Guava Tarte Tatin for High Tea

A Monthly Mingle High Tea, what fun, and  hosted this month by Aparna at My Diverse Kitchen.   It brought to mind my first experience of afternoon tea as a sort of cultural  ritual.  We were in our version of a "Gap Year" traveling, occasionally working at the odd job.  Landing in Australia, I found employment for a time as secretary (one of many) for a large manufacturing company, and every day at, I believe it was 3:30 p.m., the "Tea Lady" would come around wheeling her trolley with biscuits (cookies to me) and tea. I remember being so amused that these Aussies would have their coffee iced, and tea hot, rather than the reverse.  Hey, I was from Hawaii, via California.

We do have Afternoon Tea in Hawaii at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the charming, landmark pink stucco antique in Waikiki, and it is done in the real old style.  For a price.  I took my mother there once and we felt so pampered.

As this Monthly Mingle theme is "High Tea Treats", I have done a Guava Tarte Tatin.  Yes, guava again. It is very simple, yet the flavors are a spicy, sweet complexity.  After making a batch of Guava Compote, and serving it for one dessert, I decided to use the remainder for this tart. Of course, it is not necessary to first make a Guava Compote.  You can simply use 4 cups chopped guava, mixed with some spices if you'd like, or not.  It helps if you've sliced some of the fruit evenly and can arrange it nicely on the bottom of the pan in the caramel, as that bottom layer will be on top and look beautiful when upended.  But if you're like me (unfastidious, i.e. lazy), be comforted, it's not really necessary, and will still taste fabulous.
You will notice my lack of precision fruit arrangement here.  This recipe is adapted from Alice Waters' Tarte Tatin in The Art of Simple Food.

You will need a pie pastry or puff pastry, rolled out to an 11" circle.  Transfer it to parchment paper on a baking sheet and refrigerate until needed.  Or, easier yet, use a pre-made, frozen pie crust and remove it from the freezer a few minutes before topping the fruit, just so it softens a bit.

Trim, halve, remove seeds from, and cut into even segments:
3 to 4 lbs. fresh, ripe guavas.
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Put a 9" cast-iron skillet or or stove-top to oven type skillet on medium-high heat.  Then, add:
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons sugar
Let the sugar and butter melt, and then cook til brown and bubbly (being careful not to let it burn), stirring with a heat-proof spoon or swirling the pan so the mixture caramelizes evenly.  Take off the heat when it is a nice, deep caramel color. An alternate recipe, using considerably more butter, sugar and time, is available here, for those of you who (like me) may wonder about the small amount of caramel called for.  However, I will tell you right now, Alice Waters knows what she is talking about. Simple can be wonderful.

Now arrange your guava slices, starting around the outside edge of the pan, rounded sides down, on the caramel, with the narrower tips towards the center (if you're being tidy).  Make another ring of guavas inside the first ring, and so on to the center, filling the gaps with smaller pieces, cut to fit.

Place your pastry circle over the fruit, tucking down between the edges of the pan and the guavas.  Cut 3 or 4 little slashes in the top for steam to escape, and bake in the middle level of your oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is well browned.  The contents of the pan should shift slightly when shaken a bit.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack for a minute or two.  Then hold a slightly larger serving plate over the top, holding it tightly to the top of the pan, and flip quickly.  Alice recommends giving your pan a gentle twist while lifting off.

What could be nicer than fresh fruit, caramel and pastry? Served warm with a scoop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche, and you've got it.
This will be accompanied, of course, by lots of other assorted crumpets, tea sandwiches, teas, etc. at our cyber gathering, the round-up to be posted sometime after the October 15th deadline for submissions.
PS - The round-up is now posted.   Check out all the fabulous food.


Composing A Guava Compote

More guavas than you could shake a stick at around here, again.  The latest improvisation from my kitchen is a Guava Compote, spiced up with Lemon Basil, zest of Kaffir Lime, and Allspice leaves, cooked in a nice red merlot and honey til tender.  Serve with a scoop of whipped cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream.  I think this might make a good Guava Tatin too.

My ordinary basil plant was not doing at all well.  End of season blues?  Hey, this is Hawaii here, therefore, no such thing.  So, I decided to try a few different varieties. This Lemon Basil is going great guns and the other, a type of Thai Basil, is for some reason, attracting fruit flies.  What's with that?  It's looking fine though.  And, the Abiu fruit without net bags are not getting bit this time around?? Or, come to think of it the guavas don't seem to be bitten either.  Just the small Strawberry ones. 

The Lemon Basil
So, if you'd like to try this, and have another variety of basil, feel free to substitute.  The idea is to get a little spice into the mix.  Cinnamon sticks and lemon rind curls, raisins even, would also be nice to add.

Trim the ends; wash the fruit; cut in half; then scoop the seedy part out and discard.  Slice in chunks, then add:
 to 4 heaping cups fruit
1/2 cup rose or red wine
1 cup honey or sugar
2 Allspice leaves (or berries)
2 tablespoons exotic basil, minced
zest of 1 Kaffir lime (or other lime)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Simmer all together over medium heat until the fruit is tender, 5-10 minutes.  Let cool, then refrigerate.
Serve chilled or warm with a scoop of sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or use as your base for a sweet and spicy tart.  The first time I made this, last week, I didn't reduce the liquids.  On this batch I separated the fruit out after cooking, and reduced the wine sauce down.  Don't think it made the compote any better, so probably won't again.  If it's going into a pie, just separate out the fruit and use that.  Will have to try with my remaining compote, and add as an addendum.  Another thing I would eliminate is the basil.  Basil is best fresh, added at the end of a recipe.  Instead, maybe a clove or two and cinnamon stick.

And, here it is.  I know you've all been waiting with bated breath.  The Guava Tart Tatin, though the fruit isn't very precisely or beautifully arranged.  It tasted delightfully tart with that bit of lime and lemon, yet sweet, with Merlot overtones to the guava caramel filling. Right.


Miracle of Fishes and Ahi Enchaladas

This is what comes of meditations in the middle of the night, thanks to the Martha Stewart of birdland, up in my eves.  She's busy at all hours, probably disturbing the sleep of her chicks, re-arranging furniture, cleaning, organizing.  One can only imagine.  Rustlings and bustlings at that hour(s) - 12:30, 2:00 am, 3:30, and etc.??  Maybe she's an insomniac or on crystal meth?  I've heard that sort of behavior is a sure sign of such an addiction. It's now 10:54 am and she's still at it.  Bless her heart.

At any rate, I've decided we had a "Loaves and Fishes" miracle here.  Bob asked a client and his wife over for dinner and brought me home four ahi steaks (as per my request).  I made a coconut cream curry for them, which came out superbly, if I do say so.  They were large steaks, so we had leftovers, plus I hadn't even cooked one of them.  So, then Sunday, I broiled the extra one, added it to the other left-overs, a bit more coconut cream and, voila, dinner for daughter, grandkids, etc., very good as well.

And, still, with the left-overs.  So, several nights later, and only Isaiah to join us, I made fish enchaladas.  Mushed up the last of the ahi (there was also some broiled, chopped onion in there) with a bit of  left-over pumpkin, and a little minced salted lemon; then filled tortillas; heated some tomatillo green enchalada sauce, mixed with sour cream; poured over the enchaladas; and sprinkled with grated cheese and minced parsley.  Baked at 350F for 25 min. or so.

Yes, another awesome meal from those four original fillets.  Bob said it was the best, and I had to post about it.  He and Isaiah waited while I got the camera, suggesting plating ideas.
Afterwards, of course, there was extra stuffing left from filling all the tortillas.  So, the next day, Kealani and I had tuna melts with it for lunch.  A miracle?  Or am I just the left-over queen?


A TASTE OF YELLOW - Guava Pork Chops With Cornbread

A new experience for me, the LiveSTRONG With A Taste Of Yellow event, which is a way of supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. As hostess, Barbara of Winos and Foodies says, "by raising awareness of cancer issues world wide. It is a way for all food and wine bloggers to share their stories. The happy and the sad, the struggles and the triumphs."  I have a dear friend, Andrea, who has gone through chemo treatments twice now, and is still dealing with all the resulting impairment to various organs.  She struggles bravely on, with an upbeat attitude, encouraging others all the time.

My yellow foods are the guava in this Pork Chops with Guava Chutney, since we are now back in guava season around here, and also cornmeal in Thin Crispy Cornbread, by Deb of Smitten Kitchen, from her Cornbread Salad post.

So, that's the background for a terrific recipe, inspired to start with by our beautiful, new (opened this week) improved, natural foods store here in Hilo, now carrying fresh, YES, (not frozen from the Mainland) naturally raised on the Big Island, pork chops. I eat pork pretty rarely, given the conditions of commercial hog farms (feed additives, hormone supplements and the like, treatment, etc.) Well, okay, bacon occasionally (frozen from the health foods store) on Sunday morning, when Bob is there to actually eat breakfast with me.  So, it's great to have something in the pork department worthy of dinner, and a recipe for this terrific event.

I, not cooking pork chops for eons, referred to my copy of Alice Waters', The Art of Simple Food.  Simply, Pan-Fried Pork Chops with a quick pan sauce of port wine, sliced guavas and my Guava Chutney, served with hot cornbread and a side salad of fresh greens and pickled vegetables.
I minced some sage and thyme, and added salt and pepper to season both sides of two chops, 1/2  inch thick.
Heat a heavy (I used a cast-iron) frying pan over medium-high heat.  Then pour in several tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.
Add the pork chops and cook them til brown on one side, about 5 min.  Turn over and cook til done, turning again if necessary for even cooking.  Let the chops rest on a plate for 4 min. or so before serving, while whipping up your pan sauce.
For the sauce, I added about 1 cup of of red dessert wine, you can use Port or Marsala, stirring up the bits of pan drippings, and reduced by half.  At the end I added a sliced, de-seeded guava and about 1/2 cup guava chutney, then simmered a few more minutes. Finally, turned off the heat and swirled in a bit of butter, about
1/2 teaspoonful at a time to enrich the sauce, a tablespoon in all.  Or, you could use cream and heat it through.
Pour over the pork chops and serve with thin crispy cornbread (which wasn't all that thin, really).  Recipe at Deb's site above, or use your favorite cornbread.  I'm going to do the salad she posted, so wanted to try her recipe.  It was denser than I'm used to, not calling for any flour, only cornmeal, but good.


