I've been so horrible about posting regularly, but it's summer and there's this incredibly geeky thing called Diablo III that I've been sort of ...er... preoccupied by. *shifty eyes* I did, however, manage to dig my head out of monster-slashing long enough to make this rhubarb jam tart, which was inspired by my recent BlogHer Food trip to Seattle (p.s. If you haven't read yet seen the recap of our talk, here it is!). But first... a few foodie postcards from the city that sparked my craving of rhubarb jam.....
Seattle is a city that, for me on this trip, was characterized by three things: flowers, coffee, and seafood. These three things were everywhere you turned!, especially in Pike Place Market....
-- for breakfast --
Macrina Bakery (the cookies!)
Piroshky Piroshky Bakery was a place that I'd read about from Kelly's blog, and we happened to stumble into it our last morning in Seattle when we were following the wafting smells of cinnamony baked goodness from all the way down the street. There, in this teeny tiny shop, the bakers were churning out extremely large numbers of magnificent Russian baked goods pulled fresh from the oven every couple of minutes. We split a poppyseed cinnamon roll that was so hot and gooey and delicious that we had to get back in line for more to bring home to California after we'd finished.
The morning after BlogHer Food ended, Annelies managed to round us up for a brunch at Le Pichet, an adorably French French cafe close to Pike Place Market. Of course, my heart lies with La Note in Berkeley for French breakfasts, but what really stole the show at Le Pichet was when we asked for jam with our bread and butter, the server brought out not the usual strawberry or raspberry preserves but a small ramekin of rhubarb jam. Heaven! *and now cue my obsession with rhubarb jam*
-- for lunch --
Pike Place Chowder (excellent, excellent chowder - try the salmon one!)
Sitka & Spruce was probably the darling restaurant of BlogHer Food: I think every person I talked to that weekend came here for one meal or another. -- And with good reason, too. The space was frighteningly gorgeous and the food--served family style, so this Asian girl approves--was uncomplicated and deliciously and elegantly put together.
-- for an afternoon stop --
Since we were in Seattle, we couldn't resist taking part in the local culture and parking ourselves at a coffee house one afternoon for a few hours of work. Victrola's was a perfect spot, with spacious tables, lots of plug space, and some really thoughtful drinks.
-- for dinner --
Crab Pot (for the seafood-crazed)
Serious Pie (get the root beer--it's wonderfully licorice-y.)
We didn't have any means of personal transportation while we were in Seattle except walking (and forms of public transportation like buses), so we stuck mostly to the city center and places within a few-mile radius.We did manage to make it out to the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods, though, stumbling on an awesome outdoor market in Fremont by the waterway that was super fun to wander around in. Then, I dragged Anita and Jessi on a two mile walk to The Walrus & the Carpenter in Ballard--a walk for which I'm not sure they've yet forgiven me, since I was in sneakers but both of them were in boots. Thankfully, the Walrus & the Carpenter made up for it, I think! Jessi did most of the oyster eating (I had one, and despite not normally liking the sliminess of oysters, it was really good.), while Anita and I loaded up on the other seafood small plates on the menu. Sardines and tiny spiced prawns = :)!
So despite all of the seafood and flowers, the rhubarb jam at Le Pichet was one of the highlights of the trip, since rhubarb isn't so common in California. (Conversely in Seattle, rhubarb was everywhere! in the markets.) I was just beginning to scheme about getting my hands on enough rhubarb to make my own jam when Kate from Blue Chair Fruit mentioned to me that they had a few jars of rhubarb jam left -- score! And so I whipped up one of the quickest desserts I could as a vessel for delivering rhubarb jam into my mouth: a super simple, crumbly, and nutty rhubarb jam tart, adapted from the blitz linzer torte recipe in Alice Medrich's latest book. In addition to ground almonds, the crust also has a dash of lavender, cardamom, and lemon zest, which adds a sweet complexity alongside the tart rhubarb jam filling. (which is the best characteristic about rhubarb jam: it's not too sweet so you can spoon mouthfuls of it without the toothache. :))
Thank you all who provided recommendations for Seattle eateries! I'm really quite itching to get back to the Pacific Northwest with a car this time so that I can explore some of the wilderness and nature around the area.
Read on for recipe....
Rhubarb Jam Tart
recipe adapted from Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts
makes one 9-inch tart
3/4 cup (106 g) almonds
1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn ground cardamom
1/2 tspn culinary lavender buds
11 Tbspn unsalted butter, in small cubes
1 large egg yolk
zest of 1 meyer lemon
1/4 tspn almond extract
about 1/2 - 2/3 cup rhubarb jam
powdered sugar, optional
1. In a food processor bowl, combine the almonds, flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom. Process until the nuts are finely ground.
2. Add the lavender buds, cubed butter, egg yolk, lemon zest, and almond extract. Pulse just until a crumbly dough begins to form.
3. Remove the dough from the food processor and place on a piece of parchment paper. Gently form into a disc, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Remove the dough from the fridge. Break off about 1/4 of the dough and set aside. With the remaining 3/4, press the dough into a non-stick or removable bottom tart pan. Spread a thin layer of rhubarb jam on top of the dough, leaving a small ring of dough visible around the edges. With the remainder of the dough that you set aside previously, break off flat pieces and scatter on top of the rhubarb jam.
6. Bake in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes, then place a piece of foil on top and continue to back about 10 minutes more, until golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then, run a sharp, thin blade around the inside edges of the tart to loosen it from the pan, and remove the tart from the pan. Let cool on the wire rack completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
(Disclaimer: I was gifted Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, but, as always, I wouldn't be telling you about it if I didn't like it on its own merit!)