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Winter Root Vegetable Tart

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I’ve been wanting to make something simple and seasonal, and this recipe fits the bill. There’s no real Wow! factor, but it was just very simply delicious.

I used my quiche dough and made it two days a head of time, so that when I went to roll out the dough it was very chilled, and it worked a lot better this time! As a result, I think the crust was super flaky and extra tasty. I rolled out the dough, prebaked it at 375 with a weight for 20 minutes, removed the weight and baked another 15 minutes. While the crust was prebaking, I got started on prepping my root veggies.

After collecting a variety of root vegetables at the farmer’s market and the grocery store, I got out my new favorite kitchen toy: the mandolin, and sliced them up thinly, about 2mm thickness. You could do it by hand as well, but my slices are never than thin, or that even, and I wanted the veggies to cook evenly.

I used a russet potato, a large parsnip, a rutabaga, a sweet potato, and 2 golden beets. I ended up using 3/4 of the veggies I cut, but if you make this, I would pile the veggies higher and use all of them, because Brent really wishes the veggie layer was thicker. After slicing all the veg, I arranged them in layers in the crust. You could do 1 layer for each veg, or do like I did and alternate the veggies, so each layers gets all the vegetables. After each thin layer, I drizzled it with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I should include more prep photos, but I always forget! I think I had 5 or 6 thin layers total. After the last layer, I again drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and then added a bit of rosemary.

The tart went back into the oven for 35 minutes at 375. After 35 minutes, I opened the oven door and sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese over the tart and baked for an additional 10 minutes. The goat cheese isn’t necessary, but I decided to add it at the last minute because I thought it would go with the beets and other veggies. Goat cheese is always delicious. 🙂

Don’t worry about brown edges. The top layer wrinkled up and browned a bit, making it even more delicious! This was flaky and comforting and totally tasty. I would definitely make it again! I think using all different varieties of beets and adding more goat cheese would be pretty stellar as well.

This makes great leftovers too! I reheat it in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes and it comes out tasting exactly like it did the first time.

Winter Root Vegetable Tart

  • One recipe pastry dough for an 11″ tart
  • 1 Russet potato
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Rutabaga
  • 1 (big) Parsnip
  • 2 (medium) Golden Beets
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Rosemary (I used dried, but fresh would be good)
  • 2oz Goat Cheese (optional)
  1. After chilling dough for at least one hour, roll out into a 13 inch circle.
  2. Carefully place dough into a tart pan and press gently into shape.
  3. Jab the dough with a fork a few times.
  4. Place pie weights, dried beans or another weight mechanism onto the dough and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove weight and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile…
  7. Set a mandolin slicer to 2mm and slice all of the vegetables.
  8. When the pastry has prebaked, begin arranging the vegetable slices in slightly overlapping layers in the crust.
  9. After each layer, drizzle with approximately 1t. olive oil and sprinkle with a dash each of salt and pepper.
  10. Repeat layering process until the tart is all full – these vegetables will cook down a little bit, so you can go over a bit if you want.
  11. Drizzle with 1t. olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  12. Bake tart for 35 minutes at 375.
  13. After 35 minutes, sprinkle with goat cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  14. Slice and enjoy!

This was a fun way to incorporate a ton of winter vegetables without simply roasting them. Roasted root vegetables are delicious, but it’s nice to have them prepared in another way! 🙂

Smoked Salmon Crostini

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Hopefully everyone rang in the new year in a safe and awesome way. Brent and I made some snacks, hung out at home, and went to our roof to watch fireworks from the space needle at midnight.

It was pretty sweet that we had this awesome view and didn’t even have to leave our building! Before all that though, we ate. I wanted to stay in and make something, but I wasn’t feeling up for full-fledged “cooking” because my kitchen isn’t quite set up yet. We headed to the market earlier in the day and picked up some crusty bread and locally smoked salmon — which I am currently obsessed with!

