A Dish With Heart: Rustic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Something you might not know about me is this: I was not raised to cook.

My entire life my nana lived with us and she was our nourisher. She made all our meals – from our breakfast toast and coffee, to our after school meal of chicken soup and rice. While she was forced to use a conventional stove while we lived in California, when I was seven we returned to Guam – and she returned to her true comfort zone: her outdoor kitchen.

My sweet nana in the early morning – protecting her hair from the humidity

All the cooking I remember as a child was done over an open fire in a tiny 8×10 tin shack – aka the ‘outdoor kitchen’. Pots black from smoke from the fire. A knife that likely harkened back to WWII days that was so blunt and worn down, and with a blade that curved upwards like the back of a stretching cat. A rusty fridge. A lightbulb hanging by an extension cord that ran out the propped open tin window and into the main house. An old 1960’s rejected office desk with rocks for feet that slanted sideways and made my soup run for one corner of the bowl. Her kitchen smelled of the jungle, and savory meats, and wild chickens – and mosquitos ate me up every time I sat to a meal.

My nana’s kitchen was my heaven.

Growing up with a nana that cooked for me, though, meant that I never was really ‘taught’ anything. I watched. I asked questions about dishes as I got older. But my ‘cooking’ was never more than opening a can of green beans that I’d eat straight with a fork.

Fast forward to today.

I don’t have my nana anymore… but, what I do have is her heart.

My nana’s heart was always to serve and comfort through her food. She cooked to lure you into conversation over a perfectly percolated cup of coffee and inch-thick pancakes or handmade tortillas. She cooked to care for you and to love you – to show you she was thinking of you.  She cooked to wow you with what she could do with a small piece of chicken and some vegetables out of her garden – and to hear you say, “Thanks, nana, that was delicious. I love you.”

So, I cook… and, when I do, I take pleasure in creating things like this:

Mushroom and Black Olive Goat Cheese Galette

Mushroom and Black Olive Goat Cheese Galette

Believe it or not, this amazingly beautiful galette (tart) is sooo easy, so delicious… and soo worth the effort when you see how others respond to this work of art.

Here’s the recipe… but you have to promise: you’ll give it your heart and give it a try whether you were ‘raised to cook’, or not.

For the crust:
The crust is a very basic everyday galette crust and will make TWO galette crusts:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 10-14 TBSP ice water
  1. Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt several times until mixed well.
  2. Add the cubed butter and pulse 8-10 times. (NOTE: DO NOT OVERPULSE. The key to having a flaky pastry crust is making sure the butter (the fats) remain about pea-sized.)
  3. Slowly add the water about 2 TBSP at a time and pulse once or twice after each addition. The dough should begin to clump, but will still be very dry in the bowl of the processor.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and begin lightly kneading the mixture until it all begins to stick together. (If it is still too dry, drizzle a little more water (about a tsp at a time) into it and toss the mixture with a fork. You want the dough to be sticky enough to adhere together without crumbling, but you don’t want it to be wet. Also, do not over-knead.)
  5. Form two discs out of the mixture, sprinkle flour over the discs, and wrap in plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to using. (If you won’t be using both, you can freeze the extra one for later.)

At this point, preheat your oven to 425 with the rack in the center of the oven, and place a cookie sheet on the rack to heat along with the oven.

For the filling:

  • EVOO for pan
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced and mashed
  • 1 TBSP capers
  • 16-20 small white and brown mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2/3 can black olives, crushed (NOTE: I drain the olive can and then I pour the olives right into my hand over the pan and crush the olives between my fingertips as I drop them in to cook)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Goat cheese
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in quarters
  • Fresh arugula (see blow)
Up close...