Deconstructed Tenderloin BBQ

In line with the theme of using more of what is growing outside, I have come up with a new take on an old standard around here - Teriyaki Sauce.  In Hawaii, Teriyaki BBQ'd Chicken is a year-round staple. However, I just couldn't see having Bob go through firing up the BBQ and getting a bunch of charcoal to white hot, for like 2-3 minutes on each side of cooking, which is all this tenderloin, cut in 1/4 inch strips, took to broil.  I can stand the oven being on for that amount of time.  Besides which, he was recovering from a bad cold.  Poor guy.  So, this is a deconstructed Steak Tenderloin Teriyaki, with off the skewer zucchini, onion, and red bell pepper.
Isn't the fruit weird looking?
I'm using more of my Kaffir Lime leaves and fruit lately.  Before it was just the leaves occasionally in Thai cooking. Now we're finding uses for the fruit itself.  I used the zest recently in Ono with Pia and a Shrimp Risotto.   For this Teriyaki marinade, thin slices of the limes were added, which gave the meat a wonderful limey zing. It's now on my personal, internal, teriyaki recipe card.  There's no real recipe for teriyaki sauce, you just start adding spices to your base of shoyu (soy sauce).  But, in this case, I'll list what ingredients I included.

Teriyaki Marinade
1 cup shoyu (preferably naturally aged)
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons Mae Ploy  Sweet Chili Sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Kaffir lime, thinly sliced

For the Deconstructed BBQ
1 lb. beef tenderloin, sliced about 1/4 " thick
1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
1/2  red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 onion, cut in thin wedges

In a dish large enough for the meat and marinade, mix all the ingredients together well.  Add the meat and marinate for about 15 min.., then add the vegetables, stir together, and remove from marinade.  Arrange in a roasting pan with the meat on top.  Set oven on broil and grill about 4" from flame for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Or, until as done as you prefer.  I like mine still pink inside.

Use more vegetables if you like.  That's just what I had on hand.  This recipe was enough for 2 adults and 2 children (who don't care if they have any vegetables anyway).  But, I served it with a big ripe tomato, sliced and tossed with basil leaves, and rice on the side.We usually have a piece of tenderloin, as is.  Just barely done, and it is enough.  This is just over the top of awesomeness.  And, those strange little kaffir limes are going to be getting a lot more use around here.


Impossible Chicken 'n Vegetable Pie

This is actually about Impossible Pie, but I couldn't resist putting up that photo, taken my daughter, Sunny.

To begin with, I was going to make quiche with a bit of left-over chicken from two nights before and, I'm ashamed to admit, had none of those lovely frozen Whole Foods type pie crusts left in my freezer.  Well, we all (almost all) know what Michael Pollan would have to say about such heresy.  So, I'm not perfect.  Then,  I remembered a famous Bisquick invention from our distant past - Impossible Pies. And, piling heresy upon heresy, as there was some baking mix??! in the fridge....
Should I mention, that baking mix was bought, thanks to Nancy and her recipe for Southern Cobbler? Which I still need to make. Thanks Nancy.

Back to Impossible Pies.  The fabulous thing is, you can use whatever happens to be on hand.  I had half of one red bell pepper, a handful of green beans, some left-over bbq'd chicken, as mentioned, and the last of that wonderful feta, recently made.

I had forgotten how good those pies can be, and this was no exception.  Fast too.  Everything gets dumped into the pie pan, into the oven, and there it is.  Almost instant quiche.

Impossible Chicken 'n Vegetable Pie

1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup feta or ricotta
1 1/2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup baking mix ** see note below
3/4 teas. salt & 1/4 teas. pepper, minced parsley or basil

Heat oven to 400 F; butter your 10x1 1/2" pie plate.  Rinse, dry & chop the vegetables. Feel free to use what you have available.  Cut up the chicken and distribute evenly in the pie plate with vegetables.  Grate cheese, crumbling the feta or ricotta and sprinkle over the top. Beat eggs, milk and baking mix til smooth with wire whip (or15 seconds in blender). Pour over the ingredients in pie plate.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes or so.
6-8 servings
**  Note - I should mention, if you are out of Bisquick, or don't want to use it, a good substitution for 1 cup of baking mix is:
1 Cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teas. salt and add for each cup 1 tablespoon melted butter when you make a recipe.
Very satisfying, served with a small salad and some fresh bread.  Don't know why I've overlooked this for so long.