Fresh Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart

You know how there are kids out there who demand to eat one of three things for dinner… things like chicken nuggets, macaroni & cheese and quesadillas?  I may tug on some nerves here, but I think those picky eaters are picky because they’re allowed to be picky.   Realistically, did you have three choices for dinner when you were growing up?  I have a strong belief that children should eat what you make for dinner… and they shouldn’t have an opportunity to receive a separate desired meal, simply because that’s what they say they’ll eat.  Put food in front of your kids, tell them that’s what’s for dinner.  They’ll eventually eat, and they’ll learn to like/dislike things just like you and me.  I’ve only had one child to work with, but I’m pleased that he is at a point where he will at least taste everything.  He gets what we eat for dinner, and if he doesn’t like it so much… well then, he has a light dinner that night (and no dessert). 

I’ve finally gotten my kiddo to the point where he actually enjoys eating lettuce.  I made a chicken salad for dinner the other night, and I gave it to my son too.  He loved it.  And he discovered in that salad- for the 1st time- that he loves garbanzo beans.  Wow!  I wasn’t quite so sure that he’d like what I made to go with it though since he has professed his dislike for tomatoes many times.  I gave it to him anyways… and guess what?? He loved that too. Here’s the winning recipe: Fresh Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart, which I adapted from EveryDay Food.

This tart is super easy to make. Thaw out a piece of puff pastry. Spread it with a little bit of sour cream & whole grain mustard, and then top it with sauteed leeks and end-of-summer tomatoes (either sliced, small tomatoes or halved pear tomatoes). Bake it up for about 25 minutes and then top with crumbled goat cheese (or feta) and basil.

Cut the tart into four pieces to serve as a side for 4 people for dinner. It would be equally good cut into smaller pieces and served appetizer-style.

The roasted tomatoes give the tart a bit of a sweet flavor, and the goat cheese gives it tang. I think the goat cheese is the key that won my son over (he loves the stuff). He kept calling this “pizza,” and emphatically declared this recipe a real keeper. I’m certainly not claiming I’m Mother-of-the-Year or anything– my son has eaten his fair share of chicken nuggets! It took a while to get him to this point (he’s 9) but we’ve always, always made him try things.  And he has plenty of 9 year old friends who are still demanding chicken nuggets for dinner (by age 9, shouldn’t they be old enough to be expanding their menu?)  Do try and feed your kids, anything and everything, from the moment they are able to eat real food. They can’t discover that they enjoy foods if they don’t have the chance to try them :)

Edited to add- of course there are exceptions to this situation- medications, texture problems, allergies… I’m simply referring to kids who are picky eaters… just because they’re allowed to be.

This recipe can be found here: Fresh Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

I’ve accepted a recipe challenge from Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry to create a sophisticated and simple original recipe using an ingredient that is indigenous to California. I’ve decided to create something using the California Avocado. I’d love to hear your suggestions for what I can do with Puff Pastry + Avocado! Be sure to check out www.PuffPastry.com for more recipes using Puff Pastry, and let me know if you spot some recipes that you’d like to try.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry for time and materials invested in the Puff Pastry recipe challenge.

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34 Responses to “Fresh Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart”

  1. 1

    Ginny — August 23, 2010 @ 2:51 AM

    I understand your point about being sure to offer children a variety of foods. I think what you are missing, though, is the reality that some children, like my daughter, have extreme issues with texture. There were certain things that, up until very recently, she simply could not eat because her gag reflex was so strong she would vomit (and I’m not talking infancy, here. My daughter is almost 4). I can assure you that I did not create my daughter’s picky eating behavior unless it is the result of my genes. And frankly, had I not provided her with foods I knew she could eat at every meal, she would have gone very, very hungry.

    Yes, children need the chance to try new foods, but there are other considerations that must taken into account.

    • Lori Lange replied: — August 23rd, 2010 @ 6:19 AM

      @Ginny, Of course there are always exceptions to the sort of thing I’m talking about. I guess I meant to drive home the point that there are kids out there who demand to eat certain things, and parents comply.

      • MO replied: — August 26th, 2010 @ 10:12 AM

        @Lori Lange,
        I agree…for my 2 girls, they are both extremely picky, but it’s what they visually SEE on their plate, in their food, that turns them off immediately…so for me, I have to lay low on any green spices, and I practically mince any veggie or onion so it doesn’t stand out…this looks great for ME, but sadly my kids would take one look at it and refuse to open wide, lol…but I still try, try, try!

  2. 2

    nina — August 23, 2010 @ 3:22 AM

    I love, love, love these easy tarts. You can have all the ingredients in fridge and cupboard and in now time, present this. Glorious colors!!

