Ratatouille Tart

As you may have seen yesterday on our Instagram, we harvested our garden veggies before the snow came in Colorado and wanted a dish that we could really use up a good bulk of our produce. This Ratatouille Tart is gorgeous, garden veggie heaven. It comes together by slicing zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant and layering them in a pie shell. If you want this dish to be a visual stunner, spend the time to alternate all of the vegetables as you layer them into the pie crust. Don’t make this for dinner on a weeknight when everyone is already starving. We have saved some time by purchasing a pre-made pie crust and marinara sauce, but if you really want to over-achieve, go ahead either from scratch, as well! 

Ratatouille Tart 
Makes: 1 pie; 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes        Total Time: 3 hours 

Ingredients for the Tart: 

  • 1- whole wheat pie shell, thawed if frozen (we love the Whole Foods frozen version!) 
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup marinara sauce 
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1/2 of 1 large eggplant 
  • salt 

Ingredients for the Herb Oil: 

  • 2/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes 
  • 1 large clove garlic, mined 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Thinly slice the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. You want the eggplant to be roughly the same size as the squashes, so depending on the size, you may want to cut it into quarters lengthwise before slicing. Lay all of the sliced vegetables onto kitchen towels. Season well on both sides with salt and let the vegetables sit for 30 minutes to purge most of their liquid. You will be rinsing the vegetables later, so really season them well to make sure enough liquid gets removed during this stage. 
  3. While the vegetables are purging, par-bake the crust. Use a fork to poke the bottom layer of the pie crust. Layer with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Par-baking the crust and using a layer of Parmesan helps keep the pie bottom from becoming soggy later on. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside until it is back to room temperature. 
  4. While the pie crust is in the oven, reduce the marinara sauce. Heat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the marinara sauce to the pot and let it simmer and reduce. You want to reduce it by about 25%, so that it is thicker and more of a tomato paste than a tomato sauce. When it has reduced accordingly, remove from the heat. 
  5. The final step before assembling the tart is to make the herb oil. Combine the herb oil ingredients (olive oil – salt) in a small mixing bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use. 
  6. We are finally ready to assemble the tart! Put all of the vegetables into a colander and rinse well with water to get rid of the excess salt. Pat the vegetables dry with a kitchen towel. 
  7. Add the marinara sauce to the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer. 
  8. Starting with the outside edge, layer the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash in alternating patterns around the outside of the pie crust. To give the tart a nice visual texture, try to layer the vegetables as vertically as possible. Continue to layer the vegetables in the tart shell until it is completely full to the center. 
  9. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the vegetables with the herb oil. Be generous with this, but you might have some oil leftover. 
  10. Use thin strips of foil to cover the outside edges of the pie crust. You want to make sure you take the time to do this well before the tart goes in the oven so that the crust does not burn. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. The tart is done with the vegetables are cooked through and fork-tender. 
  11. Remove the tart from the oven and finish by topping with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Let it sit and rest for about 10 minutes (you can lightly cover with foil) before slicing. 

15 Recipes For Your Labor Day Cookout

The unofficial “end of summer” is approaching and we are using Labor Day as an excuse to cook on the barbecue and celebrate. In honor of Labor Day, we have compiled some of our favorite recipes to create the ultimate summer sendoff. We have a little bit of everything, most of which can be prepped ahead of time, so that you can spend your holiday in the backyard enjoying the weather. 

  1. Strawberry Lemon Rose Sangria 
  2. Cucumber Lemonade Gin Fizz
  3. Classic Guacamole 
  4. Kale & Artichoke Dip 
  5. Spicy Turkey Burgers 
  6. Juicy Lucy Burgers 
  7. Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork 
  8. Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri 
  9. Summer Pesto Pasta Salad
  10. Spicy Watermelon Salad
  11. Hatch Chili Mac 
  12. Elote (Grilled Street Corn)  
  13. Farmers’ Market Brown Butter Orzo 
  14. Everything Bagel Coleslaw
  15. Summer Berry Trifle 

Eggplant Caprese Salad

It has been a labor of love, but we are finally getting eggplant to grow in our garden! We love to cook this seasonal veggie by lightly seasoning it and grilling it. This version of eggplant is served in a caprese salad and pairs perfectly with the tomato and mozzarella cheese. This is an easy and delicious way to mix up a classic and makes for a hearty salad recipe. You can serve for the salad for lunch, as an appetizer, or a side dish for an Italian-inspired dinner. 

Eggplant Caprese Salad
Makes: 8 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients For The Salad:

  • 1 eggplant slices in 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes cut in 1/4 inch rounds 
  • 1 log of fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • basil
  • salt 

Ingredients For The Dressing:

  • 1/2 balsamic vinaigrette 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper 

Directions 

  1. After slicing the eggplant, sprinkle salt on both sides of the pieces and set on paper towel for 15 minutes. This will help remove some of the excess moisture from the eggplant before you grill. 
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, about 450 degrees. 
  3. Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the eggplant and grill the slices on high for 2-3 minutes on each side so that the pieces are lightly charred and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  5. Assemble the caprese by layering the eggplant, tomato and mozzarella across a long serving dish. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with fresh basil. Serve immediately. 

Tomato, Proscuitto, & Ricotta Bruschetta

A few months back we posted a recipe for how to make tomato confit, and we have been making it regularly ever since. The tomatoes can last up to four weeks in the refrigerator – just make sure they are completely cooled before they are sealed into a container. The tomatoes can also be frozen and used in recipes like our Angel Hair with Burrata & Tomatoes. We love to mix and match how we use them, and for this rendition we are using them as a bruschetta condiment. We love the combination of the sweet and herby tomatoes, the salty prosciutto, and the creamy whipped ricotta. You can serve this as an appetizer on baguette – we like to have everything separate on a board and let people assemble themselves- or use larger slices of bread for brunch or a light dinner. 

Tomato, Prosciutto, & Ricotta Bruschetta 
Makes: 16 appetizer pieces 
Prep Time: 1 hour if preparing the tomato confit    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 recipe for tomato confit (you want to use 1 1/2 lbs of tomatoes)
  • 1 baguette, sliced on a bias into 16 slices 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (approx. 16 oz) 
  • 1/2 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1 container of basil leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped 
  • balsamic glaze, for garnish 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the tomato confit as instructed in the link above. Set aside and let the tomatoes cool to room temperature. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  3. Slice the baguette and drizzle the olive oil over top of the slices. Toss to coat on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until they are crispy. 
  4. Use a hand mixer to whip the ricotta on medium-high speed for at least two full minutes. You can use a whisk for this and do it by hand if you want a workout, but it will take a few more minutes. The ricotta should be light and fluffy and a visibly different texture than it was in the container. 
  5. Assemble the bruschetta by layering a spoonful of ricotta onto the bottom of the toast. Top with 2-3 tomatoes, a few pieces of prosciutto, and basil. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze and serve immediately. 

Summer Crab Leg Boil

Every June Tate’s mom celebrates her birthday with a crab boil. It is a special treat that we have started looking forward to every summer. Over the years we have started perfecting the art of the crab boil and now just mix and match fun accompaniments to the meal to change it up every year. King crab legs are usually purchased pre-cooked and all you need to do is reheat them to serve. We choose to reheat them by steaming them in our giant turkey fryer pot, and boil any other side dishes underneath in a traditional seafood boil. We buy our crab legs at Costco; we have found they have the most reasonable prices and they can usually be found in the freezer section if they are not having their holiday seafood sale.

Tips For Measuring the Correct Amount of Water For the Seafood Boil: 

  • To determine how much water you’ll need for steaming crab legs, you’ll want to visually measure out enough water to cover your side dish ingredients, including sausage, potatoes, and corn. Shrimp, clams, and mussels can be steamed on top of the other ingredients with the crab legs so they don’t factor into the water measurement. 
  • If you are paranoid about not having enough water you can put the raw potatoes, corn, and sausage into the pot, add the beer, and add enough water to cover the ingredients. Remove the ingredients back out before seasoning the water and cooking. 
  • If your pot isn’t quite tall enough you can use foil over the top to tent the crab legs as a lid to keep the steam in. 

