Monday, April 15, 2013

Mini Mushroom, Arugula and Onion Tarts

 Wooohoooo! School break! My last April break of high school. It's time to do a serious number on my to-do list: Watch Shrek, win a game of chess, let the hedgehog experience the outside world under close supervision, etc. The normal teen stuff. Well, I woke up this morning all excited about this sandwich I envisioned. Picture this:
A pad of butter sizzling in a frying pan, filling the kitchen with the sultry aroma of the start to a great sammich. Gently grating some cheddar cheese, to sprinkle liberally into the pan, melting ever so perfectly. The rough squeeze as you pull together the sides of a garlic pressing, the tiny pieces of garlic landing so perfectly in the pan. Popping two slices of whole grain bread in the toaster before moving to begin slicing up some grilled chicken. Painstakingly choosing the best pieces of arugula, before the toast pops up, you delicately butter one piece.

Arugula: A Zebra Finch's Fancy

Now, watching the cheese smoothly glide unto the bread and the hand-picked arugula landing on top. Finally, the crescendo, you place the chicken and upper piece on toast and give it a finally squeeze. Yum. Sadly, not photogenic whatsoever. I tried. My very best. Oh well.
So, it was time to try again. My dad, good ol' Papa Zim, said he'd been wanting to try something culinarily new with mushrooms. I love me a good pie. I knew we could find a compromise.

Oven Temp: 400 F
Prep Time: 20  minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Ready In: 1 hr 15 minutes

1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 pound mushrooms (8 ounces), chopped into small pieces
1 egg

2 cups arugula
4 cloves garlic
 2 tsp oregeno
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary
2 tbls canola or olive oil (for frying)
salt and pepper

1 1/4 cup flour
1 tbls apple cider vinegar
3 tbls water
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) cold and cubed
red pepper flakes

You'll want to have the crust all ready to go in the fridge as you began to prepare the filling. 
So, cut butter into the flour until it forms a crumbly mix. Keeping in mind that an over worked pie crust is less fluffy, mix water and vinegar into crumbles and work with hands until just combined.

If you want a little flavor boost, stir in some pepper flakes. Seran wrap and place in fridge.

Begin sauteing onions in a large frying pan with the oil over medium heat. When they begin to brown mix in garlic. Mix in mushrooms.

Sizzle until most of the moisture is gone from mushrooms. You'll notice that the pan will soon have more water in it from the mushrooms. Good job!

Once the mushrooms have shrunken, stir in arugula and stir until arugula wilts a little, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat.

Place cottage cheese in a bowl, stir in the egg. Mix in vegetables. Sprinkle in spices liberally.

Remove dough from fridge. Grease some a muffin tin really well (for the tiniest pies) or a cake pan (for medium) or an ordinary pie pan (large). 

Preheat oven to 400. Press pie into respective pan(s). If you want, sprinkle with red pepper flakes for a flavor boost! Bake the crust until lightly golden (about 10 minutes for smallest, or 15 for the bigger ones). Remove, let cool. If needed, gently press down the crust if it became too puffy during the baking. Pour in the filling.

 Bake for about 40 minutes at 400.

Ta-da! A petite pie!

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