Dinner guests who visit the house often have some form of dietary restriction: carb-, gluten-, grain-, or sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, flextarian, only white-meat chicken-eater, allergies (shellfish, nuts, dairy), etc. You know what I'm talking about. I understand. Am a selective eater myself. [Ed. note: Run away run away run away do not comment I want to live...]
However, this summer has been about streamlining, making things as easy as possible. This dinner is the perfect solution. Have to give props to the BF, who suggested that kebabs would be a good accompaniment. [Ed. note: I can't help myself. I like good food, ok?]
This is especially effective for a dinner-party menu. Serve your favorite hummus for appetizers, follow up with two entrees: Roasted Harissa Spiced Ratatouille and Chicken Kebabs. The ratatouille will satiate the vegan guest and be a nice side dish for the carnivores. FYI, this dish is gluten free, grain free, Paleo and vegan.
Have been on a harissa kick lately, adding it to shrimp skewers, lamb patties, and roasted Japanese eggplant. Harissa is a spicy aromatic North African chili paste made out of hot chili peppers (which are often smoked), roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. It comes in sauce form or paste, as you can see in photo below. I used a mild harissa sauce for this dish, but next time might opt for the paste, which is spicier and more concentrated.
Adapted from: Gourmande in the Kitchen
Number of servings: 4-6
Give me nothing but eggplants and tomatoes until summer ends! This meal embodies everything I love about summer produce. Minimal prep and cooking, with exploding flavors. The BF loved it with saffron rice as a complimentary side dish.
Today, we honor both our mom's birthdays (his was the 3rd, mine the 4th), and this weekend we celebrate Marlowe's recovery from cancer surgery. Life is good.
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of Servings: 2-3
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
"You say tomato, I say tomahto."
September is one of those in-between cooking months. Summer is over, but it’s still hot out and the Farmers Market bins are overflowing with juicy, ripe tomatoes in myriad of colors. Autumn root vegetables have made an appearance, and I can't wait to leap into fall, but I promised my BF I would not start decorating or making anything pumpkin-related until Oct 1. [Ed. Note: It would be "All Halloween All The Time" in this house, if she could get away with it.]
This tart is a perfect end of summer meal—lunch, brunch, dinner or an even better appetizer. It's also a great way to use up all your ripe garden tomatoes in a quick and non-fussy fashion. And on muggy odd-weather weeks like we've experienced recently in the bay area (triple-digit heat followed by monsoon rain and lightning), lets be real, I don't want to bake when it's a bajillion degrees.
I have made this tart every September for the last decade with various crusts, i.e., one sheet of defrosted puff pastry, homemade rye, buckwheat, or polenta tart crust, as well as whole wheat pizza dough. This time I made it with Vicolo cornmeal pizza crust (see picture below). This is not a sponsored post, but these ready-made crusts are a godsend: freshly made, organic, all natural, no preservatives, and there are even gluten-free options. They come pre-packaged in the refrigerated section of your grocery store (Safeway, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc.), and if you like the taste and texture of cornmeal, you won't be disappointed.
If you can't find Vicolo in your grocery store, you can substitute with one sheet of defrosted puff pastry, rolled out to a 9x13 rectangle and placed on a baking sheet. Follow the baking instructions on the box and let it cool completely, then follow the rest of my instructions for the filling and assembly.
Number of Servings: Approx 2-3 (per one 8-inch tart).
Note: Ingredient list below is for one 8-inch tart, and Vicolo crusts come in packages of two. So if you want to make both you will need to double the filling amounts below.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.