Summer Crab Leg Boil 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients For The Water: 

  • 4 cups (+/-) water
  • 1 summer beer (shandy or pilsner are good choices) 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 lemons, cut in half 
  • 3 tbs Old Bay seasoning 
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves 

Ingredients For the Seafood Boil: 

  • 4-6 king crab legs (thawed if purchased frozen)
  • 2 lbs kielbasa
  • 2 lbs other seafood (shrimp, clams, or mussels) 
  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 2 lbs baby potatoes
  • 1 stick salted butter for dipping, melted 

Directions: 

  1. Measure out the correct amount of water so that the combination of the water and beer will be enough to submerge any of your chosen side dish ingredients (sausage, potatoes, and corn). Add the beer, bay leaves, Old Bay Seasoning, and garlic to the pot. Squeeze each of the lemon halves and add them as well. You can taste the water if you want at this point- it won’t taste particularly good but it should taste very flavorful. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon or two of Old Bay seasoning. 
  2. If you are using potatoes or sausage, put them into the water in the pot. Heat the pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat just a touch so that the water is at a steady simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes. 
  3. While the pot is heating and doing the first cook, make sure any seafood you are using is clean. Peel and devein the shrimp (the tails can be left on) and soak any clams or mussels in ice water. They will release a bit of sand that you don’t want going into the boiling water. 
  4. After 20 minutes remove the lid and add the corn to the pot. Strain any seafood from the soaking water and add the seafood on top of the corn in an even layer.  Add the crab legs thick side down, bending the crab legs as necessary to get them in the pot. Cover the pot and cook the seafood another 15-20 minutes. You will know the boil is done when the shrimp are cooked through, potatoes are fork tender, the crab legs are hot, and any clams and mussels have opened. 
  5. Carefully remove the ingredients from the water with a strainer, getting rid of as much water as possible before placing onto a platter. Serve the seafood boil immediately with lots of melted butter for dipping! 

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

We love serving pasta salad as a side dish for a cookout or barbecue. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from, but we tend to go with a veggie filled pesto version as we head into the heart of summer. Pasta salads can often time be filled with mayo which makes it a very bulky side dish. This version is made with quinoa pasta, pesto, and tons of veggies like zucchini and roasted tomatoes. It is filling, yet healthy, and goes with just about everything. We prefer to serve this pasta salad warm or room temperature; if you want to serve it chilled make sure you mix it well and season again with salt and pepper, as chilled foods tend to taste less seasoned than hot foods.

Summer Pasta Salad
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fusilli pasta (we used a quinoa based)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and diced
  • 2 yellow squash, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1/3 cup grated or crumbled Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 12 minutes to al dente. Reserve 3/4 – 1 cup of pasta water before straining the pasta into a sink.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes or until the garlic is starting to brown. Add the zucchini to the pan and saute for another 4-5 minutes, or until the zucchini also starts to brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the zucchini from the pan and add the tomatoes. Cook just a few minutes- you don’t want the tomatoes to turn into a sauce- you just want them to brown up.
  3. Put the pesto in a large serving bowl. Add the hot pasta and stir everything well, adding pasta water as necessary so that everything is nicely coated and not sticky. Add the zucchini and tomatoes to the pasta and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Burrata

Summer squash season is quickly approaching and we couldn’t be more excited! We love to use zucchini and yellow squash all summer, particularly prepared raw as a nice change from all of the hearty squash dishes we eat. This recipe calls for the squash to be shaved- which we do by rotating the squash around with a vegetable peeler. We love the resulting ribbony texture which makes it feel like we are eating a hearty pasta salad as opposed to a vegetable dish. To finish, we added fresh burrata, Parmesan cheese, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. This is a dish we will eat on repeat all summer long- it goes with just about everything!

