Friday, February 11, 2011

a fine romance

 Cards for everyone in the family. Gotta spread the love!

There is something romantic about a tart. Even the word TART sounds sexy and risque! With Valentine's day on our doorstep my fancy has turned towards pastry crust. In particular I am thinking about a whole wheat crust for a savory tart. Improbably for this time of year I could not shake the desire to fill my tart shell with zucchini. Potatoes and mushrooms would help fill it out.
By sauteing the vegetables before adding them to the crust the flavors get built up. The idea is to cut the vegetables into a small dice so they cook quickly and stay tender.
The crust I had in mind was a simple whole wheat crust. I found a recipe online and then tweaked it a bit. The results were divine! The crust tasted great and had a truly delicate texture which is exactly what I was after. For the filling I added a few eggs and some cheese to the vegetables, almost like a quiche, but a little less eggy. This tart makes a nice starter to a romantic dinner or could be served as part of a breakfast, say, in bed!

Zucchini Potato Mushroom Tart
The Filling:
2 medium zucchinis cut into a small dice
1 cup mushrooms, cut into a small dice
1 medium red potato, cut into a small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs olive oil
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup cheese coarsely grated (fontina, chedder, grueyer, or goat)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the the oil and the butter in a saute pan. Add the zucchini and the garlic and cook quickly for 4-5 minutes until the zucchini browns a bit and is tender. Remove zucchini from pan and put into a bowl. Put the potatoes in the pan and saute for 7-8 minutes until the potatoes are tender and brown in spots. Put the cooked potatoes in the same bowl with the zucchini. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the other vegetables. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, the cheeses and the milk and then pour it over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the tart shell and bake at 350 for 25 minutes until set.

The Tart Shell:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup butter (cold), cut into small pieces
2 Tbs. vegetable shortening
1 Tbs. sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 Tbs. Milk

Put the flours, the salt and the sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, bit by bit, pulsing once or twice with each addition. Add the shortening and pulse a few more times. Slowly add the milk, one Tbs. at a time, pulsing as you go untill the dough just comes togetther. Remove dough from the food processor and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening the dough into a disc. Refridgerate dough for one hour.
Heat oven to 4oo degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a flat surface between two pieces of saran wrap. Roll it out gently to about 1/4 inch thick and wide enough to fit a 9 inch removeable bottom tart pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and gently crimp the edges. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes till the crust is golden. Remove from oven and proceed to the instructions for the filling above.
Happy Valentine's Day !

Looks incredible! Staying home on Valentine's Day is so full of possibities! There are an infinite amount of things to cook and wines to drink. Candles, a little Barry White in the background perhaps...A plethora of ideas to "set the mood".

Deb's tart seems like the perfect Valentine's dish. And, I have the perfect "romantic" wine  to partner with it - its soulmate if you will. The Hugel Cuvee Les Amours Pinot Blanc is without doubt a delicious match for this tart! From Alsace, France, it is more fleshy than usual for a Pinot Blanc. It is creamy yet bright and fresh, with aromas of flowers and citrus fruit. The body, texture and flavors all work in sync with the flavor profile of the Zucchini Potato tart to create the perfect marriage! A mouthwatering combination!

And what's also amazing about this wine is the price. It can be found for around $10-$11. Hugel is one of the top producers in Alsace, and one of my personal favorites. It will simply shine next to Deb's work of art!

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