Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

Tarting it Up – Sunchoke and Tatsoi Tart

In my mind there are few things more perfect than a french tart filled with peak season vegetables. And there are few things that give me more joy to pull out of the oven. That is what I am here to talk to you all about today. A tartilicious creation of perfect proportions, and one that I think you should try out in your own kitchen. Before we get too far in this dialogue, I will admit that, yes, a proper french tart can be a bit of a time suck to produce. However, like bread, most of this time is down time when little active work needed. In fact, in some ways, it is even simpler to produce than bread as the crust can chill in the refrigerator for an extended period of time, and the success of the tart does not require that you are in a specific place at a specific time to conduct the next step of the process. Additionally the tart crust recipe listed below produces not one but two tart crusts, so you can use one for this tart and reserve a second for a later use.

While we are on the subject of peak season produce, I want to talk to you about the two, slightly unusual, vegetables used in this dish. Lets start at the source. As I may have mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of the large Downtown Farmers market, most of the vendors there seem – well, not so farm like. It has always stuck me as more of a big farm farmers market, where the largest of the area’s farms come to sell truck loads of mass produced fruits and veggies. But, after a recent Saturday morning trip to the downtown venue I realized that there are some real gems at the market that I had not noticed before.

The tatsoi is from one of my favorite farms in the Nashville area, Devlin Farms, which also makes an appearance at the weekly east side farmers market on our block. Dustin and I have a particular penchant for greens and I was excited to see this varietal I had never from one of my favorite growers. I didn’t hesitate to buy a bunch and took the green goodies home in hopes of transforming them into some delicious recipe. As it turns out, tatsoi tastes quite similar to one of my favorite leafy green vegetables, mustard greens. Like mustard greens the tatsoi is relatively quick cooking, especially when compared with tougher greens like collards.

But the true star of the show in this dish, and the highlight of my Saturday morning trip to the market were the Sunchokes. As of late, I have been visiting a new stand that makes an appearance at the market on saturday mornings. This small farm reminds me so much of the CSA I joined back in Philly, their produce is so clearly small farm produced, each week new veggies make an appearance picked just at the peak of ripeness. This week, sitting in a basket at the front of the stall was a grouping of odd shaped, craggy tubers. I asked the stall owner what they were and he explained to me that they were jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, a North American root vegetable that is a member of the daisy family. I had had sunchokes in purees at upscale restaurants before and remembered that they were potato like with a slightly sweet and distinctly nutty flavor. I bought just under a pound and took them home to plot out a plan of attack.

Scouring through stacks of cookbooks for recipes incorporating sunchokes, I came across a recipe in the “Ottolenghi” cookbook for a sunchoke tart with kale and feta and it stuck me that I could use both of my farmers market finds to make one of my all time favorite treats, the savory tart. And, TADA, we come full circle, to this recipe below for a french style, quiche-like tart which marries seasonal nutty sunchokes and herbaceous tatsoi into a single cohesive dish with relative easy. I highly suggest you try it out at home, it is simply outstanding when paired with a simple salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. I warn that you though, that you may get hooked, as I have, on making tarts – but luckily, your family and friends will love you for it.

Sunchoke, Tatsoi, and Feta Tart

Start with the flaky pastry dough – this will require making the dough, chilling it, rolling it out and forming the crust, and chilling again before baking. Start this one day ahead of when you want to serve the tart.

Flaky Pastry Dough

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 TSP Salt
1 TSP Baking Powder
12 TBSP Unsalted Butter, Cut into 12 Pieces
2 Lg Eggs

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse in 1-second intervals until the butter appears in small pieces that are no more than 1/4 inch across.

Add eggs and pulse until the dough almost forms a ball (don’t over do it – over mixing will make the dough tough and less flaky)

Invert the dough onto a floured work surface and gently press into a cohesive mass.

Divide the dough in half and gently flatten each half into a disc (again, remembering not to over work the dough here.)

Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 3 hours.) Dough keeps in the refrigerator for around 3 days and can be frozen to use at a later date for about 3 months.

Once dough has chilled remove it from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a large circle, being careful to flip the dough and re-flour after every few strokes. The circle should be about 13 inches in diameter.

