Thursday, August 9, 2012

cooking adventures

i'll be the first to tell you i'm not very good at cooking...which doesn't make sense. let's start with the fact that i watch the food network like it's my job. there must be something, joy perhaps, that i get out of watching other people make delicious food easily. it's no secret that i just love to watch food network and i'll even watch the same show over if i've already seen it. i don't know why it doesn't translate - why watching countless hours of cooking shows on tv just doesn't seem to stick.

to be honest, the real reason i have no excuse to be bad at cooking is because i come from a long line of amazing cooks - grandma, aunt, and mother! what is wrong with me? what gene am i missing where things just tend to not turn out despite my best effort to become a better cook? i've grown up with amazing food my whole life from these three fabulous ladies. and not only do these ladies cook delicious food - the bake delicious goodies! my mom continually asks me to move home (i know she gets lonely) and i keep refusing. the real reason i can't move home is because i'd blow up like the goodyear blimp.

in an attempt to try and get better at cooking, tonight i attempted to make a modification of Martha Stewart's Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart. there are a few things you need to know - i hate onions (or in this case, leeks) and if it's not already in my apartment, i dont go get it...i just "work around it". so when i didn't have sour cream, basil, goat cheese, or mustard - i just found ways around it. but isn't that what cooking is really about?

so here's what happened. i took some puffed pastry (as martha directed) and forgot to thaw it out at lunch. ha! ok, minor set back. i left it out for 45 minutes and we were good to go. I rolled it out a bit...but of course  i haven't inherited a rolling pin what did i have to use? my to-go coffee mug (i doesn't have a handle, and it would have worked a little better if  the size didn't taper). after it was rolled out, i pinched up the sides and despite the directions saying to use parchment paper (duh, i didn't have any) i used foil. combining a mixture of garlic powder, herb de province, pepper, and salt i brushed the pastry with olive oil and herb blend. using tomatoes from my parent's garden, i thinly sliced and aligned two tomatoes as shown below.
pretty fancy, huh? but i didnt stop there, nope! the thought had crossed my mind to just make it like this, but what fun is that? keep going, add more stuff!! and i did! a coworker of mine was nice enough to bring me some yellow squash from her garden. so i sliced that shizz up and put it on there too! 
this "tart" ended up with a lot more squash than this, but i guess i forgot to take a photo of it. well, all right - we got tomatoes and squash. sprinkled with some salt and pepper. did i mention i put red pepper flake on the crust as well, because i did! but we're not done yet - nope! where's the cheese?! as i said before, i didn't have any goat cheese and i wasn't about to go get any. but what i did have was some mozzarella pearls. i guess i forgot to take a photo of that...i'll get better at this - i promise. 

all right - it's in the oven and here's what it looked ike as the cheese was gettin ooy-gooey.
martha recommended that it be in there for 25 minutes and when i put it in i was wondering "what does marthat know about cooking?" oh, wait - a whole lot more than me. so i questioned her time and ultimately ended up with it in there about 25 minutes at 400 degrees. are wise.

so when it came out - it looked like this:

now i'd be lying if i didn't say i was slightly worried i'd get sick from under-cooked puff pastry, but surprisingly i haven't gotten sick yet...and on top of that it was actually rather tasty! though i don't think i'll be quick to eat it again too soon, but it was a nice adventure. next time i would probably try to make smaller ones so that it cooked more evenly. the middle was rather doughy.

well - let me know if any of you try this out and it works out better for you.

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