The Kitchen Wench is keeping me hopping. A. requested a vegetable tart from her blog, and I'm reproducing it here:
1x quantity of shortcrust pastry, rolled about 3-5mm thick (I had some home made in my freezer, thank god!)
1 cup butternut pumpkin, cut into a large dice
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthways and cut into roughly 5mm thick slices
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and roughly diced
1 red bell pepper (capsicum), core and seeds removed and roughly diced
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped semi sundried tomatoes
1 large bulb of garlic
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C [about 400 degrees F], then toss together the pumpkin and sweet potato in a light drizzle of olive oil and place on a lined baking tray. Slice the top off the garlic bulb, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and wrap in some foil, then place the pumpkin, sweet potato and garlic bulb in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or till soft enough to poke with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the capsicum [red pepper] till softened, then add the zucchini and mushroom and fry till softened. Place the fried veggies in a bowl and once the pumpkin and sweet potato have roasted, add them along with the semi sundried tomatoes to the bowl as well.
3. Once the garlic is soft enough to squish, remove from the oven (about the same time that you take out the pumpkin) and unwrap it and leave it to cool so that you can handle it, and reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees C [about 350 degrees F]. While that’s cooling, mix together the cream, eggs and parmesan then add to the veggies and mix to combine, then season with some salt and freshly cracked pepper.
4. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the roasted garlic into the veggie mix and stir it through so everything is well combined. Line your tart tin with your pastry, then pour in the egg and veggies on top of the pastry and place it in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes or till the eggs have set.
5. Leave to cool and firm up slightly, then slice up and enjoy.And here's the link to her full post: http://www.insanitytheory.net/kitchenwench/2007/06/26/if-youre-crazy-and-you-know-it-bake-a-tart
I kind of messed up this recipe, because I used too many vegetables, so there wasn't enough egg-ness. I am also struggling with my "short crust," which is just a regular pie crust (I learned that from Wikipedia). But I did get a new 11-inch tart tin, which is just lovely. It has a removable bottom for ease of serving and cleaning. Exciting!
I served the Kitchen Wench's tart with the Soup Lady's beef barley soup recipe, adapted a a little bit. Here's what I did:
1 pound of stew beef, cut into 1/2" chunks
2 c. carrots, diced
1 c. celery, diced
1 lg. onion, diced
2/3 c. uncooked barley
1/4 chopped parsley
6 cups of vegetable broth
2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
Brown the beef in a non-stick saute pan in minimal oil. Remove beef chunks and place in crockpot (we just got a new-to-us crockpot!). Add the diced vegetables to the pan and stir them around to pick up the flavor bits. Add 1/4 cup of water to the saute pan and stir. Move vegetables to the crockpot with the beef and add the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours (I only have 3 nd 1/2 hours, so we too the shorter option). Check near the end of the cook time to see if you need to add more liquid (which I did indeed).
Here's the link to her original posting, which has a few extra ingredients: http://suzette.typepad.com/the_joy_of_soup/2003/12/beef_barley_sou.html
For another supper I served this soup with fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. I used regular American cheese, but I spread some spicy mustard on the inside of the bread before grilling it, and I used bean sprouts on the sandwich, the way one might use a sliced tomato. I love these sandwiches; however, A. said that for her bean sprouts belong in Chinese food, not grilled cheese sandwiches.
Over all, the soup won me some kisses from my sweetie, the tart got an A for effort, but needs to be tried again (more closely following the KW's instructions), and I will save fancy grilled cheese sandwiches for when A. is working late.