Potato and Shiitake Tart With Truffled Goat Cheese

Pretty much anything you put on puff pastry is going to be great- it’s buttery, flaky, and delicious! So when I got some potatoes and mushrooms in my bag I thought I would experiment a little. This tart took about 30 minutes from beginning to end and was delicious. I think next time I will add more mushrooms and use some colorful purple potatoes as well. I actually thought I had purple potatoes because the skin had a purple tint, but they were white when I cut them open so not sure what type they were! Either way they were good. Next time I make this I think I will also roast the sliced potatoes in the oven first so they get a little browned before adding them to the tart. Th potatoes will look prettier that way. In the end I topped it with some fresh miner’s lettuce to add some nice color, but you could use other greens such as arugula.

1 box puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 large potato, thinly sliced
1/2 large shallot, chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and cut into chunks
5 ounces truffled goat cheese (I used half)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Truffle oil, for drizzle (optional)
Handful of pretty greens- such as miner’s lettuce or arugula- for topping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the thawed dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment. I sprinkled a little flour to help the dough from sticking. With a knife, make a 1/2 inch border around the tart, without going through to the other side. Poke some holes in the center of the tart with a fork to let the heat escape while cooking. Brush with the egg and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden. You will see that it puffs up a lot when it cooks, but don’t worry! When you remove it from the oven, poke a few additional holes with a sharp knife then while wearing oven mitts, gently press down on the dough to release the air- it will flatten.

In a pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until fork tender. Careful not overcook them! Alternatively, you could also drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they start to brown- which is what I will try next time. Remove and set aside. Add some olive oil to a pan and cook the shallots for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue for another 5 minutes until softened and cooked through. When the dough is ready, top with the potatoes, followed by the mushroom and shallot mixture. Break up the cheese and add as much as you like. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Once removed, drizzle with some truffle oil, fresh ground pepper, and a small handful of greens. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Carmelized Fennel, Celeric, and Sunchoke Soup

I got some celeriac in my CSA bag this week, which I have never cooked with before! It is the root of a celery plant and smells and tastes a lot like celery- but in root vegetable form. I also had some sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) as well as some turnips, fennel, and kale, so I decided to make a soup. It was absolutely freezing today, so it was the perfect thing to make. I sort of winged it, but it came out pretty good! My immersion blender is magic when it comes to making soups, I just love it. A great holiday gift if you have a cook in your life!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, top cut off and white sliced
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
3 small turnips, peeled and chopped
2 medium sunchokes, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
3 celery stalks, chopped
Big handful of kale, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add the olive oil and saute the fennel until slightly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for another minute or so. Next, add the chopped turnips, celeriac, and sunchokes. Cook for another 7-10 minutes until softened. Pour in the chicken stock and water, cooking the vegetables until fork tender. Add the white pepper and salt. Turn off the heat and with an immersion blender (or a real blender in batches) puree the soup. Toss in the celery, kale, and cannellini beans. Turn the heat back on and cook the soup for another 10-15 minutes, until the kale is wilted. Add additional salt and black pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Who doesn’t love sloppy joes! They’re so yummy, and messy, and awesome. My mom used to make them with the Manwich sauce and they were so good. I had some ground beef on hand and thought I’d give it a shot as I’ve wanted to try making them for a while. Another really easy recipe that I will definitely be making again soon. I got some sweet brioche buns which were a nice alternative to the potato buns that I really wanted, but couldn’t seem to find anywhere. Knowing the sauce would likely make the bread soggy, I toasted the buns with a little butter under the broiler so they’d hold the sloppy joes a little better. All in all a successful dinner! I think next time I’ll add some roasted poblano peppers to the mix as well.

1 lb 85%  lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the beef until browned. In the meantime, chop all of the vegetables and set aside. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the ketchup, BBQ sauce, water, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. When the beef is browned, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, then add the onion and pepper mixture. I did not drain the liquid from the beef because I bought lean meat so there wasn’t much to drain. If you have fattier beef and there’s a lot of liquid, drain most of it out and just leave a little. Once the onions and peppers have cooked down for 5 minutes or so, add the wet ingredients and mix well, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper to taste, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 15 minutes to allow it to thicken a little. Lastly, butter each side of the bun and toss under the broiler for a minute or so until toasted. Plate and spoon sloppy joe mixture onto your bun! Enjoy with lots of napkins.