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Jan 6, 2012

The Bon Appetit Throwdown: Round 1

If you've been following The Sauce lately you've read that I was getting a little bored with my repertoire of 5000 or so recipes, and I felt that I needed a little excitement in my day to day cooking, which caused me to get the crazy notion to cook the Bon Appetit' cover recipes until I get bored with that or until they put some ridiculous, elaborate, wedding cake looking dessert on the cover. A little Bon Appetit throwdown, if you will. 
     Here's the plan ~ I'll cook the cover recipes, photograph them and critique them like the highly trained, highly paid, mostly just high, professional food critic that I think I am. 
     So what follows is the results from the January 2012 issue and I can tell you that ding, ding, ding...we got a winner!  I knew I would love anything with a whole stick of butter, roasted vegetables and goat cheese in it, but about half way through this recipe I thought the pain-in-ass-to-make factor would certainly out weigh the yummy-ness factor.  I was wrong!

I know...there is nothing hard about roasting a bunch of vegetables, but for some reason it took me a good half a day with both ovens blazing, to make this tart. Maybe it was the crust, maybe it was because I made it on Christmas eve when I was also trying to do a million other things, but I'm thinking...maybe it was the crust.
    First off, I will tell you I that followed the recipe to a "T" even though sometimes my infinite cooking wisdom told me to say screw it and just wing it. For example, the recipe said to chill the crust for "at least 1 hour and up to 2 days." I gave it an hour and the thing was like a hockey puck so I had to let it rest for a half hour just so I could roll it out. And then it was thick...too thick, and it had a mind of it's own and wanted to take on a weird shape, making it almost impossible to put it into the 10" pan, as the Bon Appetit Bully ordered me to do.

I know I am no dough genius, but  I am better than this...really, I am!

My gut told me there were way too many vegetables in this recipe for the size of the crust, but my head said, "shut up dingbat and roast them bad boys." I channeled Martha and thought more roasted vegetables are a good thing. 

So after I finally finished roasting the 5429738683rd piece of chopped, sliced or diced vegetable, I tried to fit them all into this teensy-tiny-to-thick-tart. I actually had to deviate a bit from the recipe at this point because there was no way I could get all the red peppers and tomatoes in, which was fine with me because by that point I was starving from all the work of rolling out that dough, so I didn't mind being forced to eat the over-flow.

My tart runneth over and I hadn't even put in the eggs and cream, but I followed instructions and poured it in to what little crevices were left.
     Four ounces of goat cheese? Seriously? Doesn't sound like much unless you are trying to put it onto something that is already over-filled to the max. I managed to get most of it on the tart, but by now I had spent about 4 hours on this dish and just wanted the damn thing in the oven. And I wanted to hate it so I wouldn't be tempted to make it again. The recipe failed to mention at what temp to bake the tart, so I went with a 350 setting. 

As you can see from the picture above it was heaping. This was just before I put it in the oven.  And below is when it was finished, which took a bit longer for the eggs to set than the 50-60 minutes that the recipe called for, but that was likely because it was over filled. From the looks of the picture I'm betting BA's was more egg-y, and they must have used the mother of all tart pans because there is no way we used the same amount of vegetables. Bet me!
     Look at their picture...where are all the tomatoes? There is supposed to be 16 wedges on that pie.


I know it doesn't look much like the BA  cover, but my official life-long taste tester and our friends, the Guyottas, said mine looked better. (That's what good friends will say.) Even the in-laws who are known to scrutinize most of my dishes (because they are always on the lookout for a piece of fish that I may have slipped into something) gave it the delish stamp of approval!

The Lowdown on the Throwdown:  

The balsamic roasted tomatoes were the star of the dish so I'm glad there were so many of them! Loved the eggplant and sweet potato mixture, and the goat cheese kicked it up a notch but honestly the fennel was lost. I couldn't have picked it out of line-up. I really didn't think the thyme would be that noticeable with all the vegetables in there, but it was the perfect touch and finished it off nicely.

Will I make it again? Mmmm, don't know, probably when I want to kill an entire afternoon and heat my house with my ovens, but next time I'll make my tomato pie crust recipe. It's better anyway, probably because it has more butter in it. It's also way easier to roll out and it makes 2 crusts. If I do make it again I'd use less onion and more fennel and I'd use the queen mother tart pan, which I don't own. 
     Bring on round two BA! I sure hope it's not some puffy meringue-y thing because I'm back to cooking on the boat in my little galley with the midget-sized oven.
Pray for me. Stay tuned...

Click here for the Roasted Vegetable Tart recipe.