I love to entertain, in small groups though. I don’t do well with large groups. I like to have conversations with all my guests and make them feel at home. When there are too many you always feel like you haven’t spoken to everyone !!!! I like the whole process….figuring out what the guests like and what would suit them, then figuring out what to serve on what, how to decorate etc.However, the last few months , I have had so many dinner parties,it became difficult for me to figure out a menu. I firmly believe that you should enjoy your guests so I do not like food where I have to stand at the stove at the last minute cooking something . It is not like I do not have recipes….I just told my sis that I have so many cookbooks and recipe collections that I can cook for 2 years straight without any repeats !!!! This does not include the stuff that I come up with !!!
But when it comes time to entertain, I prefer to stick to tried and true…..not every one is as adventurous as V and I are ,and also I know for sure that it will come out perfectly !!! I love using puff pastry …its easy to use , very versatile and can be used in all cuisines !!! This is one such adaptation. I have always made vegetable puffs like the ones you get in India but lets face it they are labour intensive and I don’t want to stand there making theses small puffs for a party !!!! So I figured I can make a tart…..I didn’t want to make the usual veggie filling either. I love cauliflower and recently have extended that affection for broccoli too . I decided to make a curry with these two veggies. Then I figured , put it on a free form puff pastry tart and my CURRIED CAULIFLOWER BROCCOLI TARTwas born !!!
I used cauliflower and broccoli with cherry tomatoes. I like them as they are like small sweet jewels. I also added cashews for more crunch and raisins to balance the spices. You could use a store bought pie crust but I love the flaky crunch of puff pastry. I do take care to make the vegetables dry so that the crust does not get soggy. I did have to add a little cheese so that the veggies would not fall off and make it easy for serve small pieces.
I have to admit that I did once make tartlets out of this too. Though not as labour intensive as making puffs, it does involve a little more work than the tart !!! I made the shells with puff pastry squares. I used the same filling ….however I did add a little cream cheese at the bottom. It is quite delicious…..spicy, sweet filling in a crisp crunchy shell and then tangy smooth cheese in the middle. Makes quite a spectacular bite !!! The tartlets are easier to handle that the tart so I save these for occasions where a sit down dinner is not possible.
CURRIED CAULIFLOWER BROCCOLI TART
2 cups Cauliflower , cut in florets
2 cups Broccoli, cut in florets
½ cup finely chopped Red Onion
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 tbsp Raisins
2-3 tbsp Cashews , roughly chopped
2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Red Chili powder
½ tsp Cumin powder
½ tsp Coriander powder
½ tsp Garam Masala
¼ tsp dried Kasuri Methi leaves
Salt to taste
1 pkg. Puff Pastry
¼ cup shredded Cheese ( I use jalapeño jack )
Pre heat oven to 400 F.
Blanch the cauliflower florets and broccoli florets.
Sauté the cumin seeds in the oil.
Once they pop, add the onions. When they turn translucent,add the spices and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. Sauté for 2 minutes and set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Place the puff pastry on the paper. Thaw.
Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove and then reduce the temperature to 350 F.
Spread the cheese on the pastry.
Then top with the vegetable mixture.
Bake for 8-10 minutes till the cheese has melted and the puff pastry is flaky and golden brown.
For the tartlets, thaw the puff pastry and then cut out squares.
Press into a mini muffin tray.
Bake for 7-8 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 F.
Then place a tsp of cream cheese and the spoon the vegetable filling over.
Bake for 8-10 minutes till done.