September has what I’d call a split personality. Even though I haven’t been in school for quite awhile it feels like the beginning of a new year, a time for fresh starts and new shoes. It’s full of excitement and possibilities.
At the same time when September rolls in there’s a feeling that something is coming to an end. Night falls a little earlier every day, the temperature starts to drop. That carefree feeling that summer brings starts to slip away. When I feel it going I do whatever I can to hold on to it even tighter.
This summer hasn’t been all that care free for me. We’ve been short staffed for months, which led to long days with no time for breaks and sometimes no time to eat. On top of that a new VP for my division has once again brought a sense of uncertainty to the office. We’ve been “restructuring” for so long I can’t remember what structured felt like. All of this meant I was counting down the days to my vacation. It finally began yesterday. My intention was to sleep in, but my body had other plans so I was up pretty early.
I headed out to the Farmers Market in St-Anne-de-Bellevue and picked up some gorgeous cherry tomatoes. I just discovered the market recently. It’s in a beautiful spot along a boardwalk. As you choose you vegetables you can look up and see the water. Shopping at a market has completely different feel than going to a grocery store. The vendors are all passionate about their products, the shoppers are all happy to be there. People are relaxed and smiling. It’s much more pleasant than the hustle and bustle of large grocery store on a Saturday morning.
The photo above has a combination of market tomatoes and some from my parents garden. Tomatoes fresh off the vine taste like sunshine (true story). I’ve been eating as many as I can while I can. I’ve been thinking about a tomato tart since the beginning of tomato season; once September rolled around I realized I was running out of time to make it. I stopped myself from eating all of the tomatoes and put this together. The top layer has tomato and yellow zucchini slices. Underneath that you’ll find a layer of caramelized onions and garlic, and finally there’s a layer of goat cheese and ricotta.
I was really happy with the way this tart turned out. The dough has a little corn flour in it, which I think helped it stand up to all the wet ingredients. Even the next day the crust was still crisp. The onion layer added some depth to the flavour and was a great compliment to the tomato and zucchini. I was going garnish the tart with some fresh basil but completely forgot. It wasn’t necessary but I think it would have added a nice touch.
Although the recipe is not difficult, it does take some time to put together. There are two chilling times for the crust, 30 minutes to blind bake the crust and then another 40 minutes of baking time. To save time, the dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for a week or two.
Tomato and Courgette Tart
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 ice water
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 200 g ricotta
- 350 g goat cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 yellow zucchini, sliced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- salt and pepper
- Make the crust: In a large bowl mix the flours, 1/2 tsp salt, sugar, and thyme together. Using a pastry cutter or your finger tips, cut the butter into the flour until it hold together when squeezed and there pea sized pieces of butter. Mix in the yogurt and ice water. The dough should come together, add more water if necessary. Shape the dough into a disk and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Place in a 9 inch tart pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cover the dough with foil then place dried beans or pie weights on top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, cook the onions. In a large pan on medium heat some olive oil then add the onion slices. Lower the heat and stir the onions until they start to brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue cooking. Once the onions are browned add the minced garlic, salt and pepper. Cook two to three minutes longer.
- In a bowl, mix the ricotta, goat cheese and egg. Season with salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp basil.
- Once the tart crust is done remove the foil and the weights. Pour the cheese mixture into the crust, cover the cheese with the onion mixture, the layer the tomato and zucchini on the onion. Brush the tomato and zucchini with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and the remaining dried basil.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
I’ve changed my blog theme again. I think I might have theme ADD. That’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed with wordpress.com, it’s incredible easy to change everything. I think I might stick with this one for awhile though. Last time I changed themes I wanted something cleaner, but what I ended up with felt heavy to me. It was just too manly. This is more what I was looking for; clean, light, with a little touch of girly. I like it, and I hope you do too.
In other news, I’ll Have What She’s Having now has a Facebook Page. I realized recently that I had advertised this on Twitter and Stumbled the page, but I never actually told my readers. I’m using it as a forum to share my posts as well as posts from other bloggers that catch my, plus the occasional food news.
And finally the recipe. I saw a photo in the most recent issue of Ricardo Magazine of Ratatouille Pizza and I knew I just had to try it.
This is the perfect time of year to make ratatouille; peppers, zucchinis, and eggplants are all at their peak. It’s great as a side a couple of times but then what? I like to use it as a pasta sauce for baked pasta dishes. Ricardo recommends canning it and using it at a pizza sauce in winter when vegetables are just kind of sad. I obviously couldn’t wait that long. I used his ratatouille recipe (translated to English below) and some store bought pasta dough as I have yet to master the art of homemade pizza dough. I topped it with cooked Italian sausage and mozzarella.
This was hands down the best pizza I have ever made, and it was better than most delivery pizzas I’ve had too. This recipe is definitely a keeper. The photos I took were all a little out of focus, but I’m sharing anyway because this was just so good.
As this is a magazine recipe I will be submitting it to Magazine Monday. It’s been forever since I did a Magazine Monday Post so for those of you who don’t know, it’s an informal blog event hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice. Make a magazine recipe, send her the link, and she’ll share it with her readers. Easy peasy.
