Saturday, February 20, 2010


We dined barefoot tonight in the Knox house. Well, what I really mean is we dined Barefoot Contessa tonight.

After not really accomplishing much of anything today, especially any of my homework that really needed to get done, I felt I ought to at least make a real effort with dinner.

I resisted my typical urge to just decide on a whim what to make for dinner based on what sounds good at the time and then run to Mejier and buy everything to go with that specific recipe. This would also most likely explain why I spend a ridiculous amount of money on food, and why the greeters at Meijer practically know me by name. I promise to sort this problem of mine out someday….I hope.

So after searching the fridge and cupboards I realized I had some leeks that were very close to reaching the end of their shelf life. A quick browse through Ina Garten’s “Back to Basics” cookbook and I had dinner figured out.

Roasted Potato and Leek Soup
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

Roasted Potato Leek Soup
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes cut into chunks (I left my peel on)
2 leeks chopped
2 cloves garlic
¼ olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fresh arugula
¼ cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
2 Tbs sour cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine potatoes and leeks on sheet pan in single layer. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes turning with a spatula a few times during cooking until very tender.
3. Add arugula and garlic and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes until arugula is wilted.
4. Remove from oven and put into Dutch oven. Add half of wine and chicken stock and combine.
5. Transfer in batches to a food processor to make a puree. Transfer back to Dutch oven and heat through adding more stock if necessary.
6. Add cream, sour cream, and pepper.
7. Just before serving whisk in 2 tablespoons of white wine and parmesan cheese

For the soup I didn’t puree mine completely because we like chucks!

Getting ready to be roasted!

Yum...the finished product....

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
Olive oil
½ large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic cut into thin slivers
3 Tbs dry white wine
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
4 Tbs grated Parmsean cheese
4 ounces goat cheese
1 large tomato cut thinly into 4 slices
1 ½ Tbs dried basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Unfold puff pastry on lightly floured surface and roll lightly to 10X10 inch square. Using 4 inch wide sauces or round object cut 5 to 6 (depending on how many you can fit) from the pastry. Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Preheat over to 425 degrees
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes until the onions are limp, stirring frequently, until there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet.
4. Add salt and pepper, wine and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until onions are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
5. Using a sharp parting knife, score a ¼ inch wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on each round.
6. Place a portion of the onion mixture on each circle, staying within scored edge. Crumble goat cheese on each round. Place a slice of tomato in the center. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little bit more parmesan cheese on top.
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Here are the tarts ready to go in the oven.

Hello sweet goodness....

The house was filled with the wonderful aroma of garlic and the meal did not disappoint. It was a great wintery meal and actually one of the best potato leek soups I have tried. It was so good in fact Pat and I both walked around with huge bloated bellies after gorging ourselves at the dinner table. When will we learn?!?

Secret: I actually ended up with extra onion mixture from the tarts. Since I didn’t want to waste it I just tossed it in with my potato and leeks before I pureed them for the soup!

The soup was rich and creamy, but still had some chucks like we like. And the tarts….oh, the lovely tarts…. They were buttery and flaky on the outside and with a huge punch of warm tomato and onion on the inside. These would be perfect as appetizers for any occasion. So, so, good!

Last Bite: A fairly simple meal with high quality taste! I’m not sure I will ever make this soup any other way. And the tarts…..perfect!

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