Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barefoot: Tomato Goat Cheese Tart and Ellie: Chicken with Mango Barbecue Sauce

When you have a library full of cookbooks, as many of us do, it can be really hard to decide what to make. Many recipes look good, but are they really good? Internet recipe sites can be helpful for answering that question; many recipes are online and have been reviewed by numerous cooks. Reading food blogs, of course, is my favorite ways to get the real scoop on recipes -- food that is tested in advance by people I virtually know and really trust? You can't go wrong there. But if ever have to make a really important dinner or dessert, and I need it to be good, I might just ask myself "What would Anne Strawberry pick?" Or better yet, I'll just ask Anne herself! Because since I've been blogging, Anne has chosen at least three recipes that I can think of: Ina's Apple Turnovers, Dorie's Tall & Creamy Cheesecake, and now this week's Barefoot recipe, Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts, that have made me want to head straight to the highest mountain I can find and give her a loud, echoing shout-out of gratitude.

This tart was simply delicious. Here is a large view of my tart, sideways:

Don't you feel like the sideways orientation really captures the essence of this savory tart? What's that you say? No, it just makes you kind of dizzy? Sorry about that. Last night Blogger started flipping my tart pictures, which had been oriented horizontally, and made them portrait. I tried to outsmart Blogger by going into my pictures and changing them to portrait, hoping that then Blogger would then flip them to landscape when I uploaded, but no, Blogger apparently likes them vertical. Here is the thing about me and technology: it is A MIRACLE that I figured out how to set up a blog by myself, and that I managed to figure out how to upload pictures, underline things, and other basic blogging tasks. My hubs still has to upload music onto my iPod for me. He tries to explain it to me, but I just hear "blah, blah, blah." NOT that he does not explain it in an interesting manner, but I just don't have the gene that makes things like that intuitive to me. So my point is, yes, I have mastered the technical basics of blogging, but it is still very precarious, because if Blogger doesn't want to work correctly for me, I'll never be able to figure out how to fix it. It will just have to fix itself, or I'll be posting sideways pictures forever. Sorry!

Well, back to the tart. It is fabulous. It is made on frozen puff pastry, and the pastry puffs up beautifully around the tomatoes, basil and goat cheese filling. This is super easy to make - saute onions, garlic, add white wine, thyme, salt and pepper. Roll out the puff pastry and trace two 6 inch circles on each sheet (I cut the recipe in half and just made one sheet). I just scrounged around until I found a plate that was about the right size -- no need to go out and buy a compass or anything. Score a half inch border, and fill inside of the border with the onion mixture, herbed goat cheese, and a slice of tomato. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and top with fresh basil, salt and pepper, and a few shards of fresh parmesan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry is puffy and browned. I used a few plum tomato slices rather than one larger tomato slice because that's what I had, but the good thing about a recipe like this is that the tomato will get roasted, which brings out the flavor in even a sub par grocery store tomato. Of course, I can't wait for the farmer's market to open so that I can make this with really delicious tomatoes -- even better!

David and I really enjoyed this. I think I loved it more than he did, but his nature is more reserved in general than mine is, and he tends not to gush over things as effusively as I do when I love something. So maybe he did love it as much as I did, but just showed his love differently (i.e. D - "This is really good!" as opposed to C - "OH. MY. HOLY. LORD. (puts fork down dramatically) Can you even believe this tart? I can't even believe this tart. *sigh* I love Ina Garten. I love Anne Strawberry. This is the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. Ever! Do you hear me? Ever!"). In any event, this would be perfect for a special luncheon, or, in our case, a regular ol' dinner. Oh, and with the leftover pastry (there was a lot of it!) I sprinkled sugar and cinnamon, rolled up, sliced it into pinwheels, and baked. Great treat!

My great bloggy friend Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen chose the Ellie recipe this week, Chicken with Mango Barbecue Sauce. Blogger apparently thought that these worked just fine horizontally and kept them that way, even though I uploaded them at the same time as the tart pictures.

