This didn’t start with me.
Every Sunday was the same growing up in my house. Both mom and dad were in the kitchen cooking, sometimes good ole eggs and bacon, sometimes kimchi fried rice.
It didn’t matter. We just loved waking up to the smell of something delicious coming out of the kitchen.
We all sat down to Sunday morning breakfast before going to church as a family. The table was always filled completely with amazing food. And if we were having Korean food, my mom was sure to have several different kinds of banchan (Korean side dishes and veggies) at the table. This is how we did Sundays.
As a kid, I remember helping my mom in the kitchen and when I was old enough, she would lure me into the kitchen with promises of kimchi jjigae or soft tofu jjigae. . only thing was, I would have to make it myself. She was trying to teach me how to make Korean food.
My mother wanted me to learn my roots, to know who I was, where I came from and to celebrate and love the food that she grew up eating. I wish I could say that I embraced those times with my mother in the kitchen. . but I was a punk teenage kid who didn’t care and the kitchen was the last place I wanted to be.
It was about 10 -12 years later . . but I finally did discover my love for cooking, learning different ways in which to prepare foods and embracing my Korean heritage and now being able to feed my family the Korean food that my grandmother, mother and I grew up eating.
I’m certain this was because I had parents who were active in the kitchen and they just loved and appreciated good food. And when I would finally move out of my parent’s house and on my own for the the first time in San Francisco, CA, discovering the cookbooks (probably the only 3 or 4 Korean cookbooks published in English she could find at the time) my mom purchased and snuck into one of my moving boxes showed me just how much she loved me. And the countless phone calls we would have later. . asking for her Korean recipes that I would make for my family always bring a smile to my face.
This didn’t start with me and you’d better believe it’s not going to end with me. My kids will learn how to cook and it’s my hope that they will teach their children and this will continue . .
And with my passion for food and cooking, I now can’t look at food the same. I can’t just slap together a simple sandwich for myself .. I have to add something or make a sauce . . or even bake the bread myself. I prep our family’s weekly dinner menu over the weekend and even plan out my lunches.
This tart happened one week when I had numerous deadlines. I just made it for myself not intending this to be for the blog. . but it was so delicious and simple. I had to share this with you today. I mean, I would expect nothing less when puff pastry is involved. . . but this is REALLY good. The ingredients that really bring this tart to life are the dijon mustard + the fig jam. Oh yes, you heard me right. I hoarded this all to myself and ate this everyday for lunch for three days straight. I added some fresh arugula on top and went to town.
My mother will be here soon visiting us and I’ve already started compiling a list of things I am going to make for her while she is here. It’s not just about Korean food. She loves all foods and this tart made the list.
I hope you give this one a try!
Baked Ham and Cheese Tart
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apricot or fig jam
- 1 package 2 sheets all-butter frozen puff pastry, defrosted but still cold
- 8 ounces thinly sliced country ham or Black Forrest ham
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese or gruyere cheese freshly grated
- 1 large egg plus 1 to 2 teaspoons water beaten
- Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine and whole grain mustard, dijon mustard and the jam in a small bowl and mix together. Unfold or unroll one sheet of the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll with a rolling pin if needed and place the puff pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and brush on the mustard/jam mixture over the puff pastry, leaving about an inch border between the mustard and the edge of pastry. Place the ham evenly over the mustard and then evenly sprinkle the grated cheese over the ham.
- Unfold and roll out the second sheet of puff pastry and gently place it on top of the ham and cheese and fold the outer edges over and together with your fingers, creating a thick crust. You can use a fork to create lines around the edge if desired. (Dip the fork in flour if it sticks to the puff pastry during pressing.) Lightly brush a layer of egg wash over the top and edges of the pie. Cut a few small slits into the top/center of the pie and bake until cooked through and golden brown, for about 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay