Sunday, August 12, 2012

Zucchini Tart


I have long had issues with Zucchinis.  I haven't liked them.  Sure I've made zucchini bread, and that's just fine, but I have really had a hard time finding recipes I enjoy that involve zucchini.  Which is why I never plant them in my garden.  However, my CSA has been providing me with zucchinis for the last two weeks and I really needed to find a way to enjoy them.

Luckily, I have found two so far!  I am starting with the second recipe I made, because wow, it was that good!

Zucchini Tart

Pastry dough ingredients:

2 cups of flour
dash of salt
1 cup of Earth Balance (or butter) cold
1/2 cup of almond milk


Tart Ingredients:

4 tbs olive oil
1 large zucchini
1-2 spring onions (I used purple - I had them, and they are a pretty contrast)
3 garlic scapes (or you could use a clove or two of garlic)
1 handful of small spinach leaves
1/3 cup almond milk
Pesto (ingredients below)
Lemon pepper (optional)

Pesto ingredients:

Handful cilantro
Handful parsley
10-12 mint leaves
1 cup of raw cashews
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

1. First make the dough by placing the flour in a bowl and adding salt.  Mix well, then cut the cold Earth Balance into it.  Add the almond milk and work into a dough.  Turn onto a floured surface quickly work into a ball. It shouldn't be a stiff dough, but if it seems too sticky add a small amount of flour.  Don't over work or allow the dough to get too warm.  The more you overwork it the less soft and flaky it will be. Place in the fridge while you prepare everything else and allow to chill.


2. Slice onions, garlic scapes, and zucchini.  Zucchini should be sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick or you could slice it in circles 1/4 inch thick.  I did lengthwise.  Saute the garlic scapes and onions in a pan with 1-2 tbs of olive oil until soft.  set aside.  Add a little more olive oil (with the pan away from the heat) and add the zucchini in batches, cooking on both sides until soft and tender.  set aside

3. Make pesto.  Add to Vitamix (or blender) cilantro, parsley, mint, garlic, olive oil lime juice, salt & pepper, and cashews.  Blend until mixed.

4. Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and press into a tart pan or pie dish, making the bottom 1/4 inch thick and pressing the excess up the sides of the pan (higher than the edges).


5. Layer in the pie dish: pesto, zucchini (I overlapped two layers of zucchini strips) onion and scape mix, spinach leaves.  Drizzle 1/ 4 cup of almond milk over the tart ingredients (reserve a small amount to brush on the edges of the tart dough). I lightly ground some lemon pepper on top of my tart.


6. Fold the excess edges of the tart dough over the top of the tart.  Brush the exposed edges with almond milk.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.  Cut and serve warm. Serves 6-8.


Sadly, I didn't take pictures of each step.  Even more sad, I took the pictures with my iPhone.  If I am to get serious about this posting, I need to drag out my real camera and be a little more methodical about this!  That being said, the next couple of recipes are also low on pictures and were taken with my phone.  Regardless, they are worth posting so 1) I can remember what I did, and 2) you can try it out for yourself!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Vegan. . . kind of

Garden Boxes

Sadly, I had used Mobile Me for quite some time for hosting and linking pictures on my blogs.  I forgot about the issue of disappearing pictures when Mobile Me ended in June.  Maybe one day I will manage to reload pictures on all past posts.  In the meantime, I have been sometimes posting pictures with recipes on Flickr and decided I would attempt to post on here once again. . . I'm not promising any sort of consistency, but I wonder sometimes if my Facebook friends get sick of me posting pictures of what I made for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Ha!  At least here I assume that's what you want--though really it's as much for me to keep track as for anyone else.

At the start of this year I quit eating meat AND dairy (and for lent--which we attempted to participate in because Hannah thought it would be a fun challenge--we gave up sugar too!).  Many people (a number of my family members included) think my decision is strange, unnecessary, and silly.  Clearly I think otherwise.  While I did watch a number of food documentaries that sped me along the path to pseudo-veganism, the biggest reason I took the leap was health related.  First, I think eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is very healthy, and also, I have suffered from eczema and over-sensitive skin since I was a small child.  I got tired of it.  When I heard that a dermatologist recommended my niece try going dairy free to help with her eczema, I decided to try it too.  Lo and behold, vast improvement occurred!  Then we threw out meat for good measure! 

So while my family is largely vegetarian, I am the only one who eschews dairy completely.  As a whole, the rest of them east far less than they used to, and I think we are healthier than we've every been.  Eight months in and I am 12 pounds lighter as well as having softer, clearer, less sensitive skin than I have had in many years.  

This fresh attempt at keeping track of my recipes in one location will coincide with a fresh approach to eating. I am trying so many new things and I don't want to forget what I did and what I've tried that worked.  It is also the first year I have participated in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and so I have my own garden produce and a load of fresh, organic produce from a local farm as well.  It's been great, but I have really had to work to find ways to consume all that produce!  It is forcing me to get creative and to try new things.  So far this year we have tried kohlrabi, garlic scapes, fava beans, and various new greens.  Also new: quinoa, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut and almond milk, and nutritional yeast.  Experimentation is fun!

With hope, I will maintain better than I did before, though with me working on my masters degree, and student teaching this fall and spring, I might need a little luck!