Roasted Root Vegetable Tart

I am loving this week of the root vegetable.  Dinner is done in 20 minutes, everything is (fairly) healthy, and the earthiness of the veggies can sometimes stop me from wishing it were spring.

Sometimes.

And then here comes morning, and I actually have to blow dry my hair, so it doesn’t freeze (literally) on my walk to work, and I put on my fleece jacket underneath my long down coat, and then my hat and mittens and boots, and even root vegetables can’t save me.  Oh, spring.  You’re going to be glorious.

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Roasted Root Vegetable Tart

  • one or two cups roasted root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, onions, yum)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (don’t let it get too sticky!)
  • pinch flour, for rolling out the dough
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • salt + pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry dough so you have a larger surface area.  Put on a large baking sheet, score all the way around (about an inch from the edge), and lightly prick the dough with a fork (to let air escape while it bakes).  Place in the oven and bake about 7-8 minutes, until lightly golden.
  2. While the puff pastry bakes, gently combine the three cheeses in a small bowl.  No need to over work it.
  3. Pull the puff pastry out and lightly spread the cheese all over.  Top with vegetables – root veggies, mushrooms and a little bit of spinach.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 10 minutes.
  4. You’re dominating winter.

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The Verdict:

So easy, so quick & it even looks pretty!  Fact: puff pastry is a gift to dinner.

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Asparagus Ricotta Parmesan Tart

A few weeks ago, as I was lugging home groceries, I saw this sign: thinkspring I’m not only thinking spring, I’m hoping and praying spring.  And for this bar (which is outdoor only) to reopen.  To help spring along (and to continue my quest to empty our refrigerator), I bought the spring-iest vegetable I know and turned it into a tart, inspired by my girl Martha.

Asparagus Ricotta Parmesan Tart

  • 1 premade puff pastry, thawed
  • about 1/3 cup ricotta cheese (full fat works best)
  • about 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • about 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds
  • olive oil (bonus if you can use an olive oil mister!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  On a lightly floured surface, stretch & roll the puff pastry out a bit – be careful not to break it.  Using a sharp knife, lightly score the pastry dough about 1 inch out from the edge, all the way around.  Using a fork, lightly poke holes all over the dough and place on a large baking sheet.  Bake the dough until golden – about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the pastry shell and dot all over with ricotta cheese; lightly spread it about.  Top with a big handful of Parmesan, the sliced onion, and then line the asparagus across – alternating spear to tip.  Top with salt, pepper and some crushed reds.  Mist or brush some olive oil over the tart.  Pop the whole thing in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. If you’d like to increase the decadence, this would be delicious topped with a little truffle oil or a fried egg…
  4. Think spring, hard.
spring on a plate
spring on a plate

The Verdict:

This is such an easy meal and can be adapted so many ways, with so many different vegetables (and/or meats, if you like)- mushrooms and goat cheese? Corn and roasted tomato? Butternut squash and gruyere?  The possibilities are endless.  I will say – this is a meal that’s better for two, with some leftovers.  Or for four not-hungry people.  But who knows any of those? (Def not those ladies/gents over at Fiesta Friday.)

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Christmas Eve Feast: Beef Wellington

For my family, it’s not Christmas Eve if it’s not Beef Wellington.  This is an indulgence my siblings and I look forward to all year, and now we’ve brought two husbands along.  This year, my mom finally gave me the recipe…though she marked the recipe card “SECRET.”  And then asked me if I was planning on posting it to Dinner Chez Nous (and now, also on The Novice Gardener).  I’m confused, Mom, but I guess at least I’m well fed.

from the top secret photo stash.
from the top secret photo stash.

Beef Wellington

  • about 4 pound beef tenderloin (figure about 1/2 pound per person) – tied with twine
  • 2 packages frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms is optimal)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound chicken or goose or other form of paté or liverwurst (NOTE: the stronger tasting, the better, as it will get a little bit absorbed in the puff pastry/tenderloin. Liverwurst is a better bet.)
  • 1 egg
  • flour, for rolling out the puff pastry
  1. Defrost the puff pastry – takes about 40 minutes; don’t let it sit too long or it will get sticky.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Liberally season the tenderloin with salt and pepper and then pop it in the oven for 20 minutes or so.
  3. Prepare your puff pastry work space with a light dusting of flour; unfold all four sheets of puff pastry on the counter and connect them in a square shape by pinching the dough together at the seams.
  4. Using your hands or a knife, spread out the paté across the puff pastry square.
  5. Beat the one egg in a small bowl with a little bit of water.
  6. Remove the meat from the oven and place it in the middle of the puff pastry dough.   Carefully wrap the tenderloin all the way around; cut off the extra.   you can also use a cookie cutter to cut little shapes into the dough and place them on top of the filet for decoration.).
  7. Brush the dough with the egg wash, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and put the entire thing back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes.  The last couple of minutes, turn the heat up to broil, just to make the puff pastry nice and brown.  Take it out when a meat thermometer hits 125 degrees (rare) – the tenderloin will continue to cook as you let it rest and plate it up.
  8. After letting it rest about 5-10 minutes, serve with carrots, parsnips, asparagus, mushrooms, whatever you fancy.
  9. BONUS SNACK: Use the extra puff pastry and paté and cut it into 1-2 inch strips, roll them up, and pop into the oven for about 15-20 minutes for a little extra something.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.  Around here, it’s time to go cook + eat some more.