Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Laptop Lunches #148
If you have any Chinese friends (or are yourself Chinese), you will have, at some point, encountered a version of tomatoes and eggs. It's basic Chinese comfort food. I am told that in some parts of China it is nothing more than tomatoes, eggs, and rice, but I was taught to make it by someone from southern China, where they tend to incorporate more flavors. If you're so inclined, though, you could leave out everything but the tomatoes, eggs, and rice and still be authentic.
(By the way, since I mentioned it in this post, a follow up: the seaweed snacks are wonderful when you have rice, too!)
Here is the recipe for my version of tomatoes and rice, which I always sort of eyeball, so take the quantities as approximations and adjust as desired:
Tomatoes and Eggs
Serves: 2 over rice
1/4 yellow onion, sliced very thinly lengthwise in strips, then halve the strips
1/4 green bell pepper, sliced very thinly lengthwise into strips, then halve the strips
2 eggs, scrambled
About 1 cup fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used pretty small tomatoes--if I used Roma, which is my usual method, I'd use about 2 of them)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Stir fry onion and pepper in a nonstick skillet until tender, then pour in egg and cook quickly. Chop up any really large pieces of egg. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes soften and give up their juices. Add remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice.
The strawberry tartlets were borne of my suddenly acquiring two pounds of strawberries.
magic tulip cups, plus one 4-inch tart:
Serves: Depends on your appetite, see above for details
For the shells:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
About 1 and 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons butter, cut into bits
1. Spray tart shells you'll be using with vegetable oil spray.
2. Stir flour, sugar, and salt together, then cut in butter. The mixture should look coarse with small grains of butter, but not too over-mixed. Pour in 1 tablespoon of ice water and stir. If large clumps form, great! No more ice water. If not, add the other tablespoon and mix it in.
3. Form a dough with your hands. Tear off pieces the size of a walnut and put into prepared tart shells. Press into a crust. If necessary, use plastic wrap to smooth out. Cover each tart shell with plastic wrap, set on a plate, and freeze for at least a half an hour, or up to 1 day.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put tart shells on a cookie sheet and remove plastic wrap. Weight down shells (I use mini silicone muffin cups for the smaller tartlets, and an individual-sized pie pan for the 4-inch tart. If you don't have anything suitable, you can put aluminum foil, sprayed with cooking spray, into each tartlet, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.)
5. Bake until the surface no longer looks wet and the edges start to change slightly in color, about a half an hour. Remove whatever weights you had in the shells and set aside to cool.
6. Rinse, dry, and hull your strawberries. Slice the pointy end off of an equal number of strawberries as you have tart shells; set aside. Slice these strawberries thinly. Arrange slices in a fan shape in each tart shell, then put a pointy end in the center. (You can slice and add more if you need them. This does not have to be all that precise.)
7. Cut remaining strawberries up into small pieces. If you are fortunate to have a working blender (alas! I am not!), you can puree these instead. If you are like me and your blender is broken, proceed to whack these strawberries mercilessly into bits with a potato masher.
8. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium saucepan, then whisk in water. Stir in the berry puree or mash, lemon juice, and butter. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring, for about a minute. Spoon the cooked berry mixture carefully into prepared shells over the raw strawberry slices. Try to ensure you glaze all the raw strawberry surfaces.
9. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set the tartlets. If you have whipped cream, you can add that when you serve them.
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