Eggs Baked in Avocado

Eggs Baked in Avocado-1

Eggs Baked in Avocado is as easy and foolproof a brunch as you’re likely to find, unless your local patissière delivers bags of warm fresh-baked croissants.  If you happen to come into some warm croissants or decent bread to serve with the eggs and avocados, all the better.  Baked avocadoes are delicious, but it’s hardly surprising most people have never eaten one, not when a ripe avocado is so good with just a squeeze of lime and a bit of salt.  A baked avocado has a rich, deep flavor that loves complimentary fat, like an egg yolk or cream, or the acidic contrast of a salad.  As we were pulling the elements of this post together I suggested topping the eggs with a spoonful of crème fraîche and calling it a day.  Not Jody.  The rule in our house is, once you open an avocado, you eat it–or you make sure someone else does–that same day, so just setting aside the cup of avocado flesh leftover from making a bit of room for the eggs was completely unacceptable.  You’re the lucky beneficiaries – you get eggs baked in avocados, served with a spicy avocado salad and crème fraîche.

Swiss Chard Tart with Gruyère and Anchovies

Swiss Chard Tart with Anchovies and Gruyere-8143

Ceci n’est pas une quiche.  It’s a Swiss Chard Tart with Gruyère and Anchovies.  Quiche sounds so seventies, like the ubiquitous anonymous “white wine” that came into vogue as an alternative to cocktails during the same Swiss Chard Tart-6674culinary epoch.  Boring.  White.  Food.  But a tart, a tart can play.  Sweet or savory, rich or light, it has no rules beyond the obligatory crust, and inclination to use whatever looks good in the market that day.  And what looked good to us was the Swiss chard. So, yes, this is a savory custard tart, but it’s really about the chard. Oh, and the anchovies. The tart doesn’t taste like anchovies–it tastes like chard, with cream and cheese, and something salty and elusively delicious in the background.

Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis

Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis-2

I’m not a fan of cherry pie (too sweet).  How un-American is that?  You can practically hear George Washington grumbling as he rolls over in his grave.  Oh wait, George Washington chopped down the cherry tree, at least apocryphally.  Maybe he wasn’t a fan of cherry pie either.  Maybe if George had enjoyed a Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis once in awhile the father of the United States might have been depicted by contemporary artists looking as if he were actually pleased about it.  Clafoutis can cheer anyone up.  As a student without much money in the French-speaking part of Switzerland I would sometimes treat myself to a slice of a beautiful clafoutis displayed in a pastry shop window.  It was one of those dependable, not terribly expensive indulgences that made me feel comforted and sophisticated at the same time.  With one foot in the tart world and another in the cake world, a medium that tasted a bit like crêpes and felt like custard, how could it not brighten my day?

Having your spuds and eating them too – Quick Boulangère Potatoes

Boulangère Potatoes TGF-1

Pity Antoine-Augustin Parmentier.  The late 18th century polymath would be rolling in his grave in Père Lachaise were he aware of the abuse heaped upon his beloved potato by modern nutritionists.  If there were ever a lobbyist for potatoes, it was Parmentier.  In Parmentier’s time most of Europe regarded the potato as fit for little more than animal fodder. In France cultivation of potatoes was forbidden by law, a natural outgrowth of then current French belief that potatoes were thought to cause leprosy. Parmentier became acquainted with potatoes while fed them as a prisoner in a Prussian prison during the Napoleonic wars, but few Frenchmen were willing to take him at his word about the benefits of eating them. Determined to bring his countrymen around to his way of thinking Parmentier threw himself into a decades long campaign of public demonstrations, potato-themed dinners for the rich and influential, and public lectures.    Today, as a member of the Gang of Three (along with rice and bread), potatoes stand accused of undermining the People’s waistline, usually in league with its natural allies, cream and cheese. But there’s a way of having one potatoes without taking on a wheelbarrow of calories. Enter Boulangère Potatoes.

Pistachio and Blood Orange Torte

I first came across a version of the cake that evolved into Pistachio and Blood Orange Torte in Nigella Lawson’s HOW TO EAT. Three things grabbed me about the recipe–how simple it seemed, even for a pastry klutz like me, that it called for cooking oranges for two hours, and that it had no flour.

Two hours! Would the oranges be mush? Inquiring minds needed to know, but inquiring minds didn’t have two hours to spend watching oranges break down. Enter my friend, the pressure cooker.

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Lazy Man’s Sheet Pan Apple Tart

Although I can manage a country-style loaf of sourdough bread, more refined baking is my Achilles heel.  I avoid making pastry the way I avoid hanging doors or framing windows.  In a post-apocalyptic  world where my survival depended on advanced carpentry skills to keep the zombies out I would muddle through, but in the meantime …