Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Studio 5: Classic Fresh Fruit Tart

Video was divided into two parts, as we had a commercial in between.

I was able to share a wonderful summer dessert on Studio 5 this week.  I love chocolate as much as the rest of the world, but when it comes to desserts, I'm a light-is-best, fruity kind of gal.

Just the sight of a fresh fruit tart makes me happy, even better is when I get to eat it!  One little tart is kind of pricey though, so it's been on my list to learn how to make it at home.

Finally got around to it and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was.  And yet, when I look at the finished product, I feel like a pastry chef!

So, pick a date this summer; a family gathering, birthday, dinner party, or just a romantic dinner at home and make it!  Would love to hear how it turns out!
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A jaw-dropping dessert to impress the eye and the taste buds ... and perfect for mid-summer ripe berries and fruit. 


Spotted in almost all European style bakeries, fresh fruit tart is classically French, and now American!  Dividing this dessert into 4 components takes away the intimidation factor.  In addition you can make each part ahead of time and then assemble the day you'll be serving it.



This is a great dessert to get creative with, depending on the tart pan you use and how you arrange your fruit.  Jumble all the fruit together or use concentric circles or rows.  Use all one color or fruit, or mix it up.



Fresh Fruit Tart

1.      Sweet Tart Shell

2.      Pastry Cream

3.      Fresh Fruit

4.      Glaze


Sweet Tart Shell

Using a food processor makes this super speedy.  If you don't have one, use a pastry blender or two knives to criss-cross through the mixture.  Do not use your hands or a spoon. 



1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick plus 1 Tbsp very cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg, beaten

1 large egg white, beaten




Directions: 
Place Flour, sugar and salt in food processor (or bowl).  Pulse a bit to mix.  Distribute the cubed butter evenly over the top of the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter looks like course sand.  Add 1/2 of the egg to mixture and pulse just long enough for dough to stick together and pull away from the walls of the bowl.



If after you've added the egg, the dough is still crumbly, add the rest of the egg.  
Sometimes, depending on the size of your eggs you may have to add more, so add the beaten egg white, a Tbsp at a time, until the dough sticks together.



Handling dough as little as possible, remove from processor (or bowl) and place countertop on piece of plastic wrap.  Form into a 6" or so disc.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.   You can store dough in refrigerator for a few days as well. 



Roll chilled dough on a plastic wrap (I layer 2 pieces of plastic wrap on counter to so I have more room to roll and keep dough off the counter, then place more wrap on top of dough.  The dough is very soft and will stick easily.  Plastic wrap makes the job much easier.)  Roll out to a little larger than the size of your tart pan.  Remove the top plastic wrap and carefully place over tart pan.  carefully nudge edges of dough towards inside of pan so it doesn't stretch into corners.  press down lightly into corners.  Use a knife or rolling pin to trim off dough from the top of tart pan.



Option:  This is the trickiest part of this dessert; getting the dough into the tart pan.  If it's just not working for you, simply press dough into pan.  It may not look as perfect as if rolled, but it will do.



My mistake and hopefully not yours.  The 2nd time I made this, I had this perfectly prepared pan, lifted it and placed my hand underneath and in the center... since the center is removable, it popped right out!  Had to start over again!



Prick bottom of crust with fork (this will help steam to escape while cooking so the crust doesn't bubble up).

Important*  Place pan on baking sheet.  Freeze prepared tart shell for 20-30 minutes before you bake.  This also helps the dough from rising too much.



Cover frozen shell lightly with tin foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes for a 9" tart pan.  20 minutes for a 4" tart pan and less for smaller tart shells.



You can freeze your tart shells for a couple of weeks.  Wrap lightly with tin foil to freeze.



Pastry Cream

This is a great recipe (I've tried many).  It comes together quickly and is nice an thick, which you need for a nice cut on this tart.  BTW: This make a lovely hot 'pudding', I may know that because I licked the spoon after I was done!



