Early Fall Roasted Vegetables, E.A.T. # 19

dsc_2824

Coming home with a sack of leftover vegetables is not unusual for me. At the end of many of my food styling projects there are often random vegetables left over…one red bell pepper, one onion, a few new potatoes, a lemon, a handful of beautiful okra and a box of arugula along with a half carton of heirloom baby tomatoes were the recent jewels….I just cannot bear to leave them unused and wasted.

The last thing I really want to do at the end of a long day is cook at home after cooking all day while working. But roasting vegetables isn’t really cooking…it is a technique that requires little effort and the reward is a healthy, colorful,  relaxing, easy-as-this dinner.

dsc_2755

Oven turned to 400 degrees. Longer cooking vegetables go in first after being tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper…..

dsc_2763

….quicker cooking vegetables added to the pan halfway through cook time along with a sprinkling of Herbes de Provence. Easy enough to make your own or purchase at most supermarkets or on-line.

dsc_2804

Eat healthy and be well.

Early Fall Roasted Vegetables

  • Difficulty: easy-as-this
  • Print

dsc_2804dsc_2824

Ingredients:

  • any random selection of vegetables, rinsed & roughly chopped
  • suggestions: new potatoes, red bell peppers, heirloom cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, okra pods, asparagus, onions, beets, cauliflower, broccoli…whatever you have
  • olive oil
  • sea salt or kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • arugula leaves or baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Turn oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss roughly chopped vegetables in olive oil, salt & black pepper.
  3. Spread vegs that take longer to cook out on a baking sheet & roast for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add vegs that take less time to cook to pan. Sprinkle over all with Herbes de Provence.
  4. Return pan to oven and roast another 12 minutes. Remove pan from oven.
  5. Serve roasted vegetables with a dusting of grated Parmesan and fresh greens.

Teresa Blackburn    www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      www.foodonfifth.com

April Sunrise Saturday Asian Pear Tartlets

Asian Pear Tartlets

“An April Saturday at Sunrise…Asian Pear Tartlets”

Upon awakening, three Asian Pears glowing on the kitchen counter, pate sucree, dollops of butter & raw sugar cubes, drinking cups of milky hot coffee…welcome April.

I almost always get out of bed before sunrise. It is my favorite time of day. Quiet. The light is soft and gentle, a bit blue-grey with pale golden tones, especially in early April. My kitchen will be dawn-dark, then slowly…very slowly sunlight creeps in, across the tables & counters, leaving everything in its path stunningly lighted.

Asian Pears

(Notice how blue-grey the light is?)

Asian Pears

Ingredients: Rounds of Pate Sucree, olive oil, Asian Pears ripe, good butter & raw sugar cubes (or just raw, loose sugar), sea salt.

DSC_6856

There are many perks…both personally & culinarily…in my work as a food stylist. The perfectly perfect rounds of Pate Sucree (see above photo) were left over from a photo shoot job. I brought a few home for these quick & easy tartlets, freezing some for later ideas. But it is really easy to make your own. These are “round”…I could never roll out any dough this perfect, so when you make your own just let them be randomly wonderful. (see end of post for recipe for pate sucree)

Pâte sucrée is the French term for a sweet short crust pastry used to make tarts. 

DSC_6864

1. Peel Asian Pears & cut into thin wedges. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each round of dough. Spread out with your hands. Pile pear slices in the center of each round.

DSC_6867

2. Top pear slices with a few cubes of sugar & butter. Gather edges of dough up over the fruit leaving the center open. Sprinkle each with a pinch of sea salt. I used crunchy, flakey, Maldon, my personal favorite. Place each one on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pop in the refrigerator for 10 minutes while you heat the oven to 375 degrees.

DSC_6872

(Now…notice how the light changed in 10 minutes…tartlets are ready for the oven..the sunlight just beginning to top the trees.)

3. Bake tartlets for about 30-40 minutes until a deep golden brown. Serve hot or warm.

DSC_6882

DSC_6905DSC_6920

Because I did not have to make the pate sucree it only took about 15 minutes to make the tartlets plus the baking time. As I pulled the Asian Pear Tartlets out of the oven the sun absolutely flooded my kitchen…shafts of golden light hitting everything…a Saturday Sunrise, early April.

