Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Easy Leek Tart and My New Favorite Thing

Before I get into the feature food for today, I have to tell you about my new favorite snack.  As in, I just made this and ate it and fell in love.  Pardon my run-on sentence.  I've been eyeing the honey at Fresh Market the past few times I've been in there.  I caved today and bought some raw tupelo honey produced by The Savannah Bee Company.

The label says it never crystallizes and has a buttery taste and smooth texture.  Um yeah.  Honeys are sort of like snowflakes; no two are exactly the same.  The notes of honey are determined by the flower the bees decide to snack on that day. So this tupelo honey will taste different from orange blossom honey or clover honey.

I bought this almond butter packet the other day (also from Fresh Market) mostly because I thought it was brilliant marketing.  I've always wanted to try almond butter but didn't want to invest in a whole jar of it if it turned out I didn't care for it.  Enter this little squeezy pack of Justin's Almond Butter.  I'm pretty sure I saw him on the Cooking Channel the other day after I'd bought this.  Anyhow, it's enough for a sandwich or two, so I used some today.

So I made a half sammich with the honey and almond butter.  Remember those kind of gross sandwiches they served at school with peanut butter and honey that may or may not have been from 1995?  Yeah, there's no competition.  I don't have a picture of it because I ate it and then decided to tell you about it.  Oops.  Do yourself a favor and buy some good honey and a packet (or two...or a jar) of almond butter and make a sammich.

Now for the big to-do.  I made an easy leek pastry last night with goat cheese and prosciutto.  Yummm.  Truth be told, my mom and I probably could've eaten it as dinner, but we both ate two slices and a bowl of chili.  Overkill.

It starts with a leek.  Actually it starts with thawing your puff pastry.  That takes about 40 minutes so get it out first.  Then get your leek.
He was kind of a big'un.  Lop off the ends.  You want to cut the top off where the green part starts to get dark and tough looking.  It feels like a big waste, but wait until you see all the goodness you get from just this part.

Thinly slice the bad boy.  Try to make them close to the same size slices so they cook evenly.

This is a good time to rinse.  Leeks are known for being sandy and dirty because they grow up through the ground, thus getting dirt in the leaves.  I like to stick the slices in a big bowl of water and separate the rings a bit if they look like they might have some der-bis.  This guy was pretty clean.  Thanks, Fresh Market.

Dry them off with a paper towel.  You can let them sit there until you need them.

I think everything is better with garlic.  This is two minced cloves.  I don't think I've ever used the stuff that comes in a jar.  I've heard it tastes a little differently from fresh garlic, and I'm content to mince it myself.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic.

When the garlic starts to give off a nice aroma (about a minute or so...definitely before it starts to brown), add the leeks.  Let those go for about 10 minutes or just until they get nice and soft.  Give 'em a stir every so often.  Oh and let them have a pinch of salt and pepper while you're at it.

Unfold the puff pastry on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  I gave this one a little prick with a fork since my last sheet of puff pastry went crazy on me.  Also, give it a nice rub with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Don't be afraid of olive oil.  It's fantastic for you in so many different ways.  It's got healthy fats and helps protect your brain from strokes and the like.  So oil up.  It's also nice for your skin.

Add the softened leeks and garlic and crumble some goat cheese on top.  I used about 2 ounces or half the log of cheese.

Top it with half an ounce of prosciutto.  I only know this is half an ounce because the package is 3 ounces, and there are six slices in there.  Voila.  Bake it at 400º for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

In the meantime, let's reduce some balsamic vinegar.  I did a cup, which gave me way more than I needed for drizzling.  I don't mind having it around though just in the fridge for various uses.

Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat, and let it go until it's thickened up.

When the pastry is pretty and golden, take it out of the oven.  See, much more normal looking.

And admire it.

Slice it up and drizzle some of the balsamic reduction over it.  I ate two slices.  Y'know, so I could tell you how it was.  I made six large slices, which could feed up to six people if you're serving it as an appetizer or two people for dinner.  Leeks+goat cheese+prosciutto = the business.


Easy Leek and Goat Cheese Pastry (serves 2-6)

1 medium-large leek, thinly sliced and rinsed
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbs olive oil, plus 1 tsp for pastry
2 oz. goat cheese
1/2 oz. prosciutto
1/4-1/2 c balsamic vinegar

  • Preheat oven to 400º.  Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add leeks and sauté until soft.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Run puff pastry with remaining teaspoon of olive oil.  Spread leeks and garlic over thawed puff pastry on a greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle goat cheese over pastry and tear prosciutto over tart.  Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Bring balsamic vinegar to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Reduce until thickened.
  • Slice pastry into 6 slices and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

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