2 cups half & half

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

5 egg yolks

3 Tbsp cornstarch

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla




Directions: 
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the half & half and half of the sugar and the salt.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.



meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and rest of sugar together until light and fluffy (about 20 seconds).  Add the cornstarch and whisk some more until thoroughly combined.

Gradually whisk some of the half & half into the egg mixture.  When you have added about a third of the half & half to eggs, pour everything back into the pot and continue to whisk and bring to another simmer.  This goes quickly, so don't leave the stove!  Keep whisking until mixture thickens and looks glossy.  If you notice scorch marks from bottom of pan, lower the heat a bit. 



Turn heat off and add butter and vanilla.  Whisk until well combined.  Place in container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over top of cream (this will avoid a skin to form).  Let cool on counter top for 30 minutes then place in refrigerator until ready to use.  You can store this for a few days.



Once ready to assemble tart, let pastry cream warm on the counter for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Fill tart shell, just a bit below the top.



Option:  Once tart is assembled you need to eat it within a few hours, otherwise the crust can get soggy.  To lengthen the time it can sit you can either brush a thin coat of melted chocolate on tart shell.  You can also brush on some of the glaze (same as what you will put on top of fruit.)



Fresh fruit


Use any fruit that makes you happy, but here are a few suggestions that work well...
Strawberries

Raspberries

Blackberries

Blueberries

Grapes

Kiwi

Mandarin oranges (canned)

Peaches

Plums

You can use just one fruit, or multiple...form them in concentric circles, lines or free form.  This is definitely the fun part!






Glaze



Bring a jar of Apricot jam to a boil in a small pot, add a Tbsp of water to thin a bit.  Place in fine sieve so your end product is a lump-free apricot glaze.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.  When ready, heat back up, just until it loosens up.  Let cool to room temperature. (you don't want warm glaze on your fruit).  If it's too thick, add a bit of warm water to thin it out.



Gently brush on fruit.  This helps to keep fruit fresh and makes it pretty!













Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Q's Creative Classes: Quilting Bee Cards

I've made one quilt in my life.  28 years ago!  For my son who moved into a 'real' bed.  I stenciled rocking horses on squares and put that baby together, it was quite a job, which is probably why I've never made another one.  I have several friends and lots of students who quilt and I so admire the patience and exactness it requires.

I love the tradition of it all and wanted to capture that look on cards.  I have some fun new techniques to share with you, lace and ribbon, new charms and beautiful sentiments!  Everything is pre-cut and ready to assemble with basic supplies.

Each kit includes a slideshow (use on computer, tablet or even your phone!) that makes putting these five cards together super easy!  It also includes all the printables for future card making.


Quilting Bee Card Kit
Kits will begin shipping August 25th.  After you add the kit to the shopping cart, go back and add shipping as well.  

Class Schedule (will bring kit to class if you're attending one, do not add shipping).

Tuesday, Sept. 2nd         South Jordan Hobby Lobby    10am - noon
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd         South Jordan Hobby Lobby     5:30 - 7:30 pm
Wed., Sept. 3rd              South Jordan Hobby Lobby    10am - noon
Wed., Sept. 3rd              West Jordan Armory              6 - 8 pm
Thurs., Sept. 4th             American Fork Senior Center  6 - 8 pm
Friday, Sept. 5th             Layton Hobby Lobby             10am - noon
Friday, Sept. 5th             Layton Hobby Lobby             2 - 4pm
Friday, Sept. 5th             Layton Hobby Lobby             5:30 - 7:30 pm
Monday, Sept. 8th           Sandy Hobby Lobby              2 - 4 pm



What you'll need:

Adhesives: Your favorite tape to put cards together, foam squares and glue dots (mini, micro and craft) and scotch tape.

 
Tools: Scissors (long & fine-tipped), micro hole & 1/8" punch and Corner Rounder.  Paper piercer. 


Misc: Craft Mat (to work on), lid (to keep small pieces in), pencil.

Any questions?  Just email me




 

Renovate my office or QUIT: part 1

Ok, let's start by saying this is way, way, way, way overdue.

