Guest Blogger Christine tackled this recipe from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. Thanks, Christine! I have never met Christine, but know her through her comments on Osler’s Razor. She guessed correctly – goat cheese and coconut are not favorites chez Curessa, thus my call-out for guest bloggers. She rose to the challenge and did so beautifully. So, here it is!
I have been reading the Contessa-Curessa’s recent posts and saw the call out for a guest “cook” blogger along with the list of untried recipes. There was a theme on that list: goat cheese and coconut. I suspect these are two ingredients not high on the list at the Curessa’s household. I do not own any Barefoot Contessa cookbooks but my take on Ina Garten is her recipes are loaded with comfort foods and we are all fans of comfort food. During the summer months one of my favorite comfort foods is a home grown, sun ripened tomato.
On the Curessa’s list of untried recipes is the Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart. I have many reasons for selecting this recipe. I have never worked with Puff Pastry dough and have a package in the freezer. The second reason is I bought a couple of beautiful green tomatoes at the farmer’s market a week ago. The intent was to dredge them in a flour and self-rising cornmeal mixture and fry them up – I do live in the south and there is nothing better than a fried green tomato (another comfort food). Well life got in the way and the tomatoes are now beautifully ripe and ready to be part of this tart. Third, I discovered goat cheese a few years ago when we moved to North Carolina. I buy it from the local co-op and it is made at a local farm in NC. The goat cheese I buy is creamy and mild, unlike Feta (another form of goat cheese). My final reason for selecting this recipe is I have ‘almost’ all the ingredients in the house.
This recipe asks for an herbed Montrachet (or Montre Chevre) type goat cheese. In all honesty, I had to look it up on Wikipedia ~ Montrachet is log shaped, creamy and a bit tangy. I opted for an Ile de France brand herbed goat cheese for the recipe. They sell a mini-log that is perfect size.
My best tip is to prepare all the items you need prior to starting: slice, chop, and julienne, whatever. This is me, but this makes my cooking experience so much easier. Line the baking sheets with parchment. The recipe did not call for this but it makes clean up a lot easier (nothing sticks to the pan). Finally, if you have a convection oven, adjust the cooking time. Most recipes are published for a conventional and not a convection oven.
For this “experience” I tried to stay true to the published recipe and not take too many liberties. I have not worked with puff pastry before so this was new. I used my Farberware bowls to cut the proper circles. The recipe said to cut two circles from each sheet, but I was able to cut 4 smaller circles from the left over dough (mini tarts). A pastry scrapper is helpful to lift the pastry off the cutting surface. I used sweet onions and more garlic than called for. The recipe calls for dry white wine and I used dry vermouth (it is wine and it is dry). To shave the parmesan for the topping I used a vegetable peeler.
Since I made mini-tarts I used two large tomatoes so I would have some smaller slices. There was enough onion mix to accommodate the tartlets. I keep cooked bacon crumbles on hand so I added some to the smaller tarts. I would suggest serving these with a nice side serving of steamed green beans or snap peas along with some sliced summer fruit.
How to Julienne Basil?
- Stack fresh basil leaves
- Roll the leaves tight (like a cigarette)
- Slice across the basil leave roll to create thin “julienned” strips
This allows you to slice a lot of basil at once in a uniform manner.