Saturday, August 11, 2012

Laptop Lunches #112

This is actually from yesterday. I got distracted last night and didn't post, which is surprising because I was so impressed with myself.

Champagne grapes, a strawberry fan, honey roasted almonds, a chocolate zucchini muffin (The Muffin Tin Cookbook), smoked salmon and leek tarts (adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2010) nestled among carrot slices, green bell pepper strips, and grape tomatoes, and apple and sharp cheddar chunks.

I was trying to make my Laptop Lunches box a little more bento-y than I ususually do, filling in the empty spaces. I think it worked better with the dessert cup than with the main course, but not a bad effort. I probably should have just stuck the tarts on a bed of lettuce.

Ah, the tarts. A while ago I bought some tulip-shaped muffin cups from Amazon.

Do you see the little line through the middle of each one? I figured that was some kind of fill line. Well, they arrived, and had a little instruction leaflet. These muffin cups double as tart pans. You just fold them along the line.

There was much excitement over this discovery.

Meanwhile, I'd been eyeing the recipe for smoked salmon and leek tarts for weeks on end, but kept telling myself it was too expensive to attempt. Then I discovered that Whole Foods sells trimmings from smoked salmon for a very reasonable price and that you can also get said trimmings in very managable quantities for one person (i.e. 2-4 ounce packages). Now, if you had a recipe calling for sliced smoked salmon, that wouldn't work, but this one called for smoked salmon cut into little squares, so that worked out perfectly. It said to use two four-inch tart pans, but as I knew from previous experience with their tart recipes, I knew I would get more than two shells out of it. Plus, I wanted to try these tiny silicone tart pans. So I set to work on their pat-in-the-pan tart crust.


It made six tartlets and one four inch tart. I was right.

And they baked up beautifully, and came out of their pans easily, as you can see with them cooling on my wire rack:



The finished product did not disappoint.

The thing about tarts is that generally one eats them at room temperature, making them ideal for my lunches. I notice that Amazon no longer has any of these tulip muffin/tart pans, which is unfortunate because I would easily buy more if they were available. But if you can find them, they're absolutely worth it.

I'm also super excited about a few new cookbooks I have, one of which is the Muffin Tin Cookbook, from which I got the recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins. They do hide the zucchini well, if you have vegetable-avoiders at your house, and do not involve complicated steps like making purees like some such recipes do (you just shred the zucchini and mix it in with the other stuff). I wasn't crazy about them, myself. They were fine, but I had hoped for something fudgier.

Meanwhile, I had lunch with a friend, whose equipment is worthy of envy:

Chicken curry and a plum. The lid has a fork attached to it, which is very clever, although you can't really see it in this picture. I don't remember what brand her lunchbox is. I'll have to ask her next time.

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