25 May 2008

Double Vegetarian Event Entry Time

All right, folks. You have a week to get those entries in to me, and I'm very excited that we have several participants this round so far who are neither me nor my mother. In the spirit of vegetarian blogging, I'm entering this post both in my own event as a second entry (because I had to do something with the other half of the puff pastry box) and in Eat the Right Stuff's Vegetables, Beautiful Vegetables event for the UK's national vegetarian week. So if anyone is coming from that event and wants to enter a vegetarian quiche, tart, or savoury pie (cross-posts are welcome!) just comment with the link to your post by Saturday, May 31st. We'd love to have you!

So, on with my experiment. I must admit, a lot went wrong with this recipe. It was still tasty, but not at all what I'd envisioned, and a little frustrating, especially considering how much I spent on all the ingredients. I found a recipe for caramelized vegetable tart at Meeta's blog. I know from others that Meeta has great recipes, and I read her blog regularly, so I'm sure the recipe would work just fine in more capable hands, but man, I just had all the mishaps. One major issue was the fennel. You see me here, charmingly displayed behind its fronds, but the fennel became much less fun after that. I've never tasted it before, and I found that the smaller pieces that got nice and soft tasted fine, but the majority of slices - perhaps because I couldn't figure out just how to slice it - were crunchy and had an odd, bitter taste.

I also had a problem with the pastry, in that I used wax paper (maybe parchment is different, I've never known) and when I pulled it a way, and sizeable chunk of pastry came with it. Thankfully, there was still plenty, but I was a bit annoyed. Next, I toasted the pinenuts in the toaster oven and managed to burn them to a crisp. I have to stop toasting nuts in that thing. I'll never learn. Those were the last of my supply, so no pinenuts. Then the veggies just wouldn't cook fully. I don't know if they were too crowded in the pan, and therefore had trouble browning - next time, I'm using smaller veggies - or if the heat was just too low, but I had to crank it up to medium to make anything happen. After 25 minutes, they never really browned or caramelized, so I gave up. Everything but the fennel was cooked, at least, but I expected more browning in the broiler. After two minutes, the cheese was still blinding white and the pastry was dangerously dark. I gave up. Tasty, but not exactly a success. Better luck next time?

I had a similar opinion of my dessert offering this weekend, which was a coconut panna cotta from La Tartine Gourmande, one of my favourite bloggers. The process itself was blissfully easy, with only a few ingredients and little advanced technique involved. I picked it because I needed a use for the remainder of the buttermilk from the carton I purchased for a challenge you'll see next week. Apparently, though, my tastes just cannot handle cold buttermilk. Really, I knew this. I'm not the kind of Southerner who can drink buttermilk straight. I wince a bit, and it's an unpleasant experience. I like it in baked goods, but for some reason it didn't occur to me that the buttermilk flavour would be so strong here. I thought it would blend with the coconut somehow and not really be noticeable. I do think it would be tastier with the blackberry stew on that post, because some fruit to cut the buttermilk would be perfect, but as it is I'm probably throwing the rest away. Oh, well.


abby said...

oh judith, i hate it when i cook and have a succession of things going wrong like that! regardless of that, thanks for sharing with vegetables, beautiful vegetables!

Sylvie said...

I hope you have better luck next time!

Holler said...

que sera sera! And all that jazz! Have a try of my recipe, but cut down on the pea puree.
I am looking forward to the line up. I notice that Kevin from Closet cooking is joining in.

LisaRene said...

Judith, I'm starting to think the cause of your cooking problems has nothing to do with your talent as a cook but might be your cooking implements - pots, pans, oven, etc. Unfortunately as you found out, wax paper is not interchangeable with parchment paper. All things considered I think your tart looks pretty darn good and tasty! I do love fennel and it's wonderful anise flavor :)

Kat said...

Thought you might appreciate official-type explanation from the good folks at Reynolds (who make both products).

Parchment Paper can be used to line cookie sheets for baking cookies. Wax Paper should not be used for lining cookie sheets for baking cookies. Wax paper cannot take the heat of the oven and will smoke. Both wax paper and parchment paper can be used for lining cake pans for baking cakes. Because the cake batter completely covers the wax paper, the wax paper will not smoke.

Judith said...

Abby - Sometimes it's just doomed to failure, but really, the end product wasn't so bad. It's been worse!

Sylvie- Haha, thanks. My bad streak is taking a holiday for now, at least!

Holler - I definitely do want to try your pastry sometime (probably when it gets cooler). I loved the photos, mm.

Lisa - I don't know that it's quite that I don't have good things, because I actually did make some effort to stock my kitchen when I moved in here. With the wax/parchment thing, it was more just that they only had one option at the store! Next time I'll look harder.

Kat- Thanks for that clarification! I'll see if I can find parchment at another store next time.