Tomato Tartlets

Colorful, summery and perfect when you need a little bite.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 C grated Fontina or Swiss cheese (2-3ounces)

3 medium tomatoes, cut into twelve ¼- inch slices

Extra virgin olive oil for brushing

Ground pepper

1/3 C small basil leaves left whole or large and thin sliced

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin and roll out the puff pastry to 14×16-inch rectangle. With a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. With a fork, prick each round all over. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese on each, leaving a small border, and top with one tomato slice; brush with oil, season with pepper.

Bake until pastry is deep golden at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely before garnishing with basil. Makes 12.


Peach and Tomato Salad

2 C tomatoes, cubed or halved multicolored cherry tomatoes

1/8 t sea salt

2 C peaches or nectarines, cubed

1 ½ T olive oil

2 t apple cider vinegar

Pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 T fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Combine the tomatoes and salt in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add the fresh peaches, olive oil, vinegar, hot pepper flakes and mint. Toss gently. Top with goat cheese and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serves 3-4.


Fiesta Green Bean Salad

1lb fresh green beans, strings removed, ends snapped off, cut into about 1½-inch length pieces

¼ C red onion, finely chopped

2 T fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)

2 T olive oil

½ t sea salt

1 t dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano

¾ C packed, chopped cilantro

1 jalapeno, minced, or 1/3 C pickled jalapeño chili peppers, sliced (optional)

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges, or a cup of halved cherry tomatoes

¾ cup cooked corn kernels, from one large ear

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 ripe avocado, sliced or cut into chunks

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until just crisp tender, 7 minutes. Drain the beans and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. Drain completely; pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a large serving bowl.

In a mini-food processor or in a jar, combine lime juice, olive oil, 1/4 cup onion, sliced pickled jalapeños, sea salt, oregano and cilantro. Process until well mixed, then pour over beans and toss; refrigerate about half an hour. When ready to serve, mix in the chopped red onion, tomatoes, corn and feta. Carefully fold in the avocado chunks. Serves 6.


Cool as a Cucumber Chilled Soup

Quick to prepare and ever so cooling in the hot weather, this chilled soup belongs in every refrigerator. If you prefer a soup with more texture, don’t blend it as long. Using unpeeled cucumbers will give the soup a beautiful light green color.

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced (leave unpeeled if using English/burpless/seedless)

¼ C plain yogurt- whole milk, low-fat or Greek

½ C buttermilk – whole milk or low-fat

1 T shallot, minced

1 t garlic, minced

1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 t maple syrup

½  t ground cumin, cardamom or coriander

¼ t cayenne pepper (optional)

1 T fresh dill

Chopped fresh dill or chives – for garnish

Lay the cucumber slices on a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towel. Salt the cucumbers and let them “sweat” for 20 minutes to let them release moisture.

In a blender or food processor, process all the ingredients until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper. Chill at least one hour or overnight. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs. Serves 3-4.


Eggplant Gratin with Sweet Onions and Feta

1½ lbs. eggplant

¼ – ½ C olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced in half-moons (about 2 cups)

12-16oz. prepared Marinara or Arrabiata (spicy) pasta sauce

6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

¼ C grated Parmesan

Slice the onion into half moons, then heat a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion slices. Add a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally until browned and caramelized, while you prepare the eggplant.

Rinse and pat dry the eggplant, trim the ends and do not peel. Cut the eggplant in half crosswise, then cut each half into 6 or 8 (1½–inch) wedges.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant wedges, a few at a time without crowding. Sauté on all three sides until lightly browned, adding small amounts of olive oil as necessary.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the eggplant wedges in one layer. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with about 1 cup of the pasta sauce – enough to lightly cover the dish. Transfer wedges to the baking dish and line them against each other in two rows. If necessary, pack the wedges tightly to avoid creating a second layer.

Distribute onion slices evenly over the eggplant. Cover with one more cup of sauce, leaving most of the eggplant exposed, but do not completely immerse in sauce. Top with crumbled feta and sprinkle with Parmesan, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes; uncover and bake another 10-20 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.