I was asked by mommy dearest to prepare dinner on Good Friday this week, to which I happily agreed. (Let’s be honest, I rarely disagree with food-related requests). One of the guests was a vegetarian, so I had to wrack my carnivorous brain to come up with some good vegetarian dishes.
Needless to say, for someone who adores meat and seafood as much as I do, it was a very traumatic and painful experience. Vegetarian food, and ESPECIALLY vegan food is my Kryptonite. I blame that on the many mouth-watering, stomach-growling, lips-licking meaty-food distractions I have had over the years. Frankly, I just haven’t given much thought to vegetarian/vegan cuisine, and as such, I have inevitably neglected the veggie side of things.
My experience with vegetarian food is somewhat limited. I have had plenty of Chinese vegetarian food, and absolutely adore it… The Chinese are masters of textured protein products, which means that I eat vegetarian food that tastes juuuuuust like meat, which really does not capture the essence and diversity of all those vegan/veggie foods out there.
This vegetarian guest gave me a perfect stepping stone to venture into the wild world of vegetarian food, so I took this opportunity to discover, adapt and create some vegetarian food that even I would like. Obviously, as a vegetarian novice, I turned to dairy to make things interesting. I will have to learn to be comfortable with my veggies before I even think of courting vegan food. (How you doin? What a nice meatless, dairy-less day. Why don’t we go grab a soy-milk latte and learn more about each other, huh?)
And so, my adventure continued. I experimented and drew inspiration from a few different recipes, and made an Italian inspired appetizer. So here you go, another Nommy Noms recipe, enjoy!
Cherry Tomatoes & Mozarella Cheese Tart
- Pastry flour —————————- 1 1/4 Cup
- Sugar ———————————– 1 1/2 Tbs
- Salt ————————————– 1/4 Tbs
- Chilled butter, cubed —————– 85 grams or 6 Tbs
- Egg Yolk ——————————– 1, From a large egg
- Vinegar ———————————- 1/2 Tsp
- Ice water (without the ice) ———– 2 Tbs (up to 3Tbs if needed)
The Fun Part:
- Chill cubed butter in a freezer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with iced water and vinegar.
- Add chilled butter to the food processor, until well incorporated into the flour mixture (~30 seconds).
- Add in yolk mixture (pour evenly, all at once), continue to mix in food processor. The dough should come together in a ball form, if not, add an additional 1 Tbs of iced water.
- Once ball is formed, wrap tightly with cling film, and place in the fridge and chill for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F/177C.
- When chilled, take dough out and let it rest for 5 minutes on a well floured surface. When resting the dough, spray tart moulds with vegetable oil.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface to a sheet of 1/4 inch thick. Spray tart molds with vegetable oil, and divide the dough evenly with a knife or pizza cutter. Place each trimmed piece of pastry over the mold and press gently, only with the fingertips, so that the pastry fits snugly in its tart mold.
- Keep the scraps from the 1st round, and reuse it. Handle the scraps as little as possible.
- Using a fork, poke holes in the base of the tart.
- Bake the tarts in the oven for about 15 minutes. Shells should NOT be browned, there will be further baking later.
- Allow tart shells to cool and take them out of the shell. Once cooled, tart shells can be stored up to 1-2 days in an airtight container.
Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Filling
- Parmesan Cheese ———————————————— ~ 6 Tbs (grated/powdered)
- Mozzarella cheese (NOT the ones in water) —————- ~ 100 Grams (finely shredded)
- Cheery/Grape Tomatoes —————————————- 2 Pints (halved)
- Extra virgin olive oil (1)———————————————— 1/4 Cup
- Balsamic vinegar ————————————————— 1 Tbs
- Sugar —————————————————————– 1 1/2 Tsp
- Salt ——————————————————————– 1/2 Tsp
- Chili flakes ———————————————————– 1/2 Tsp
- Pepper —————————————————————- 1/4 Tsp
- Garlic —————————————————————— 2 Cloves
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2) —————————————— 1 Tbs
- Fresh basil ———————————————————– a small bunch, coarsely chopped
The Fun Part
- Preheat the oven to 425 F/ 218 C
- Halve the tomatoes and toss it with the oil (1), balsamic, sugar, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Let marinade for 15 minutes.
- Make garlic oil: Mince garlic and set aside in a small bowl, add oil (2), and season with salt and pepper.
- Pop cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until skin is slightly shriveled Meanwhile, sprinkle ~1/2 Tbs of Parmesan in each tart crust, then top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- When cherry tomatoes are done, remove from the pan with a fork, and gently top 4-5 cherry tomato halves onto the tarts. Drizzle with garlic oil, and pop back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
- When tarts are done, sprinkle some basil and serve!