All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
This is another recipe born of ingredients I had at hand & a desire not to waste them. I recently looked into what I spend on groceries each month. I was horrified. I live alone. I eat twice a day & usually have a tofu dog every day for lunch. I don’t eat meat & I seldom spring for the GORGEOUS fresh seafood at my local Gelson’s (and by seldom – I mean less than once a month – at most). Sure – I made Thanksgiving dinner for 11 this year & have hosted several dinner parties in honor of my boyfriend’s visits but jeez! As of this week – I have spent an average of $717 a month on groceries!!!! That does include wine & random investments in costly ingredients like hazelnut oil & a bottle of Chartreuse but still. I live on pizza, pasta & tofu dogs and I VERY rarely spend even $10 on a bottle of wine. My boyfriend drinks canned Bud Lite. I shop at Costco and Smart & Final – not Whole Foods, Bristol Farms – or even Gelson’s. How could I possibly be spending that much? Yet, confounding as it may be – it appears to be the truth. So – you will be seeing a lot more economically-minded recipes coming up & lots of things with repeat ingredients as I try to use up stores I have of various things. And my wine might have to transition to the boxed variety. That’s sad. It’s sad when you are so determined to drink wine that you need to chug the first glass just to make the second glass taste remotely palatable. The third is usually pretty smooth after that. Will I need to drink the first box quickly to make the second box taste good? That seems downright excessive. But – you will know the answer to that if my blog drops off and you spot me huddled under a freeway overpass with my three dogs, in a threadbare crew jacket from old acting job like Father Dowling Mysteries – and red wine glass stains curling up from over my top lip – giving me a distinctly Joker-like expression. Something like this:
Speaking of homelessness – I have to share my new favorite dog on Earth with you here.
LOOK AT THAT PICASSO FACE!!!! Here is her story:
CT, NY, NJ MA or PA
~REMEMBER WHEN LUCY WHO WAS DEFORMED FROM AN INJURY CAME TO AMERICA, EVERYONE WANTED TO HELP HER? WELL, IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR NOW & LUCY IS STILL WAITING FOR A FUREVER HOME. WHERE IS EVERYONE? PLS SHARE/ADOPT THIS ANGEL
SO SHE CAN GET THE LOVE SHE DESERVES.~
Lucy has survived the unimaginable. Used repeatedly as a breeding dog and then discarded to the streets of Colombia, she was found starving by a good Samaritan, her jaw and nose badly broken. A SFTH adopter and volunteer heard about her plight and arranged for her to fly to NY, where she has been receiving rehabilitation ever since. We had a specialist examine her, and although her facial bones never healed properly, she can eat, drink and has no pain whatsoever, so we decided not to put her through extensive and unnecessary surgery. Anyway, we think she’s beautiful the way she is! Lucy is great with people and she adores small dogs, probably because they remind her of the many puppies she’s had over the years. Her foster mom tells us that Lucy is very easy going and low maintenance. The only thing our little couch potato loves more than having a backyard to explore, is having a couch to come back to and nap on! Lucy is spayed 100% healthy, up to date on her shots. Please call Beth at 347 242 0459 you would like to adopt our Special Girl.
Lucy is currently in a wonderful foster home with her trainer in CT, not boarding (that was last year). We’re only going to adopt her out to a home in CT, NY, NJ MA or PA. We’d prefer to keep her close so the person or family will be able to visit her a couple of times so they can get to know her and Lucy can get to know them. We’d like to adopt her out as the only dog or to someone pit savvy with a well balanced small dog. And we would love for Lucy to have an enclosed backyard which she has now and LOVES!
Isn’t she amazing??? Are you in the northeast? Can you adopt her?
Anyway – like my smoked salmon, potato & asparagus torte
– this dish is VERY easy to prepare & could feed 6 as a main course pretty easily, more as a side dish. I used the cheeses I used here because I had them already. Any cheese could be substituted but you would need at least one creamy cheese (like the goat cheese) to keep the consistency right. Maybe use cream cheese or ricotta or Boursin or something. Even feta. I also used smoked cheddar – because I had it. I used it in all – including the top layer of this torte. It was a mistake. It doesn’t melt well & the other cheesy mix burned.
