Summer Squash, Tomato, Goat Cheese & Mustard Tart

This is a beautiful, French-inspired, summer tart. It’s a great way to use up all that extra zucchini and yellow squash laying around this time of year. 🙂 Make the most of it before it’s all gone for the season!

What the final tart looks like. Yum! 🙂 (This was right before we took two slices, left the kitchen for 5 minutes, and when I came back my dog had eaten about half of it. 🙁 Lesson learned…again.

Roll out the crust and gently place in tart pan. Carefully form to the pan and smooth out any folds. Leave a little extra crust around the edges to allow for the crust to shrink up a bit.

Sliced veggies and rounds. At this point you would place pie weights in the crust, poke it with a fork a few times in the flat part of the crust and then bake it for 12-15 minutes. (I forgot to bake it before spreading with mustard in these pictures, so please bake it before adding any filling.)

There is one mistake in this picture. Please bake the crust for 12-15 minutes before spreading with mustard and adding the other fillings.

Here is the filled tart before it goes into the oven. You can use any kind of goat cheese or cow’s cheese that you like. I also dotted it with fresh rosemary and sprinkled the top with a little salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Yum! The taste of summer. 🙂

Tomato, Zucchini & Goat Cheese Tart

Yields: 2 tarts

Serves: 8 as an entree, 16 as a side dish

Ingredients:

Crust

 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 6-8 tablespoons cold (ice) water

 

 

Tart

 

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 5-6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 12 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Cornmeal Crust

Cut butter into ½ inch cubes. Stir flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add butter cubes and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or use your fingers until the mixture resembles small peas.

Add the cold ice water by starting with 4 tablespoons. Incorporate that water into the dough. Add 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is a soft consistency, and pliable, but not too sticky. You want it to come together into a ball.

Place the dough in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Assembling the Tarts

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Divide the chilled dough in half. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick and gently form to tart pan. Pierce gently with a fork and place pie weights on the dough. Repeat with second crust. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove the pie weights without burning yourself.

While the crusts are baking, slice the zucchini, yellow squash and tomato into ¼ inch slices. Slice the cheese into chunks and pull the rosemary off the stems.

When the crusts come out of the oven, spread them with a layer of mustard to your liking. At least thinly cover the entire crust. Then layer with multiple layers of the vegetables. Top with pieces of goat cheese and sprinkle with rosemary. Sprinkle with a few small pinches of salt.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and the fully cooked through. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper. Serve hot and enjoy!

Seared Tempeh with Cashews, Edamame on Greens with Asian Dressing

Trying out tempeh for the first time, or just looking for a fresh take on it? Well, this is your recipe. It’s been a huge hit every time I’ve made it and gives tempeh so much great flavor, you’ll be sure to keep this recipe in your back pocket. 

Tempeh is a fermented cake of soybeans that includes the entire bean, thereby giving it more nutritional value in the form of more vitamins, protein and fiber. It’s a great food to add to your diet, whether or not you’re a vegetarian. This recipes is a great one to give it a try if this is your first time. It’s very affordable and satiating.

I want to acknowledge that there are a number of ingredients to make the Honey Sesame Dressing, but once you have them on hand, it’s quick and easy to put together a variety of Asian dressings, dipping sauces and marinades. Having these items stocked in your pantry will greatly increase the diversity of flavors available to you in your cooking. 

Once you have some of this dressing made, it will keep for about a week plus a few days in your refrigerator. You can the ingredients directly below. Now let’s get cooking!

Seared Tempeh With Cashews, Edamame On Greens With Asian Dressing 

Yields: 3 salads and Serves: 3 heartily

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 6 cups baby greens, arugula or spinach
  • ¾ cup cashews (raw or toasted)
  • ¾ cup edamame or fava beans (shelled)
  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or avocado oil

 

Marinade

  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice

 

Honey Sesame Dressing

(Yields ~ 1 ¼ cups)

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional

 

Directions:

Marinade

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together to combine well.

Braise and Marinate the Tempeh

Cube tempeh into 1 inch cubes. Soak in marinade and toss to coat well. Let marinate for 5 minutes.

Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to hot skillet. Once oil is hot, add tempeh cubes. Stir occasionally to sear on each side until golden brown. This will take about 1 minute on each side. 

Make Dressing

Mince the garlic. Peel ginger with a spoon and grate it using a microplane or box grater. 

Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Label, date and keep excess in refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

Steam Edamame and Assemble Salad

Put a small saucepan, fitted with a steamer basket, and filled with 2 inches of water over medium heat. Cover with a lid. When water is boiling, after about 2-3 minutes, place edamame in a steamer basket. Steam for about 5 minutes, or until cooked, but still maintain some firmness. Drain and rinse to cool if desired. 

