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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tart of the Month Autumn Round Up


It's been a very busy month around here, so I didn't have time to make a new tart in September.  Instead, I thought I'd browse the archives for seasonal Autumn tarts I've made in the past.

There are some real winners here!



This Butternut Squash Tart with Sage, Honey & Chilis is really easy and makes a tasty, fancy appetizer or light lunch.



Stone fruits are still in season here in Ontario, and these Plum Tarts with Honey and Black Pepper are a sweet and sour treat.



This Roasted Vegetable Tarte Tatin takes a little more effort, but it is so beautiful and delicious, it's well worth it. 




I can't get enough butternut squash at this time of year, so here's another Butternut Squash Tart, this time with mushrooms and Gruyere.



Little Beet, Cheddar & Apple Tarts on puff pastry are a simple treat for a savoury dessert or snack.



Tarte flambée, or Flammekueche is similar to pizza and makes a wonderful dinner when nights get cooler.  



Carrots are in season and I love the way this Carrot and Herb Tart uses a variety of coloured carrots with the green of fresh herbs. 



And, finally, it isn't really fall without some pumpkin spice. These Pumpkin Spice Tarts have a gingersnap crust I love. 

Get outside and enjoy the season!  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Hour - Gin Martini


Wow, what a crazy few weeks it has been!  I know that September/back to school is hectic for parents and teachers.  We are neither, but I started a brand new job two weeks ago, with all the changes to routine that entails.  Plus, we just bought a new house and put our house on the market!  It's a very exciting time, but also very stressful and busy.  We often have to leave the house at dinnertime for showings, and keep it spotless between showings, so needless to say, we haven't done much cooking. 


We had to pack up some glassware to make our home look more spacious for showings, but I insisted on keeping my martini glasses and shaker.  In this stressful time, I'm not going to deny myself a martini!


This is a traditional gin martini with a twist.  You can use an olive instead, but I can't stand olives, and I love the way the lemon adds a little bitter, sour flavour to the drink.


A gin martini is full of gin flavour, so you want to use your very best, favourite gin.  My dear friend bought me Hendrick's Gin for my recent birthday and it would be fantastic in this. I used Bombay Sapphire East which is subtly flavoured with black pepper and lemongrass. You'll also need dry vermouth.  


There is some controversy over what makes the "perfect" martini.  The less vermouth, the more dry it is and some like it very dry. But I started with a 2:1 ratio of gin to vermouth and liked it fine. If you are new to gin and/or martinis, this is a good place to start. You can fiddle with the amount of vermouth to make your perfect martini. 


For this martini, mix 2 ounces of gin and one ounce of vermouth in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake until the shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds.  


Use a zester or sharp paring knife to remove a strip of lemon peel from a fresh, clean lemon.  Twist the peel over the glass to release the oils, and pour the cocktail over a the lemon into a martini glass.


You can see this martini is cloudy, not clear. That's from shaking it, which causes ice crystals to make the drink opaque.  James Bond's "shaken, not stirred" causes this cloudiness which is not ideal for martini connoisseurs.  For a clear martini, stir the cocktail gently rather than shaking it.  I am not that picky. 


Since the ingredients are nothing but booze, this makes a very boozy cocktail, but it can be just the thing before dinner or after a long day. It is sophisticated and tasty which is sometimes just what you need.

Cheers!   

Monday, September 7, 2015

Putting Up With: Tomatoes Two Ways


My "Putting Up With" series is a play on the phrase 'putting up' as a colloquialism for canning.  But in this case, it's particularly apt, because the only way I can put up with (tolerate) tomatoes is when they're canned, cooked or preserved in some way.  


I was a very picky eater when I was younger, but I've learned to tolerate, and even enjoy, some of the things that horrified me as a child.  I now cook with all types of peppers and mushrooms and even occasionally use mayonnaise and beans, all things I couldn't stand a few years ago.  But I've never grown to love raw tomatoes. Both the texture and taste are repulsive to me.  These recipes have helped me use up all the tomatoes I get every week from our garden and my CSA box.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Beer Baron - Road Trip: Elora Brewing Company Edition

This post comes from Matt, the Beer Baron. Find him on Twitter at @geekcanuck


I don’t know if it is all the agriculture in the area leading people to appreciate local fare or just a happy coincidence, but the Guelph area (which is about 90 minutes from the Clockwatching Tart home base) is one of the best craft beer parts of the province – a fact we’ve certainly taken advantage of in the past.
In fact, Guelph’s Wellington Brewery is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a cask beer festival in late September, so the area has certainly earned its craft beer bona fides. So, it was no surprise when I learned that the area would be welcoming a new craft brewery, this time in nearby Elora, Ontario with the aptly named Elora Brewing Company.
At this year’s London Beer & BBQ Show, I got to try Elora Brewing’s Lady Friend IPA, which was much more malty and balanced than most IPAs and was clearly one of the stars of the show to me. At the time, they were still building their brewery, so another brewer was making their beer for them using their recipe, so once their actual brewery recently opened, it was with much excitement that we loaded up the Subaru and headed for Elora.




Build in an old hardware store right on the main drag of the adorably cute “downtown” Elora, Elora Brewing Company is quite beautiful, with exposed stone walls and lots of Edison bulbs, wood and steel for a vibe that is very clean and modern but certainly fits in with the vibe of a town best known for the gorge and natural beauty.

So, the town itself and the brewery – with its still gleaming brewing equipment standing proudly and brightly lit in the back in contrast to the stone and wood up front – are both beautiful, but what about the food and beer?