  3. 3

    Michelle — August 23, 2010 @ 4:48 AM

    My kiddos have definite likes and dislikes but I can get them to try anything at dinner with our “one bite to be polite” rule. : ) It works!

    Your tart looks awesome. I posted a caramelized onion tart this morning that we went crazy over. (By “we” I’m not including the kiddos. They were not fans!) Avocado? I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    ~ Michelle

  4. 4

    bellini valli — August 23, 2010 @ 5:19 AM

    My daughter had what we had as well; probably the only 2 year old to love spanakopita.Now she is a dietician. Love the tart which would be perfect for all those wonerful heirloom tomatoes out there.

  5. 5

    TENINA HOLDER — August 23, 2010 @ 6:34 AM

    I love a tart…in the nicest possible way, and this doesnt look unlike one of my most recent recipes except mine had brie and potato….YUM!

  6. 6

    Melissa — August 23, 2010 @ 6:40 AM

    I hear ya! This is a peeve of mine too. I’ve never been a fan of feeding the kids their own meals. I’ll have to give this recipe a try. I’m sure they’ve love it- anything with feta, tomatoes and bread. :)

  7. 7

    Cara — August 23, 2010 @ 6:47 AM

    I tend to agree with you and have a goal of NOT raising a picky eater. But since I don’t have kids yet, I could be in for a surprise. Your success gives me hope though!

  8. 8

    Healthnut Foodie — August 23, 2010 @ 6:47 AM

    I think you should do an avocado based crab Rangoon. Great post as well! My girls (2 1/2 and 1) prefer curries over mac and cheese, and fresh fruit over fruit snacks. If you real food from birth, there will be no battle (unless you have food allergies or another health issue of course). Keep up the great ideas!

  9. 9

    Cheryl Arkison — August 23, 2010 @ 6:56 AM

    Yes! I do believe that the majority of the time picky eaters are made not born. Another contributing factor is hand feeding kids well past the baby food stage.

    • Mrs. Currie replied: — August 23rd, 2010 @ 7:11 AM

      I am married to a man who has a very limited palate. When I say limited, I mean VERY limited. Before his mother passed away she told me she regretted the amount of catering she did to her sons (she had 5). She said that she often made 3 or 4 different meals in the beginning and by the time they were all at least 7 she just started to make meals that they all would eat (spaghetti without onions, peppers, garlic, mushrooms, or chunks of tomato). This would mean that they all limited each other’s food experiences. As a consequence, they had little variation in their meals as home, and they all became very picky eaters. Watching the family approach a food they do not recognize is often a source of real amusement. The discussion that ensues about the possibilities as to its taste and texture, along with the questions about its content has often caused me to leave the room so I can have a laugh/cry. So, parents, do not cater too much to your child’s inexperienced palate.

  10. 10

    Marisha — August 23, 2010 @ 6:59 AM

    I agree! I met my boyfriend’s little girl about 2 years ago and she only wanted chicken tenders or mac and cheese. Well neither my boyfriend or myself were raised that way so it just wasn’t going to happen at our house. I can say that after 2 years she will happily try anything (without spitting it out if she doesn’t like it) and does it happily. It took time and patience but what she discovered during the process was that she actually liked things she just KNEW she didn’t like before. One thing we also tell her is that her tastes will change as she grows up and that she should try things again later to see if she feels differently.

    Your tart looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it!

  11. 11

    cecedon — August 23, 2010 @ 7:01 AM

    I absolutely agree with you. The strange thing is I have one of the pickiest eaters on the planet and I do not know how it happened. He has gone to bed with 1 bite of food more than I can count. It’s very frustrating (and he is 8, he gags with most food, except bread and noodles).

  12. 12

    Sues — August 23, 2010 @ 7:11 AM

    I totally agree with you!! I don’t have kids, but when I do, I’ll definitely be raising them like that. I mean, most people are going to be like “eww cheese from a goat?!” if you let them live their whole life without having tried it and seeing how amazing it is!

    This tart looks delicious :)

  13. 13

    maria — August 23, 2010 @ 7:12 AM

    Love this recipe Lori. We don’t have children yet, but if/when we do we will do our best to introduce them to a variety of foods. I think it is so important to let children try new foods and to get them involved in the process.

  14. 14

    Rachel — August 23, 2010 @ 7:24 AM

    This is one of ‘those’ topics where it’s great to try and hope that every child will be a dream, eating and trying everything – it’s just not always realistic.
    My parents allowed my pickiness growing up. If I didn’t like what my mom made, I’d get a sandwich or she’d eventually cave and make me something later.
    With my own children I have vowed in most cases to not offer alternatives. What I make is what we’re eating, if you don’t eat it – no snacks, dessert etc until the next meal. Then it starts over. I’m not going to make 5 meals for dinner. I make one, unless it’s spicy. In that case I will make a non spicy version for the kids – beacuse when I mean it’s spicy it’s usually fire spicy. I have tried with her (3yo) – offer everything including things I myself know I will never like. I will continue to offer them but it’s really her choice what she likes or doesn’t.
    I truly believe with some kids it’s just an age thing because even at this point there are days she won’t even eat things I know she loves. It’s very strange to us and I hope she grows out of it.
    On the otherhand… our 11mo will try anything and we try to use her as an example with the 3yo. Sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t.

