Showing posts with label Mozzarella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mozzarella. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rough Puff Tomato and Olive Tart

Hands up, who has been to Paris?  Who’d like to go?  And what is one of the number one destination for tourists in Paris.  The Louvre, of course.  Well, guess what?  I saw some treasures from the Louvre today.  In Abu Dhabi.  Yes, that’s right.   Right here in the Sandpit.  Apparently, a new Louvre is being built, and it is scheduled to open in 2015.  The plans look fabulous and there is already a small museum to introduce the bigger one to come, full of painted treasures by the likes of Picasso, Gauguin, Klee, Magritte, Mondrian and Twombly, as well as sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, tapestry and even a fascinating mobile by Alexander Calder.  Appropriate to the educational mission of the Louvre Abu Dhabi - bridging and connecting cultures - two ancient religious texts, the Koran and the Pentateuch, sit side by side in one protective glass case.  Entrance to the current exhibit - Birth of a Museum - is free, along with the narrated audio guide.  Now I can’t wait for the whole Louvre Abu Dhabi to open.  It’s going to be a beautiful place filled with beautiful things.

And now you know why I am late in posting this recipe.   Let us tarry no longer.  We have tart to bake!

1 rectangle rough puff pastry dough from this recipe
7 oz or 200g large grape or tiny Roma tomatoes
2 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
4 1/2 oz or 125g (drained) fresh mozzarella
3 1/2 oz or 100g feta
15 whole black olives
2 eggs lightly beaten
Sprinkle cayenne – optional

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Roll out your chilled rough puff pastry, with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.

Laying your tart pan on top, cut a circle out of the dough with a sharp knife.

Transfer the circle of dough to the tart pan.

Fold the top under to neaten the edge.

Use a fork to dock the bottom and sides of the dough.

Pop this back in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

(Stack the leftover dough and wrap in cling film and freeze for later use. Don’t make it into a ball or you will lose your layers.)

Thinly slice your garlic, chop your green onions and crumble your feta cheese.

Pit your black olives and halve them and then halve the little tomatoes.   In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

Okay, now, in a larger mixing bowl, add in your tomatoes, olives, green onions, garlic and the beaten eggs.  Stir to mix.

Fold in the feta.

Pour the mixture into your tart pan.

 I like to straighten out the tomatoes and olives and make the rounded sides face up, because I think it’s prettier that way, but if you don’t care, skip this step.  The flavor will be just as lovely.  Probably.

Now slice the fresh mozzarella into little pieces and poke them in and around the tomatoes and olives.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper if desired.

If your tart pan has a removable bottom, you’ll want to put it on top of another pan before putting it in the oven.  This will make it easier to remove from the oven when hot.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely golden and the cheese on top is too.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the tart pan.  Slice into pieces.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meatzza for #ForeverNigella

I was browsing through the internet the other day, as you do, (Tell me it's not just me!) and I came across a blog hop devoted to Nigella Lawson and food your family would love.  The original organizer of the blog hop is Sarah at Maison Cupcake, but the host this month is Sally from Recipe Junkie and the Attack of the Custard Creams.  I could appreciate Sally’s attachment to Nigella and baking.  She went through a challenging time when her child was quite ill a few years ago and baking from Nigella's How to Become a Domestic Goddess gave her structure and something she could control.  While my feeling-out-of-control issues are not on par with hers, with all our moving about, I could definitely relate.  If my kitchen is in working order, I am in a safe, familiar place.

I decided to join the blog hop by making a Nigella recipe from her latest book, Nigellissima.  Whenever we have pizza, my motto is always the more meat, the better.  And the thinner the crust, the better.  This recipe goes one step further on both counts.  No crust at all and it’s basically all meat.  I added cooked lentils because 1. I like them, 2. I knew they would taste good and 3. they would make me feel better about eating what is basically a big hamburger patty with tomatoes and cheese.  This is comfort food for sure.  If you are trying to restrict carbs in your diet, this is the perfect pizza, or rather, meatzza for you.

