Oven Fries, BLTs, Watermelon Feta Salad, and a Tart

We’re enjoying summer while it lasts at Chez Raché. This weekend’s cooking festivities included…

Fresh Fig Tart with Rosemary Cornmeal Crust and Lemon Mascarpone Cream

A Fresh Fig Tart with Rosemary Cornmeal Crust and Lemon Mascarpone Cream from Epicurious.com. The flavor combinations in this tart are outstanding, especially the rosemary and creamy lemony filling. It’s the fresh figs that disappointed me. Maybe they just didn’t live up to the hype I created for such an expensive ingredient. Not the delicacy I imagined. I will make this again with another fruit.

I lost points for execution on the crust. I strongly suspect that I am overworking it, resulting in the dense crusts I’m producing, not the light-and-flaky crusts of my dreams.

At least it looks pretty.

Noah made perfect oven fries: crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

Oven Fries

No points lost for execution on these. And he receives extra credit for the dipping sauce: mayonnaise, smoked paprika, and garlic. We make this stuff up as we go.

We also used the mayo on these awesome BLTs.

BLT and Watermelon Feta Salad

Made with applewood smoked bacon, greenleaf lettuce, tomatoes, and caraway-seeded sourdough. On the side is a Watermelon, Feta, Black Olive, and Fennel Salad from The Figs Table by Todd English. The salad was just okay; we thought it had too many red onions.

This wasn’t the only sandwich of the week. I also enjoyed a delicious Tofu Dill sandwich on fresh-baked bread at The Red Herring.

Tofu Dill Sandwich

And because it was my birthday last week, the colleagues in my office treated me to fresh pastries from Pekara Bakehouse.

Borthday Pastries from Pekara Bakehouse

I chose the fruit tart in the left foreground. Someday I will make a crust like that.

Mushroom Omelet

Mushroom Omlette

I think this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten for breakfast: an omelet with sliced baby portobello mushrooms, rehydrated morel mushrooms, thyme, salt, pepper, and freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

This is a few weeks old. I’ll be catching up with some more photos of this weekend’s dishes in the next few days.

Rosemary Pork Loin

I adopted some rosemary a few weeks ago. It lives in a pretty little pot in my living room, and I catch myself idly nibbling on the fronds when I’m talking on the phone. The scent permeates the air as soon as it’s touched, and it was almost overwhelming tonight when I snipped off a few whole branches to make this Rosemary Pork Loin.

Here’s the cast of characters (minus the fresh black pepper):

the cast of characters: pork loin, rosemary, sage, garlic, and kosher salt. Not pictured: freshly ground black pepper.

…pork loin, rosemary, sage, garlic, and kosher salt.

I’m fortunate to have a great neighbor who landscapes with herbs (I plan to do the same myself this fall), so I had access to fresh sage – two kinds to choose from, actually. I chopped several leaves of sage (about 10) along with the rosemary (about 1 tbsp), crushed some garlic (4 cloves), added a little kosher salt, and smashed it all together into a paste with a mortar and pestle.

rosemary, sage, garlic, and salt in a mortar and pestle

I should use this tool more often. It makes me feel like a mad kitchen scientist.

I added a generous amount of black pepper and a bit of olive oil (2 tsp?) to the mixture, rubbed it on the pork loin, then roasted it for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees. I turned it after 30 minutes, and started with the fat side down.

rosemary pork loin

I think it turned out okay.

(Inspired by Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary, from Epicurious.com – originally from Bon Appétit, July 1999.)