Tag Archives: basil

Roasted Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Tart

Took this pic w/ my cell. I swear I have THE WORST camera karma. I forgot my camera charger--again! Will have it back this weekend, though (Thx, Guapo!)

I’m so excited to write today. It’s one of those dreamy Sunday afternoons here in the city. Sun, a cloudless sky and quiet on the street below. The cherry blossoms have also started budding and blooming right outside my apartment window. It is a day to be spent out of doors, which is exactly what I’ll be doing when I go on a walking tour of Victorian San Francisco.

But before I could do anything, I had to make this tart.

It is the kind of tart that comforts my little heart and puts all thoughts to rest. I simply read through the instructions and let my hands do the work. No over-thinking, no stressing. Just baking.

We had beautiful organic tomatoes and basil left over from Melita’s dinner party last week. It would have been a shame to let them just sit there. So I rescued them. I came across this Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Tart on Lisa is Cooking a few months ago, which in a google search led me to Nick Malgieri’s recipe. The dough is olive oil based, which intrigued me. And the ingredients list for the filling is short—and also very flexible—which is even more interesting. Each ingredient’s flavor will be distinct and intense in its own way. Also, you can completely change the character of the tart by using a different cheese and/or roasted veggies.

I hope you enjoy this tart as much as I did. Happy Superbowl Sunday!

Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart (adapted from Nick Malgierie’s The Modern Baker)

Makes one 10 to 11-inch tart

Olive Oil Dough

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2-3 tbsp water

Roasted Tomatoes

4 large tomatoes, cut into eighths

4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

olive oil

salt and pepper

Tart Filling & Egg Mixture

10 oz mild goat cheese, crumbled

1 large handful basil, cut into thin strips

6 large eggs

salt and pepper

METHOD

Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Place the prepped tomatoes and garlic cloves onto a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil on top and then sprinkle over the salt and pepper. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  2. Transfer the tomatoes to a small bowl and allow to cool completely. Discard the garlic (I suppose you could use it if you like).

Dough

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix. (I did this sans food processor.)
  2. Add the oil, egg, egg yolk and water. Pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a shaggy ball. Don’t over-mix or the oil might separate out of the dough and make it impossible to handle later on. If the dough seems dry and not about to form a ball, add water a 1/2 tsp at a time until it does. (I also did this all by hand. I made a well in the flour, whisked together the egg, egg yolk, oil and water in the well and then with a fork gradually mixed the liquids and flour mixture together.)
  3. Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Press the dough into a disk without folding it over on itself. Wrap and chill for up to 3 days.

For the Tart

  1. When you are ready to bake the tart, set a baking rack in the lowest level of the oven and pre-heat to 375 F.
  2. Roll the dough on a floured surface and then line your tart pan with it, trimming away the excess dough at the top rim. (I don’t like adding even more flour to the dough—it makes a mess and also changes the dough. Instead, I roll the dough out between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. No mess, no sticking and an easy transfer from counter to tart pan.)
  3. Sprinkle the tart crust with the goat cheese. Cover the cheese with the roasted tomatoes, slightly overlapping, followed by the basil.
  4. Whisk the eggs with the salt (not too much; the cheese is salty enough) and pepper. Pour the mixture into the tart crust to uniformly cover the tomatoes.
  5. Bake the tart until the filling is set and well colored and the crust is baked through, ca. 30 minutes. (Mine needed 35 min.) Then cool on a rack. Serve at room temperature.
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Fish Baked in Foil-Purses and Topped with Homemade Spinach Pesto

Last night was Melita’s birthday. So we three girls decided to celebrate the occasion with a mini-celebration at home. We started with fondue, which we ate standing over the stove :P. For the main course, I made this amazingly easy and healthy baked fish topped with homemade spinach pesto. And for dessert, leftover tres leches cake from dinner the night before and a lemon tart (recipe to follow).

I’m tired and want to go to bed, so I’m not going to say much about this recipe, except that it’s dead easy to prepare and super healthy and oh so delicious—especially with the pesto and goat cheese.

Enjoy!

