When you have a library full of cookbooks, as many of us do, it can be really hard to decide what to make. Many recipes look good, but are they really good? Internet recipe sites can be helpful for answering that question; many recipes are online and have been reviewed by numerous cooks. Reading food blogs, of course, is my favorite ways to get the real scoop on recipes -- food that is tested in advance by people I virtually know and really trust? You can't go wrong there. But if ever have to make a really important dinner or dessert, and I need it to be good, I might just ask myself "What would Anne Strawberry pick?" Or better yet, I'll just ask Anne herself! Because since I've been blogging, Anne has chosen at least three recipes that I can think of: Ina's Apple Turnovers, Dorie's Tall & Creamy Cheesecake, and now this week's Barefoot recipe, Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts, that have made me want to head straight to the highest mountain I can find and give her a loud, echoing shout-out of gratitude.
This tart was simply delicious. Here is a large view of my tart, sideways:
Don't you feel like the sideways orientation really captures the essence of this savory tart? What's that you say? No, it just makes you kind of dizzy? Sorry about that. Last night Blogger started flipping my tart pictures, which had been oriented horizontally, and made them portrait. I tried to outsmart Blogger by going into my pictures and changing them to portrait, hoping that then Blogger would then flip them to landscape when I uploaded, but no, Blogger apparently likes them vertical. Here is the thing about me and technology: it is A MIRACLE that I figured out how to set up a blog by myself, and that I managed to figure out how to upload pictures, underline things, and other basic blogging tasks. My hubs still has to upload music onto my iPod for me. He tries to explain it to me, but I just hear "blah, blah, blah." NOT that he does not explain it in an interesting manner, but I just don't have the gene that makes things like that intuitive to me. So my point is, yes, I have mastered the technical basics of blogging, but it is still very precarious, because if Blogger doesn't want to work correctly for me, I'll never be able to figure out how to fix it. It will just have to fix itself, or I'll be posting sideways pictures forever. Sorry!
Well, back to the tart. It is fabulous. It is made on frozen puff pastry, and the pastry puffs up beautifully around the tomatoes, basil and goat cheese filling. This is super easy to make - saute onions, garlic, add white wine, thyme, salt and pepper. Roll out the puff pastry and trace two 6 inch circles on each sheet (I cut the recipe in half and just made one sheet). I just scrounged around until I found a plate that was about the right size -- no need to go out and buy a compass or anything. Score a half inch border, and fill inside of the border with the onion mixture, herbed goat cheese, and a slice of tomato. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and top with fresh basil, salt and pepper, and a few shards of fresh parmesan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry is puffy and browned. I used a few plum tomato slices rather than one larger tomato slice because that's what I had, but the good thing about a recipe like this is that the tomato will get roasted, which brings out the flavor in even a sub par grocery store tomato. Of course, I can't wait for the farmer's market to open so that I can make this with really delicious tomatoes -- even better!
David and I really enjoyed this. I think I loved it more than he did, but his nature is more reserved in general than mine is, and he tends not to gush over things as effusively as I do when I love something. So maybe he did love it as much as I did, but just showed his love differently (i.e. D - "This is really good!" as opposed to C - "OH. MY. HOLY. LORD. (puts fork down dramatically) Can you even believe this tart? I can't even believe this tart. *sigh* I love Ina Garten. I love Anne Strawberry. This is the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. Ever! Do you hear me? Ever!"). In any event, this would be perfect for a special luncheon, or, in our case, a regular ol' dinner. Oh, and with the leftover pastry (there was a lot of it!) I sprinkled sugar and cinnamon, rolled up, sliced it into pinwheels, and baked. Great treat!
My great bloggy friend Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen chose the Ellie recipe this week, Chicken with Mango Barbecue Sauce. Blogger apparently thought that these worked just fine horizontally and kept them that way, even though I uploaded them at the same time as the tart pictures.
This is another really easy, gushworthy recipe. This barbecue sauce is FABULOUS!!! The roster of ingredients is long, but it comes together quickly: onion, garlic, red bell pepper, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, lime juice, tomato sauce, jalapenos, and, of course, mango. Look at how colorful and pretty this is, pre-blending:
I just used my immersion blender (how did I ever live so long without one?) to mix it all up in the saucepan -- so much easier than transferring it to a separate blender! Mine had more of a salsa-like consistency, which I loved, but I could have pureed it longer to get more of a barbecue sauce consistency. What a combination of flavors!! It is sweet, tart, fruity and spicy all at the same time, and it totally WORKS. If I closed my eyes while eating this, I could almost imagine myself sitting on a balcony overlooking the beach -- it just tastes summery and delicious. I served the chicken with roasted vegetables and brown rice, and the next day turned the chicken, vegetables and a little mozzarella into quesadillas, with the sauce on the side. Equally delicious. This one will be a regular in our house. My whole family enjoyed this.
Thank you, Aggie and Anne. We thoroughly enjoyed both of these recipes, and I'll be making them again and again!
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