Apple Onion & Butternut Squash Tart

And now we are at the last of our apples.  Thanks apples, you had a good run.  We made Very Lazy Fall Apple Butter, an apple crumble, Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, Apple Onion Spicy Chutney and for the finale, this Apple Onion & Butternut Squash Tart.  Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner or cut into thin slices for a great appetizer – I bet it would go fabulously with a dry prosecco.  This is a super versatile and delicious tart.  The onions, apple and squash cook down to form a great caramelized base that contrasts nicely with the buttery/herbed crust and the salty cheese.

Apple Onion & Butternut Squash Tart

Inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe, I decided to bust out our Rosemary Tart Dough used in the Tomato Tart recipe (scroll down for the tart dough part).

Apple Onion & Butternut Squash Tart

Ingredients:

  • 5 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes and roasted (we had this leftover from the soup, you can add the cubes in when you add the apples to save you a step, I’m sure it will be fine)
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • apple cider (vegetable broth or water would do in a pinch)
  • 1 Rosemary Tart Dough
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

To Do:

  1. Make your Rosemary Tart dough and be sure to refrigerate it overnight or for at least a couple of hours.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions.  Cook until softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the apples (and butternut squash if it’s not roasted) and 1/4 cup apple cider or water.  Let everything simmer with a lid on the pot until caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Give it a stir every now and then and add more cider or water so nothing gets burned.  Give it a taste.  Taste good?  Great?  Need more salt and/or pepper, season away!
  4. Heat oven to 375F.  Roll out your tart dough and press into a tart pan (f you have leftover dough roll them into twists, sprinkle with parm and bake them – extra treat!).  Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork a few times.  If you have some spicy chutney, spread it along the bottom and bake for about 10 minutes.  If you don’t, sprinkle the bottom with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese or pecorino and bake for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the tart dough from oven and pile on the onion/apple/squash mixture.  Spread evenly throughout the pan and top with some more cheese.  Your call on how much cheese – remember these are salty cheeses.
  6. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the tart dough and cheese are a beautiful golden brown.

 


Minty Pea Dip

As promised, here is a pic of the pea dip I made the other day.  Loosely followed from this recipe, I just threw a bag of thawed peas, a handful of fresh mint (from the garden), a bunch of grated Parmesan and some olive oil into the food processor and produced this addictive dip/sauce.


Fried Green Tomatoes

We went up to my folks’ place this past weekend and they have a huge crop of tomatoes.  They have so many, that my mom insisted I take home green tomatoes to fry.  Et voila!

I first whisked up an egg with soy milk in one bowl and poured out some masa harina/AP flour in another bowl and mixed in some salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Then, I sliced up the tomatoes, dipped them in the egg mixture, then the flour and then into a frying pan!  Super easy and really tasty!  If you have a load of tomatoes and want to use up some green ones, try this out!


Raw Cabbage Wraps

We had some friends over to dinner last night and utilized some fresh picked cabbage leaves from the garden for these puppies. We layered thinly sliced red pepper and queso fresco inside the leaves along with a healthy dollop of white bean and veggie puree (recipe below). We were a little worried about serving the cabbage leaves raw, thinking they might be too bitter, too tough, or both. But they were actually perfect – a littly spicy and not tough but rather…snappy.

White Bean and Veggie Puree

2 cups white beans (cooked)
1 cup brown rice (cooked)
1 medium carrot (raw, peeled and roughly chopped)
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
a handful of fresh oregano (ours came from the garden)
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Throw all this stuff in a food processor and blend throroughly.

Adjust proportions as needed to achieve desired consistency.

I should also note that a bit of spending was required for this party. I bought the 2 red peppers and the queso fresco seen above, as well as some chevre and some limes. Fairly pricey stuff, especially because it was purchased at our local supermarket – I think about $9. We’ll have to figure out how to fit this (at least partially) into last weeks budget or this weeks.


Pa Jun

A friend used to make these quite often and we loved them.  After an intense weekend gallivanting around Brooklyn, we wanted something simple and delicious for supper on Sunday.  I have had a small bag of rice flour in our freezer for, umm, I really don’t know how long, but I read online that it doesn’t go bad, so I decided to make some Korean pancakes (Pa Jun).

I used the following recipe from the NY Times, but want to note that I added a bit more rice flour to the recipe as the consistency seemed weird.  I could have also have been overzealous in the ice-water department, so I would play strict attention to proportions.  Nevertheless, the results were delicious and something that I am going to be making as hors d’oeuvres for future parties because they are a) simple; b) delicious; c) you can roll them up into bite sized pieces and d) serve with a variety of dipping sauces.

Sidenote: We want to apologize for not putting last week’s receipt up yet.  It has gotten lost in the shuffle, but we spent about $34 since we only spent $25.88 last week.

Pa Jun (recipe adapted from the NY Times)

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil [Tina: I used less]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour [Tina: I used rice flour]
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt [Tina: I also threw in some fresh black pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder]
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, green beans, scallions) [Tina: I used red pepper and carrots]

To Do:

  1. Fill a measuring cup with ice  and 1/2 cup or more cold water; set aside. Place a small (8-inch) nonstick or well-seasoned skillet over medium-low heat. Coat bottom with vegetable oil and allow to heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs just until frothy. Add flour and salt and whisk to combine. Add vegetables or meat and stir to blend. Add 1/2 cup ice water and mix again to blend. [Tina: I thought I just put in 1/2 cup of ice water and felt that the batter thinned out way too much, could just be me though]
  3. Fill a 1/2-cup measuring cup with batter; pour into hot pan. Allow to sit until browned and crispy on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip pancake and cook another 2 minutes. Place on a serving plate and keep warm (or set aside to serve at room temperature) [Tina: I placed in a 200F oven]. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with dipping sauce, tearing or cutting off pieces of pancake to dip in sauce with fingers or chopsticks.
  4. Yield: 2 to 4 appetizer servings (3 pancakes).

