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My Brother, the Genius

May 02, 1996|MAYI BRADY

My brother really is a multitalented guy. He works as an architect but plays at a lot of other things. His watercolors are beautiful, as is his garden. Along with his partner, he designs furniture and experiments (quite successfully) in the kitchen. I got the inspiration for this squash soup and lemon tart from similar dishes he recently served.

His squash soup contained shrimp, which I left out of mine. Rather than a plain pie crust, which he uses for his lemon tart, I made mine with hazelnuts. And he wouldn't cook his beets for the salad the way I did. Not exactly sibling rivalry at work here, I think, but more a matter of taste preferences--just so long as he keeps cooking and not getting upset when I improvise on his creations.

Menu

Squash Soup

Beet Salad

Lemon-Hazelnut Tart

Staples

Olive oil

Onions

Garlic

Sherry vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Flour

Sugar

Butter

Eggs

SHOPPING LIST

1 kabocha squash

1 leek

2 to 3 limes

2 to 3 oranges

4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken or vegetable broth

1 pint whipping cream

1 bunch beets

6 cups mixed salad greens

1/4 pound goat cheese

1 (3-ounce) bag shelled walnuts

1 (3-ounce) bag shelled hazelnuts

4 lemons

GAME PLAN

Night before: Slice lemons and mix with sugar. Refrigerate.

In morning: Make lemon tart and refrigerate. Make salad dressing and refrigerate. Cook beets and refrigerate. Roast squash and let cool. Spoon out flesh.

One hour before: Make soup. Assemble salad.

Just before serving: Dress salad, garnish soup. Whip optional cream for tart.

SQUASH SOUP

1 kabocha squash

2 tablespoons oil

Salt

1 onion, chopped

1 leek, chopped, white and pale green part only

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated lime peel

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

6 to 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon whipping cream

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Cut squash into quarters and brush with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt to taste. Roast at 375 degrees until squash is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool, remove flesh with spoon and reserve. Discard rind.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large pot and add onion, leek and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add reserved squash flesh, lime and orange peels, orange and lime juices and 6 cups stock. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree in blender until very smooth, adding up to 2 cups more stock if needed for texture. Return to stove, heat and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream and do not allow to boil.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

108 calories; 985 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.60 gram fiber.

BEET SALAD

DRESSING

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper

Combine sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and oil in jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

SALAD

1 bunch beets

6 cups mixed salad greens

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Scrub and trim beets, leaving 1 inch on stem end; do not break skin. Put beets in pot and cover with water. Bring to simmer and cook until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and plunge beets into ice water to stop cooking. Peel and trim ends. Cut into sticks and set aside.

Shake jar to mix Dressing. Add to mixed greens in bowl and toss to coat well. Arrange mixed greens on salad plates and top with beets, walnuts and goat cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

228 calories; 140 mg sodium; 3 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 1.51 grams fiber.

LEMON-HAZELNUT TART

It is absolutely essential for the success of this tart that the lemons be sliced almost paper-thin (a mandolin-type tool will help) and that the lemon-sugar mixture be allowed to sit overnight.

SUGARED LEMONS

2 cups very thinly sliced unpeeled lemons, about 4 lemons

2 cups sugar

Combine lemons and sugar in bowl and mix very well. Refrigerate 8 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

CRUST

3/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

Salt

1/4 cup toasted, peeled hazelnuts

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut in 6 to 8 pieces

2 tablespoons ice water

Pulse flour, sugar, pinch salt and hazelnuts in food processor 2 to 3 times. Scatter butter over flour mixture and pulse 2 to 3 more times. With motor running, add ice water and process just until dough forms ball. Roll dough out to fit 9-inch tart pan. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

FILLING

4 eggs, beaten

Whipped cream, optional

Combine beaten eggs with Sugared Lemons and fill prepared tart pan. Bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Remove tart from oven, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving, without whipped cream, contains about:

380 calories; 159 mg sodium; 130 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.08 gram fiber.

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