Thursday, January 13, 2011

new year's resolution

It's actually been almost 3 months since my last post.  Unbelievable!  I don't really know what the problem was, but for a while I wasn't feeling very creative in the kitchen.  I didn't have a ton of motivation to try new recipes, experiment with new ideas or techniques, and so this blog has suffered.  Well, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to b more diligent in the kitchen.  Remember to enjoy the creative process of cooking, not just try to get to the end result as fast and easily as possible.  I got a few cherished cookbooks for Christmas, and became a lot closer to a new foodie friend, and now I feel this renewed passion for cooking.  I've missed it!

So the other day, I made a simple ham and cheese tart for dinner.  We had so much cheese in our fridge, so I had to think of a way to use some of it up.  I think it turned out perfectly.  I love the thyme and black forest ham with the complex flavors of the different cheeses.  It was a fun and successful experiment.

Cheese and Black Forest Ham Tart
serves 6
1/4 C grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 C grated Manchego cheese
1/4 C grated smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 C grated Irish cheese
(or use any combination of any cheese you think will go well together.  I liked these because each had it's own very distinct and unique, deep flavor that complimented each other really well)
1 sheet frozed puff pastry, thawed in the fridge
1/2 C caramelized onions*
4~5 super thin slices of Black Forest Ham
1/4 t fresh thyme leaves
  1. Preheat the over to 400°F.  On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 16x10 inch rectangle.  Trim the uneven edges.  Place the pastry on a baking sheet.  Lightly score a 1 inch border around the edge of the puff pastry, and prick the inside of border every 1/2 inch with a fork.  Bake until light brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Place the slices of ham over the pastry, followed by the onions, and evenly sprinkle the cheese and thyme over the top.  Place back in the oven until the cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
I served it with a simple green salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  Helped to balance out the cheese:)

Caramelized Onions (America's Test Kitchen Recipe)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 lbs onions (about 4 medium), halved and sliced thin
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon water
  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over high heat.  Stir in the onions, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are deeply browned, about 40 minutes.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the water and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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