Savory Vegetable Tart

Ingredients & Directions

For the tart shell (can be prepared up to a day before and refrigerated):

3 cups all-purpose flour

15 tbsp unsalted butter (1 and 7/8 sticks), room temperature

6 tbsp ice water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, butter, salt and sugar, using your fingers, until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.  (Alternatively, pulse ingredients together in a food processor until it resembles coarse bread crumbs).

2.  Slowly add the ice water, adding just enough to allow the dough to combine.  Shape the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 24 hours).

3.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Remove the dough from the fridge and separate into two pieces, one using about 2/3 of the dough and the other the remaining 1/3 of the dough.  Roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  The dough should be about a quarter of a inch thick or slightly less.  Place over a 9-inch tart or pie pan (I prefer the pie pan as it is deeper) and shape to the pan.  Cut the excess dough from around the edges, leaving about 1/2 an inch.  Turn the overhang inwards and crimp the edges.  Repeat with the remainder of the dough, using a smaller tart or pie pan, or mini tart pans.  (I had enough dough for four mini tart pans.)

4.  Cover with foil or parchment paper, using pie weights or dried beans to hold the foil/paper down and keep the center of the dough from puffing up too much.  Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bottom of the dough is lightly baked through.  Remove the pie weights and foil/paper.  Continue baking for another 15 to 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden brown.  Keep an eye on the mini tart pans, if you use them, as the crust will bake faster and may brown too much.  When done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before assembling the tart.

 

For the filling (all but the egg mixture can be prepared up to a day before):

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters lengthwise

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters lengthwise

2 small onions, thinly sliced

1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced

2 red potatoes, washed well and cut into a 3/4 inch dice (does not need to be peeled)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 eggs

3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tsp dried red chilli flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Spread the seeded and quartered bell pepper slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  Heat under a broiler until the skin is blistered and charred and the peppers are mostly cooked through (15 to 20 minutes).  Remove from the oven.  Place the bell pepper pieces in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  After about 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap.  The steam created in the bowl should have softened the skins.  Peel and discard the skins, chop the peppers into 1/2 inch x 1 inch strips and set aside.

2.  Saute the onions, fennel, 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in olive oil, until the fennel is just softened and the onion begins to caramelize.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3.  Place the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl, along with a 1/2 cup of water.  Microwave on high until the potatoes are just tender.  Drain the water and set aside.

4.  Prepare the egg filling just before you are ready to assemble the tart.  Beat together the 4 eggs and 1 cup of ricotta cheese, along with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, red chilli flakes and 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme.

 

To put it all together:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Layer the onion/fennel mixture, bell peppers and potatoes in the tart shell(s).  Make sure you pour out any excess water.  Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.  Pour the egg/ricotta mixture evenly over the vegetables and feta.  Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top.

2.  Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, until the egg/ricotta filling has set and the crust is golden brown.  If the crust browns faster than the egg sets, simply crimp some aluminum foil over the crust to protect it from the heat while the egg cooks.

3.  Allow to set at room temp for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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6 New Recipes! – Follow Up

Here’s the follow up to the 1/29/2012 post on the Asian smorgasbord/cooking orgy from last weekend.  I’m giving you links to the original recipes along with alterations that I made.  Sorry, no pictures this time.  I’ll load pics when/if I repeat these recipes.

1.  Vegetable miso soup

My changes

I used vegetable stock and white button mushrooms, omitted the udon noodles, doubled up on all the veggies except the scallions, and used red instead of white miso paste.

2.  Malaysian potato and green bean curry

My changes

I used a small onion instead of shallots since I just hate peeling shallots, and new potatoes instead of fingerling potatoes.  Otherwise, no changes.  Oh, I did add a little extra water while the potatoes were cooking in order to have more sauce.

3.  Thai-style (-ish) veggie fried rice

My changes

I omitted the pork and fish sauce, doubled up on the bok choy and tripled the green chillies (we were itching for some really spicy food this week).  I also added a little bit of soy sauce for salt.

4.  Vegetarian ma-po tofu

My changes

I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and omitted the pork to make this vegetarian.  I wanted to use Sichuan peppercorns but, for some reason, my excellently stocked Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Indian/Mexican… heck, it’s a world super market… did not have any in stock.  I added a little extra red chilli paste to make up for the lack of peppercorns as I wanted to keep the spice level high.

5.  Vegetable pot stickers with spicy dipping sauce

My changes

I used plain old white button mushrooms and Savoy cabbage.  Otherwise, I made no other changes to the original recipe.  Next time, I will probably reduce the amount of Chinese five spice powder to about half the suggested amount.  The pot stickers were really good, but it was just a touch too much anise for me.

Update:  I used some leftover stuffing in grilled sandwiches today.  Gotta love an electric sandwich grill/press.  I just spread a teensy bit of margarine on the outsides of the whole wheat bread slices, smeared a little green chilli chutney on the insides, generously filled the bread, and put the lid down.  Yum!

This Week’s Menu… 6 New Recipes!

After Pongal festival cooking two weeks ago and an all Tamil menu last week, we needed something a little different this week. So, at the end of the day… after a couple of hours of food prep, an hour and a half or so of actual cook time, hanging a light fixture in the living room (finally!), and fifteen minutes of wrapping… we have:

1. Three quarts of vegetable miso soup
2. Two quarts of Malaysian potato and green bean curry
3. One quart of Thai-style (-ish) veggie fried rice
4. One quart of vegetarian Ma-po tofu
5. A gazillion vegetable pot stickers (some wrapped but not cooked, and enough filling and wrappers put aside to be wrapped and frozen for a rainy day) with spicy dipping sauce
6. Carrot, celery and avocado maki
7. Kale and cabbage slaw with ginger avocado dressing

The slaw is just a variation of the kale and celery root slaw I tried a few weeks ago. The maki was made by memory, based on what my friend Cathy’s mom showed me years ago. I’ll post the recipe when I get a chance. For the other dishes, I simply made slight alterations existing recipes to make them vegetarian and to adjust seasonings to taste. Thanks to the great cooks who shared their recipes!  I’ll post the links and alterations as soon as I can.