Caramelized Apple, Shallot and Cheddar Tart

Apple, Shallot and Cheddar Tart

Apple, Shallot and Cheddar TartPuff pastry tarts with a creamy Cheddar spread, topped with sweet caramelized shallots and apples. Topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and a little spicy chili flakes. Sweet apples and tart Cheddar cheese? A marriage made on a local farm.

As this, the strangest of years, winds toward its close, we are especially grateful to the local farms that have been going above and beyond to keep everyone fed. Restaurants, usually a major destination for farm-grown food, are going through a major upheaval, and a direct relationship between farms and the people they feed is now more important than ever.

Here in the Northeast, our farms make maximum use of every single day in the relatively short growing season, and dairy farms play a huge role in local produce. Cabot Creamery is a co-operative of 800 farm families in the New England and New York area. They’re a certified B corporation, meaning that not only do they strive for the highest quality dairy produce, but responsible land stewardship, ethical production, and community giving are at the core of everything they do. We’re incredibly proud to partner with them for this recipe. 

And here in the Hudson Valley, you can’t miss the major harvest of late Fall. You’ll see apple orchards dotted across the whole region — this part of New York produces around one fifth of the entire apple output of the United States. A huge variety of apples is grown, from the pie favorites Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Honeycrisp, to eat-out-of-your-hand Gala, Jonagold, and Macoun. 

Apples_Still Life

So, armed with the apples of the Hudson Valley and the sharp cheddars from Cabot’s farms, we decided to make something to celebrate our local farms: a Caramelized Apple, Shallot and Cheddar Tart.

This post was created in partnership with Cabot Creamery.

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Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

[We’ve been running around this week literally spinning plates and juggling knives, so here’s a repost from a few years back. It’s one of our absolute favorites from the blog, and is an absolute crowd-pleaser whenever we make it. It’s super-easy, and, other than the crust, doesn’t need baking. We just planted our own redcurrant bushes this year, so we’re hopeful that within a couple of seasons, we’ll have enough gorgeous berries to decorate a tart entirely from our garden.]

Besides being nerdy about movies, television and all things culinary, Matt and I both share a dorky fascination with etymology (the history of words). I’ve written about my most hated words in a previous post (which had to be titled Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad because Matt despises the word ‘slaw’). Now I thought we’d list some of our favorites (join us and write yours in the comments!).

Emily: Luminescent, gloaming, nixed, defenestration

Matt: Ramble, button, spandrel, pickle

“Great,” you mumble. “But can I have the recipe for that tart now?”

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Classic British Pork Pies

A pork pie sliced on a plate with grapes and apples

British pork pies

Almost from the beginning of this blog, there have been a number of recipes that we’ve wanted to make, but have lacked the time, ingredients, or frankly, the willingness to tackle. Pork pies are one of those recipes. For any of our readers who are unfamiliar, the traditional British pork pie is a hearty, venerated and highly portable vittle served cold and protected from the elements with a robust pastry shell. Between the layer of meat and pastry is a set aspic jelly. At this point, our carnivorous Brit readership (alright, Nathan?) will be slavering and ready for the recipe. More trepidatious American sensibilities might be juggling with the concepts of “cold pork”, “robust pastry” and “aspic jelly”. Fear not, Brad, buddy, all will be explained. Oh? You’re not? Well, you kind of look like a Brad. You just do. Sorry.

Traditional British Pork Pies

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Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Tender chicken, caramelized onions and Swiss chard in a creamy garlic sauce, topped with a blanket of buttery, flaky, ultra-crisp phyllo dough. This is comfort food pretty enough for the fanciest dinner party, but tasty enough for a relaxed family meal. 

(Note: This would also be a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving or holiday turkey. Chop or shred the cooked leftovers and fold into the sauce and vegetables before adding the pastry top.)

I think it was probably about 12 years ago that my mom bought us our first piece of really good cookware, a 5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven. At that point, we were still using a cheap, thin-gauge pan set I had bought in college, which burned pretty much anything that got near it, even if the oven wasn’t on. Being the weirdo that I am, I even remember the first thing I made in it, Duck Leg Ragu. I remember it, not because it was particularly amazing, but because while I was cooking it, something miraculous happened … The bottom of the pan didn’t scorch before the duck had browned. There wasn’t a blackened ring of sauce in the exact same shape as the burner. It was a red-sauce miracle!  That’s when I realized that investing in a few items of really special, well-made cookware was much better than having a crappy set of pans in every size. Since then, our special collection has slowly grown, and I love each piece. We cook a lot (I know you’re shocked) and I use these skillets, fry pans, and grill pans almost daily. The great thing is, well-made cookware lasts for generations so if you have kids, tell them whoever helps in the kitchen inherits the good stuff.

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard
Super crispy phyllo tops a comforting, creamy chicken stew.

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An American-British Fish Pie

A bowl of fish pie with fork and spoon

Fish Pie

It’s a funny thing, food writing. Cooking has so much potential to bring people together, but recipes can also create rifts of disagreement that can simmer for years (OK, rifts don’t simmer, but, you know what we mean). As a case in point, a while back we posted a basic recipe for pasta, minced beef and tomato sauce that in Emily’s family had gone by the name of “gamush” since time immemorial. We hadn’t exactly imagined it would lead to a kum-ba-yah reunion, but we got two swift pieces of feedback from opposite ends of the family, both claiming that they had invented it, and both mentioning that we had gotten the recipe quite wrong (but in different ways).

Posting a variation on a favorite recipe can be like tackling a religion: you’re going to get diehard believers who have A Correct Way to make something and no deviation will be tolerated. Then, there are more casual members of the church who don’t really mind what you do with the recipe so long as you don’t put raisins in it.

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