Fruit Tart: Part One

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I love these elegant desserts. Tarts remind me of the days when I lived in France and was able to eat beautiful food daily.

This is my first attempt at this recipe and my mistake was to make the crust too thick.

I should have used only half of the dough that this recipe makes.

Next time I will use half and freeze the other half for another day.

I also did not make the gelatin which tops off the fruit.

I will do so next time as I feel that it adds subtle flavor and it completes the presentation of the dessert.

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This crust is delicious.

I used Martha Stewart’s Nut Crust recipe from The Martha Stewart Cookbook, Collected Recipes for Everyday 1995, Clarkson Potter/ Publishers, New York

Nut Crust

Makes two 8-10 inch tart shells or 12 2 1/2 to 3 inch tartlets

10 onces finely chopped nuts
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room tempeture
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Butter tart pan or tartlet pans.

Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended, using an electric mixer or wooden spoon.

Divide the mixture and press into the prepared pans.

Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the shells are golden brown.

Let cool on racks before filling.

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Vanilla Custard

Recipe Courtesy of Not Derby Pie

1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
seeds and pulp of one vanilla bean (reserve scraped bean for another use)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

In a medium saucepan, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and vanilla bean pulp.

Set the bowl over the saucepan and continue whisking as mixture heats up.

After about 10 minutes of stirring, the mixture will have become thick enough that the mixing spoon or whisk will leave a trail.

At this point, remove the bowl from the heat and let the curd cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Then whisk in butter, one tab at a time, until it has melted into the curd and the mixture is smooth.

Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into the tart crust; use an offset spatula to smooth the top of the curd and distribute it evenly.

Arrange the strawberries in concentric circles over the curd, starting on the outer rim and working your way inward.

If not serving immediately, cover tart lightly with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator.

Remove the outer ring of the tart pan to serve, and plate with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.

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Restaurant Supplies Make Entertaining with Food Easier

When you love to cook, entertaining usually revolves around food. Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner party or setting out an elaborate buffet, having the right serving pieces is crucial.

After fussing over a variety of rich-flavorful foods for your guests, you want to make sure you serve them in peak condition. You’ll want to keep the hot foods hot, the cold foods chilled, and everything should be presented attractively. There are several different serving pieces that every hostess should have in order to be prepared for any food oriented event.

What Do You Need?

Chafing dishes are incredibly versatile for keeping foods warm all evening. Larger chafing dishes are often oblong with a hinged lid that’s easy to open and close, but you can also find round or oval ones. A small can of fuel or an electric heat source keeps food warm for several hours.

Attractive condiment jars are another staple every hostess should have. These are usually glass or ceramic and hold generous portions of sauces, condiments or syrups so that you don’t have to put messy plastic bottles of ketchup or other condiments on your dining table. Insulated pitchers are perfect for keeping cold drinks icy or hot drinks steamy. By filling large insulated pitchers with beverages you make it easy for guests to refill their own drinks and give yourself more time to socialize.

A few gravy boats in varying sizes are also great for serving salad dressings, sundae toppings, and gravies or au jus. Look for ones with generously sized handles that make it easy for guests to pour without dripping. Investing in a few top quality service pieces from a restaurant supplies store will mean you can serve any food you like with style and keep your guests coming back for more.

Affiliate Programs Finding Their way Into the Food Industry

Food speaks the universal language. It is food that connects us all together, be it a company picnic, a holiday meal with family or a quiet get together with friends.

Food, like people comes in all shapes and sizes, and satisfies each of us in different ways. If you have a sweet tooth, then ice cream speaks to you with its different flavors. If you love something hot off the grill, then the rich taste of authentic barbecue is probably more to your liking. If you like Italian, or Mexican or Indian food, then having this food at your disposal is likely to be a high priority.

Food has become so big that it has its own network. Food aficionados like Rachel Ray have parleyed their success in the kitchen to affiliate programs across the globe. So successful have the marketing campaigns of stars like Ray and entrepreneur Martha Stewart been, their success is now measured in audience viewership rather than quality of food.

Within the Food Network are several food shows that have taken the culinary world by storm. The Iron Chef is a television show on the Food Network that has a visiting chef battle one of the Iron Chef’s, like Bobby Flay. The two chefs square off in Kitchen Stadium, using a special ingredient to meld their food together. Competition is fierce on the Food Network’s, battle to find who the next Food Network star will be. Amateur food experts show their wares in front of esteemed food critics, being judged on appearance of food, taste and the presentation in which they describe their food.

So while food is the great provider, it has transcended from something we eat to survive, to something that is competitive and viewed by millions via the television, internet and other electronic media.

Online Culinary Schools Give Food Lovers a Flexible Educational Experience

With the explosion of on-line learning institutions, earning a degree in a life-long discipline that will stand the economic test of time has never been easier. In particular, people that have an interest in cooking or managing a restaurant for a living, now have multiple on-line options to earn a degree.

Prior to this explosion of online culinary schools, training to be a food specialist was a drawn out, away-from-home experience that sometimes took years to complete. Before the advent of these cyber-culinary institutions, food lovers moved away from home to a food city like New York City, Boston or Portland to attend the finest schools.
No longer must a food lover spend years away from home perfecting their craft. An online learning institution specializing in the creation of culinary delights can be done from the comfort of one’s own home.

New culinary programs offer the flexibility of learning online while working towards a culinary-management degree. For many already employed in the food-service industry, news of a potential culinary management degree can mean advances within the culinary, restaurant and hotel management fields in which they may already be employed.
These culinary management courses allow students to study areas of accounting, human resource management, customer service and marketing while helping the student improve their overall skill. Many of the culinary management courses get away from the cooking aspect of the food-service industry while building a resume that will improve one’s restaurant management skills.

If you love food and are looking to make a career out of your passion, committing to an online journey could be just the break you’ve been looking for. Online learning institutions that specialize in advancement towards a culinary management degree give the participant the flexibility of learning from home as they journey towards their final destination in the culinary world.

Making Healthy Food Choices With Fresh Food And Food Dehydration

Americans have a funny relationship with food. We eat too much, and often eat the wrong things. Obesity is growing, as empty-calorie junk food becomes the food of choice for harried Americans. At the end of a crazy day, it’s easier to just head to a fast food restaurant rather than prepare something healthy to eat. The result: our health is going down the tubes.

As anxiety over obesity grows, many people begin to see food as the enemy. The thought is, if only we could avoid food, we’d be thinner. But all we’ll get is hungrier.

The reality is that good food is our ally; it’s one of the best medicines we can possibly take. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables keeps us healthy in a myriad of ways, such as fighting heart disease, cancer and digestive disease, and keeping blood pressure lower. Due to the fact that these foods are naturally high in fiber and low in calories, they help maintain a healthy weight. Fresh frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy too, and food dehydration (drying tomatoes, bananas or strawberries) can be a smart way to store fresh food.

Create a strategy for getting more fresh food in your diet. Prepare meals and snacks in advance when possible, making the trip to the grocery store a time for planning. Choose dark leafy vegetables that are rich in nutrients, and then add a variety of colors — red, yellow, and orange – to your grocery basket. Your dinner plate should be “colorful,” with 2/3 of it fruits and vegetables.

In a rush? Make healthy choices. Load up with vegetables at the salad bar and forgo the fries. Choose broiled chicken instead of a cheeseburger. Order a fresh fruit smoothie. Simple choices can change the way you feel. Make the choice of eating well.

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