Savory Zucchini Cheese Tart

It is hot as heck today so what I chose to do was bake. Something simple though. And I actually used a pie crust mix I got for my birthday as a gift. I measured out half the package and used it for the base of my zucchini tart. Yeap I know; folks complain about too many zukes and too little flavor. Not this gorgeous tart. It is thin slices layered over a thin lemony cream and goat cheese filling and topped with very thin sliced onions. Baked until the crust was crunchy. Really perfect crust and it is so rich and creamy plus this is super easy to make. Nothing needs to be cooked or fried – all raw; layer it on the raw crust. Bake, Slice, Enjoy. Winner winner hot night’s dinner.

You can use store zuke: I did; had none of my own yet. I did use my own red onion. I bet you could try other veggies but this combo was just so sublime. Narrow slices would make amazing appetizers or maybe cut it into small squares.  If you don’t like goat cheese just use all cream cheese. This is a variation on a Ina Garten recipe; she is a master at this sort of recipe.  Enjoy!

zuke tart, unbaked

zuke tart bakedLemony Zucchini and Cheese Tart

 

Ingredients

One pie crust; I used Bob’s GF Pie crust mix; y ou need 10 Tbsp cold butter or combo of butter and some other buttery spread, 3 Tbsp ice water and that’s it! Follow the directions. Mine needed a good chilling in the fridge before rolling out.

2 medium small zucchinis

1 medium red onion (can use regular yellow onion) sliced very thin (1/2 cup)

4 oz goat cheese plain or herbs (I used herbed) at room temp

4 oz cream cheese at room temp

Zest of half a lemon and about 1-2 Tsp juice from it

½ an egg beaten well

¼ Tsp fresh rosemary, minced finely

½ Tsp. fresh thyme leaves, off stem

EVOL; about 1-2 Tbsp.

Fresh ground black pepper

Directions: Made the pie crust, let chill while you do the veggies.  Slice the zucchini about 1/8 thick; less than ¼ inch thick.  I used a sharp paring knife. I know, the mandolin slicer; I do have one but sometimes it is just seems like too much work to get it out and set it up. I didn’t want the slices super thin anyway. Plus I enjoy knife work. Suit yourself.  Slice the peeled onion across in very thin circles. Put zuke slices in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt; ½-1 Tsp.; try to get it on both sides. Let stand 30-40 minutes. Then wipe with a few paper towels or a lint free tea towel to get off most of the moisture.  In a small bowl mix the two cheeses until smooth; add egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs. Blend well.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pie crust into 11 inch circle; put on heavy pizza pan. Top with cheese mix; spread to ½ inch of the edge of your crust. Top with the thin slices of dried off zuke overlapping a bit in concentric circles. To fill the entire area with the cheese spread. Then sprinkle on top the red onion, which you have separated into rings. Top with a good drizzle of decent EVOL and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Until crust is well browned. If it is getting too brown turn oven down to 375; I did. Monitor closely; no burnt top please! Let cool before cutting. Enjoy.  zuke tart slice

Hearty Shepherd’s Pie

Been cold for several days: I think we all are craving warm comfort food.  I made this several weeks ago for company and it was a big hit. We had it again last weekend for Joe’s birthday (he loves it for his special meal every year!) The potato crust is satisfying and the gravy chock full of meat and veggies is richly flavored.  This is an Alton Brown recipe with a few minor changes.  I added red wine, more veggies and I sometimes leave the egg out when I make the potato crust.   The red wine makes the gravy taste perfect. Plus I used different meat and changed the flour to make it a gf choice.

I know the list of ingredients might seem a bit daunting but it does go together fast. Just chop all the veggies first and brown the ground meat while your potatoes cook.  We had homegrown potatoes for the crust for that company meal; oh so flavorful and homegrown peas and local corn in the filling.  Yumm!  The leftovers made a great lunch.  Sure warms the tummy on a chilly day.

I used a bit over a pound of meatloaf mix and some ground turkey meat.  Another time it was ground chuck with a touch of meatloaf mix.  The traditional meat is ground lamb; also tasty.  You can use plain ground beef or even just ground turkey.  All work fine.  I also have a recipe for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie full of veggies with amazing gravy!

curry, shepherds pie, banana cream pie 019curry, shepherds pie, banana cream pie 020

curry, shepherds pie, banana cream pie 021

curry, shepherds pie, banana cream pie 027Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

For the potatoes:
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk (optional)
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or meatloaf mix
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice flour
2-3 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth

½ cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
Directions

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the meat and gravy mixture, stir for a few moments. If it seems very thick with really no gravy, add up to 1/2 cup water to thin it a bit (it will get thicker as it bakes) and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. I have a lovely oval ceramic casserole Joe gave me that is perfect for shepherd’s pie.  Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. curry, shepherds pie, banana cream pie 028

I searched long for a good recipe that had corn in it as that was what my guy wanted, I was dubious but this is such a tasty mixture I am a convert to corn in my shepherd’s pie!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008, foodnetwork.com

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.print.html?oc=linkback