Category Archives: tart

Here’s how to have a gluten-free book club tea party

It was my month to choose a book and host book club in November. Not only do I love reading, but I also love hosting parties. The book I chose was Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier. And since the book is based on the lives of spinster women searching for fossils on the coast of England in the early 1800s, (yes, it really is), I chose a tea-party theme with seashells and dinosaurs thrown in for fun.

Tea Party with sea glass, shells and dinosaurs
Tea is served

First let me note that I am the only GF eater in the group. It’s been my mission to prove to them all that GF cooking is just as good and that the wheat is not missed. Top that with the fact that we’re vegetarians and there isn’t any meat at our house and I’ve got a real challenge, but I’m always up for a challenge, Dear Chef.

The dinosaur is there for a reason, trust me.

I decided on making two veggie tarts, (basically quiche without the crust). The first was made with carmelized leeks, browned mushrooms, mozzarella and goat cheese. Carmelize one onion and two leeks, then add mushrooms and brown them with the onions. When they’re done, place them on the bottom of a tart pan and spread out evenly. Cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella and about 3 TBS of shredded Parmesan. Sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme and parsley. In a separate bowl, mix together about 4 egg whites and 3 eggs. Add about 1/4 cup of goat cheese and whisk it all together with a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried mustard and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the tart and bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Don’t let it get too brown. Slice when cool and enjoy. I’m always apprehensive about using goat cheese since even though I love it, I have found that people either love it or hate it. But this was first plate to be empty, so I suppose this wasn’t anything to worry about.

Another dinosaur, representing the fossils in the book.

The second tart was onion, spinach, asparagus and Swiss cheese. Start with the onions in a bit of olive oil and butter (as above) and cook till brown and sweet. Add about 2 cups of fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Turn the heat on low and cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid has cooked out of the spinach. Add 1/2 tsp fresh garlic, pinch of salt and pepper. spread evenly into a pie/tart pan. Cover with 1 1/2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese. Take asparagus and arrange in a patter on top of the cheese. In a separate bowl, beat together 4 egg whites, 3 eggs, 1/4 cup half and half, salt, pepper, pinch of both nutmeg and dried mustard. Chop about 1 TBS fresh parsley and add to the mixture. Beat and then pour evenly and gently over the veggie/cheese mixture. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, but don’t let it get too brown. Slice when cool.

Thanks to Udi’s for the fabulous bread used to make the cucumber sandwiches and the egg salad sandwiches. They were the first to go and not one was left on the plate. Daughter and I kept eating them while making them, we love them that much. Simple to make, really. For the cucumber sandwiches, just cut the crusts off the bread, then spread with cream cheese and layer with strips of cucumber (use a veggie peeler for strips) and slice. Sprinkle with a little salt and a bit of chopped fresh parsley. For the egg salad I used chopped egg, mayo, apples, celery, salt/pepper and chopped parsley. I didn’t cut the crusts off of these and they were yummy .

In keeping with the fossil-hunting theme, Daughter actually made a wonderful GF coffee cake and placed a small dinosaur in one of the pieces while plating the cake. (Fossil hunting in the dirt? Too much of a stretch?) The cake was gone quickly, and worked perfectly with the tea after dinner.


And believe it or not, I found the perfect wine in the spirit of the fossil-hunting theme of the evening. Thanks Trader Joe’s.

I was depending on Trader Joe’s for their lovely shell-shaped chocolates to round out the decor. And wouldn’t you know it, they don’t have them yet for the holiday season. What’s a girl to do? Ask her teen to make some chocolate, that’s what. Darling daughter actually melted white and dark chocolate and poured it into molds to give us our shell chocolate. What a doll! The night was rounded out with cheese/pesto/sun-dried tomato torte with rice crackers, caramels with sea salt and a lovely salad of spring lettuce, roasted beets and candied pecans in a balsamic dressing.

I’m sad the night is over, but I can’t wait for next month. Try reading the book and see what it inspires you to cook. Enjoy!

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Filed under asparagus, cake, cheese, chocolate, cucumber sandwiches, eggs, gluten free, leeks, quiche, sandwich, spinach, tart, vegetarian

A Gluten-free Tea Party for Big Girls

Don’t you just want to dive in there?

I was invited to a tea party by a dear friend recently. Normally, I turn those down since all those goodies are off limits to me and it can be quite depressing. I don’t mind spending time with friends over tea, but it breaks my heart sometimes when a lovely affair is catered and I’m munching on fruit. But this time it was different. I wouldn’t have to turn it down, I wouldn’t have to pass on dessert, and as a matter of fact, I would have to refrain from eating too much. Surprise, surprise…everything was gluten free and fabulous.

