Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rustic Blueberry-Lemon Tart from The Southern Pantry Cookbook

Do you hate to have to  run to the store every time you try to cook? It's easy to get lost or bogged down in substitutions when trying to pull off a complicated recipe when you just want to fix a great dinner without it taking up the while night. 

Now imagine the soul of your favorite family recipes updated and curated by an accomplished chef who understands how to help you put an amazing meal on the table in a flash -- that's the beauty of The Southern Pantry Cookbook (Thomas Nelson, 2014) by our  friend Jennifer Chandler. She makes crafting stylish Southern family meals simple, satisfying, and always delicious. Plus, her book is a beauty to behold -- it sports full-color photographs shot by me, The Chubby Vegetarian's Justin Fox Burks!

When we first got our hands on this book, we opened up the cabinets to see what matched up. There were so many possibilities, but this great dessert stood out to us because we have some beautiful Mississippi blueberries stowed away in the freezer. It's like summer all over again. 

The following is an excerpt from The Southern Pantry

Here’s an easy dessert you can make with this favorite summer berry.  Don’t fuss over the perfect crust. Instead whip up a rustic version that is meant to look a little rough around the edges. My family likes it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Rustic Blueberry-Lemon Tart

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
2 1/2 cups blueberries, thawed if using frozen
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch round about 1/8-inch thick.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the blueberries, lemon juice and zest, 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Toss to coat. Fill the center of the pie crust with the blueberry mixture, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border up and over the blueberries, overlapping every 2 to 3 inches, to make a rim. Brush the rim with the egg wash and evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the rim.

Bake until the crust is nicely browned and the blueberries are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
(Serves 8.)

Variation: Depending on what’s in season or what’s in your freezer, you can substitute apples, pears, and even peaches for the blueberries.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Young Coconut Ceviche

After seeing our Young Coconut Crudo recipe, a reader offered a great suggestion: young coconut meat might be good in a ceviche. We couldn't agree more, so we had to give it a shot. I'm so happy we did! As cold weather sets in here in Memphis, this dish brings back memories of warm summer days and transports us back to a time when we were wearing shorts instead of winter coats and hideous but warm hats.

This is a great dish any time of year, and it's so easy you won't believe it. The rich coconut meat, crunchy veggies, and bright acidity from the lime juice makes for one tasty dish.

You don't even have to turn on the oven. Just crack open a coconut, chop few things, and you're done. Dinner in a flash made from real food.

Young Coconut Ceviche

1 fresh young coconut
Juice of 2 medium limes
1/2 cup diced roma tomato
1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 serrano pepper (seeded and finely diced)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
dash hot sauce (like Valentino)
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
chips (or 4 crispy tostadas)
Mayonaise (optional)
Sliced radish and sliced avocado to garnish

Watch this video I made on how to crack into a young coconut. Pour the coconut water off and reserve for another use (i.e. drink it). Using a large spoon, gently scrape the coconut meat out of the coconut. Make sure to scrape off any bits of shell that may be attached to the coconut. Cut coconut meat into small chunks and place in a container with the lime juice. Allow coconut to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes in order for the coconut to marinate.

In a medium bowl, toss together the coconut and lime juice mixture, tomato, cucumber, onion, serrano pepper, cilantro, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve like a dip with chips for an appetizer or on crispy tostadas slathered in mayo, topped with ceviche, and garnished with radish and avocado for a great meal. (Serves 6 as a dip or 2 to 3 as a main dish.)