Friday, May 20, 2016

CtBF ~ Ham, Blue Cheese and Pear Quiche #FoodRevolutionDay

CtBF's Ham, Blue Cheese and Pear Quiche
For the past three years, I have been participating in Food Revolution Day. A day of global action created by Jamie Oliver and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. It's a day to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about the food they eat and how to prepare it. This is something that is very important to me. I believe people would be much healthier, and be able to eat cheaper if they learned to cook. So thank you, Mardi @Eat.Live.Travel.Write., for another year of sending out this message. Our goal is to get people to start cooking, learn the basics and join Jamie’s revolution

The theme is #FeedtheFuture, and our CooktheBookFridays group is joining the revolution. It's all about learning skills and techniques that will give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and serve healthy meals throughout your life. 

Rolled out pastry
Cook the Book Fridays is taking on the challenge with a French recipe that all cooks should know. We are making Quiche!  It's from David Lebovitz's cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen". Quiche has saved my entertaining life more than once. It was one of the first things I learned to prepare after I was married. Many moons ago! In the beginning, I really didn't do so well with making a pastry crust. Funny thing is, my mom was the best crust maker ever. She tried to teach me, but for some reason, I just couldn't master it. Flaky, buttery pie crusts were never going to happen for me. Don't judge me...but I used to buy pre-made Pillsbury. I know! Then one day, I decided I was not going to let the pie Gods win. And once I did it...that was it! 

Crust placed into springform pan and filling
Once you master pastry crust, the sky's the limit. Think of all the pies, quiches, and galettes you can bake. The pastry crust that David has included with this Quiche is easy and flavorful. It's a mixture of cornmeal and flour. The texture is lovely. We are crazy about Quiche in my house. It's a perfect meal for a hot summers day, served with a side salad. It's also wonderful for brunch because it can be made ahead of time. Quiche has always been part of my repertoire. For simple dinners and lunches, or for a special occasion celebration. It makes entertaining easy!

Just out of the oven
I served this gorgeous quiche a few weeks ago when my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were visiting. I made the crust the night before and rolled it out in the morning. The quiche was a little more involved, sautéing shallots, then mixing them with the chopped pear and ham.  Blend the cream cheese, cream, nutmeg, eggs and egg yolks until smooth. Stir in the blue cheese, and the pear and ham mixture. Fill the springform pan and bake. This recipe is seriously delicious! It was a big hit with my company and the one who didn’t like blue cheese, loved it! Happy Food Revolution Day! 

To see what the other bloggers in our group thought of this recipe, check it out here. This recipe can be found in David's new cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen".  If you'd like to join us in cooking along, pick up a copy and visit CooktheBookFridays.  David has shared this wonderful recipe with Tastebook. You can find it here, I have also shared it below. 

A perfect lunch....
Bon appétit

Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche                                         

By David Lebovitz 

Ingredients for Crust

1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (55g) cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/115g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 large egg

Ingredients for Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large, firm, ripe pear, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) cubes
1 cup (130g) diced cooked (boiled) ham
1 1/2 cups (375ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
8 ounces (225g) cream cheese
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (150g) crumbled blue cheese or Roquefort
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl, by hand with a pastry blender), combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the butter and beat on low speed until the butter is broken up and the mixture is sandy. Add the egg and mix until the dough begins to clump and come together. Use your hands to gather the dough and shape it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.)
  2. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 14 inches (35cm) across. Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of a 9- to 10-inch (23 to 25cm) springform pan to catch any leaks, and then transfer the dough to the pan. Press the dough against the side, allowing it to come a bit more than halfway up the sides of the pan. If there are any cracks, patch them with a bit of dough from the edges—you don’t want the filling to leak out during baking. Chill the dough in the pan while you make the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots with some salt and pepper until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced pear and ham.
  5. In a large bowl, blend together the cream, cream cheese, a few gratings of nutmeg, the eggs, and the yolks until smooth. Stir in the blue cheese, the pear and ham mixture, and the parsley.
  6. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling, using a spoon to make sure the ingredients in the filling are evenly distributed. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned, the filling still jiggles, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool until firm enough to slice, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Directions for VARIATIONS

  1. For bacon-lovers, substitute 1 cup (125g) cooked diced bacon for the ham. For a vegetarian version, leave out the ham. You can also add to taste whatever fresh herbs appeal to you, such as chervil, thyme, tarragon, dill, or marjoram.

Monday, May 9, 2016

CtBF ~ Salted Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

CtBF ~ Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse
This week for Cook the Book Fridays, we are making David’s luscious Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse.  I was lucky enough to have eaten this in NYC last spring, when I and several Doristas went to see a David Liebovitz demonstration, promoting his new cookbook, “My Paris Kitchen”.
The meal was fit for royalty. However, by the time dessert was served we were all so full, we actually thought of skipping it. But then, I never skip dessert!! Especially when David Liebovitz and staff are preparing it. Believe me, it was totally worth the splurge!  I have been looking forward to making this exquisite mousse since that day.

Decadent velvety deliciousness
I found it easier than I expected. An important key to its success was having a mise en place.  All ingredients ready to go, because once you start, it moves quickly.  The most complicated part of this mousse is making the caramel. However, that too is pretty easy once you've learned the procedure. Most importantly, being careful not to burn the sugar, as you caramelize. Personally, it's a trick every baker should know. 
This recipe makes six very rich, velvety cups of mousse.  We loved it! It will definitely be added to my dessert repertoire. 

Since I made these the day before we left for Georgia to visit my grandsons and family. I decided to make them in Weck jars and take them along for everyone to try. That turned out to be a good grandsons were very happy with the results.  But then who wouldn't be happy with a cup of silky, smooth salted caramel chocolate mousse.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Post Script...It is now Monday and I have spent the weekend going to baseball games and enjoying my grandchildren. Sorry, I didn't get this up on time. 

This post participates with Cook the Book Fridays . To see what the other bloggers thought of this mousse, check out their links here.  This recipe has been shared with Epicurious by David and is posted here. If you're interested in cooking along, we would love to have you join us. Pick up a copy of David's cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen" and join the fun.

Whisking cream into the caramel
Relatively easy and quite impressive