Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Return to Civility

After months of eating at our trays in front of the television we surrendered. As the proud owners of three dogs and erstwhile canine visitors eating is a little bit of a challenge. At the trays, the dogs sit patiently watching every forkful transferred from plate to mouth. If a drop slips from the fork they lunge under the tray seeking the taste on the floor. Doris is particularly a pain as she stares at you intently and cries sotto voce. Enough!

So we have been dining in what else the dining room. It is lovely. The dogs are barred from the room with baby gates. We sit, we chat, we taste. Dinner time has doubled. It is so pleasant.

Last night we had a great dinner in our dining room. I gave Lee a choice between roast chicken and butternut squash or a Greek dish called pastitsio. Lee I always opts for pasta. Much like lasagne pastitsio has multiple layers. A layer of perciatelli miked with egg white and cheese topped by a red meat sauce with wine and rosemary, another layer of pasta and finally a lovely bechamel enriched with egg yolks and seasoned with nutmeg. Baked, the top is brown and lovely hiding layers of sauce and pasta. A salad with kalamata olives, tomato and pignoli with a plain vinaigrette and crusty bread completed the main part of the meal.

For dessert, I made a citrus tart with raspberry, creme anglaise and moro orange sections. You can make this tart so many ways. You can put chocolate on the bottom, use any fruit butter or jam and change the fruit topping. For the truly time pressed, you can use commercially made pudding. I would use canned rather than instant because of the smooth, creaminess. Be sure to add a zest or flavoring to make it more home made in taste.

Citrus tart

1 sheet puff pastry
egg, beaten with a T. water
seedless raspberry fruit butter
creme anglaise (recipe to follow)
1 moro orange, cut into sections

I used a rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. After thawing the puff pastry, unfold the sheet of puff pastry. Cut the pastry to fit the bottom of the tart pan and place it in the pan. Using a fork press the tines in the pastry every 1/3 inch in rows and columns to cover the pastry. Take thin strips of pastry and place along the edges of the pastry to build a crust. Discard remaining pastry. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the pastry is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool. When cool, spoon fruit butter over the bottom coating to the edges. On top of the fruit butter spoon the creme anglaise. Place the orange sections along the top of the creme anglaise. Chill until served.

Creme Anglaise

3 egg yolks
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
2 C. half and half
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
1 T. butter

In a bowl mix the sugar and yolks together. Heat the half and half in a pan until it is hot. Pour it into the egg mixture, combine thoroughly. Pour it back into the pot and heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter and flavorings. Whisk for about 3 minutes. Let cool.

1 comment:

  1. I tried that civility bit....usually with the beginning of each year...although only for Sunday night dinner. It lasts about 2 weeks, so this year I didn't even make an attempt!!!! Whatever happened to the family dinner around a table?