Tag Archives: Garlic

Zucchini and Tomato Tart

Only one more test to go (my last practical for my entire educational career!), then I’m a free woman!  My test isn’t until 8:30 tomorrow night, which gives me quite a bit of time to study (and agonize) until it’s all over.

I was searching for recipes using zucchini (since it appears I will be receiving yet more of it in my CSA box tomorrow), and I found this very yummy-looking tart from The Flour SackSince I haven’t made real food in a while, I thought it’d be a nice change from having Fritz grill everything while I cram for exams.

Zucchini and Tomato Tart Printable Recipe Cards

for the crust:

  • 2 C whole-wheat flour (you should probably use pastry flour, but I used straight whole-wheat)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • scant 1/2 C ice water

for the filling:

  • 1 C fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C feta cheese
  • 1/4 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

top:

  • 1 medium to large zucchini, sliced thinly
  • handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • drizzle of olive oil (about a T)

This is a bit of a complex recipe, just in terms of how many bits and pieces there are to prepare, so make sure you have a little counter space and time available to you before starting.

Start with the crust.  Oil a 10-inch tart pan.  Combine the flour and salt in the mixer bowl, then drizzle the olive oil over the top while the mixer is running.  It should form small little balls throughout the flour (some flour will remain dry).  Slowly add the ice water until all the flour is moistened, and stop the mixer.  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to form a ball before rolling out to a large circle.  Lightly place onto the tart pan, press into place, and cut off the excess edges.

I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a slightly smaller pie pan.  It worked fine, but I think the larger size would work better in making a thinner tart that cooks more quickly and evenly.  I used the extra edges to make four small mini-tarts–so cute!

Refrigerate the crusts for at least half an hour, then place them in the oven (preheated at 375 degrees) for 15 minutes, weighted down with pie weights or dried beans over a piece of parchment paper.  After 15 minutes, remove the weights and paper and let it toast for another 5 minutes.

While the crust is chilling and cooking, set up the zucchini.  Because they have such a high water content, toss the thin slices with a pinch of salt and lay them out on paper towels.  This will let them release some water before they drown your tart while cooking.

Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  When the crusts are ready, spoon the filling into an even layer.  Dab the zucchini slices with a paper towel to dry them, then layer in a circular pattern over the top.  Drop the grape tomatoes, halved, on top, and drizzle with olive oil.

Don’t expect yours to look exactly like mine, since I doubled the zucchini–I’ve got a lot to use up!  I absolutely love zucchini, so I was happy with more, but the proportions would probably be better with the original amount.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour, when the tart is cooked through–the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are bursting with flavor.

A work of art to look at!

My only complaint with this tart was that the crust was a bit dense–that may be my fault, since I didn’t use pastry flour.  I also would have preferred to put it in a larger pan than what I had lying around, but I didn’t have anything that would be a better fit.

I must say, however, that the bite-sized tarts were absolutely amazing.  Two-bite-sized, really, but super cute and the perfect ratio of crust, cheese, and vegetable.

We ate half of the tart, and were completely stuffed.  Very filling.

Anyhoo, I have to go write a take-home final for my ethics class (best kind of test there is), so have a lovely evening!  To keep up with the late nights, I’ve been drinking vast quantities of English breakfast tea to keep me feeling sane–what’s your comforting drink of choice?  I’ve never really been a coffee kind of person.

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Gingery Bok Choy

So much to talk about!

I guess I’ll have to split it up over a couple of days, ’cause I have some serious test-age coming up this week, and I need to start studying as of three days ago.  So this’ll have to be quick.

We had a mini-BBQ on saturday, and our favorite LI couple, the Jensens, came over to hang out.  They were later joined by Carrie and Mike, and we had a blast just running around and playing (well, the boys did), eating, and taking pictures.

That night, we picked up Fritz’s parents from the airport and his sister from the train station, and a Zietsman fest commenced.  More on that later.

Off in the land of food, I had some CSA loose ends to tie up (meaning: greens to use up before they went bad), and I searched for a quick ‘n’ easy bok choy side dish recipe that only used ingredients I already had in stock, and preferably one that used only a few of said ingredients.  Success.

