It happened. I took a month off from blogging. Soul searching. Re-prioritizing. Re-energizing. For a few months now, I’ve been struggling with content for eating in instead. I started this blog in 2012 as a small side project, simply posting whatever I happened to be cooking. My goal was to share my recipes in an effort to inspire others to get comfy in the kitchen.
Then, in 2013, we moved.
And not just a move to a new home, but a trans-Atlantic move to a country I never stepped foot in. New culture, new language, new friends, new country. And yet, scrolling through my old posts, only hints of the complexities in living life commuting between Rabat, Morocco, and Washington, DC come through. The struggles and triumphs of life on two continents as a wife, colleague, friend, sister, daughter, and food blogger all hide behind the recipes. I don’t have beautiful food props or gorgeous table linens. They are all in storage. I cook in kitchens that aren’t meant for croquembouche. Instead of cooking weekday meals with a focus on eating in, traveling and eating out has taken on a larger role in my life. And yet, I didn’t quite make this shift in my blogging, I mean, with a name like “eating in instead,” how could I share my travels or my eating out?
So, I took a break. And during this break, I discovered that I’m holding myself back. Those rules about eating in? Those were my rules and it’s time I break free of them. In my blogging break, I set three guidelines for eating in instead. Since nothing says accountability like broadcasting it to the public, here it goes:
- Share my travels. All of them if possible. Even if there are no recipes.
- Simple and delicious. Inspire new cooks in addition to the seasoned ones.
- Embrace adult palates.
In the spirit of numbers 2 and 3, I’ll leave you a recipe for an Artichoke, Feta, and Bacon Tart inspired by Bon Appetit. I made this last week for a pot-luck wine tasting party featuring Bordeaux wines while I was visiting my mom and her fiancé in Florida. More on that in a later post.
For now, what’s your favorite pot-luck friendly recipe?
- 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used a 17.3 once package with 2 sheets)
- all-purpose flour for dusting work surface
- ½ cup milk or cream
- 5 ounces feta cheese, divided
- 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, quartered and drained
- ¼ cup bacon bits or bacon crumbles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pre-heat oven to 425F or 220C.
- Lightly dust a working surface with flour and roll out the puff pastry sheets slightly, adding about an inch to each side. Don’t roll it out too thin, otherwise the tart won’t hold up to the heavy toppings.
- Lightly score the pastry, taking care not to cut all the way through, and leaving a one inch (2 cm) border around the edges.
- Place the rolled pastry sheets onto separate parchment lined baking sheets.
- In a small food processor or blender, combine the milk and 3 ounces of feta until you get a thick, creamy, sauce. It’s ok if there are a few feta chunks on it, but the mixture should be spoonable and spreadable.
- Spread the feta and milk sauce over the pastry sheets, creating an even layer and leaving a one inch (2 cm) border.
- Scatter the artichoke hearts evenly over the two sheets.
- Sprinkle both tarts over with remaining feta and bacon crumble.
- Salt and pepper generously, then drizzle each pastry with olive oil.
- Brush the borders of the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake the tarts for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry edges are puffing and just beginning to brown.
- Turn the heat down to 375F or 190C and bake for another 20 minutes until the pastry is a golden brown and the pastry is cooked through and a little crispy on the underside.
- Let cool and serve at room temperature.