Pear and Bleu Cheese Crostini

The 30/W household just got back from ringing in the new year in snowy Buffalo, NY. We had the chance to do a bunch of cooking while staying in the beautiful studio/living space of friends’ family. There will be a few related posts to follow, but here’s one appetizer recipe that turned out particularly well.

Pear and Bleu Cheese Crostini

2 pears, finely chopped
1 hunk o’ bleu cheese (we used gorgonzola)
1 baguette
2 Tbsp butter, cubed
honey

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Put the pears and butter into a small oven-safe dish (distribute butter evently) and let cook for about 20 minutes.
3. While the pears are cooking, slice the bread diagonal-wise, stick them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven long enough to get relatively crispy, but not fully toasted.
4. Take the bread out of the oven and put a bit of cheese (maybe about 1/2 tsp) on each piece, then return to oven in order to let cheese partially melt.
5. Remove everything from the oven. Spoon some hot pears onto each slice of cheesy bread, then drizzle a bit of honey onto each as well.


Update on Spending

We spent some money the last few days.  Namely at the Pioneer and the farmer’s market.  We got 5 apples and two larges peaches at the farmer’s market for $6 (yowza, but they were worth it!), 4 bananas for a $1 and $2 worth of apples from my street fruit stand man, $10.39 for tofu, bread, a 1-lb bag of yellow split peas, an avocado and and eggs at the Pioneer.  The grand total spent for last week was: $26.53; coupled with the week before where we had 12.34 left over – we now have  $45.81 to spend this week.

Caveat!  We did have a busy week and went out to dinner twice and had to buy breakfast for work once.  It’s been a busy and somewhat stressful time as we’re getting ready to get hitched and so food shopping priorities are kind of going out the window.  However, we did make some great stuff this weekend.  Check out this tomato tart business:

tomato tart

While taking out the icecream maker from the freezer on Saturday (to make peach frozen yogurt), I discovered a lump of frozen dough.  I wasn’t sure if it was pizza dough or tart dough, but let it thaw.  When I saw that it wasn’t rising, I assumed it was a tart-like dough and proceeded to use the baby tomatoes we got in our friends’ CSA on Tuesday.  I rolled out the dough and placed it in my cast iron skillet, covered it with foil, weighed it down with rice and baked it at 375 for about 15 minutes.  I then took the toasted rice off the foil and cooked it in the rice cooker (delicious!).  While the dough was baking, I chopped the tomatoes in half and tossed with sea salt in a colander.  I let it drip a bit and then added some pepper and bits of chopped olives.  Sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on the crust, plopped the tomato mixture into the skillet and baked it at 400 until the dough was a golden brown and the tomatoes were sizzling – possibly 30-40 minutes or so.

Verdict: nom nom nom.


Faux Foccacia

DSC04215

I made this with some whole wheat Trader Joe’s pizza dough.  I let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes (actually a subway ride) and then flattened it out and put it on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Preheated the oven to about 375F and topped the dough with some olive olive oil, sliced onions, olives we had in the back of the fridge and a few of the cherry tomatoes we got from the CSA and a sprinkle of Parmesan.  Popped that into the oven until it got golden brown and then ate it with some penne pasta with a tempeh ragu Phil made.  Super easy and a nice addition to a meal.  Would be great sliced into strips for a party as an appetizer!

DSC04214


Easiest Appetizer Ever

DSC03614

Caprese bites. Looks great, tastes great, and requires just about five minutes of work. Not too pricey either. Take cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and fresh mozzarella. Stick a piece of each on a toothpick. Drizzle with olive oil if you want, but it’s not even necessary. Serve. Done!


Easiest Hors’Dourves

tapenade cracker

The other night we had a friend over and didn’t want to go crazy with a dinner, so we decided to use up some of the cheese we had in the fridge and I went to Jack’s 99 Cent Store and bought $1 crackers and a can of black olives (also $1, bringing our total to $28).  I decided to make a simple tapenade with some sundried tomatoes we had lurking in the pantry (note to self: cleaning pantry can expose spices you thought forgotten).  This tapenade tasted great on crackers, but could also work as a quick topping for pasta or as a dip for grilled or raw veggies or on some grilled bread with tomatoes.  The possibilities are endless!

Tapenade w/Sundried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium can of black olives
  • 3 or 4 sundried tomatoes, soaked in water for 10 minutes (reserve water)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • pepper
  • chili pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon and some of its zest

To Do:

  1. Place the olives, sundried tomatoes and garlic in food processor and pulse until it all comes together.
  2. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lemon juice, zest and pepper and chili pepper flakes to taste.  I like mine a bit spicy, so I put more garlic and chili pepper flakes in the mix.  Pulse until the mixture gets a little smoother, but still remains chunky.
  3. Add a bit of olive oil if you like (I used a tiny drizzle) and pulse again.  If you think the mixture needs more liquid to bind it together, add some of the reserved sundried tomato soaking water.
  4. Serve with just about anything.  Makes a little more than a cup and will last a good while in the fridge.

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