Assemble salad greens on plate with slices of marinated tempeh, cashews, edamame and honey sesame dressing.  

The tempeh will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy on salads or with rice and vegetables until then!

Enjoy!

Pea, Cilantro, Lime Gazpacho

It’s August and it’s been a hot one this summer! Keep your kitchen cool by experimenting with chilled soups this summer. Zero cooking needed. 🙂 If you have a blender or food processor, you can easily make this green gazpacho soup. Plus if you make it ahead, it only gets better after a few days in the fridge. 

You just need to chop the vegetables in big chunks like this. You can remove the seeds from the cucumber, but it’s not necessary.

Summer picnic with a friend and chilled green gazpacho. Mmm…joys of summertime. 

Pea, Cilantro, Lime Gazpacho

Yields: 6 cups

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ½ large cucumbers
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 ounces fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ medium shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ jalapeño
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅔ cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste (Start with ½ teaspoon)

 

Optional

 

  • More cilantro to garnish
  • 1 tomato for garnish

 

Directions:

Add the following ingredients to the blender as you peel and slice them. However, keep aside about ⅓ of the cucumber to cut into a medium dice. You will add this diced cucumber before serving the soup. It will not be blended with the rest of the ingredients.

Peel cucumber. Slice down the middle lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Save for another recipe, or place in compost bin. Slice avocado in half and scoop out flesh with a spoon.

Rough chop the cilantro, stems included. Peel and rough chop the shallot and garlic. Juice the lime into the blender. Slice jalapeño in half and carefully scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Make sure to wash hands well with soap after handling hot peppers and don’t touch eyes or sensitive skin. Add oil, whipping cream, broth and spices to the blender.

Turn blender to medium. If it’s starting to blend, turn to high until everything is well blended. If it doesn’t want to blend, add a few tablespoons of broth at a time until it begins to blend.

Taste and adjust ingredients to your liking. After finished blending, add diced cucumber pieces and pour into serving bowls. You can serve with a swirl of olive oil or cream, more cracked pepper and a garnish of cilantro and/or diced tomato if desired.

Enjoy!

Variations

You can use fresh parsley and a few sprigs of mint in place of the cilantro. In that case, the lime can also be substituted by lemon. Have fun experimenting! Comment below if you’d like to share your variations or how you liked the recipe.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a wonderful, savory and filling dish to serve for brunch, lunch or dinner. It goes great with a side of bread, couscous or a Mediterranean-style salad. This dish originates from North Africa and the Middle East and is very common in Israel. 

It can be adapted to include what you have on hand, making it a great end of the week, clean-out-the-fridge dish. Vegetables such as summer squash, eggplant, broccoli or carrots can easily be added to cook down with the sauce and make it your own. If you buy a bunch of parsley for another dish, this is a great way to use up the rest of it. Shakshuka is a great way to use up bumper crops of your fresh garden produce.

Give this a try for your next brunch for something new and different. It’s so satisfying! 

Shakshuka

Yields 4 cups sauce plus an egg (Serves 4)

Ingredients

 

  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes or 32 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 4-6 eggs (based on your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout (substitute cumin if you don’t have this spice blend)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like it spicier)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (for garnish and added flavor)

 

Optional

 

  • Zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, hot peppers, carrots, broccoli and green beans are all possible additions to this dish and a great way to minimize food waste by using up odds and ends of leftover vegetables. 

 

Shakshuka ingredients

Directions

Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Heat a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once heated add oil and then place sliced onions in hot oil. Sauté for 8 -10 minutes until translucent and beginning to slightly caramelize. While onion is cooking, dice the eggplant and any other vegetables you’re using into a medium dice, about 1/2 inch cubes. There is no need to peel the eggplant. 

Add garlic, eggplant and any other vegetables to sauté with the onions for 5 minutes to slightly brown the vegetables. You can add some minced jalapeño or Serrano at this time if you like extra spice.

Add tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, crush them in a bowl before adding to the skillet. Or you can do what I did and squeeze them with your hands as you add them to the skillet. Add the spices and sugar to the pan and stir to combine well. Let simmer over medium low for 10 minutes. Carefully taste and adjust salt to your preference.

While simmering you can rough chop the parsley leaves to have them ready. Keep the stems to either add to a pesto, chimichurri sauce or freeze them with your other vegetable scraps to make a simple, homemade broth. 

After 10 minutes, gently crack the eggs onto the shakshuka while it’s still cooking. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until the eggs are fully cooked to your liking. You can cover with a lid to cook the eggs faster if you’d like. 

Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and parsley for serving. Serve hot with a side of hearty, crusty bread, pita or couscous. Goes well with a fresh salad topped with feta cheese. 

