Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mushroom Tart

Awhile back I ran across this interesting recipe for a mushroom tart. We like the flavor and texture that mushrooms add to a dish, and use them often. While
I really liked this tart, Greg wasn't as enthusiastic, but he did eat it. The recipe comes from Designs by Gollum where she hosts a Foodie Friday event each week. Lots of yummy things to check out.
Here's the recipe as she wrote it with my comments in red:
Mushroom Tart
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets -- 2 I used just one and made a small tart - it was plenty for the two of us for supper, and lunch for me the next day.
mushrooms (shitake, etc) 1 box shitakes, 1 box button mushrooms. I used a box of crimini mushrooms.
shredded swiss cheese -- 1 c, more if you like it cheesier
rosemary -- sprigs for garnishing and 2 sprigs (cut with scissors) to scatter over the tart
chopped onions 1/4 c.
leftover vegetables (peas) 1/2 c I used steamed fresh broccoli cut into small pieces.
Sautee onions in butter. Add mushrooms, plus a little red wine (1 T) . Fold in peas. Line a deep pan with a thawed puff pastry sheet. Add mushrooms. Sprinkle with cheese. Place remaining sheet on top of mushroom mixture. Crimp edges. Wash pastry with 1 egg plus a little water (whip with fork).
Bake at 400 degrees 20 minutes or until pastry puffs and browns.
Garnish the tart with rosemary. But let it cool, or your rosemary will blacken in a flash. I didn't have any fresh rosemary, so just skipped this step. Next time I'll make sure I have it, since I think it would add a nice touch to the finished tart.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu review

No Menu Monday this week since I won't be cooking here all week. Tonight we ate deli meat sandwiches and chips after having lunch at an Italian restaurant in Lincoln. Tomorrow afternoon I leave for Sioux City for the rest of the week, so Greg will be having frozen pizzas and who-knows-what-else from the freezer aisle at the store. And he's okay with that - in fact, I think he looks forward to it whenever I'm gone for a few days.
I did want to talk a little bit about a couple of the recipes I made last week. Pecan-crusted pork chops was a new recipe, and it was wonderful! If you follow the link in that post, and read the reviews, you'll see that several people felt the coating needed some brown sugar or honey. I don't particulary like a sweet glaze on my meat, except for K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce, so I made the recipe as it was printed. The chops were juicy and flavorful, and I like the texture the nuts provide. Neither of us thought it needed sugar.
The other hit of the week was the chicken ceaser pita sandwiches. I grilled the chicken instead of poaching it, and used the herbs for a rub before grilling. The pitas were whole wheat, and I popped them into the toaster before filling with the salad mixture. We only used a couple of pieces of bacon instead of half a pound. Oy! There was a little bit of chicken and half a piece of bacon leftover, so I made the sandwich again for myself for lunch the next day. We'll have this quite often over the summer, I think. The brand of Ceasar dressing we use is Cardini's.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze

When we vacationed in Seattle, we made a side trip to some wineries near Woodinville. Our favorite was Chateau St. Michelle, and we brought home several bottles of wine after enjoying a generous tasting session. One of those bottles was a port - a sweet, dark red dessert wine. This wasn't supposed to be included in the tasting, but the gentleman who was pouring was kind of flirting with this one woman who was giggly and flirting back, so we all benefited from his trying to impress her. It worked - on us, anyway. We spent more on this one bottle than all the others combined, it was that tasty. It was so good, in fact, that Greg wouldn't open it after we got home. It was tucked away and all but forgotten.
Last week he was perusing the Gourmet magazine web site and came across this tart recipe with a port glaze. He thought it sounded good, and apparently this was impetus enough to warrant the opening of the special bottle. Oh, and it was yummy!
We followed the recipe as it is written. The crust is very flavorful - we used vanilla from Mexico, and the house smelled so good while it baked.
The mascarpone filling was tasty, but I don't think we need to spend the $$ for mascarpone next time. Regular cream cheese will work fine, considering the price difference.
The strawberries were from Sam's club, a pretty decent price, but they weren't real sweet. Next time I would cut them a bit smaller.
The port glaze was syrupy and reminded me of grapes. Go figure, huh?

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze
Serves 8
Active time:30 min
Start to finish: 2 1/2 hr (includes cooling)

For tart shell:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Rounded 1/4 tsp salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold water
For filling:
1 1/2 lb strawberries (about 1 1/2 qt), trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup ruby Port
1 lb mascarpone (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment: a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom (we used a regular Springform pan); pie weights or dried beans
Make tart shell:
Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.
Beat together yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork, then drizzle over flour mixture and stir with fork (or pulse) until mixture comes together. Gently knead with floured hands on a lightly floured surface until a dough forms, then gently knead 4 or 5 times. Press into a 5-inch disk. Place in center of tart pan and cover with plastic wrap. Using your fingers and bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup, spread and push dough to evenly cover bottom and side of pan. Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is pale golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and continue to bake until shell is deep golden all over, about 20 minutes more. Cool in pan, about 45 minutes.

Make Filling While Tart Shell Cools:

Stir together strawberries and granulated sugar in a bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Strain in a sieve set over a small saucepan, reserving berries. Add Port to liquid in saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly. Meanwhile, whisk together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff. (We found a wooden spoon worked better than a whisk with the texture of the mascarpone.)

Assemble Tart: Spread mascarpone mixture evenly in cooled tart shell, then top with strawberries. Drizzle Port glaze all over tart.

Cooks' note: Tart shell can be baked 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature.