Hi Folks, Scott here. As we approach the hallowest of eves, I thought I’d spend a little time showing you all one of my favorite hobbies: pumpkin carving. I’ve been carving and etching non-traditional pumpkins for four years now, but I’ve recently developed some new techniques that the pumpkin world has never before seen. In the coming days, I’ll be posting more in-depth articles and additional photos. For now, check out the results of my latest obsession.2007

afghan girl 
scott and rachelbats and angels

More after the jump…

Reading time: 1 min

salmon tart Not so long ago, I wrote A Lesson in Humility describing how I was bested by a frozen pie crust. Well today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m back for redemption. This tart was not only a surprisingly great combination of flavors, but the crust was outstanding. Never again will I be the victim of a cold, limp crust. I am the master of my own bakery.

Total kitchen time: 1 hour
Makes: 1 12″ Self-Esteem Booster

Shopping List:


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 4 tbsp cold water


  • 1/2 lb salmon, bones and skin removed
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 leek, finely shredded into long pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp black truffle oil (optional, but recommended)
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Start by making the crust. Combine all of the dry ingredients. I like to make a mound on my counter top, but you can do this in a food processor or stand mixer. Add the butter and shortening and mix together until the dough forms pea-sized pieces. Add the water, a little at a time, until the dough holds itself together. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins. Meanwhile…
  2. Preheat your oven to 450 and set the upper rack 6-8 inches below the broiler. Cover a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  3. Remove the outer film from your garlic cloves, keeping them whole. Wrap the garlic into a bundle with aluminum foil and fill the inside with olive oil. Place in the oven (or better yet, a toaster oven set on high, for 20 minutes. Remove from the aluminum foil.
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine the cream cheese, chives and roasted garlic. Process until it it light and fluffy.
  5. Next, prepare the salmon by tranche cutting it. A tranche cut is a very thin cut on a steep angle. This will give you large, tender slices of salmon. Arrange the salmon slices, not overlapping, on your baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.
  6. Roll out your crust and press it into your tart pan. Cut of the excess dough and cover the bottom with pie weights (I used ramekins). Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and flaky.
  7. Heat a skillet over high heat and add 1 tbsp of the remaining olive oil. Toss the shredded leeks until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  8. Bake the salmon, still at 450F, for 2-3 minutes. It really won’t take long to cook. If you see white stuff oozing out, you’ve overcooked it. Get in your Kitchenaid time machine and go back 2 minutes, buddy.
  9. Spread an even layer of the cream cheese mixture on the tart crust. Arrange the salmon slices in a fan shape and top with the shredded leeks. Drizzle the black truffle oil over the whole thing and enjoy!

So, yeah, this tart is a fair amount of work. But it’s totally worth it. My advice is to double or quadruple the crust recipe and save the extra for later. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the sweet and savory taste of my ego returning.

Reading time: 2 min

fish in a bag This is one of my favorite Fall family recipes. I was so enraptured by the wonderful aroma coming from my oven that I didn’t bother to get a very good picture of this dish. However, this is a perfect weeknight treat – cheap, quick, and memorably rewarding.

Total kitchen time: 20 mins
Makes: 2 bagged fishies

Shopping List:

  • 2 small fillets of white fish (talapia, flounder, red snapper and orange roughy all work well)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 small bunch of thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 12″x12″ sheets of cooking parchment (unwaxed)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and set the rack to the upper position.
  2. In a food processor, combine the olives, garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Pulse a few times, keeping the mixture coarse.
  3. Arrange each fish fillet in the middle of a piece of parchment. Lightly salt and pepper. Divide the butter between the two fillets. Pile a few heaping spoonfuls of the olive mixture over the fish and top with some thyme sprigs.
  4. Seal the parchment into a pouch by pulling the sides together and making a crease in one direction. Fold the crease over itself and crease again. Fold the remaining sides in and crease several times.
  5. Place the pouches on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork. Unwrap the pouches. By this point, you have been smelling the sweet aromatic flavor of the herbs and butter melting together for over 10 minutes. Just make sure you don’t accidentally eat the paper, as you ravenously attack your dinner.

Serve with crusty, rustic bread and a dry white wine. You’ll be amazed at your return on investment tonight.

Reading time: 1 min