starred items are my additions. Make the rice a day ahead and undercook slightly.

Curried Rice Salad with Apples and “Smoky” Tofu

For the Tofu (optional)*:

  • 1/2 package tofu, squeezed, drained, and cubed evenly into cubes 1/2″ to 1″
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 Tsbp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke / hickory smoke flavor
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

For the Salad:

  • 2 1/2 – 3c cold cooked long-grain brown rice (made from 1 cup rice boiled in 2 cups water; OR use 1 2-cup package pre-cooked microwave-pouch brown rice
  • 1 red-skinned apple (fuji, pink lady, jazz; or gala, red delicious), cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/3 c chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 c thawed frozen peas
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (or 1 shallot or 1/4 small yellow onion), minced superfine
  • 1/2 jar (about 3 oz) roasted red peppers, chopped finely*
  • 1 sm. or med. Roma tomato, chopped small*
  • 10 snow peas cut into thin strips the short way using kitchen scissors
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup crumbled feta cheese*

The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root (peeled & minced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Generous season freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

(For stronger dressing, use instead: 4 Tbsp lemon, 2 1/2 – 3 tsp ginger root, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/3c olive oil.

1. For tofu, if using: combine liquid ingredients for tofu in a small bowl and whisk vigorously. Add in tofu cubes, swish around, and let sit 5-30 minutes. Meanwhile, chop other ingredients and heat very-nonstick skillet over medium. Add tofu and remaining liquid ingredients for tofu and brown on each side (turn every few minutes). Set aside.
2. Combine the rice, raisins, apple, peanuts, peas, scallions and snow peas in a large bowl and toss well.
3. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss to coat well. Add tofu.
4. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours; bring to room temperature before serving.