Strawberry Tart

I started this post a couple of days ago, meaning to write something about summer, and delicious strawberries, and then something happened. I'm feeling kind of adrift at the moment, and I'm not really sure what exactly I should be doing. I don't share a ton of personal stuff on this blog and since it's relatively new I'm still not sure where I want to draw the line -- so I think I will leave things vague for now. But in any case, this post isn't for sympathy, or for any other reason than to share this tart with you. I just can't bring myself to write about anything else at the moment.

In any case, the strawberries I bought from the farmer's market for this tart really were excellent, and disappeared in a matter of days. This tart is another old recipe from Gourmetmy mom always makes, since my dad is allergic to chocolate, and so reminds me of home -- something I need right now. You can also use raspberries or a variety of berries, but to me, strawberries mean that June is here and I eat them as much as I can.

Strawberry Tart (adapted from Gourmet)

For crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For filling an 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla

Zest of 1 lemon 1 large egg, beaten lightly 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam 1 tablespoon water 3 cups strawberries, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, butter, and 2-3 tablespoons water and pulse until combined. Add more water as needed. Press evenly into a 10-inch tart pan, and prick all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in flour. Pour into warm crust and bake until filling is set, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
Arrange strawberries in a circular pattern on tart. Microwave strawberry jam and water for 30 seconds, or until melted. Brush over tart, and serve immediately (or refrigerate for up to 1 day)

Throwing a Party + Artichoke Dip

Last weekend, Ari turned 25 and rather than going out to dinner, we decided to throw a party. I, of course (voluntarily) was in charge of the food. Rather than hosting a sit-down dinner party which limits the number of guests and  the host's ability to interact with them, we opted to have a bunch of appetizers and dessert. Ari left it to me to come up with the menu, with only a couple of requests. I will admit it was kind of a challenge to make all of this in one day (the only thing I made ahead of time were the cake layers), but particularly if you have a willing sous chef it is definitely possible. My requirements for dishes were as follows: I could do some of the prep work in the morning, that they had similar cooking temperatures so I could have more than one thing in the oven at once, and third, that they could sit out for a while and still taste good.

With these requirements in mind, here is the menu I came up with:

Artichoke dip

Turkey meatballs with soy-glaze

Homemade ricotta crostini with honey

Simple winter salad

Creamed mushroom crostini

Crispy asparagus fries with roasted garlic aioli

Antipasti (purchased)

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Nutella Buttercream

I will be posting the recipes throughout the week, but for the first one, I give you artichoke dip. Inspired by the lovely ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon, this recipe comes together very quickly and makes for a low-maintenance but crowd-pleasing appetizer. Although definitely not low-fat. But hey, you only turn 25 once, right?

Artichoke Dip (from Spoon Fork Bacon)

1 head garlic, top sliced off

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup mozzarella, grated

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

2 tablespoons hot sauce (I used sriracha)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

For topping:

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon parmesan, grated.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic on a sheet of tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap foil around garlic and roasted until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. When cool, squeeze into a large bowl and mash into a paste, discarding the peel. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, and season with salt and pepper. Scoop mixture into a medium-sized baking dish and sprinkle panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Unfortunately, as you can see I didn't get any prep pictures because I was running around like a crazy person trying to finish all of the other dishes. So alas, there are only a couple of pictures of the final dish. Stay tuned for the rest of the menu this week!