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Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, this is going to take all day. That first makeup post took a solid hour. But, you deserve these recipes, so I’m going to keep plugging away at them.

For our next round of recipes, I’ll be taking a break from cookies and featuring savory recipes. Our first comes from David Lebovitz, living the sweet life in Paris. Wow, would I like his job. Food blogging in Paris would be my ultimate dream come true. Never going to happen, but definitely the stuff of dreams. He brings us this fantastic looking French Tomato Tart. The cheese is goat cheese, which I’m not a huge fan of, so I would substitute fresh mozzarella.

French Tomato Tart

French Tomato Tart

One 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) tart

Adapted from A Culinary Journey in Gascony

Because this is ‘country-style’ fare, this tart is open to lots of interpretation. For those of you with tart dough “issues”, you can make this either free-style or in a fluted tart ring with a removable bottom. Kate didn’t let the dough rest, but simply rolled it out, transferred it into the tart ring, and ran the rolling pin over the dough to neatly shear away the edges.

If you wish to make a free-style tart, roll the dough out to about 14-inches across, then transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Assemble the tart, leaving a 2-inch (5 cm) border, which you’ll then fold up to enclose the tart.

Depending on the size of your pan, you may have a bit of dough leftover. We used it to make a few mini-tartlets, which we enjoyed later than evening with our aperitifs.

Tart Filling

One unbaked tart dough (see recipe, below)

Dijon or whole-grain mustard

2-3 large ripe tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

two generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon

8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds

Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorful honey

Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
4 1/2 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water

1. Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.

2. Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of ice water.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.

4. Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.

If making a freestyle tart, simply transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet (see headnote); no need to make indentations with your fingers.

5. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). See note.

6. Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough and let it sit a few minutes to dry out.

7. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.

8. Sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs, then drizzle with some honey, if using.

(If baking a free-form tart, gather the edges when you’re done, to envelope the filling.)

9. Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn’t brown as much as you’d like it, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it’s just right.

Note: Kate indeed does cook her tart in a very hot oven. You might wish to check the tart midway through baking and turn it down a bit in case the top is getting too dark, before the crust and tomatoes appear to be cooked.

Southern Pecan Cheese Dip

Southern Pecan Cheese Dip

This isn’t actually a picture of this dip, but it looks similar to what one of the women in our office made for our Christmas party. This Southern Pecan Cheese Dip was the absolute hit of the night, and even though she advises serving it with crackers, I wouldn’t have minded her serving it with a spoon. I’d never tasted anything quite like it. Bacon, green onions, cream cheese, red pepper jelly and pecans…truly amazing. Here’s the recipe, courtesy of my friend Linda:

8oz. pkg. cream cheese

1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 chopped green onions

6 crumbled Ritz crackers

1/2 cup crumbled bacon (can use precooked or real bacon bits)

1/2 cup Red Pepper Jelly (Stonewall Kitchen makes a good one)

Finely chopped pecans

Mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayo and green onions together and spread in a baking dish. Top with Ritz crackers and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 mins or  until bubbly. Take out of the oven and top with crumbled bacon. Drizzle the red pepper jelly over the mixture and top with finely chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

Cream Cheese Pancakes with Salmon

Our third recipe is from Evil Shenanigans. Looks good for an appetizer or brunch.

Cream Cheese Pancakes with Smoked Salmon    Serves   10 to 12

For the pancakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
8 ounces cold smoked salmon
Freshly chopped chives, for garnish

For the sour cream sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Begin by making the pancakes. For the rest of the instructions, please visit the Evil Shenanigans blog, because it comes with step by step, including pictures, and I don’t have the time to post that before midnight!

Potato Stuffed Spicy Mushrooms

Potato Stuffed Spicy Mushrooms

Our last recipe of this post comes from Adding Zest to your Cooking. I love stuffed mushrooms, and I think this is a unique spin on them.

12-15 button mushrooms-large, washed and stemmed
1 large potato (boiled and mashed)
1/2 finely chopped onion
2 medium green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
some cheese (i used pepperjack) to sprinkle.
some red chilli flakes, dried oregano, parsley and basil.
Some parmesan cheese flakes or you can use the shredded dried parmesan cheese.

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree F.
2. Make a mixture for the stuffing by adding potatoes, onions, green chillies, chopped ginger, garam masala, red chilli powder together in a bowl and mix well.
3. Now add the potato mixture filling to the top in each mushroom.
4. Now sprinkle some shredded pepperjack cheese on each mushroom. Then sprinkle some of red chilli flakes, oregano, parsley and basil. Finally top it off with some parmesan cheese.
5. Arrange the mushrooms on a greased baking sheet and bake the mushrooms for about 20-25 minutes.

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