Tag Archives: mushrooms

Savory Tart Two Ways: Tomato & Goat Cheese and Asparagus & Mushroom

tomato tart
asparagus tart
tart plate

It’s been three years since my last first day of school, but every August I still sleep restlessly the night before it all starts again. I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m going to be tardy for class the next morning.

This year, that feeling was exacerbated by the promise of waking up to a new job, but going to bed remembering where I was just one year ago — in a city that moved even faster than I imagined and left me dazed and adrift.

I can officially say that this year served as my quarter-life crisis. Reading over the blog posts I wrote in high school, I can see how the seeds were sown years earlier. A girl so eager to bust out of where she was that she forgot to stop and take a look around at what she might already have. And I’d been on that trajectory ever since, hurling toward a life I thought I wanted, of working hard and playing hard and collecting stories and battle scars along the way.

As it turns out, I’ve managed to assemble quite a good collection since coming home. The pace is better for me here. And, lucky for you, I have plenty of time to invest in things that I love… like baking tarts.

Tart Dough:
Makes 2 12-inch tarts
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup ice-cold water

1) Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or with a stand mixer. Pour in the water slowly, until the dough begins to clump. (Mix for 30 seconds or less if using a mixer.)
2) Divide the dough in two and create two balls of dough. Wrap with plastic and compress into disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Filling:
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill one tart. Double the recipe if you want two!
4 ounces of goat cheese, room temperature
bunch of basil
salt & pepper
1 pint of cherry heirloom tomatoes
1 garlic clove, slivered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of water

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the tart dough sections from the fridge and roll into a circle with a rolling pin until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
2) Combine the goat cheese, a few of the basil leaves, salt and pepper, then spread over the chilled tart, leaving a border of 1 and 1/2 inches. Place the tomatoes evenly across the goat cheese. Sprinkle with garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
3) Fold the border over the cheese and tomatoes to make a crust. Mix the egg and water together and brush gently over the crust. Place the tart on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Asparagus & Mushroom Tart:
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill one tart. Double the recipe if you want two!
1 tablespoon butter
1 pint mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 bunch (about 15 pieces) of asparagus
1 garlic clove, slivered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of water

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the tart dough sections from the fridge and roll into a circle with a rolling pin until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
2) Heat a pan over medium heat with the butter. Once melted, add mushrooms and cook until softened and browning, about 10 minutes. Add rosemary, salt and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
3) Remove tart dough from the fridge and spread with mascarpone cheese. Top with mushroom mixture, then arrange the asparagus on top. Sprinkle with garlic, then drizzle with olive oil.
4) Fold the border over the cheese and asparagus to make a crust. Mix the egg and water together and brush gently over the crust. Place the tart on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

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Butternut Squash & Mushroom Turnovers

Every once in a while, I experience a pang of homesickness for London. After all, nine months have passed since I cried my way from Notting Hill to somewhere over the mid-Atlantic and grinned my way from that point homeward. I’m totally allowed to wax nostalgic if I so choose.

In the midst of that dreary, gray weather, the sardine-packed Tube, and the labyrinth of stairs and hallways that defined my university, I found myself. My friend Maria said it more succinctly than I ever could:

When I first met you, I had the sensation that you were kind of a baby … in the sense that there was so much potential waiting to come to life. I only “knew” you for four months but during that time, I felt that you grew up a lot and, like with me, London is still crawling its ways into your soul and heart and brain and self and it’s still helping you grow up to this day. And I mean growing up as a full individual, not growing up to become the ‘grown-up’ with a job and a house and a husband. You can grow up to that, but grow up to yourself first.

Isn’t that a lovely sentiment? In many ways, London brought me to this blog, to this moment, because while I was there I used food to bring me home. Now that’s some kind of wonderful symbiosis.

And now I’m bringing myself back to London through the delightful medium of pastry dough.

In case you were not previously aware, the English are a savo(u)ry-pie-and-pastries people. Shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, pot pie, pie-pie. Frankly, I’m shocked/disappointed that we didn’t all run around in pastry crust like pigs-in-a-blanket, simultaneously shielding ourselves from cold and combating hunger.

English food is misunderstood, really, but wrapped in the comforting arms of flaky pastry, it comes out juuuuuust fine. (That’s more than I can say for the reputation of American food in other countries. Our few redeeming qualities include cupcakes, depending on whom you ask.)

This turnover recipe reminds me of London in all the best ways. Warm and buttery, with a surprise inside. Perfect for cold days in particular.

