Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

For the pastry:
¾ plus 2 tablespoons all purpose white flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon white sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ice water
For the filling:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated
½ cup ricotta cheese
3 – 4 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

To make the dough, place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse to blend. Add the butter, one slice at a time, and mix until crumbly and there are no clumps of butter left. Add the water and mix until a ball forms, about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sprinkle flour on the countertop, place the dough on it and with a rolling pin, roll it out into a 10 inch circle. If you are using a pie pan, crimp the edges about ½ way up the sides: this is a shallow tart. Line the pan with the dough and cover with aluminum foil or wax paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 1- 12 additional minutes.

Increase the temperature to 400 degrees.

Line the dough with the mustard and then with the ricotta. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and place the tomato slices in circular pattern. Drizzle the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Time Chart of Lightly Toasted Nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned. Set aside to cool. Cover and freeze up to 1 month.

Almonds: 12 to 15 minutes
Hazelnuts: 12 to 15 minutes
Macadamias: 12 to 15 minutes
Peanuts: 15 to 20 minutes
Pecans: 10 to 12 minutes
Pine Nuts: 10 to 12 minutes
Pistachios: 10 to 12 minutes
Walnuts: 10 to 12 minutes

Hot Camembert Cheese with Cranberries and Pecans

Hot, gooey, rich, creamy, sweet, and spicy all at the same time, this recipe is a winner. Be sure to buy a camembert round in a thin wood box; the box is necessary to the recipe.

Serves 6.

One 8-ounce camembert round, frozen for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon lightly roasted salted pecans
1 tablespoon dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. Carefully, using a sharp knife, scrape of the rind from the top of the camembert round. Return the round to the wood box. Spread the brown sugar over the surface, then top with the pecans and cranberries.

3. Place the box on a baking sheet, transfer it to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.

4. As soon as you can handle it, remove the box and place the camembert on a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Variation: Substitute 3 tablespoons chutney of your choice for the brown sugar, pecans, and cranberries, or brie for the camembert.

Serve with toast rounds, crackers, bread sticks, or the crudités of your choice.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Andy Husbands’s Hot Crabmeat Dip

When Andy gave me this dip recipe, it was 1996 and he had just opened his first Boston restaurant, Tremont 647. He’s been very busy since then ¬– he now owns Sister Sorel and Rouge, both in the same neighborhood.
This dip is best made on the day you are going to serve it; if you would like to do some work ahead of time, mix everything together and add the crabmeat just prior to cooking. This dip is also great uncooked.

Makes about 2 cups.

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to your taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh horseradish
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Place a small skillet over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Place the garlic in a medium-size mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, celery, shallot, lemon juice, parsley, horseradish, mustard, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and mix well. Using a spatula, lightly fold in the crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer to a small casserole and bake until light brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serve with crudités of your choice, crostini, or crackers.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)