Tomato and Cheese Tart

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I have taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging. Not from cooking and baking. But from blogging. My father was visiting for a couple of weeks and I made a lot of very basic meals that he really likes. Potatoes in various forms, pork chops, baked ring bologna, fish, spaghetti and meatballs. And I didn’t blog those dishes. I also spent quite a bit of time recently in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with my dad and cooking in his kitchen is quite challenging. No good chefs knives, an electric stove, and odds and ends of cookware…never exactly what you’re looking for.  You need to be cautious of expiration dates and the spice cabinet has salt, pepper, garlic, Lawrys, cinnamon sticks that should only be used for art projects, and a huge jar of mustard seed. Actually I SHOULD blog from his house because cooking there is more of a challenge but there is also no internet.   Now I’m back home and back to experimenting with recipes as well as blogging old favorites.   In a recent issue of one of my many cooking magazines I found a recipe for a Tomato, Bacon, and Gruyere Tart. I first made this as a savory breakfast dish for guests and later made it as a dinner dish with the help of a friend. Both times I modified the recipe. More modifications the second time. But both times it was absolutely yummy.   Both times I doubled the recipe and made two tarts.  The ingredients listed are for two tarts.

Ingredients:

2 thawed Puff Pastry sheets

1/2 pound bacon cooked crisp, drained and crumbled

2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

1 cup shredded asiago cheese

3 thin sliced heirloom tomatoes

1/2-1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 cup chopped baby portabella mushrooms

1/2 cup thin sliced fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water for brushing the pastry

(The second time I made it I added the onions and mushrooms.)

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Preheat your oven to 400.

Roll out the pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface into approximately a 10″x14″ rectangle and transfer to a backing sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Shred the cheeses.

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Leaving a couple inch border on each side sprinkle each sheet with half of the cheeses.   Top with the crumbled bacon, onion, and mushrooms.

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Using a sharp knife or mandolin slice the tomatoes thinly. If you are using heirlooms alternate colors.

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Fold the long sides over and cut small vents. Fold the short ends a little and pinch them together.   Brush with the egg wash.

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Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.   Enjoy every bite. We did!!

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When I served this for breakfast we has toasted cinnamon bread and fresh fruit.

This recipe is only limited by your imagination. You can change up the cheeses and add other veggies like thin sliced summer squash, artichokes, spinach or kale. I think I’m going to make it with gruyere and blue cheese next time.

 

 

 

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

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This is is one of my favorites salads; it’s a recipe I got from a dear friend and I make it frequently. The fresh lemon and herbs always taste like summer to me so I especially enjoy this salad in the winter!

Ingredients:

1 bunch green onions, green and white parts sliced thin

1 lb ripe tomatoes diced

1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 cup chopped mint leaves

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 can garbanzo beans aka chick peas

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1 T minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

8 oz fresh feta crumbled

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Get out a large salad bowl and start chopping. Slice the green onion.

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Dice the tomatoes and seed and dice the cucumbers.

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I like to put all of my fresh herbs in the salad spinner to wash and dry them well. Then I remove all of the stems and put the herbs in my food processor and give them a few pulses.

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Place the green onions, tomato, cucumber, and herbs in a salad bowl. Rinse and drain the chick peas and add them to the vegetables. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and minced garlic in a small bowl and whisk.

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Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss with a spatula to coat the vegetables. Add the feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

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This salad is great on its own served with fresh or toasted pita bread. The cheese and beans provide plenty of protein for a good lunch. I think this salad pairs especially well with fish and pork. I served it for dinner with trout and smashed garlic cauliflower.

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Enjoy!

 

 

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

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This is a favorite salad recipe that a good friend shared with me. It has so many flavors that I love…basil, mint, lemon, garlic. How can anything with those components not be good!!  I have increased the “greens” in her recipe but other than that it remains as shared.

Salad Ingredients

10 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced

1 cup ripe cherry or grape tomatoes halved

1 cucumber seeded and diced

1 16-oz can of chickpeas rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh parsley

1 cup fresh mint

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

5-6 cloves of garlic minced

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

8 oz feta cheese in 1/2 inch dice

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Wash all the herbs well. I like to use my salad spinner.

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Remove all of the stems. I use a few pulses of my food processor to chop the herbs.

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Diced the the cucumbers and halve the tomatoes. I used small salad cucumbers so I diced three of them.

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Rinse and drain the chickpeas.

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I had no green onions on hand so I diced some red onion. Either works well in this salad.

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Combine all the minced herbs, vegetables and chickpeas in a large bowl. Mince the garlic, squeeze the lemons for 1/2 cup of juice, and measure out a half cup of olive oil. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic together and pour over the salad. Gently toss to coat the vegetables.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Dice the feta cheese and toss in the salad.

This salad is perfect served with warm pita bread or on lettuce leaves. Or just sit down with a fork and a bowl and enjoy. I served it tonight as a side with sweet potatoes and smoked pork chops. It’s what was for dinner tonight.

Pesto

A good friend gave me a beautiful bouquet of fresh basil from her garden.

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I find my salad spinner to be the best tool for washing fresh herbs.

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Once the basil is clean and dry it goes into the food processor:
2 cups of packed basil leaves
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
and pulse until leaves are finely chopped. With food processor running on low add in a slow, steady stream:
1/2 cup good olive oil

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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If you’re going to use immediately stir in:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

I froze mine using a silicone ice cube tray. Cover tightly before putting in the freezer. I will add my Parmesan when I’m ready to use the pesto.

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Now all we need is some pasta.