Where I’ve Been

I finally logged back in to this blog, and noticed it’s been a good hot minute since I’ve been here! My apologies, and I hope I still have some readers when this is said and done. A lot has happened since sushi night in February. It was an attempt to get back to what I consider ‘my reality’, but apparently, it was also a failure. My reality came home in early August, and now things are right in my world.

**(Break here to send some good vibes out to our troops still overseas)**

So now that we’re finally settling back down in to our routine, and I’m back to cooking more often than not, I’m hoping to churn out some fun surprises to share. I even just picked up a middle eastern cuisine cookbook that looks like a great adventure. But then again, I’m also now taking graphic design classes online, and I’m also preparing to move. You know, it’s a good thing that cooking and art can follow this girl anywhere, because I’d be pretty hard pressed to keep myself busy otherwise. But passion is passion, and I do it because I love it. I’ve also taken up a little photography on the side, because it’s something that I love and I consider it an art form…even if I’m not too good at it. A friend of mine did give me the opportunity to photograph her second wedding, though, and that was fantastic. It made me so happy to be a part of her big day.

Now, on to the food! That’s why you’re here, right?

tomato-goat-cheese-tart

Yesterday, after a dinner of corndogs, I got a wild hair to make something that I had been thinking about and talking about for a solid two weeks. A mascarpone/goat cheese and tomato tart. It was something that I saw on Pinterest, and it looked oh so scrumptious. The idea was to get my tomatoes and cheese from the farmer’s market in Nashville, and then it would be local too. Well. Procrastination got the best of me. So I had to get some new tomatoes. But the goat cheese from the Amish stand at the market was still good to go!

Quad-Berry-Tart

While picking up some bits and pieces from the store, like mascarpone, I got to thinking and I saw some delicious looking berries on sale. Hmm, mascarpone and berries, in a crust, with mint? Yes please! Inspiration, my friends, strikes at the oddest of times. So then, I turned out this pretty tart of berries. And let me just say… a slice of each for lunch and dessert is beyond delectable and it gave me a very happy tummy.

Now, I must tell you – I got the recipe for the crust from Pinterest, and it was a “guaranteed no fail crust” recipe that I was slightly skeptical about. Well, I’m not a baker (as some of you know), and I didn’t screw it up. I’m a believer now! Here’s the recipe from a blog called Dana Made It. And then, I slightly modified the recipe for the Tomato and Cheese Tart, because I used a mixture of the goat cheese and mascarpone with my own crust recipe. This one came from The Endless Meal. When eating this one on day two or whenever, make sure it’s a little warm. It has the consistency of a really good lasagna and small piece is plenty for a light lunch.

To make the fruit tart, I used the same crust recipe, which I cut in half by the way because I only needed two crusts, not four, and then I sliced up my berries. Well, let’s get real, my friend Kelly cleaned and sliced up my berries because she wanted to help. The mascarpone (about 3/4 of a small container) was mixed with 2 tbsp of vanilla greek yogurt, a dash or two of cinnamon, half a lemon’s juice and very finely diced fresh mint. I blind baked the crust until it was done, filled it with the cream and topped it with the berries. This is a very fresh dessert, and tastes great straight out of the fridge. I had also found a recipe for a limoncello cream tart that I think that cream would taste really good with this topping.

So now that I’ve spilled my world to you, I hope you come back! I promise to be better about my posting. Even if it’s not specifically food related!

Chorizo and Kale Pasta

Dinner last night was something I’ve never tried before. Pasta! Just kidding. Well, not really. It was pasta, it was just pasta with chorizo and kale…and tomatoes, onion, garlic and cheese. It was pretty good. Though I’m not sure it’s something I’ll do again. It was kind of bland. And unfortunately because of my lack of experience with kale, I wasn’t sure how to make it better.

I had made baked kale chips the other night and they were delicious – like I ate half of what I made in one sitting before realizing I wanted a couple for lunch the next day. And that was just oil and salt. I wonder if the baking did something to them that the cooking in a pan did not? The chips were a little sweet, had a really good flavor and the salt brought out the flavor even more. The kale from my pasta didn’t have a whole lot of flavor. I kind of felt like Thumper trudging through the greens to get to the chorizo and cheese. Sad day. Oh well, it was edible, and everyone has to screw up sometimes!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Oh yeah, and I’ve become a fan of Instagram. You can follow me at jennmontgomery.

Med-Ling

Medling

My version of Med-Ling, served up all pretty.

Med-ling. That’s what we call it at work. It’s one of our newest dishes, Mediterranean Linguini, supposedly found on one of the owner’s world tours. This time supposedly he made it to Greece and adapted this recipe to work for the restaurant. Whatever, it tastes good, and I wanted to recreate it my own way.

Of course we have to know all the ingredients, so I had an idea what I would need to recreate it. It’s simple really. but I couldn’t just stop there. Don’t get me wrong, the original is amazing. Mine was better.

It has grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and the linguini tossed in a tomato olive oil sauce. I found out from one of our chefs at work that I have befriended that the sauce is actually just oil simmered together with some of the pizza sauce we use. So I used some leftover jar pasta sauce and simmered it together with the olive oil. I then added in some “sneaky spice” which just means cayenne and cinnamon to balance it out – though I’m not telling what measurements… I also enhanced my sauce with some basil and parsley and onion powder and garlic powder…oh my goodness it was yummy. And since it was an oil based sauce, it lingers on the lips and tongue.

At work, customers have a choice of chicken or shrimp to add in if they want some meat. I chose shrimp for mine, it takes me back to living in Italy. For my shrimp, I sweated some onions and toasted some garlic in a pan, and then just warmed up some ready-to-eat shrimp with the tails cut off. Throwing those on top was the perfect little addition to this already tasty dish.

To serve with it, I took some bread that I had leftover and drizzled a little olive oil on it so that it would be crusty in a 375 degree oven. Once it was good and crispy, I rubbed fresh garlic over it, grated up some parmigiano-romano cheese and popped it back in the oven just to melt the cheese. Fantastic. I can’t wait to tell that chef at work about my newest (re)creation.

Masterful Creation – Spicy Sausage and Penne

So after not cooking for a long, long stint, I’ve finally picked up my wooden spoons and pans again…and the result was amazing. Born of necessity (the best inventions always are), my Spicy Sausage and Penne was delicious and my loyal “guinea pigs” (roomie and boyfriend) begged for more.

Pasta

This is the pasta in the best serving bowl - the pot it's made in.

The ingredients were simple and versatile, it just took a little time and knowledge of what flavors work well together. I think it probably helps that I have experimented so much. I think this meal could probably be made for under $15 – the most expensive part are the spices (oregano and sage). Most of the ingredients can be bought at the dollar store.

The recipe for this yummy, scrumptious pasta is on my recipe page. Adjust to taste, as always.