May 2012

{the first camellia of summer, clipped fresh from my backyard}

I love Memorial Day weekend.  As the first “official” summer holiday, it gives the perfect excuse for a weekend filled with delicious barbecue, catching up with family, and lots of lake time.  This week has been exciting having all three sisters once again back in the same town, and in true sisterly fashion I’m looking forward to a fun weekend filled with incessant laughter, a stack of books and copious amounts of sweet tea.

{a celebratory tunnel of fudge cake congratulating freshly-graduated friends on new jobs}

{guacamole in the making… my memorial day party contribution}

{this summer = no more carbonated drinks}

{homemade pita bread takes an (unintentional) patriotic turn}

Summer. Vegetable. Tart.

Or, in more accurate words: summer-blahblahblah.  The whole “vegetable tart” component of this equation is an irrelevant, albeit insanely delicious, player.

I live for summer: the slower pace, the longer days, the bounds of fresh vegetables I pretend to enjoy.  After spending a much-needed afternoon in the kitchen with my sister and serving this on our patio at an impromptu get-together, I found this tart to be the perfect introduction to all three this season.

Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, everything comes together to make a really unique flavor.  The faint sweetness of the crescent dough combined with the savory spread and crisp veggies is unexpectedly divine.

Oh, and why have I yet to incorporate this product into my kitchen?!

Everything that is good about crescent rolls but in a seriously convenient no-seams dough…

Roll the dough on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  The dough sheets didn’t fit exactly perfectly, so it took a bit of cutting/finagling to make a neat rectangle… don’t worry if it looks “messy” at this point: once you spread on the delicious topping, all unevenness will be hidden.  I rolled the edges to create a crust, then baked for about 9 minutes until it was golden brown.

While the crust is baking, wash and prep your veg.  This picture almost makes me want to start eating tomatoes like grapes… almost.  I used my mandoline {I have this one} to slice the veggies at 1/8″ in (attempted) uniformity.

Once the crust has cooled, spread evenly with the herby mixture.  We didn’t use all of the spread, but found it to be delish as a dip for leftover vegetables or even spread on a turkey wrap for lunch the next day.

Now the fun part…

…decorating this little masterpiece.

Perfectly diagonal.

Perfectly symmetrical.

Perfectly perfect.

Clearly you can see that I had no part whatsoever in this illustrious arrangement.

Now thank your sister for her obviously non-genetic disposition to precision and put the tart in the fridge to chill until your guests arrive {6 hour-ish if you can, even overnight is fine}

If you’re in a hurry, you can also just chop the vegetables and sprinkle confetti style over the crust… haphazard veg sprinkleage = still ridiculously delicious tart.

Here’s to the start of a deliciously wonderful summer… enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Tart

– 2 packages crescent rolls
– 1 8-ounce brick cream cheese
– 1 package dry ranch dressing mix (3 Tablespoons)
– 3/4 cup mayonnaise
– assorted chopped vegetables (cucumber, grape tomatoes, yellow and
green bell pepper, shredded carrots, and broccoli)
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place crescent rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat, pressing together any seams. Bake at 375° for 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Mix softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix using an electric mixer and spread on cooled crust. Sprinkle with chopped vegetables or arrange in a decorative pattern. Top with shredded cheese, if using. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

{makes 16 appetizer-sized servings}

Hi there.

My name is Alice.  I used to write this blog.  I’m sure you had forgotten.  Apparently I had forgotten, too.

Life lately has been a whirlwind of changes, some hectic, most exciting, and I’ve found myself with little time to write and bake bearing any semblance of interesting.  Hopefully things during these months sliding into summer will slow down a bit, helping me get back into somewhat of a routine, blogging included.

In other news, I recently celebrated another birthday and realized {only two months late} that this blog had celebrated its first year as well, a momentous occasion promptly toasted with a cold turkey sandwich on stale-ish white-wheat.  Clearly when hosting myself, I go all out.

With all this birthday talk, I decided to celebrate in a more appropriate fashion, sharing some of my favorite gift ideas for the special people in your lives, specifically today: the baker!

To me, one of the sweetest and most personal gestures is a gift- no matter the size- that shows it was truly picked out with you in mind.  Here are my picks for the butter and sugar addicted:

1. Giant Pastry Tips by Wilton; $2

2. 5-Quart Stand Mixer by KitchenAid; $295

3. Monogrammed Recipe Cards by PaperSassy and Boatman Geller; $50

4. Decorative Baking Cups by Shop Sweet Lulu; $12

5. Digital Candy Thermometer by Maverick; $30

6. Dessert Cheese Ball Mix by Ala Carte Alice; $7

7. Silicone Baking Mats by Silpat; $20

8. Tapestry Dishtowels by Anthropologie; $24

9. “Art of the Cookie” by Shelly Kaldunski; $20


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