So easy, so good

I checked back to see if I’d written about this before and I have, 5 years ago. (I often do not look back at posts except to find recipes and was surprised to discover a really sweet comment I’d never seen before). I have a hundred million tomatoes I needed to do something with. Unfortunately these were not my own but summer tomatoes nonetheless, which is good for flavor but they are pretty wet. I put mine on a rack and dehydrated them in a low oven for an hour or so, something one of my sisters taught me.

There’s a basic recipe below but I embellish because, well, I’m insane. I drizzled the tomatoes with oil and garlic, and added fresh thyme. This is a guaranteed show stopper and people pleaser, to use expressions I dislike but resort to when I am lazy.

And it was delicious.

Tomato Tart

Preheat oven to 400

One pastry crust

(I bought this one)

Some sliced tomatoes

(Winter tomatoes are perfect for this, fortunately these were summer tomatoes)

3 cups shredded cheese

(I shred my own but you can use bagged cheese, it’s a lot easier, if less delicious)

Dijon mustard

Basil chiffonade

Put the crust in a tart pan, but you can use a pie pan or anything that holds it

Spread the raw crust liberally with mustard

(You can use sour cream, mayonnaise, oh hell, peanut butter for all I care)

Fill it with shredded cheese (I used Gruyere or Swiss cheese is nice but anything works, a combination of cheeses is great, add some bleu cheese would be great, for sure)

Cover with sliced tomatoes

(A light sprinkling of parmesan works here)

Plop it the oven for 35-45 minutes until it looks browned.

Throw on some basil when you take it out of the oven, or not.

Let cool and slice up. Or just fold it in half and eat like a sandwich if nobody’s watching which is how I eat many of my meals.

Slightly less fussy than Jamaican hand pies

But just as good. These are Julia Child’s French cheese tartlets (recette ici). You still have to make and roll out dough which I don’t like so much but at least you just fill the little mini muffin crusts from the top and don’t have to egg wash and pinch them together like you do a hand pie.

Julia’s recipe is sort of easy if you have crème fraîche on hand. I made one batch with crème fraîche and then another but I used sour cream instead. There was no difference at all. I also used some paprika for no real reason since it has no taste. I added chopped muffuletta to some, and olives and capers, bleu cheese to still others.

All of them were really really good.

Stuffed chocolate bread pudding

When i had a restaurant, we used old hamburger buns for bread pudding. Now, when I no longer have that insane miserable hell hole I have to purchase fresh brioche buns (seems like an adequate trade off) and I stalize (Stalize: the process by which one makes bread stale) them in the oven. With that I made my regular restaurant-recipe chocolate bread pudding but this time, between layers, I added a can of caramel, dulce de leche. The caramel burbled up to the top while it baked.

Three things were at work here making it better. 1. The brioche buns are infinitely better than stale hamburger buns. 2. That caramel really ratchets up the deliciousness level. 3. No restaurant, the life sucking, soul destroying, life trap that stole years off my life.

The bread pudding was seriously amazing.

Recipe follows

Chocolate bread pudding

    • 1
      cup heavy cream*

      2.5  cups whole

      oz semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

      large eggs

      cup (100g) granulated sugar

      teaspoons pure vanilla extract

      teaspoon salt

      loaf day-old brioche bread, cut into 1 inch cubes but really anything
      works, well, maybe not seeded rye.

      cup or so semi-sweet chocolate chips or 4 extra ounces chopped


      1.    Heat the heavy cream and whole milk in a
      medium saucepan until simmering. Remove from the heat and drop in chocolate let
      it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate.  Whisk until
      combined and chocolate has melted Add sugar, salt and vanilla and whisk again.
      Let cool down so as not to cook the eggs in the next step.

      2.    Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Pour one
      half of the chocolate cream mixture into the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add
      the rest.

      3.    Put the bread cubes into a large bowl and
      pour chocolate cream egg stuff over it.

      4.    Grease a 9 x 12 pan or something along
      those lines. Spread one half of the chocolate soaked bread evenly into the pan.
      Add layer of chocolate chips, about half. Pour the remaining chocolate custard
      bread evenly over the top. Toss on the rest of the chocolate chips.

      5.    Let rest an hour and usually I give that
      all a big and yet gentle stir.

      6.     You can also chill the unbaked bread
      pudding in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

      7.    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

      8.    Bake the bread pudding for 45-50 minutes*
      until the edges appear set. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. It will come
      out with a few moist crumbs, but won’t be overly wet. I bake it covered for the
      first 20-25 minutes, then removed the aluminum foil for the remaining time so
      it can slightly crisp on the top and around the edges. It stays slightly wetter
      that way.

      9.  Cover leftovers and store in the
      refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Serve leftovers warm, room temperature, or
      cold. It microwaves very nicely. Bread pudding is best eaten right out of the oven with vanilla ice cream
      since this isn’t rich and decadent enough.