Archive for the 'appetizers' Category

Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

marinated goat cheese 2 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Blooms on apple trees are like ripening avocados – notreadyyetnotreadyyetnotreadyyet – BLOOM! One day they explode from their buds, and then the next day the wind picks up or the rain washes all those little white petals away. All over the deck you just finished staining – with sticky, oily $50-a-pail stuff that says right on the label “do not paint if weather is threatening”.

patio Collage Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

But we did anyway, and then we invited some friends over for Prosecco and bourbon lemonade and summery nibbles on said patio, namely this goat cheese with warm garlicky-pepper-herb olive oil that takes approximately one minute to make. And isn’t it pretty? My friend Gwendolyn makes this with her family every Christmas Eve – to her it tastes like Christmas, but to me it tastes like awesome – and perfect for summer when pots of fresh rosemary and thyme are sitting on my windowsill. I like to put a few sprigs in a little jar with some peppercorns and a couple of garlic cloves and let it wait.. then when you’re opening the wine, pop it in the microwave to warm for 30 seconds and pour it over a log of goat cheese. That’s it. And though it’s simple, it tastes so much better than the sum of its parts.

marinated goat cheese 3 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Those dates? Whole Medjools sauteed in olive oil with sea salt – an idea that came in the first chapter of Molly‘s new book, Delancey. I added a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and they’re divine – warm and soft and somewhat crunchy on the outside from the oil and the heat of the pan. Sweet and savoury and perfect with cheese.

marinated goat cheese 1 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Once made, this becomes one of those back pocket recipes you make all the time – at least I have – the sort that you don’t need to refer back to the original to make. The very best kind.

Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Adapted from Gourmet, via Gwendolyn Richards

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
leaves of 2-3 sprigs of thyme
8-10 whole black or pink peppercorns
¼ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed (optional)
1 250g log soft goat cheese

crusty bread or baguette slices

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper and coriander; place the goat cheese in a shallow dish and pour the warm oil overtop. (Alternatively, combine the oil and herbs in a jar; keep in the fridge until you’re ready for it, then remove the lid, microwave the jar for 30 seconds, until the oil is hot, then pour over the goat cheese.)

Serve immediately with crusty bread or crackers. Serves 8.

button print gry20 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

May 26 2014 | appetizers and cheese | 9 Comments »

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

ham mushroom tart 11 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

My youngest sister is a really fantastic cook. She’s a total cake boss and makes other delicious things, like baked yams with piles of butter and brown sugar, roast hams with wedges of Bosc pear, and this mushroom tart, which made an appearance at the last few family dinners and was so good I would have gladly forsaken the turkey (and the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes) for it. It’s a rich, dense, cheesy-creamy-buttery tart – the sort every 80’s quiche aspires to be.

mushroom tart Collage Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere
mushroom tart Collage 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

If I called this a ham quiche, it wouldn’t do it justice. It deserves more words. It’s no quiche Lorraine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

My sisters’ are long and elegant, baked in rectangular tart tins with removable bottoms and cut crosswise into slices. Mine is round because much rummaging around in the basement resulted in the discovery of many spiders and one Santa suit but zero tart pans of the rectangular variety. I used mine as a vehicle for leftover ham bits – and I figured if two thirds of a cup of grated Gruyère is good, a full cup is better, and a cup and a half even trumps that. If Gruyère isn’t your favourite, I imagine aged Gouda or white cheddar would be equally fab.

ham mushroom tart 5 585x408 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

I used rosemary because that’s what was here, and fresh crimini mushrooms (they look like brown button mushrooms) rather than reconstitute the dried kind, which was called for in the original recipe, but I’ve never been much fond of doing, with all the rubberiness and the gritty-bottomed leftover mushroom water. Really, you could sauté any number of ingredients (spinach! kale! onions! peppers!) and spread them out over the bottom of this buttery crust, pour the rich egg custard overtop and bake it, scattered with more cheese. But this – it’s like rich mushroom soup pie. In a very good way.

ham mushroom tart 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Inspired by Bon Appétit, May 1994

Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold water

Filling:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb cremini, brown or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Cognac, sherry or brandy (optional)
1/2 cup finely diced ham
1 cup grated Gruyère, aged Gouda or white cheddar
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg

To make the crust, in a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) combine the flour and salt, then pulse or blend in the butter until almost combined – the mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together. Let it sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to rest – or stick it in the fridge if it’s warm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 10-12-inch circle – just bigger than a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit it into the pan and fold the edges over inward, making a double-thick crust; trim to about 1/8-inch above the edge of the pan. (I used a larger pan and so didn’t do this – just trimmed it to within 1/8 inch without folding it over.) Preheat oven to 375°F and chill the crust for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms until soft; add the rosemary, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the liquid has cooked off and the mushrooms are starting to turn golden. If you like, add a shot of Cognac, sherry or brandy and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the ham.

Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Cover with the mushroom mixture. Whisk together the cream, yolks and egg – add a few extra snippets of thyme if you like – and pour the custard over the mushrooms. Scatter with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serves 12.

pixel Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere
button print gry20 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

April 22 2014 | appetizers and breakfast and one dish | 12 Comments »

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