Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Zucchini, Mushroom and Taleggio Tart

Try making this light appetizer with the wild mushrooms that are gaining popularity at farmers’ markets around the country. If you can’t find Taleggio cheese, use a soft goat cheese instead. Serves 8.

* 2 Tbs. olive oil
* 1 lb. zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds (about 3 cups)
* 10 oz. mushrooms, sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
* 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
* 2 Tbs. Madeira wine
* 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (1/2 17.3-oz. pkg.)
* 3 oz. Taleggio cheese, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of zucchini and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Sauté mushrooms 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned and liquid has evaporated. Stir in garlic and thyme, and cook 1 minute. Add Madeira, and sauté 1 minute more, or until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

3. Place puff pastry on prepared baking sheet. Prick dough all over with fork, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides. Spread mushrooms over pastry inside border. Lay zucchini and cheese over mushrooms. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and cheese has melted. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Zucchini, Mushroom and Taleggio Tart

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rustic Plum Tart

Take advantage of another fruit in peak season: Substitute unpeeled nectarines for the plums. Serves 10.

1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
2 lbs. ripe plums
1⁄4 cup unbleached flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 Tbs. red currant jelly

Pastry crust
1 1⁄2 cups unbleached flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄3 cup walnut oil
3 to 6 Tbs. ice water

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. To make Pastry Crust: In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt. Using fork, slowly stir oil into flour until mixture is crumbly. Stir in enough ice water so dough will hold together. Press dough into flattened disk.

3. Roll dough between sheets of wax paper into rough circle, 14 to 15 inches in diameter and approximately 1⁄16 inch thick, patching where necessary. Remove top sheet and invert dough onto prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate while preparing filling.

4. To make Filling: Spread nuts in pie pan and toast in oven until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

5. Meanwhile, quarter plums, discarding pits. In food processor, combine walnuts, flour and 1⁄4 cup sugar. Process until finely ground.

6. Spread flour-nut mixture over pastry, leaving 11⁄2-inch border around edge. Arrange plums, resting on their sides, in concentric circles, over nut mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar. Fold pastry border over plums.

7. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes.

8. Using long spatula, loosen warm tart from baking sheet and slide onto serving platter. Let cool.

9. Heat jelly in small saucepan over low heat until melted, then brush sauce over plums before serving.

Rustic Plum Tart [Vegetarian Times]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rice Noodle Salad with Pineapple Dressing

7 oz. thin rice noodles
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper (1 small)
1 cup grated carrots (about 2)
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 medium head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1 lime, sliced in half moons, for garnish

1 cup pineapple juice
1⁄2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1⁄3 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1⁄4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 to 4 tsp. vegetarian Thai green curry paste
2 tsp. brown sugar
6 medium cloves garlic, minced

This delicate and refreshing salad is guaranteed to perk you up on a hot summer’s day. The generous amount of fresh-tasting, tangy dressing is enough to moisten the salad and pass the remainder as a dipping sauce. You could also serve rice paper wrappers alongside and use the noodle salad and lettuce as a filling for spring rolls. Dip rice paper wrappers in warm water 10 to 20 seconds to soften before filling.

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil.

2. Make dressing: In blender or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients; process until well blended. Set aside. (Dressing can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated.)

3. Put noodles into large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles and stir to immerse and separate strands. Let soak 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again, shaking colander. Return noodles to bowl, drizzle with oil and toss to coat.

4. Add bell pepper, carrots, scallions, 1⁄4 cup cilantro and 1⁄4 cup mint to noodles in bowl. Add half of the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Line platter or shallow serving bowl with lettuce leaves; top with noodle salad. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and mint and garnish with lime. Serve, passing remaining dressing separately.

Rice Noodle Salad with Pineapple Dressing [via Vegetarian Times]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Almost Totally Tomatoes

This showy main-course pasta salad gets its visual impact from a mix and match of tomato shapes and colors. Serve with grilled or toasted Italian focaccia drizzled with olive oil. Serves 4.

1 9-oz. pkg. fresh fettuccine, preferably spinach
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling
2 Tbs. chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 tomatillos, thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 heirloom tomato, cubed
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup pear tomatoes
Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette as desired
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Put into large bowl, and toss with oil, lemon juice, 2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.

2. Combine tomatillos and all fresh tomatoes in large mixing bowl, and toss with vinaigrette. Arrange pasta in individual bowls, top with tomatoes, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and remaining Parmesan cheese. Serve.


Almost Totally Tomatoes [via Vegetarian Times]