The ingredient of the week was selected by Amy of Destination Anywhere. I had to do some extra work to make my appetizer because, inspired by a discussion on the ST Food Forum, I opted to make my own sun-dried tomatoes. I looked at a few recipes and read the recommendations made by fellow ST members and came up with the recipe below which is for oven-baked semi-dried tomatoes. These turned out very sweet, delicious and so better tasting than the store bought variety. They are a bit softer and less leathery than the regular sun-dried ones.
16 roma tomatoes
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 315 F.
Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise and lay skin side down on a baking tray. I lined the tray with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and thyme and bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. From time to time check to make sure the tomatoes don't burn.
Let the tomatoes cool to room temperature.
I put half of the tomatoes in a jar and filled it with olive oil. The other half was kept in a container in the fridge to be used for the mini quiche appetizer.
Below is an adaptation of a recipe I found in one of my cookbooks for Goat Cheese and Semi-dried Tomato Mini Quiche. It was a joint effort with my daughter, Polaris, who had seen the crab stew I made last week and was very upset because I had not let her know ahead of time that I was making it. She told me a few days ago that she was coming home this Sunday because she wanted to be here on Small Bites day. I said fine, I’ll share with you the appetizer but we'll do it together. And we did, and she did most of the work, including typing up the recipes but the cleaning chore was all mine. Somethings never change ;-)
Phyllo quiche cups
I looked in a few grocery stores for the ready-made phyllo mini cups but couldn’t find any so the mother-daughter team made them from the phyllo sheets. This step added considerable time to our prep time but it gave us a larger-size quiche cup. I think that the phyllo cups may not need to be pre-baked but we did it to crisp the outer layers. The first batch was made in a muffin pan and we had enough filling for six quiches. The second time we halved the recipe and baked them in ramekins and ended with four smaller quiches.
Preheat the oven to 375 F
Thaw phyllo dough according to package directions and cover with cling wrap and a moist towel to keep it from drying out.
Carefully lay down one sheet of dough and brush liberally with olive oil, repeat this until you have four phyllo sheets stacked on top of each other.
Place a round custard mold over the phyllo sheets and trace around the outside of it to cut out a circle, then place the sheet of phyllo into a muffin pan and press down the corners.
Bake until it starts to turn slightly golden, taking care not to bake too long at this point of the recipe.
Goat Cheese and Semi-dried Tomato Mini Quiche
2oz goat cheese
2oz chopped semi-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup of milk
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Place the crumbled goat cheese in the bottom of each phyllo cup.
Beat the eggs with the milk and pour it on top of the cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
Cool and garnish with the semi-dried tomatoes and sprinkle with thyme leaves.