Rustic Cornmeal & Roasted Vegetable Tart

Pack in the veggies for your next meal with this tasty Roasted Vegetable Tart served in a crispy cornmeal crust.

I made this dish for a potluck at a friend’s house, and I am happy to tell you that this compact dish travels well and can be prepared ahead of time and reheated at your final destination.

Vegetable Tart in Cornmeal Crust

Vegetable Tart with Cornmeal Crust

Adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger.

Time: 80 minutes, 20 min prep & 60 min cook
Servings: 8 wedges

Ingredients

Crust
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole grain flour or wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
3-5 tbsp water

Veggie Filling
2 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion (or shallots, about 2)
3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or more if desired)
Assorted sliced vegetables (about 1/8 inch thick)
– Eggplant
– Zucchini
– Yellow Squash
– Ripe tomatoes
– Fresh (preferred) or frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dried Oregano (optional)

3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (approx. 3 oz.)
1/4 cup shredded  or ripped fresh basil (or 2-3 heaping tablespoons dried basil)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Non-stick spray
Aluminum foil and uncooked rice/beans/lentils or pie weights

Special Tools: Food processor, 9 inch tart pan (or pie plate), pie weights (optional), parchment paper (optional)

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Crust:
In the food processor, pulse the cornmeal, flour and salt until mixed.

Tart- Dry Ingredients in Food Processor

Pour in the yogurt and oil and pulse 15-20 times. The mixture should resemble tiny pebbles.

Tart- Yogurt & Oil          Tart- Pulsing the Dough

Add a couple tablespoons of water and pulse again until the cornmeal mix starts to come together in a dough. If it looks too dry, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time and pulse after each addition.

Tart- Pulsing 2          Tart- Pulsing 3

Spray a tart pan or pie plate with non-stick spray. Take the dough out of the food processor and press with your fingertips into the tart pan or pie plate. Be sure to cover the sides of the tart/pie plate as well.

Tart Pan Dough
Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the tart/pie plate and press against the bottom and sides of the crust. Pour enough uncooked rice/beans/lentils (or use pie weights) to weigh the crust down, about 1 1/2-2 cups.

The crust is well protected from alien mind probes...

Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the pie weights and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Remove the tart crust from the oven and cool.

Increase the temperature to 400 F.

Sliced OnionsSliced GarlicSliced Zucchini

Veggie Filling:
Sautee the garlic and onions or scallions in 1 tsp EVOO over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat when the onions are soft.

Put some of the sliced veggies into a plastic resealable bag. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the EVOO into the bag, seal, and shake to coat the veggies with the oil. Spread the sliced veggies on two prepared baking sheets (coated with non-stick spray or lined with parchment paper for easy clean up). Repeat with the rest of the veggies until all are coated with oil and spread on the pans.

Veggies on the Pan

Sprinkle the salt &  pepper on top. Roast for around 20 minutes, until the veggies are tender but not burned. Cool the veggies enough to handle.

Thawing Spinach AKA Swamp Monster

If you are using frozen spinach, you’ll need to thaw it while the veggies are roasting. Place the frozen spinach in a large bowl and cover with hot, just below boiling, water. Let  it sit, stirring occasionally to break it apart into pieces. As the water cools down, drain off and replace with hot water. When the spinach has thawed completely, drain in with a fine mesh colander and set aside for the tart assembly.

Note: I made this dish with frozen spinach the first time, and I would recommend using fresh baby spinach instead. The frozen spinach was a bit tougher and harder to handle.

Decrease the temperature to 350 F. Put a layer of the roasted veggies into the bottom of the tart crust, then sprinkle with the mozzarella (1/4 to 1/3 of the total) and fresh basil. Lightly sprinkle on the dried oregano if using. Repeat the layering process until the veggies are gone, ending with the tomatoes or pepper arranged in a visually pleasing manner. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

Veggie Tart Assembly

Bake the tart for around 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the vegetables have warmed all the way through.

Cool for a couple minutes, then slice into 8-10 pieces. Serve warm, with additional grated cheese if desired (yes, please!).

Hot Veggie Tart!

Focaccia Scones

These scones are bites of flaky heaven– garlic, onion and rosemary sauteed until fragrant, brushed with olive oil and baked until golden. I am a huge fan of quick breads that you can mix up in under twenty minutes and these scone-biscuit hybrids definitely fit the bill. They’re easy enough for everyday eating and fancy enough for company.

These seem to be the best when eaten on the same day they’re made, so if you’re making these for a party I would make these ahead of time through the dough step or the pan step and just pop them in the oven about 25 minutes from mealtime.

Tasty Flaky Scones

Focaccia Scones

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

Time: 30 minutes, 10 min prep, 20 min cook
Servings: 6-8 Scones

Ingredients

2-1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2-5 garlic cloves, crushed then minced
1/4-1/2 onion, preferably red, finely diced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (1-2 tsp dried)
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp low-fat plain yogurt (or cold butter)
3/4 to 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (or buttermilk)

Olive oil (for brushing)
Sea salt flakes (optional)

Special Tools: None!

What To Do

Set the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Rosemary, Onion & Garlic

Crush the garlic with the flat side of your knife, and then chop. A Chef’s knife works best for this. Next, dice the onion. You can omit the onion if you like.

Mincing Rosemary, the Easy Way

To mince the rosemary, separate the stems into the younger, tender stems (green or whitish-green- bottom left) and the older stalks (brown, woody-looking- top right). You can mince the green rosemary springs right on the stalk, but you’ll want to remove the rosemary leaves from the woodier stems before mincing.