DSC_6926

DSC_6935

DSC_6937

Quick & Easy Pate Sucree Recipe:

A quick & easy Pate Sucree….Pulse 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup sugar + a pinch of salt together in a food processor. Add 2 sticks of cold butter cut into random pieces + 2 egg yolks and pulse unto crumbly. With machine running drizzle in 1/4 cup cream or milk just until mixture comes together to form a ball. Remove from processor. Divide dough into two balls, pressing each into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill until ready to use or at least 30 minutes. Divide into smaller balls of dough and roll out into circles about 6 inches across.

April is here for the blinking of an eye…enjoy it.

“Rustic Ratatouille Tart for the January Dark” (Gluten Free)

rustic ratatouille tart

“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.

Ratatouille Tart

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

whole wheat crust & vegetables to roast

Directions:

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.

Pie crust

4. Sprinkle crust with shredded Gruyère Cheese. Pile roasted vegetables over cheese,  leaving a 2″ edge all around uncovered.

shredded Gruyere over crustroasted vegs on crust

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.

Pie crust filled with vegs

Ratatouille Tart

Stay Warm. Keep it simple. Eat well.

Baby it’s cold outside!

DSC_5093

Southern Redux – “Greens & Corn Bread”

 “Greens & Cornbread”

My summer garden was not what I had anticipated…too much brutal heat, too little rain. After much garden angst I decided to just stop my incessant watering and let nature run amok. And it did….basically everything except a few tomato plants and my herbs just wilted and died. Nature did its thing and I did mine by letting it do its thing. Such is the life of gardening.

I did not let my summer garden failure stop me from having hope for my late fall-winter garden of greens. I set out plants and sprinkled seeds in late September and this week I harvested my first “greens for dinner”…two kinds of chard & kale, bok choy, collards, spinach, arugula and sorrel..bravo to the winter garden!

If there is one thing we Southerners really love it is our “Greens and Cornbread”. But many of us Southerners (me for one) have childhood memories of having a dinner plate set in front of me with a serving of dark-green-almost-black totally-cooked-beyond-recognition turnip greens or collard greens which I tried to avoid eating by hiding them under some other over-cooked vegetable equally unappetizing looking. I spent lots of my childhood hiding food I did not want to eat under other food I did not want to eat.

Now I rather relish eating a helping of over cooked greens at any of my local “meat & three” restaurants along with a slice of hot cornbread….every now and then. I also relish eating greens cooked my way with hot, buttery cornbread made my way which is what I made for dinner last night.

“Sauteed Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins”

 Gather or buy about 6 large handfuls of mixed greens. Rinse in cool water and shake dry. Roughly chop greens.

 Drizzle some good olive oil in a large heavy pan and add chopped greens. Place over medium high heat. Sprinkle 1 finely diced shallot & 1 clove minced garlic over greens. In a few minutes the greens will start to steam and wilt. Gently toss greens as they cook. Add 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a handful of golden raisins, a dash of hot pepper flakes, salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Serve hot wilted greens drizzled with a fruity vinegar such as black fig vinegar or a good balsamic and hot (Kerrygold) buttered cornbread.

“A Simple Cornbread to Enjoy with Greens”

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in an iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet and put it in the oven as you heat it to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together 10 ozs. of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornbread Mix, 2 eggs & 1 cup of warm water. The first time I used this cornbread mix I was skeptical, but to my surprise it was very delicious and everyone who has eaten it has no idea it is gluten-free!  The texture is very dense, the flavor not sweet, but buttery. I ignore the directions on the back of the package and just add eggs & water. One of my favorite cornbreads was a “hot water cornbread” my Mother used to make. This is similar. A great find.

Remove hot skillet from the oven and scrape the cornbread batter into the skillet. Put back into oven and bake for about 30 minutes until cornbread is cooked throughout and light golden brown. Serve cornbread slices with a slathering of softened Kerrygold butter alongside a plate of Greens.

So…for you greens and cornbread skeptics, you non-Southerners who think you do not like this traditional  Southern fare, you Southerners who have never eaten greens still a bit crunchy with just the right wilted-ness combined…I ask that you try this simple little set of recipes and let me change your mind.

Bon Appetit Y’all

“A Little Gallery of Greens”

A little bouquet of greens.
Golden Chard
Red Chard
Kale
Bok Choy
Sorrel