Tomato, Spinach and Fish Baked in Foil-Purses with Homemade Spinach Pesto (adapted from this recipe found on Apartment Therapy The Kitchn)

Serves 3 hungry girls ;P

INGREDIENTS

Fish

3 filets of white fish (not sure what kind I used—tilapia probably)

3 large handfuls baby spinach

2 roma tomatoes

1/2 purple onion, sliced thinly

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

salt and pepper

basil (I used dried.)

the juice of 1 lemon

olive oil

goat cheese, to top

Spinach Pesto

2 handfuls baby spinach

1 handful walnut halves

1/4 cup aged gouda, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic

juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the Fish: Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Prepare 3 large pieces of aluminum foil.
  2. Divide the spinach leaves among the three sheets, laying them close together in the middle. Lay one piece of fish on each bed of spinach. Season generously with salt, pepper and basil.
  3. Divide the garlic and tomato and onion slices between the three pieces of fish, laying them on top. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over each. Then sprinkle another pinch of salt and pepper over each. Then drizzle a little olive oil (ca. 1-2 tbsp) over each pile.
  4. Fold up the edges of the foil to create a closed foil-purse and bake, on a baking sheet, for about 20 minutes, just until the fish is opaque.
  5. Open the purses and put the oven on broil. Broil for 2-3 minutes.
  6. While the fish is baking, prepare the pesto: Combine all ingredients except the olive oil and lemon in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Then, while the machine is still on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice. Mix until combine. Taste and season with a little more salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Once finished baking, plate the fish and veggies, spooning the juice over each pile. Then top with a generous spoonful of pesto and a dollop of goat cheese. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

Tomato-Basil Focaccia for Fleet Week

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Admittedly, focaccia was perhaps a bit much for a rooftop Fleet Week party. Especially since it turned to be much more kegger than garden party. I don’t really care, though. If I’m honest, the majority of my baking and cooking endeavors stem not from an abundantly generous nature but rather from a secretly egotistical one.

It’s all for the pictures and for the blog!

Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy baking and cooking for others. Like for my mom, it’s a way for me to express my love, a not all-too-easy feat for someone as shy as me! (^_^) Also, if I weren’t actually a chubby girl trapped in this little body (I’m serious—she wants out), I’d probably be able to enjoy a lot more of what I make.

I think I may have attempted a simple rosemary focaccia in the past, but it totally paled in comparison to this version from Jamie Oliver (Oliver again?!?! Majorly crushing on the Naked Chef! <3)

Again, easy-to-follow instructions, short list of colorful, bright ingredients from Jamie. And as there was kneading and proving involved, I was a happy girl!

All you really need to concern yourself with is getting the dough right. Once you have that, you’re free to get as topping-happy as you like. For my first try, I added the red onions and Asiago for more color and flavor. Corn, maybe another cheese variety like Gorgonzola and arugula instead of basil would be pretty stellar too.

I heart Jamie.

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Tomato-Basil Focaccia (recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Kitchen. Original available here.)

Makes 1 large focaccia or 2 smaller loaves

INGREDIENTS

Basic Bread Recipe

3 x 7g sachets dried yeast

30 g / 1 oz honey or sugar

625 ml / just over 1 pint tepid water

1 kg strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting

30 g / 1 oz salt

Toppings

600 g cherry tomatoes (I bought the multi-colored ones from Trader Joes, which pretty sweet.)

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

10 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (guesstimated here)