I sliced the bread thinly , drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then grilled in a grill pan until lightly golden and toasty, flipped and did the same for the other side. Next I spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each slice, topped it with a generous dose of the smoked salmon, and sprinkled with diced red onions and capers.

These were pretty fantastic. Like, seriously so good that I made them again tonight. This is the perfect bite of food. I love the tangy-ness of the goat cheese combined with the smoky salmon and the salty bite from the capers. I cannot recommend this combo enough. Plus, it felt so good to make something at home after so much eating out in the past few weeks. I’m really enjoying getting settled in and looking forward to getting into a routine.

To end the post, I’d like to leave you with another gorgeous shot from our balcony – taken tonight around sunset.

Cobb Salad

Understandably, I’ve been so excited and busy with planning everything that is happening – the move, graduating, job hunting, and everything else – that I haven’t spent so much time in my kitchen. Plus Brent’s been in and out of town for various interviews, so cooking seemed much less worth it.

But eating junk for the next month isn’t going to make anything any easier, so I figured I may as well get my butt back in the kitchen and make some simple meals for us. Last night I made a meal Brent really enjoys – Cobb Salad. He’s ordered a few times when we go out to eat and I know he loves it.

I’m not super familiar with what goes into a classic Cobb salad, but mine included (for 2-3 servings):

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped small
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 of an avocado, diced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4-5oz grilled chicken breast, diced
  • 2 pieces center-cut bacon, crumbled
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled (I don’t love this stuff. Brent put more on his portion)

Brent told me he’d prefer it served with a homemade ranch dressing, but I didn’t have ingredients for that and I didn’t feel like leaving the house, so vinaigrette it was. I made a balsamic vinaigrette by combining:

  • 2T water
  • 2T balsamic vinegar
  • 1t red wine vinegar
  • 1/2t Dijon mustard
  • 1/2t agave (or use sugar)
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • 1/4t kosher salt
  • a couple grinds of black pepper

The salad was definitely a hit with Brent, and he requested I make it more often. I enjoyed it too. I LOVE when salad greens are chopped real small and I don’t have to wrestle huge leaves onto my fork. I guess I’m a weirdo like that.

Plans for tonight: drink some celebratory champagne and narrow down moving details. I’m just so excited about this move!

Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter

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This meal was supposed to be one that Brent and I cooked together as one of our Friday night feasts, but unfortunately that did not happen. Brent has been working so much lately (like 18 days in a row!) that he really hasn’t had time. It was finally Sunday before we got around to making it, and even then he worked all day so I ended up cooking it by myself. It wasn’t too difficult, and it would have been infinitely easier if I had a food processor that held over 2 cups.

The filling is easy enough to make. Roast squash. Mix it with ricotta, some amaretti cookies, garlic and shallots. Filling the wontons wasn’t so bad either. I’ve never worked with them before but it was a piece of cake. I actually think my only complain about the recipe was that it got so hot in my tiny kitchen with the oven going that I was ready for something cold for dinner by the time I was done!

I really have no room to complain at all though. We both had no trouble finishing this meal. It was like every glorious fall flavor on one plate. It reminded me a lot of Thanksgiving, probably because of the sage and cranberries. I actually halved the recipe and still got nearly 4 dozen tortellini out of it, so we have another meal ready to go in the freezer too! I can’t recommend this meal enough. I picked it out, assuming I would love it and Brent would think it was “fine” or maybe “good,” but he actually really loved it too! Double bonus! 🙂

In other news, I only have 8 more weeks of school left and I’m freaking out/so excited/absolutely terrified and every other possible feeling. Ahhh!

Eatin’ Solo

Brent was gone all weekend doing dude things like drinking a lot of beer and going on a multi-city, 4 baseball games in 4 days roadtrip with his college friends. What this means for me, is that my effort in the kitchen has been pretty minimal. I enjoy cooking, but it’s hard to make it seem worth the effort when it’s only for one person.

