A Girlie Lunch

Today two of my favorite girlfriends came over for lunch. A rare treat for all three of us who were able to sneak in a couple of hours, leaving the toddlers behind with their dads (the newest, who is only weeks old, slept peacefully nearby~), and enjoy a lunch date together.
It amazing how much quality conversation us gals can cram into a lunch date, isn't it? From grocery lists to sleepless nights to insurance rates and goals for the future we covered it all and left feeling refreshed, encouraged and re-energized.

Because I took a day of rest yesterday (we'll discuss that newly acquired practice in another post soon), I didn't have as much prep time for the meal as I usually give myself. Nonetheless, after a quick trip to the store this morning I came home and whipped up a little lunch for us gals ~ which was not only simple, but really yummy. (I love what the Barefoot Contessa comes up with.)

Here's the recipe. I served it with a salad and the roasted red pepper and tomato soup we love here at the house ( you can find that recipe under the "recipes" section of the navigation bar).

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
(from Ina Garten)
(**I have made note of the changes I made in this recipe below)
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
*I omitted the garlic. Not a huge fan of garlic or the breathe that lingers for hours afterwards.
*I didn't have dry white wine on hand but I did have some cooking Sherry.
* I used plain goat cheese and mixed in my own homemade pesto.

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide ( I used the bottom of the tea kettle), cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

What lovely things have you been whipping up lately? I've been a bit of a dud in the kitchen recently and could definitely use some inspiration. Send some my way, pretty please!