I would love to be able to say that it wouldn't bother me for you to see just how bad this room was before I gutted it, but yup, it does.  It was an embarrassment and frankly, I hated working in there.  It was heavy and un-inspiring, messy and disorganized.

About 15 years of super creativity: 1000's of projects for magazines, classes, videos, television and my own card group, not to mention owning a crafting store for 2 years, it was completely overrun with product, projects and no real space to put it all.  I would make attempts at organizing over the years and you might be surprised to know that I actually did know where everything was, it just wasn't fun getting to it!

It took some guts, time and money to commit myself to this project.  I also needed the help of my husband.  He was not thrilled when I proposed this summer project.  I don't blame him.  He spent the bulk of last year renovating other parts of our house and deck.  He wanted to spent his summer on his motorcycle, not in my office!

Normally, I would be understanding and supportive and give in to his suggested winter 2015 timeline, but really, I just couldn't.  I told him I would quit if I can't have a new work space to live in.  Now I suppose that sounds a drama queen, but I wasn't kidding.  The time was right for me.  Not him, but me.  It sounds selfish, I know, but if you know me, you know it's not.

My class schedule is Sept - June.  I take the summer off.  I knew this project would be so huge that I would need lots of uninterrupted time to complete the task.  So after several conversations (I'll call them that!) we decided to move forward.

I knew I could do a lot of it myself, but I'm not an electrician (neither is Steve, but really, he can do anything!), or good at baseboards and such.

The first step was gutting it.  Fifteen years of stuff had to be removed from my small room (it is now been donated or strewn throughout my downstairs family room and guest rooms...driving me crazy actually!).

Lights!  This was huge!  My office was very dark.  Steve put in some warmer lighting and now there are no dark corners.  I don't even need a desk lamp anymore.

Paint.  Pretty, soothing, light aqua color.
Floor.  wood laminate.  Love it!  I did it and was sore for days afterwards.
Baseboards.

Custom cabinets.  The door to this room is through what used to be a closet for a bedroom.  The dimensions were weird, so I had to go custom and pay for it!












Ikea.  SO grateful we have one close by.  Saved my budget!  I can say I'm pretty much an expert at putting Ikea things together! :)


















I spent ages on the internet trying to find a configuration that would work for my work patterns.  I needed a deep desk to accommodate printers, cutters and still have work to design.  This desk really works for me.  And I feel like a kid when I roll from one side to the other!


















I really needed to lighten up the darkest corner of our house and went with all white.  Because the desk is so deep I can take advantage of all that space and use Ikea's drawer unit underneath.  This is a great use of space for me.  They are all on rollers so I can easily access them.



















Well, this is as far I am right now.  There is currently more ikea boxes on the floor however, a project for tonight.  There is still SO much to do, but I don't want to rush it.  As impatient as I am, I want to do this right.

Going through my old plastic storage units and re-organizing them into the ikea drawer units. Making the most out of this precious space and retreating from the rest of the house.

















Hoping to share part 2 of this renovation (hopefully the LAST part of this project) in August.
I encouraged my students to work on their creative spaces this summer, so I'm wondering how it's all going?  I also encouraged you all to get caught up on kits you haven't put together yet.  

It'll be SO nice to start fresh & clean in September...I've got such fun Kits to share with you!

Leave a comment & let me know!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Studio 5: Huevos Rancheros with Spicy Short Ribs






 Serving breakfast in bed is a perfect way to start off Father's Day, but let's  ditch the traditional pancakes and make something spicy and substantial; Huevos Rancheros with Spicy Short ribs!


I had this upscaled version of a Mexican ranch breakfast at a restaurant in Park City (which unfortunately, is no longer in business).  Is was so delish I went home to recreate it and of course, tweak it a bit. 



It's crazy good, full of contrasting flavors and textures, a little heat and very filling!  Because two of the main components (Ribs and Beans) of this dish can be made ahead it's become a favorite camping breakfast (yes, really), perfect to start off a great day of hiking.



