"You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.” - Kurt Vonnegut, "Jailbird"
I love going out to dine with friends but equally fun in my book is attending a potluck, a dinner at a friend's home or just getting together for a cooking night. I've always felt lucky that I have so many friends that enjoy talking about food and cooking as much as I do. Mr.S. is great about indulging my endless chatter about articles I've read in Saveur or my intent search for a hard to find ingredient; however, nothing beats getting together with my amigos and shooting the breeze about new recipes, techniques and restaurants over a table full of good grub and a few glasses of primo vino. This month was especially full of fun food-centric activities. I attended a tamale making party at my friend Amanda's where we made Mississippi Delta Hot Tamales. I had never made tamales from scratch before so I found the event fascinating and not quite as daunting of a task as I thought it would be.
I also attended a soup swap at my friend Sarah's (of Undercover Caterer). Yes, I know National Soup Swap Day was back in January but with the erratic weather Sacramento has been having, holding the soup swap this weekend made perfect sense. As a result, I now have a freezer full of some fantastic soups to dive into during the upcoming week of inclement weather (Michelle's pasta fagioli, Sarah's $800 chili, Lacy's hot and sour, Ellen's red lentil-coconut curry and my mushroom barley). Can't wait!
Have you done any fun food-centric parties or activities with your friends? Anything unusual or that you particularly enjoyed? I'd love to hear about it!
Below is a recipe for a goat cheese and apple tart I threw together to take to the soup swap. It's super easy to make and if you want to save even more time you can use a ready-made pie crust (Trader Joe's makes a great one that tastes almost homemade). The best part is that if you're lactose-intolerant this creamy filling won't bother your stomach.
Goat Cheese and Apple Tart
1 pie crust (your favorite recipe or store-bought)
2 Fuji apples, cored then thinly sliced
1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons lavender honey (regular honey works just as well)
1.5 tablespoons cinnamon
8 oz. goat cheese, softened
1/2 cup coconut milk creamer (So Delicious makes a good one and is available at most grocery stores in the Natural Foods section or where the coffee creamers are)
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Press your dough into your tart pan. Cook as directed in your recipe. (Mine requires 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.) Usually halfway through I check in on the pie crust and if it's puffing up, I give it a couple of stabs with a fork to aerate it.
3. While the crust is baking, you want to prep your apples. The easiest way to do this is to use an apple corer, like this:
Push it down, remove the core and then slice each wedge into thin slices. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, coconut milk creamer, egg, sugar and vanilla. (I used my mixer so that I could get it nice and smooth- you don't want any chunks.)
5. Pour the goat cheese mixture into the crust. Smooth it out in the tart pan so that it's spread evenly. Arrange your apple slices on top of the goat cheese.
6. Sprinkle with cinnamon then drizzle with honey.
7. Place tart back in the oven and bake at 450 degrees for another 15-20 minutes.
8. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool. Serve. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge.