Tart Craving Mad

Have you ever totally botched lyrics? Like, “Blinded by the Light” will always be followed by, “Wrapped up like a blah nah nyeah na nuuuneenooonana.” Or like my brother, who used to think that the words “Transformers: Robots in disguise” were “Transformers: For the miss bee fied!”

Or how I still think that “stark raving mad” is “star craving mad” because there’ll always be an eight-year-old in me wishing she could hop on a unicorn and make rainbows before blasting off to a land where mermaids are real (I mean, they are) and tree houses were the only houses.

I hope I never lose that girl. She’s pretty rad.

Don’t even think about tomorrow, how you haven’t organized your closet or how dirty the soles of your feet are (they’re like, really dirty). Just remember that little kid who comes out every so often to smack you in the face with a dose of Take It Easy. Save yourself the blisters and take off your shoes.

Indulge in tart craziness.

Sometimes, food is just so beautiful.

Like, really, really beautiful. Heirloom cherry tomatoes are outrageous.

I made sweet and savory tarts because, let’s face it, I would’ve eaten all of the sweet ones for dinner.

Space the puff pastry squares (rectangles) a good inches apart. They poof (puff?) in the oven.

Also, don’t bake the mint or basil leaves. They’ll fizzle and die. Wait until the tarts have cooled a bit and just pop off the blackberry before slipping in a mint leaf or two.

Or just throw the leaves on however you please.

Opposites attract.

Blackberry, mint and lemon goat cheese tart / Heirloom tomato, basil and brie tart

For the blackberry tart:

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/2 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss the blackberries with the balsamic vinegary and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, mix together the goat cheese, lemon zest, honey and milk with a fork until smooth.

Cut the puff pastry sheet into 12 2-3 inch rectangles and score with a sharp knife, being sure not to cut all the way through.

Scoop about 2 teaspoons-worth of goat cheese mixture onto each square and top off with the balsamic blackberries.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the goat cheese and puff pastry are brown. Once the tarts have cooled slightly, slip a mint leaf underneath each blackberry.

Makes 12 four-bite-sized tarts.

For the heirloom tomato tart:

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
brie cheese, thinly sliced (12 small pieces)
12 basil leaves
6 cherry heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

Same procedure as the blackberry tart, but without the frills. Cheese, tomato, basil. Boom.

Makes 12 tarts.

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Vegan Blackberry Banana Bread

I will never be a vegan.  Let me tell you why:

CHEESE.

A tip of my hat to all vegans who have managed to convince themselves that soy cheese can replace that amazingly rich, sharp, creamy, delectable mass of curdled and sometimes moldy milk.

However!  Vegan baked goods are the bomb diggity.  Not the ones that have egg and butter substitutes made out of tofu, but the ones that have applesauce and agave.

Also, butter is incredible.  Especially when making home fries.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find myself spooning like a banana.

The blackberries are a tart and gooey addition to this already-dense and gooey bread.  Totally optional, but I think they make the loaf more exciting.

See?  Deep purple.  Lovely.

Vegan Blackberry Banana Bread.

3 overripe bananas
1 cup blackberries
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup agave syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.

Mash bananas with a fork in a large bowl and add the agave, apple sauce, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Slowly add the dry ingredients in small batches, fully mixing after each addition.  Fold in the blackberries, setting four or so to the side to slice width-ways for the topping.

Pour mixture into a greased 9×3 loaf pan, placing the sliced blackberries on top of the batter.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.