Celebrity goat cheese: tomato tart (and smashed potatoes too)

Let's talk goat cheese.  I love a good artisan goat cheese like Capriole Farms from southern Indiana, but I'm on my second buy of the Celebrity goat cheese trio from Costco and you should grab some too while it's available.  You know how good things mysteriously and maddeningly come and go from Costco.  There are three flavors:  garlic and fine herb, Mediterranean and chipotle.  It's not that they are so unusual, but when I go beyond serving them for a little gracious living with wine and crackers then I have a blog post waiting to be written.

Use flavored goat cheese in grilled cheese with good summer tomatoes, fresh basil and some great multi grain or ciabatta loaf or go all out and get a good foccacia.  I'm telling you, go to Amelia's bakery stand at the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market.  Or grill or bake some cheese toasties with a little olive oil brushed on both sides and a good spread of goat cheese melted on top served with a salad.  Crumble some into your salad with a light vinaigrette or just good olive oil and a nice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add some to your mac and cheese along with some cheddar, I'm thinking the chipotle in some mac would be fabulous.

I had some nice little purple and yukon gold potatoes from the farm stand, boiled them in salted water until they were fork tender and then drained them.  Leaving them in your saucepan add some goat cheese and a little chicken or vegetable broth and smash it all together.  In the hot pan the cheese will melt and it's going to take every bit of willpower for you not to finish the whole pot.  Sure my potatoes were a little funky and purple but the chipotle goat cheese made them crazy good.

I found this tomato tart recipe in a cookbook review in USA Today or the WSJ or the New York Times when I had gleefully grabbed all three papers from the Delta Sky Club traveling with Greg to Charleston for the Fourth.  I love newspapers.  I love the indulgence of all the papers in one sitting.  Plus I got to read these in first class because my husband is smart enough to give me a turn at an upgrade if he's on the same flight.  The recipe would be perfectly good with plain goat cheese, but the garlic and herb was pretty darn tasty.  I totally splurged on this recipe and bought a really nice all butter frozen puff pastry sheet from Whole Foods for more than double the cost of the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets.  While I was at it, I bought really nice fresh house made ricotta from WF too.  Soooo much better than the grocery version.  Might have to learn to make my own which I read all the time about being super easy.  I grow lots of basil and I had gorgeous tomatoes from the farm stand too.  I served this for a little Monday night dinner party with Dave and Maureen.  Whenever Greg is actually in town we have to keep the party going since it's a rare occasion and will be getting much rarer pretty soon.  I also made a terrific grilled skirt steak salad with marinated and grilled onions, roasted poblanos, red wine oregano vinaigrette and feta.  That post is next.  Not bad dining for a Monday.

Tomato Tart

flour for rolling pastry
one 7-8 ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold per package directions (thaw in refrigerator 2-3 hours)
2 T olive oil, divided
1 C ricotta cheese, drained if fresh
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled (I used Celebrity Herbs and Garlic from Costco trio pack, but plain would be just fine)
2 large eggs
1/4 C fresh chopped basil leaves (a good bunch)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
3 medium to large ripe local tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds and drained on towels

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly flour parchment and roll dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle.  With the tines of a fork flat or blade of a small knife, press indentations or  cut slits part of the way through the dough about 1 inch from edges all the way around the rectangle.  Prick the center of the rectangle all over with tines of a fork on end to keep the center from rising as high as the sides of the dough rectangle.  Brush the inside of the rectangle with 1 T of the olive oil.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta and goat cheeses with the eggs, fresh basil, 1/2 tsp of the kosher salt and 1/4 tsp or more of freshly ground pepper.   Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the center of the rectangle all the way to the edge of the 1" border.  Top with tomato slices (when I lifted mine from the paper towels, the seeds stayed on the towels which is way easier than coring and seeding the tomatoes), overlapping them a bit.  Drizzle with remaining 1 T of olive oil and lightly sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of kosher or flaky (Maldon) salt across the top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.
Cut into squares and serve warm.  Serves 6-8.

tart before baking
after baking, with my filling spilling all over but in a good way


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