Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Para Las Ninas- Recipes for Mothers and Daughters.



Nectarine Tart with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic. 


I am the youngest of  a family of five girls who grew up in http://www.guyana.org/guymap.html Georgetown, Guyana. I was a tad spoilt, I was not given the standard chores of  my sisters ( taking out the trash etc) neither was I asked to pitch in with the cooking and baking sessions for the large Sunday meals. My eldest sister Kean supervised the main meal and my other sister Beverly worked on cakes and desserts.  Instead I was always given the job of "taster". That job gave me lots of time to observe the cooking methods; something my mother did not truly appreciate until she sampled my cooking after I moved to the United States. She was pleased to discover that my observations paid off, I did well after all! :)  She gave me two of her prized cookbooks which I have already passed on my daughter. Her legacy will live on. 
I decided that I wanted to start that same family tradition with my daughter. She is five years old and she can handle herself in the kitchen without any major accidents. I see it as a great time to bond over something we love, food. Handling tools and measurements is also an excellent learning tool for children during their early learning years. It is also a good time to capitalize on her enthusiasm for helping Mommy, before it is too late :)

Here is a sampling of recipes along with some pictures of us cooking over the last few months. The recipes here are from my own recipes, books, magazines and Pinterest recipes. Pinterest has been an excellent source of  easy recipes for me since I joined a few months ago.  There are two different tart recipes below.  I like to make tarts because they are kid friendly. With tarts all parents have to do is to prep the ingredients and get the puff pastry ready and 30 minutes later everything is done.

Guyana Cheese Spread - This is a traditional Guyanese spread used for sandwiches. We can trace it back to our British heritage and tradition of tea with sandwiches and cakes. If we need a snack we take this out of the fridge and eat it with bread, bagels or crackers.  Adults and children are also initially attracted to this sandwich because of the different colors ( food coloring). I cannot even remember when I made this for the first time, I just knew how to make it, it passes from generation to generation.



 Cheese Sandwiches ( Mom's Recipe from Guyana South America) 



Ingredients - I do not have any exact measurements. Add the ingredients and taste as you proceed. Here are some approximate measurements.
Serves 8 people and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Large ( 8 or 16 oz). Must be sharp 
1 tsp of Mustard- or add more if needed. 
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup of milk or added as needed. Milk helps the spread to become smooth and creamy. be careful if you add too much the spread becomes soft. 
A dash of Tabasco or pepper sauce. 
Parsley finely chopped ( must be very fine)
Food Coloring ( 4 to 5 colors) 

Grate the cheese ( fine ) and set aside. Put cheese, mustard, butter, parsley, pepper sauce and milk in a large bowl. Using a hand or standing mixer whip everything together until it is firm and smooth. It should be smooth enough to spread on bread. The cheese must be melted and whipped into the mixture, no chunks
( add more milk).


Place the finished spread into 4 Martha Stewart mini prep bowls.. Drizzle a different color of the Liquid Food Coloring into each bowl. Mix the coloring in and set aside. To make a "triple deck sandwich", layer one color on the bottom slice of your choice of whole wheat or white traditional bread ( I like P Farm Whole Grain . Cover with a second slice and then add a second color to the slice.Top with slice number 3. Cut all of the edges off of the bread and make a final diagonal cut. Voila! A cheese sandwich that cannot be beat!










Nectarine Tart with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic (Pinterest) 


Ingredients
Cheese - Ricotta/Mozzarella/Goat or Mascapone your choice. 
1 nectarine - thinly sliced or enough to fit your tart. 
Shavings of Fresh Parmigianno Reggiano
Fresh Basil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Argula 


Place the balsamic in a small saute pan. Turn the heat to medium high. Caution- Do not allow balsamic to burn, if it burns it is done. You must watch and cook until done. 
Let the balsamic simmer until reduced and noticeably thick ( does not have to be boiling then it is too late). Set aside to cool.

Puff Pastry (store bought)
Caution- You have to begin rolling while the pastry is still chilled, anytime after that the pastry is too warm and will stick to every surface in your kitchen. 
Pre Heat the Oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 rectangle. I have had some rocky experiences with puff pastry. I have tried different brands with mixed results. The best one is the one I get from a local farmer's market for 2 dollars!. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on the back baking sheet or a thin backing sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2 inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.



Remove the pastry shell from the oven and cover the dough with a layer of cheese, then only layer of sliced nectarines on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the fruit layer with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Drizzle with olive oil.  Place the tart back in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the crust is slightly brown. Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with arugula,basil and then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve warm. Voila!








Asparagus Gruyere Tart ( Martha Stewart) 

Ingredients

2 Cups of Gruyere cheese, shredded ( at your local grocer )
11/2 pounds medium or think asparagus
1 tablespoon lemon flavored or regular olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Puff Pastry ( store bought)
Caution- You have to begin rolling while the pastry is still chilled, anytime after that the pastry is too warm and will stick to every surface in your kitchen. 
Pre Heat the Oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 rectangle. I have had some rocky experiences with puff pastry. I have tried different brands with mixed results. The best one is the one I get from a local farmer's market for 2 dollars!. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on the back baking sheet or a thin backing sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2 inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle with the Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with the olive oil , season with sale and pepper. Bake until spears are tender 20 to 25 minutes.




As you can see this was not one of our best Puff Pastry experiments. The tart was delicious though! :)






Happy Fourth!


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