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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We Apologize in Advance for the Bad Service

THAT'S what is says on the menu at one of my favorite (authentic) French bistros, Tout Va Bien. Well, I apologize in advance for the bad post... at least for posting about toasts again!

it's hard not to keep making crostini for dinner when I keep
bringing home leftover bread from work...

With David away at grad school, I've been delving into all sorts of cookbooks lying here and there. As of late, my two go-to recipes lie within the pages of the Bromberg brothers' Blue Ribbon Cookbook and Mireille Guiliano's The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook.

blue ribbon wisdom: you can add rosemary or thyme branches in the 
pan along with the tomatoes as they roast to add a nice, herby flavor

The more that I cook, the more I learn that you don't have to follow cookbook recipes to a T in order to get perfect results. In fact, sometimes the results are better (or at least more tailored to your own tastes) if you vary the recipe a bit... Since I always pick up grape tomatoes whenever I go to the supermarket (there's just something about that brilliant, red color in miniature sizes), I've been experimenting plenty with the Bromberg brothers' recipe for roasted tomato, arugula and lemon toasts. This time, I took note of some "blue ribbon wisdom" and added rosemary to the roasting pan. In the time that it took to roast the tomatoes (just under 1.5 hours), the aroma of rosemary was wafting throughout my kitchen. I also roasted them a bit longer than the previous time (nearly 30 minutes more) and ended up with sweeter-tasting tomatoes. (now I know why the recipe calls for the contrast of arugula) I had the tomatoes for lunch, simply with a smear of mayonnaise on bread and nothing more.

going a touch more extravagant for dinner

FOR dinner, I repeated the roasted tomato on toasts alongside a tuna tartine and hard boiled egg with salmon caviar on toast. For the egg, I prepared it à la Julia, according to her 1989 cookbook, The Way to Cook. The beginning of the "Eggs" chapter begins with Julia's master recipe for "HB" eggs--seventeen minutes exactly in standing, boiling water; two minutes in an ice bath; ten seconds in boiling water; fifteen to twenty minutes in ice again. This step-laden method is supposed to ensure your yolks don't go green. For the tomato toasts, I skipped nearly all of the greens and instead garnished them with sprigs of dried rosemary. As for the tuna tartine, I had to alter the measurements a bit to coincide with the five ounce can of tuna, opposed to 3.75 ounces of sardines... which seemed to be a happier marriage for me. (I was purposely a bit more heavy-handed with the Dijon and lemon juice) I paired it all with some bubbly and ended the meal with some brie and a bellini.

Roasted Tomatoes à la Bruce and Eric Bromberg
Makes 2 Cups
16 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
5 to 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
"Perfect Roast Seasoning" or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 225°F.
  • Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Roast until the tomatoes are shriveled and much of their juices have condensed, but the tomatoes are not dry, 1 to 1½ hours. Let cool, transfer to an airtight containder, cover with a film of olive oil, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

"Tuna" Tartines - adapted from Mireille Guiliano's The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook
Serves 4
1 (3.75-ounce) can tuna in water, drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or 1 tbs parsley + 1 tbs chervil)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices country bread, toasted
  • Drain tuna well by firmly pressing a fork down onto the tuna, over the sink. Place in a bowl.
  • In a second bowl, combine the butter, mustard, parsley, and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Add the tuna and mix gently. Season to taste and serve spread on toasted bread.

Bon appétit!
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