Gently fold the dough in half and slide your hands under it. Lift and place atop the pan. Unfold the dough onto the pan. Evenly fir the dough into the pan making sure it is flat against the bottom. Fold the extra dough in against the sides, if there is a lot of extra in a single area trim it so that there is only about 1/2 inch hanging off the edge before turning it in to reinforce the sides.

Wrap and chill for at least 6 hours – if you have the type of tart pan that has a removable bottom – be careful how you carry it as the bottom will pop out and create a mess. If you have room for it in the fridge, you can place the pan on a baking sheet which will make moving it a lot easier.

While the dough is chilling start on the filling. (I’m quite the poet aren’t I)


3/4 Lb Sunchokes, Scrubbbed (not peeled) and Sliced into 1/2 cm Slices
1/2 a Large Bunch of Tatsoi, Chopped Crosswise into 1.5 Inch Strips and Then Halved Down the Center
1 Small to Medium Yellow Onion Sliced
2 Cloves Garlic Smashed and Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TSP Kosher Salt, Divided
1/2 TSP Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, Divided
1 Cup Half and Half
2 TBSP Creme Fraiche
2 Eggs Beaten
1/2 Cup of Feta, Broken into Small Pieces
2 TBSP Flat Leaf Parsley, Thick Stems Trimmed off, Chopped

When the tart shell has about 30 mins left to chill preheat the oven to 375 degrease.

Place sunchokes in a large sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil until softened but still toothsome, don’t overcook – they will become rather mushy in the center.

Drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Set a large frying pan over medium het. Once the pan is hot add olive oil and heat. Add onions and sautee until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add tatsoi and toss to combine. Cook until just wilted, remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

Mix together half and half, creme fraiche, and eggs, add a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

Remove tart shell from the fridge and place on the counter, unwrap. Layer (drained) sunchokes, feta, parsley, and tatsoi on the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the filling over the top being careful not to entirely submerge the filling, you  want to be able to see specks of greens and bits sunchokes peeking over the surface of the egg mixture.

Place the tart, on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. Remove from the oven and carefully tent with tin foil, making sure to cover the edges of the crust with the foil to protect them from burning. Place back in the oven for an additional 30 mins.

Once the tart filling has set, and the tart is no longer wet in the center, it is done. Place on a cooking rack to cool and serve warm.

It is just so good that I recommend you try to remember what your kindergarten teacher taught you, and share with others.

Fuzzy Fish and A Coddled Egg – A Caesar Salad A la Grill

This post wraps up my three post series on a recent dinner party. As many of you will have already surmised from the post title this meal did not culminate in some amazing confectionary creation – rather, in the spirt of early summer cooking, and in an effort to keep the house cool and the oven off, this meal ended in a trip to the freezer for some cool and refreshing store bought popsicles. This beautiful thing about this dish is that it takes advantage of the sweetness of peak season lettuces and the heat from an already lit grill to create a sumptuous twist on a classic caesar salad that is simultaneously fit for a fancy feast and simple to prepare.

If you are looking to follow my “path to party time success,” you can make this dressing several hours ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until approximately 30 mins before dinner time when the dressing should be removed to allow it time to warm a bit before serving. I use anchovy fillets for this recipe but feel free to replace the fuzzy fish with a TSP or so of anchovy paste. The recipe calls for parmesan in two formats – you will need two to three TBSP of freshly grated cheese in the dressing itself as well as a healthy dose of broadly cut shavings to sprinkle on top of the salad just before serving.

I generally make the shavings ahead of time as well, I recommend using a flat vegetable peeler (the type you would use to peel potatoes – this is sometimes called a speed peeler) to shave wide strips of nutty parmesan from the block. You can place these in a small bowl In the fridge until you need them (keep these guys cool as the thin strips will melt slightly and stick together in a big blob if left in the heat.) You will see that the recipe calls for a coddled egg yolk, this may sound fancy but it is a very simple procedure. Simply bring a small pot of water to a boil, plop your egg in, turn the heat down to a slow boil and cook for 60 to 90 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon. Once the egg has cooled slightly carefully separate the yolk from the white (you can discard the white) and place the yolk in a bowl until needed.

The lettuces themselves should be grilled over fairly high heat. I generally select romaine hearts for this salad and cut them into quarters, leaving the bottoms in tact, so that they hold together well throughout the grilling process. As you brush the lettuces with olive oil and salt and pepper before grilling be careful not to go overboard with salt when making the dressing. While we’re taking about the dressing I think it’s important to note that this one has a tendency to come out on the thick side and packs a punch of strongly flavored ingredients – I like to serve the salad at least semi-dressed but it’s a good idea to go easy when drizzling the dressing over the lettuces. I generally serve the leftover dressing on the side along with some extra shavings of parmesan.


