Saturday, July 28, 2007

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

I have to admit that this is not my recipe. I got this from Cook's Illustrated. It's so simple and yummy! The only thing I don't like about this recipe is the fact that puff pastry has trans fats, but with the way foods are changing these days, I doubt that will be an issue for long. Instead of Roma tomatoes, I used the plump heirloom tomatoes from our CSA box. Neither variety is very wet or seedy, so both suit the tart well. Varient recipes in Cook's Illustrated use either prosciutto on top of the mozarella (for the meat-eaters) or smoked mozzarella. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart
Serves 6 to 8

Flour for work surface
1 (1.1 pound) box frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
1 pound Roma or Heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, shredded (I used fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces)
2 tablespoons sliced basil leaves

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces of puff pastry onto the surface. Create one large sheet with a border, using these two sheets by: brushing egg along the short edge of one sheet and overlapping the second sheet on the egg by about an inch, pressing to seal together; cutting 1 inch strips from the long sides of the dough and the short sides and pressing those strips onto the main piece of dough to create a border; transferring the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat; trimming excess dough to create even edges; brushing the dough with egg. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell and bake for 13-15 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 and continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425.

While shell bakes, place tomato slices in a single layer on double layer of paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second layer of paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in a mall bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over baked shell. Shingle tomatoes on top of cheese; brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, cut into pieces and serve.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I never actually liked Ratatouille that much, especially because my experience has been a bland mash of vegetables that resembled water more than anything. I always found myself hungry after eating it. However, after seeing the movie Ratatouille, my interested was piqued again. I noticed that in the movie, the dish was baked rather than cooked on the stove. It also appeared that the little rat chef, Remy, spread a tomato-y sauce in a casserole dish and topped it with zucchini and eggplant, thinly sliced. That was then topped with some sort of cover which allowed the veggies to steam in the sauce. That version is one I've never seen before and would like to try, but I have to admit that I'm a bit embarrassed to try a recipe I saw in a children's animated movie!

The following recipe is an adaptation from the Joy of Cooking's rendition. The eggplant turned out to be very flavorful in this rendition, but we still found ourselves somewhat hungry and protein-deprived after eating it. Be sure you eat something else with it!


Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 large red bell peppers, cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced baby heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped basil

Saute first three ingredients in a large skillet on high heat for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and heat the skillet on medium high heat. Cook the remaining olive oil and onions until softened. Add red pepper and garlic and cook for 8 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook 20 minutes more, covered. Add basil before serving. Serve over saffron rice.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce

This sauce is very simple and so good because of the quality of tomatoes at this time of year. Eatwell IS Tomato Wonderland, after all. Here, I served the sauce on top of smoked salmon ravioli from the farmer's market. The sauce was mild enough to give the salmon some tasting room.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Serves 2

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
salt and pepper
grated parmesan

Heat oil in a small a saucepan on low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook while pasta is cooking. Add basil shortly before serving. Top with parmesan.

Teriyaki Sea Scallops and Chili-Rubbed Sweet Corn

It's been quite a while since I posted a recipe here. I've been in the process of building a new PC for fun, and also so that I can do these kinds of activities more quickly. I now have a media card reader for all of my digital photos, and upload/download speeds are so fast! Thanks for being patient.

Here is a dinner we had about a week ago. The sea scallops looked fabulous at the market, and we couldn't resist. I concocted a "teriyaki" marinade for them and quickly pan-seared them so they cooked and didn't dry out. A person can really only eat a maximum of three of these because they're so rich!

For the one of the sides, we blanched some sweet corn from our Eatwell box and used a dry rub from Cooking Light after the cobs were cooked. While still hot, we dolloped some creme fraiche, which made this a real treat.

Teriyaki Sea Scallops

Teriyaki Sea Scallops
Serves 2

6 sea scallops
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine

Place all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. NOTE that the amounts in the marinade are approximate. Adjust to suit your taste and smell! Place scallops in a shallow baking dish and cover with marinade. Leave at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Heat non-stick skillet at medium-high or high heat. Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan if you have one! Add scallops to the hot skillet and cook until browned on both sides, a couple minutes each side. Serve warm.
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