A Purple Picnic in the Park

Purple Picnic Treats

I had the pleasure of creating some delicious treats for the cutest little two-year old girl I know! Purple is her favorite color so that became the theme of this party in the park. A lot of love always goes into my treats, however, these were extra special because I nanny for her and her baby sister part time and their mom is a good friend, so they're very near and dear to my heart.

Birthday Cake
Mini Rose Cupcakes
Purple Sprinkle Cookies

My friend wanted mini cupcakes with minimal frosting for the kids, sparkly purple cookies and a small chocolate cake since that was the flavor she wanted for herself - my kind of woman! Normally this recipe would have a chocolate ganache cascading down the sides, but purple ombre was more on theme so I went with that, and topped it with a banner I made for the birthday girl. I rarely get to experiment with so much color and whimsy so this was definitely one of my favorite orders.

If you were to have a color-themed party for your next birthday, what color would it be?!

Balloons

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

Market Vegetable Tart

The Union Square Farmers Market is one of the most beautiful things in the city this time of year - loads of gorgeous seasonal produce, piled high on tables with their purveyors offering all kinds of samples and knowledge on what they grow. I always do a lap just to look around, try new things, and admire all the plants and flowers. Then I look at my list, which I’ll be honest, is rarely actually stuck to, and do my shopping! Along with my list basics, I brought home some donut peaches, watermelon gherkins, and some tiny red new potatoes because they all looked so good. I tried these gherkins for the first time at a market with my sister in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and they taste like tart, crunchy cucumbers - they were not a favorite of my husbands, but it’s nice to get him to try new things and I loved them!

Watermelon Gherkins

I cut a chunk off one of the peaches for a little snack and oh my! it was SO sweet and juicy and peachy! Trying new fruits and vegetables is one of my favorite parts about the market; it's the perfect place to be adventurous because everything there is at its peak of freshness and seasonality so you are getting a true taste for what it is. It’s also a great place for the ‘classic’ veggies because of the height of flavor and I was inspired by the zucchini, yellow squash, scallions, and heirloom cherry tomatoes for this tart. My current obsession for goat feta was also thrown into the recipe!

Summer Market Vegetable Tart // Makes 9” Tart, serves 6-8

Crust:

1 ½ c flour

½ tsp salt

3oz cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1.5oz cold vegan shortening, cut into cubes (I use Earth Balance)

3-4 T ice water

*Alternatively, use a store bought dough and skip down to the shaping and blind baking portion that is also marked with an * below!

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the flour and salt together. Add butter and shortening and pulse 6 or 7 times, until the mixture is in chunks of about pea size or a little larger, it should not be uniform. One tablespoon at a time, pour the ice water through the feed tube with the motor running, until the dough just comes together - err on the side of not enough water, then stop the motor to check. Too much water can yield a tough dough. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, then remove your dough from the bowl, shaping it into a flat disk and wrapping it in the plastic. Refrigerate for one hour. Prepare vegetables for filling:

Filling:

Favorite seasonal veggies, I used:

1 small zucchini

½ yellow squash

5 scallions

About 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced

¼ c creme fraiche

¼ c milk

3 eggs

3-4 T chopped fresh herbs, I used basil and parsley

4oz goat cheese

2oz goat feta (optional, or use regular feta)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice zucchini and yellow squash into ⅛” thick coins and trim the scallions. Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet, then place the coins and scallions in a single layer on top, drizzle with a little more oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip so they brown evenly on both sides, roast about another 10 minutes. Leave on pan until ready to use, and meanwhile, slice your tomatoes and chop your herbs. Turn your oven off so your kitchen is not too hot when rolling your pastry.

*Once dough is chilled, roll out on floured surface to about a 12” circle. Carefully fold in half and transfer to a tart pan with removable bottom; unfold and loosely place into the edges of the pan and over the sides. Do not stretch the dough here as that leads to shrinkage when baked. Trim the edges to a 1” overhang, then fold it in to create extra-thick sides. Press evenly into the flutes of the pan. Prick all over with a fork and place in freezer for 15 minutes while you turn the oven to 400 degrees.

Tart Crust

Once dough has chilled, crumple up a piece of parchment that is just larger than the tart, and place it on top of the dough and add pie weights (or dried beans like I do!). The crumpling of the paper allows it to reach into the edges and lets the weights actually do their job! Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and bake until the crust is golden all over, 5-7 minutes more. Reduce heat to 375.

TIP: If using beans as weights, allow to cool, then keep in an airtight container that is well labeled as you can use them again and again for this purpose, but not for eating!

While the crust cools slightly, whisk together the creme fraiche, milk, eggs, herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the goat cheese. Chop the scallions into 1” pieces and place them, along with ⅔ of the ‘coins’ in an even layer over the crust. Carefully pour the egg mixture on top, keeping the vegetables in their place. Layer the remaining squash over the filling, then sprinkle with feta. Lastly, lay the tomato slices on top, pressing in slightly so they settle in. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it as it will further set up upon standing. Remove from pan and cut into six pieces for a main dish or eight for a side.

Vegetable Tart

I served mine with with side dishes of more farmers market veggies - a peppery arugula salad with fresh peaches & a balsamic dressing and teeny tiny red potatoes roasted with thyme, garlic and olive oil that I topped with creme fraiche. It was an incredibly delicious meal and the man of the house didn’t ask once where the meat was! If you find there are a few too many steps in this for you, feel free to use store-bought crust and just give your veggies a quick saute before placing in the tart. Make it work for you, using your favorite ingredients and flavors. Leftovers are great cold or room temperature for breakfast or lunch the next day too - win!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie


 

Refreshing Citrus Watermelon-Mint Popsicles

Watermelon Mint Popsicles

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband doesn’t like ice cream. Yes, I willingingly entered into a lifelong commitment with a man who doesn’t eat ice cream. Although I have a million ways to justify purchasing an ice cream maker, I have yet to add it to my collection of appliances in our small Brooklyn kitchen, so I bought popsicle molds instead - just in time for the heat of summer! I went on a bit of a watermelon kick, as I do most summers, and made watermelon mojitos, which in turn, inspired these tasty {non-alcoholic} pops!

Citrus Watermelon-Mint Popsicles // Makes 10 - 3 oz Pops

5 c diced, seedless watermelon

Juice of 2 ½ - 3 lemons/limes (about ⅓ cup)

¼ c sugar

Pinch of fine sea salt

Small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust with more citrus or mint as needed. My watermelon was particularly sweet so I added even a bit more juice. Pour into popsicle molds {pour any remaining over ice and sip, with or without rum or gin...or vodka}. Freeze for about 45 minutes before inserting the sticks. Freeze until solid.

These turned out beautifully and were a huge hit in our house. The taste was amazingly refreshing; the balance of citrus and sweet is key, and mint adds the perfect edge. I used a mixture of lemon and lime juice because I always seem to have a few halves lying around my fridge from cocktails  or tacos, etc. so I used them all up to create the amount I needed, but you could definitely just use whatever you have or prefer. Also, I wanted the mint to turn into pretty green flecks because I wanted the flavor, but not to feel like I also got grass in my mouth while enjoying the treat; I thought whole leaves would be beautiful, but too impractical for me!

Bitten Popsicle

Now go grab a watermelon and make these before the weekend is over!

With a full heart and an empty plate,


Katie

Comment