This is another really easy, gushworthy recipe. This barbecue sauce is FABULOUS!!! The roster of ingredients is long, but it comes together quickly: onion, garlic, red bell pepper, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, lime juice, tomato sauce, jalapenos, and, of course, mango. Look at how colorful and pretty this is, pre-blending:

I just used my immersion blender (how did I ever live so long without one?) to mix it all up in the saucepan -- so much easier than transferring it to a separate blender! Mine had more of a salsa-like consistency, which I loved, but I could have pureed it longer to get more of a barbecue sauce consistency. What a combination of flavors!! It is sweet, tart, fruity and spicy all at the same time, and it totally WORKS. If I closed my eyes while eating this, I could almost imagine myself sitting on a balcony overlooking the beach -- it just tastes summery and delicious. I served the chicken with roasted vegetables and brown rice, and the next day turned the chicken, vegetables and a little mozzarella into quesadillas, with the sauce on the side. Equally delicious. This one will be a regular in our house. My whole family enjoyed this.

Thank you, Aggie and Anne. We thoroughly enjoyed both of these recipes, and I'll be making them again and again!


Sara said...

Yum! Both look great. This sauce was more like a salsa, and I pureed the crap out of mine. It was tasty!

Elyse said...

Mmm, everything looks great! Especially that tart!! I love goat cheese and tomatoes, and, well, who doesn't love puff pastry? And, as for technology, well, I'm with you: I need someone else to tell me what's going wrong because there's no chance I'll be able to figure out any glitch by myself! That said, knowing your way around a kitchen seems like a much better skill than knowing your way around a computer!

Jen said...

Your dishes looks great! I have always wanted an imersion blender, but figured there really wouldn't be that many uses for one! What a great idea to use it with this sauce. I had to crawl into the very back of the cabinents to dig out the blender that I haven't used in forever!

Mary Ann said...

Yum, Yum and more Yum. We loved the sauce too. I didn't get to the tarts but after your rave review, I am definitely going to have to squeeze them in somewhere.
Don't you hate it when blogger gets screwed up and loads your pictures wrong?
The pics still look great.

Elra said...

What a delicious tomato tart Cathy, and the chicken with mango sauce win me over. Sounds really tropical delight.

Jessica said...

As a fellow "gusher" I completely appreciate the unreserved approach to tasting food. I'm so glad that you liked these. They're both a little taste of summer, how great is that?

Peggy said...

Oh woe is me - I can't believe I forgot to make my tarts for BB this week! I thought I was being bad by missing TWD, but now I have also missed BB. I have to do better Cathy. Maybe i need a calendar for cooking for something. I'm going to make them tonight!!! Wasn't this chicken with mango just the best ever? I think it is definitely guest worthy even. that is how I measure most recipes. Yours looks delicious.

leanne said...

Your tarts look amazing! I liked the mango barbecue chicken too. Not sure where the barbecue came from because it is not what I would call barbecue sauce.

n.o.e said...

Actually the sideways picture does force one to confront the essential tart elements, so, good job Blogger! (although no doubt infuriating) Tomatoes + cheese + basil = my favorite flavors. The chicken looks really yummy, too. Having a week of home run recipes makes the food blogging worth it, right?

Katherine Aucoin said...

The tart must taste incredible. It sounds so much like something I would love. You should have given me David's tart ;-)

I still have problems with line spacing with blogger and don't know how to fix it.

Maria said...

I really want to try that tart. It looks amazing! Blogger makes me mad all of the time, you are not alone!

Audrey said...

After I climb to the highest mountain and give YOU a shout-out for leading me to these two recipes (that tomato tart is gorgeous!), and for the joy of virtually knowing you, I want to head over to the other highest mountain and say "HALLELUJAH! It's not photographic thunderbolts striking me down! Blogger does the vertical picture thing to other people, too!" I cannot figure this out. (I do suspect it's in the camera, not the blogger, or the two devils working together, but it doesn't matter. It drives me seriously nutso.) I think we should just start a new trend...soon, pictures that are so boringly right side up will just seem so last year. Are you with me?

pinkstripes said...

Hey! You were really good at helping me with Twitterberry so all is not lost in the tech world for you. :P

Those tarts look amazing. I love goat cheese.

Teanna said...

Hahah I am totally like you when my boyfriend tries to explain stuff to me that I cannot understand for the life of me... like finance and derivatives. He sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown : Wah wa wah wa waaaaah.

The tart looks freaking amazing and I think I might have to make that this weekend! Upside down or right side up!

Debinhawaii said...

I am amazed I was able to figure out a blog and all the stuff that goes with it too. And then I got a Mac and had to relearn it all again with only partial success!
Your tarts look great--sideways perspective or not. It is alarming Blogger wants to be a photo editor!

That mango BBQ sauce looks amazing too--I like a chunky sauce.

Jess said...