flour for dusting

1 huge handful fresh basil, leaves picked

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

asiago cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the dough: Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water.
  2. On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of one hand, make circular movements from the center moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other half of the tepid water into the center and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust quantities.)
  3. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes—this develops the gluten and the structure of the dough. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little flour.
  4. Flour both your hands well and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape and place it on a baking tray or in a large mixing bowl. Score it deeply with a knife, allowing it to relax and prove with ease until it’s doubled in size. Ideally, you want a warm, moist, draught-free place for the quickest prove, for example near a warm cooker or in the airing cupboard (I always put mine in the microwave), and you could cover it with clingfilm if you want to speed things up. (I always do.) This proving process improves the flavor and texture of the dough and should take around 40 minutes, depending on the conditions.
  5. While the dough is proving, prick your tomatoes with a knife and drop them into boiling water for around 30 seconds. Drain, cool them under cold water, and remove the skins, keeping them whole if possible—as they’re nice and small.
  6. Take your proved dough and bash the air out, then put it on a floured surface and roll it out about 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick.
  7. Transfer the dough to a floured baking tray and push the dough to fill the tray completely. Distribute the tomatoes, basil leaves and sliced red onion evenly over the top. Pour the olive oil over everything.
  8. Push your fingers to the bottom of the tray across the whole dough, using them like a poker, pushing them through the dough and then flattening them out when you hit the tin. (Feels sooo good :P) This gives the bread its classic shape and makes indentations so you get little pools of oil when it’s cooking. Leave to prove until it has doubled in size again.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 425 deg. F (220 deg. C).
  10. Once doubled, sprinkle the salt, pepper and crumbled asiago over the top. Place the tray in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes (Mine needed ca. 25 min), until the bread is crisp and golden on top and soft in the middle.
  11. Remove bread from the oven. Drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil (I didn’t do this).

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Gai Pad Ga Prao (Thai-style Stir-Fried Chicken and Basil)

One of the best parts of having lived in Singapore was its proximity to everywhere else! Southeast Asian metropolises, ancient cultural sites and exotic holiday destination are a mere 1 1/2-hour plane ride away–and thanks to budget airlines like Tiger Airwats, Air Asia and Jetstar, more than affordable.

A favorite destination of mine is Thailand. On my most recent trip, I was on an island called Koh Phi Phi Don, where for 5 straight days I gorged on, sipped, nibbled and devoured some of the best culinary dishes the island had to offer. One such dish was Gai Pad Ga Prao. Though consisting of only a few ingredients, the mingling of flavors from the ground chicken, basil and fish sauce make for a tasty and tangy combination.

Gai Pad Ga Prao (Thai-style Stir-Fried Chicken and Basil)

recipe from Real Thai Recipes

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic

2-30 small Thai chilies, to taste

200 g ground chicken

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp dark black soy sauce

1/4 tsp white sugar

2 handfuls holy basil leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Smash chilies with a stone mortar and pestle  if you have one, or use the side or back of a knife. Smash garlic, and set aside with the chilies.
  2. Clean basil by picking off the leaves and flowers, and discarding the stems. Rinse and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan until very hot on high heat. Throw in the chilies & garlic, and stir until browned. You should sneeze from the chili. (You may want to open a window.)
  4. When the garlic is ready, add the pork. Break it up in the pan with your spatula, to make sure it cooks evenly. Fry until no longer red.
  5. Add sugar, soy sauce & fish sauce. Stir and let absorb.
  6. When dry, add the water and the basil leaves. Stir until basil is wilted, and serve on rice.
  7. If you want to top with a fried egg, add a bit more oil in the pan, and allow the oil to get very hot. Crack an egg in the middle. If it’s hot enough the egg will bubble up and sizzle. When browned on the edges, flip and wait until browned on the other side.
  8. Remove and place on top of the rice.

Creamy Saffron and Basil Pasta

This recipe is the first for my blog. Though I can no longer remember where I found the recipe (I have a feeling it is a Swiss recipe from the Canton of Tessin), I believe the original used zucchini blossoms instead of basil.

More than just a simple cream sauce, this sauce is made unique through the additions of saffron and generous amounts of fresh basil. It’s rich and warming, yet at the same time aromatic and fresh. One of the first dishes I ever adapted, it remains one of my all time favorites to make!

Serves 4.

Enjoy!

Creamy Saffron and Basil Pasta

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

olive oil, for frying

1-2 large handfuls basil, sliced chiffonade

a pinch of saffron

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper, to taste

16 oz pasta of your choice

grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Directions

1. Boil the water for the pasta.

2. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until lightly browned.

3. Pour in the water and allow to come to a simmer and reduce by one-third.

4. Add the basil and let cook down for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

5. Stir in the saffron.

6. Pour in the cream and then add a little salt and pepper to taste.

7. Allow to simmer slowly and thicken. (Tip: add a little grated parmesan to speed up the thickening process.)

8. Serve over pasta cooked al dente, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.