Gingery Bok Choy  (serves 2-4, original recipe here)

  • 1 lb baby bok choy (the grown-up kind is okay, too)
  • 1 t canola oil
  • 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced or grated
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I used dried–I know, shame on me)
  • salt to taste

Most important part–cut off the ends of the bok choy and submerge all the leaves in water.  This is vital especially if you got your veggies from a CSA or farmer’s market, ’cause there’s a lot of grit in there that I assume you’d rather not eat.  Leave it in there for a few minutes, swish it around, drain, and rinse one more time.

In a cold wok/pan, add the canola oil, ginger, and garlic and place over medium heat.  I learned this today–start with a cold pan because otherwise the ginger and garlic will burn really fast.  This is especially true for me since I used dried garlic, which is halfway to burnt anyway.

Once it starts to sizzle, add the bok choy leaves and stir it around, allowing the leaves to get nice and tender.  This should only take a few minutes.  Then boom!  You’re done!  Season with salt to taste.

I love easy recipes like this.

Plus, it sounds fancy because it’s made with bok choy.  Most people have never seen or eaten bok choy (but they should! It’s delicious!).  I love ginger, but even if you don’t, give this a try.  The ginger isn’t overwhelming and goes really well with the garlic.

Oh–someone wants to say hi.

It’s been a while.  He’s feeling much better and back to his evil, biting, cuddling, purring, sleeping on my neck all night long self.  So glad to have him back to normal!

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Filed under Side Dishes

Grilled Trout with Lemon, Tarragon & Garlic Mayonnaise

We made this for dinner yesterday, and I would have to call it an absolute success.  Not only did Dad have an extra excuse to go fishing (I requested fish earlier in the week when we went kayaking), but the flavors worked out beautifully.

I didn’t want to do anything too crazy, because it was hot outside and I didn’t want to spend all day inside cooking.  I asked Dad how he normally prepares the fish, and he said that sometimes he coats in a bit of mayonnaise and grills it.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Ever.  But I thought that flavored with some herbs and citrus, then used to protect and baste the fish in flavor while it’s grilled over high heat might be a different story.  And I was right.  No mayonnaise taste detectable–especially since we didn’t eat the skin of this particular fish.

Lemon, Tarragon, & Garlic Mayonnaise

  • 1/3 C mayonnaise
  • 1 T fresh tarragon, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 T lemon zest

Combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.  Reserve your newly naked lemon to squeeze over the top of the fish.

Grilled Trout with Herby Mayonnaise

  • 4 trout, cleaned and prepared
  • lemon, tarragon, & garlic mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges

First, take pictures of fish in the manner that makes it most alarming to your blog readers.  Then laugh because it looks like they are singing the Hallelujah Chorus (all together now–Haaaaallelujah!).

I’m sorry.

Off with their heads!  Dad gave me a nice lesson in cleaning fish–you never know when you might need to prepare your own dinner from the basics.  I actually remembered most of the steps from when I watched him do it as a kid, but he gave me some extra tips.

Next, turn on the grill to high heat (Dad estimates it was around 300 degrees) and let it warm up.  Next, coat the fish in a nice layer of the herby mayonnaise–most of it is going to drip off as it cooks, so you don’t want to be too stingy with it.  If you want to toss some lemon, garlic, or tarragon inside the fish before you get going, I’d be okay with that. 

Let the fish turn a nice, gorgeous, crispy brown.  The flesh should turn white when it is fully cooked and easily flake with a fork.

It’s better for fish to be flaky than for people.

Drizzle with some lemon left over from the mayonnaise zesting–the sharp citrus really takes the fish to the next level.

We served this with pasta salad and the sangria from yesterday–a very light and fresh summer meal!  Just watch out for those fish bones as you are eating.

So weird that I used to hate fish as a kid, ’cause now I love it.  It’s amazing how much our palates change and mature as we grow up. Speaking of growing up, the whole family trooped over to watch Jordi’s third karate lesson–she’s decided to take up a new hobby, and she got promoted from a regular white belt (novice) to a first-class white belt something-or-other (still a novice).  Now her white belt has a black stripe on the end.  Pretty exciting stuff.

Isn’t she so beautiful?  They grow up so fast!

