Saturday, March 17, 2012

Summertime Tart: Goat Cheese, Puff Pastry and Delicious Veggies

So it's not quite summer yet, though it's starting to feel like it more and more every day.  Or at least like spring.  It was 13 degrees here today and going to be in the 20s for the next four days.  What better than to get you pulling out summer recipes than such beautiful weather??

Jérôme and my parents entertained the kids all day, which left me free to cook up a storm.  So much so that when I asked my mom to hold Chloé at 5:00 this evening, she sighed.  Could I love my life any more????

I did, however, hit a new low today.  By serving Logan pasta mixed with ketchup in it for lunch.  This, coming from the woman who said she would never let her kid douse anything with ketchup.  I am now of the opinion that it is better that he eat ketchup if it makes him eat other foods, than for him to eat no variety of food at all.  Hence, my new low.  And he liked it.  Bleck.  How am I ever going to get him eating things like chickpeas in curried coconut broth??

Today was a busy day in the kitchen.  I made healthy(er) breakfast sandwiches, this summertime tart (which I served with (no) cream of vegetable soup), another brioche (there goes my promise to never make it again... one.week.later.).  This time, we made the brioche in a bundt pan instead, putting all 6 balls of dough into the same pan.  And it was bee-ooo-ti-ful!!  Though it turns out that it needed to be cooked a few minutes less than when in the loaf pans.  Oops.

And for dessert, I accidentally made a whole new and more delicious than ever recipe.  Remember the chocolate sour cream bundt cake that Katie made during our visit to their place?  Well, I tried to make that, except I accidentally left out the baking soda.  This happens to me all the time as I attempt to 'whip up' several recipes at once - usually while on the phone (n'est-ce pas Heidi??).  

And the result was an absolutely delicious, super dense chocolate cake, a bit like a fondant au chocolat or a flourless chocolate cake.  Too good for words.  I think this is my absolutely new favourite dessert.  Gotta love chocolate to like this new twist on the cake.  My dad found it too rich.  But had two slices nonetheless ;)

We also cooked the cake a bit less (until a toothpick came out with just a bit of cake still on it) and I reduced the sugar to 2 cups.

My mom and I also prepared a bunch of dipping sauces for the meat fondue we enjoyed tonight.  I'll blog those one day too... 

AND... she cleaned my oven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet!!  Thanks mom :)

I perhaps should not mention that it is because she couldn't stand quite how filthy it had gotten.  I'm too busy cooking and blogging to clean my oven!

As I said, I made this summertime tart for us for lunch today.  When we were leaving Vancouver, Katie mentioned that she was disappointed that she would no longer be featured in my blog.  So here ya go Kate :)  

She made this for us for lunch one day while we were staying with them and it was excellent.  As my dad described it, sophisticated.  All while being relatively simple to whip up.  Yup, simple and impressive.  The perfect combination :)  

Though I recall it taking much less time when she made it.  Maybe because I was sitting on my butt while she cooked?  Or because we talked the whole time, which makes time seem 10 times shorter?  Or because I had Chloé sleeping on me while making this, making the task a slight bit more complicated?

I actually hate goat cheese, as does Jérôme.  Sorry Katie, didn't want to mention that while at your place.  Gotta be polite and all ;)  And it turns out that you can't even tell there's goat cheese in this.  Maybe it'll get me liking goat cheese?  So even if you don't like goat cheese, you can still make this.  I just asked the lady at the grocery store to recommend a mild, spreadable variety.  And this is what she recommended:

And it did the trick, since I couldn't taste it AT ALL ;) Probably all of the fresh herbs that mask the flavour.

1 10 x 10-inch sheet butter puff pastry, thawed
2 cloves garlic
1 C each fresh basil, parsley, mint
1/4 C pine nuts (she usually uses toasted walnuts, but I omitted both, since I'm not eating nuts these days)
1/2 C goat cheese
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp.
12 asparagus, trimmed to 4 inches
5 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise, trimmed to 4 inches (I used one large one and that seemed to be plenty)
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved (I used a bit more)
2 portabello mushrooms, sliced

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.  Unroll puff pastry, remove paper, cut in half and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking pan.  Set aside.

Chef Jérôme, rolling the pastry for me

Note:  The puff pastry I bought came in two blocks.  So we rolled it with a rolling pin into two 5 x 10-inch sheets. 

2.  In a food processor, chop garlic, scraping down sides of bowl.  Add fresh herbs, pine nuts, goat cheese and 1/3 C oil and process until combined.  Spread mixture evenly oven pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Started this in my mini food processor, but had to
transfer it to my bigger one, as it just didn't all fit

3.  In a bowl, combine vegetables with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange vegetables like this on pastry: 4 asparagus pieces, 3 zucchini quarters and a row of cherry tomatoes.  Repeat three times for each tart.

4.  Bakes 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and cut each tart into three servings (in between zucchini and asparagus).  Serve with green salad.

Difficulty level: easy to moderate

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