Mushroom Shallot Tart

This is a terrible picture of my tart. It was pitch black outside! Anyway, I used a mixture of cremini, oyster and shiitake mushrooms for this tart.


Mushroom Shallot Tart

Serves 12

1 refrigerated piecrust
1 Tbs Dijon course­ grain mustard
2 Tbs butter, divided
2 medium onions, sliced lengthwise
Sprigs of fresh thyme
4 oz mushrooms of your choice, sliced lengthwise
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half­ and ­half
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Coat surface of the piecrust with mustard. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.

To prepare filling, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 10 minutes. Add salt , pepper and thyme leaves. Scrape into a small bowl.

In the same skillet, melt remaining butter. Add mushrooms and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into the shallots.

Combine eggs and half­ and­ half and beat until well blended.

Sprinkle about half the cheese on the bottom of tart shell. Spoon in shallot and mushroom mixture. Pour in egg mixture. Place mushrooms all over the top, along with remaining cheese.

Bake 40 minutes, or until tart is golden brown and filling is set. Serve warm or room temperature.

Asparagus Tart with Fromage Blanc & Comté


Guest blogger Jessica (Denver, CO) from Beauty Marks again. Spring has not sprung yet here in Colorado, but we’re doing our damnedest to pretend that it has. So I broke out this great recipe, loosely adapted from an Epicurious recipe, to brighten up a recent dinner with out-of-town guests. It was just delicious.


Asparagus Tart with Fromage Blanc & Comté

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3oz package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
1/2 lb asparagus spears, trimmed
1/3 cup fromage blanc (or ricotta, or even sour cream)
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 oz smoked salmon, cut into little pieces
2/3 cup grated Comté cheese (about 3 oz), divided

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 13×10-inch rectangle. (Mine didn’t quite get there so as you can see it’s a square.) Fold up the sides of the rectangle to create a raised border. Brush border with egg; reserve remaining beaten egg. Transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate it while you prepare the filling.

Steam asparagus just until crisp tender, about 3 minutes, then cool in bowl of ice water, then drain. Cut off top 2 inches of asparagus tops and set aside for decorating later. Coarsely puree remaining asparagus stalks in food processor (I used my mini one and it all fit). Add remaining beaten egg, fromage blanc, 3 teaspoons oil, salt and pepper, then process to a thick puree. Transfer to bowl; stir in salmon and 1/3 cup Comté cheese; season with pepper. Spread mixture evenly over pastry. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Comté cheese. Sprinkle asparagus tips with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; arrange tips over filling.

Bake tart until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sausage Corn Tart

An Iconic Classic Sauce

Tabasco is a hot sauce made from tabasco peppers (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco), vinegar, and salt. It has a hot, spicy flavor. Tabasco sauce was first produced in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny, a Maryland-born former banker who had moved to Louisiana around 1840. Initially McIlhenny used discarded cologne bottles to distribute his sauce to family and friends, and in 1868 when he started to sell to the public he ordered thousands of new “cologne bottles” from a New Orleans glassworks.

Until recently, all Tabasco peppers were grown on Avery Island. While a small portion of the crop is still grown there, the bulk is now grown in various locations in Central and South America. More predictable weather and readily available farmland allow a larger year-round supply. This also helps to ensure the availability of peppers in case of severe weather, or other problems, at a particular location. (All seeds are still grown on Avery Island.)

They now have a range of seven different flavors. I found this recipe on their website and intend to try it out this weekend.

Sausage Corn Tart

Serves 6

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 lb hot Italian sausage
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, sliced
Prepared pastry for single-crust pie
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Place corn in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes until corn is tender. Drain.

Remove casing from sausage. In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until well browned on all sides, stirring to break up sausage; remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.

In drippings remaining in skillet, cook bell pepper 3 minutes; add green onion and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom (or use a 9-inch pie pan) with prepared pie crust. Bake 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, flour, Tabasco sauce, mustard, and salt until well blended. Stir in corn, sausage, and red pepper mixture and pour into prepared pie crust.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake tart 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Fruit Tart

Your Favorite Fruit

A homemade fruit tart is a satisfying way to finish a meal. Save time in the kitchen by using a pre-made pie crust. Here is a super simple way to use your favorite summer fruit.