This morning I went to breakfast with Mom and Dad at Stella’s, a popular Betty Boop-themed diner.  It was fun, and it made me reminisce about earlier times.  More importantly, it’s right around the corner from the Antique Exchange.  Oh, yes.  I was so excited!

And then it was closed.  Alas–maybe tomorrow.

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Filed under Entrees, Sauces

Garlic and Sage Bread and Cinnamon Lamb Stew

I’m so sad to see the weekend leave, but Fritz and I had a great day–a lot of cooking and finishing the third season of LOST.  It was a perfect day for it, because it was gray but not rainy so the windows were open and  the cool air made making fall food finally feel appropriate.  Which you know makes me happy.

The other day I made Overnight Oats, with a recipe I borrowed from this website (it’s a healthy eating blog that I recently started reading as I needed some inspiration for this blog…add it to your favorites! It’s a good one!).  Anyway, I loved the idea of cold oatmeal in the morning (I add uncooked oatmeal to my Grape-nuts  in the morning ’cause I like the texture), but I didn’t exactly love the way it turned out.  Definitely good, very filling, but not perfect…yet.  But it will be!  And when I perfect a recipe, I’ll put it up.  But in the meantime, I’d love some suggestions if you guys try your own versions.

On another note, I got two new cookbooks recently.  Now, if you know me, you know I love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, ever since I got some wooden spoons as a Christmas gift when I was seven(ish).  So full of new possibilities!  The next two recipes are from my two new books, One Pot and 100 Best Health Foods.

First, I decided to make Garlic and Sage Bread, mostly because I felt like using my mixer and I’ve been baking too many sweet things lately.  I have sage in my herb garden and I rarely use it, but who would’ve known it’s one of 1oo best health foods.  Sage, among other things, has strong antioxidant, antibacterial, and preservative effects. Cool.  Also helps with symptoms of arthritis (Mom!).

Garlic and Sage Bread

  • 1 3/4 C whole wheat bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 3 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 t honey
  • 2/3 C lukewarm water

 

Set aside 1 t of the garlic, and the first four ingredients and the remaining garlic into a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the honey and the water.  Stir until the dough begins to come together, and then knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until elastic (or, use your mixer until smooth and elastic).  Brush a bowl with oil and shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel to prevent drying out). 

Brush a baking sheet with oil, punch down the dough, and shape into a ring.  Place on the baking sheet, and place an oiled bowl in the center to prevent the circle from closing in while rising.  Leave to rise for half an hour.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the bowl from the center of the loaf, and sprinkle with the reserved garlic (I opted out of this part) and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when the base is tapped.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool, and spread slices with cream cheese (or not–tastes great without it!).

This bread was quick and easy to make, didn’t rise a huge amount, and makes the cutest little slices.  It perfectly accompanied the next recipe, Cinnamon Lamb Stew.

Cinnamon Lamb Stew

  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs lean boneless lamb (I actually used bone-in stew meat, which I cooked whole and then cubed later)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 lg onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 C red wine
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 12 0z canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 C seedless raisins
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • plain greek yogurt and paprika to garnish

 

Season the lamb with salt and pepper to taste, and flour the lamb (shake it up in a plastic bag!) and set aside.  Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the onions and garlic until soft, about five minutes.  Add the lamb and cook over high heat until browned on all sides.  Stir in the wine, vinegar, and tomatoes and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Reduce the heat to low and add the raisins, cinnamon, sugar, and bay leaf.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the lamb is tender. 

I served with barley and topped with a generous spoonful of plain greek yogurt (the recipe suggests adding garlic and salt to the yogurt, but I’m not a huge garlic fan so I stuck with plain).  Discard the bay leaf and serve hot, dusted with paprika (like any good part-Hungarian would).

 

Now snuggle up with a movie and a blanket, and eat the first of many fall stews I hope you make!

Tomorrow Fritz is going on a fun adventure called “Looking At And Possibly Buying A Car”, which is an operation we’ve tried several times and have yet to call a success.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better–a 2003 Nissan Sentra with 94,000 miles for $4,000.  Sounds good, right?  I’ll let you know how that goes…and don’t forget to try overnight oats!

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Filed under Breads, Soups/Stews