Tonight I'm going to a Thanksgiving party at a friend's house, and I offered to bring something with leafy greens in it. One of the challenges of cooking abroad isn't necessarily finding things you like, or adapting your cooking, but rather I find the challenge to be in the moments when I'm trying to cook American-style food, or cook things that are easy to prepare at home. Enter the tart. Enter my oven.
In my apartment I have a combination microwave-toaster-convection oven. It is the size of a small American microwave. I also own one large pyrex measuring cup, and one pyrex pie pan, both of which I inherited from friends moving back to the States. My usual pie/tart crust is a Pate Brisee, and my usual method is made on a large marble board with a rolling pin- two things I don't have. Instead I found a recipe for an easy dough (click here), that consisted of cooking together water, oil, sugar, salt, and butter. The recipe said for about 15 minutes, but mine took more like 25. Add flour, mix, and it worked to create a crust! Magic. Meanwhile, I chopped a mixture of three mushrooms, some garlic, and onion. This is a Japan bonus- there is a great variety of mushrooms here that are very inexpensive.
The crust was pinched into the pie pan, and then I baked it for about 20 minutes, twice as long as the recipe said, but it looked good.
I sauteed the mushrooms, onion, and garlic together with some spinach and a liberal amount of basil and some sage. Unfortunately I couldn't find thyme in my neighborhood, and didn't take the time to go to an import grocer.
I mixed the veggies with an egg and some heavy cream, stirred in grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and baked for about 30 minutes. Voila! The apartment smells heavenly, and I now know a shortcut for tart or pie crust. I can't wait to see how it tastes!