Enjoy! I’d love to know how you like it and how you adapt it to make it your own. You can easily add sausage to this dish. Just cook it while cooking the vegetables and before adding the tomatoes. Another spice that is a great addition is Aleppo pepper, which adds a warm earthy spiciness to the dish.

Shakshuka simmering in tomatoes

Eggs cooking in shakshuka

Chimichurri

This is a wonderfully flavorful sauce that seriously takes just a few minutes to put together. If you can operate a blender, you can make this sauce! 🙂 It’s also a great use for an abundance of parsley in a backyard garden and the parsley stems get blended in too, so less food waste!

You’ll get all the benefits of the antioxidants in the parsley and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and red pepper too! It’s a great nutrition boost to add to any meal.

CHIMICHURRI RECIPE

Yields about 1 1\4 U.S. cups

Ingredients

 

  • 1 cup fresh parsley sprigs with stems included (don’t waste that flavor!)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicier, but you might start with less)
  • Salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (more if desired)

 

Simple ingredients for Chimichurri.

Directions

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in food processor and blend until smooth. Pour in the olive oil and stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasonings or other ingredients as desired. Goes great with fish, steaks, on veggie burgers, on seared tempeh, with pork or chicken. It’s also delicious as a condiment for roasted vegetables.

Hope you enjoy trying out a new sauce! Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Turnip Greens with Cherries & Walnuts

You may not have tried cooking with turnip greens, or turnips at all for that matter. I encourage you to head to your local farmer’s market and pick up a beautiful bundle of turnips. When fresh from the farm or garden, they’re tender and wonderful shaved into salads, roasted, and sliced thinly for salads or sandwiches. If you roast them, they’re a fantastic addition to soups and stews.

Ingredients for this warm summer salad. Delicious & gourmet use of turnip greens.

 

You can use the whole plant in your cooking too! Save the stems for stock that you make the say of, or place in a sealed bag and freeze your vegetable scraps until you have enough to make stock. 

I love using the greens in warm salads like the one below. They can also be added to risotto, beans with greens or a Tuscan soup with beans. 

Turnip Greens With Cherries & Walnuts

Yields about 3 1/2 cups salad

Ingredients

 

  • Greens from 5 large turnips
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup red onion 
  • 8-10 red dark cherries 
  • 1/4 cup walnuts 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)

 

Directions

Thinly slice the red onion and mince the garlic cloves. Rough chop the walnuts. Set aside. 

Cut the turnip greens at the base of the leaves from the stems. You can save the stems for stock. (Tip: Add to a sealed freezer bag of vegetable scraps to make broth later)

Tear the turnip greens into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Pit the cherries and break up with your fingers or slice into quarters. Do this carefully, as cherry juice will stain. 

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add the coconut oil. When oil is heated, after about 1 minute, add sliced onions and saute for 4=5 minutes. The onions will be starting to become translucent. Cook longer if you want them more caramelized. 

Add garlic, walnuts, cherries, greens and balsamic vinegar to the skillet. Saute for another 2-3 minutes, or until the salad is cooked to your liking.

You want the turnip leaves to still be bright green, but cooked through. Serve hot! Goes great as a side to a leg of lamb or a peppery steak.

Parsley, Lemon & Toasted Almond Salad

This fresh, satisfying salad is a great way to get more parsley into your diet. It’s SO MUCH MORE than a garnish! 🙂 Parsley tastes great when prepared well and has wonderful antioxidant properties, lots of fiber and is all around super healthy for you. It’s a great detox salad.

Combined with fresh lemon and nutrient-rich almonds, this salad is a health power-house. It’s a fantastic addition to many dishes, and is easy to devour all by itself. 

Ingredients for the Parsley Salad, minus the toasted almonds

Parsley, Lemon & Toasted Almond Salad 

Yields: 3 ½ – 4 cups

Serves: 7-8 sides

Ingredients:

 

  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 small shallot or 2 tablespoons red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup olive oil (high quality extra virgin is best) (adjust amount of oil according to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (depending on your taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown or dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • About 25 sprigs of parsley, or 1 full bunch

 

Directions:

Set broiler to low. Rough chop the almonds and place on a baking tray. Toast almonds for 2 minutes. Watch closely, as you want them only lightly golden brown. Alternatively you can toast the chopped almonds on a dry skillet over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Watch and stir occasionally. Ready when fragrant and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat.

Finely mince shallot or red onion and garlic. Slice the lemon in half. Rough chop the parsley, including stems.

Juice the lemon into a medium mixing bowl.

Add all ingredients into mixing bowl and gently stir to combine.

Serve as a side or garnish to veggie burgers, on a falafel platter, or with fish, chicken or lamb.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

You can add this to 1 or 2 cups cooked brown or wild rice for a heartier side dish. Basmati would work well too, but has slightly less nutritional value.

