Thursday, September 18, 2008

The End of Summer Features Pie Crust

It's not quite Fall yet, folks. Granted, it will be on Monday, but here's a roundup of some delectable treats from the end of summer. It would seem that, while I completely ate myself out of all desire for anything having to do with pesto somewhere around late July, the summer squash/zucchini craze has lasted longer. They're just so dang simple, quick and tasty to do things with! Also, pie crust is a prevailing theme when one gets tired of/doesn't feel like pasta. This is the pie crust recipe I found in my mom's recipe box when I stole all her recipes, it's quick and easy, but any pie crust (heck, even frozen) will do for both these recipes.

Mad Basic Pie Crust
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c Crisco/softened butter/fake butter (1/3 c. vegetable oil for vegan recipe if no EarthBalance is to hand)
3 tbsp. cold water
--Mix flour and salt, cut in Crisco. Sprinkle water in 1 tbsp at a time. Work into firm ball. Roll out as desired.

First offering of today has no pictures due to its overwhelming deliciousness. Sorry. The West Indian Labor Day Parade and Carnival passes our apartment and with all its loud, colorful spectacle we couldn't help but have a smallish shindig with mimosas and these Goat Cheese and Zucchini Tartlets. Pretentious? Maybe, but midday saw a second batch being made up, both in cheese-tastic and vegan variations. This recipe is easy as pie crust, and looks wicked impressive. (Courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine)

Goat Cheese and Zucchini Tartlets (makes about 24, maybe more)
1 pie crust (see above)
2 1/2 lb. 1" diameter zucchini, cut into 1/16" rounds (My fabulous mandoline makes short work of these...)
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature (for vegan recipe, omit cheeses, use whole grain or country-style Dijon mustard instead)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
--Cut pie crust in 1 1/2" - 1 3/4" rounds, place on parchment or non-stick baking sheet. Place in freezer for 20ish minutes. Preheat oven to 400*F.
--Toss zucchini slices with salt, let stand 15 mins. Drain, pat dry. Toss with olive oil and thyme, salt and pepper.
--Spread cheese over frozen rounds, fold 2-3 zucchini pieces in half and arrange them artfully on top of rounds. Sprinkle parmesan over.
--Bake until dough is light golden, about 20 mins.

We had an impromptu dinner party this week in celebration of various things such as the New Cat, Val's new bed (but not the Ikea assembly) and me having bought the wondrous substance known as Onion Jam. This stuff is quite possibly bound to become one of my Permanent Secret Ingredients, much like whole grain mustard or lemon juice. (Crap, there go my secrets...) It packs a powerful savory-sweet punch of onion-and-roasted-garlicky goodness, and really makes this whole entree the marvel that it is. I'll confess, I just kept adding the contents of our fridge to this, and whatever manner of green items you have would probably not go amiss. Not quite a tart, not quite a pizza, this dish is complete end of summer goodness. Serves about 5 hungry people, though we made up another small batch in vegan.

Rustic End-of-Summer Pizza-Tart (makes about 2 med. baking pans, or 3 med. round pies)
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 summer squash, sliced thinly
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped roughly
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp thyme, chopped
3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Onion jam (available at hoity-toity organic markets, or wherever you find it)
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
parmesan cheese, grated (optional, for veganizing)
2 pie crusts (double above recipe)
--Roll out pie crusts to fit whatever baking trays you're using, fill pans with crust, making sure to roll a nice pizzalike edge. Place in freezer until firm, about 15-20 mins.
--Mix all veggies in large bowl with salt, let sit 10 mins, drain. Add olive oil, pepper, thyme, garlic.
--Spread onion jam over crusts in a thin-to-medium layer. Distribute veggie mixture between pies. Grate parmesan cheese over the whole.
--Bake at 400*F for 40 minutes or until crust is browning and veggies are soft. Let sit 5 minutes so jam can set up, cut and serve.

(I have GOT to get a better camera one of these days.)

rustic pizza tart

vegan pizza tart


Additionally: Bless me barrrrnacles! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrrr, mateys!

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