When I first started to cook, I had no faith in myself. Being in the kitchen was terrifying to me, so everything came out of a box or a packet to ensure I couldn’t make it “wrong.” The first year my husband and I were married, I even bought a box of rotini with spices to make a “homemade” pasta salad. (It still blows my mind. I spent nearly 4 dollars for 2 servings of pasta salad!)
But then, gradually, I fell in love with cooking. And once that happened, my fear just melted away. I learned the big kitchen lesson: You’re always going to do something wrong at some point – and that’s okay. If you’re lucky you can salvage it. If you’re not lucky, then you just need the number of the nearest pizzeria.
Cooking is a process. For every sauce that’s too salty, you learn to season it with a more steady hand the next time. For every dry pork chop, you learn how to make a brine. Once I let the fear go, I felt nearly zen-like.
Of course, the glass of wine along with that realization helped.
But there’s still one thing that I cook with out of a box, and that’s puff pastry. At some point I’m going to learn how to make if from scratch, but for now, I’m fine with just keeping a box of it in the freezer.
And that frozen puff pastry lets me have more time to indulge my love of the vegetables that go on top of this tart. Fresh-from-the-farmers-market beet greens, beautiful tri-colored organic cherry tomatoes that I found on sale and, finally, a spice blend that makes the whole kitchen smell divine.
This is the perfect dish to make when you’re in a hurry after work and you need to get dinner on the table. Or even better, if you’re feeling lazy, but you still want to pamper yourself while marathoning House of Cards.
If you don’t have a spice grinder, buy an inexpensive coffee grinder at a second hand store. It’s worth it to be able to play with your own spice blends. They make the house smell more inviting than incense or an air freshener ever could.
And check locally for bulk spice shops or check some out on line. Inexpensive spices are like a little present to yourself.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ½dried chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, divided
- 1 piece puff pastry, thawed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large frying pan with the chili flakes. Cook over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Roughly chop the beet greens and add to the pan. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Toss constantly with tongs until the greens resemble the texture of cooked spinach, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Grind the fennel seed in a spice grinder along with remaining salt and onion powder. In a small bowl, stir the tomatoes together with the fennel seasoning, to taste.
- Place the puff pastry on a large, rimmed cookie sheet and, using a pairing knife, score a line around the pastry half an inch from the the edge to form a border. (That will allow the sides to puff up and create an edge.) Poke holes all over the middle of the puff pastry with a fork. (Don't poke holes on the border edge though.) Top with ½ of the parmesan. Squeeze moisture from the beet greens, and place on top of the parmesan. Top with tomatoes, and remaining parmesan.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve immediately, or at room temperature.
Calories per serving: 152 Fat per serving: 11.5g
Amount Per Serving Calories 116Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 4mgSodium 634mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 3g