Friday, August 21, 2009

Mmm, Mmm, Good

What can I say? I love soup. Amy's Organic is my favorite tomato soup. I threw some croutons on top, but some fresh shredded Parmesan would have been even better. That and a grilled cheese sandwich!

Go out and buy some of Amy's soup at your local Whole Foods! Yes, this post is a shameless plug!

Great Party Food

My friend, John invited me to join some of our other friends at a house party. I was in the middle of building my huge bookshelf and thought it would be good to take some time out for myself and some fun. What to bring? I had this old William-Sonoma catalog that I had been meaning to throw out, but only after I wrote down the recipes. There were so many good ones in that issue and I had tried several. This one was one I wanted to try.

The picture above should have mixed greens on the top with goat cheese and oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. I prepped everything when I got to Scott and Renee's. Sorry, I didn't bring my camera! It's actually very pretty and everybody loved them and they tasted sublime. They are very easy and look impressive.

Onion Tarts With Mixed Greens
Serves 8

Savory Tart Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
12 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1 1/2 sticks)
6 to 7 Tbs ice water

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until pea-size crumbs form. Add the water 1 Tbs. at a time and mix with your hands, adding more water as needed until the dough comes together. It should be moist but not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into 2 balls and shape each into a 5-inch disk. Cover separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough disk into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Using a small knife, trim the uneven edges.

Transfer each round to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Use as directed in your tart recipe. Makes enough dough for two 10-inch tarts.

Onion Mixture

2 rolled-out rounds savory tart dough, each 12 inches in diameter
5 Tbs olive oil
4 yellow onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 Tbs minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz. mixed salad greens (I used an herbal mix, it was delicious)
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Place the dough rounds on separate parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the thyme, parsley and 2 tsp. of the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spread half of the onion mixture on each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the dough up and pinch together at 2-inch intervals. Lightly brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Bake the tarts until the crusts are golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the tarts cool for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tsp. vinegar, the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper to form a vinaigrette. Toss half of the vinaigrette with the salad greens, then place the remaining vinaigrette in an oil mister. Top the tarts with the salad, dividing evenly, and sprinkle with the cheese. Mist the salads with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

I'm Back In the Kitchen Again!

When I got home from Korea I was so jet-lagged. My internal clock was way off. Sleeping at a decent local time was basically impossible, and the times I was hungry was usually at midnight!

My first night home I stayed up until about 2 am, and around 11:30 pm or midnight I was ravished. I hadn't shopped at all so I had to dig into my pantry to find something yummy. Well you can't go wrong with lentils. I made the base and then kept eating it (for the next two days) in different variations. I'd add noodles, more jarred tomato sauce, and thin it out for soup. Yum!

Midnight Lentils

1 quart box chicken broth (I use the low sodium)
1/2 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used garlic lovers)
1/2 cup dried lentils (be sure to sort out any stones, rinse and drain)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste (the lentils will absorb the salt so you may want to add more later)

In my small pressure cooker pan I added the chicken broth, sauce, and the lentils and brought it to a boil. I then covered and sealed it and boiled until I achieved the correct pressure. Read your pressure cooker instructions. I just listen for a gentle hiss. After the hiss is audible I then turned the heat down to low and cooked for 20 minutes.

The lentils were creamy and the soup was thick. I mashed some of the lentils up with my potato masher and delve into a huge steaming bowl. Talk about good stuff!