Friday Pie-Day: Freeform Vegetable Tart

It’s a new year! To save my wallet and my waistband, I decided to bake pies a little less frequently, but FRIDAY seems like a great day to bake pie.

A good friend of mine came over for lunch today. I got a great deal on some delicious veggies from a local market. We both love veggies, so I decided to make a veggie pie. Now you know I must love this friend of mine, ’cause I CHOPPED and chopped and chopped veggies for her. I don’t have sharp knives (because of my lazy problem where I put them all in the dishwasher), but I managed to chop lots of zucchini, yellow squash, shallots, mushrooms, and peppers for my Freeform Vegetable Tart.

I prepared a couple of store-bought pie shells by laying them out on parchment paper and sprinkling them generously with feta cheese. I love feta cheese. I pretty much love all cheese, but feta is right up there near the top of my yumminess list. The recipe called for store-bought crusts, and they really did behave perfectly and held together in a freeform form. “Freeform form” sounds ridiculous…

Anyway, the veggies you saw in the skillet above were pre-cooking. I read in several cooking articles about how vegetables can be even juicier than fruit, so it is important to pre-cook them for pies/tarts. While they were cooking, I added salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic. I gotta tell ya, my house smelled fantastic by this time.

After they cooked about 10 minutes, I dumped them onto a tray covered with paper towels. They needed to drain a little and cool down to about room temperature. Then I lined them up all fancy-like on those tart shells. It’s important to leave about two inches all the way around so that you have something to “form” when you close up the tart.

Here’s how they looked before I put them in the oven. I brushed egg wash on the shell edge before I pushed it up around the vegetables. I also brushed it on the outside of the shell after it was folded up. This really paid off by giving it a lovely golden brown color when it baked.

It baked for about 50 minutes at 400 degrees. Then I moved the tarts to a cooling rack–I left them on the parchment paper, which helped me slide them off the pan.

As soon as they hit the rack, I sprinkled more feta cheese on the top of each tart. If feta cheese is good, then MORE feta cheese is even better, right?

I’d set the table kinda nicely. I figured that if the tart wasn’t that great, maybe the table setting would compensate somehow. It looked nice, but it didn’t matter.

That tart tasted incredible.

My friend and my hubby enjoyed it with me, and we all had seconds. And frankly, I can’t wait for leftovers.

It came out in pretty good slices. And, considering it was “freeform,” it didn’t look sloppy or anything.

I really enjoyed making and eating the tart, but it also accomplished a few other things:

1. We didn’t eat out. I’ve decided to try to eat out less, and I really enjoyed having someone over. Besides, it’s a great reason to clean up!

2. I shopped at a new, cheaper grocery store. It wasn’t my favorite, but they really did have good deals. I’m not SUCH a princess that I can’t go somewhere different now and then.

3. I ate more vegetables. As a family, we want to move (however gradually) away from so much processed stuff. I hope we’ll be able to make more and more progress in this area as the year goes on.

4. I tried something I’d never tried before. Trying new things makes my brain work better. No doubt about it.

Try something new today.You might surprise yourself!