Thursday, 28 July 2011

Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Pesto Tart with Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad

Lately I've been craving tomato tart. I don't really know why. It's kind of a random craving.
My mom makes a great tomato tart but it's not something we ever had very often.
I thought about making my mom's tart recipe but I decided it would be fun to try something new.
I'm glad I did because this was incredible!
It was so good that I could have eaten the whole thing, but I decided to be nice and share it with my friends!
(also, the whole thing would have been twice the amount of calories I should eat in a day, so that probably would have been a very bad idea)
While I was eating lunch yesterday, I was watching Five Ingredient Fix on Food Network.
I don't usually watch this particular show because I happen to find the host rather annoying. However, whenever I have watched it I've always had to grudgingly admit that her recipes look kind of awesome.
When I turned the tv on yesterday, she was making a fresh raspberry vinaigrette salad with mixed greens. I had been wondering what to make as a side with my tart and it seemed as though I had my answer.
I love raspberries and the salad turned out great!
My friends Kathryn, Vlad, and Kaori joined me for the meal and seemed to really enjoy it!
There's nothing more fun than a delicious meal with awesome friends!

Slow Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Pesto Tart
recipe is from the blog What Katie Ate

Ingredients for Pesto:
2 handfuls of fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil (not extra virgin as flavor would be overpowering)
100 g (about 4 oz) soft goat cheese
1 pinch chili flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
sea salt and black pepper

Ingredients for topping:
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
shaved parmesan cheese for serving
fresh oregano leaves
fresh basil leaves
sea salt and black pepper

1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry and it's amazing)
1 egg yolk and a splash of milk for egg wash

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place all tomatoes on baking tray, cut side up.
Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Slow roast for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the pesto.
Put two handfuls of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, and olive oil into a food processor and mix to form a smooth pesto paste.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut a circle out of the pre-rolled pastry using a standard size dinner plate.
Place circle of pastry on baking tray.
Using a slightly smaller plate (about 1/2 in smaller), make a groove in the pastry by centering the plate and then pressing down gently.
Prick the smaller pastry circle inside the groove with a fork.
Brush the exterior border of the pastry with egg wash.

Spread the pesto in a thin layer on the inside circle of the pastry, being careful not to get any on the outer border.
Place roasted tomatoes in the center over the pesto.
Season with salt, pepper, and oregano leaves.
Roast in oven at 350 degrees until pastry is cooked on bottom and golden brown around the edges. For me this only took about 14 or 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, sprinkle parmesan shavings over the tart and place some fresh basil leaves on top.

Greens With Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette
Recipe by Claire Robinson on Five Ingredient Fix

1 cup fresh raspberries, with extra for garnish
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
mixed greens

Put raspberries, mustard, and pomegranate juice into food processor and mix until smooth.
Add olive oil and mix until smooth emulsified dressing has formed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place dressing in bottom of salad bowl and top with mixed greens.
Toss and garnish with additional raspberries.

This made WAY too much dressing for me so I put the dressing I didn't use in the refrigerator.
According to the original recipe, the vinaigrette will stay good in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Rocket Pesto!

Pesto is one of my favourite things. I often make it in large batches and freeze what I don't use so that I can heat it up later and eat it.
Since it is so easy to make and so easy to freeze and keep for later, I eat a lot of pesto.
This time, I felt like doing something a little different. I had read a recipe on a blog called Cook Your Dream that described using arugula (also called rocket) instead of basil in pesto.
This intrigued me. I like arugula, so I couldn't see how this could go wrong.
After trying it, I think I might even like it better than basil pesto. No joke. This is delicious. My roommates liked it so much that they've been making their own batches of it ever since.
The original recipe that I looked at called for chickpeas in the pasta. Unfortunately, the grocery store in Aspen didn't have chickpeas. Also, no one who worked at the grocery store knew what a chickpea was. I thought chickpeas were a pretty normal thing to have at a grocery store. Apparently not.
So instead I put in cherry tomatoes as an extra ingredient.

Penne Pasta with Rocket Pesto
adapted from a recipe on Cook Your Dream

Ingredients for Pasta:
5 oz Penne Pasta
10 oz of Cherry Tomatoes, each sliced in half
however much Fresh Goat Cheese as you like
shredded Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients for Pesto:
2 cups Arugula
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, broken into small chunks
1/2 cup pine nuts
Olive Oil
a hearty sprinkling of Salt

serves: 2

Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package.
While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto.
Put all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a food processor.
Process the ingredients until they are finely chopped, but still a little chunky.
Add in olive oil as needed, pulsing the processor between oil additions, until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
Taste and add more salt if needed.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return the pasta to the pan.
Add the pesto and the tomatoes and toss until pasta is well coated with pesto.
Transfer the pasta to a plate and crumble as much goat cheese as you like on top.
Then, sprinkle a bit of shredded Parmesan on top.
Eat and enjoy.

If there is leftover pesto, freeze it and eat it another day.
Personally, I used the leftover pesto on goat cheese crostini the next day. Yum!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lemon Thyme Salmon

I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut when it comes to salmon.
I love my baked salmon topped with parsley so very much that I stop trying new salmon recipes.
This week I decided to end this.
I looked around, found a few good looking recipes, and ended up just kind of doing my own thing. I had found a few recipes that called for thyme and lemon, along with various other ingredients. I had also found a few recipes that suggested slow baking it at a lower temperature than usual.
I made my own mixture involving lemon rind, thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I mixed it all in the food processor until I thought it tasted good.
Then I spread it on a 5 oz piece of salmon and baked it at 275 degrees for about 18 minutes.
Once it came out I squeezed some lemon juice on top of it and it was ready to go.
It was tender, moist, and flavourful. Also, It took barely any time to cook, which was nice since this was such a busy week!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Peanut Butter

I don't like peanut butter.
I'm told this is very odd. Everyone else I know seems to LOVE peanut butter.
I don't get it.
Lately I've been getting a lot of requests for peanut butter cookies, so I decided to give them a try. I knew this would be a cookie that I wouldn't be tempted to eat an entire batch of.
I searched the internet, looked through about a dozen different recipes, and finally found a recipe that looked pretty good.
It happens to be a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook My Father's Daughter.
I found it on epicurious.
These cookies were good. Even I thought so. The peanut butter taste was definitely there but it wasn't overpowering.
These cookies were an even bigger hit than my snickerdoodles. People came back for second and third helpings of cookies.
Here they are cooling on the rack:

Grandad Danner's Favourite Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe slightly adjusted from the one in Gwyneth Paltrow's book My Father's Daughter

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
some granulated sugar to roll the dough in before baking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, and brown sugars.
Mix in egg and vanilla.
Add flour mixture in thirds and stir until smooth.
Fold in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.
Roll dough into small balls.
Roll these balls of dough in granulated sugar.
Place dough on baking sheet and press each ball down with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
Bake for ten minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time.
Cool cookies on a rack.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies (also known as Snickerdoodles)

It's been a while.
Around the time when I broke my camera earlier this year, I stopped blogging. What is a food blog without pictures?
I still don't have a camera, but I do have an iphone, and it takes somewhat decent pictures, so I've decided to return to blogging.
This week I've been on a cookie baking binge. It's been a busy week with lots of rehearsals, and lots of rehearsals means a lot of people who need a little extra joy (cookies) in their lives. I think the orchestra managers love me a little more than they used to after this week.
Right now, I'm spending my summer at the music festival in Aspen, CO. It's a gorgeous place to be and it's a wonderful musical experience.
On Monday night, as I left rehearsal at 10:00 at night, I was not in a very good mood. Our conductor was extremely rude to everyone and treated every musician in a somewhat condescending manner. As a result, none of us really enjoyed that rehearsal.
I thought to myself, what better way to brighten my mood than by eating a snickerdoodle from Paradise Bakery? Unfortunately, Paradise closes at 10. I was too late. So I decided to make snickerdoodles! I only wanted to eat one, but I knew others would appreciate the rest, so it was worth it.
I couldn't find any particularly convincing looking snickerdoodle recipes online, so I simply took a good looking sugar cookie recipe and added cinnamon! They turned out amazing! Everyone in my orchestra loved them. I even gave one to Julia Fischer (super famous violinist) and she said she loved it! That was an exciting moment for me.
Here's what they looked like in the end:

Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe
adapted from a sugar cookie recipe from Bon Appetit, written by Gretchen Davis

1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
a very hearty dose of cinnamon that I did not measure
extra sugar and cinnamon for pressing the cookies with

Beat butter, oil, sugar, and powdered sugar until well blended.
Mix in egg and vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon (to taste). Mix it all in.
Cover the dough and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll dough into small balls (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place on baking sheet.
In a bowl mix together some sugar and cinnamon. Dip the flat bottom of a glass into water and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Then, use this sugar covered bottom of a glass to flatten each ball of dough into little circles.
Once done with that process, bake cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they are a light brown color.
Place cookies on a rack and let cool!