Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Queen of Tarts Tuesday
I have a collection of interesting recipes from a little free newspaper that is handed out in town every Wednesday. A friend of mine picks up a copy and sifts through the articles, often clipping the recipes from the back page to pass along to La Fourchette. Thoughtful, non?
This one caught my eye and has been waiting for the Queen of Tarts series. It reminded me of another friend back in California. Every year, as August would tumble out of summer, one of us would call the other to announce, confirm and discuss the change of the light at summer's end. And every year, when autumn would sneak in, one of us would call the other to suggest a dinner plan together of the season's ripening pears, a good bleu cheese and a fine bottle of red wine.
Life would roll along and we seemed to get sidetracked by one thing or another, one of which was an "investment club", cooked up with a third girlfriend.
We designed our club in an effort to learn about investing after our respective divorces. We were going to navigate the labyrinth of Wall Street on our own, hand in hand. We had notebooks, guidebooks, the business section of the local rag, pretty pastel tablets (no surprise there, right?!) and our various fine pens from various fine men we'd known. We even had a name for our group: The Big Dawgs.
We'd meet at one or another of our homes, showing up with notebooks in hand, pens in our lovely purses and start with a fabulous brunch together...complete with champagne...which may have been our first mistake because we always seemed to get, well...sidetracked.
We would end up talking about our week out in the world, our most recent relationship drama (back when I was still enduring drama in relationships), recipes, the idea of putting those recipes into a cookbook (written together, of course), the latest news about the woman who did our nails, skin care products, men we had dated, wanted to date, the ones we wish we hadn't dated (which included a brief run with a felon for a couple of us...I won't say which of us. Those things are better off forgotten, aren't they now?) and finally a run down of our current reading lists.
These Sunday meetings of the Big Dawgs never did make us rich. They didn't even manage to organize us further than our cool three-ringed binders and pastel tablets to tackle the stock market (which I'm thinking was a lucky stroke, at this particular juncture!) But it did lead to our Dream Books.
Each of us constructed a Dream Book as an artful way to clarify our dreams in words and pictures. I ran across mine as I was sorting through the “stuff” I have stored at my sister's home during one of my trips back. As I leafed through those colorful pages, I was amazed to find that most of my dreams had come true.
Ahhh, those days spent dreaming with girlfriends and doing...well..."girl stuff".
Such things deserve recognition. And here it is!
You might serve this tart with a lifted glass and a toast to dreams coming true...for one and all. It is an homage, of sorts, to "Ms. Thang"...and the Big Dawgs.
There's a hint of heat here...a curtsy to the aforementioned Ms. Thang, who came to the meetings decked out in turquoise and sterling silver pledging to "brand" her budding (no pun intended) interior landscape design business with the flair of her beloved Southwest. She didn't keep the brand but she did become wildly successful. I'll bet it was in her Dream Book.
As to that pear/bleu cheese/wine dinner? Should have put that in our Dream Books.
TARTE POIRE ET ROQUEFORT AU PAPRIKA (adapted from the Metro/and originally taken from La cuisine des épices by Laurence Tilly)
1 roll of pâte feuilletée
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup bleu cheese d'Auvergne (a mild, softer bleu cheese)
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1. Preheat oven to 350º Prepare the tart pan with the pâte feuilletée, picking the base of the tart pastry with a fork and put it the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
2. Peel and core the pears and slice in 1/4 inch slices. Place them in a pan with the butter and gently let them cook until golden and a bit soft - but not too soft. Give them a light showering of pepper and sprinkle the paprika over them. Place them in the prebaked tart crust.
2. In a bowl, break up the bleu cheese with a fork and mix it with the crème fraîche and the pine nuts. Hit it with a few turns of the pepper mill. Put the mixture on the pears and return the tart to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.