Sunday, August 4, 2013

Do You Remember The Tart?

Over a year ago I had a love/hate/love relationship with a Blueberry Tart I made for a Father's Day get together.  I loved the recipe, hated the amount of time that went into making the crust, and in the end loved the taste.  I pulled that recipe out of the box (a modern day idiom since no one really uses a "box" any more) to add to a menu for a dinner I was making for friends yesterday.  The first time I made it I neglected to get any "finished" shots, so I'm making up for that shortcoming now.  

Lovely, right?

And the second time around the crust was not as big a deal as it was the first; probably because I was multitasking in the kitchen and not just waiting for it to do its thing.

I also tried my hand at puff pastry.  As much as I like cooking, I am surprised it took me this long to decide it was not so scary.  I mixed 6 ounces of room temperature goat cheese, an egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/8 of a cup of sugar until it was smooth, then spread it on thawed puff pastry that I had cut into small rectangles about the size of pear slices.  I topped the cheese with a thin slice of pear and baked for 20 minutes at 350.  In retrospect, I should have gone longer, but remember, I am new to puffed pastry.

When I took them out of the oven, I drizzled them with honey and sprinkled with walnuts.  They were cute, and I would make them again, but I would cook them longer, bake directly on the pan and not use parchment paper (to get it a little crispy on the bottom), slice the pear a little thicker, and make a port wine reduction with a little lemon zest to use in place of the honey to give a nice color (they are a little too monotone for me) and a boost of flavor.  Pears can be a little bland.  Over all it was not a bad start, and I think will be great with the tweeks I mentioned above.

That covers the sweets.  Dinner was a combination of several things I had made before:  Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork,  Veggie Slaw, Quinoa Salad (recipes can be found at What's Cooking), and a couple new things.  One was a cucumber onion salad with sour cream, dill, and celery seed dressing (wasn't a huge fan), and homemade slider rolls for the pork.  That recipe can be found here and doesn't require a lot of work.  I will say the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of salt, but I only used 1 tsp.

I didn't take a lot of pictures.  I didn't take many good ones either (wrong lens, wrong light, no staging).  The evening was all about the company and conversation.  It was great having my two boys here for my friends to meet so that they now have faces to go with my bragging.