roasted tomato tart

roasted tomato tart

To those familiar with the magical effect of roasting, I’m sure you share the same excitement that I have when it comes to cranking up the oven and tucking some vegetables in for a long sauna session. Check out what SP has roasted in the past year with this garlic, butternut squash, these pears, and beets.] Roasting absolutely transforms ingredients by imparting richness of flavor and depth of color that can’t easily be rivaled. Think of a fresh tomato: juicy, refreshing, subtly sweet, and bright red. Once roasted, though, the tomato becomes velvety, intensely concentrated in rich, vine-ripened flavor, and luxuriously deep-red in color.

At its core, this savory tart glorifies natural, fresh flavors. It’s bursting with color and delicate textures, and achieves an approachable, rustic elegance. One of the quickest-disappearing appetizers I can remember.

roasted tomato tartroasted tomato tartroasted tomato tart

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roasted tomato tart

Rustic and unfussy, this tart is entirely a celebration of fresh flavors, highlighting rich, roasted tomatoes. Don’t get bogged down with measurements here. It’s about using your best judgment, enjoying the process, and letting great ingredients do all the work for you.

Makes 1 tart, serves about 4-6 as a light appetizer

About 1 pound tomatoes, such as Roma or heirloom, sliced 1/3-inch-thick
Olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 box (1 sleeve) frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
2-3 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan, to taste
Torn basil, for garnishing, about 1/4 cup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large glass dish, toss the tomato slices with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Once well-coated, arrange the slices in an even layer, avoiding any overlap. Sprinkle with a small pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Roast the tomatoes until blistered, about 20 minutes, and flip the tomatoes. Roast for another 15-20 minutes or so, or until the tomatoes are well-softened, but still maintain a bit of structure.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and mist or drizzle lightly with olive oil. Carefully unfold the puff pastry and arrange on top of the prepared baking sheet. Liberally pierce the surface of the pastry with the tines of a fork, except for a 1/2-inch perimeter around the edges, to prevent the pastry from rising too much during baking. Mist or drizzle the pastry lightly with olive oil. Arrange the roasted tomato slices on top of the pastry. Sprinkle with minced garlic. Season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Top with grated parmesan, to taste. Bake the tart for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. If the pastry inflates too much during baking, gingerly and slowly press it back down with the back of a spatula once it comes out of the oven, and let it rest for 5 minutes or so, cut into slices, garnish with a small handful of torn basil, and serve warm.

© Simple Pairings. All rights reserved.

jalapeño cheddar cornbread

jalapeño cheddar cornbread

This week, Simple Pairings is celebrating its first birthday! The year has flown by so quickly, but I’ve enjoyed all the steps along the way in creating, developing, and sharing this blog. Not only am I celebrating an entire year’s worth of SP, but I’m also celebrating the onset of fall, and doing so with a quintessential fall dish, Chili Beans and Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. I especially love this cornbread recipe because it provides a bit of subtle heat with savory cheddar cheese and green onions speckled throughout each piece. It’s definitely an elevated side dish that stands up to the spiciest and heartiest bowls of chili.

jalapeño cheddar cornbreadjalapeño cheddar cornbread

jalapeño cheddar cornbreadjalapeño cheddar cornbreadjalapeño cheddar cornbread

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jalapeño cheddar cornbread

Adapted from Ina Garten

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated, 2 ounces reserved for garnish
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus 1/4 cup or so for garnish
4 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers
Butter or olive oil for greasing the pan

Butter or oil a 8 1/2-by-11-inch baking dish, and set aside.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and melted butter. With a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold in 6 ounces of the cheddar cheese, scallions, and jalapeños until evenly distributed. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

During the rest period, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (depending on how long it takes your oven to preheat.) Pour the batter into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheddar cheese and a small handful of chopped scallions. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

© Simple Pairings. All rights reserved.

easy dill pickles

easy dill pickles

If I told you that making homemade dill pickles was one of the easiest things in the world, would you believe me? It’s completely true. If the idea of homemade pickles is appealing, but you’re daunted by the need to fill and boil batches of jars, you’ve come to the right place. All you need is sliced cucumbers, salt, dill, and white vinegar. Add all the ingredients to a jar, give them a good shake, and let it all sit for a few hours. Seriously! That’s it. Fresh, healthy, all-natural homemade pickles.

Pile them on top of sandwiches, burgers, and wraps. Serve them alongside lunches or midnight snacks. Affordable and unbelievably easy, you’ll think twice before buying store-bought pickles ever again.

easy dill pickleseasy dill pickleseasy dill pickleseasy dill pickleseasy dill pickles

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easy dill pickles

Fantastic by themselves or on top of sandwiches, these pickles are incredibly easy to bring together. Slice, shake, and let chill – it’s as easy as that. This recipe is easily halved if you’re looking for a smaller quantity of pickles.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Fills a 1-quart jar

8 large, or 10 small, firm, fresh Kirby (pickling) cucumbers
2-3 teaspoons kosher coarse salt [if you can't find Kosher salt, use half this amount]
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill [if you can't find fresh, try starting with 1 1/2 teaspoons dried]
1/2 cup white vinegar

Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the cucumbers thinly, approximately 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the sliced cucumbers to a quart-sized jar. Add the salt, dill, and vinegar. Tightly screw the lid onto the jar, and shake the jar for a minute or two to evenly distribute the ingredients. Transfer the jar to the refrigerator and let the pickles chill. After only 2 hours or so, the pickles will be ready to eat – but ideally, let the pickles sit for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight, before serving. The longer the pickles sit, the better they will become.

The pickles will keep well for about three weeks, stored tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

© Simple Pairings. All rights reserved.