Now that I’ve turned thirty, and therefore a bit wiser, I have now come to accept that the movies are not reality. The “ugly duckling” spinster won’t suddenly know how to put on make up properly and wear better fitting clothes to only walk out the next day, movie star gorgeous and finally get the guy she’s been crushing on for years to suddenly notice her and fall head over heels for her. That’s not how real life works. Or at least not in my reality.
My reality is quite the opposite. In my reality I come home from work to an empty house and change into something more comfortable. And by that, I mean a pair of old workout shorts and a race t-shirt. Sexy…I know…
Then I start the battle in my head wondering why I even bother making dinner for one when it would be so much easier to go down the street and just grab something from somewhere. If I cook, that also means I have to clean. I hate cleaning.
In my reality I eat dinner on the coffee table in front of the TV and the computer. I eat my salads straight out of the mixing bowl i made it in.
In my reality, I can’t park my car properly most days, I eat way more than I should, my clothes are perpetually wrinkled because I can’t iron and they spend many hours in a gym bag since I pack up the night before. I am terrible at applying eyeliner, and even worse at keeping the eyeliner where it’s supposed to be. I spill stuff on me…All. The. Time. I am not graceful, tripping over everything. I always say the wrong things, but think of the best things to say way after the encounter. I make weird noises because I can’t process my words fast enough. This list can go on and on especially if you ask for input from others.
I am just full of imperfections that can’t just go away with one life changing epiphany. I’ve tried…real life doesn’t work that way.
On the other hand, if we were all perfect, then we’d all be the same…and really, what’s the fun in that?
So, me and my imperfect self made some dinner one Monday night just because I felt like something different.
Roasted Veggie Puff Tarts and Arugula Corn Salad (inspired by these Asparagus and Gruyere Tarts from joythebaker.com)
I had a summer squash I bought at the farmers market on Saturday and I really wanted to use it. I also had a sheet of puff pastry left over from when I made the Asparagus and Gruyere Tarts as mentioned above. So, I figured let me make some tarts, but top it with cheese and squash.
But, when roasting squash, instead of crunchy like asparagus can get, it tends to get more mushy. I was afraid that if I roasted the squash on top of the puff pastry, it would all just get really soggy.
So, as soon as I got home, I took out the sheet of puff pastry and let it thaw for a bit as I settled in and changed into my sexy workout shorts. I then turned on my oven to 400 degF and started prepping the squash for roasting. I sliced up my squash into thin disks and threw them into a pan and tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Once the oven came to temp, in went the squash.
Then I prepped the puff pastry dough. Once you can unfold it, it’s ready to be manhandled and cut into 6 pieces. Line them up on some parchment paper in a sheet pan (use parchment because if you use foil, everything just sticks). Taking a paring knife, gently etch in lines a little inwards from the edges making a rectangle. Brush each with a beaten egg. I like mine eggy, so I kind of pour the rest of the egg on top of each of the rectangles. Top each tart with some shredded cheese (I had Gruyere) and minced garlic.
Put that in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Once that went in, I quickly chopped up a tomato into large chunks and tossed that in a pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper and threw that in the oven as well.
Then I worked on my salad. In this salad went baby arugula, grated carrot (and chopped carrot since grating takes a long time), fresh corn (sliced off the ear and sauteed in some butter), half an avocado, and later some roasted tomato chunks. I like my salad with just a few dollops of this Roasted Raspberry and Chipotle Sauce.
After about 20 minutes since the puff pastry went into the oven, pull everything out. The puff pastry will be puffed, but will settle as you carefully, but quickly layer some of the squash on top of each tart. Then return into the oven until they are golden brown.
I feel that anything served on top of puff pastry is delicious. This is no exception. Once it was done, I further topped it with some of the roasted tomato and grated carrot. I moved my salad (still in the mixing bowl) and tart over to the coffee table and chowed down.
The best part? I can tell you I only had one tart, but you will never know how much I really ate for dinner :-)