Saturday, December 09, 2006

Leek Tart

Leek Tart
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
Last weekend, Wynne had a few people over at her house for a Pinot tasting/dinner. I brought some homemade quesadillas made with corn tortillas from the Davis Farmer's Market. Stephanie, another grad student in our department, brought a heavenly leek tart. A few days later, she brought me her recipe, so I decided to give it a go.

Leek Tart
adapted from a recipe in an unknown recipe book

2.5 lbs leeks
3 tbs butter
1.5+ tsp water
8 springs of thyme, leaves removed from stem

Trim off tops (green part) and bottoms (root end) of leeks. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then cut them crosswise to make 1/4" half moons. Put into a colander and wash away the grit and sand.

Heat a skillet over med-high heat. Add butter and water (I know, I have never seen this technique either). When butter has melted, add leeks and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until leeks are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add a little more water if the leeks start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Set aside while you make the dough.

Galette Dough
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 oz (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
1/3 c ice water

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Using half of the butter (according to the recipe "should be cool - not cold and hard, but not too soft, either"), cut (mash with back of fork) into the flour mixture until the consistency of cornmeal is reached. Add the other half of the butter in bigger chunks. Work into the dough very briefly, just so it is in the dough, but not homogeneously mixed through. The little butter batches will help make a flaky dough. Lightly fork in ice water until evenly moistened. Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the refrigerator for an hour.

About 10 minutes before the dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 400ºF with a rack in the lowest position.

Roll out one of the disks on a lightly floured surface to make a 12" circle (approx 1/8" thick, if you can tell). Carefully transfer dough circle onto a baking sheet. Lightly flour the dough. I think this is to help absorb some of the liquid from the leeks so it doesn't get soggy. Evenly add the leek mixture to the dough. Only add the leeks in the middle 10" (leave a 1" border). Fold over the border of the dough to make a pseudo-crust. Beat an egg and brush the outside of the dough with the eggwash. This will help in brown in the oven. Put this in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

If the top gets too brown before the bottom does, just place a piece of foil on the top (no need to wrap, just place) and let it finish baking until the bottom browns.

The recipe did not say anything about waiting to cool, so I didn't :)


Friday, December 08, 2006


Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
Today was the last day of my first quarter of grad school at UC Davis. It has been an intense experience. I have learned so much and have met so many people. In this picture I am wearing a fashionable pinotblogger t-shirt. They are a new winery starting in the RRV and I am excited to see what they do.
Next week: Finals and some time took catch up on cooking.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Curried Carrot Socca

Curried Carrot Socca
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
First off, time for an explanation. Grad school is a lot of work. So much so, in fact, that I have not had time to cook, never mind take pictures of my food, never mind write about it. I have decided, however, that the busiest time of the quarter (finals) is a great time to start again. So here it is...

A socca is a chickpea flour-based food originating from Provence. I first had one at Gregoire's second restaurant, Socca Oven (unfortunately now closed), in Berkeley, CA. Molly, Antonia and I each had a socca, and from that first taste, I decided that I would try to develop my socca-making skills. I started off making crepe-like pancakes in a crepe pan. They were very good, but not the same as Gregoire made them. Here is my first success with the thicker, heavenly socca.

Curried Carrot Socca
1 c. chickpea flour
1 c. warm water
2 tbs. olive oil, plus extra for the pan
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 large or 3 small carrots, diced. (I got mine from the Davis Farmer's Market and they were the best carrots I have ever tasted. The texture was not fibrous like supermarket carrots... but I digress...)
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp curry powder

Heat oven to 450ºF and put a cast iron skillet in to heat up.
Add chickpea flour, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Whisk in the water. Whisk in the oil. Let sit out for 20 minutes to hydrate.
In the mean time, heat a little bit of olive oil in a med-high skillet. Cook garlic for a few seconds, then add the onions and the carrots. Sweat for a minute while constantly stirring to avoid burning garlic, then turn down heat to medium. Add the curry powder and cayenne pepper. Continue to sweat for another minute, then turn of heat, stir for a minute, then remove from the heat.

Once the batter has sat for 20-30 minutes, add the onion mixture and stir. Pull the cast iron pan out of the oven. Add a little bit of oil (2 tsp) to coat the bottom of the skillet entirely. Pour in the batter and replace the skillet in the oven. Bake at 450ºF for 10 minutes. When the socca has set, move the skillet to the top of the oven and set the oven to broil for 2 minutes, until it starts to get a little bit brown.

The socca should come out of the pan pretty easily. I had to invert it onto a plate, then invert it back onto a second plate, but it stayed intact.

Good luck on your socca adventures and let me know how it goes for you, or if you have had the chance to have a socca previously.