Up close…

  1. Sauté all ingredients until mushrooms are tender. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. On floured surface, roll out one of the disks until the dough is about a 12″ diameter and 1/4″ thick.
  3. Spoon your mushroom mixture into the center of the disc leaving approximately 2-3″ of space around the outside of the filling. (You might have a little filling left over – and it’s delicious right out of the pan.)
  4. Sprinkle your diced cherry tomato pieces and crumble goat cheese over the whole thing.
  5. Fold the outer edges of the dough over the filling in an accordion fashion to slightly cover the edge of the filling. Wash the exposed dough with egg wash (basically an egg with a drizzle of water, whisked until light).
  6. Here is where you might need some help – and you will definitely need patience: Remove the pre-heated cookie sheet from the oven and place it beside your prepared galette. Carefully, using an extra wide spatula and your hands, gently lift the galette onto the hot pan. (NOTE: The key is to support the bottom of the galette as securely as possible so that it doesn’t fall through when you move it. It’s okay if it looses some of it’s shape – just reshape it as best you can when it hits the hot pan.)
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Toss some fresh arugula with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and spread across the top of the warm galette before serving.

That’s it! When I serve it I cut it in four quarters, and then each quarter into a quarter (like a pizza). It’s a great appetizer – and definitely a perfect ‘wow’ dish to take to a potluck.

Now… go cook with some heart! And, nana: I’m thinking of you today…

My nana - dish towel on her shoulder as she shooed me to the kitchen to eat

My nana – dish towel on her shoulder as she shooed me to the kitchen to eat

Rebel on,
Elisha

A Salad That Beckons Springtime..


It’s cold outside… the kids are at school… I am dreaming of springtime. All things point to this mama needing a nice, energizing pick-me-up for lunch!

With energy in mind, this what I threw together – and can I just say: YUM.

Satisfying. Tasty. Fresh. Beautiful.

  • Handful of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • A sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon juice, fresh squeeze (please, please, please – NEVER use lemon juice out of a plastic lemon. NEVER.)
I am one happy mama.

Rebel on, -e.

“The First Step to Love” Salad

Wow – ever since Quinoa Week ended I have been dying to share more, more, more recipes with you! If I had it my way we’d be filming recipes every night… but, life gets in the way, you know? I mean, my sweet man not only did all the filming, he was also staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get the videos edited. After the “week” was over, we felt we had jet lag – yet, without a vacation tan; and, with three children that “lifestyle” just isn’t sustainable. LOL.

With all that said, I promise we’ll keep the recipe videos coming – just one a week, though. So, I hope you’ll come back every Monday and see what we’ve thrown together!

In between the videos, however, I WILL be posting photos and recipes (and, of course, I can’t help myself: some thoughts on this “rebel” life we’re trying to lead.) And the first photo/recipe I want to share? A little salad I call “The First Step to Love”.

Why the “First Step to Love”? Because this salad is the perfect way to introduce your man to quinoa. It’s so funny to me how many guys I know that, over the last week, have said: “My wife better not make me eat rabbit food.” BUT – they haven’t experienced the “First Step to Love”: a quinoa salad with BACON. (I wish I would have thought to post this before Valentine’s Day, but better late than never.)

Yum.

So, here goes – this recipe will make two side-servings:

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 10-12 dried dates
  • 3-4 TBS crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 strips of cooked bacon, cut into bite sized pieces (not bits)
  • 3-4 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put your dates into a small fry pan with just a little bit of water barely covering the bottom of the pan. Bring the water to a sizzle (which should take less than a minute), turn the stove off and cover the pan. Let the dates sit and soften in the steam while you…

Wash and dry the arugula, then roughly tear and put into a large bowl.

Drizzle the balsalmic and the olive oil over the arugula. Stir to coat.

Add in the quinoa, the goat cheese, and the BACON.

Dice up the softened dried dates and toss into the salad.

Continue to toss the salad together until everything is coated.

Serve salad onto two beautiful plates and serve your man. (It might help if you have something sexy on, too.) Tell him it’s the “First Step to Love”… I have a hard time believing he’ll turn up his nose to that “rabbit food”.

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. I cook my bacon in the oven at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. It’s the BEST way to cook the stuff… it gets it perfectly crisp!