Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cookie Swap

If you haven't read through your copy of this Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle, go check it out-the Magazine sections, specifically.  You'll see the cover article on Cookie Swaps and that is yours truly featured inside.  The writer, Meredith May, contacted me when she heard that I throw a whopper of a cookie exchange here in SF every December.  She came by and was part of it herself and I love how the event translated to the page.  It's an amazing night that I look forward to every year, bringing together friends from all aspects of my life over something as simple as a cookie.
The article outlines the ins and out of throwing the event if you are interested in hosting your own, and I think you should!  If you have any questions, let me know-I'm more than happy to answer them here in the comment section.

I also wanted to write about the dishes I served for dinner that night.  It was a perfect menu for cold weather and light enough to leave room for tasting plenty of sweet treats.  I made a Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Tart (below), a Lentil Salad with Dried Cherry Vinaigrette (from Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day), and this Curried Cauliflower Soup

Here is the recipe for the Tart.  If you have a Trader Joe's near you, go buy their frozen puff pastry.  At $3.99 a box, it's the deal of the century! Made traditionally with only butter, flour, and salt it rivals the much more expensive brands (but is only here for a few months so stock up).  Did you know the supermarket brand, in the long white box, contains NO butter at all-that's shortening my friend, which is absolutely not traditional in puff pastry.

Let me know what your holiday baking traditions are.  I'd love to hear them!

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Tart

1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs butter
3 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2 large onions)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled out to 1/8-inch thickness
1 egg, beaten
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tbs finely chopped Italian parsley

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions and stir well.  When the onions just begin to soften reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and lightly golden, about 20 minutes more.  Stir in the thyme with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more.  Set aside until the onions have cooled.

Meanwhile, place each sheet of puff pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick it all over with a fork.  Gently crimp the edges to form a 1-inch border.  Brush both sheets, including the borders, with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Set one rack in the top third of the oven and the other in the bottom third.

Combine the cooled onions with the Gruyere cheese and divide them evenly between the two sheets of puff pastry.  Sprinkle with the Parmigiano.  Bake tarts for 10 minutes then swap the rack each tart is on, baking until the pastry is golden brown all over, about 10 minutes more.  Cool the tarts on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then cut into squares.  Sprinkle pieces with parsley and serve warm.

Makes 2 tarts, each serving 8


Amelia PS said...

Jodi: congrats on being featured in the San Francisco Chronicle: how exciting. And the Tart is goes in my "must make soon" file!!! I did a cookie swap once (Angie was there too)...maybe it's time to do another one: thanks for the seasonal reminder :) Wish you lived closer!

Anonymous said...

Jodi, I think you should make this sometime when your mother-in-law comes to dinner. :)

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