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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Adventures in cooking

I just rediscovered one of my herb books- The Herb Garden Cookbook: The Complete Gardening and Gourmet Guide, by Lucinda Hutson. It is chock full of information on growing and using herbs, and the recipes sound wonderful. So I decided to try a couple. Night before last, we had Garlicky Rosemary Shrimp, with rosemary and bay leaves fresh from the garden. Last night I decided to try the recipe for Texas Goat Cheese Tart. Of course, I had no Texas goat cheese in the fridge, but I did have some goat cheese. Not as much as the recipe called for, though- so I began substituting. My tendency to substitute stuff in recipes worries Mr. G.

He'll wander into the kitchen while I'm perusing a recipe, look over my shoulder and say, "That sounds good- is that what we're having for supper?"

I often reply, "Well, sort of... I don't have any ____ so I'm using ____ instead."

Mr. G generally groans and mutters stuff under his breath at that point.

Sometimes the substitutions work- sometimes they're a disaster. And sometimes I get carried away and the final product has little in common with the original recipe. Fortunately, this turned out to be quite good, and I plan to try several more of Hutson's recipes- I may even follow some to the letter! The book has been relocated from my garden book shelf to the cookbook shelf in the kitchen.
Here's the recipe- if you decide to try it, let me know how it turns out!

Goat Cheese & Ricotta Tart

1 9 inch pre-baked pie crust
¼ cup loosely packed parsley
2 T fresh rosemary
¼ cup fresh basil
1 small clove garlic, mashed
6oz. Goat Cheese
6 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 oz Sour Cream
2 ounces unsalted butter
1T flour
2 eggs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Bring cheeses, sour cream, butter to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375F. Place herbs and garlic in food processor to mince, add cheeses, butter, sour cream, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Pour mixture into pre-baked pie crust. Bake until puffed and golden on top (about 25-30 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: This would probably taste better with crème fraîche instead of sour cream, but I couldn’t find any cream that wasn’t ultra-pasteurized, so wasn’t able to make crème fraîche. The original recipe also calls for 12 ounces of goat cheese and 4 ounces of ricotta- but I used what I had. You could also use another combination of herbs, more garlic, etc.

Also, while the instructions call for a food processor, I have a very small one, so minced the herbs, added about half the amount of the cheeses, the butter and the eggs, then turned it all into a mixing bowl, added the rest of the cheeses and the flour and blended with a mixer until smooth.

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