Roasted Vegetable Tart

This is the kind of recipe that begs to be written about. It is the perfect way to welcome Fall—roasted Autumn vegetables tossed with prosciutto, surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust. Did I mention the thin layer of goat cheese underneath it all? Sure, it’s decadent, but it’s sweater season, so eat up!

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Begin by roasting a small amount of butternut squash, carrots, leeks, red bell pepper, and cauliflower with rosemary and olive oil. Once the vegetables are tender, toss them with prosciutto and set aside.

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While the veggies are in the oven, prepare the dough. This recipe also gave me an excuse to learn how to use the pastry attachment on my food processor. I was shocked to discover how easy it was, although I’m confident you can still make a delicious crust the old fashioned way. The recipe calls for a mix of potato flour, rice flour, and cornmeal. Since I had some all-purpose Cup 4 Cup on hand, I substituted it for the rice and potato flours, but kept the cornmeal because I love the flavor and texture of a cornmeal crust. Butter and cream cheese keep the dough moist and flaky.

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Once you’ve rolled the dough out into an oval, spread a thin layer of room temperature goat cheese from the center to about 1 ½ inches from the edges. Spoon the roasted vegetables into the center and fold the edges into a pleated crust, brushing with egg or olive oil to ensure it browns properly.

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This is a great meal to serve guests, because the last 35-40 minutes is entirely in the oven—plenty of time to clean up your kitchen and prepare a green salad. The author of this recipe also has a standard version and a vegan version, in case you’re curious. The recipe is versatile, beautiful, and entirely satisfying. You’re welcome!

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Roasted Vegetable Tart

Fine Cooking            August 2014

French Potato Salad

July is picnic season, and I plan to focus the remainder of this month’s post on picnic friendly fare to celebrate. Fresh dill, parsley, basil, and scallions keep this salad tasting light and fresh. The mildness of champagne vinegar complements the fresh herbs nicely, although you can substitute red wine vinegar if you can’t find champagne. The recommended cooking time for the potatoes is too long unless you use potatoes large enough that they need to be quartered instead of halved. You want them to be fully cooked, but firm so they keep their shape and texture after tossing with the dressing. Test them with a fork to ensure they are cooked all the way through, if you’re feeling uncertain.

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What makes this recipe particularly picnic-friendly is that it tastes great warm or at room temperature. If you refrigerate the leftovers, be sure to let them come to room temp before diving in. And let me tell you, this potato salad leftover is delicious! This is an ideal side for all sorts of dishes, meaning it’s a fantastic potluck addition as well. Enjoy!

French Potato Salad by Ina Garten

The Food Network            The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999

 

Black Bean and Corn Salad

It’s Memorial Day this weekend, and that means celebrating with potlucks and barbeques! I got this salad recipe from my mom and have been using for well over ten years now. It’s just the thing for a warm weather celebration because it’s colorful, filling, and tastes best at room temperature.

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Begin by rinsing two cans of black beans until the water runs clear. Drain them well and place them in a bowl with one can of corn, also well drained. (You can also use fresh corn and dried black beans.) To this add one large diced bell pepper, 3 sliced green onions (white and green parts), ½ pint halved cherry tomatoes or 2-3 chopped of your favorite tomato variety, and a full bunch of chopped cilantro (about ½ cup, or more to taste.) This colorful array of vegetables will be dressed in a lemon vinaigrette. Add five tablespoons of good quality olive oil and six tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss together and let sit for at least one hour at room temperature. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

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This can be served as a side salad, as a dip for corn tortilla chips, as a taco filling, or on top of warm quinoa for a satisfying lunch. Enjoy, and happy Memorial Day!

Moroccan Carrot Soup

I’ve been craving a meal that is full of spice—not heat, but a blend of flavors that wakes up my palate. This soup is light enough for Spring, while satisfying the remnants of my desire for rich Winter food.

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When I saw the recipe it immediately reminded me of the Roasted Carrot Harrissa I’ve written about before. With that in mind, I added a couple of cloves of garlic to the onions and carrots and was very pleased with the result. If you’re looking for a more complex flavor you can roast the carrots and onions instead of simmering them, but for me simmering allowed the toasted cumin to take center stage. On that note, take a few minutes to toast cumin seeds and grind them yourself as the recipe calls for. It’s surprising that cumin alone can add so much flavor. It’s definitely worth the extra step!

honey, lemon, and allspice are perfectly balanced

honey, lemon, and allspice are perfectly balanced

toast cumin seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant

toast cumin seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant

Besides being delicious, this recipe takes about 40 minutes to prepare. It’s bright and beautiful, and couldn’t be more simple.

serve with a dollop of plain yogurt

serve with a dollop of plain yogurt

Moroccan Carrot Soup via Epicurious

Bon Appétit            April 2010

Paleo Five-Minute Muffins

These protein-rich muffins are a delicious way to start the day. They are dense, but oh so good! This recipe came to me through a colleague and friend. She made significant changes in her diet to address some health problems and now we get to swap our favorite healthy recipes. This one is a keeper! The natural sweetness of the bananas goes a long way, so just a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of vanilla are enough to make these sweet enough for me. I typically add some slivered almonds on top before I bake them, which is more for aesthetics than flavor.

simple ingredients. I used peanut butter this time, but my favorite is cashew

Such simple ingredients! I used peanut butter this time, but my favorite is cashew butter.

