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By Alison Brushaber | January 31, 2008
Traveling around the country conducting cooking demonstrations gives me exposure to many different foods. We are always looking for new and interesting flavors. On one such trip, while shopping at a Trader Joe’s in Atlanta, I came across a unique frozen flatbread pizza-like product called ‘Tart D’ Alsace’. When I picked up the box to examine it, a shopper in the store said, “ Oh, those are really good.” I bought 10 boxes.
Alsace is an area located along the west bank of the Rhine between Germany and France. Between the 17th and 20th centuries Germany and France had a tug-of-war about who owned this region but King Louis XIV of France ultimately won. Today, the cuisine and the wine are influenced from both countries. Tart Flambé or Alsatian onion tart is a classic recipe of the region. The scratch recipe uses Crème Fraiche, bacon or ham, onions and a flour-based dough crust and takes about 20 minutes to bake at 400°F. The frozen tart I bought is made by Maitre Pierre and is based on a 100-year-old-recipe made with Crème Fraiche, caramelized onions, ham and Gruyere cheese. When you read the package instructions, they say to bake the tart at 475 degrees F for 10 minutes. So how do I do that in a TurboChef oven? Simple:
Select Bake > Pizza > Frozen > Thin crust. The oven will bake it for 2 ½ minutes from frozen. I placed it right on the rack and it came out perfect.
I recently bought a house in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I wanted to have a few neighbors over for hors d’ oeuvres and drinks. I thought, “why not serve the ‘Tart D’ Alsace’”? They have a Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe so off I picked one up. We had our little ‘happy hour’ and I was surprised by how much more time it takes to entertain when you don’t have a TurboChef oven. I don’t have a TurboChef oven at the new house in Santa Fe yet, so it took 25 minutes to heat the oven and over 10 minutes to cook the tart. More than 35 minutes for something I did in just under 10 minutes before. It was a bit like our computer system in the new house. We don’t have a direct connection to the Internet yet so we have to rely on dial-up. The TurboChef oven versus a regular oven is a bit like dial-up versus a T1 line. I can’t wait to remodel the kitchen in Santa Fe. Now that I have been cooking in the TurboChef oven, I just can't go back.