That doesn’t mean I eat TV dinners and drive-thru fare when I’m hanging out by myself, but I definitely don’t like to dirty a ton of pots & pans. Friday night all I really wanted was wine and cheese. I thought about making something “more complete” but I just didn’t feel like it. I just made what I was craving: a whole wheat baguette made from the whole grain master recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I cut the baguette into slices and toasted them in the oven for about 5 minutes and topped with some Brie and sliced Honeycrisp apples.

Along with a glass or two of Chardonnay, this was such a satisfying dinner.

Saturday night, I wanted to clean out the fridge, so I threw the remains of some zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell peppers onto a baking sheet with some olive oil and salt and roasted for about 10-15 minutes. I rolled out some whole wheat dough from the recipe above and covered it with the roasted veggies and a few leftover artichoke hearts. I covered all of that with some mozzarella and goat cheese and baked at 450 for 12 minutes.

Perfect pizza for one. Making individual pizzas is definitely one of the reasons I like making my own. This was so good! (and there was more wine). I wouldn’t have probably made it for Brent because he doesn’t appreciate a lot of stuff on his pizza usually. He’s more of a cheese and anchovy person.

Tonight I got a dinner and Dexter date with my friend. So psyched! 🙂

Antipasto-Style Penne

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Thanks for the sympathy and well-wishes guys! Today was a whole lot more productive and my mood has greatly improved. Brent got up early to run with me this morning, which always makes me happy. Unfortunately the 6 hours after that were spent taking the car to the dealership (for routine 60K mile maintenance), finding out we needed completely new rear brakes (thus doubling the cost of the visit), and waiting for the car to be done. Kind of a waste of a day, and of course giving someone that much money is never fun, but I’d rather do it now than pay thousands later. I spent my time waiting productively though – the kitchen is spotless and our big sectional couch has been vacuumed to get rid of Lucy’s hair – it’s a never-ending battle!

This is Lucy being embarrassed by her hairy mess:

She’s totally adorable, right?

My friend Ashley invited me to a Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana Hotspot Networking event at Club Soda downtown tonight. Networking seems like a good idea and I’m always up for getting out of the house (especially if it’s free!), so I happily attended (and dragged a less-enthused Brent with me). I had a really good time and met some interesting people, and I think I’d be more interested in doing more with the group in the future.

When Brent and I got home, it was 7:30 and I was ready for a real dinner. Tonight’s meal was another Cooking Light meal – sorry! I wasn’t feeling creative and I was menu planning in the car! This was one of my favorite make-at-home meals I’ve eaten in recent memory. I was having a total “When Harry Met Sally – I’ll have what she’s having” moment with this dish.

Antipasto-Style Penne: artichokes, pesto, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes? Hell, yes please! It was just so good. I made the vegetarian option, using some cubed provolone instead of prosciutto. By the way, I did not see cubed provolone at the store and I could only find slices, so I just went to the deli counter and asked them to cut me a half-inch thick slice of provolone and cubed it myself. I got exactly what I needed and only spent $0.72. Perfect.

So now that you know how wonderful this dish is, are you going to make it as soon as possible? You really should. I plan on fighting Brent for the leftovers tomorrow.

Plans for tomorrow: spending the day at the pool with Brent and some chick lit. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend one of my last few days of break.

Question: What outside of work activities are you involved with, if any? I would definitely love to get more involved in the community and meet more people once school ends.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

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I like sun-dried tomatoes, but I don’t think Brent does. I do not, however, *love* raw, ripe tomatoes. I just don’t get that obsession. I bought a quart of sun-dried tomatoes at The Fresh Market on a whim last week and wanted to use some of them in a pasta dish, so tonight I threw them in a food processor with extra-virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic, a handful of basil and a handful of Parmesan cheese. I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and blended(and added a bit more oil) until I got what look sauce-ish to me. It smelled pretty amazing too. Basil will do that.

