three cheese tomato tart + pizza

12 July, 2012 § Leave a comment

Image from The Kitchn

When someone asks you to make something again, it’s a good sign. When someone straight up begs you to satiate their craving for something–ladies and gentlemen, you’ve got a winner.

That’s what happened with this cheesy tomato tart. Originally, I made the tart above exactly according to The Kitchn’s recipe, minus the basil. The other night, however, when my boyfriend was hankering for said tart and I wanted a salad (which I will also get to posting), I decided to make a personal pizza version and it came out–dare I say it–even better.

The tweaks I made were mainly minor measurement adjustments; still, the original recipe for the tart can be found here.

Behold, the reason why I prefer not to use my own photographs

A few minutes after this shot was taken, I barely needed to wash the plate before I returned it to the cupboard where it came from. This is also a good sign.

Three Cheese Tomato Pizza Serves one
Adapted from The Kitchn

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1-2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
Scant 1/2 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
Scant 1/2 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
Shredded parmesan cheese, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lay out the tomato slices on a large sheet of paper towels. If you plan on using the design above, you’ll need seven. Cover with more paper towels and allow to drain for approximately 30 minutes (this is crucial to not getting a watery tart). Meanwhile, remove the sheet of puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes. Knead the pastry dough a little as it thaws.

Transfer the puff pastry onto a floured surface. Roll the pastry dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick all over, working it into a circle as you go. Transfer the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet . If you like a slightly puffy, chewy crust, move on to the next step. For a thinner, crispier crust, poke holes in the dough all over with a fork.

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over the puff pastry, leaving room to hold the crust. Sprinkle evenly with shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Arrange the tomato slices over the cheese. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously (or to your preference) with shredded parmesan  and garnish with whatever you like (I chose a little more freshly ground pepper.)

Bake for 24-28 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese is melted and starting to brown on top. Slice with a pizza slicer or a sharp knife and serve immediately.


lavender-lemon risotto

8 July, 2012 § Leave a comment

Somewhere along the line, you’re gonna crave pudding. And whether it be in the winter months like a normal person, or at the start of a sticky, sweaty, start-having-conversations-with-your-aircon July (like me), that pudding will really hit the spot. For me, that pudding was lavender-lemon risotto.

I’ve always been a big fan of rice pudding. It’s a simple, unassuming dessert that doesn’t want any trouble–sort of like that crying girl who’s bent on unity in Mean Girls. I’ve had it at home when I feel under the weather (hey, Cozy Shack) and at steakhouses as a followup to a filet mignon (I’m convinced they’ve made a pact to always top with cinnamon). What this rice pudding offers is something different–something more sophisticated and delicate, but still comforting and delicious.

When I contemplated how I could tweak this recipe I considered the obvious–Splenda over Sugar–as well as the more challenging. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice the heavenly creaminess of rice pudding for more favorable nutrition facts, but rice pudding is supposed to make you feel better, not guilty.

The natural thing to do was to make it with low-fat milk, but I’d have to compensate somehow to salvage the creaminess factor. Enter arborio rice. Arborio rice, otherwise known as the risotto rice, has a much higher starch content than the long-grain white rice used in the original recipe–as does sushi rice, for the record. The higher starch provides any creaminess I would’ve missed using my trusty 1% Horizon Organic. So, pudding lovers, rice pudding is not a crime.

Lemon-Lavender Risotto
adapted from Adventures in Cooking

2 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup Splenda or preferred sugar substitute
1 egg yolk
1 tea bag, empty
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried lavender
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Optional Garnish
1/4 tsp dried lavender
1/2 tsp largely grated lemon zest

Place the dried lavender in the tea bag, staple it shut with a string attached and set aside.

Heat the milk, rice, sugar, water and bag of lavender in a medium sized pot until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning.

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk at high speed until slightly bubbly on top, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the rice pudding into the egg yolk, stirring constantly. Continue to add rice pudding to the egg yolk mixture tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing well.

Scoop the rice pudding into 4 individual serving bowls and garnish with the remaining lavender and the largely grated lemon zest. Serve warm or chilled.

A little lavender escaped from my tea bag into the rice pudding, and no taste buds were harmed. Don’t worry if you have the same problem. Also, be picky about the pith when grating your lemon zest–if any pith sneaks into the pudding, its bitterness will come right through. Finally, I ended up pouring a splash or two more milk into my pot to keep the pudding from getting too dense, so pour to your preference. Be advised, however, that the arborio quickly absorbs the milk and rethickens. 

Some teenagers consider scrambled eggs their specialty…

7 July, 2012 § 1 Comment

…but not this one.

Hi! My name is Katy, and this is my first attempt at food blogging. I am a 17-year old chef-in-training, and I’ve been making a mess of my kitchen since I could reach the counter. My first effort was, naturally, a disaster (I’m looking at you, gingersnap salad)–but I’ve come a long way since then.

My mother is a fantastic cook who shies away from no culinary challenge, and she’s taught me to be the same. My grandma never let my mom in the kitchen, so she went on a mission to play opposites and teach me everything she knows. Whether it be truffles out of the Payard cookbook or an excruciating 3-day roast, you name it, I’ll try to make it.

That being said, I’m happiest when I’m baking (hence the title). My friends have learned to love exams–for them, they often translate into cookies. As a perfectionist, I’m comforted by my ability to get from start to finish and produce something beautiful and yummy. As a listophile, I love writing grocery lists and rearranging recipes, and as a health nut, I enjoy tweaking them to make them slightly less sinful.

Of course, when I eat out, I pay less attention to nutritious and more attention to delicious. Aside from being lucky enough to have developed a very discerning palate, I’ve also been taught to be an adventurous and mindful eater. Coming from a family of open-minded foodies, I’m proud to say that my favorite food is an honest-to-god tie between beluga caviar and Kraft mac n’ cheese.

As I’m starting this blog in the summer months, I should mention that my culinary experiments become more adventurous. When homework isn’t an issue and heat is, I love to spend quality time with my Cuisinart (among other things) and see what I’ve been missing on the savory side. I’ve recently joined Pinterest–I’m already obsessed–so I have lots of inspiration to go off of for salads, sandwiches and more.

I created this blog in order to share with others my passion for cooking and baking and my fearless approach to all things food. I thought it would be interesting to have a teenager’s point of view floating around in the food blog world, which I’ve found is dominated by 20- and 30-somethings. I also recognize that I have a lot to learn about both food and food blogging–so skeptics, I welcome you with open arms (and cabinets). If I can make you smile, laugh or learn something along the way, even better.