Warmth, umami, comfort food. Healthy whole grains and lean proteins. All of that and more in this One Pot Farro with Chicken and Tomatoes. Need a vegetarian option? No problem, a few tweaks, listed in the recipe itself, will get you there! Keep on reading for your new favorite 30 minute meal….
Happy one year Blogiversary to us! We’ve been officially bringing you delicious food for ONE FULL YEAR! And what a year it was! In fact I’m not sure any other year has ever gone so fast! Our little blog duo has officially seen a new baby born (congrats Holly), a preschooler whose world was rocked by a new baby sister, a child who started kindergarten, and a teenager who has hit her stride. Holly and I are both another year older and wiser in our full time careers and yes, we’re both still married (Holly 10 years and myself 18 years) despite crazy chaotic schedules and demands (yay, guys-thanks for hanging in there with us!). But even more exciting, we’re both still loving blogging and bringing you our favorite recipes! For me, this would include this Buffalo Bacon Macaroni and Cheese which is pure, unadulterated decadence! …
Many years ago, I was overwhelmed with a stressful full time job, raising two kids and trying to appear that I had it all together (To be completely honest this may have not been so many years ago, or even so many months ago, in fact this may still describe my life today…but I digress). I was starting to find my way in the kitchen and was starting to read different food blogs. One in particular, Smitten Kitchen, spoke to me. I love Deb Perelman and her witty prose and her tiny kitchen in New York City. Her writing makes you feel like you are drinking coffee at her table while she is cooking for you. And at that time in my life, I was particularly in need of this. (Thanks Deb!)
So when a Facebook group I am a part of suggested we do a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Challenge, I was all in. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, correct? The challenge was designed to go chapter by chapter. One person (and sometimes more than one) would make a recipe and review it, and we would continue on until every recipe in the chapter was completed. This sounded right up my alley. Mushroom Tart? Game on.
Due to my vacation, I entered in round 3 (Sandwiches, tarts and pizza) with the Mushroom Tart. I chose this partially because I really love tarts, partially because I really love mushrooms, and mostly because I knew no one else in my mushroom adverse house would even try this-so I’d have it all to myself (yay! leftovers!). And what a great choice it was! Shallots and mushrooms combined with marscapone, fontina and parmesan to form a hearty filling. Cornmeal in the crust gives the crust dimension. I happen to love herbs, so I added rosemary, because I personally think everything should contain rosemary.
I served this Mushroom Tart with a simple arugula salad, lightly dressed with Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Reduction from Queen Creek Olive Mill (if you haven’t checked out this family owned olive farm in Arizona, you need to!). Not only was it a great dinner, it was a great lunch (for the WHOLE next week).
Don’t be put off by all of the steps, many can be done somewhat simultaneously. A few tips: slice the mushrooms small enough to be bite size, if you like herbs, feel free to use slightly more thyme AND rosemary, and if you haven’t checked out Smitten Kitchen-do so now!
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced + a smidge extra for greasing the foil
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ pound (225g) cremini mushrooms sliced into bite site pieces
- 1 pound (455g) assorted mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, chanterelle, more cremini) sliced into bite sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated fontina cheese (Can substitute provolone)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- TO MAKE THE CRUST (TART SHELL):
- Place flour, cornmeal, and salt into the bowl of your food processor and then pulse to combine.
- Add the chilled butter and pulse until butter is in small bits.
- Add the egg and pulse until dough clumps.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter.
- Place dough on plastic wrap and cover with an additional piece of plastic wrap.
- Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 12 inch circle.
- Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and invert the crust over a 9-inch tart pan.
- Use your fingers to push the crust against the corners and sides of the pan.
- Put the tart pan on top of a baking sheet, and place the pan into the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Remove the tart shell from the freezer. (keep on the baking pan)
- Grease one side of a 12 inch piece of aluminum foil with butter.
- Press the foil, butter side down, against the crust.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove foil (carefully!) and bake for another 8-10 minutes until crust is golden.
- Remove tart shell from the oven to a cooling rack.
- Turn oven down to 350ºF.
- TO MAKE THE FILLING:
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan.
- Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat until soft, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the mushrooms, thyme and rosemary.
