Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rougemont Apple Pastry Cake from A Passion for Baking

Dorthea came over last night for our Nova Scotia Hot Lobster. She brought a delicious apple pastry she made from this recipe. It's from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. More pie than cake, this is a deep apple pastry held together with a vanilla custard. I love an apple custard pie. This recipe takes that to the extreme, and adds a stunning presentation. Thank you Dorthea.

Rougemont Apple Pastry Cake
A Passion for Baking
Marcy Goldman

2 c flour
1 T sugar
½ t salt
¾ c unsalted butter, cut in chunks
4-6 T ice water or half-and-half

10-12 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut in ¼-inch slices
¼ c sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
½ c raisins, plumped
1 T lemon juice

Vanilla Custard
½ c unsalted butter, melted
1 c sugar
2 t vanilla
4 eggs
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
  1. Brush bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with butter and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Mix pastry ingredients in a food processing, adding water until the dough forms. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
  3. While chilling dough, cut apples and mix with filling ingredients.
  4. Roll dough and fit in springform all the way up the sides.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Arrange apples to fill pastry, neatly arranging the final layer.
  7. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. While baking, mix the custard.
  9. Uncover and continue baking for 40-55 minutes until apples are soft and brown.
  10. Pour the custard over the hot apples and bake another 20 minutes.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nova Scotia Hot Lobster

Here's a dish that makes something good into something great. What's better than lobster? Lobster sauteed in butter with a cream sauce over toast. The cream sauce coats your mouth in the richest lobster flavor you can imagine. Don't skip the toast. It's how you get all the cream sauce.

Nova Scotia Hot Lobster
(one serving)
1 live 1¼ lb lobster
1 T butter
1½ t flour
¼ c light cream
Artisan bread
  1. Boil lobster minimally until just red, about 5 minutes.
  2. Cool and pick meat from shell.
  3. 30 minutes before serving, saute in butter over low heat until butter turns red, up to 20 minutes.
  4. While lobster sautes in pan, slice toast into thick slices, set aside. Thoroughly combine flour and cream, removing all lumps.
  5. 5 minutes before serving, toast bread; pour flour mixture into pan, stirring constantly while sauce thickens. Season to taste. Serve immediately over toast.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Royal India Bistro in Lexington

Gail and I went to Noele's favorite restaurant tonight, Royal India Bistro in Lexington. This is certainly the best Indian food in Lexington, and I'd argue that it is the best overall restaurant in Lexington. First, the owners welcome everyone warmly and thank folks as they leave, more like party hosts than owners, really. They are two brothers, who seem to care for the restaurant like a child: One night they are serving, another night cooking, or just as likely making deliveries. After serving a new special, one brother will ask how it was as if he fussed all day for the perfect mix. These are the kind of people you are excited to see succeed.

The food is equally good, with each dish having flavors and spice notes that make it a unique addition to your meal. This is not a one-muddled-spice-set restaurant. Nor do they simply have a combination of chicken, lamb or shrimp cooked as a saag, korma or curry. Multiple regions of India are represented. Tonight we had a Northern Indian dish of pakoras in a brown yogurt sauce. Think Swedish meatballs with an Indian flair. On other nights we've had unusual dishes like biryani (a mixed rice dish) or dosa (a South Indian crepe of lentils and rice with fillings).

Don't skip the specials. They are actually special. If you see the basil naan, you won't go wrong with it. Or if you have room, try the kulfi ice cream. They make it themselves, with bold Indian spices to compliment the meal. We always get the Royal mixed appetizers, with hand-made samosas and pakoras, including Gail's favorite fish pakoras. Noele enjoys the kabuli chana, palak paneer and baingan bharta. These are all vegetarian, but rich enough that you won't miss the meat. I haven't found a favorite yet because each time I go I get something new that I love.

