Vadouvan Chicken Pot Pie

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I never liked chicken pot pie growing up. It’s never been the go-to comfort dish for me. Even to this day friends rave about Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. Really? In the dish’s defense my first taste of it was probably a frozen version. Perhaps Marie Callender’s.

Unfortunately many food preference hang on that initial encounter. Oh how many edibles have been passed over after a sub par bite. When I was seven I tried mustard for the first time at Disneyland, the kind that comes in a little plastic pouch. The kind that is almost practically glowing yellow. I didn’t eat mustard for a very long time after that. Of course now I am bonkers about mustard. I digress though.

Chicken Pot Pie.

Recently after gobbling down Good Girl Dinette’s delicious curried chicken pot pie I felt motivated to try out my own version at home. I had the last bit of Le Sanctuaire’s vadouvan hangin out lonely style in the freezer. It was calling me.

The vegetables needed a tune up though. Frozen peas? Sure they are great, packed at the greenest and freshest. But with the abundance of seasonal vegetables available I took a more autumnal route. Parsnips, butternut squash, carrots and pearl onions (I cheated and used frozen ones). The pie was missing the pretty green but it wasn’t missed much with the golden warmth of the squash and curry.

The pastry was a basic pie crust with crushed chicken chicharron. Why not? It’s the holidays after all.

Leek Bacon Comte Tart

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This tart came about one cold winter day. I was actually sick during that time and had lost my sense of smell and taste. But instilled with an urge to cook. Perhaps it was all the laying about doing not a single thing.  If I woke up tomorrow minus my ability to taste I would be thrown into turmoil, stripped of life meaning.  How I longed for the aroma of sizzling bacon and leeks cooking in butter. Thank goodness my sickness was only temporary. The day after I made the tart I was fully able to taste again. Hooray. Sweet leeks, nutty comte and smokey bacon topped the homemade Zuni Cafe rough puff pastry. The house smelled absolutely wonderful to everyone’s pleasure.

A Holiday Brunch

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It’s the holidays! Delicious food, drinks and time with loved ones are the best ways to  warm up the chilly hours. I hosted a simple brunch for a few of my friends. The star of the meal was this gloriously tall leek, goat cheese and pancetta quiche. The custard was just perfectly set, silky and jiggly. I used Thomas Keller’s quiche recipe as a blueprint, adopting his call for a two inch tall tart that offers generous bites of luscious custard. The combination of sweet leeks, sharp creamy goat cheese and meaty pancetta was luxurious.

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Leek & Goat Cheese Tart with Poppy Seed-Goat Butter Crust

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Another thing I wanted to try with the poppy seeds was to make a lemon meringue tart but with a poppy seed crust. Since I have more savory tendencies though I ended up making a savory tart. First I made the tart dough using a pate brisee recipe substituting some of the flour with poppy seeds and unsalted butter with goat butter. For the filling I sauteed pancetta, leeks and peas, seasoned simply with salt and black pepper. I filled the blind baked tart dough with the filling once it had cooled a bit and poured over the custard mixture which consisted of a eggs, cream, crumbled goat cheese and chives. I sprinkled a bit of grated parmesan on top and baked it off. This was pretty easy to whip up and I got to use up about 1/2 cup of the poppy seeds! That’s good news. I’ve got another ball of poppy seed-goat butter dough in the freezer for another day when I want to whip up another easy tart.

Spiced Kumquat Pastry

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Even after the cheese pairing with the delicious roncal I still had a few spoonfuls of spiced kumquat compote left. Not to mention a little bit of roncal. I wanted one last hurrah with the compotes and try to make some good of it. It would have to be something easy and fast. I had puff pastry in the freezer thank goodness. If it were not for that the compote would have most likely made its way into the bin.

I cut the puff pastry up into smaller pieces, egg washed it, sprinkled it with grated roncal, a spoonful of the compote, and cracked pepper for a lil spice. The exact same flavors for the cheese pairing except different because of the warm, flaky puff pastry. You can’t go wrong with hot, buttery puff pastry straight from the oven. What a nice treat to have right after work when hunger pains start kicking in. I had Boy pick a plate of these up for the Boys music session. What took like only 15 minutes to make with barely any work at all (since most of the work had been done previously) made a few of us a very happy snackers. Don’t deny the potential of your leftovers! They come in handy. For good snacking at least.

Romesco Pulled Pork Reborn, Part 4

romesco pulled pork tartlett w/peppers & pecorino

All I gotta say is these tartlets were frickin delicious. My favorite of the reborn bunch. [added note: I totally forgot about the hash! The hash is my fav, then the tart. 🙂 ] It came out of the oven smelling heavenly, the tang of the pecorino wafting all around me. The romesco pulled pork, sauteed poblano, red pepper and shallots, and a canned roma tomato baked together as a delicious filling in the flaky buttery crust, providing flavorful juicy bites and a hot and crispy crust fresh out of the hot heat.

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