Onions Garlic & Rosemary

Heat the oil in a frying pan, and toss in the garlic, rosemary and onion. If you prefer very well done onions, cook the onions for a couple minutes prior to adding in the garlic and rosemary.

Add the fresh ground black pepper

Grind some black pepper into the pan and cook the ingredients for 60 seconds and then remove from the burner.

Sift dry ingredients in a bowl

In a medium or large mixing bowl, pour in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Whisk dry ingredientsStir together using a whisk or a fork.

Flour Coated GoodnessAdd the 2 tablespoons of yogurt and the sauteed herb oil to the flour mixture. Mix well using a spatula. The garlic and onion pieces should be well coated with the flour mixture.

Add yogurtPour in 3/4 cup of the yogurt and mix until incorporated.If the mixture is too dry, add more yogurt by the spoonful until the dough just comes together.

Sticky dough ballThe dough will be pliable and sticky.

A Circular ShapeFlour a workspace about the size of two dinner plates (or whatever you think you need) and smush the dough into a roughly circular shape (around 8 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick).

Dough WedgesUsing a butter knife (or other dull knife) coated in flour, cut the dough into equal wedges. The flour will keep the dough from sticking to the knife. You may need to recoat it a few times.

Wedges on a PanCarefully move the slices to the baking pan. Brush each with a generous amount of olive oil using a kitchen brush or spoon. If desired, sprinkle a pinch of flaked sea salt onto each scone.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Golden Scones

Remove from the oven and serve hot!

Enjoy!

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes because it is infused with cheesy goodness. If you’ve never tried your hand at making it, or if you’re afraid of Gordon Ramsey materializing in your kitchen insulting your cooking skills in a British accent, forget Señor Ramsey and get cookin’ because this is just too good to pass up!

(This video is definitely NSFW- language). But excellent for impromptu kitchen dance parties. That is all.

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto

Adapted from this recipe.

Time: 45-50 min (15 min prep; 30-35 min cook)
Servings: 6

Ingredients

6 1/2 cups (give or take) low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio, or other starchy short grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/2 to 1 full medium zucchini, thinly sliced into pieces about 2-3 inches long (see picture below)
10 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips

1-2 cups of your favorite veggies; I used the following:
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup broccoli stems, diced
1 jalepeño, diced

2+ tsp dried thyme
2+ tsp dried basil
2+ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 tsp dry rosemary
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Special Tools: deep sauté pan or large, heavy stockpot, wooden spoon

What To Do

Heat the stock on medium high in a sauce pan– if it starts to boil, turn down the heat but keep the cover on to keep the stock hot.

Crush and dice the garlic, and chop up your onion.

Onions & Garlic- Yum!

Heat the EVOO in a sauté pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onion, and stir with a wooden spoon (since you’re going to stir a lot, you want to use a stirring device that doesn’t conduct heat well).

Sauté the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until translucent.

Add the rice and stir to mix into the garlic and onions. I ran out of Arborio rice, so I substituted with some farro that I had on hand. Note: Farro takes a bit longer to cook than Arborio. I’ve found that when using farro in risotto, it will be a little more liquidy the first day I make it, but after sitting overnight or for several days it tends to soak up a bit more liquid to make a thicker, creamier risotto (Also, I ❤ leftovers!).

Deglazing the Pan

Let the rice cook for 3-5 minutes, until the kernels turn a toasted golden brown color.  Next, deglaze the pan with the wine or an equivalent amount of stock. Add a ladelfull of stock and mix the rice and veggies into the liquid.

While that is simmering……

Courgette is a fancy name

Chop up your veggies if you haven’t already done so. You’ll want to add the veggies to the rice mixture in order of how long they’ll take to fully cook, so carrots and broccoli stalks go first.

Why do I use broccoli stalks, you ask? Well, to be honest, I just can’t bring myself to throw them away! It seems like such a waste to buy broccoli for the crown and then throw away perfectly edible food! I’ve found that these stalks work great as vegetable “filler” in meals where I just don’t have enough other veggies on hand, or in meals where the flavors and ingredients are strong enough to season this relatively innocuous veggie. I’ve found that it kind of has a mellower broccoli flavor than the florets, but melds easily into other cooked dishes– sauces, casseroles, rice. (After some quick googling, it looks like other people eat the stalks, too! Raw and cooked– check it out). I like the term “Stalker”- haha! Looks like raw stalks are loaded with Vitamin A, too!

Veggies in the Pan

Add the veggies to the pan. Sprinkle around 1 tsp of each of your spices on top of the veggies, add a ladle of stock and stir.

Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into strips and fold into the risotto. You can add them to the rice earlier or later depending on how infused you want the dish to be with their tomato flavor.

Bread & Butter ProTip: If you’re using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drain the oil into the sauté pan instead of using plain EVOO. This will add another layer of flavor to your dish. Or, use the oil to flavor a roasted vegetable size dish.

Alternate adding a ladle of stock, a pinch of the spices and stirring until you have used up all of your stock. You’ll want to wait until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding the next ladle (if I’m pressed for time or feeling lazy, I’ll turn up the heat on the stove to move this along). Stirring is what makes this dish so creamy– so be sure to stir every couple of minutes.

When you have one or two ladles of stock left, slowly sprinkle on the grated cheese while stirring to incorporate into the rice and veggie mixture. If you dump all of the cheese in at once, it is likely to clump together rather than melting evenly throughout the risotto.

Once the cheese has melted into the risotto, it’s ready to eat!

Serve with a fresh grating of cheese (mmmm cheese) if desired.

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto2

Bon Appétit!