  15. 15

    Roberta — August 23, 2010 @ 7:26 AM

    Basically I agree with you. But as others have pointed out, some children do have taste and texture issues.

    99% of the time my mon cooked 1 meal and we all ate it. Period. End of report. For things I didn’t like (I was a picky eater.) I either did not eat it or I tried a small portion of it. But nothing else was cooked or given me. My mon or dad made 1 meal.

    Once in a blue moon my mom would cook something she and my dad liked that none of us kids liked. That was when we got hot dogs or hamburgers.

    But basically you are right on. Meal time has gotten totally out of hand these days with children being the boss. That is totally and completely wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I read one comment on another blog where children were refusing to eat left overs and the mother caved. I would have told them here’s your food – eat it or starve.

  16. 16

    Jamie — August 23, 2010 @ 8:12 AM

    I grew up with a Grandmother who would give us an extra scoop of food if I said “yuck” without trying it first. She wasn’t mean about it; if we tried it before stating our opinion and didn’t like it we didn’t have to eat it. She was just trying to encourage us to try things before making an opinion about it. I credit her for my willingness to try just about anything.

    My husband on the other hand was very picky and grew up with a very limited diet because his father was also very picky. After being married to me he has realized he actually likes lots of thing he previously would not try. His mother is amazed at all the things I have “gotten him to eat”.

    My children eat whatever we eat. It has been this way since they were able to eat table food. I thought I had the only toddlers that like Brussels sprouts and asparagus. My daughters have no medical issues when it comes to food so there is no real reason why they can’t at least take a bite. I’ve read that children need to try something ten times before it is determined if they really like it. My girls take a bite of everything that is served especially if their previous “yuck” food has been cooked in a different way. If your child doesn’t like something it may be the way it was prepared and not the actual food itself. I consider myself lucky that my girls are so willing to try different foods. It really allows me to have fun experimenting in the kitchen.

  17. 17

    angien24 — August 23, 2010 @ 9:06 AM

    I grew up with a picky mother who didnt like vegetables, therefore I was never made to try any. We all know canned veggies dont smell good so if it wasnt offered, I wasnt helping myself. I started trying some vegetables as a teenager when staying with friends who’s parents made great food and now there are very few vegetables (or other foods) I dont like. My kids are made to try something but I dont force a clean plate or cater to their pickiness…and like me, as they’ve gotten older, they’ve come around to more and more foods they like. Got any tricks for picky adults? I like more variety than my husband so my dinner choices get more limited due to his palate. LOL.

  18. 18

    Princess T — August 23, 2010 @ 9:37 AM

    AWESOME post Lori! I have been waiting for someone to raise this issue. Well done! I agree 100%.
    I give my children 2 choices for dinner: Take it or Leave it.
    And it’s worked! I couldn’t ask for better eaters. They have and will try anything, and there is not much they don’t like. Always clean plates at the end of our meals. You’re absolutely right, catering to kids makes them picky. I HATE hearing, “oh my kid won’t eat that!” Wanna bet?! NO CHILD will starve themselves. They get hungry, they’ll eat it! LOVE this tomato tart recipe:) Can’t WAIT to see what you come up with for the avocados! Maybe a twist on the shrimp/avocado/tomato/onion tostada topping? Whatever you do, I know it’ll be great:) Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes! You ROCK girl!

  19. 19

    Lydia — August 23, 2010 @ 9:37 AM

    Just have to say bravo on speaking up about picky eaters. I agree with you and have totally experienced this with my son.

  20. 20

    Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice — August 23, 2010 @ 9:52 AM

    My mom raised me the same way. Whatever was put on front of me was my only choice for my meal. I think it’s because of this that I’m now the least picky eater you’ll ever meet. Seriously, an omnivore.

    That tart looks great by the way!

  21. 21

    Desiree' — August 23, 2010 @ 10:35 AM

    I think the only exception my mom made was with my sister who hated seafood. Other than that, eat it or go hungry.

  22. 22

    Amy — August 23, 2010 @ 11:28 AM

    Lori, I LOVE this post. Love it. I wrote about this plight a while back and could not agree with you more. Ever hear about the 10-15 rule? Keep serving them the same thing (over the course of a couple months) and that’s when you really learn whether they truly don’t like it or not. It might even be 20x, but it works.

