Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hark! A Dessert! A Lime Tart, In Fact!

As I've said before, I'm not so into sweets. A pint of ice cream can sit in my freezer for months, and I just won't feel like eating it. A bag of chips on the other hand? I'm a goner. They may last minutes. As a result of this indifference towards the sweeter things, I don't post a whole lot of desserts on here...but this, my friends, was a delicious dessert, worthy of posting. And soooo easy.

Don't worry, the dessert itself isn't lime juice.

I have an aversion to baking - well, it's more than an aversion - I think I don't like baking because I'm not very good at it. The measuring, the levelling, the dry with the dry and the wet with the wet, it's too fussy. I get impatient and quite often I end up with a sub-par product. Like the whoopie pies I tried to make on my birthday, which, by the way, were FROM A MIX. But you were supposed to dollop out these dainty little individual pies onto wax paper and use TWO baking sheets and the first dainty little dollop got mucked up and stuck and the wax paper moved and I swore and then put the whole thing in a loaf pan. Things in loaf pans don't really scream 'dainty'. Then I had the BRILLIANT idea of slicing the loaf in half horizontally and putting the white, weird, mallow-y filling in the middle like a big fat loaf sandwich and I swear to god the whole thing was disgusting and people only ate it at one in the morning when they were too drunk to notice it tasted like chocolate chalk with marshmallow glue in the middle. And that's just one example of a pretty significant baking failure.

But this li'l tart here is delicious and bright-tasting and requires very little effort. All of six ingredients, with a big fat citrus punch (much different than a big fat loaf sandwich). I loooove the citrus. In the hierarchy of sweet things that I like, I think I would put sour keys at the top, citrus-based desserts in the middle, creme brulee somewhere in there, and chocolate at the bottom. Nothing against chocolate, just isn't my fave. And sour cream and onion chips beat all of those things. So it's relative.

Note that you need a tart pan for this recipe. I bought one for a cool five bucks at my local mega-conglomerate grocery store. Bully for me!

Lime Tart
Recipe source:  Everybody Likes Sandwiches, a fantastic Vancouver food blog - www.everybodylikessandwiches.com

This is what baking success looks like.
It's rare for me.
For the tart shell:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs        (I bought graham crackers and smashed the crap out of them - first I put them in a big ziploc and bashed them with a cast iron pan, but then the bag broke. So I just sort of crushed them in a bowl and then got them quite fine with a pestle - ha I just had to google 'mortar and pestle which is which' to write that instruction)
2 tbsp of white sugar
5 tbsp of butter, melted

For the filling:

3 eggs
1 300 mL can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of lime juice (about 4 limes)
2 tsp of lime zest (about 2 limes)         (I use a microplane - if you don't have one, you should buy one - it's a good $12 or so investment)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and melted butter until well incorporated. Press the crumb mixture into the tart pan, making sure to press it up along the sides as well as the bottom. Pop it in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool.

While your tart shell is baking, beat the three eggs in a bowl until they're frothy. You could certainly do this with a whisk, but an electric mixer is less laborious. Add in the can of sweetened condensed milk, and beat with the eggs for five minutes. Add in the lime juice and zest, mix it all up, and pour it into the cooled graham cracker crumb tart. Back in the oven for 10 to fifteen, and bob's your uncle, you just baked dessert! And you didn't screw it up! The tart should be set, and not jiggly anymore. Once it's cooled, stick her in the fridge to cool for a while (or overnight).

I served it with unsweetened whipped cream. You could add some sugar to your whipped cream, but I thought the tart was sweet enough without it. So I'm saying I don't think you should.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Packet O' Fish! Purity Abounds.

Happy New Year to y'all. So, did you overeat, over-drink, over, you know, everything this holiday season? Because I sure did. As penance, oops, I mean as a delightful cleansing mechanism, I've decided to make January a dry month. Aaaaaaand it's only the 7th. Frig.

Anyway, irrelevant, I'm here to talk about fish in a foil packet. This is mega-easy, and a good technique for most any kind of fish...you can also completely mix up what you put in with the fish in the foil packet, to your heart's content. I used sole here, but you could also use any whitefish (halibut, tilapia, cod, etc.) or salmon. For the toppings (accoutrements is a better word to describe what I mean here, but I wrote it and thought it looked a bit frou frou so I took it out, then added it to the bracket, and replaced it with 'toppings' - genius), I used thinly sliced lemon, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. But it would also be super nice with any other fresh herb, or you could do some asian flavours, say soy sauce, ginger, a little orange juice, cilantro and sesame oil.  Or basil and chopped olives and grape tomatoes and a little white wine (I mean, if you drink wine - but like, I don't drink, so I wouldn't know). Point is, this fish packet here is your playground. Doesn't that sound so fun???

Virtue, thy name is fish in a foil packet.
Fish is kind of special in our house - I find it's too pricey to eat that often, at least if you're getting stuff that's decent, and I'm not that into, I don't know, Alaskan pollock or similar, to put that jazz in the rotation with any regularity. So I got pretty excited making last night's dinner. But look how pretty and fresh it looked pre-oven (look to your right)? So nice-looking, right? So healthful! So me in 2012! Ha.

Foil Packet Fish with Lemon and Herbs

1 pound of any fish you like      (I had four very thin fillets, so I actually just layered two fillets for each serving - and slammed in more lemon slices and herbs to really jack up the flavour - but if your fish was thicker, no layering would be necessary.  But really, don't trouble yourself with fish thickness.  Because your fish will be firmly ensconced in a little bath of moisture from the lemon and olive oil and tomatoes, it's pretty damn hard to muck it up.  Also, I use about a half a pound of fish per person, so this served two people)
one small lemon, thinly sliced
a few tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
olive oil
a big clove of garlic, thinly sliced
a big handful of grape tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper

Packet of soul.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Lay down two big sheets of foil (about the length of a baking sheet). Place the fish in the middle of the foil, and then layer/sprinkle all the ingredients over top. C'est tout. Fold up the foil packet on all sides - I usually pull the top and bottom in, and roll them together, and then pull in the sides, rolling and scrunching them tightly as well. It should look like the foil packet you see on your right. I made two of these, one for each person.

Pop those puppies in the oven, and leave them in there for about 12 to 15 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving. I served the packets directly on the plate, with quinoa and asparagus. Because my body is a friggin' temple.

This would have tasted really good
with a glass of white wine.