- 1 medium egglant, cut into small cubes
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 mushrooms, sliced
- 2 zucchinis, sliced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups Italian tomatoes diced
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 5-10 basil leaves, chopped
- olive oil for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a very large pot on medium high, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the diced eggplant to the pot along with a touch of salt and pepper, brown the eggplant. Once browned, remove the eggplant from the pot and set aside in a large bowl.
- In the same pot brown the diced onion, adding more oil if necessary. Once browned add the onion to the eggplant bowl.
- Brown the sliced mushroom then add them to the eggplant and onion.
- Brown the zucchinis and green pepper, along with some salt and pepper.
- Add the tomato to the zucchini and green peppers, followed by the eggplant/onion/mushrooms. Add the time sprigs to the pot then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the time sprigs then stir in the fresh basil. Turn off the heat.
Serve as a side dish, pasta sauce or on pizza.
- Pizza dough
- Italian sausage, sliced and cooked
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Basil for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Roll out the pizza dough then place it on a greased and floured baking sheet.
- Top with the ratatouille as a sauce, then the sausage and cheese.
- Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes (keep an eye on it!)
- Garnish with fresh basil.
Food photography is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to learn. I try to take nice pictures; sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. One of the things you realize almost immediately when writing a food blog is that pictures can make or break your blog. People want to see big gorgeous pictures of scrumptious looking food. I’ve read a lot about lighting and composition over the last year, and I’ve tried to implement some of the things I’ve learned. I think what it comes down to in the end is talent and practice.
Every time I’ve seen a picture of lasagna in a magazine it’s had perfectly even layers, with the ruffled noodles poking out just so. My lasagna didn’t look like that. I’m pretty sure I cut off the ruffles while slicing the pieces, and my sauce and cheese layers kind of melded together. It tasted incredible, but it was incredibly difficult to photograph. My experience made me wonder if all the lasagna I’ve seen in magazines was ever actually baked.
I still have a lot to learn when it comes to food photography and styling, but when it comes to taste I think I know what I’m doing. This was the first time I tried making a vegetarian lasagna. I wanted it to be pretty packed with vegetables to make up for the absence of meat. The sauce has zucchini and mushrooms, and the cheese lmixture has spinach. I was a little nervous about leaving out the meat, but the four kinds of cheese and tons of veggies were very satisfying. I couldn’t even tell that I had used low fat cheese.
- 9 Whole Wheat Lasagna Sheets
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 cup low-fat ricotta
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 packaged frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded gouda
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- Follow package instructions for noodles.
- In a large pan over medium high heat, heat the oil then sautee the onions for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant.
- Stir in the zucchini and mushrooms, cook until the zucchini starts to brown. Pour in the red wine. Scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt pepper and spices. Let simmer 20-30 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, put together the cheese layer. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, yogurt and egg together. Stir in half the mozzarella and gouda, as well as the spinach.
- Once the sauce has cooked assemble the lasagna. Pour a bit of the sauce in the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Top with three sheets of lasagna. Pour half of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets, top with a third of the remaining sauce. Place three more of the lasagna sheets, topped with the remaining ricotta mixture and another third of the sauce. Place the final lasagna sheets, topped with the remaining sauce, then cover with the remaining mozzarella, gouda and parmesan.
- Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until the cheese is golden.
- Let set for 10 minutes before serving.
I’ve been sick for the last couple of days. I think it’s from walking through all those puddles. Everyone knows germs get in through your feet, that’s why moms insist that their kids wear socks.
When I’m sick I crave comfort foods. One of my favourite comfort foods is french fries, but I wasn’t about to start peeling potatoes in my current state. So I started thinking about what else could satisfy my craving for deep-fried goodness. It hit me as I was looking through the vegetables in my fridge: zucchini fritters.
But I didn’t just want fritters. I wanted something cheesy to dip them in. The only cheese I had was goat cheese. Goat cheese dip sounded pretty good to me. Since I’m sick I decided to throw something healthy into the mix, the first cherry tomatoes from my balcony tomato plant.
The fritters and dip were delicious, but to be honest my favourite part of the meal were the tomatoes. There was something so satisfying about eating fresh tomatoes, bursting with flavour, that I grew myself.
I used Martha Stewart’s Zucchini Fritter recipe, and I based my dip on this recipe from Chatelaine.
- 1 medium zucchini, grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- a handful of parsley, chopped
- chives, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup flour
- oil for frying
- Combine the zucchini, salt, parsley, chives, egg and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.
- Add the flour and mix until there are no lumps of flour.
- Heat the oil in a small pan. Using a tablespoon take a small amount and make a ball with the batter.
- Fry 4 or 5 of the balls for 2-3 minutes a side until golden brown.
- Once cooked place on a paper towel lined plate to drain the oil.
Goat Cheese Dip
- 140 gram package goat cheese
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- chives for garnish
- Mix all ingredients except for the chives in a small bowl until well combined. If the mixture is too thick and more yogurt.
- Top with chopped chives.