Over the weekend, I took and impromptu trip to CA to visit my family, and in the process, I made dinner for my mom one night I was there. Since she has many many more cookbooks than I do, it seemed a perfect opportunity to find something for new recipe day. And since she swears by the Greens cookbooks (as does everyone in my family) I decided to make something from one of those. Since it was still effectively summer back in NorCal, I decided to make late-summer Provencal Tartlets. Ok, this recipe does take awhile to cook (about 2 episodes of Star Trek) and it looks like a ton of ingredients, but its pretty straight-forward to do.
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
several tablespoons cold water
Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. If compressed, the dough should almost be able to stick together. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
1/2 smallish eggplant, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 a red onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic
1-2 pinches dried thyme
1 pinch dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cups fontina cheese
Dice all the veggies and stick them in a bowl. Toss with the garlic, olive oil, and dried herbs. Roast at 400 for about 10-15 minutes. The diced veggies means it goes pretty quickly. Stick back in a bowl. Roll out the dough and cut it into circles large enough to fit a cupcake pan. Then line the cupcake pan with the little dough circles. Toss the now-cooked and slightly cooler veggies with the parsley, tomatoes, and cheeses. Fill the tartlets, and then bake for maybe 30 minutes at 375 (until they are golden and the cheese is bubbly. Cool slightly and serve!
Oh man these were good. Lots of veggies to be sure, but since its not a ton of any of them, it can basically be an “odds and ends” sort of filling for the tartlet. I mean, these are all pretty common summer veggies to have, and the only things I bought specifically for the recipe was the fontina cheese (fontina works amazing with eggplant as a general rule). I had this with at California Sauvignon Blanc which I thought was a good pairing. Sav. blancs are good with most summer veggie recipes, and I drink CA wines when I’m in the state as a general rule. Song of the Week: Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. Another catchy pop song I rather like. My mom said it was her new favorite song this weekend, and since I enjoy it too, I figured it would be perfect for this week.
So this is yet another slightly delayed holiday recipe posting. March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day in the great state of California – it replaced Columbus day (good riddance) as a state holiday. Cesar Chavez is a Latino labor rights organizer for farm workers who did a lot of good for CA and the Latino communities across the U.S. I want to note (I just learned this) that equal credit should be given to Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers and a badass in her own right. So in honor of Huerta and Chavez and Labor Rights in general, I decided to do another one of my Cali-Mex recipes this week. So this was an odd synthesis of a Zucchini salad from my Mexican vegetarian cooking class and a recipe from Everyday Greens cookbook.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup masa harina
dash of salt
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
Measure flour, masa harina, and salt into a bowl and mix them all thoroughly. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. Mix the vinegar with 3 tablespoons of water and add the mixture, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. If you need more water, add it in small amounts. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while you make the filling.
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 ear of corn, kernels cut off
1/3 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium poblano pepper, chopped
1 tsp cumin (or in reality to taste)
salt and pepper
2-3 ounces queso fresca, crumbled
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the garlic, and after a couple minutes, add the onions and poblano peppers. Once they start to soften, add the corn, zucchini, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute until everything is softened, but not so long that it turns squogy. Toss with the queso and set aside. Roll out the tartlet dough and cut out little circles from it (once again my glass ice cream bowls are used to fulfill the task of a biscuit cutter). Take each circle and stick it into a spot in a cupcake tin. No worries if its a little large and needs to squish a little, that’s totally fine. Fill each one completely with the fill. Bake at 375 for like 20 minutes or so.
Damn these were tasty. I had to exercise a great deal of discipline to save some of them for meals at work instead of gobbling them all as a meal and then snacks. I had these with Oberon Summer Ale (it’s back! and my all-time fav beer to pair with Mexican food) as a meal, but I think they would make an amazing appetizer at a party or something. The tartlet dough is awesome – I’m loving the flour-masa harina combo, and have been using it when making tostadas for a while. Song of the Week: Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter by Herman’s Hermits. I love this song for so so many reasons, but the main two are the guitar rift in the beginning (and really the guitar throughout) and the theme of being heartbroken without bitterness or recrimination. It’s an uplifting song about lost love – which is amazing. We should all strive to be that decent regarding our former lovers. Also Herman’s Hermits are incredible and tragically underrated.