Fruit Tart

Serves 6

1 ready to bake puff pastry sheet, thawed at room temperature for about 40 minute
1½ lb your favorite fresh fruit, cut into uniform size pieces
4 oz sugar
4 oz flour
1 pinch of salt

Roll out the pastry dough when it is thawed, and spread it over a round tart pan. Completely cover the bottom of the pan with fresh fruit.

Next make the crumble. In a mixing bowl, blend together the flour, sugar, butter, and pinch of salt until it becomes uniform and smooth like a dough. Crumble it in chunks over the top of the fruit. Bake the tart in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Aunt Marjorie’s Crawfish Pie

My loving Aunt Marjorie

Yesterday, while I was cooking, I got the devasting news that my aunt Marjorie had passed away. I have been dreading this for a while. My aunt was and is a huge influence in my life. She taught me many things, mostly about cooking. She taught me everything she knew about Indian food. She and my uncle lived in India for a year in the early sixties. They lived in New Orleans for well over 30 years and taught me how to make Jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp creole and the list goes on….

She modeled her kitchen after Julia Child’s, which is now housed at the Smithsonian, with a wall of peg board. They lived in London off and on throughout the years and we were lucky enough to live there at the same time. She attempted to teach me how to sew, so that I could make dresses for my daughter Zoe who was a baby at the time. I think I exasperated her with the sewing lessons, we should have just stuck to cooking. My sewing skills are minimal at best! And once I realized that it’s cheaper to go out and buy a dress, I gave up!

The recipe below is one of hers from a cookbook that she compiled for everyone in the family.

She sent me an email less than a week ago about our family geneology. She found another relative whose son compiled a family tree dating back to 1715. I just got it in the mail a few days ago loved reading it. She signed the email – Your loving Aunt Marjorie

I will miss you dearly….

Aunt Marjorie’s Crawfish Pie

Serves 6 – 8

Pre-made pastry dough (8 small preformed shells or large pie crust)
1 lb Louisiana cooked crawfish tails
1 tsp Creole seasoning
2 Tbs butter
1 green bell pepper, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
½ cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ lbs mushrooms, sliced
10 oz can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
¼ cup parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Bake crust for 10 minutes before adding filling below.

Season crawfish with Creole seasoning and set aside.

Sauté the chopped vegetables over medium heat until softened.  Add soup and parsley and heat for 2 minutes on high.  Add crawfish and pour into prepared crust and bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.

Note:  Sauce can be prepared a day in advance, but do not add the crawfish until ready to bake.

Caramelized Onion, Apple & Brie Tartlets

Chardonnay Tasting

My father had a Chardonnay tasting and asked me to bring an hors d’oeuvres. I had no time to shop and had to dig around my kitchen for ingredients. I found puff pastry, which I always have in the freezer, brie, onions and apples, so this is what I came up with and it worked.

Caramelized Onion, Apple & Brie Tartlets

2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1½ Tbs fresh thyme, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, diced
12 oz Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into ¼” cubes

Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Mix in thyme, season to taste with salt & pepper. Cool. Can be prepared one day ahead, covered and refrigerated.

Roll out cold pastry on lightly floured board.  Cut pastry with a round small cutter, fit into a mini muffin tin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon 1-½ tsp onion mixture on top of each pastry square. Top with apples. Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Top each square with one piece of cheese and bake just until cheese melts, about 3 minutes longer.

Transfer to platter and serve warm.

Pea Tomato Ricotta Tart

A Tart from Waitrose….

I was on the Waitrose (a British supermarket chain) website and stumbled across this summer tart. It’s perfect to bring on a picnic because it can be eaten hot or cold. You can use a ready-made pie crust or make your own.

Pea Tomato Ricotta Tart

Serves 6

1 – 9” par-baked pie crust
4 oz peas (fresh or frozen)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup ricotta
2 medium eggs, beaten
3 Tbs low fat milk
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Tbs freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Par bake the crust for 12–15 minutes until pale golden.

While the crust is cooking, cook the peas in a pan of boiling water for 2–3 minutes until just tender. Drain. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the green onions and zucchini for 5 minutes until softened and golden. Add the peas and stir together.

Beat the ricotta with the eggs, milk and seasoning. Stir in the peas and onion mixture and use to fill the pastry case. Arrange the halved tomatoes around the edge. Scatter with the Parmigiano and bake for 30–35 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve warm or cold.

Note: The firm texture makes this easy to transport for a picnic. Wrap the cold tart in foil and keep chilled.