I cooked some whole wheat rotini and sautéed some crimini mushrooms. I deglazed the mushroom pan with a splash of white wine, reduced it, and added a glob (definitely the best word for the amount I used) of the sun-dried tomato pesto. I mixed everything around until it was a well-mingled party and then tossed with the pasta. Then I grated more cheese on top. Because I love cheese.

I really love this. That was to be expected. My love of wine, pasta, and cheese is well-documented. My love of mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes may be less prolific, but it’s a love nonetheless so I was happy to have all my favorites in one bowl. I also drank some of the above mentioned white wine. It was a lovely meal to have on my last night as a 24-year-old.

Speaking of that, since my birthday is tomorrow, I wanted to highlight some of the things I crossed off my list as a 24-year-old:

And probably a lot more, but those are sticking out in my head right now. To get my 25th year started out on the right foot, I’ll post some things I plan on doing in the next year tomorrow morning.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil

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I’m done with school…. for the summer anyway. One more semester and in a few months I’ll be ready to take my boards! Thursday was my last day at the hospital for the summer, and I took my lecture final this morning. This morning, while I was looking through my notes one final time, Brent looked at me and said “Geez honey, I’m glad today’s your last day because I don’t think you could make it much longer.” Truer words have never been spoken. After my exam, I went out for margaritas with a few of my friends from class, and then got home and passed out in bed for a much-needed nap. It was glorious.

The point of this post was not to detail my exhaustion. We all have things that keep us busy. I did, however, want to tell you about this super simple salad I made Wednesday night. Good thing it was practically no-cook because our power went out for 5 hours that night! I had already cooked a cup of couscous, and then added 2 diced tomatoes, 1/3 a cup of diced fresh mozzarella, and 1/2 a cup of chopped basil. I coated with a tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Ignore the weird faux marble shelf. I had to take the photo right next to the window to have any light at all. I really loved this. Brent thought it was OK (quite picky, isn’t he?). Apparently he does not enjoy the texture of fresh mozzarella. He thinks it’s too much like uncooked tofu.

Tonight’s dinner was just some two buck chuck from Trader Joe’s, goat cheese, a french baguette and a hand full of olives. Really, my ideal dinner. We have plans to go out to dinner for a friend’s birthday tomorrow night, then Brent’s birthday is Monday, and my birthday is Thursday. So excited! 🙂

Gotta go watch Invictus with Brent. Enjoy your weekend!

Roasted Beet Salad

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Tonight’s dinner was all about the side dish. I roasted a bunch of beets earlier in the day to use throughout the week. I just wrap them in foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour. Super easy to peel and slice. I threw together a salad of some beets, arugula, and goat cheese and topped it with a homemade apple cider vinaigrette: squirt of dijon mustard and honey, 1 part vinegar, 2 parts olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. So good!

I also grilled some wild Keta salmon, but I was mostly obsessed with the salad. 🙂 I packed another salad to take to lunch with me at clinical tomorrow. I love something to look forward to in the middle of a hectic day!

Spinach Makes My Teeth Dry

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Spring break is in full force. It was 65 out today and it’s been nice all week, so we’ve been taking hour long walks with the dogs every day. I’m also keeping my mind sharp for next week’s return to school by watching marathons of 16 and Pregnant on Super classy. I also made some of this bread, which I first made a few years ago and highly recommend. It makes excellent sandwich bread. No photo though.

Tonight’s dinner was some baked macaroni & cheese that I made over winter break and froze. This recipe freezes well, and we’ve had it a few times these past few months. I steamed some fresh spinach (more greens!) and put a scoop of mac & cheese on it. A complete dinner.

While we eating this, I kept running my tongue over my teeth because they felt so weird, and Brent commented, “Doesn’t spinach make your teeth feel weird?” and I said, “Yeah, like dry, right?” Anyone else get this feeling? It’s totally strange.

Tomorrow morning is my doctor’s appointment, so I’ll be fasting tonight for 12 hours. 😦