we had a great low-key weekend of zucchini and beans and *just one more episode of jane the virgin* and trying to figure out why my pokemon go app isn't working. "maybe pokemons haven't gotten to the midwest yet?" eggboy asked as i feverishly paced around the town gym staring down at my screen. he doesn't get it, he still has an iphone 2, have i told you that?
one highlight of my weekend was eating a very mayo-y jimmy johns sandwich and another highlight was making vegan ice cream with all of the basil from our garden for eggmom and eggpop, but generally i got myself ready for the trip that i am about to embark on today that will have me in five (5!) continents within the next few weeks. two of those are just layovers, and one is north america so i guess that doesn't count.
these danishes are inspired by my last trip to new york, a few weeks ago. i popped in for a few days to see my homies, noodle around the new hummus and tahini spots, and help maria find a wedding dress (i am going to be a bridesmaid!). i got citi bike for the first time and immediately became obsessed. i zoomed around like the good old sticky city days, when i'd violently refuse to ride the subway, and go over bridges and through midtown on the rickety old molly mobile. ah the molly mobile! look, it's me as a new york bean with the molly mobile! and there i am again! and there's my little basket! and our first bike ride date! ok sorry to be so nostalgic and mushy it's just that so many of my favorite new york moments happened by bike and they all came swimming back to me on this trip!
another great thing happened during this trip: i learned how to make couscous. not the kind where you open a box and pour it in a pot and set a timer, but the real kind, where you start with a bowl of semolina and a spray bottle of salt water and end up with zillions of tiny balls, generally of uniform size (that is something i have to work toward!). my new friends ron and leetal spent an evening patiently teaching my clumsy hands how to roll the little balls and then they whipped up one of the most amazing meals i have ever had in the whole entire world. it was meatballs in perfect sauce and herby salads shoveled up on clouds of four types of couscous and it ended with homemade marzipan dusted with gold (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and they sent me home with their harissa. i love their harissa. it's sweet and sour and not too spicy.
the next morning i brought my suitcase to the weight limit with all of my frozen couscous souvenirs and harissa jars and then made the customary stop at breads bakery for plane snacks where something called a designer danish was staring me in the eye and begging me to take him home. so i obliged, because i just didn't have room for a whole babka and needed something savory. oh, good heavens, it was delightful! it was a buttery flaky pastry filled with tomato sauce and topped with herby goat cheese. it was huge and delicious. that's what she said. so i hurried home and made up a version of it.
i've taken the easy route, with store-bought puff pastry, and filled it with whipped goat cheese and tomato jam that's got a heavy plop of ron and leetal's harissa mixed in. it's a danish that toes the line between sweet and savory, and it gets an itsy bitsy kick from the harissa! you can also make these with cream cheese if goat cheese isn't your thang.
harissa tomato danishes with herby goat cheese
makes 18 small danishes
2 lbs roma tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1⁄2 c sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tb harissa, or to taste
goat cheese filling:
8 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 tb sugar
1 tb flour
a pinch of kosher salt
a handful of chopped fresh thyme or rosemary or a mix of both
1 package (17 oz) puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
eggwash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water
sesame seeds, for sprinkling
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
In a saucepan, combine the tomatoes, sugar, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has cooked off, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Press through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the tomato skins. Stir in the lemon juice and harissa. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
goat cheese filling:
beat together all ingredients until combined. transfer to a piping bag or ziploc bag with a corner snipped off.
preheat the oven to 375ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
working with 1/2 the puff pastry at a time, roll out into a 12" square, dusting your surface with flour if necessary. cut into nine 4" squares and then transfer the squares to the baking sheets. brush with the eggwash and then fold the four corners in towards the center. poke the bottom a few times with a fork. brush the tops of the corners with the eggwash and then place a tablespoon of jam and a swirl of goat cheese in the center. sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt and bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 22 minutes. repeat with the other half of the puff pastry.
let cool slightly and enjoy!