Tart and sweet refreshing desert – blueberry and lime tartlets

blueberry lime tartlets

blueberry lime tartlets

I know blueberries aren’t in season yet in Quebec, and it’s not summer yet, but I just can’t wait any longer to share this little gem of a pie!   It not only looks impressive but it is truly scrumptious.

Yes, these tartlets do scream summer but you can still make them now, as there are always blueberries available from California.  Plus it’s not really the blueberries that make these pies shine, it’s the lime curd.  The lime curd brings to the pie both tartness and sweetness in a wonderfully refreshing combination.  The lime curd is so good that if you have any leftover you can just eat it on its own with a spoon!

These pies will not only impress your guests but, most importantly, will make it easy for you, as you can prepare them in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve them.  The only special equipment you will require; are individual tartlet pans with removable bottoms.

blueberry lime tartlet

blueberry lime tartlet

ingredients:

tartlets

  • 10 oz (285 grams) gingersnap cookies (about 40 cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • lime curd (see below)
  • zest from 1 lime
  • powdered sugar for dusting

lime curd

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yooks
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
blueberry lime tartlet

blueberry lime tartlet

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. In a food processor or blender, grind gingersnap cookies into fine crumbs.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add melted butter and combine thoroughly.
  3. By using hands press gingersnap mixture into bottoms and sides of tartlet pans with removable bottoms.   If you use 4 inch tartlet pans you will have enough crust mixture and lime curd for 6 tartlet pans.  If you use slightly larger tartlet pans which are 4 ¾ inches you will have enough to make 4 tartlets.
  4. Bake until crusts are deep gold, which is about 12 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. While crusts are baking you can start making the lime curd. In a medium bowl mix sugar, whole eggs, and egg yolks.
  6. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine butter and lime juice and keep stirring until butter melts.
  7. Add egg mixture to saucepan and cook on low, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Transfer lime curd to a bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap where you press it onto the surface of the curd, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Once cooled, remove tartlets from their pans and fill each with lime curd.  Top each tartlet with blueberries and lime zest.  Add a squeeze of lime juice over each tartlet and then dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Note: if you have any leftover lime curd after you have filled the tartlets, just keep it in the bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap as done above and refrigerate until ready to eat.  You can then just spoon the lime curd on a sugar or butter cookie if you desire, or do as I do, eat it on it’s own with a spoon!  Just decadent!

An asian take to the braised short ribs

There’s still snow on the ground here in Montreal, so sadly it’s not BBQ weather just yet, which means that we’re still braising our meat!  So once again we’re taking out the Dutch oven.

This time, the short ribs are braised Asian-style.  It’s got a little spice and a little sweetness and that combination makes this one extremely popular amongst our friends who have sampled them.  And we know this because there’s never any leftovers as everyone has asked for seconds and the plates are wiped clean!

This is another great option for a dinner party, as with all braised meats, they are even better tasting prepared a day ahead.  It’s also an easy prep, only requires one pot, in this case, a Dutch oven. These can simply be served on a bed of rice and a bold red wine will go extraordinarily well.

asian braised short ribs

asian braised short ribs

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ½ lbs (2 kg) beef short ribs, cut Korean-style
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 4 pieces, halved lengthwise and crushed with a meat pounder
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chile garlic sauce (Siracha), if you like it very spicy feel free to add more Siracha
  • green onion, finely chopped for garnish
asian short ribs with green onion rice

asian short ribs with green onion rice

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF (180oC).
  2. On a plate, stir together flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Dry the short ribs with a paper towel and coat them all with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
  3. Heat the canola oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Then cook the short ribs in the oil, turning occasionally, until browned for about 15 minutes.  Remove ribs from the Dutch oven and set aside.
  4. In the Dutch oven, add the garlic, green onions, ginger, red pepper flakes and lemongrass and sauté for about 1 minutes, until fragrant.
  5. Pour in beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Then stir in the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and chile-garlic sauce.  Bring to a boil.
  6. Cover Dutch oven and transfer to oven and cook until the ribs are tender, between 2 hours and 2 ½ hours.
  7. When ribs are ready, place Dutch oven on stove and remove ribs and place aside. Then remove bones and lemongrass from pan and discard.  Separate fat from sauce, using a fat separator and return sauce and ribs to Dutch oven.  If you happen to only serve them the next day you can skip the fat separator and just refrigerate them and before reheating the short ribs just remove the congealed fat from surface of the short ribs.
  8. When ready to serve, just simply place a few ribs over white rice and spoon sauce over ribs and rice.  You can also add on top some finely chopped green onions for garnish.

In the above photos we have served the asian short ribs with green onion rice, which goes particularly well with the ribs.  This is a super easy rice which can be prepared in the microwave oven, yep, the microwave oven!   The recipe for the green onion rice will be posted following this post.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Artichoke squares, the easy tapa to make ahead

mom's artichoke squares

mom’s artichoke squares

I just love the concept of appetizers!  The Spanish, with their tapas or the Greeks with the meze have it right when it comes to enjoying an entire meal savouring multiple small courses all night long.  Tapas are great because it prolongs the time you spend around the table or, in our case, often around the kitchen island. What’s not to love when you get to taste a multitude of different courses instead of just the traditional three-course meal.

However serving tapas to your guests can result in a lot of work and stress if not planned properly.  My husband and I have learned that the best way to serve tapas is to have on hand a combination of cold and hot tapas, which have been prepared in advance.  All that needs to be done when the party comes around, is just some minimal assembly or reheating before they are served.   This will ensure you can enjoy the party as much as your guests!

We’ve got a long list of favourite appetizers which I’m looking forward to posting on this blog, but as a start, I am sharing with you the easiest app you’ll ever make, my mom’s artichoke squares!    It’s a little like a frittata because of the eggs, but don’t be fooled the taste is sophisticated enough for an appetizer.

This is a super easy recipe that requires minimal bowls and pans. You can make this one ahead, bake it and freeze it until you are ready to reheat and serve.  Couldn’t be easier!  And I can’t tell you how tasty and addictive these squares are, I guarantee that your guests won’t leave any behind.

mom’s artichoke squares

mom's artichoke squares

mom’s artichoke squares

ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (398 ml or 1 1/2 cup) artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 ½ tablespoon greek oregano or regular oregano
  • 2 dashes of tobasco
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven at 350oF.
  2. Transfer chopped onion into a large microwaveable bowl along with butter.  Cook onions and butter in microwave for about 3 minutes until onions are softened and remove from microwave.  As you know, handle bowl safely as it may be very hot.
  3. Before chopping each artichoke, ensure to drain each heart of water by squeezing the water out of them.
  4. Thoroughly combine remaining ingredients (garlic, artichokes, eggs, cheddar cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, tobacco, salt and pepper) in bowl with softened onions.
  5. Spread artichoke mixture evenly into a 9″ square pan.
  6. Bake at 350oF for 35 minutes.
  7. Cool slightly and cut into squares and serve warm.
mom's artichoke squares

mom’s artichoke squares

If freezing before serving, cool completely after baking and cut into squares.  Store squares in an airtight container with parchment paper separating layers of squares.   You can therefore serve the quantity that you wish when needed and store the rest for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.  Before serving reheat oven at 350oF and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Voila!