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


 

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes w. Fresh Lemon Curd

I was inspired to make these after yet another conversation with my husband about our favorite spots and dishes in New York. I woke up the next morning with ambition and, oddly enough, all the ingredients needed to create a version of the lemon ricotta pancakes from Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Full disclosure: this recipe takes time and quite a few dishes, but it is totally worth it.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes // Serves 4-6

¼ c unsalted butter

1 c milk, whatever kind you keep in your fridge (some fat content is good)

1 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs, separated

2 T sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup ricotta

Lemon curd(recipe below)*

Blueberries for serving

*If making both recipes in the morning, make lemon curd first, then warm to serve as needed

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan placed over medium heat and allow butter to completely melt; remove from heat. Alternatively, microwave in 30 second increments until butter has melted and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 T sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Measure out the ricotta cheese and set aside to come to room temperature while you continue with the recipe. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously, to temper them. Slowly pour in the remainder of the milk, whisking until completely incorporated. Add the flour and whisk to just combine, but ensuring the batter is smooth; set aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if you want to get your arm workout in! Whisk until they start to become solid white and foamy, then add in the remaining 1 T sugar and the ½ tsp salt. Whisk on high until soft peaks form - you want them to be thick enough to hold their shape, but still bend over like a soft serve ice cream cone(I apologize that I now have you thinking about ice cream). Add the whipped egg whites to the batter and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the ricotta and continue to fold in until mostly incorporated, but with some pieces of ricotta throughout - you don’t want a completely smooth batter!

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with whatever you please (butter is always my favorite). Pour about ¼ c of the batter onto the hot pan for each pancake and cook until golden brown and bubbles begin to form and pop on top; flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Serve with warm lemon curd, fresh blueberries, a dusting of powdered sugar...and know that it won't be the last time you make these because your family will not let it be.

Lemon Curd // Makes appx. 1 cup

3 T unsalted butter, softened

½ c sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Juice of 2 lemons (or generous 5 T, depending on the juiciness of yours!)

Zest of ½ lemon

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and light. Add in egg and yolk and beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice to combine; this will make the mixture look curdled and a little icky, but I promise you that it cooks out smooth as the butter melts(I even proved it with the picture below). Place mixture in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.

Cooking Lemon Curd

Increase the heat to medium, stirring continuously as it cooks and thickens, until the mixture is bright yellow, thick enough that a swipe of your finger leaves a solid line on the back of the spoon and reads about 170 degrees*.

Finished Lemon Curd

Remove from heat and stir in the zest; transfer to a bowl to use right away. If keeping for a later use, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, allow to cool slightly, then press a piece of plastic wrap right down onto the curd to prevent a layer of film from forming. Put the lid on and place in the refrigerator and store for up to a week.

*Be careful in this phase as it can start to stick to the bottom(it happened to me!). If this is the case for you, continue to cook until it’s thick, but be careful not to scrape too much off of the bottom. Before stirring in the zest, press the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to create a completely smooth product, then continue with the remaining steps.

Lemon Curd

This is the first time I had ever attempted curd, and it was much easier than I expected, however, it is not a recipe you can make while distracted as it can boil or burn quickly! I have never been much of a lemon person when it comes to desserts, so I am glad the quest to recreate a restaurant dish forced me to step out of that box!  This recipe will work with any citrus you like so go crazy this summer with a fresh take on it - maybe use it to top cheesecake or to add some zip to a strawberry shortcake - whatever you try, have fun and share it with the people you love.

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

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