    My kids are great eaters because I never caved in with mac and cheese every day. Their taste buds change (as do adults) and they grow accustomed to different flavors if you expose them.

    Now, if only I could get them on board with goat cheese. You are SO lucky!

  23. 23

    The Runaway Spoon — August 23, 2010 @ 11:52 AM

    When I got Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat book, I first glanced through the cooking for kids section and it included things like liver and onions. I thought she was nuts, until I read her reasoning. She says she never cooks a seperate meal for the kids from what the adults eat, as that only makes them think that there is food out there they won’t like. She also points out that kids don’t know what they like (until they taste it). Not that I would make liver and onions for kids, but I totally got her point. Then came the books that recommend hiding vegetables in foods. I can’t help but think this only re-inforces the idea to kids that there are foods that you won’t like.

  24. 24

    catherine fraser — August 23, 2010 @ 2:18 PM

    The tart looks great.
    I love puff pastry, it is so versatile. For hot days I like to make a scallop and white fish civiche, lots of green onion and avocado. I serve it in little pani puri cups so you can pop it right in your mouth. You can make the cups at home with puff pastry. If they are going to sit for any amount of time line the cups with butter lettuce. Some iced tea and good conversation and you are set.

  25. 25

    Patsy Behrendt — August 24, 2010 @ 8:03 AM

    Hurrah for you!!! I am so glad that someone finally said it out loud! When I was growing up, it was put on our plate and we ate it or did without. No snacking later! I did the same since I was a working mom and simply would not cater to “baby” taste. My mom always told us that there might come a time when that was all we had to eat and would be glad we liked it. Do I like everything? No, but I will give most anything a try once or twice. I had so many moms call when my kids were growing up and just couldn’t believe that my children would eat most anything. It’s all in the raising (as my grandmother would say). Thank you for bringing out this issue! Now, can we talk about ADHD>??

  26. 26

    Tracy — August 24, 2010 @ 8:29 PM

    I know what you’re saying about kids & food. Just thought I’d share a different perspective. I personally feel like I’d rather my kids have memories of happy family dinners than memories of food battles and going to bed without dinner. If my kid would rather make a sandwich than eat what I make for dinner, I let him.

    I feel like I have issues with food based on certain rules that I experienced as a kid. I don’t want my kids to have those issues. One kid eats tons of different foods. The other has a limited palate. I don’t think their palates would be any different if I set a hard-and-fast rule that their only food options were the foods I prepared for dinner. Both are thin and healthy. We enjoy dinner together. To each his own.

    That said, your tart looks lovely.

    • Lori Lange replied: — August 24th, 2010 @ 9:31 PM

      @Tracy, I respect your viewpoint. We eat as a family & don’t really have any battles… what’s on the table is just what’s for dinner. If I were making something really “out there” then I would of course give my little guy another option, so it’s not so hard & fast all the time. I was chatting w/ my sister yesterday & we were talking about gross things that our Mom used to make for dinner (and laughing about it as we remembered the funny things we used to do to get out of eating certain things). So it isn’t all bad. I guess I’m trying to point out the kids that “demand” certain things for dinner– and the parents who comply. Picky-kid syndrome has just gotten out of hand, I think.

  27. 27

    Sally — August 31, 2010 @ 11:03 AM

    I have four children, none with food medical issues and our dinner rules are simple. 1) Everyone comes and sits at the table politely until everyone is done eating (husband and I believe this is the rule that has allowed us to take young children to very nice restaurants where their behavior has been complemented.) 2) What is on the table is what is for dinner, no exceptions. 3) Diners must choose something to eat out of what it on the table — eating nothing is rude to the cook — but “cleaning your plate” is not necessary. 4) Dessert is the exception, not the rule.
    All of my children are also comfortable cooking. Each has his/her specialty to be sure, but I’m not afraid that any of them will starve. I think this is important for their long-term independence from processed/packaged foods which do not encourage good health.

    I’m glad your little guy loves goat cheese — I could really use more ways to use up the growing piles in my freezer. This one should be a hit as husband is a huge tomato fan.

    • Lori Lange replied: — August 31st, 2010 @ 11:20 AM

      @Sally, One word for you, “Amen!

  28. 28

    Sarah — December 5, 2010 @ 9:52 AM

    I think Tracy raises a valid point – as soon as your kid is old enough, teach them to cook! :] That way, if they really hate what you’re serving for dinner and are hungry enough, they’ll get off their little behind and serve themselves. Like other people have said, no kid is going to sit there and starve. Once they get hungry enough, they’ll eat that fish or that spinach or whatever you’ve made for dinner, but there’s nothing wrong with letting them make a healthy sandwich or open a can of soup.