Tomato, red pepper and basil tart. This was my most complicated cooking experiment yet (ignore all the crap on the stovetop in the fist pic, ok?). I learned several things over the course of this project:
- peeling and seeding tomatoes is way more work than you might think. And kinda gruesome, with all the steaming, red pulp all over your hands (obviously I couldn't figure out how to take a picture of that).
- I am not a patient enough person to roast the peppers over my burner with any sort of evenness. Ditto keeping up the effort of "finely chopped." On the other hand, fresh organic basil rocks! I could chop that all day.
- Dough? Yeasted tart dough? Ok, this was not something I've had any experience with before. The book also assumes that its readers are not complete dummies, which works against me. After letting the dough rise (that actually works? No way! I thought that was just in novels and stuff), I tried kneading it and quickly became entangled in a sort of cross between The Blob and the story of the tar baby. I wish I had pictures of that ridiculousness, too, but obviously don't.) It occurred to me, right after disappearing up to the elbows in olive-oil-scented quicksand, that flour might help my problem. There was the flour, an arm's length away from me ... with the top of the jar firmly closed. Imagine my indecision. Imagine an I Love Lucy episode. Now think messier and less funny.
- Once I got everything in the tart pan (btw, "unmolding" the tart was so confusing to me I had to enlist the help of my guests), the book said to cut the overflow dough off --- "there would be an excess." Standing there with a hunk of dough in my hand, I thought, "I can't toss this motherfucking dough! I won against this shit!" But then I had the realization that this was probably where the idea of breadsticks came from (see the last photo for my first attempt at rolling out breadsticks). There are no breadsticks recipes in my cookbook, surprisingly, but Google came through for me. They weren't bad, but I was hungry and my friends were a bit late, so they didn't get any. Heh.
- Post-dinner wrapup: dishes. Ugh! This was too depressing to photograph. I washed and washed and washed, and then the next day washed and washed and washed, and still today I am finishing up the last of the washing. I see why automatic dishwashers are so wonderful, though I've always said that living alone makes them useless. But that's only when you make yourself a can of soup for dinner and that's it. I hate washing things. Gah!