While I was working, I got a text from Rob inquiring if I wanted to go to a friend's for dinner tonight (Friday) or Sunday. Although tonight involves driving Ava to ballet and digging out the weekly papers from the backpacks, I deemed it the best since I am working until about 630pm or 700pm on Sunday and that always disrupts things for the host/hostess. I also asked that he inform me right away about the final plans so that I could prepare something to bring. Let's just say, that it ended up that Rob thought it was a good idea to invite this family to our house instead and I ended up yelling at him on the phone as I was driving home from work that he is completely and totally inconsiderate, the house is a mess and what the hell am I going to cook? You will understand my level of anger and frustration when I tell you that Rob pretty much likes to make plans and just shows up to shove food in his mouth that he did not prepare or even have to think about at all. Sure, he might help (if asked) by way of vacuuming the floor or emptying the trash but he had absolutely no plan or thought as to how 4 adults and 4 children are going to be fed. Since I am a firm advocate of advance planning, this sent me into a tailspin not to mention the fact that I had not yet eaten lunch, it was already 2:00pm and needless to say, I was "hangry".
It clearly doesn't help when others know that I can at any given time and with limited resources, pull something out of my ass for people to eat. (Sorry for the terminology but I feel it offers the best description.) And I will admit that it's usually pretty tasty even though the meal might have been created out of an old jar of mustard and a few toothpicks. Although I possess such a talent, I should never be put into this situation by anyone else but myself and especially never by my husband who already has to bear the brunt of pretty much all of my wrath as it is.
I unlocked the door and got my thoughts together while rummaging through the refrigerator. I preheated the oven and dug into my cooking tasks but I continued to pout into the evening until the guests arrived. Thankfully, I had a little of this and that left over from Val's birthday party a few days before and some chicken drumsticks that I threw into a quick marinade. (Don't worry I made Rob grill them outside and it was snowing.) By the time our guests arrived with a beautiful green salad and two bottles of red wine in hand, I had managed to make a lemon bar recipe I wanted to try http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/berry-lemonade-bars and the following Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarte.
Perhaps I should not share this recipe I came up with at the last minute as it will just add to my aforementioned "talent". I know that I should protect myself from future last minute party assaults. But I know that others have suffered my fate and have stood in the grocery store on the way home from work, fatigue clouding their brain, trying to think up something to feed the hungry mouths waiting at home or worse yet figure out a last minute dish to bring to a dinner party. For those moments, please see below. The recipe can be adapted to use whatever you may have in your refrigerator and/or pantry. For instance, substitute the goat cheese for any grated cheese, change out the olives for leftover cooked vegetable from last night's dinner. Just make sure to keep a few boxes of puff pastry in your freezer for emergencies that call for yanking something delicious from where the sun doesn't shine.
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarte
(makes 15 square pieces)
2 tablespoons butter
1 box puff pastry (2 sheets)
4 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped chives
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
handful chopped black olives
1/4 cup sundried or roasted tomatoes
Preheat the oven according to cooking directions on box of puff pastry.
Slice the onions and add them to a skillet with the butter over medium heat. Cook onions until soft and brown (about 15-20 min.), stirring occasionally.
Place the goat cheese, sour cream and chopped chives in a food processor or Kitchen Aid. Mix well and add a dash of Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.
Lay a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet. Spread out the puff pastry lining up both pieces to fill the cookie sheet. Trim the puff pastry to fit. Brush beaten egg onto edges of puff pastry. Trim excess piece of puff pastry into 1/4" wide pieces and lay onto edges of large square to create a border. Brush these pieces with egg. Place puff pastry in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread goat cheese mixture inside the puff pastry rectangle up to but not over the border. Sprinkle black olives, roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions on top. Place tarte in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes more until the edges and the bottom are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool remove tarte from pan by sliding the parchment off the pan. Slice into squares and serve at room temperature.