This Strawberry Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is one of my very favorites, especially this time of year when the strawberries are at their best. I thought this would be a great addition to all the bread we’ve been making. Continue reading
Greek Tomato Salad was featured on my original blog, “The Ardent Cook” which posted more food recipes than baking and pastry. It was also a TV segment during my TV days. This is super easy to put together and while, best the first day, I have been known to eat leftovers a couple of days later. The feta cheese and calamata olives give it a distinct Greek influence and the simple dressing doesn’t overtake the other ingredients.
As you can see I can’t get enough tomatoes and basil, especially in the summer when they are fresh and plentiful. Just looking at the colors when the Greek Tomato Salad is finished picks up my day. Continue reading
At the retail shop, the clientele loved this Goat Cheese Pesto Tart. It is the perfect example of a savory tart and we did many of them. This Goat Cheese Pesto Tart came from my love of peppers and basil – in this case, pesto. While I appreciate goat cheese, I find it very astringent and usually cut it with cream cheese to mellow it out as I have done here. I used this filling for small crostadas which we used as appetizers. We crossed slivers of red and yellow pepper on the top and they made a dazzling display on a tray when passed. They can be made, as can the tart, ahead and frozen.
For the crostadas, I would freeze them without the peppers on top, adding them after they had been reheated. I particularly like to use this filling for the crostadas as it didn’t lose its shape when heated. We would pipe it on with a large star tip. Continue reading
With tomatoes practically falling off the vines, this is the perfect time to make a French Onion Tart. When I had the take out shop, this was a huge hit. We also made them in half sheet pans, trimmed the edges, cut them into 1 1/2 squares for appetizers. This tart is an example of savory pastries which are as much a part of baking and pastry as sweet.
The crust is as easy to make as falling off a log. While the recipe gives instructions for the food processor, it is just as easy to make in a mixer putting all the dry ingredients in the bowl and the wet ingredients on top. After making the dough it needs to rise. After it rises you can punch it down and refrigerate it for the next day. When ready to use, just push it out into the pan and up the sides. I definitely suggest refrigerating it while you prepare the filling as you don’t want it to rise at this point. It bakes up beautifully browned and crisp with great flavor.
Fresh basil is essential for this French Onion Tart to come to life. Whenever I use fresh herbs in a baked item, I bury them under other ingredients so they retain maximum flavor. If they are sprinkled on top, they will just dry out, so you might as well use the dried version to start.
If the yeast crust has not been done ahead of time, start it first. I start the onions next since they take a bit of time. The next step is to start prepping the tomatoes, olives, and basil. After the onions are finished, cool them to lukewarm. Assemble, bake, wait a few minutes then cut the French Onion Tart for a phenomenal food experience. This is good, hot, warm or room temperature. Continue reading