Monthly Archives: August 2018

Zucchini, Sun-Dried Tomato and Cheese Tart

I have been fortunate to have been gifted with zucchini and tomatoes this summer.  But it seems like that is never enough fresh veggies.  I still visit my local Farmers Market for more delicious fruits and produce found there.

We all know summer will be over sooner rather than later.  I do love the butterflies that find the flowers in my yard.  Here is a butterfly still enjoying the purple cone flowers in my back yard.

The last time I went to my local Farmers Market, it had the most beautiful selections of produce and fruit.  It was really busy and I couldn’t take any pictures.  So, I am sharing a gorgeous picture that Fulton Street Farmers Market posted on their Facebook page.  I don’t think they will mind.

Zucchini is one of my favorite summer vegetables and I like to cook it different ways.  One of my favorite recipes is the classic Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie that won the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1980.  This recipe sort of reminds me of that classic.  Instead of using crescent dough, this tart is light and crispy from using puff pastry.  It has the creaminess from the mozzarella and feta cheeses.  This tart is great as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Zucchini, Sun-Dried Tomato and Cheese Tart

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 puff pastry sheet, thawed if frozen

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese   (4 ounces)
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 in rounds (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 by 9  inch loose bottom round tart pan.  Cut off any excess dough from the sides of the pan.  Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent it from puffing.

Layer the mozzarella cheese, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, sliced onions, and chopped sun dried tomatoes over the puff pastry in the pan.  Arrange the zucchini in concentric circles on top of the cheese mixture.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs, heavy cream, basil, oregano, salt and black pepper with a fork or whisk.  There should be about a cup full.  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.  Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until custard is set and lightly brown.  Let the tart cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note:
A 9 inch deep dish pie crust can be used instead of the puff pastry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Tomato Soup

Next to strawberries, fresh tomatoes are my favorite produce of the summer’s bounty.  From a simple tomato sandwich on very soft white bread to a fabulous tart on puff pastry, you have a lot of delicious food options for the humble tomato.  To me, tomato soup is a perfect comfort food and made even better with the addition of a grilled cheese sandwich.

I hope you have been enjoying all of the good summer produce.  I have visited the Farmers Market several times and been gifted with produce from friends with home gardens.  Here are some lovely tomatoes and zucchini a friend gave to me today.

I make tomato soup quite often.  If I make it when fresh tomatoes are not available, I use a good canned tomato product.  I have already posted a favorite recipe for Cream of Tomato Soup using fresh tomatoes.

However, I noticed that a lot of food bloggers and cookbook authors were roasting the tomatoes prior to making the soup.  I wanted to give that a try.  I can confirm that roasting the tomatoes does intensify the flavor and sweetness of them.

Here are the tomatoes I used for this recipe.  They were a larger size but perfectly fine for this recipe.

Recipe inspired by Roasted Tomato Soup from Tyler Florence.

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
basil for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and dry the tomatoes.  If desired, peel them.  Cut the tomatoes in half or in quarters (depending on size).  Place the tomatoes and onions on a large baking tray.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes soften and start to caramelize.

Remove the roasted tomatoes and onion from the oven and transfer to a large dutch oven or pot.  Add the chicken or vegetable broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until soup thickens slightly.  Remove from the heat and stir in the basil leaves.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until desired smoothness.  Add the butter and heavy cream.  Serve warm, garnished with basil leaves.

 

 

 

 

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Jiffy Corn Casserole

I only discovered this recipe for Jiffy Corn Casserole about 5 years ago.  A friend gave me the recipe, and I have been making it since then for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners.  It may be my favorite comfort food now.

There are several different versions of the recipe.  Some recipes do not have eggs or the cheese in them.  I think that this version that includes both eggs and cheese is perfect.

The recipe uses a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix which can be used to make muffins as well as other recipes such as the corn casserole in this post.  The muffin mix is widely available in most USA grocery stores and also from Walmart.

I didn’t know this till researching this post but Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix is made by a Michigan Company.  The Jiffy Mix brand is a product of the Chelsea Milling Company located in Chelsea, Michigan.  The mill was established in 1901.  The Jiffy Mix product was first marketed in 1930.  Some of the other products made by Jiffy Mix include muffin, cake, fudge and pie crust mixes.

The Chelsea Milling Company is about a two hour drive from Grand Rapids by way of I96 East.  They do offer tours of the Jiffy Mix plant.  I need to remember that this summer for a day trip.  It should be an interesting tour.

This Jiffy Corn Casserole is delicious, easy, and makes a perfect side dish for your holiday dinner.

Jiffy Corn Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 – 14.75 ounce can cream style corn
1 – 15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 – 8.5 ounce package Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease or spray with non-stick spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream style corn, whole kernel corn, eggs, sour cream, muffin mix, melted butter, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Pour into the prepared casserole dish.  Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50  minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.  Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes longer or until the center is firm.

Notes:
1.  The recipe is titled Spoon Bread Casserole on Jiffy’s website.  It doesn’t include cheese and uses smaller cans of corn.
2.  This is a very easy recipe as you simply combine the ingredients and bake.