Friday, October 22, 2010

Timing is everything

I really need to schedule things better. Or maybe just schedule them, period.  When I originally learned that the new Dorie group was going to be posting on Fridays, all I thought was that it was nice that it was several days away from Tuesday.  I didn't really think it through.  To get something posted on a Friday, I really need to be working on it on Thursday.  Well, around here, Thursday is the worst day of the week.  We're all worn out.  Yes, we're probably more tired on Friday, but by the time we get to Friday morning, we all know that the next day is Saturday, and a chance to relax.  Thursday, we're almost as tired, but a lot more cranky, knowing that we have another day to get through still.  Ugh.

So forget actually accomplishing much of anything on Thursdays.  Unless I have something really solid planned for dinner, it ends up being pretty random.  Then it's a race to get kids to bed before they completely melt down, followed by getting my stuff organized so I can crash, too.  The moral of the story?  If I stand any chance of being able to post something for French Fridays with Dorie, I'd better get it done the weekend before!  And now you know why you haven't seen a post from me since the first week. =)

I'm still behind, but I'm trying to catch up.  Last weekend, I finally got a chance to make Gerard's Mustard Tart.  I was really looking forward to it, because I love leeks.  I made it for the small party that we had for Gillian's birthday.  It probably sounds like a strange thing for a 4-year-old's party, but there were as many adults as kids.  And Gillian's best friend is French, so I thought her parents would enjoy it.  We also had some savory snacks made with puff pastry (that's another post), fresh fruit with chocolate/peanut butter dipping sauce, and Cheetos (the poofy ones, not the crunchy ones).  The last was a specific request from Gillian. =)  And of course, cake.

Fortunately, the tart was pretty easy to make in between the other things that I had to do.  I made the tart dough, but it didn't get a 3-hour rest in the fridge.  It got about 30 minutes in the freezer.  It was still pretty nice to roll out, though.  I decided to use my rectangular tart pan for easy serving.  I froze the crust while working on cake assembly, then baked it.  I did use weights to keep it from shrinking too much. (I have a bunch of dried black beans that I keep just for pie weights.)  After baking it for 20 minutes, I removed the foil and weights and baked it for 7 minutes longer.  I let it cool while prepping the filling ingredients.  I went with 2 carrots that I cut into short julienned pieces, and three small leeks that I quartered lengthwise and then cut crosswise into half-inch pieces.  I don't have a steamer (or didn't, until I bought new rice cooker this week), so I sautéed them in a bit of butter and olive oil until softened (and seasoned them with salt and pepper).  I put the vegetables in the tart crust and then poured the custard filling (eggs, cream and mustard) over it.  I baked the tart for 23 minutes, until it was browned and puffy.  I let it cool until just warm before serving.

The verdict?  Wow, this didn't last long at all.  The best compliment of all was that it was eagerly eaten by our French guests.  Jamie and I really liked it, too.  Gillian wouldn't try it (and I didn't force the issue, especially since it was her party).  Brianna sampled it and said that "it was okay, but it's not my favorite" which is her polite way of saying that she didn't like it all that much.  We will definitely be having this one again; I'd like to play around with the veggies.  

If you'd like to try this recipe, I highly encourage you to get yourself a copy of Around My French Table.  It's on page 154.  For this month only, you can find the recipes here, on the FFwD site.  The group is quite flexible, so feel free to join in on the fun (if you haven't already).  And to hear what everyone else thought of the tart, check out the Links.  

Check back in the next few days to hear about my great class at Central Market with Dorie!


  1. G is totally right; the puffy cheetos are the only ones worth eating. Of course she might not agree with me that they are the best when stale! And how polite is B? Love her assessment of the tart, although I found it quite nice even though mustard is not my thing generally. The best verdict? Your French friends. Yay for FFwD, even if late - you can be assured I'm even later!!

  2. I'm going to have to disagree with both G and Nancy, I only like the crunchy cheetos :)

    Anyway, I love the rectangular tart pan - I think it makes the prettiest tart of all. Definitely easier to serve too! Very cool that your French friends were fans. I don't think either Shane or I ate would eat this one, but I really want to go back and make the gougeres soon.

  3. Crunchy!! every time. Sorry N and G!!

    Tart looks fantastic.

    I keep wanting to make this one, but the mustard keeps holding me bake. Maybe a mini just so I can say I DID make it. Leeks on my list for next week.

    Compliments from French friends definitely a positive push!!

  4. Looks gorgeous! And I'm with you - Thursdays are our worst day, as well. It used to be a very stressful dinner evening around here, but a few months ago we came up with the plan that Thursdays are hubby's dinner night. Sometimes he cooks, sometimes we go out or order in - but either way, I know I don't have to do it!

    Can't wait to hear about your Dorie meeting!

  5. So behind here on French Fridays. What am I talking about? I've been absent for most of the month period. So the birthday party was a great motivation to get going. A lot going on recently. I love that you had a wonderful offering for the French family and that they enjoyed it so much. Smiles. YAY I have that exact pan and never thought of using it for a quiche. What a beautiful quiche and a great idea?! Nicely done.

  6. I think we are all trying to catch up with FFwD. The important thing to remember is that it is there whenever we are ready to make it, just making it is the thing! Timing is Can you tell I am also behind? Maybe catch up this week since it is fall break Thurs & Friday so I won't be at school. This looks really good. I love the way you sliced it out of the pan, makes a perfect portion, taking as many as one likes. I NEED THIS PAN. Beautiful.