- Although it seems that all of these mushrooms won't fit, don't worry, if you keep stirring, the very large volume of mushrooms will be quickly reduced!
- Saute the mushrooms over high heat until tender and the released liquid has evaporated, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add the salt and pepper and stir.
- Allow mushrooms to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone and milk, whisking until smooth.
- Whisk in the eggs and then add the fontina and parmesan.
- Finally, add the mushrooms and stir to combine.
- TO MAKE THE TART:
- Place tart shell back onto baking pan.
- Add the filling to the tart shell.
- If you haven't already turned the oven down to 350ºF, do so now.
- Bake for 25-40 minutes until golden and the custard is set.
- Cool the tart on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Slice and serve.
Course number 4 of our epic dinner party featured Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Crostini. This may be my favorite of all of the courses, although I must admit, with this particular dinner menu the competition is fierce. This is not a recipe for your vegetarian friends. This is not a recipe for your spice adverse friends. This is definitely a great crowd pleasing recipe for everyone else!
I developed this appetizer recently, based on a recipe I found in a cookbook. This cookbook was one that that I bought on a whim at Costco-Valerie Bertinelli’s “One Dish at a Time“. That title is super funny to those of us who grew up watching the sitcom “One Day at a Time” (1975-1984) which starred Valerie Bertinelli (and if you haven’t seen it, you should look it up-for the hair alone). For those of you who are a little younger than me, you may know Valerie Bertinelli as the wife (1981-2007), now ex-wife, of Van Halen frontman, Eddie Van Halen. And if you are even younger than that, you would probably remember her for her stint as a Jenny Craig spokeswoman. For all of her fame on TV, I never knew she could cook. I mostly bought the book for the pictures (does anyone else do that, or it just me?). Sometimes impulsive buys are great buys, because so far what I’ve tried out of this book, proves it…this gal can cook.
This appetizer is based off of her Peppered Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce which I have made again and again for special occasions (for instance, girls’ weekend at the cabin). It has never let me down, and is actually pretty simple. The horseradish sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The beef can actually be prepared a day in advance as well, and allowing the meat to sit in the spicy rub only makes it better! Although I surely love when I can serve this as the main course, unfortunately 8 total dinner guests makes this cost prohibitive to serve as an entree. I knew I wanted to serve it though-voila-the crostini was born! I make my horseradish sauce a little spicier and have added some peppery arugula and crunchy french bread to make it into an appetizer instead of a meal. Definitely worth trying for your next party, or your next date night in, or just because you think it looks delicious!
Try it-and then let us know what you think!
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 6 Tablespoons peppercorns (you can use mixed or just black)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons butter (unsalted, at room temperature)
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1-2 pound piece of beef tenderloin
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 loaves of french bread
- Combine the sour cream, mustard and horseradish in a small bowl until smooth.
- Transfer into a refrigerator safe jar or container-this can be refrigerated up to two days ahead-and it really does make the flavors better.
- Grind the peppercorns (I use a cheap coffee grinder that I have designated for spices only) until coarse.
- Combine the coarsely ground peppercorns, salt, mustard, butter and parsley until well mixed.
- Rub the tenderloin with the spiced butter, coating completely-use all of the butter mixture.
- At this point you can wrap in plastic and refrigerate-up to 1 day-or go to the next step.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- If you have refrigerated your beef, take it out and allow it to warm to room temperature.
- Place beef in a shallow baking pan (I use a small rectangular pyrex baking pan, you can also use a rack in your pan if you have one, but I have not found this necessary).
- Roast at 450ºF for 25-30 minutes, until your meat thermometer registers 130ºF (for medium rare).
- While tenderloin is roasting, thinly slice french bread and lay flat on a baking sheet or jelly roll pain.
- When tenderloin is done, take out of oven and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Slice beef thinly with a very sharp knife.
- Turn oven to broil.
- Place bread in oven on broil for 1-2 minutes, watching very closely to ensure bread does not start to burn.
- Allow bread to cool slightly.
- Spread horseradish sauce (made previously) on bread.
- Place arugula on top of sauce
- Place a thin slice of beef tenderloin on top of arugula
- If you are like me and love your sauces, you can place an additional dollop of sauce on the top.
- Serve and enjoy