Friday, August 28, 2009

Making It Work!

Tim Gunn from Project Runway is the uncle I wish I had. If I could, I'd adopt him, seriously. If any of the designers from this season snap at him, or are rude to him, they deserve to be aufwiederzehn-ed (or "off-with-his-head!" as DH likes to yell). But so far so good with this season. No serious cattiness coming to the surface just yet, and I hope it stays that way. Lots of pretty things coming down the runway. A couple of uglies, but I think the judges are getting rid of those early on. If there are any Project Runway fans reading my blog, I'd like to hear your take on this season. Do I think Mitchell should have gone instead of Malvin? Why yes, yes I do. Those shorts were hideous.

Last week also saw the return of my other favorite reality show, Top Chef. The cheftestants on that show don't need a Tim Gunn fatherly figure. No, they have Tom Colicchio, and they deserve him - he whips the arrogant ones into shape, and I enjoy watching how some of them turn into guilty 5-year-olds when they're being questioned by him. I'm going to miss those Top Chef Masters though. What class, what style, what panache! I had been rooting for Anita Lo early on, had a real soft spot for Hubert Keller, but am
really happy that Rick Bayless won. What a sweetheart he is, and it's a wonderful thing he does with food. Those Mexican flavors are right up my alley! I actually met him in person once, when he was giving a demonstration at some annual international food festival in NYC. He is a wonderful teacher; funny, informative, creative and completely engaging. I'd like to hear from my fellow Top Chef fans too!

Since I began this post by sending out some love to Tim Gunn, I'd like to feature a recipe in his honor. It's a hard-working recipe, that would "wow" those judges, even Nina! I've got "grrrreat!!!!" scribbled in the margins of this recipe in my folder, and have lost track of how many times I've made it already. I took this Zucchini, Tomato and Herb Tart from the fierce and fabulous Dragon's Kitchen, and tweaked it for my own convenience. The result is a dish that's so versatile. It's great for ladies-who-lunch, a light dinner for two (perfect for DH and I these days, after we pig out on fried goodies for Iftari), elegant appetizer, and a delightful brunch option.

Zucchini, Tomato & Herb Tart (original Dragon's Kitchen recipe found here)
Serves 2 as a main; 4 as an appetizer

Click here for printable recipe

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 large zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1 medium ripe tomato, cut into thin rounds
1 heaping cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Sprinkle of dried thyme
1 garlic clove, minced OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 egg, beaten
2.5 tbsp heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Use a 9" or 10" tart pan, with a removable bottom for this. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the sides of the tart pan liberally. Place the thawed sheet of puff pastry over it, pressing it down lightly into the grooves. Use the scraps to cover the sides and any holes in the bottom. Set aside in the refrigerator.

2. Combine the grated Parmesan cheese with the dried herbs and garlic. Mix with a fork.

3. Mix the beaten egg and cream in a bowl and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5. To assemble: Take 1/3 of the cheese and herb mixture and sprinkle all over the bottom of the tart. Then take half the zucchini rounds and lay them in a circular pattern over the cheese. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Time to layer another 1/3 of the cheese, followed by the last layer of zucchini rounds.

6. Arrange the tomato slices over the zucchini layer, and dab the extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

7. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the tart at this point, and swirl it around so that it sinks in. Finally top off the tart with the remaining cheese and herb mixture.

8. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 mins, till puffed and golden brown. Let it rest for 10 mins before you take it out of the tart pan (thank goodness for removable bottoms!) and serve. Leftovers are great the next day, as long as you warm them up in the oven, not the microwave.
Verdict: Folks, you know that neither DH nor I are vegetarians. We're not even related to any vegetarians. But we love this dish. Okaaaay, so it's a little on the frou-frou side, because you have to eat it with a knife and fork. But it's just so good, fresh out of the oven, it makes me weep with joy every time. It's fresh and summery and sits well in your tum-tum. It also happens to be cheesy and buttery and fragrant and satisfying! Makes me wish I had my girlfriends living close by, so that we could get together once a week and enjoy this - in my imagination, this works perfectly for those girl-bonding moments.

I haven't participated in the Weekend Herb Blogging event in a while. But with so many dried herbs and fresh veggies in one dish, I'll be sending this to Rachel over at The Crispy Cook.


Rachel said...

A perfect entry for this week of Weekend Herb Blogging, thank you! And Ozzy is one handsome dude.

Dragon said...

I'm so glad you enjoy the recipe. :) Yours turned out gorgeous!

Cathy said...

ok...2 things here Muneeba. The tart looks really does. But what I'm really amazed with is how clean your oven is! Guess I better clean mine now :)

Muneeba said...

Thks Rachel, my Ozzy will appreciate that :)
Cathy, don't get carried away by my oven ... remember that I just moved into this apartment 2 months ago! See, mystery of clean oven solved!
Dragon, thks for the sweet compliment; that means a lot :)

Varsha Vipins said...

oh oh oh..some serious drooling gn ovee here..that looks pure BLISSS..!!
I seriously wish I were your girlfriend next door..:D

Foodiewife said...

Oh, girlie! You really outdid yourself with the photos and the tart. This is a show stopper! I can definitely see myself making this, because I'm crazy about tarts, puff pastry and tomatoes. Bravo!

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

What a lovely & tasty loo,ing quiche!! MMMMMMMMM,...I adore zucchinis!!!

Parita said...

The pie looks wonderful! i love the simple flavors :)

Anonymous said...

That tart looks yummy! There's a Tomato and Mozzarella Tart recipe I've been meaning to try but I might give yours a try instead.

Anonymous said...

hey muneeba
thats a lovely recipe, i am sure going to try someday. also liked ur ramadan festival entry
i got a chance to blog ur site today for first time and its intresting, i like it.
i really liked ur restaurants reviews, u r really a comitted foodie.


Anonymous said...

The tart looks wonderful with zucchinis and tomatoes, very yummy! I was happy also that Rick Bayless won, he deserved it. We've had a casual dinner once at Frontera Grill but now really would love to go back for a fancier tasting.

Kerstin said...

What a lovely tart, it does look perfect for company! Top Chef is the one show I look forward to every week and actually watch live. I was glad Rick won too!

kitchen queen said...

You have a nice blog with yummy recipes. You can visit my blog view my recipes and give ur comments.

Miss High Heels said...

That tart looks seriously tasty. What time is dinner? :)

Jennifer said...

Wow, that looks seriously good, YUM. I also loved top chef masters, I shall miss it

Shaheen said...

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. It's my first time here too, so I am having a good nosy round.

This tart looks really good, shame I am all out of courgettes now, so maybe next year.

Unknown said...

I've never made anything like this before. It really looks fabulous! Good job!

Graziana said...

What a lovely pie, I love puff pastry and I will try it soon with some fresh herbs from my garden!

Jennie said...

Mmmm!! This looks sooo good! Lovely blog. Keep up the yummy work! :)

Doppelganger said...

So glad that my first stop after vacation was right here! You got me caught up on all my tv news! I can't believe I missed so many of the episodes of Top Chef Masters while I was away. What was I thinking! But glad to hear about Rick Bayless. And lucky you! meeting him in person! I'm also a big fan of Tim Gunn and Project Runway. I loved some of the maternity wear featured in last week's episode. :D Looking ahead to the future!

This tart, I must say, looks divine, and seems like the perfect reason to move! As if afternoons spent chatting it up with you wouldn't be enough, I'd get to eat this delectable delight!? I don't know what I'm still doing in California!

Faiza Ali said...

This tart looks so divine and tempting. I am sure no one can resist this. And its also healthy with all the veggies in it.Yum...Yum...

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