Huevos Rancheros with Spicy Short Ribs

...a layered dish with several easy components



1.      Spicy Short Ribs

2.      Black Beans Saute

3.      2 Corn tortillas, fried (and 2 small flour tortilla, heated and kept warm in foil)

4.      2 eggs, fried over easy

5.      Pica De Gallo

6.      Guacamole

7.      Garnishes



Spicy Mexican Short Ribs



1 lb. meaty short ribs

(You can substitute Country Style Pork ribs instead for a less expensive alternative - pictured).

Mexican Seasoning

(I have a favorite mix I use, but Oregano, chili, cumin, salt & Pepper are good seasonings to use.)

Olive Oil

1 or 2 Jalapenos, chopped finely

2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 can Tomatoes (petite diced with green chiles, Medium)

Chipotle in Adobo sauce, chopped finely and mashed

(this is what creates the added heat, so use with discretion...you may want to start with just one of the peppers the first time, or even just some of the sauce.  Add more if you like it super spicy).

Water

Wondra

(this is a quick mixing all purpose flour you can add directly to liquid to thicken)




Season your ribs liberally.  In a deep cast iron pan, brown meat on all sides.  Add canned tomatoes.  Fill can with water and add to pan.  Add Vinegar, Jalapenos and Chipotles to pan.

Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 3-4 hours until meat is very tender and sauce has thickened.

Alternatively, you can transfer contents of pan into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Either way, at the end of cooking, remove meat, turn heat back up and thicken sauce with a little Wondra and a whisk.    Return meat to sauce and keep warm if planning to serve right away.

Otherwise, let cool completely and keep in fridge (or even freeze).  This actually tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two.  Reheat when preparing to serve.



Black Bean Sauté

{goodness, we love these and eat them all the time, not just for this recipe}



Olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped finely

1 red pepper, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or smashed

2 cans black beans, drained (but reserve liquor)

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped OR 1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Juice of one lime



Sauté onion, peppers and garlic in a couple Tbsp of olive oil.  When soft, add rest of ingredients.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.  Add some of the leftover liquor from can if they seem dry.  You want them a bit saucy.  You can also add a finely chopped jalapeno for some heat.



Guacamole

{I'm sure you all have a great recipe for Guacamole, but here's mine just in case.}



3 ripe avocados, mashed (I like to leave a little chunk in it though)

2 green onion, chopped finely

1 large tomato, chopped finely

2-3 limes

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro



The measurements for Lime & Salt is pretty general.  Really, I determine how much to use by taste.  You want to have the lime pop and the salt brings everything to life.   



Pico De Gallo



3 large tomatoes, chopped

4 green onion, chopped finely (you can use purple onion here instead if you wish)

2-3 limes

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2  bunch cilantro, chopped (leaves and stems)

1 Jalapeno, chopped finely (or more if you want extra hot)



Ditto:  The measurements for Lime & Salt is pretty general.  Really, I determine how much to use by taste.  You want to have the lime pop and the salt brings everything to life.   





Garnishes:

Crumbled Queso Fresco

Coarsely chopped Cilantro

Sour Cream (or Mexican Crema)

Lime zest



Assembly

Fry your corn tortillas (or use store bought).

Reheat ribs and beans.

Have Guacamole, Pico de Gallo and garnishes ready to go.

Heat Flour tortillas and wrap in foil to keep warm (serve next to dish).  These are for the VERY hungry, who wants to use every last bit of the dish!   Just wrap and eat!



Add two eggs to pan with melted butter.  Keep them together so they are one solid piece.  Fry over-easy (a yokey egg makes this SO unctuous!)



Lay one corn tortilla in center of dish.  Place a few Tbsp of beans on tortilla and top with another tortilla and a few more tablespoons of beans.

Dish a Rib with sauce on the side.

Dish Guacamole, Pica de Gallo and crema (or sour cream) on the other side.

Place eggs on top of tortilla stack and spoon some of the rib sauce on top of the eggs.

Sprinkle Queso Fresco and cilantro over top of eggs and ribs.

Zest some lime over the sour cream.



Eat & Enjoy!

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