Nut butter, honey, and bananas are an almost unbeatable combination. My favorite nut butter for this recipe is cashew because it is creamy and rich. I use flax eggs as the binder, which means the muffins don’t rise much but still taste great. The apple cider vinegar and baking soda help add some airiness to the texture as well. I was a little bit skeptical of making batter in a blender, but with a batter this sticky, it’s definitely the simplest way to go. Unless you grease the pan with butter, these are also dairy-free.

can you sense the stickiness of the batter?

Can you sense the stickiness of the batter?

The mini-muffins make an excellent contribution to brunch and the full-sized muffins are hearty enough to count as breakfast (if you pair it with a cup of coffee, of course.) Enjoy!

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Paleo Five-Minute Muffins via Tessa: The Domestic Diva

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta

When the sun comes out in Portland, the population of the city doubles. People escape their houses and take to the streets, parks, and cafes to make the most of the fleeting good weather. I am no exception, and I knew I needed to seize this opportunity to use the grill before the rain returned.

ingredients arranged by cooking time

ingredients arranged by cooking time

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This recipe appealed to me because it uses vegetables I can find this early in spring, like fennel and zucchini. It mixes the grilled ingredients with fresh tomatoes, basil, and feta to create a pleasing contrast of textures and flavors. The also helpfully provides ideal cooking times for each vegetable so everything cooks evenly. Feta adds a saltiness that really brings out the other flavors, but you could substitute olives to keep this dish dairy free.

grill first, cool, then dice

grill first, cool, then dice

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I served this will a simple grilled salmon the first night and grilled chicken sausages a second night. The rain has resumed, but these smoky grilled vegetables promise sunny summer nights are yet to come.

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Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta via Fine Cooking

Ellie Krieger            Issue 104

Smoky Beans and Greens

This dish is a great way to say goodbye to winter. It’s simple and healthy, but almost achieves the heartiness of a rich winter stew. The trick is in the smoked paprika—a couple of teaspoons bring a complex smoky flavor to the whole pot. I add spicy Italian chicken sausage while I’m sautéing the onions, which is delicious but entirely optional. Kale, cannellini beans, and tomatoes are a common combination in Italian cuisine, and they rarely disappoint. This recipe is no exception!

flavor-filled ingredients

flavor-filled ingredients

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To make this vegan, simply leave out/substitute the cheese. To ramp up the flavor, add extra garlic, red pepper flakes, and use fire-roasted tomatoes. Good on its own, this recipe can also handle a fair amount of improvisation—so if you come up with a brilliant twist, please share!

pictured here with a quinoa corn muffin

pictured here with a quinoa corn and cheddar muffin

Smoky Beans and Greens via Epicurious

Bon Appétit            November 2009

Crisp Quinoa Cakes with Rosemary, Almonds, and Dijon

I know quinoa has become trendy, but it’s a staple in my gluten-free diet. It’s easy to make, high in protein, and has a subtle, nutty flavor. This recipe came recommended by a friend, and although I loved the flavor and will make them again, they fell apart a little while cooking. I made the mistake of cooking the quinoa according to package directions, but the recipe calls for a little more water than is typically used. The extra moisture could have made a significant difference in holding them together. No matter—they were still delicious!

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Be careful not to overwork the cakes. Simply take a handful and gently form a patty between your hands. It’s okay if they’re a little thick, as long as you let them brown nicely on the outside. The combination of ingredients was perfect! The almonds add additional protein and a little crunch. Rosemary always pairs well with nuts, and the shallots and mustard brought a sharp, tangy flavor to the finished cakes. Top them with fresh lemon juice and they are ready to eat.

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I really wanted a protein-rich meal, so I served the patties with black beans and a side of broccoli. This recipe seems versatile to me, and I would love to hear your suggestions for side dishes in the comments. It was also fantastic leftover. Surprisingly, the cakes held up to reheating and were just as flavorful as the first time around. This fast and simple February meal was a hit!

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Crisp Quinoa Cakes with Rosemary, Almonds, and Dijon via New York Times

Mark Bittman

Simple Vegan Pesto

Pesto is amazing. It’s simple, flavorful, versatile, and can be made out of virtually anything. Truly, the only ingredients necessary to consider something a pesto are oil and fresh herbs. If you have an abundance of herbs and need to use them before they go bad, just blend them with olive oil and call it pesto! It also makes everything more delectable, from roasted vegetables to sandwiches to salads.

I used a ninja, but you can even use a mortar and pestle

I used a ninja, but you can even use a mortar and pestle

Traditional pesto is a blend of olive oil and basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. This vegan version replaces cheese with nutritional yeast, which makes sense because it has a natural cheesy-buttery flavor. If you’ve never had it, you should try it on popcorn—it’s great and super healthy. In this recipe, the nutritional yeast helps the pesto retain its cheesiness and also makes the texture thick enough to cling to the pasta. My only note on the recipe is that some of the commentors from the original site prefer to halve the amount of olive oil. I started with ¼ cup but gradually added more until I was almost at the ½ cup called for in the recipe. It’s just a matter of personal preference, so you really can’t go wrong.

before the oil

just a little oil at first…

I served the pesto tossed with Tinkyada fusilli, cooked al dente. It was easy to make, and ideal for serving to company because I could make the pesto a day ahead. Please share in the comments if you have a favorite pesto recipe! What do you love to serve with pesto?

keeps for a week in a jar in your fridge

keeps for a week in a jar in your fridge

Simple Vegan Pesto via Food 52

Gena Hamshaw            May 2013