Fresh Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart

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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 addof 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 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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  • Sarah wrote:

    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.

  • Sally wrote:

    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 wrote:

      @Sally, One word for you, “Amen!

  • Tracy wrote:

    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 wrote:

      @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.

  • Patsy Behrendt wrote:

    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>??

  • catherine fraser wrote:

    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.

  • The Runaway Spoon wrote:

    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.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      @The Runaway Spoon, Good points! I’ll have to take a peek at Nigella’s book.

  • Amy wrote:

    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!

  • Desiree’ wrote:

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