Beet Cilantro-Lime Salsa

Haven’t tried beets? Well, here’s your chance. They’re super nutritious and oh so tasty! Or if you love beets, here is a fun way to use them. (Remember to use those tops too!) Beets are high in iron, so they’re great for maintaining healthy blood. Plus they taste so darn good!

Just whipped up this fab Beet Salsa with cilantro, jalapeño and lime. Would love to know if you give it a try and what you think.

Beet, Cilantro-Lime Salsa

Yields 3-4 cups

Ingredients

 

  • 3 large beets
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 inch jalapeño
  • 1/3 of a small, red onion

 

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off tops of beets and keep greens to use in another recipe, such as cooked greens.

Slice beets in half. Place in a loaf pan with about 1 inch of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in heated oven for 45-55 minutes to steam. They’re ready when a knife goes through easily to the middle.

Drain the liquid carefully into the sink (Watch out because it will stain!) Let them cool and the peels should slide off easily with your fingers. Slice into thin, small strips.

Rough chop the cilantro and finely mince the onion and jalapeño. (Wash hands thoroughly after handling jalapeño and do not touch eyes or face.) 

Juice the lime into your mixing or serving bowl and add all the fresh ingredients. Top with salt and slices and toss well to coat everything. 

Let chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Longer is better as the flavors will develop. 

Enjoy on burgers, on fish tacos, veggie tacos, and with tortilla chips. Have fun experimenting with the uses!

I’d love to hear how you like it and what creative ways you come up with for this tasty salsa. 

The Empowered Kitchen Tips

This salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover to keep fresh. Cooked beets do not freeze well, so enjoy this the week you make it.

Mango Lassi

 

Try this simple, fresh, Indian recipe for a smoothie-like drink called a Mango Lassi. This is one version, but there are ways to experiment with it. Get the freshest, sweetest mangoes you can find for the best lassi. 

Mango Lassi ingredients. You can add water to adjust the consistency.

Here’s the lassi with a little garnish. Beautiful, fresh and filling for a summer party.

 

 

Mango Lassi

Yields 2 (8 ounces each)

Ingredients

 

  • 2 mangos
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cold water

 

Optional

 

  • Ground cardamom and/or nutmeg
  • Garnish with mint and/or raspberry

 

Directions

Carefully remove mango flesh from the skin. You can do this by cutting the mango in half along each side of the pit. You will have 2 halves with most of the fruit. Cut the remaining fruit carefully off the pit. Scoop flesh out with a spoon and place in blender.

Discard the skin and pit. 

 

Blend mango, yogurt, sugar and water until smooth. Adjust sugar, yogurt and water to taste. Add water to make a thinner lassi.

You can blend in a few ice cubes too and even add ground cardamom in the blender.

Garnish if desired with optional garnishes.

 

ENJOY on a warm summer day. 😋

*You can alternatively use honey in place of the sugar.

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Mmm…summer is officially here and strawberries are bursting with flavor! Take advantage of the fact that they’re cheaper right now and they taste the best they will all year long! Make strawberry cakes, smoothies, put in your oatmeal, add to yogurt and ice cream…dip them in chocolate and just savor their wonderful sweetness all by their lonesome. 

I decided to make a twist on a classic French dessert that is usually made with cherries. This recipe was inspired byJulia Child’s Cherry Clafoutis Recipe (pronounced: clah-foo-tee). It’s wonderful either hot out of the oven or chilled and is a wonderful addition to any summer party. Great to make a day ahead and serve chilled after dinner. 

It’s kind of a custard and is SO easy to put together. Give it a try and let me know how you like it. I’d LOVE to hear about your variations. Check tips at the end for ways to experiment with different fruits.

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Yields: 1 (9 inch pie pan) clafoutis

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar (divided in half)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 12 ounces or 2 cups strawberries
  • Zest of half of a lemon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 inch pie dish or circular baking pan. Ceramic or glass is best. Cut off the strawberry tops and them into quarters. Zest the lemon and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk, ¼ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla or almond extract, salt, both flours and lemon zest. Blend well with an electric blender.

Pour about ⅓ of the batter into the greased pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom will start to cook, but it will not be solid. Remove from oven and gently add the strawberries. Sprinkle the other ¼ cup sugar on top. Pour the remaining batter over the fruit.

Return pan to oven and cook for about 1 more hour. Check the clafoutis at 45 minutes for doneness. It will be finished when a toothpick comes out clean, but it won’t be brown when it is finished cooking.

The clafoutis will naturally deflate after being out of the oven for a few minutes. You can garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if you’d like, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a pretty effect. It is delicious served hot or cold. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

Plums, peaches, apricots, other berries or cherries can all be substituted for the strawberries. You could also experiment with adding orange or lime zest, ground cardamom, cinnamon or other spices to create new flavors.