Monday, July 25, 2011

a tale of two tarts


I hate being sick. I rarely am, so when the occasional illness hits, it feels more like a being bruised and beaten like a rag doll in a cement truck. Spent 90% of my afternoon and evening yesterday lying in bed, and the other 10% alternating between the loo and the kitchen for water. And then, finally drugged up to oblivion, succumbed to sleep and fell into unconsciousness for about 10 hours straight.

I am feeling much better today, but, again, most of the day was spent sitting on the couch or in my bed, catching up with Doctor Who [David Tennant is marvelous], and taking frequent siestas. Would have been the perfect day had I not been coughing up my lungs like it's my job.

After about the third hour of immobility, though, I started to get antsy. That's the problem with being sick: I just get so bored.

Plus, my fingers have been twitching to make something delicious. I spent the weekend at Chelsea's home, and had a phenomenal time chatting about British sci-fi television, video games, cake wrecks, and traveling. And food. Always some delicious food, but when I'm with her family, it's to be expected. Mr. Sparta conjured up a magnificent dinner on Saturday night [perfectly-cooked skirt steak, Italian-styled beans, corn and pepper salad, and Swiss chard and ricotta souffle], as always, and on Sunday we went to 2 Amys, a Neopolitan pizza joint, DOC-certified and all. What does that mean? Well, it actually means that their pizza has been recognized as legit by Italian legislation.

[Yes. unless your food is worthy, the Italians won't deem it as legit. Any more reasons to ask why the Italians really do make the best food in the world? I thought not.]

In layman's terms, it means that their pizza is the best pizza I've had since visiting Naples. Easily. I never thought I'd see buffalo mozzarella again unless I took a plane to Italia, but this gem of a restaurant has it shipped over. Wood-burning oven, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil: perfection. After three long years, my pizza standards have been met, and there's no turning back. So, if you're ever in the DC area and you don't go by 2 Amys, you've done yourself a huge disservice. End of discussion.

Good lord, what was the point of this post again?

Oh, right, tarts. Two, in fact. I've had some goat cheese sitting in the fridge for a few weeks now, and finally decided to put it to good use. In the form of a tomato and goat cheese tart, and a strawberry and honeyed-goat cheese tart.

Now, I love goat cheese. It's silky, creamy, and perfectly tangy, and on some nice, crusty bread, it's like heaven. So, probably against my better judgment, I took a short break and popped by Whole Foods to pick up some produce. Cherry tomatoes, spelt tart crusts [laziness wins out, today], fresh basil, and strawberries, and got to work.

Tomato, Onion, & Goat Cheese Tart

Adapted by me

You'll need:
  • 1 9-inch, unbaked pie crust [either homemade or store-bought work]
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • half of a large onion, sliced
  • olive oil for cooking and drizzling
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh or flaked basil
  • salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a fork, poke holes over the base and sides of the pie crust. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a small pan, sweat the onion slices in a bit of olive oil over low heat, until lightly browned and soft, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Crumble the goat cheese over the cooled pie crust. Spread the cooked onion evenly across the goat cheese. Line the sliced tomatoes over the onions. Drizzle the top of the tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once preheated, bake the tart for 30-35 minutes, until onions are well-cooked. Let cool 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Strawberry & Honeyed-Goat Cheese Tart
Adapted by me

You'll need:
  • 1 9-inch, unbaked pie crust  [either homemade or store-bought will do]
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a fork, poke holes over the base and sides of the pie crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside and let cool.

In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, goat cheese, and sour cream on medium-high speed until blended and fluffy. Spread goat cheese filling evenly over the base of the cooled pie crust. Using a spoon, drizzle honey in a crisscross pattern over the goat cheese.

[Alternately, you can add the honey straight into the cheese filling and mix it until blended, but I prefer it drizzled, as it gives the tongue little bursts of sweetness.]

Layer the sliced strawberries over the filling. Slice and serve as is, or pop the tart back into the oven for 3-4 minutes [at 350 degrees] to warm it a bit.

These are marvelous. Goat cheese is perfection. The tomato tart is rustic and comforting, and very much appreciated after a hot shower, jammies, and being wrapped up in a knit blanket among fluffy pillows. But the dessert tart is divine; goat cheese paired with fruit for something less savory, but one that still retains its tangy goodness.

And now there are two tarts sitting on my counter, waiting to be devoured. Needless to say, I'm going to be busy for the next hour or so. 

In other news, I popped by the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning and finally picked up some marvelous Ezekiel bread, for the first time in months. If I were on my deathbed, I would ask for nothing more than a loaf of Ezekiel slathered with butter and peach jam.

In other, other news, I spent a bit of the morning watching reruns of Scooby Doo. Can anyone tell me if Daphne ever did anything productive for the group? Because I feel like she didn't. Unless motivation via attractiveness counts. Which, I suppose, is important, in it's own way.

Sort of.


Thanks so much for reading!
I'd love to hear your thoughts :)