Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Tart

Gorgeous isn't it? 

Well, I saved the best for last!  How do I know this is a winner winner chicken dinner?

1.  Jalen ate it
2.  When she saw a picture of this on my phone she squealed "mama! This is EXACTLY like the picture on your food magazine"!  

Sad, but this is how I define success.

I was the lucky recipient of a subscription to Food Network Magazine at Christmas from my wonderful friend Mark L.  This cover caught my eye.  I thought it was brilliant.  I don't get out much do I?

First I must warn  you, if you have never worked with puff pastry, it can be a little intimidating.  Ok, a LOT intimidating haha!  But go ahead, be brave, JUST TRY IT! This little breakfast can be changed up with different cheeses, herbs, meats or veggies.  

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Tart
(Courtesy of Food Network Magazine)

    All-purpose flour, for dusting
    1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of a 17-to-18-ounce package), thawed
    2 strips bacon
    1 1/2 cups shredded gouda, colby jack or whatever cheese you love
    3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
    4 large eggs
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square, then cut into 4 equal squares. Slightly fold and pinch the edges of each square to form 4 round tart shells. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and prick all over with a fork. Bake until very lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes.  You will bake them again, so don't overbake the first time!
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, turning, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then crumble.
Let the tart shells cool slightly on the baking sheets. If the centers are very puffy, prick with a fork to deflate. Sprinkle evenly with the cheeses. Make a shallow well in the cheese in the center of each tart and crack an egg into each; season lightly with salt and pepper. Parmesan is very salty already! Top with the bacon, then return to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set, 10 to 15 minutes.  You can freeze the extra shells in a freezer bag, after the first bake :)

Homemade Play Dough

Ok Yes I am aware I take the WORST pictures of anyone on Gods Green Earth.  But you get the general idea right?

My little bug had a major asthma attack and we've been home for 6 straight days.  So, what a perfect time to make homemade play dough!  Jalen did all the work except for the cooking on the stove part, only because her little arms tired out.

Homemade Play Clay
(Courtesy of

2 c flour
2 c warm water
1 c salt
2 tbls veggie oil (I actually used Canola oil)
1 tbls cream of tartar
* Extract (we used Almond because it was in my cupboard and I hate it and wanted to use it lol)
* Food coloring (we used neon if you can believe it - please note I DID NOT MAKE THESE COLORS)

Combine all ingredients in a pot EXCEPT extract and food coloring.  Stir continuously over low heat until it resembles mashed potatoes.  It should pull off the sides and come together in the center of the pan.  If its sticky, cook it a little more.  Set it aside until its cool enough to handle.

Separate into small balls (I only used 5 but could have easily done 8 or so).  Put each little ball in a bowl and make a well in the center.  Add several drops of food coloring and a drop or 2 of extract.  USING GLOVED HANDS - combine thoroughly.  I used 1/2 pint canning jars to store it in.

Keep in a sealed container or it will dry out.  It can remain pliable for up to 6 months!
Would be a great give away at a kids party.  Stack 3 colors in canning jars, tie with a pretty ribbon and write the recipients name on it :)

Spicy Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Gouda

Yes I KNOW I haven't posted in 4 months...ok maybe its been 6 months.  Man o man is life keeping me busy.  The only reason I am posting now is:

1.  I love you.
2.  My child is still sleeping.
3.  My child has been sick and I've been stuck in this stinking house for 6 days

Now to the good stuff.  I have several blogs that I follow in my Yahoo reader.  One of these is The Pioneer Woman whom I ADORE!  Funny, down to earth and awesome recipes.  This is one of them.  You get a nice warmth on your tongue from the addition of some adobo from a can of Chipotle Peppers, a gorgeous smokiness from the gouda which is offset by the freshness of the basil and tomatoes.  I actually can picture this with the addition of fresh grilled corn cut right off the cobb OR add some chicken and make it a meal in itself.  Maybe I'm crazy.

Spicy Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Gouda
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

1/2 lb Tri-Color Rotini
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c milk (any milk you have on hand)
4 tbls white vinegar
1-2 tsp adobo sauce from a can of Chipotle Peppers
Salt & pepper to taste
1 container grape tomatoes (I used a mixture of red & yellow because it was pretty) cut in half
1/2 lb smoked gouda (cubed)
20 basil leaves (more or less depending on taste - chiffonade)

Boil the noodles in salted water according to package directions.  In a small bowl combine:  mayo, milk, vinegar, adobo (start with 1 tsp and increase depending on your taste) and salt & pepps.  TASTE IT.  Adjust to your liking.  Drain the noodles and run under cold water until cool.  Put in a large bowl and add the sauce a little at a time.  I made half the noodles the recipe called for and a whole batch of sauce as I like things a little..well, saucier :)  Once you find your perfect consistency - add your basil.  Its best if eaten the same day it is made as the basil will wilt quite badly :(  I still ate it, ugly basil and all haha!

*Note - to chiffonade your basil, stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them up long ways.  Then slice.  Ta-da!

Vanilla Syrup

Ok, lets face it...I'm officially old.  Soon to be 41 years old.  Why do you care? Well if you are a youngin, you may not remember Vanilla Pepsi.  Or, if you are not from Oildale, you may not know of Vanilla Pepsi with crushed ice that you could get at any of the neighborhood drive-thru's.  The Carousel.  Fosters Freeze.  There's one more I cannot remember the name of lol.  Well I recently discovered this trend again at a coffee joint in my new building at work.  Needless to say my new daily "habit" was adding up to some serious change.  It was time to take matters into my own hands.  My gosh, who can possibly afford a vanilla pepsi AND a caramocha every single day??  Well this stuff is stupid simple and can be added to sodas, ice cream, coffee...the list is endless.  Enjoy!

Vanilla Syrup
(adapted from numerous recipes)

2 c sugar
1 c water
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract

Split vanilla bean and scrape with the back of your knife.  Place the pod and seeds into a pan with all ingredients EXCEPT the extract.  Heat over low until sugar is completely dissolved.  Add extract and let mixture steep and cool on stove for a couple of hours.  Discard vanilla pod (or wash it and put into some sugar to make vanilla scented sugar) and refrigerate.  From what I've read this should last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.  I also read a post where someone canned this stuff.  I use about a tablespoon in my Pepsi and lordy-be, its ah-mazing!