Peperonata (page 20) from July 2015
I love peperonata, the Italian dish of stewed vegetables starring sweet bell peppers highlighted by tomatoes, onions and garlic. Cooked slowly until the ingredients are silky in texture and the flavours are perfectly melded, it's lovely as a side dish but seeing the photo of chachouka in the book, I couldn't resist baking it with eggs and serving it as a main. And for daughter who won't eat baked eggs, it was the topping of a flatbread pizza. A delicious version of the classic.
Belgian Endive (Radicchio), Pears, and Salty-Sweet Roasted Almonds (page 118) from November 2014
This salad was a fine marriage of salty, sweet and bitter flavours, and crisp and crunchy textures. Andrea, the lovely founder of this group, encouraged us to use whatever produce was in season in our area of the world so Belgian endive was replaced with the last of the summer radicchio and combined with the first Bartlett pears of the season. This made a delicious starter that perked up the taste buds but my advice is to make double the almonds because they're sooo good, half of them won't make it into the salad!
Tomato, Rosemary, and Pecorino Tart (page 216) from July 2014
I'd intended to make the tomato, thyme and goat's cheese tart only to discover I was out of goat's cheese. Instead I made this variation.
Tomatoes at their peak really don't need anything to make them shine and this minimalist tart respected that, using small amounts of select ingredients that drew attention to the fruit. With a crisp puff pastry base, a little garlic, rosemary and sprinkling of sharp cheese, this was easy to make and enjoy.
Beet "Pizza" with Cheddar (page 180) from January 2015
With a half package of puff pastry remaining from the tomato tart, and this pizza recipe at the top of my "to-make" list since it was first chosen last January, this tart became my take on it. The combination of beets and goat's cheese is a classic but I found that the salty and tangy sharp cheddar was just as good a foil for the sweet vegetable and fried onions. There was mozzarella on there as well, cheese that should have been added part-way through baking rather than at the start since it over-browned (and could actually have been omitted since it didn't add much). Delicious nonetheless! An excellent topping for either a tart or a pizza.
Quinoa with Zucchini and Onions (page 279) from May 2014
I am not a fan of quinoa. It really doesn't have any interesting flavour or texture to commend it, but it's an easy way to add a complete protein to a meatless dish, something I always consider when cooking for my vegetarian daughter. So I'm always on the lookout for delicious recipes that feature this seed.
Unfortunately, this wasn't one. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I changed the recipe - isn't it annoying when someone changes a recipe and then complains that it didn't turn out well? ;)
With three onions for four servings, this was an onion lover's dish. I am not an onion lover. I used only one but grilled the zucchini for added flavour. It didn't work. The dish was quite bland with the topping of toasted almonds and drizzle of lemon juice its saving grace. Daughter's suggestions for improvement included garlic and some hot chile peppers, both of which would add much needed flavour. But do try it yourself....it's probably delicious made as written.
Next month, we'll be cooking up new recipes from this wonderful cookbook focusing on fall vegetables. In the meantime, visit here to see what the other members chose to make this month.