Late Summer Oven Ratatouille

Though the actual assemblage of this dish is more akin to a tian, it delivers a pretty presentation and tastes great, too. Like most amazing things, it is excellent the next day, too. I’ve included photographs inside the recipe for putting it together. If this makes it difficult to print, let me know, and I’ll adjust it.

rataouille close

Late Summer Oven Ratatouille

For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic
7 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

For the rest:
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick (try to find one with a smaller diameter)
1 yellow zucchini/summer squash, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 green zucchini, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 red onion, sliced 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 to 2 red peppers, cored and sliced in rings 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Additional sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 9-inch square baking dish.

Put the garlic in the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the Roma tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pulse until combined and almost pureed. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve and drain the excess water.

Pour the tomato mixture in the bottom of the dish. Line the eggplant, yellow and green, zucchini, onion, and red pepper upright in a pattern, starting around the perimeter of the dish and working your way to the centre.

rataouille first step

Brush with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

rataouille second step

Cover the vegetables, loosely tucking into the inside of the dish with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until vegetables are softened but not mushy. Uncover and let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

rataouille baked

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Curried Zucchini and Kale Soup

Make this simple soup a full meal by adding 2 cups of chickpeas, and leave it in a chunky purée instead of completely smooth. You can serve this cold or warm. Initially, I wrote the recipe as a cold soup… but I like it warm and cozy with some crusty bread.

kale-zucchini-soup

Curried Zucchini and Kale Soup

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or Himalayan salt
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth (you can also use water, although you may want to increase the spices)
3 cups packed, chopped kale
2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (in the can, not coconut beverage)
Zest of one lime
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Lime, for garnish
Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and ginger, and continue to heat for an additional one to two minutes, until fragrant. Add the zucchini, and stir until coated with spices, then top with vegetable broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, letting cook until the zucchini is tender, about 12 minutes.

Once the zucchini is tender, add the kale, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until wilted. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, whizz until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool slightly and purée in batches in a blender or food processor.

Once smooth, add the coconut milk and lime juice, adding salt and pepper to taste. Let come to room temperature and then place in fridge to chill before serving. Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro, if desired.

Ricotta, Tomato, and Basil Tart

A regular rotation in my August/tomato menu, this savoury pastry is lovely alongside a simple soup and salad, making for a filling meal with little effort.

tart

Ricotta Tomato and Basil Tart

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cold water

For the ricotta:
1 (350 g) package firm tofu, squeezed of excess moisture
Juice from half a lemon
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the topping:
3 to 5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 handful fresh basil, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside. To begin with the crust, whisk together the sorghum flour, arrowroot flour, quinoa flour, xanthan gum, salt and Italian seasoning. Add the olive oil and stir to blend. Slowly add the cold water, mixing in just enough to create a soft dough.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead about three times for it to come together. Do not overwork the dough — it will become tough. Roll dough into a circle two to three inches larger than your tart pan. Carefully fold the dough over your rolling pin and place it in the centre of your pan then use your fingers to gently press the dough into the crevasses and up the sides of your pan. Trim the edges and patch if necessary. Set aside.

For the filling, place the tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning and garlic in the food processor, and pulse until crumbled. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and adjust seasonings if desired. Spread tofu filling into prepared tart pan, filling it about 2/3 of the way from the top. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have some left over.

Starting from the outer edges, lay the tomatoes on the ricotta filling, overlapping as you work your way around, until the top is covered. Tuck in the red onions randomly. In a small container, mix together the olive oil and agave nectar, and brush tomatoes with the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is browned and the tomatoes and onions are cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve at room temperature.