When it comes to cooking and meal-planning, everyone has those moments when ambition refuses to take root.
Even me. (Although to be truthful, usually lack of ambition strikes me in the morning, when it’s time to go for a run or work out. Oh, and house-keeping … now there’s another place where the well of inspiration usually runs dry.)
But usually, I am plagued with just the opposite—there is soooo much around me to draw ideas from that I can easily overwhelm myself with all of my options!
Cookbooks are a constant source of inspiration, and I own a staggering number of them, as I have already confessed to in an earlier post.
Just three of the many cookbooks spilled all over my kitchen
Magazines are a much-loved source of information and recipes, and then there is Pinterest! Oh-my-goodness don’t EVEN get me started on that one—a never-ending parade of glossy photos filled with velvety, butter-cream covered cakes, a kaleidoscope of fruits and veggies, platters of gorgeous pasta—well, you get the idea!
Sometimes I walk in the garden and see all of that ‘ripe-ness’ around me, and I want to take it straight to the kitchen and turn it into something wonderful to eat.
Other times, I’m having a fabulous meal in a restaurant (hello, yesterday’s lunch at Stone Cliff Inn, with your beautiful deck over-looking the river and your wine-list that could double as bed-time reading—I’m talkin’ to you!) and it makes me want to run home and put on an apron!
So today, I can no longer ignore the inspiration screaming at me from all sides, and the need to create something in the kitchen–preferably something with zucchini
since that is currently what’s at high-tide in my garden. I had a brief moment of thinking about bread, or cake, but then quickly realized that a loaf of warm, spicy, zucchini bread would add more distance to tomorrow’s run—something I’m already procrastinating about. Both the husband and I are defenseless when it comes to any kind of quick bread, so I thought something savory and useful for dinner would be a better plan.
I’ve been making this zucchini gratin lately, and have been wanting to re-imagine it with a crust (I could channel my inner-Italian and call it a zucchine crostata). Quiche was sounding good too. But while I was
perusing a new cookbook, ahem, as I was whiling away a little time in the garden with a cappuccino and a book, inspiration struck!
Okay, so it was yet another new cookbook. New to me, anyway. It was actually an old Donna Hay book that I picked up at a thrift-store, and when I saw the picture of a very rustic looking vegetable tart, I went straight to the kitchen—not that I wouldn’t have ended up there anyway, because the offspring are headed home tomorrow, and that means a plate of Mary’s Lemon Squares is expected on the counter when they arrive.
The tart turned out just as I’d hoped—a tender, buttery crust filled with savory roasted vegetables and just enough fresh basil and parmesan to make a happy union.
We had it for dinner with a small green salad and a nice, crisp, Pinot Grigio—definitely nothing fancy, but certainly the stuff that memories of summer dinners on the patio are made of!
The recipe is very simple (and something a little different in the “What was I thinking when I planted all this zucchini?” category of your recipe file), but there are a few steps involved that may make it more suitable for a weekend meal when you have a little more time to spend cooking. Why don’t you make it and leave me a comment on your thoughts. Or, comment and tell me your favorite way to eat summer squash—there’s an awful lot of zucchini season still to go!
I hope that you’re making the most of this gorgeous sunshine! Have a beautiful weekend, and I promise the next recipe I share won’t have zucchini in it! I’ve been hearing a lot of chocolate rumblings in the distance as of late …
Thanks for stopping by~
Rustic Zucchini Tart
Cobbled together with inspiration from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics Book 1 and Viewfrommykitchenwindow
Makes 1 10” Tart
2 cups of all purpose flour
5 ounces (about 10 TB) butter
2-3 TB ice water
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp kosher salt
(for the filling)
2 pounds zucchini, cut in half length-wise*
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1 or 2 large-ish cloves of garlic, still in their husks
salt and fresh ground pepper
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese (set aside)
¼ cup grated parmesan (set aside)
1 TB fresh basil, coarsely chopped (set aside)
Preheat oven to 375 F. I did this step on my Traeger, because I wanted a smokey flavor to my vegetables)
Generously oil a baking sheet with olive oil.
Place the prepared vegetables on the sheet, drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, or until vegetables are golden.
Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature. Remove the garlic, squeezing the flesh from the husks and set aside.
When they’re cooled down, toss the veggies with the cheeses and fresh basil.
While the veggies are in the oven, make the pastry.
Pulse the flour, butter, dried basil, and salt in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
With the blade running, add the water 1 TB at a time, until the contents come together in a smooth dough.
Knead the dough oh-so-briefly, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When the dough is ready, roll it into a round on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness, and then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Spread the roasted garlic across the top of the pastry dough.
Place the vegetables in the center, mounding and spreading them out evenly but leaving about 2 1/2” margin of dough all the way around.
Fold and pinch the edges of the dough to make a raised border.
Chill for 20 minutes.
When chilled, place the tart in a pre-heated 350F oven.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. This tart is wonderful served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
*I think cherry tomatoes would be wonderful in this too, but since I ate them on my way in from the garden, I’ll have to wait until the next time I make this to find out.