Butternut Squash & Mushroom Turnovers:
One 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 leeks, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 tablespoon dried thyme
14 ounces puff pastry, thawed
1 1/2 cups goat cheese or gruyere or a combination
1 egg, beaten

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 25 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.
2) Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil, add the leeks, and cook over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
3) Season with the butternut squash with salt and pepper and toss with the butternut squash in a medium-sized bowl.
4) Using the same baking sheet, line with parchment paper. Roll out puff pastry dough on a floured surface until it’s about a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Cut pieces of pastry into squares, place a tablespoon or two of squash and mushroom mixture into the center of each, and top with cheese.
5) Brush beaten egg around the edges of the squares. Fold the pastry dough over to form triangles and crimp with your fingers or a fork.
6) Place completed turnovers on the baking sheet and brush with more egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until pastry dough is golden brown.

By the way, you have exactly 59 more minutes to enter for your chance to win free baked goods. Uhh… why wouldn’t you? Bathing suit season is still months away.

Gnocchi with Mushrooms

I can’t decide whether those pictures are appetizing or disturbing, but having already consumed this meal, I can honestly say that cooking this meal will have you salivating before you can say “gnocchi”–backward.

I bought truffle oil the other week in a moment of utter pretension combined with too much money in my bank account. You know, typical white middle-class problems. So, I jumped at the opportunity to drizzle truffle oil on something other than bread.

Side note: truffle oil is made from mushrooms, called truffles, and combined with olive oil; it is not made by slow pressing chocolate truffles until their luscious cocoa flavor gives way. Although that would also be delicious. (I just thought I’d clarify.)

I think the most obvious conclusion here is that the word truffle can only have a positive connotation. I’m thinking about naming my first born Truffle, actually. And she’ll be a really fantastic dancer known for her trademarked Truffle Shuffle. Just thinking out loud, here.

Anyway, this recipe is based on the one found here at Food & Wine online. I wasn’t about to buy vermouth after already investing in truffle oil, so I substituted three-buck Chuck. And I already had an onion, so I replaced the shallots, too. I’m still a student, after all. A student with truffle oil and thousands of dollars in student loans.

Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms:
2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
2 TB butter
5 C. mushrooms
1 red onion
1/4 C. white wine
3/4 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. heavy cream
1 tsp thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound gnocchi
6 TB freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)

1) Heat the olive oil with the butter in a pan. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned.
2) Add the white wine and cook until evaporated. Add the stock, cream and thyme, season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Drain well.
4) Add the gnocchi to the mushrooms and simmer, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in some of the Parmesan. Place gnocchi mixture in a pan and top with remaining Parmesan.
5) Broil the gnocchi 6 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve.

Homemade Pizza

My latest kitchen pride ‘n’ joy: my marble rolling pin. Isn’t it lovely?


My roommate and I find inspiration in the strangest of places. For example, we were sitting in class together yesterday watching Domino’s ads about the company’s new and improved recipe. Normally, this point in the class and in this blog post would be where I go on a long diatribe about cheap food and its ultimate cost to society, yada yada yada. Would probably complain a bit about food advertising and how I’m willing to bet that the new recipe only tastes a little less like what I imagine cardboard to taste like.

Instead, I came home and made pizza. From scratch. The way Domino’s wishes it could if its employees had the time to delight in the pleasures of watching dough slowly rise in its warm glass bowl and the smell of rubbing garlic and olive oil onto a freshly-rolled crust. (Please don’t look at the aforementioned crust too closely in the pictures–it’s embarrassingly misshapen.)

All I’m saying is, homemade pizza is so worth the extra effort. The dough is super-simple to make, and after the dough rises, pizza construction takes less than 30 minutes. That’s how long it takes Domino’s to deliver, apparently.

For the record, this recipe is adapted from my friend’s mom. She’s Italian. You can trust her.

Homemade Pizza:
1 cup hot water
1 packet yeast (2 and 1/4 tsp)
2 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
2 and 1/2 cups flour
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
4 TB tomato sauce
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
3 TB Italian seasoning

1) Use hot water to warm bowl, pour it out, and then put one cup hot water in bowl. Dissolve yeast in water.
2) Add sugar, salt and two cups flour. Knead dough, adding last 1/2 cup flour a little at a time.
3) Grease bottom of bowl and top of dough with olive oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in draft-free place for approximately one hour. Grease bottom of large pizza pan or cookie sheet with olive oil.
4) When dough is doubled in size, punch down and roll out with rolling pin. Shape onto pizza pan, using palm of hand to roll out to edge.
5) Rub the minced garlic with olive oil on the dough, then spread on tomato sauce and spices.
6) Add meat and vegetable toppings to suit your taste; I just put on mushrooms and broccoli, then added some feta and parmesan ’cause I could. Then I topped with tons and tons of mozzarella cheese.
7) Cook at 400-425 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, checking to ensure bottom of pizza is golden brown. Recipe will make one large and one medium thin crust pizza.