Tag Archives: basil

Savory Tarlets: Fig Jam and Brie and Roasted Tomato Basil

With the holiday season upon us, I thought I would post an oldie, but a goodie. If you’ve never used puff pastry sheets before, you are definitely missing out. It is by far my favorite trick when entertaining .

You can purchase the lovely dough in the frozen food aisle of any grocery store. Simply thaw it, then bake it off to make a fancy breadstick or a topping for a pot pie, or in this case savory tartlets. Top these buttery little rounds with whatever is in season and suits your taste.

Puff pastry makes something simple become decadent. So next time you sign up for a potluck, you might just find yourself using this delicate dough.

Shopping List:

1 box puff pastry sheets (2 sheets per box)

1/3 cup fig jam

4 ounces brie

1/4 cup of sliced almonds

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded


1. Thaw the puff pastry sheets, then them roll out to 10 inches x 12 inches. Use a 3-inch round glass or cookie cutter to cut out  approximately 16 tartlets. You can roll out the scraps of the dough once to make remaining tartlets.

2. Lay out the circles of dough on two parchment lined baking sheets. Then, top one tray of circles with 1 teaspoon of fig jam and a thick slice of brie. Top the other tray with a teaspoon of cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of basil. Drizzle the tomato pizzettes with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Top the fig and brie ones with a pinch of sea salt only.

3.  Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown at edges. Top the fig and brie tartlets with almond slivers.

Makes: 24  tarlets


Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese and Balsamic


I feel like sometimes I get stuck in a side dish rut. I pick up the same veggies (depending on the season, really) and those are my weekly veggies, for a month or two. During summer it tends to be green beans, corn, carrots and red peppers. Of course, I add to my list cucumbers and tomatoes and avocados for salads, but as far as an accompaniment to a meal I get stuck sometimes with serving the same side dish for too long. Most of the time it doesn’t really bother me because I’m always just trying to get something on the table that we all like to eat.

Of late my go to side dish has been corn on the cob. Everyone in our family likes it. And it’s so easy to prepare; it really is no brainer when I’m prepping another dish too. I’ll be honest though and sometimes I avoid the whole side dish issue by making a one pot meal like paella or something else, so I don’t have to monitor two pots at once.

But this complacency is what leads to the inability to try new things in our family. So, every couple of weeks, (ok, whenever I think of it) I try a new side dish or try an old one in a different way. Thus, the fancy new pepper recipe.

So with this revamping I figured I’d take my chances with red peppers. My kids have like sweet red peppers for a while now, but roasting them and filling them with cheese made them go from snack to side dish pretty easily. The nice thing about this side dish is that it’s sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party while also accommodating a few of our more selective family members (sic kids).

What’s your go to side dish?

Shopping List;

3 medium-sized red peppers

2 ounces softened goat cheese

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped basil


1. Cut each pepper in half and remove the seeds. Try to keep the stem in tact. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Lay the peppers on a parchment lined baking sheet and divide the goat cheese evenly amongst the 6 halves.

3. Roast the peppers with the cheese about 5-7 minutes, until the edges of the peppers begin to turn black and the cheese is melted.

4. Remove the peppers from the oven and drizzle with balsamic and basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves: 4-5 for a side dish

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta Topping

P1050799I’m going to get this out of the way right now…I’m not a fan of cherry tomatoes. The explosion that they create inside my mouth is a bit much for me, sometimes I will cut them in half so that I can tolerate them in a salad. But most of the time I just shun them to the side of my plate. Continue reading Roasted Tomato Bruschetta Topping

Spinach Pesto Sauce

Spinach Pesto Pasta

There’s nothing better than fresh herbs wafting through your nose. All that flavor coming from a little leaf is so cool to me. Ok, maybe I’m a bit of food geek. Anyhow, I remember many a lazy summer evening eating pesto pasta for dinner when I was growing up, so I thought I’d try to mix it up a bit and add in some more veggies to that herby delight. I figure if you still keep the basil and parmesan flavors you can hide some spinach there too.

The thing I love about sauces is that they are so versatile. When I make different sauces, like this one, I start to think of all the things it would work in other than pasta. For example, this is great on a sandwich, grilled veggies, fish, chicken and stirred into some basic chicken soup. This is such a simple fast meal you can easily whip this up while pasta is on the stove or chicken is on the grill.  And to me…pesto is just a little hint of summer…man I wish it were here already.

Shopping List:

1 cup fresh spinach

1 bunch (about 1 cup) of fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sliced raw almonds (you could certainly use regular raw almonds, but I had these on hand)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic

1 lemon (you really only need 1/2 a lemon, so save the other half for your iced tea)


1. In a small saucepan over medium heat warm the olive oil and garlic until the oil is infused with the flavor of the garlic. This will take close to 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in your blender add the clean spinach and basil. Then place the nuts on top. That’s an important tip because they weigh down the leaves so the leaves will actually puree in the blender. Also add the parmesan and the juice from half of the lemon.

3. Pour the warmed garlic and olive oil in the blender too. Then, push the highest setting, on mine it’s “liquefy”. Let it go until it becomes a thick paste. You might have to stop it to make sure the leaves are reaching the bottom of the blender.

4. At this point stop and taste it, you might need to add a dash of salt and pepper to suit your taste. Toss half of the sauce over 1/2 a box of cooked pasta …and…You’re done! Dinner served. Easy, right?

5. Save the other half of the sauce in a freezer safe zip lock bag and pop it in the freezer. You can pull it out in the next two months and make this meal even faster.