Archives for posts with tag: goat cheese

I’ve totally lost touch with my blog.  I’ve been trying to write a post for ages, but something was stopping me.  I have no idea what it was, but I put my foot down finally and decided I really want to resume my posts.  They are fun for me and I love the interaction with all of you!  I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but my resolution this year is to get back into blogging and stop making excuses about why I’m not, because there’s no valid reason except my own laziness.  I’m so silly, I will buy things thinking I’ll use them for my blog and they sit untouched.  I’m sure some of you with blogs know what I’m talking about.

I didn’t really fall off the wagon from cooking, but I haven’t been as enthusiastic about it as I used to be.  It’s slowly coming back and I’m ready to start up again.  Maybe it’s the winter – winter blues, I guess.  I know there’s lots to cook during the winter, but until recently I was totally uninspired.  Summer produce and colors inspire me.  This is probably also probably why I’ve been thinking once my husband is done residency we NEED to move somewhere warm.  It’s been on my mind for a few weeks now.  I’m craving sun and warmth.

Despite my love for summer, I do have a few winter produce favorites.  Most notable are beets.  I almost always have them on-hand.  Must have something to do with the color, I suspect.  As I’ve said before I’m a sucker for vibrant colors.  To the same effect, I buy watermelon radishes ALL THE TIME, not because I love thetaste, but more that I love the way they look.  For this dish there were no watermelon radishes, unfortunately.  But this tart is good with whatever you have on hand: mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions – you name it.  I used to be daunted by making dough, but now I’ve formulated my own proportions and it works every time like a charm.  This sort of tart is one of my go-to dishes.  Although it does take some time, it is by no means difficult to make.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Tart

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

for the crust:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, frozen

up to 1/4 cup ice water

filling:

6 ounces goat cheese, softened

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

salt and black pepper, to taste

for top:

2 golden beets

2 carrots

1/4 cup chopped parsley and chives, or any herbs of your choice, for garnish

Method

Roast the beets in the oven (at 350 degrees) in a foil pouch on a baking tray drizzled with some olive oil, salt, and pepper for 45 minutes or until cooked.  At the 30 minute mark add in the  whole carrots, also tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Once cooked, slice the beets and carrots into thin slices.

To make the tart dough: in a food processor, add the walnuts and pulse until they turn into a fine grind, add in the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse until combined.  Grate the frozen butter and add it to the flour.  Pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized clumps.  Next, through the top, stream in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball.  Once the dough comes together, cover it in plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least an hour.  After the dough has chilled, roll it out and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and blind bake (cover it with foil and use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the crust, so that it doesn’t puff up while baking) it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

For the filling: whisk the goat cheese, ricotta, and egg together.  Add in the salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence.  Pour it into the partially baked crust and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes, take it out of the oven and arrange the cut beets and carrots over the goat cheese and ricotta and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Garnish the tart with chopped parsley and chives, or any herb of your choice.  You can also sprinkle the final product with some flaky sea salt and drizzle with olive oil, if you like.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Figs are absolutely gorgeous.  When I cut into some fruits, I’m in awe.  The colors the textures, the perfect contrast in tones and shades make me *swoon*.  Take a kiwi fruit for example, that lime green color and the black seeds are beautiful.  The same goes for figs.  I cut one of those babies in half and I stare at it and revel in its beauty like it were a real baby.  Maybe I’ve got issues, but I’m all about the appearance of the food I eat.  I love it when food is so well presented that it s a feast for the eyes.  If you know me, you know I go absolutely gaga for jewel-tones.  This probably relates to my love of figs, that deep, dark purple is one of my all-time favorites.

I just remembered that every time my husband and I walk by this new gelato place that is about to open, I gush about how I love the sign.  I go on and on about how it’s so my style (because nothing in this town is my style hehe).  Mind you, the sign only says “mia’s gelato” and I rave about it for a block until my husband says, “get over it!!!”  The reasons I adore that sign are because the font is modern, in all lowercase and the colors work so well together.

I just mentioned the sign to strengthen my point about beautiful colors.  Strengthening arguments: a very useful skill picked up in Grad school *insert sarcastic smiley here.*  (Don’t get me wrong, Grad school is great but there are some things about it, I will never understand).

Anyway, the puff pastry is savory and sweet.  I think I started this recipe with an idea for something more savory, but along the way it turned into a dessert.  Oh well, that is what happens when you don’t use a recipe and just wing it.  Regardless, when I took a bite, it was nice and warm.  I thoroughly enjoyed all the flavors in it.  They worked together even though I was skeptical about the combination I had come up with.  The chevre I used was so mellow that it did not overpower the other delicate flavors.  The honey and brown sugar caramelized beautifully and resulted in a nutty and sweet taste.  The thyme also melded beautifully in unison with all the other ingredients, creating a lemony perfume throughout.  The fruits, oh yes the fruits, figs and strawberries were warm and rich in flavor.  I’m sure everyone loves puff pastry, how could you not, so flaky and buttery and the perfect vehicle for just about anything, yum.

I admit, this dish is a little more work than most of my recipes, but it is definitely worth it for a special occasion.  You can also substitute the figs or strawberries with other fruits, you switch the cheeses I used with mascarpone cheese.  It is so versatile, make it your own or try it this way.  Either way, it’ll be tasty.

Sweet and Savory Fig and Strawberry Puff Pastry

Serves 6

Ingredients

7 ounces of puff pastry, rolled into an 8″ by 10″ rectangle

15 strawberries, sliced

15 figs, sliced

honey, for drizzling

2 tablespoons brown sugar, or more depending on how sweet your fruit is

2 tablespoons pine nuts

3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from sprig

2 tablespoons on butter cut into small pieces

for the chevre/ricotta base:

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 1/2 ounces mild chevre, softened at room temperature

1 tablespoon fig white balsamic vinegar (or plain white balsamic or white wine vinegar)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

fleur de sel, to taste

black pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a food processor pulse together all the ingredients for the ricotta/chevre base until smooth.  (Or mix together by hand in a bowl).  Next, place the rolled out puff pastry on a cookie sheet and spread the cheese mixture on top evenly, all the way to the edges.  Then, assemble the fruit in an attractive pattern.  I did two rows of figs and two rows of strawberries on the diagonal.  When the fruit is placed on the puff pastry, sprinkle it with the brown sugar, pine nuts, and thyme.  Drizzle the honey on top and dot on pieces of butter all over the pastry.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, if desired.