15 August 2015

Pea and Mint Tart

 I'll admit, these last few weeks have me in some sort of crabby baby-land funk. It's 117 degrees outside, I'm six months pregnant, and I live in Egypt. What I wouldn't give to be able to wear a pair of shorts right now, or breathe clean air, or see a proper beach, I can't even tell you. We are also over due for a vacation -- we've had a few side trips here and there, most of them packed with things like long flights or freezing cold walks across England -- but I haven't had a proper relax and hang-out vacation since last summer (I even worked over Christmas) and I'm starting to feel the effects. But shining like a big bright light on the horizon: three weeks off in September to hang out at home in Chicago, get the house ready for baby, and see a couple dear friends get married. I can't wait!

My cooking has been in a similar sort of funk. There have been a lot of taco nights, ie the best way to use up odds and ends in the fridge, pasta with pesto, and snacking on Egyptian mangos with vanilla ice cream. So far we've counted at least five varieties of local mangos. Maybe I should do a taste test of mangos for the blog? That might be fun.

Still, there have been some highlights: a sweet friend in DC telling me she has our due date on her calendar, the traffic cops that always stop traffic immediately for me as I approach an intersection. A colleague of mine kindly told me that buying baby things is one of the most exciting things in the world, and that it sucks that the mail system here is so frustrating. (I was complaining about the mail we get from the U.S., which only comes about once randomly in a month, and it can take up to 6 weeks for things to arrive.) I'm making curtains for the nursery and a little blanket. Despite my cooking funk, I made zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for the office. Paul has been awesome, finding a local place for prenatal massage, or pointing me towards a good yoga video, agreeing to paint the super intricate stencils I want on the nursery wall, and smartly ignoring me when I freak out about which bassinet we should get.

I've been trying to pack healthy lunches for myself, since one can't live on koshary alone and I already have the Lebanese place on speed dial. This pea and mint tart was something I came up with that could be healthy and portable, and also use up the half bag of peas that are always lurking in the freezer. It's vibrantly green and delicate in texture and keeps nicely for a few days in the fridge.

Pregnancy corner: I don't want this blog to be taken over by pregnancy stuff, but a couple of you wrote to me saying you are also pregnant (congrats!) and I thought I'd keep this little bottom corner for things I've found useful. Right now, this prenatal yoga video is great -- I've been surprised at how many are super boring and I even found a few online that the yoga instructor in me thought were unsafe. Also, flowy Anthropologie dresses are great for maternity clothes that aren't actually maternity. I started making a list of recipes to make ahead and freeze over here. Besides the usual casserole type things, I'm thinking things like little baked meat pies with roasted tomato soup are both freezer friendly, healthy, and make one-hand meals.


Pea and Mint Tart
tart crust for a 10" tart pan*
2 cups peas
3 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
leaves from 1 sprig of mint
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 ounces goat cheese
2 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt, pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare and roll out tart dough and fit it into the pan. Refrigerate tart dough.
2. Place peas, eggs, cream into the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined. Season well with salt and pepper, and add the cream, mint and parmesan. Pulse a few time to combine the mixture and break up the mint slightly.
3. Place tart crust on a baking sheet. Crumble the bacon in the bottom of the tart crust. Pour the filling in. Crumble the goat cheese over top. 
4. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

* I used this recipe, doubled, without the vege oil or sugar and with half whole wheat flour.


maha khan said...

Wow its really amazing and lovely i really like it

maha khan said...

Wow its really amazing and lovely i really like it

Lee said...

I haven't checked in here for a while (Madrid has been hotter than I could have ever imagined and I've lived here for over 25 years so that's saying a lot).I've had no appetite for anything but pre-made gazpacho, Madrid green melon and copious amounts of any liquid. But...aha! I knew from that comment on "stomach issues" that we had good news to look forward to. Congratulations!

bawa said...

Going to try this asap. Congratulations re baby- exciting times ahead!


Sirena said...

I miss your writing and great perspective on food and culture Mercedes!! I hope very much that you are enjoying new motherhood!! In the next few months, if not sooner, you'll be getting ready yo introduce your baby to food :-) another partner in your wonderful culinary journey!

lynn2mary said...

Will you ever return?

Dad said...

I hope everything is okay?

Tibik said...

Hope everything is going well. Miss your writing

Vanessa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Harris said...

Hi Mercedes. Are you still wrting about food? I was first introduced to your blog by a friend who told me about your amazing hummus recipe! Best wishes for your new family!

Safal Trading said...

this pea and min tart recipe is so good.. I'll try this

Silver Tips

Malc said...

Hi Mercedes, if I was able to send you a private message, I probably would, but seeing as this is the only option ... I wanted to say how much I love your blog. Every month or two I come back and have a browse – as one might with a favourite book.

As a foodie, I peruse a huge number of blogs, but few if any do I return to as much as yours. I think it's not just the recipes themselves, but the personal touches that make the difference. Your thoughts on all sorts of topics and your reading lists (I just read the article on the moloukhiya schism you posted a link to quite some time ago) give your blog a rare authenticity. Also, as a Westerner (a New Zealander) who has decided to live in the Middle East, your writing acts as a kind of conduit for me to the region.

I'm sure many readers miss your posts, but as a mother you're no doubt too busy to continue it, at least at this stage. But as an avid reader, I wanted to say that your work lives on. I'm sure there are many others out there like me who return to the wonderful resource you've created.

Gelatipop said...

Look very yummy. I will try soon.. Thanks for sharing. Birthday Catering

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