Grilled Caesar Salad

1 Large Egg Coddled – Yolk Separated (Discard White)
1 TSP Worcestershire
3 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Clove of Garlic
3 High Quality Anchovies
1 TSP Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Parmesan, Grated
2 Medium Heads of Romaine Cut In Quarters Lengthwise, Base Intact
About 20 Large Shavings of Parmesan for Topping
Salt and Pepper

Start by coddling your egg in boiling water for 60-90 seconds. Separate out the yolk from the white, discarding the white, and set the yolk aside.

Combine garlic, Worcestershire, lemon juice, anchovy and dijon in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Toss in parmesan and puree briefly. Add oil in a slow stream until emulsified. Add egg to mixture and pulse to combine, puree until smooth and add a good whack of freshly cracked pepper. Taste dressing for balance and adjust as needed.

Lightly brush cut sides of romaine with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat until lightly singed (about 45-60 seconds per side.)

Arrange romaine on a serving platter, drizzle with a bit of caesar salad dressing and sprinkle parmesan shavings on top. Serve with extra dressing and shavings on the side.

Pickles, A Love Story – Grilled Cheese with Ham and Pickles

We have almost exactly one month left until D-Day (departure day.) So with the impending move looming before us we decided to trek up North to spend time with family and visit one of our favorite North East climbing spots in Rumney, NH. We had two of the most beautiful climbing days I have had outside in a long time. The hikes and views were beautiful and the climbs were simply exhilarating. Returning to Dustin’s parents house, I was looking forward to cooking up some old fashioned comfort food.

Dustin’s family always seems to have deli meat, something we rarely buy at home, sliced and ready to go in the fridge. I was inspired to whip up something new for lunch. I realize that, for me, this is a fairly simple recipe and a bit of a departure from my normal, more intricate posts but it was so incredibly deletable I just had to share!

I will admit I am somewhat slightly obsessed with pickles. For this recipe I like a fresh, Jewish deli style garlic pickle. The ones I used were extremely fresh, less vinegary and tasted more cucumber-y than your average kosher dill variety. Use these if at all possible as they impart a certain freshness to the dish that a more garlicky and acidic variety would not.

This buttery bread bomb lands squarely between a Classic grilled ham and cheese and its up market cousin, a Cuban style panini. The smoked deli ham imparts a nice hickory flavor which is mellowed out by the buttery bread and creamy cheese. Thinly sliced pickles add a subtle twang while whole grain mustard provides a punchy finish. As I like my grilled cheeses piping hot, after searing the bread in a pan, I popped the sandwich into a preheated oven to finish it off and bring the ham and pickles up to temp.

Serve this along side a summery slaw and good quality kettle chips for an unbeatable deli-style summer lunch.


Grilled Cheese with Ham and Pickles

2 Slices of Good Sourdough Bread
1 TSP Good Grainy Mustard
2 Slices of Provolone Cheese Preferably Sharp (Sliced at Medium Thickness)
2 Slices Smoked Deli Ham (Sliced at Medium Thickness)
1 Fresh Kirby Sized Garlic Pickle Sliced into Thin Rounds
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 TSP Unsalted Butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Start by assembling your sandwich. Lay your two slices of bread on a plate. On one half spread your TSP of Grainy Mustard then top that with a slice of the provolone, on the other half lay down the second slice of cheese, ham slices and pickles. Grind on a turn or two of freshly ground pepper before carefully flipping mustarded-ed half on top of the pickles to close the sandwich.

Heat a small oven proof skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot drop in on TSP of the butter. Once the butter has melted place the grilled cheese in the pan to sear the outside. Cook the grilled cheese until the underbelly is golden. Carefully lift the sandwich with a spatula and suspend over the pan while you drop in the second TSP of butter. Sear this second side until this too is golden. Place the entire pan in the oven and cook for 3 mins. Flip GC and cook 3 mins longer. Check to make sure the center is warm. Remove your steamy and now gooey GC from the oven slice in half, arrange on a plate and serve with sumptuous sides of your choice.

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