Simple Tomato Pastries

I rarely watch tv…I mean really rarely.  Every once in a while I enjoy watching a documentary, and recently discovered Chef’s Table.  I love watching the well thought out moves of the kitchen staff, and find the presentation of the different style fascinating: the delicate moves, the precision of every wielded knife, the vibrant colors of fresh ingredients…I love it.  I have worked in a few kitchens in my life…but none as nice and the ones in the show.
So, when I watched Alain Passard from L’Arpège (in Paris) roll out a homemade sheet of puff pastry, lightly brush it in butter, and cover it in a colorful mixture of thick-sliced heirloom tomatoes – my mouth began to water.  He has such an amazing garden that produces fresh fruits and vegetables for his kitchen – a dream.  One day I will get around to making my own puff pastry…it’s been on my bucket list for years, but will have to stay there a little longer.  Luckily, my local grocery store sells vegan puff pastry, so I picked up some San Marzano tomatoes from my local farmer’s market and got right to it.
This is a really simple recipe, and my kids love eating these delicious crunchy pillows.  The lightly caramelized tomato gives this savory snack a silky sweetness.
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Simple Tomato Pastries

Serves 4 (Snack) – 12 (Amuse bouche) / Prep Time 5 min / Total Time 25 min
Ingredients:
1 sheet vegan Puff Pastry, cut into 12 rectangles
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
6 San Marzano Tomatoes (can substitute with Roma), halved
1 pinch of Sugar
1 pinch of table Salt
1 hand full fresh Basil, chopped
Directions:
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Remove the wire rack from your oven and line it with parchment paper.  Place the rectangles of puff pastry on the parchment paper, making sure that they are not touching each other.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and fleur de sel.  Brush each piece of pastry with the mixture, and place a tomato half on each piece of pastry – cut-side up.  Larger tomato halves can be cut again in half to help them bake more evenly.
Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the
tomatoes, and sprinkle each tomato with a small amount of sugar and salt.
Place the wire rack on the very bottom of your oven and bake for 10 minutes.  The, set the wire rack in the center of the oven and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.  Baking the pastries at the bottom of the oven allows the bottom of the pastry to become really crunchy.  If we had a pizza oven, we could skip this step.  Take care not to leave the pastries in for too long as the puff pastry goes from golden-baked to charcoal-black rather quickly.
Once done, remove immediately from oven and allow to cool slightly before sprinkling with fresh basil.
The pastries can be stored for 2 days at (cool) room temperature and still taste great.  These guys always taste great…breakfast..lunch…dinner…or in between meals.
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Roasted Garlic & Onion Dressing

In Bavaria there is a very traditional way to prepare Lamb’s Leaf Lettuce (Feldsalat): bacon grease, bacon, onions, white wine vinegar, sugar, and salt – every family has their own special recipe.  Winter is right around the corner, and this is (almost) every German’s favorite Fall/Winter/Christmas salad.  It’s basic and full of salty acidic flavor.
However, this is a salad that no one ever serves vegan-friendly, even though it’s so simple and just as jam packed with flavor.  The crunch from the bacon will be absent, but the flavor is so amazing and full of depth (and even better than the original!) that you won’t even miss it!

Roasted Garlic & Onion Dressing

Serves 4 / Prep Time 5 min / Total Time 15 min
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon Sunflower Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 small Onions, minced
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
Salt, to taste (about 2 pinches)
3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil
Directions:
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium-sized sauce pan.  Add onion and garlic and sauté on medium-low heat until dark-roasted – but not burnt!  Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the sautéed garlic and onions and mix well.  Taste to adjust acidity and/or salt.
When ready to serve, pour over a large bowl of freshly washed lamb’s leaf lettuce and toss.
Enjoy