Caraway Onion Tart

Easy Tarts

I found another really good and easy hors d’oeuvres recipe, caraway onion tart. Instead of making one large rectangular tart, I made little individual tarts by using a mini muffin pan. The caraway seeds give it a unique flavor.

Caraway Onion Tart

Serves 6

2 Tbs butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
1 9”x9” sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1½ tsp caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 350˚.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Add onion and sauté 5 minutes.  Sprinkle sugar over and sauté until translucent, 10 minutes.

Beat eggs in a small bowl to blend.  Stir in sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place pastry on baking sheet.  Press pastry to form a 9”x12” rectangle.  Fold edges to form a ½” high ridge.  Spoon onions into pastry, spreading evenly.  Pour sour cream mixture over, spreading to edges.  Sprinkle with caraway seeds.  Bake until golden, about 40 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart

Fire Island

When I lived in New York in the ‘80s, I spent many a summer in Fire Island with my friend Alan in a shared house on the bay side of the island. Fire Island is very unique and wonderful. We would take the subway to the train to the bus to the boat. I schlepped my dog, Betty (the “Jane” Russell of the Jack variety), wine, food, etc. Fortunately, in the summer months, New Yorkers had the good sense to let you leave work at 1pm, provided you came in an hour early every day.

We would go clamming and eat them with a shallot sauce at the end of the dock at sunset with a glass of wine. You could also find crabs, which came across my foot while clamming one day – ouch! After that, I always wore shoes!

Here is one of the recipes we used to have often, that my friend Max would bring. Everyone was given a grocery list of what they had to bring so that all the meals were coordinated.

I would love to go back with my family sometime. My girls would love it there.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart

Serves 6 – 8

2 Tbs olive oil
1 med. Onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 med. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh basil, minced
2 sun-dried tomatoes, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ cup half and half
1 cup goat cheese, mashed
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 9” par-baked pie crust
1 large tomato, peeled and sliced
1 Tbs butter

Heat oil in a skillet.  Sauté the onion until soft, but not brown.  Stir in the garlic, then add the chopped tomatoes.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thick.  Season with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat eggs with half and half and a pinch of salt.  Stir in the cheeses and the tomato mixture.  Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Arrange tomato slices on top and dot with butter.  Bake about 35 minutes, until the custard is set.  Cool briefly, then serve.

Quiche Lorraine

National Quiche Day!

Apparently, today is national Quiche day. Who knew? In French cuisine, a quiche is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust.

The original ‘quiche Lorraine’ was an open pie with a filling consisting of an egg and cream custard with smoked bacon or lardons. It was only later that cheese was added to the quiche Lorraine. “Cheese is not an ingredient of the original Lorraine recipe”, as Julia Child informed Americans. The addition of Gruyère cheese makes a quiche au gruyère or a quiche vosgienne.

Pâte Brisée is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing the dough into a disc rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill faster. This will also make the dough easie r to roll out, and if you freeze it, it will thaw more quickly.

Quiche Lorraine

Serves 4 – 6

1 Pâte brisée (see recipe below) or pre-made pie crust
6-8 slices Bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups Cream or half-and-half
3 Eggs, beaten
Nutmeg, pinch
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbs Butter

Preheat oven to 400°F. If using pâte brisée, roll it out into a circle large enough to line a lightly greased 8-inch or 10-inch tart pan, spring-form pan or pie pan. The pastry should come at least 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Chill well while preparing remaining ingredients.

Bring about 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the bacon and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Drain well and sauté until browned in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle over the bottom of the chilled crust.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream or half-and-half, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour the cream mixture into chilled crust, taking care not to fill it more than 3/4 full. The quiche will puff up as it bakes.

Set the quiche on a baking sheet and then in the oven. Bake until the quiche puffs and the crust is a light brown, about 25-30 minutes. A knife inserted into the middle of the quiche should come out clean.

Cool slightly and then remove from the tart pan to a serving dish. If you use a pie pan, serve the quiche from the pan without removing it. The sloping sides will not support the weight of the quiche.

Pâte Brisée

All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (increase to 1 1/2 tsp if for a sweet recipe)
2 to 4 Tbs ice water, very cold

Start by cutting the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and placing in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (preferably longer) so that they become thoroughly chilled.

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.

Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into a discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Remove the crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.