Tag Archives: they draw and cook

French Onion Tart

I’m a cookbook junkie.  I have around 40 cookbooks on my kitchen shelf, and I subscribe to a cooking magazine as well.  I am the proud owner of more recipes than I could possibly ever make.  And yet, I still want more.  I’m always on the lookout for new cookbooks, especially those that are a little out of the ordinary.  On a recent trip to the library, I came across this cool little gem, “They Draw and Cook,” a collection of recipes illustrated by artists from around the world. Being an artist who likes to cook, my little heart went pitter pat and I snatched it up.

The illustrations are wonderful, ranging from simple, whimsical, hilarious, to downright beautiful.  The recipes trended toward the very basic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, they only had a 2-page spread to illustrate and explain the recipe.  And a basic recipe from Sweden or Russia is still new to me. I enjoyed seeing favorite recipes from different parts of the world.  And some of them just made me laugh.  For instance, one that I can identify with: “Starving Artist Goo-lash – for when you just can’t eat another ramen noodle.”  By the way, there is also a companion website: theydrawandcook.com.

Starving Artist Goo-lash.

Starving Artist Goo-lash. Been there!

Or this unfamiliar, yet somehow intriguing concoction – “Palt”.  It has potatoes in it, could it be bad?  I must find someone Swedish to ask about this.

Palt? I'm a little unsure, but part of me really wants to try it!

And this one just sounds yummy, plus I LOVE the illustrative style.

Pan-Fried Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce. Need to make!

I chose to make a French dish called Pissaladiere.  It’s basically a French onion tart.  Who can resist puff pastry? Mine turned out gorgeous, just like the picture in the book.  I thought it tasted good too.  The onions are cooked slowly, very much how you would make them for French Onion soup, bringing out their natural sweetness. If I make this again, I would do a few things differently.  I’m sure a French person would be mad at me for messing with their old fashioned comfort food, but I would probably add some additional toppings – tomatoes would be yummy, and maybe zucchini?  And I would cut the amount of anchovies at least in half, and chop them up so you didn’t get so much in one bite.  They made a beautiful design, but they are very salty, so leaving them whole made for a very concentrated salty bite here and there.  I think with anchovies, at least for me, a little goes a long way.  Another name for this recipe could be “Date Repellent.”  Luckily, I wasn’t dining with anyone I wanted to breathe on later.

French Onion Tart - "Pissaladiere"

“Pissaladiere” – French Onion Tart
(from They Draw & Cook, by Nate Padavick & Salli Swindell) 

Puff Pastry, thawed
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 onions
1-2 cans anchovies, drained
Olives – the recipe calls for Nicoise olives, I used Kalamata – I think any kind would work fine

Place the puff pastry sheets on a cookie sheet – I used both sheets of puff pastry to fill up the whole tray.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pan.  Add onions.  Cook over very low heat until golden and soft (this takes 45 -60 minutes).  Cool. Spread over pastry.  Arrange anchovies in a criss cross pattern like the picture.  Put an olive in the middle of each shape.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 350˚.  Cool 10 minutes.  Cut into squares and eat.

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