Undeterred – I simply peeled the thin burned layer off (including any burned cubes of the cheddar) and topped the torte again with a pizza blend mix I had of grated cheese – like I had with a cauliflower gratin torte I made for Thanksgiving – seen here:
So – I recommend this method.
Also – as an aside – I used broccoli in this recipe that I had frozen myself a month or so ago. I found I had a lot of broccoli & spinach & I was leaving town &didn’t want it to spoil. So – I divvied it all up into little baggies & froze it. Thawed – they came out pretty much like any frozen vegetable (of which I am no fan) and did not taste as good as they might have if used in recipes in their fresh state. No more freezing asparagus or broccoli & definitely not spinach – for me.
If you own a food processor – I cannot impress upon you strongly enough how much I encourage you to make this torte crust yourself. It is ridiculously easy & takes 5 minutes.
Homemade Herbed Tart Crust Pastry
enough for TWO tarts
3 cups flour
12 TBS butter (salted, if possible) – CHILLED and cubed
1+ TBS fresh thyme (or diced fresh sage or fresh parsley or fresh oregano) – OPTIONAL
1/4 tsp salt
Mix the salt & flour together in your food processor (or in a bowl – as this dough could be made by hand – just not by me).
Pulse in the butter until it is incorporated into the dough. Pulse in the fresh herbs. Pulse in the two eggs. Add water 1 TBS at a time until small lumps of dough form.
Divide the dough into two balls & on a lightly floured surface, roll the two balls into disks large enough to line your tart pan. I rolled one out – and lined my tart pan. The other, I kept in a ball, rolled it in some flour & then wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge for another tart another day.
When you line your tart pan – press the dough in gently, starting from the center & work to the edges. You can wrap the pastry over the rim & then cut away extra, for a cleaner look. I go more rustic & press it in more willy nilly.
Refrigerate your pastry-lined tart pan for at least 30 minutes.
PRINT THIS CRUST RECIPE
Cheesy Three Cheese, Potato & Broccoli Deep Dish Torte
1 crust – either frozen or from the recipe above.
4 TBS butter
8 oz heavy cream (or milk or half & half)
2 garlic cloves – chopped
2 potatoes – peeled, boiled until soft & sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 celery stalks – diced
1 large onion – diced
1 lb broccoli florets – steamed al dente (or frozen)
1 TBS fresh thyme (optional)
3 oz smoked cheddar (or other strongly flavored cheese) – cubed
4 oz goat cheese (or other soft cheese)
6 oz grated cheese – either provolone, jack, cheddar, mozzarella or a blend
3 oz ADDITIONAL grated cheese as a topping
S&P to taste
PRE-HEAT oven to 350 degrees.
Press your crust into a spring form (or other) deep pan. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile – peel, boil & slice your potatoes. Try not to overcook them. A potato is cooked if you pierce it with a knife or fork – lift it from the water – and it falls off on its own.
Steam or blanch your broccoli also trying hard not to overcook it.
In a bowl or food processor – blend the heavy cream, eggs, goat cheese, 6 oz grated cheese, fresh thyme and S&P.
In a saute pan, melt the butter & saute the onion & celery. When they soften, add the garlic & saute another minute. Mix in with the broccoli.
To assemble the torte – put in a layer of sliced potatoes – using half, then half of the broccoli/onion mix, then dot with half your cubed smoked cheddar (press the layers down here to get maximum density) and cover with half the heavy cream mixture. Repeat the potato then broccoli, cubed cheese (and pressure) & heavy cream layers. Top with the 3 oz or more of grated cheese.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so – or until your top layer of cheese is melted & begins to turn golden.
Let the torte rest, unmolested, for at least 15 minutes. Slide the blade of a knife between the crust & pan before releasing the spring form (if using).
Slice it up & serve!