While this seasonal celebratory salad is certainly best enjoyed with the flavour and variety provided only by heirloom tomatoes, it can be enjoyed with more standard varieties as well. If an aged balsamic is beyond your pantry’s reach, try reducing an inexpensive balsamic in a pan until it reaches a consistency that coats a spoon.
Tart dough (recipe below)
1/4 cup (60 mL) basil puree (recipe below)
7 oz (200 g) Monforte Belle sheep’s milk cheese, or ch?e
1.5 lbs (680 g) selection of heirloom tomatoes
1/3 cup (80 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp (30 mL) 15-year-old balsamic, or similar
3/4 cup (180 mL) butter
1/3 cup (80 mL) sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) orange zest
1 cup (250 mL) flour
3/4 cup (180 mL) ground almonds
2/3 cup (160 mL) toasted panko crumbs (found in Asian markets)
Mix butter and sugar together. Add orange zest, flour, ground almonds, and panko crumbs to form dough. Mix, being careful not to overmix.
1 cup (250 mL) basil leaves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly cracked pepper
2 ice cubes
Add all ingredients together in a mini food processor and puree until smooth. The ice cubes will prevent the basil from turning grey in the process.
Roll tart dough into six 4-in (10-cm) balls. Work dough with fingers to create shells approximately 1/8-in (3 mm) thick and press into individual tart shells.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cover tarts with baking paper and beans and cook (“blind”) approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Let shells cool.
Mix basil puree with one 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the Belle cheese to create a spreadable mix.
Lightly coat base of shell with a little of the basil mixture.
In a bowl, season tomatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. (Note: To intensify flavours and vary textures, blister some of the smaller tomatoes in a hot pan using a little extra-virgin olive oil, and then season with fleur de sel and black pepper.)
Arrange blistered and raw tomatoes inside tart shells. Garnish with a “quenelle” of the Belle cheese. To form a quenelle, shape the cheese between two teaspoons to create an almond-shaped lozenge.
Place in the centre of the plate; spoon extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic around the tart.
Finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel as desired.
source: "Treadwell", alive #396, June 2007
These Asian-inspired salmon burgers won’t leave you missing the beef < or > the bun. And keep this fruity and fiery salsa in mind the next time you want to jazz up grilled chicken or taco night. Serrano pepper or chile de arbol would be good swaps for bird’s eye pepper in the salsa. You can even mix some Sriracha sauce into the burgers to further punch up the meal. Skin deep Skinless fish is the only way to go for burgers. A helpful fishmonger will kindly skin fillets for you before purchase. As an alternative to salmon, you can also blend up skinless fillets of arctic char or rainbow trout.
These whimsical weeknight quesadillas offer a great excuse to break out the long-forgotten waffle iron. The smoky, tangy pepper sauce is the perfect sidekick for this dish, but it’s also wonderful when tossed with pasta, stuffed into sandwiches, and slathered on burgers. TIP : When assembling quesadillas, keep fillings centred 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from the edge of the tortilla so they don’t spill over. TIP : Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Adobo is a slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple to add deep smoky heat to sauces, dips, marinades, and soups. No waffle iron? Then make these quesadillas using this skillet method. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, preferably cast iron, and cook over medium heat until dark spots appear and bottom is crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until crispy and darkened on the other side. Remove tortilla from skillet and replace with another tortilla. Cook until darkened and crispy on one side, flip, and top with stuffing ingredients. Place crispy tortilla on top, press down gently, cover pan, and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
This Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid dish gleans its tempered kick from parched ancho chilies, the dried form of poblano peppers known for their smoky quality and sweet to moderate heat. It’s a fantastic saucy, and comforting, appetizer or meal on its own. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the red sauce, or spoon over cooked grain. Chili choices Experiment with different dried Mexican chili peppers in your dishes. Instead of ancho, other options, each with different heat levels and flavour nuances, include pasilla, guajillo, or morita. Look for them in Latin markets and some supermarkets. For leftover lovers Because the flavours in this dish only deepen with resting time, it’s a definite candidate for serving as leftovers; simply reheat in the oven or microwave. Cheezy choices If possible, compare labels and look for lower-sodium feta options. A ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini are great alternatives, or try a block of medium-firm tofu and substitute agave syrup in place of the honey for a vegan-friendly dish.
A good option for both backyard barbecues and healthy snacking, this creamy dip benefits from a little spicy crunch, courtesy of quick-pickled peppers. If you want your dip to have a smoky edge, blend in a chipotle-flavoured salsa. Or forgo the salsa and, instead, blend in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a single canned chipotle chili pepper. Extras of the pickled peppers are an exciting topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. TIP : When using prepared chili pepper products such as bottled salsas, examine the ingredient list for items you really don’t want or need, namely sugar and high amounts of sodium.