I think there is an erroneous perception that chefs become chefs so they can eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love good food and I love to eat. I love tasting fresh ingredients cooked to perfection, but I don’t think that is why I became a chef. For me, it is all about the process of creating something with my hands and my palate, something that I can share with others.
Perhaps it’s a way of getting approval or a need to please others. I am not sure. I have asked myself this question many times.
When I have to cook for myself, I always resort to simple, no fuss dishes, but I get tremendous pleasure from cooking for others. I watch their facial expressions as they eat the first morsel, I ask them to describe it for me and probably, bore them to death with my persistence.
My dear friend Karen is my guinea pig. I love cooking for her because she is one of those people that welcomes everything I make with the biggest heart and smile. She appreciates life, friends and good food like no other. She and I can spend endless hours talking about food and in fact, we do.
So last Friday morning I decided to make this tomato tart just for her. “Do you have any dinner plans?”, I asked. “No”, she replied. “Ok, now you do”.
The tart is super crumbly with a brown rice and almond crust, filled with arborio, parmesan, slices of heirloom tomatoes and a breadcrumb, almond and parmesan topping. All flavored with herbs and olive oil. Served with a salad is a perfect lunch or light dinner.
And I have to say, Karen gave me the thumbs up.
Rice and Almond Short Dough
55 grams (1/3 cup) sweet rice flour
50 grams (1/3 cup) superfine brown rice flour
50 grams (1/3 cup) almond flour
40 grams (1/3 cup) potato starch
1 grams ( 1/4 tsp) xanthan gum
3 grams (1/2 tsp) salt
115 grams (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
In the food processor, pulse together the six first ingredients. Add the cold, diced butter and pulse about 10 times or until butter is cut into the flour into small pieces. Add the beaten egg and pulse until lightly comes together. Turn the dough onto your work surface and press it together. Wrap it in plastic wrap, flatten it and form it into a disk and refrigerate for about an hour.
Roll the pastry between two sheet of parchment. It is very delicate so it’s easier to use parchment. Fill the tart mold with the pastry and cut the excess dough. It might tear a little but just press it back together. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.
Cover the tart mold with a piece of parchment and place pie weights or beans on top to blind bake it. Bake in a 350F oven until edges start to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
2 cups cooked arborio rice
10 grams (1/2 cup) parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbs olive oil
450 grams (1 lb) Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Fill pre-baked tart mold with it. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top.
50 grams (1/2 cup) gluten free breadcrumbs
20 grams (2 Tbs) almond flour
5 grams (1/4 cup) parmesan cheese, grated
20 grams (2 Tbs) olive oil
Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle on top of the sliced tomatoes.
Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes until tomatoes soft and topping is golden brown.