Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Wake up with the birds and the sun. Check to make sure the dog is still alive.  Clean rat shit off the butcher block. Take tart dough out of the freezer. Make a hella strong cup of coffee. Ninja your way into your son's locked room and find him asleep with a pocket knife, Liquid Paper, and a spy pen. Offer eggs. Offer oatmeal. Offer cinnamon toast. Watch your kids' eyes bug out above the cinnamon toast when you rant about the importance of gun control. Pile into the car. Tell your daughter you're sorry but you just can't explain Pink's lyrics it's just you and your hand tonight. End up at Target. Try to talk your daughter out of the short short denim shorts. Try to talk yourself out of the hot pink bikini. Buy both. Yell at a woman in a black SUV to slow down bitch and pick a fucking lane already. Boil garlic cloves in olive oil. Listen to your daughter do a mama-style door slam when you tell her she can't have a new iPod. Pour hot garlic oil over cherry tomatoes and simmer them with salt, sugar, and lemon thyme. Consider returning the hot pink bikini. Ask your son how much he loves you and shiver when he says mama I love you neverending and forever. Assemble your third cherry tomato, garlic confit, and anchovy tart of the week. Drink a martini and cut your son's hair. Regret being that annoying mom who says you don't like anchovies what is wrong with you? Smile when your daughter offers to do the dishes. Snuggle in bed with your daughter and allow her to pet your head. Sit down at the computer to try to articulate your excitement about this tart and realize you're so tired that all that you can write is I fucking love this tart I fucking love this tart I fucking love this tart. Crawl into bed without brushing your teeth and notice you're still wearing your apron. Hug your dog and mumble who the heck do I think I am attempting to do anything around here except trying to keep all of you creatures alive? Wake up at 3 a.m. drenched in sweat. Check on your kids. Go back to sleep until your screaming son wakes you up at 5 a.m. Lie down forehead to forehead until his nightmare fades and he drifts back to sleep. Flip on the kitchen lights and say good morning motherfuckers to the rats. Watch the sun rise. Eat some cold tomato and anchovy tart. Clean the rat shit off the butcher block. Make a hella strong cup of coffee. Remove the tags and tuck the hot pink bikini into your underwear drawer.

This tart would be super tasty made with pizza dough or puff pastry.
Make sure to prepare the tart dough a few hours ahead of time. It works better to cool garlic confit and tomato mixture before assembling tart. But if you're in hurry then just throw it all together and it will be fine. And if anchovies gross you out, skip them. Corn is a wonderful addition. Or  spread under the tomatoes a layer of goat cheese mixed with 1 egg, salt, and heavy cream. Play. Maybe some pancetta? Prosciutto? Or an egg or two cracked on the tart? I'm hungry.

1 1/2 times this recipe for tart dough, refrigerated for a few hours (or just make double and saves scraps for mini-tarts)
1  head of garlic confit, cooled
2 pints cherry tomatoes (any kind, color, or size)
2 tablespoons garlic confit oil
4 sprigs lemon thyme (or regular thyme)
big pinch kosher salt
big pinch white sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I love Grey Poupon)
at least 10 anchovy fillets (packed in oil)
parmesan or pecorino cheese

Roll tart dough into desired shape. You can press it into a large tart pan or leave it free form on a sheet pan. Refrigerate until needed. Put garlic oil in medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add tomatoes, thyme, salt, and sugar. Cook and stir until tomatoes soften just a bit (about 3 minutes). A few tomatoes will probably explode. Take off heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread mustard over cold tart dough leaving about 1/2" at the edges. Strain tomato mixture and save remaining broth for soup (very important or tart will be soggy). Spread cooked tomatoes all over tart dough. Drape anchovies over the tomatoes. Squeeze garlic confit cloves out of skins and onto the tart (I like placing a clove next to each anchovy fillet). If you want, place a few more cloves in the center of the tart along with the thyme sprigs. Grate cheese all over. Paint exposed tart dough edges with garlic oil.

Bake until nice and brown and beautiful. It should take between 30 and 40 minutes. A good test is to pick up the corner of the tart and see if it's floppy or firm. Take it out when it doesn't bow at all. Or, if you like it a bit gooey, take it out when it's not quite firm.

Eat right away. Maybe with arugula and avocado bowls and anchovy salad dressing.

Friday, July 6, 2012


(Texters' names crossed out to protect identities and avoid embarrassment at work.)

The text thread above was about round one. Round two (that I served to eight people) didn't work out so well. It was sickly sweet because the ice cream and caramel mixed and melted together.

Here's a glimpse at round three and what I learned:

Whatever you do, don't stir the caramel and chocolate almond chunks into the vanilla ice cream. Instead, drizzle the caramel and sprinkle the chocolate almond chunks over the top of the just-churned ice cream. And then gently press the goodies down into the soft ice cream pillow. Freeze until hella firm. Then scoop with care. Hopefully you will get a swirl of caramel and a bitter pop of chocolate and a salty crunch of almonds in each creamy bite.

(a few alternate recipe names in text thread above)
serves a few people if you're lucky

1/2 cup caramel sauce, refrigerated
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped out
pinch salt

Make caramel sauce. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

In a double boiler (or over very low heat), melt chocolate. Turn off heat and stir in almonds and salt. Spread on a piece of parchment on a sheet pan. Freeze. When solid, pry chocolate off of parchment. Chop into pea-sized chunks. Freeze until needed.

Prepare an ice bath. Place a fine strainer over a medium-sized bowl. Immerse bottom of bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and water. Set aside.

Whisk together half and half, yolks, sugar, and salt. Set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring cream and vanilla bean to just under the boil. Remove from heat and slowly whisk into half and half/yolk mixture. Place back on medium heat. Stir the whole time with a wooden spoon until it thickens slightly. It's done when you drag your finger across the back of the spoon and it leaves a trail.

Pour mixture through the strainer into the bowl that's over the ice bath. Leave bowl in the bath until the custard is cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Freeze a container for the finished ice cream (I used a loaf pan). Freeze ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. Place ice cream in cold container. Drizzle caramel and chocolate almond chunks over the top. Use a spoon to press caramel and chunks down into the ice cream. Do not stir. Freeze for a few hours or over night. Carefully scoop so as not to mix in the caramel.