Fig Tart with Goat Cheese & Bacon

Frank: if you’re reading this, (a) I so enjoyed our conversation today and (b) my fig tart was as good as it sounded earlier today when I told you about my plans to make this for dinner.

Dave picked up some figs on his way home from work the other day. I’ve never worked with fresh figs before, but for some reason, I couldn’t shake the idea of doing anything with them but slicing them up and baking them with some puff pastry, goat cheese & bacon. So, that was dinner tonight. I got really excited about it for some reason. And it was everything I hoped it would be.

Fig Tart with Goat Cheese & Bacon

Thaw a puff pastry sheet. Preheat oven to 350. Place puff pastry sheet on silpat or nonstick baking sheet.

Slice some figs. I used 6 small ones, but I really could’ve done more. Set aside.

Cook some bacon. I did 4 slices, as that’s how I pre-portion and freeze my large packs of bacon when I pick it up at the store.

Combine about 4 ounces of cream cheese with about 4 ounces of goat cheese. I found that this works much better when the cheeses are at room temperature, since you have you spread the cheese out on the puff pastry.

Spread the cheese combination out on the puff pastry. My cheese wasn’t nearly warm enough to spread, so I just mushed it around with my fingers until it warmed up and spreaded evenly. Make sure to leave about a 1/2″ border on all sides.

Top the cheese mixture with the sliced figs. You can make it look pretty or just throw them on there, like I did.

Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it on top of the figs.

Take a couple pinches of brown sugar and throw it on top of the figs/bacon.

Fold up the sides of the puff pastry, like a little pizza.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Devour.

My only complaint about this dish is that I had issues getting the bottom part of the puff pastry crispy & flaky. It was a little mushy. I was so hungry, I didn’t care tonight. But, in the future, I might work to correct it.

This went perfectly with a side salad topped with apples, craisins, toasted walnuts and a bacon-dijon vinaigrette (added shallots this time… yum!). I was in goat cheese-figgy heaven. Dave isn’t the biggest fan of goat cheese, but he still ate it, so it must not have been too terrible. Two slices of the tart with a glass of wine… perfect end to my productive day where I got nothing on my to-do list accomplished.

Pimento Cheese

Somebody get me a big ol’ glass of sweet tea, a front porch, and a sunny summer day. That’s what I want to accompany my latest snack: pimento cheese.

In preparing food for a friend’s baby shower, I realized I needed a better recipe for pimento cheese. Because, you know, you can’t have a baby shower in the south without pimento cheese, right?

I turned to my friend Josh, who recently had a conversation with me about a pimento cheese made with Velveeta instead of cheddar. I really shouldn’t knock it until I try it – Frankie’s mom apparently makes her killer pimento cheese with the gooey, melty “cheese product” also. But, I am a firm believer that there is a time and a place for Velveeta, namely whenever one wishes to make Rotel dip. I would forgive – nay, encourage – the inclusion of Velveeta under the following additional circumstances: in a grilled cheese sandwich, homemade macaroni and cheese, or melted and slathered atop steamed broccoli (don’t hate; used to be the only way I’d eat anything green). But, when it comes to pimento cheese, I’m more of a traditionalist. I want the sharp, tangy bite of cheddar that contrasts with the creaminess of some sort of mayonnaisey-cream cheesy base. The recipe I’d been using just wasn’t cutting it.

So, Josh supplied me with two pimento cheese recipes from his mom, who used to be a caterer and is an amazing cook. One was his grandmother’s recipe and incredibly simple – cheddar, mayo & pimentos with juice – but the second one, from (and I quote) “some restaurant in Athens, Georgia” stood out as what I’d been looking for. I had in mind to create a pimento cheese like the heavenly spread I had recently at Sun In My Belly (if you go? get the pimento/bacon/lettuce/fried green tomato sandwich. you’re welcome.). This recipe totally delivered. In fact, I’m having to exercise a good deal of restraint in not eating it all before tomorrow’s shower.

Pimento Cheese

1 8 -oz block of cream cheese

1 lb sharp cheddar, shredded (I bought a block of “good” cheddar and shredded it myself)

1 7-oz jar of pimentos (I drained them)

2 Tablespoons mayo

1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 generous pinch salt (my addition)

Using a hand mixer, combine all the ingredients together. Works best if you first whip the cream cheese, then whip in the mayo & worcestershire, then the cheese, then pimentos.

Spread on saltines, white bread, or eat with pita chips.