Two Cheese Zucchini Tart

cheesy zucchini tart

The other night at dinner, a friend mentioned the new “Fab-let-ics” store was opening at the mall soon. When I inquired just what that was, I learned it was Kate Hudson’s athletic wear line. The one I had gone around calling “Fable-tics”.

This is not the first time I’ve misinterpreted something oh, so poorly. When I first started learning how to care for my skin as an adolescent, I asked my mom about the “Clin-i-cue” she used. She didn’t laugh too hard when she told me she used “Cli-neek”.

And it wasn’t until college – probably grad school – that I learned just how to say “macabre.” I was reading a book to a little boy I helped tutor when the word popped up. I was stumbling over “mac-a-brey” when his mother shouted from down the hallway, “It’s ma-cob!”

cheesy zucchini tart

I never really know what’s going on. Today that took the form of writing a blog post for a ricotta cheese and zucchini tart that, as I went on, realized I had pretty much shared in the past.

That tart featured a lemony ricotta base with thyme and paprika to season zucchini and summer squash. This tart starts with a layer of herbs mixed into ricotta and goat cheese and nothing but a simple drizzle of oil oil, salt, and pepper over the vegetables.

Let’s chalk it up to different interpretations of the same summer produce, and you get to decide which one is right. Enjoy!

cheesy zucchini tart

Zucchini & Goat Cheese Tart
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, etc.)
  • 1-2 small to medium zucchini and/or summer squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Roll out the puff pastry to approximately a 9 x 13 rectangle. I suggest rolling out the pastry directly onto a lightly-floured piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat layered on top of a baking sheet.
  2. Place the rolled out puff pastry sheet in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. While the crust chills, mash and stir together the ricotta cheese and goat cheese. If desired, stir in some dried herbs to this cheese mixture.
  4. Thinly slice the zucchini and/or summer squash and toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and as much salt and black pepper as you like.
  5. Remove the chilled puff pastry crust from the refrigerator and spread the cheese mixture over it, leaving ¼-1/2 inch border.
  6. Layer the zucchini and summer squash over the cheese.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the bottom and sides are golden brown.
Notes
For a different presentation, the original recipe suggested using a vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini lengthwise into long strips. I did not care for this because the color of the peel was lost with the vertical slices.
 

Sweet & Salty Krispie Treats

sweet and salty krispie treats

Clouds coated the sky all day yesterday. When the sun momentarily started to peek out, I found myself actively rooting for it to stay behind the clouds. Needless to say, it’s hot outside.

Unfortunately, my sweet tooth does not take a seasonal break like my cravings for warm comfort food. Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite foods, but I really don’t want to think about eating it for another three months.

The mulling spices on my spice rack won’t get another look until I warm some wine near the holidays. Hot chocolate today? Not a chance.

sweet and salty krispie treats

When it’s too hot to turn on the oven, but not so hot that I’m willing to deal with the stove, no-bake krispie treats do the trick.

We all have a special way to make these treats. Some prefer the marshmallow variety. Others go the peanut butter route.

This version features a salty caramel flavor courtesy of sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. If you like, you can top them off with a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Enjoy!
sweet and salty krispie treats

Interested in more krispie treats recipes? Here are a few more ideas you can find on Love & Flour:

Coconut Curry & Pepitas

Coffee & Chocolate

Marshmallow White Chocolate

Sweet & Salty Krispie Treats
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Treats
  • 8 cups puffed rice cereal
  • ¾ cup corn syrup
  • ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ cups vanilla extract
  • For the Topping
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Coat a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the puffed rice cereal.
  2. Combine the corn syrup, condensed milk, sugars, butter, and sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir continuously until the mixture is light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the mixture over the cereal in the large bowl and stir to coat.
  5. Spread the cereal in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and press it down evenly.
  6. If desired, heat some chocolate chips with some cream over low heat, then drizzle over the top of the treats.
  7. Refrigerate until set, then dig in.
Notes
I never have much success melting chocolate chips on their own; the chocolate seizes up and things get ugly. To remedy this, I stir in a bit of cream until the chocolate smooths out.

Strawberry Lemon Granita

strawberry lemon granita

As much as I enjoy spending a few hours in the kitchen, I absolutely, positively, disdain grocery shopping. You would think shopping for food and then preparing that food would go hand in hand, but in my case, not so much. This leads me to play the game of leftovers every few weeks where I clean out the refrigerator and try to cobble together whatever I can.

It’s actually somewhat surprising how far this can go. I once thought I had nothing to eat and then ate for a week with what I had on hand. Like my dad once said about gasoline, “It’s amazing how far you can go if you just keep driving.” He also runs out of gasoline about twice a year, so there’s that.

strawberry lemon granita
At any rate, during my last refrigerator dive I found some strawberries and lemons that had seen better days, so I turned what was originally a strawberry orange granita into a strawberry lemon granita.

In addition to my first granita, this is also the first time I used an essential oil in a recipe. A friend of mine is a big advocate, but when it comes to herbal oils like basil and cilantro and oregano, I’ve always gravitated toward fresh herbs.

I do enjoy my citrus oils though, and I think about these energy-bite-like treats with almond butter, orange essential oil, dried cranberries, and shredded coconut that my sister once made quite often. Do any of you cook with essential oils?

strawberry lemon granita
Overall, I was happy with the granita. When I make something born more out of necessity than desire, I often have low expectations, but I liked this frozen treat. The flavor was impressive, and I’ve found myself using spoonfuls of it to flavor drinks from sparkling water to a light witbier.

The recipe does not take a lot of time to pull together, but it does take some time to see to fruition, so you will likely want to save this for a day when you plan to spend some time in the kitchen or around the house. Plan for raking the icy crystals every 30 minutes or so for about three hours until it’s ready to serve, then enjoy!

strawberry lemon granita

Strawberry Lemon Granita
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
  2. Warm the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. When the simple syrup has cooled, pour it into a blender with the lemon juice, lemon essential oil, and hulled and sliced strawberries.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 pan (you can use a baking dish or a rimmed baking sheet) and freeze for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the freezer, rake the mixture with a fork, and then return the pan to the freezer.
  6. Repeat this freeze for 30 minutes, rake, and refreeze cycle for about 3 hours until the granita is frozen into flaky crystals.
  7. Cover and freeze for up to three days before serving. Give the granita a final rake before serving if not enjoying immediately.
Notes
You can substitute ¼ cup orange juice and 4 drops of orange essential oil for the lemon juice and lemon essential oil. If you do not have essential oils on hand, you can substitute flavor extracts. However, oils are much more powerful than extracts, so you will want to use more than three drops of extract to get a good amount of flavor.

If you do not have a blender, you can puree the strawberries in a food processor, then stir the puree together with the liquids in a separate bowl.

Each time you rake the granita, smooth it back out into a flat layer. You do not what to end up with a pile of granita in the center of your dish.