Week 22 - More tarts, less guilt and some drunken carrots

[Posted by Ruth]

We're big fans of pies and tarts, both sweet and savory, around here.  The problem is that, while I'm very happy with my standard butter pastry crust, it calls for a lot of butter; making it seem better suited for special occasions than for weeknight dinners.  It really is kind of pointless to feel proud of eating all these vegetables if I surround them with sticks of butter.

So, I did some looking around and found a savory olive oil tart crust that's quick and easy and almost guilt-free.  I'll never replace my flaky crust completely, but this will mean more tarts around here.  This week's tart is a mix of escarole, leeks and goat cheese.  It made both a good dinner and a tasty brown bag lunch cold the next day.

Savory Olive Oil Tart Crust.
(makes enough to line one 10-11" tart pan)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil, optional (or herb of your choice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold water

Whisk flours, salt and herbs together to blend.  Use a fork to mix in the olive oil and water.  When the dough comes together, give it a few quick kneads right in the bowl.  Add a few more drops of oil and water, if necessary, to bring the dough together.  At this point, you can roll it out immediately and line the tart pan.  It takes a little work to roll it out, but you will be able to get it quite thin.  Line the tart pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 hour.  During this time you can preheat the oven and make your tart filling.

Escarole and Goat Cheese Tart
Preheat oven to 400.

1 bunch escarole, roughly chopped, thicker parts of stems removed
2 small leeks or a small onion, finely chopped
5 pieces of bacon, excess fat removed and chopped
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. fresh goat cheese.

Cook bacon over medium heat until cooked through and beginning to crisp.  Do not over-brown.  Add leeks or onions to pan and continue to cook until they are soft but not brown.  Stir in the escarole and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt but is not fully broken down.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs and milk together and season with salt and pepper.  

Distribute the escarole, bacon mixture in the bottom of the tart shell.  Pour the egg mixture over the top and dot all over with the goat cheese.  Bake at 400 for 25-35 minutes, until the custard feels firm in the middle and the top of the goat cheese is beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before serving.  Can be served hot, room temperature or cold.

 Drunken Carrots...

I also had some fun with the carrots this week.  My company imported a new Limoncello that I've been working with.  It was still out on the counter the other night, so it wound up in our carrots.  It turned out to be a great combination.  If you have any Limoncello in the house, give it a try.  No real recipe here, just slice carrots and cook, covered, in a saute pan  with a small amount of water until almost tender.  Take the lid off and add a bit of butter, 2 or 3 tablespoons of Limoncello, salt and a generous amount of pepper.  Cook stirring, until most of liquid evaporates and forms a glossy coating on the carrots.