I love where I live and always look forward to writing about what’s going on here in Portland. In the next few months I’m planning posts about some of the great things to see and do here. I’m kicking off this series with some big news for aspiring local cooks (like me). We have a fantastic, well established cooking school here in Portland, In Good Taste, and I read in the food section of our local paper that they are offering cooking classes this month taught by two renowned cookbook authors and chefs, Nick Malgieri and Pamela Sheldon Johns. Chef Malgieri’s class on Italian Baking will be held February 9th, and Chef Johns’ class, Tuscan Farmhouse Cooking, will be held at the school on February 27th. If you live in the greater Portland area or will be visiting anytime soon you should take a look at the great classes that In Good Taste has to offer. They are located in Lake Oswego, just a short drive from downtown Portland.
Chef Malgieri is the former Executive Pastry Chef at Windows on the World and 1996 inductee into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. He is currently director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. His most recent cookbooks include Bake: Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking and The Modern Baker. He will be teaching a class on Italian baking that will include Torta di Zucchine e Ricotta (zucchini and ricotta pie sceented with parmigiano reggiano), Torta Caprese (Neapolitan chocolate walnut cake) and Amaretti ai Pignoli (chewy macaroons covered with pine nuts).
Chef Johns will share tales of her life on Poggio Etrusco, her organic Farm in Montepulciano, Italy, where she produces her own extra-virgin olive oil. She is the author of 16 cookbooks including her latest, Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking. Pamela, her farm in Tuscany, and her cooking school have been featured by CNN Travel, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, BBC.com and Canadian Geographic. She lives in Tuscany with her family. Among the recipes she will demonstrate in her class are Crostini dello Cortile (crostini from the Farm Courtyard topped with organic chicken livers, Pici Aglione con le Briciole (hand rolled pasta with spicy tomato garlic sauce and toasted bread crumbs) and Mele al Forno (amaretti stuffed baked apples). If you would like to visit Pamela’s website you can find it here.
Don’t both of these classes sound wonderful! The more I learn about cooking the more I want to know. If the dates of these classes don’t work for you (the Italian baking class is this week!!!!) just check out In Good Taste’s calendar and I know you will find a class at a time that fits into your schedule. I’ve even given their cooking classes as gifts to my family and friends. Who wouldn’t love to receive that on a special occasion? Both chefs gave me a recipe to share with you in this post. I haven’t tried them yet and will write about them just as soon as I do.
This recipe is on the cover of Pamela’s latest book, Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking.
Pomodori, Fagioli, e Cipolline
Roasted Tomatoes, Beans, and Little Onions
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds cipolline onions, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, trimmed and peeled
1 bulb fennel, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cups cooked cannellini beans (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes, cipolline, and fennel in a roasting pan. Add the olive oil and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and roast another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and cipolline are fork-tender and golden brown. Add the beans and serve at once.
Cooked Cannellini Beans
1 cup dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over
2 cloves garlic, gently smashed
3 fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the beans, garlic, and sage. Add water to cover by 2 inches and soak overnight.
Drain the beans and place them in a large stockpot with the garlic and sage. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Skim any foam and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours, or until tender, adding water as needed to keep the beans moist as they cook.
Chef Malgieri generously gave me permission to select a recipe from his blog to share with you. In just a few months we will see fresh strawberries in the market, and there are even some decent berries available now, so I chose this mouthwatering tart.
STRAWBERY CREAM CHEESE CRUMBLE TART
Makes one 10-inch tart, about 8 servings
One unbaked Cookie Dough Tart Crust, below, chilled
ALMOND CRUMB TOPPING
1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/3 cup (75 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup slivered or whole blanched almonds, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE FILLING
1 pound (450 grams) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams, about 1 1/2 pints) strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved or quartered if large, or left whole if very small (reserve 1 perfect whole berry)
Confectioners’ sugar in a shaker for finishing
One jellyroll pan lined with parchment or foil for baking the crumb topping
- Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350˚F (180˚C).
- For the topping, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes, then use your fingertips to break the mixture into 1/4- to 1/2-inch (6- to 12-mm) crumbs. Scatter the crumbs on the prepared pan.
- Bake the tart crust in the lower third of the oven and the crumb topping in the upper third. After 10 minutes, remove the paper and beans from the tart shell and place it on the upper rack and the crumbs on the lower one.
- Continue baking the tart shell until it is dry and light golden, 15 to 20 additional minutes. Bake the crumb topping until it is deep golden and firm, 10 to 15 additional minutes.
- Cool the crust and the topping on racks. If the crumbs have clumped together during baking, let them cool completely and then use a bench scraper or table knife to chop them coarsely.
- For the cream cheese filling, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed just until it is smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
- To assemble the tart, spread half the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Evenly scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, lightly dust the topping with confectioners’ sugar and place the reserved berry in the center of the tart.
SERVING: Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base to a platter. Serve wedges of the tart – it needs no accompaniment.
STORAGE: You may have all the components ready, but don’t assemble the tart until a few hours before you intend to serve it. Keep it at a cool room temperature until you do. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and bring to room temperature before serving again. The crust will soften after it has been refrigerated.
VARIATIONS: Substitute raspberries or blueberries for the strawberries, or use a combination of all three berries. Peeled and diced perfectly ripe peaches or mangoes are also good choices.
COOKIE DOUGH TART CRUST
This recipe makes enough for two crusts but the instructions below are for rolling a single crust from half the dough.
Makes about 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) of dough, enough for two 10-inch (25-cm) tart crusts
1/4 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces/40 grams) slivered or whole blanched almonds, optional
3/4 cup (85 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One 10-inch (25-cm) tart pan with removable bottom
- Combine the almonds and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a thin metal spatula to scrape away any of the mixture caked up in the corner where the bottom meets the side of the bowl.
- Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. (If not using the nuts, start here and add the sugar.) Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.
- Invert the dough to a floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a thick disk and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. You may prepare the dough several days in advance and keep it refrigerated, or double wrap and freeze the second piece of dough, defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight before use.
- To form a tart crust, remove one of the pieces of dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften at a cool room temperature for about 20 minutes, just until it is soft enough to roll without cracking, but still firm. Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
- Flour the work surface and the dough and gently roll the dough into a 13-inch disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
- Fold the dough in half and slide both hands under it, palms upward, and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan. Don’t be concerned if the dough cracks or tears – you can press it back together.
- Evenly fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against both the bottom and side of the pan. Trim away any excess dough at the rim of the pan by rolling over with a rolling pin or scraping it away with the back of a paring knife.
- Finish off the top edges of the crust by pressing outward against the side of the pan with your thumb and down at the same time at the top of the crust with your index finger.
- Slide the tart pan onto a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I haven’t been compensated in any way by In Good Taste Cooking School for writing it. They are very highly thought of in our community and it’s a pleasure to tell you about them. I will be featuring other businesses and events as we go through the coming months.
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