Summer is coming to an end. The weather is marginally less humid (sometimes) and I’ve moved from white wine to beer. But its not over yet! Since its about the end of it though, I figured I’d make a summery recipe, though surprisingly not one with tomatoes in it. Internet-land brought me to this squash tart, and I knew I had to make something similar at the very least. The result is what I call my end-of-summer tart, with all the summer of yellow squash and zucchini, with a hint of fall with sweet potatoes.
Dough for the crust
1 cup flour
1/3 cup salted butter
some cold water
Mix together the flour and cheese in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (or a fork if you don’t have one) until it is all incorporated, and the dough can almost clump together. Add the water, a little at a time, stirring it in with a knife and your hands until a nice dough has formed. Cover with plastic wrap while you get the filling made. Then roll it out and line a pie pan with it (or a tart pan if you have one – I don’t).
Sweet Potatoes base
1 smallish sweet potato
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Zest from 1/2 – 1 lemon
First cook the sweet potato. In reality, you should roast it, but that takes a while and I was lazy, so I peeled it, chopped it into chunks and microzapped it for a couple minutes. Regardless of how you cook it, you will know its done when it can be mashed with a fork. Mash up the potato, and add the other ingredients, adjusting to your personal preferences. If you don’t have a zester I highly recommend them, they are totally awesome and totally worth it. Mash and mix it all together till its reasonably smooth – either with a fork or a food processor. Spread this mixture over the pastry dough in an even layer.
1/2 medium yellow squash, sliced
1/2 zucchini, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
Scatter the garlic evenly over the sweet potato mixture. Place the squash and zucchini slices on top. Feel free to make a pretty design and no worries if the slices overlap (although you’ll want some of the orange to peak through). I placed the slices in an alternating yellow-green pattern. Then scatter the cheese over the whole thing. I used blue, but you can easily use goat. Baking does mellow cheese out, so don’t be afraid of using blue if that’s more your thing, or use a slightly stronger goat cheese. Stick the dish in the oven an bake at 350 for around 30 minutes.
This might be one of the prettiest dishes I’ve ever made. The colors! Its completely delicious too. Leftovers never seem to last as long as I plan. Seriously though, if you have to bring a dish somewhere or are having a dinner party and want to impress people – make this. I am convinced it will be a crowd pleaser. It reheats reasonably well too, for something with crust. Song of the week: Mr. Brightside by The Killers. Such a good song. Rock and angst and solid lyrics – I never get tired of this song (although I haven’t subjected it to a multi-hour endless repeat session). The band is good, but this song is incredible.
Sometimes, I don’t have interesting stories for why I chose a particular recipe on a given week. This is one of those weeks. Casting about for something to cook for new-recipe day, I checked NPR’s food blog (sadly no longer active) and found a week devoted to roasted tomatoes. Now, I’ve never roasted tomatoes, but the recipe seemed straight-forward enough, and I love tomatoes so, decision made. Warning: this recipe takes a long time to put together, like 2 hours so make sure you leave plenty of time to make it. Or have lots of little snacks to munch on while cooking. Or wine. Or both.
Step 1: The Tomatoes
3-4 ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Slice the tomatoes and stick them on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle the vinegar, oil and a little salt over the slices. Stick in the oven and roast at 350 until they start to brown and dry out. I prefer them only lightly roasted, but you can roast them longer if you want. Just an fyi, the tomatoes will start by expelling the juice, so there will initially be more juice in the pan, before it starts to evaporate – so don’t worry if 10-20 minutes in the bottom of your pan has a lot of liquid on it.
Step 2: The Crust
1 cup flour
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup salted butter
some cold water
Mix together the flour and cheese in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (or a fork if you don’t have one) until it is all incorporated, and the dough can almost clump together. Add the water, a little at a time, stirring it in with a knife and your hands until a nice dough has formed. Cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge.
Step 3: The Onions
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan, and turn the heat down to low. Add the onions and stir so they are all lightly coated in the oil. Cook on low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be translucent but not brown. Add a little white wine to the pan, and keep cooking, on low, stirring every few minutes. The onions should shrink and slowly begin to color. After about 20-30 more minutes, the onions should begin to brown. At this point, you can either be done, or keep cooking until they become a nice amber-brown. The longer you cook them, the sweeter they get so it’s really up to you. I prefer them on the more lightly-sweet side.
Step 4: Assemble and bake.
Roll out the dough into a large circle and line either a pie plate or a tart pan. I had some leftover dough, so don’t worry if you do too. Put the onions as the bottom layer. Add some nice cheese over the onions. I used goat cheese and this spanish sheep cheese, but feta would work well – as would most slightly strong cheeses. Mozzarella might be too mild for this one. Layer the tomatoes on top of the cheese, and bake for 20-30 minute at 350 until done.
The result: unbelievably good. Like ridiculously good. Whether its good enough to be worth the amount of time it takes to make is more up to you, but it is pretty freaking delicious. And if you want an evening-long cooking project its great. It also stays good the next day, and is really good cold, which is nice because then you don’t get the limp crust problem than happens when you reheat something like this. Serve with a white wine, the one you used to cook the onions in preferable. But its a nice, versatile recipe, so it’s will pair well with most things. Song of the week: You’ll be in my heart, by Phil Collins – for no better reason than I’ve been feeling nostalgic and sometimes I’m a big softy.