Monday, August 8, 2016

Taste Summer with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Tomato Zucchini Tart/Quiche
Cook's notes: This recipe was supposed to be a tart, but I did not have the right pan at the lake so it became a quiche. It is a good way to make use of fresh basil and tomatoes.

  • pie crust
  • 2-3 sliced tomatoes (patted dry on a paper towel)
  • zucchini slices
  • fresh basil
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian herbs 
  • 3/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese 
  • 5 strips of bacon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Roll out pie crust and place in pan, flute edges 
  • Blind bake: cover pie crust with 2 pieces of foil make sure foil is smoothed out to corners.

  • Bake for 15 minutes..
  • In a pan fry bacon and chopped onion together, drain on a paper towel.
  • In a blender add dry mustard, whip cream, half and half, eggs and herbs. Mix well.
  • Remove foil from tart pan/quiche pan. Add bacon, onion, grated cheeses on bottom of pie crust. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. 
  • Pour cream mixture from blender over bacon onion mixture. 
  • Add tomatoes and zucchini slices with chopped basil on top.
  • Using foil from blind bake tear long strips and place around outside edge of pan to prevent browning. 
  • Grate Parmesan cheese on top and bake 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in center and should come out clean.

Basil is one of the great culinary herbs. Many Italian recipes contain basil. It has been grown for many thousands of years all over the tropical zones.
Basil was first mentioned in English writing in the mid-seventeenth century and in American literature about 100 years later. Basil is considered sacred in the Hindu cultures, believed by many to be a favorite of their gods. In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples.
If you have a bumper crop of basil make pesto. 
Cook's notes: Rain and warm weather has provided just the right conditions for my basil plants to grow. This pesto recipe was quite easy to put together. Any extra can be refrigerated in a screw type jar up to one week.
Homemade Pesto
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or lemon olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional but recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Blend the basil, pine nuts, cheese, and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Pour oil in slowly while still mixing (or a little at a time, then mix, then more oil, then mix again, etc). Scrape down the sides, then add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until everything is blended together and relatively smooth. Taste and add more salt/pepper if desired.
  • Make ahead/storing: Store leftover pesto in a jar, tightly seal, and refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze the pesto for up to 2-3 months. You can freeze it in greased ice cube trays and thaw small portions at a time.
Cooking Tips:
Instead of basil, try other greens like spinach or arugula.
Instead of pine nuts, I love using walnuts. You can also try pecans, pistachios, or almonds. For a nut-free pesto, try edamame, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Other tasty pesto variations: try adding your favorite herbs like cilantro, mint, or parsley. Add your favorite spices like cayenne, ground ginger, or paprika. Or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for both of these recipes, and especially noting the substitutes.