This post makes me want to rejoin Barefoot Bloggers...and maybe even start cooking healthy food with Ellie! Everything looks wonderful, despite the photo flips.

Marthe said...

Your tast looks really great! You've been busy: both Barefoot Bloggers and CEiMB on one day...
I really liked the mango-bbq sauce too!

Anne said...

You are too funny Cathy, and too nice. I'm glad you liked the recipe. I'm a gusher too and with every bite I'm usually saying, "Holy cow how does Ina do it? She should be knighted or something!" Ben just nods his head and eats happily. Maybe they need more chocolate in their system to excite them, what do you think? :)

Natashya said...

I think that this would have been a great week for me to pop in and invite myself to dinner. Everything looks so colourful, fresh and delicious. Even sideways.

Heather said...

oh my god! that tart sounds amazing. i was drooling the second i read "tomato and goat cheese". yum!!! that mango bbq sauce sounds mighty tasty, too :D

Melissa said...

Very weird about the pictures! You've totally convinced me now that I need to make the tart. It sounds wonderful!!

Suzie said...

I'm so relieved that someone else has problems like sideways pictures... I thought I was the only one who couldn't master blogger! At least it was a round dish, so sideways doesn't really matter! Looks great regardless.

Karen said...

I'm always surprised when something actually works right on my computer.
Those tarts were just the best!

Liz said...

OH my word. I just had dinner but I'm dying for a bite of that tart! Puff pastry + cheese + herbs = true love.

Bridgett said...

The tart looks amazing! I need to try that one.

Anonymous said...

Going to make this tomorrow!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Blogger is quirky sometimes! The tart looks great and so does the chicken! I wish I could find frozen puff pastry here!

Andrea said...

Cathy, your dishes both look amazing! Sorry you were having trouble with blogger, I know how that goes. That mange barbecue sauce sounds so delicious, I will be giving that one a try for sure :) Love your post, as always! said...

Oh I think they look great! I'm glad you loved the tart so much. Anne really does have an amazing ability to pick incredible dishes, doesn't she?


Steph said...

That's why I love blogging groups.. you never run out of ideas! Actually, there are too many ideas. There are just so many things I want to bake and don't have the chance to.

Both dishes look delicious. I used to think it was weird to add fruit in a sauce, but the sweetness adds a really nice flavour.

The Blonde Duck said...

Upside down or right side up, it looks grand!

chuck said...

Cathy, these dishes look delicious! I'm amazed me to see how talented the foodies on the internet are. At least you now that every recipe is made by a foodie who loves food. Beautiful!

bakingwiththeboys said...

That tart looks so good - I wish I hadn't seen it on a weekend when we are expecting a late season snowstorm. Farmers' market where are you?

Don't feel too about blogger. Wordpress is over my head. I still can't put one of those avatars on my site....

Linds said...

Both recipes look delicious! It's really funny that you mention that about blogger flipping your pictures because I had the same issue. Your pictures still look great, sideways or not :)

spike. said...

When the BB posting day is the same as CEIMB, I always want to join Ellie too! Mango BBQ sounds great. Looks like you have two nice dinners there.

Shannon (The Daily Balance) said...

LOVE goat cheese, I'm sure that was delish!

I just found your blog and wanted to say hi!

I look forward to reading more posts ;)

I recently started a blog of my own -- hope you check it out!

farah said...

I loved that chicken with mango barbecue sauce - delicious! Those tarts look fab. I've just printed the recipe and i'm going to try them :)

Jamie said...

I hate tomatoes, yet this tart still makes me excited! I am soooo considering BB!!!!

Leslie said...

Love your sideways goat cheese tarts! I just thought they were creatively photographed (something I'm no good at). Maybe Blogger will decide to give my styling an assist by posting my photos upside down. I love how you used the scraps from the puff pastry! The waste was why I cut mine in squares, so I can't wait to make this again and get make a tasty treat with the scraps. We loved the chicken with the mango barbeque sauce, too, though it's hard to beat puff pastry anything!

Aggie said...

As always Cathy, you make me laugh! That thing with the photos is cracking me up since I can totally relate to the techie disadvantage!

Your food looks mouth is watering...need more food! Thanks for cooking the chicken with me, so glad you liked it! Those veggies look awesome!

Di said...

I'm usually pretty good with the technical stuff, and I still can't figure out how to fix Blogger's sideways thing sometimes. =) Your tart looks really delicious.

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