Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blogger Wanna Be

When I am not cooking or eating I am most always thinking, reading, writing or talking about food (except when I am at work, of course).  Or music.  Most likely I am focused on both.  Really guys, I am pretty simple to figure out.

Tonight while I was not cooking (but was listening to my new music boyfriend Ben Sollee) I was checking out my favorite blogs when I came across this MUST make dish.

I am comfortable in my own skin and my own adventures in the kitchen but from time to time I get a little chef envy.  A lot of time this emotion is felt when I log onto Smitten Kitchen.  It is not the amazing recipes or the skilled photography that makes me feel most inferior (she is far more superb than I can ever be but I have accepted this), it is the quantity and the quality of each post that makes me feel a little smaller on the food (making) chain.  There she is in a kitchen smaller than mine, creating cookbooks and writing and raising a small child but she still has the time to not only test out each recipe but document the whole process.  It is for this I am jealous but mostly the emotion I feel is culinary admiration. 

To honor her and her efforts I share with you the recipe that is next on my list when I finally get to the Dupont Farmers' Market on time and am actually in my kitchen and away from this computer. 

Straight from my favorite food blog and my wanna be blogger, Smitten Kitchen
Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
Crust adapted from Williams-Sonoma, filling adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated tart

I might be tempted to double the cheese filling next time I make this; it puffed beautifully in the oven but then deflated a bit. Then again, at their current levels, the zucchini and cheese balance each other nicely. There’s something to be said for not fixing what ain’t broken, right?

Since I oohed and aahed over this crust, for those that like to dissect recipes as I do, I thought I’d note that funnily enough, it’s an almost-match for my favorite pie dough, in technique as well, save two ingredients which apparently make all of the difference: 1/4 cup sour cream and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. What this makes is an even flakier, softer pastry, the kind that leaves croissant crumbs everywhere. I know the next obvious question is “so, can I use this for a pie dough?” but I don’t advise it. It is too soft. It will get soaked and deflated under all of that heavy baked fruit. It is at its best when it is free form, just like this.

Serves 6
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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