I keep a small pad of paper on the nightstand next to my bed for those occasional nights where my body is exhausted, but my mind can't seem to shut down.
Often some of my best menu ideas come as I am tossing and turning and so I jot them down for future reference in my notebook.
"What are you writing?" My husband will ask, knowing full well the answer.
"Oh, just a little menu planning" I'll say,
"How does this sound?"
and I'll rattle off to him a well-rounded cocktail menu for that upcoming wedding shower I am helping out with or list a trio of desserts I want to make for that weekends' pot-luck with friends.
I realize this makes me sound really food-crazy, so I will reiterate that I occasionally menu-plan in bed and only when something genius comes to me and I don't want to forget it in the morning.
This asparagus and gruyère tart was jotted down in the notebook, underlined a few times, with the note next to it:
"A must-try for spring. Ideal for an elegant outdoor meal."
After making it this week, I would have to say it is ideal for several reasons.
First of all, it is ridiculously easy to make: if you can roll pastry and grate cheese, you can make this tart.
Secondly, it's mighty tasty: what's not to love about flaky pastry, a good strong cheese and toothsome spring asparagus?
Thirdly, look how pretty it is!
You'll find the original recipe here with a how-to video that I fell asleep while watching.
Asparagus Gruyère Tart
Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyère. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyère, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes