“The days are short, The sun a spark Hung thin between The dark and dark. (Poem by John Updike, “January”)
January has been a month of extreme cold & many sunless days. It has been a month of long days for me on photo shoots..arising before dawn and returning home way after dark. It has been a month to test the hearty, tire out the tireless and make us all yearn for lighter times.
In January I crave homey foods such as rich hot soups, winter greens salads with crusty homemade croutons, roasted vegetables of any kind topped with crumbly cheeses. Comfort foods that are easy to make but complex in flavor…dishes that I can whip up from whatever is in the pantry & refrigerator at any given time…dinners that require no grocery runs or long lists of ingredients.
This gluten-free “Rustic Ratatouille Tart” is one such dish. It is quick and easy, full of roasted vegetables encased in a whole grain crust and topped with a good feta cheese…a pretty perfect meal for a dark winter evening.
Ingredients: Grape or Cherry tomatoes, Squash of any type, Onions, Bell Peppers, Garlic Cloves (or use whatever you happen to have on hand such as potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, etc.) cut vegetables into bite size pieces except for tomatoes & garlic cloves
Olive oil, Herbs de Provence (recipe for making at home here) or Italian Seasoning, Salt & Black Pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère Cheese
1/2 cup good quality Feta Cheese
For whole grain pie crust: 1 1/4 c. King Arthur gluten-free whole grain flour blend + 1/4 tsp salt + 7 tbsp cold butter cut into small pieces + 1 cold egg
1 egg + 1 tbsp water whisked together for brushing on crust before baking
1. For pie crust mix flour & salt together in a food processor. Add cold butter cut into small pieces. Pulse until mixed somewhat. Add 1 egg to processor, pulsing as you add, until dough forms into a ball. Remove from processor, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic & chill until ready to roll out. (This only takes a few minutes to make. A store-bought crust works just fine too.)
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place vegetables on a sheet pan. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, sprinkle Herbs de Provence, salt & black pepper over all. Roast for about 15 minutes just until tomatoes collapse & other vegetables are still firm. Remove pan from oven. Set aside to cool somewhat. Turn oven to 350 degrees.
3. On a flat surface dusted with additional whole grain flour roll dough out to a circle about 14 inches in diameter. Edges can be ragged and uneven. A gluten-free crust is not as “elastic” as a high gluten flour crust, more like a short-bread crust.
4. Sprinkle crust with shredded Gruyère Cheese. Pile roasted vegetables over cheese, leaving a 2″ edge all around uncovered.
5. Gently fold edges of crust up and over the vegetables leaving center open. Brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle feta crumbles over vegetables. Transfer tart to a baking sheet covered with parchment & bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp.
Stay Warm. Keep it simple. Eat well.
Baby it’s cold outside!