And not only were all the treats GF, but the little finger sandwiches made by the adorable husband of my friend were made using Udi’s bread. Yum! Top that off with every attention to detail in the design of the room down to the amazingly beautiful Ikebana flower arrangements keeping the theme of blue and yellow throughout their lovely home.

Lovely flowers
Crispy, light sugar cookies

 The party was catered by Angela Saban of Angel Cakes Bakery. Wow! It is very unusual for me to be speechless, but I couldn’t find the words to express how delighted I was at everything I tried. Excuse me while I take a few minutes to gush…

Finger sandwiches with arugula and egg…yum!
(Thanks Chris)

Luscious lemon tarts

There were lovely, light and crispy sugar cookies tied in sweet blue ribbons. Along with those were luscious and delicate lemon tarts in a GF crust that was flaky and buttery, just like grandma used to make. Perfect little bites of lemon creme and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

  My favorites would have to be the little vanilla cakes with whipped cream icing and fresh fruit. The cake was so light and fluffy, I could have eaten the entire plate and not felt full (I tried, but darn it there were other people who wanted some.)
Little cakes with whipped cream frosting…oh I still dream about these.

The centerpiece of the table was a beautiful chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. I didn’t know if I even wanted to eat it, it was that beautiful. Even the flower on top was made of sugar…But I found the courage and couldn’t help myself. The cake was just as I remember a chocolate cake was supposed to be. Light, chocolaty, moist and not too sweet filled with a chocolate mousse filling that I would have eaten out of a bowl if they let me. The cake was decorated with an elegant, simple style and looked more like a piece of art than food. But then again, we eat first with our eyes, right?

Thanks again to my dear friend, Elba, for such a wonderful time, as always….and to Angela Saban for making this one of the best tea parties I’ve ever been to. This topped any tea party the Mad Hatter or Alice ever attended! Any time I need something catered, it will be by Angela for sure. Her passion is obviously making GF treats that taste like we remember them, not like we have learned to accept them. Thanks Angela!

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Filed under cake, cookies, dinner parties, gluten free, tart, tea, vegetarian

Who says quiche needs a crust?

One of the things I used to love making is quiche. I was always trying new fillings and different cheeses. When I found out that crust was no longer allowed, I stopped altogether. It wasn’t until about a year after going GF that I realized I could make a quiche, just skip the crust.

I had always thought that it would not be as good, but to be quite honest, it’s even better. I would often take off most of the crust on quiche since I wasn’t a big fan anyway. Now, I don’t have that problem. Yes, I know that many people make their own GF crusts and they taste “almost” like the real thing.

My philosophy is simple…if it doesn’t take great, why eat it? I don’t eat mediocre bread just because it’s bread, or just an OK brownie since it’s GF and a brownie. If it doesn’t wow me, I don’t eat it. Why waste the calories and time?

So, on to the quiche. Or I guess it’s called a tart without the crust, yes? One of my favorites, and the favorite of my children and friends, is a roasted vegetable tart. You can roast the veggies the night before and just use the leftovers for the quiche, or roast them just before making it.

The roasting takes the most time… And I’ve also discovered after many tests that fontina cheese is one of the best for quiche, as well as a few dots of goat cheese for a little extra flavor.

Roasted Vegetable and Goat-cheese Tart

1.5 cups assorted roasted veggies (see below)
2 eggs
3 eggwhites
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
2 Tbs soft goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, add eggs and eggwhites. Beat for a moment, then add the next 6 ingredients. Beat well and set aside.

Spray a tart pan with nonstick spray.

Layer veggies on the bottom of the pan (see directions below). Then layer fontina over veggies. Dot the goat cheese around the top evenly.

Pour egg mixture over cheese and veggies. Bake for 45 minutes or until set.

Let sit for about 10 minutes to settle, then serve.

Roasted Veggies
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Slice any variety of vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. I used a zucchini, 1/2 a red pepper, 1/2 a sweet onion, 5 mushrooms, 1/2 lb of beans (1/2 yellow, 1/2 green) and 1/2 a carrot. If you’re making roasted veggies the night before, just reserve about 1.5 cups before serving.

Place veggies in a large roasting pan, sprinkle with olive oil, about 2 cloves of chopped garlic, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with foil and roast for 45 minutes.

Remove foil and roast another 45 minutes, stirring about halfway through. If you need to, depending on your oven, you can put the broiler on and brown them for a minute or two.

Set them aside to cool.

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Filed under eggs, gluten free, quiche, tart, vegetarian