Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Cheer {Appetizers} Linky Party

I had to join Edie's fabulous linky party because:

A) Edie is just the sweetest.
B) I'm actually cooking from the library cookbooks!

This cookbook from our local library, Plenty, is a veggie-lovers dream come true. The "Very Full Tart" I'm featuring here was gone in less than 20 minutes and was a delight to make. Tarts are appetizers, right? Anything meat-free is considered an appetizer to my Italian hubby. My version is missing cherry tomatoes because I have an 11 year old son that thinks they're candy, but it was still beyond divine. 

To Make a Very Full Tart:

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant cut into 2" dice
salt and black pepper
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" dice
1 small zucchini, cut into 1" dice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
11 oz pie crust
8 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
1/3 cup ricotta
4 1/4 oz feta
7 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium eggs
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven 450. Cut stem and remove seeds from peppers. Place into a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with oil and put on top shelf in oven for around 36 minutes.

Mix eggplant in bowl with 4 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking pan and place in oven on shelf beneath peppers for 12 minutes. Stir gently and then roast for another 12 minutes. Then add zucchini to the pan, stir and roast for another 12 minutes. Remove peppers and eggplant/zucchini mixture from oven. Cover peppers with foil and cool, then peel and tear into strips. Reduce oven temp to 325.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan on medium heat. Saute onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from heat, discard the bay leaves and set aside.

Lightly grease 9-inch tart pan (I don't have a tart pan, so I used my heart tart dish). Carefully line pan with dough, pressing it into corners and leaving excess hanging over the top edge. Bake for 30 minutes with pie weights or dried beans (don't ask - I skipped this part and just poked it with a fork if it rose). Remove weights and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Then remove from oven and let cool.

Scatter onions over bottom of crust, top with roasted veggies evenly. Scatter half the thyme leaves over. Next, dot the veggies with small chunks of both cheeses and then with the tomato halves, cut-side up.

Whisk eggs and cream in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Carefully pour into tart; top layer of tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme over the top. Place in oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden. 

Allow tart to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tart pan and serving.

Warning: if you bring this dish to a party, prepare to  have an invisible mistletoe dangling above your head. Tell everyone you know about this cookbook.

I originally paired this cookbook with music shown here, but tonight I listened to the soundtrack The Help from the library and was transported to the arms of southern angels in the kitchen. 

Me? Cooking? And loving every moment? It's a miracle. The library motivates us share the delicious joy of Christmas ~ and I'm the living proof.

Thanks, Edie!

xoxo Michele