1 lb 2 oz or 500g ground or minced beef
3/4 cup or 100g cooked lentils
3/4 oz or about 20g Parmesan
Small handful fresh parsley
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Olive oil
1 can 14 oz or 400g chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Crushed red pepper - optional
1 ball mozzarella – about 4 1/2 oz or 125g – plain or with basil
1 small bunch fresh basil – for garnish

Preheat your oven to 425°F or 220°C.

Chop your parsley and pour your canned tomatoes into a sieve to drain.  (Save the juice for soup or another dish.)

Put your ground beef, lentils, parsley and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Grate in the Parmesan and one of the cloves of garlic and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir until just mixed through.

Oil a shallow, round baking tin.  For a thinner crust, choose a wider baking pan.  Mine was only about 8 in or 21cm so this was definitely a deep pan meatzz.  Press the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

In another bowl, put your well-drained tomatoes, a little sprinkle of salt and the oregano.  Grate in the second clove of garlic and give it a good drizzle of olive oil.  Mix well.

Spread the seasoned tomatoes onto your meat and then sprinkle with some crushed red pepper, if using.

Slice the mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the tomatoes.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat layer.  I was a little bit concerned initially because the meat juices came up and around the tomatoes and cheese, which was not attractive.  But at the end of the cooking time, the top was browned and it was all good.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Decorate with the basil and cut in wedges to serve.  I served a good wedge along side a salad of arugula or rocket with a simple vinaigrette to complete the meal.

Nigella’s recipe says it serves four to six people but even with a side salad and my addition of the lentils, I don’t think you could stretch this to feed more than four.   It was delicious though and I would definitely make it again.


And again, check out the other #ForeverNigella favorites in the blog hop right here.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Tomato Appetizer

Now, you may never have this problem:  Leftover pepperoni.  But I had lovely guests last night and we made pizza!  It was delicious and the companionship sublime.  I finally saw the final, final Harry Potter movie in very good company.  When he died?  My heart stopped.  When his eyelid wiggled, my heart leaped.  J.K. Rowling is a master.  

Anyhoo, I had leftover pepperoni and since I had spent the day cleaning out my cupboards and freezer in anticipation of my move to Cairo, I felt I deserved a bit of bubbly.  And you just can’t drink bubbly, even one glass, without a little something to go with it.

As a child, I remember fondly the days my mother would let us fry, yes, fry, salami.  Did we not have bacon? Did we prefer salami?  I have no recollection of the reasons why.  But I do remember how the salty salami tasted and how it rolled up to a little bowl when it cooked.  I wondered if pepperoni, basically a small salami, would do the same.  If it didn’t, my plan would be spoiled.

Whoo hoo!   It does curl up.  Which means I can fill it.  Man, I am happy!

Pepperoni – as many slices as you need to feed your guests at least two or three each (But, this isn’t the only appetizer you are serving, right?)
Mozzarella – this can be the packaged kind.  As much as you need to cut a small cube of 1cm or 1/2in each per pepperoni slice
Red, ripe tomatoes – once again, as many as it would take to cover your pepperoni with a thin slice of tomato
Black pepper

Drizzle a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and then fry the pepperoni until it curls up into tiny bowls, turning them over halfway through.

Turn the fire off and remove the pan from the stove.  Cut small chunks of mozzarella and put them in each pepperoni bowl. 

Cover the skillet and let the cheese melt.  Meanwhile, slice your tomatoes pretty thin and cut the slices into pepperoni sizes pieces.

Check on the cheese.  Fix the ones that melted out of the pepperoni bowls.  As the cheese cools again, it will stay in the pepperoni.  Just keep putting it back in.

Transfer your mozzarella-filled pepperoni bowls to a plate.  Top with the tomato slices.  Give the whole plate a good couple of grinds of freshly ground black pepper.