We will go back often, even without Noele.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2AM Chili Recipe from Tyler Capps via

Gail stumbled upon this recipe for 2AM Chili from If you are old at heart, don't click the link. The rest of you may find this recipe a helpful cooking lesson, if not at least funny. Anna, you'll like this one.

A little more research: This comic originally comes from Tyler Capps and is on his site Cooking Comically. He has earned the credit. Noele, check out The Bananarama.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Picking at Carver Hill Orchard in Stow

One of the nice things about empty nesting is that Gail and I have started dating again. The girls think we are cute, and I guess they are right. Today we took an apple picking trip.

Gail's research found Carver Hill Orchard in Stow. Their website says, "We are not a circus with an apple orchard in the background, nor do we want to be." There are parts of the usual apple-farm-circus that Gail and I like. Carver Hill had the little country store and delicious apple cider donuts. But they don't have the huge parking lot line and bustling crowds of people with small children eager for a petting zoo and hayride. The small kids are cute when they aren't crying.

Instead, we enjoyed birds chirping and bees buzzing. We walked through trees with apples thick like grapes. We shared a Macoun fresh off the tree. Macouns are Anna's favorite apple. They are perfect for eating and baking. We picked enough apples for the two of us and to bring some for each of the girls on parent's weekend next week. Each called with an order for enough apples for a pie and eating.

We both remarked at what a relaxing experience it was.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Domaine Pinnacle 2008 Ice Cider

Our friend Martha brought Gail and I a bottle of 2008 Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider for us to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Martha always brings us the best treasures from Canada. Domaine Pinnacle is from Frelighsburg, Quebec.

I wasn't familiar with ice cider, but from the bottle and name, it is clear this should be compared to an ice wine. The color is a golden honey, with the same syrupy legs as an ice wine. The apple notes are strong both in the smell and the taste. Many grape ice wines have such apple notes, but more subtly. Those apple notes can be prized in an ice wine. The strength of the apple in this wine is delightful, but doesn't make you think apple cider. I think this wine could stand up in a tasting alongside a grape ice wine.

Most import is the taste. Mmmm, yummy is a good description. Apple is a perfect fit for an ice wine. Apples bring a richness to the wine, while the style holds back the tartness of apple cider. Thank you, Martha.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fried Pattypan Muffins

A few days ago, Gail made delicious pattypan muffins. Pattypans are a round yellow squash, so think zucchini muffins with a different squash. This kind of muffins are best on the first day, but dry out in the middle while getting oily on this outside as they age.

Patience is called for though, because those are the prefect conditions for fried muffins. Gail cut them in half and fried them in a little butter. There is no better breakfast treat. They were better than the original muffins, which is no small accomplishment. Sorry, they are all gone now.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lark Salted Rosemary Shortbread

Gail and I went to Berman's vendor fair today, where I tried salted rosemary shortbread from Lark Fine Foods.  I thought I was just going to have shortbread, but wow, salt and rosemary.  I can't tell if it wants to be a cookie or a cracker, but I can tell that I liked it.  The woman passing out samples said she had tried to make a lavender shortbread, but had so much lavender that the flavors made her ill.  She looked for something else to try and decided on rosemary.  I'm glad she did.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bread Bowls

Tonight Gail made garden soup in home-made bread bowls. I love soup in a bread bowl. Tonight's soup was a creamy puree of potatoes, leeks and broccoli, all from her garden. Bread bowls are wonderful four times over. First, you get yummy chunks of the bread bowl top dipped into the soup. Next, you get the soup itself. Then you get to scrape the soup-soaked walls of the bowl. And finally, appealing to my inner twelve-year-old, you get to rip apart the bowl and eat it.

We realized tonight though that bread bowls hold a special place for us. Before we were married, Gail and I spent a New Year's Eve in Disneyland. We looked all over for a place to sit and eat, and finally settled for clam chowder in bread bowls at a stand just outside of Pirates of the Caribbean. That was over twenty five years ago and the memory sticks with us both.

How many meals can you remember from twenty five years ago?