Cherry Tomato, Goat Cheese and Parmesan Tart

This very easy (incredibly easy) tart is a great crowd pleaser - served hot or cold, as an hors d'oeuvre cut into small squares, or big ones served with a salad. Simple and delicious !

Time: 40 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4-8 (depending on whether it's a main meal or not)

1 package frozen puff pastry
1 log of firm goat cheese
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
20 or more cherry tomatoes, halved
3 slices of a ripe large tomato (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh herbs such as oregano

Preheat oven to 450oF.Roll the pastry out into a rectangle about 1/8th" thick, or enough to cover a large baking sheet. Cut the goat cheese into thin slices and arrange evenly over the pastry. Sprinkle the parmesan all over to cover the goat cheese and make sure it goes all the way to the edges. Slice the cherry tomatoes and arrange on top of the cheese - you may add some slices of a large tomato in the center as decoration is you wish. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with your herb of choice and olive oil. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the tomatoes are browned.

Cut into squares - large or small and serve hot or cold.

Pasta, Cherry Tomato & Grilled Shrimp Salad

This is a very easy and delightful summer salad that can be eaten hot or cold. I prefer it cold - with some fresh baked bread such as baguette! 

Time: 20 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 2-4

3 cups cooked pasta (such as spaghettini, fusili etc)
1 cup steamed fresh peas (in their pods)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 small onion finely chopped
8 tiger shrimp, shelled with tail on
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan slivers for garnish

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion and tomatoes in 1 tbsp of the olive oil until the onions are golden and tomatoes are almost cooked. Set aside.

Place pasta in a large bowl, add the tomatoes, peas, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss well. Grill the shrimp on high until crisp and lay over the top of the salad. Garnish with thin slivers of Parmesan cheese.

Eggless Tiramisu

Why eggless ? So many people are allergic to egg whites, yolks or both, including my husband so here's a really easy way to make this amazing dessert, which is lighter than the original recipe and you'll be sure to knock everyone's socks off!

Time: 4-6 hours (prep time 20 minutes)
Effort: Easy
Serves: 6-8

1 8 oz container of Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup each: heavy cream, coffee cream (10%)
4 tbsp cane sugar
1 large cup Espresso coffee (hot or warm)
1/4 cup "Tia Maria" or any coffee liquor
2 packages French style lady fingers (these are smaller than the Italian ones)
2-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine the Mascarpone cheese with the two creams until completely smoothe, then add sugar and blend again. 

Make a large cup of Espresso coffee, add the Tia Maria. 

Take a deep dessert dish approximately 8"x8" and start lining the bottom with lady fingers as follows: dip each finger quickly into the coffee and one by one arrange on the bottom of the dish. Spread some of the cheese mixture on top, then add another layer of lady fingers. Keep layering until your last layer is the cheese. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and decorate with lady fingers if you have any left or a nice leaf of mint. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. You can make this dessert the night before if you prefer.

Bon Appetit !

Broccoli Leek & Tomato Fritata (baked not fried)

I have never been fond of frying anything as for me it's always too greasy, so I like to bake or broil when I can, hence a baked fritata is just as good as a fried one, if not better ~ and definitely better for your health!

Time: +/- 45 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves 2-4

4 eggs well beaten
2 cups broccoli flowerettes, steamed until tender but crisp
2 medium leeks, diced and steamed until tender
1/2 medium ripe tomato, sliced and quartered
1/4 cup shredded cheese (such as Gruyere or Parmesan)
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil for spraying or brushing

Heat oven to 400oF. Spray or brush a deep baking dish with olive oil coating the sides, but don't use too much!

Arrange the broccoli and leeks on the bottom of the dish, pour in the beaten eggs, sprinkle with cheese and then arrange the tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the egg is cooked and the top is nicely browned.

Serve hot or cold, alone with a salad or with your favorite meat/fish recipe!

Bon Appetit!

Grilled Pork Chops stuffed with Baby Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomatoes with Red Wine Sauce

Time: 25 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 2

Ingredients (chops)
2 pork loin chops, at least 1" thick
2 small bunches of baby mushrooms (these are the ones that are long and have tiny tops)
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 medium sized sun dried tomatoes (oil packed)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Juice from half a lemon for marinating
4 toothpicks

1/3 cup dry red wine (I always use Portuguese from the Douro region)
1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
1 box of baby mushrooms, loosened
1 tbsp corn starch
Salt a black pepper to taste

Using a sharp paring knife, cut a pocket into each chop - deep enough to stuff the mushrooms and tomato into. (Watch your fingers!) Stuff each pocket with a bunch of mushrooms, a tomato and 2 sprigs of parsley. Push the stuffing well into the pocket with your thumb, and secure each corner with a toothpick. Lay the chops on a baking tray and drizzle  with lemon juice, olive and salt and pepper. Set them aside while you make the sauce.

In a small saucepan, heat up the stock until boiling. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Mix the wine with the cornstarch until it's lump-free. Gently pour the mixture into the stock, stirring constantly, turn the heat to medium and continue to stir until thickened. Remove from heat and cover.

Turn on your BBQ and heat to high. Place chops on grill, lower heat to medium high. Cover and grill for approximately 7 minutes per side or until well done.

Serve with wine sauce and your favorite side dishes. (I served them with baked cauliflower and sauteed peas, carrots and corn).