I can’t tell you how nicely all these three things go together: the spicy, salty pepperoni, the mild mozzarella and the naturally, slightly acidic tomatoes!  Especially with a cold glass of bubbly.  Try it yourself.   Pop this in your mouth!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana – my homage to Lillian

Many years ago we were living in Paris and the summer of 1993 brought us a beautiful baby girl and, two weeks after her arrival, my mother to help me when dear husband went back to work. (Yes, France has paid paternity leave!) She brought along her wonderful friend, Lillian, and together, they spoiled us rotten. 

Lillian’s specialties were anything Italian and, from her, I learned how to make eggplant Parmigiana, which we adored. I must confess that if Lillian were ever to read this post, she would not recognize her recipe because I have developed many shortcuts over the years of which I know she would not approve but, honestly, when I did it her way, I didn’t make eggplant Parmigiana often enough.  And my way is healthier.  Please forgive me, Lillian, but it’s really not just laziness that made me change your recipe!  And I hope you know that your kindness and generosity touched our hearts even more than your wonderful meals increased our girth. We have never forgotten you.

2 cans (15 oz or 424g size) of whole or crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz or 424g size) of tomato puree or sauce, unseasoned
3 cloves of garlic
1 large or 2 small onions
2 tablespoons of oregano

Sea salt
Black pepper
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 lb or about 500g eggplant
4 1/2 oz or 125g breadcrumbs
4 1/2 oz or 125g Parmesan, freshly grated
4 1/2 oz or 125g of mozzarella, grated

Dice the onion and garlic and sauté them in a couple of good glugs of olive oil.  

Turn the fire to medium and put the lid on to let them sweat and get soft. This could take as many as 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally, letting the condensation on the lid drip back into the pan.  

When the onions and garlic are soft and translucent, add the canned tomatoes and sauce, along with about another can full of water and the two tablespoons of oregano and the tablespoon of sugar.

Lower the fire to simmer and cook the sauce down, covered, until it is thick and the whole tomatoes start to break apart. You can speed this process along by mashing them with a potato masher, right in the pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer until you are ready to assemble your eggplant Parmigiana.

Meanwhile, slice your eggplant and heat your griddle.  

Lay the slices on the hot griddle and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.  

Flip them when browned on one side and remove to a plate when both sides are brown.

[If you’d like to make it the authentic (read: Lillian’s) way, you dip the sliced eggplant in egg and then breadcrumbs. Then you shallow fry the slices in olive oil until crispy. Drain on paper towels.  You have to keep adding oil to your pan because the eggplant soaks up the oil like crazy. It’s delicious but, oh, so fattening!]  

One step away from Lillian’s method is to dip the slices in egg and then breadcrumbs, lightly spray them with Pam, and then toast them on a cookie sheet in a hot oven until crispy.   I did it that way for a while until I figured out a way the way to cheat even further.)

Don’t forget to give your tomato sauce the occasional stir while you are browning the eggplant.

Your sauce is ready, your eggplant slices are ready and now it’s time to assemble the dish.

Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of your ovenproof dish. (If the sauce is too thick to spread, by all means, add a little more water.)

Next, sprinkle the sauce with breadcrumbs.

 Now add a layer of eggplant slices. 

And sprinkle again with breadcrumbs.

Now add another layer of tomato sauce.

Cover generously with Parmesan.

And sprinkle again with breadcrumbs.

Then add another layer of eggplant slices.

And another coating of breadcrumbs. 

You get the picture. The layers go tomato/eggplant/Parmesan, but you put a thin sprinkle of breadcrumbs below and on top of the eggplant each time to mimic the breadcrumbs you would find on each side, if you had dipped the slices and fried them first.

Your final layer will be tomato sauce topped with Parmesan, mozzarella and about 25g of breadcrumbs. 

I mixed mine together by hand and sprinkled them on. I find the breadcrumbs help the cheese not stick together as much, which makes sprinkling it much easier.

Bake at 350°F or 80°C for about 45-50 minutes or until golden and bubbling.  

We love eggplant Parmigiana and will be forever grateful to Lillian for introducing us to this delightful dish.


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