Friday, February 8, 2008

Seasonal Therapy.

My fridge looks like it has swallowed the market about 5 times over. This just means that I have not yet been able to go through all the produce I purchased on the weekend. I am getting a little paranoid about my cherry tomatoes of both varieties because of the hot weather and their place in the cupboard.
*Beware, tomato rant in next paragraph*
Now, my housemates just asked me why I keep tomatoes in the cupboard, rather than the fridge. Well, basically, I DON'T KEEP MY TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE BECAUSE THE TEXTURE CHANGES AND THEY TASTE LIKE BALLS OF SAND!
So, obviously, they don't keep as long.
I have been a little foggy as of late and having a constant existential crisis working 8-4:30 as a Discharge Initiation Officer and needed some food therapy. So, in the space of 3 hours, I made 3 things out of dying produce. Somehow, I thought that clearing the fridge would clear my head.
I decided that the tomatoes were the main issue, as well as the dying basil and the left over pine nuts of last week...and one of those hundred cheeses I have should be put to use. Not to mention the figs that I should really deal with and possibly use up some of those 4000000 blueberries I have stashed in the crisper. (That was the only place they would fit, ok?)
I ended up making pesto, with macadamia as well, 6 blueberry and 6 fig friands and a caramelised onion, olive, cheery tomato and goats fetta tart.

1 bunch basil
1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1-2 tablespoons toasted macadamias
2 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan (I used reggiano because it was lurking around in the back)
olive oil

I pounded the garlic and a pinch or 2 of salt in a mortar and pestle and added the nuts without puverising them. I decided that my miniature mortar and pestle couldn't house all the ingredients, so I threw it in the blender. I then added the basil with a stream of oil to get it to the right consistency, stirred through the cheese and then added a few grinds of black pepper.
Don't ask me why I felt the need to put macadamias in there, I just felt like it.

2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup sifted plain flour
1 cup sifted icing sugar
4 egg whites
75g melted unsalted butter
2 figs cut into slices

-Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease 2, 6 hole (large) friand pans.
-Mix the flours together with the sugar and stir in the egg whites till combined. Add the melted butter and stir together.

Ideally, I would have preferred to have grated some lemon zest in here, but alas, I am sans lemon.

-Spoon the mixture in the holes 3/4 of the way and arrange the fruit over the top. I did three slices of fig and three blueberries per friand.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes, allow to cool in pan and snarf.

(Now, I'm going to make a mayonnaise or hollandaise with the egg yolks. Looking at the asparagus that I have in the fridge, probably a hollandaise....but on the other hand, I still have potatoes left, so why not a salad? I am somehow still thinking hollandaise. )

Tomato, caramelised onion, fetta tart:

Now, here is a confession. I saw a picture of this in this issue's Gourmet Traveller while trying not to work, hiding in another level's break room, so this was inspired by a most likely hair-sprayed version I glanced at a few days ago.

3 small spanish onions, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
sugar, sprinkle
red wine vinegar, splash or so
150g kalamata olives, self pitted
thyme, leaves of...2-3 tablespoons
150g roma cherry tomatoes, halved
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
Filo pastry (just what I had, but I am sure a fresh batch of shortcrust would work just as well)
Butter, melted
3-4 cubes of Merideth Goats Fetta, crumbled

-Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
-Caramelise the onions and garlic by cooking them on a low heat with a generous amount of oil, a sprinkling of sugar, then deglazing the pan with a splash or two of the vinegar. Cook the vinegar out, you'll know what I mean.
-Stir in the olives, thyme and season with cracked black pepper.
-Now, lay and butter between sheets of pastry in a pie dish. Enough to be sturdy, but not too little for the ingredients to fall through when you serve it.
-Scatter the onions on a layer in the bottom, top with halved tomatoes, crumble fetta over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes.
-Eat it, fatty. Serve in quarters.

Now, everyone can pat my back at how amazing I am for actually keeping track of quantities and attempting to write recipes.

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