Thursday, February 23, 2012

Allow me to introduce myself...

I am the Modern Traditionalist.

Now let me brush aside these cobwebs over here and blow the dust off that table over there. Much improved, yes? If you will, have a seat here and I will pour you a spot of tea. We have volumes of catching up to do, don’t we? Oh my, where shall I begin? I’m not sure if you’ve heard the news, but BTG and I are to be wed soon. Twice, even! Yes, yes, we will be married in a cozy ceremony here in rural Virginia this April. And, for all those we cherish who are unable to attend in April, we will be reveling again in 2013 here. Isn't it divine?

Oh, and then there is the matter of the move. BTG and I felt that the best way to start our lives together would be in a new home so in two short months we’ll finally realize our dreams of living in the country. Have you heard about Middleburg, Virginia? After spending weekend after weekend walking the streets of this hamlet, we figured it would be more practical to call it home.

I know, I know, I keep chattering on and on about myself. I hope you have all been well during my absence. And I do hope I haven’t lost your friendship with my silence. I’ll certainly be around more often what with a home to decorate, my upcoming nuptials and the extended celebration to plan.

I must admit, I’m living on lettuce and cottage cheese at the moment, which has left me desiring everything which isn’t lettuce or cottage cheese. Therefore, for each of the next 56 days until we exchange vows, I will be selecting a recipe which I will make for my new husband after the gown has been packed away (and I’m able to exhale). Although we’ve had unseasonably warm weather here in the mid-Atlantic, I’m hoping for one of those Wellington-mandatory days in April, when the ground is too saturated and the sky too grey to ponder anything other than a warm blanket and this:

Rustic Potato and Leek Tart

Recipe and photos are courtesy of a new favorite of mine, Katy Elliott.

3 (about 1 1/2 pounds) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
Coarse salt
1 cup heavy cream
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-4 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg yolk
1 (14 ounces) frozen puff pastry, (such as Dufour), thawed
All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 1/2 cups grated Comte or Gruyere cheese

Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt; cook until just tender, 13 to 15 minutes. Drain. Mash and let cool.

Meanwhile, bring 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cream, the garlic, and nutmeg to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook mixture until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

And one more pan to clean; which makes me bonkers! Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Divide thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface.

Whisk together 1 large egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of cream. You’ll use this to seal the pastry and create a glaze over the top.

Scatter the mashed potatoes on the pastry, then layer with leek and Gruyere making sure to leave a 1/4″ inch border. Top with the other piece of thawed pastry. Crimp the edges and brush with egg wash.

Make a few slits in the top of the tart (you’ll pour the heavy cream mixture in the slits during the cooking process.) Stick the tart in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the tart from the fridge and place in the preheat oven to cook for 35 minutes or until the tart is golden brown and puff. Remove the tart and pour the reduced cream mixture into the slits taking care and allowing the cream so soak in. Place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature with a simple green salad.


  1. Welcome back and congratulations to you - for the new beginnings, pending nuptials, and new home! Best of luck!


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