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Burrata

Makes: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 yellow summer squash
  • 4 cups+ arugula
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package burrata, drained
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbs olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper- set aside.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini and yellow squash into ribbons. As you get toward the seeded center the ribbons will start to fall apart. Stop at this point and save the remaining part of each squash for a soup or stir-fry. Keep only the ribbons.
  3. Lay the arugula onto a large serving platter. Drizzle with 2/3 of the dressing and give it a good toss. Add the ribbons on top of the arugula and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
  4. Make sure the burrata is well drained and add it to the top of the ribbons. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tbs olive oil. Top with the Parmesan cheese and season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Lemon Raspberry Fizz

While we love a good afternoon happy hour beverage, we are admittedly not the best when it comes to making cocktails. We usually stick to our rotation of wines and beers and call it a day. We had some extra fruit laying around and decided to play bartender and mix ourselves a grown up cocktail. This cocktail has cooked raspberry syrup and is balanced it out with a zing of lemon for a refreshing afternoon treat.

Lemon Raspberry Fizz

Makes: 2 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbs sugar, separated
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup club soda

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pot over medium heat. Add the raspberries, water, and 1 tbs sugar to the pot. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the raspberries are starting to break down- about 4 minutes. Use a fork or rubber spatula to break the raspberries apart so that the juices mix. Remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Pour 1 tbs of sugar onto a flat plate. Dip each of the serving glass rims in water and then onto the plate to coat the rims in sugar.
  3. Add a few ice cubes to each glass. Strain the raspberry mix through a sieve or mesh slotted spoon to remove any seeds. Divide the raspberry juice between the two glasses.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to peel a few slices of zest and put them into each glass. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from half into each glass.
  5. Add one shot of vodka (1.5 oz) to each glass. Top with club soda and serve immediately.

Spicy Watermelon Salad

We love the summertime and the food possibilities when we are in full blown fruit season. There is no better snack than a piece of watermelon or mango topped with a hearty pour of Tajin- a Mexican chili lime spice mix. You can find Tajin at most grocery stores and Trader Joe’s makes a comparable product as well. The heat from the chili powder, lime, and salt makes the fruit taste sweeter and come alive. We used that summer snack as inspiration to make this Spicy Watermelon Salad. It is a sweet and savory fruit salad that makes a great side dish for any summer party or your Memorial Day menu this weekend. 

Spicy Watermelon Salad 
Makes: 4 servings as a side dish 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients For the Salad: 

  • 1 mini watermelon (about 3 lbs before carving)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled 
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 

Ingredients For the Dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder depending on your crowd 
  • juice and zest of one lime  
  • 1 tbs honey 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Make the dressing for the salad. Whisk together the olive oil, chili powder, lime zest and juice, and honey in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  2. Carve the watermelon so that the watermelon is in large, bite-sized pieces. We have a quick tutorial for this on our Instagram highlights, linked here. Put the watermelon and sliced red onion in a large bowl and cover with the dressing. Gently toss to coat. The two ingredients can easily sit in the dressing for a bit to marinate if you need to make this dish in advance. Just drain some of the excess liquid before serving. 
  3. Finish the salad by layering the watermelon with red onion, queso fresco, and cilantro in a serving dish. Season to taste with salt, pepper, or additional lime before serving. 

Cucumber Lemonade Gin Fizz

We don’t know about you but some of these work from home, parent from home, dog sit from home, never leave your home days have us feeling drained. Instead of grabbing a glass of wine or a beer, we wanted to celebrate the sunshine with these Cucumber Lemonade Gin Fizz Cocktails. The cucumber and lemonade are super refreshing and easy to find at the grocery store these days. And for those of you expecting or who have little ones that want in on the happy hour, simply exclude the gin and you will still love the taste!

Cucumber Lemonade Gin Fizz 
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes    Total Time: 5 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 English cucumber 
  • 8 oz gin (we used Hendrick’s) 
  • 16 oz lemonade 
  • 16 oz club soda 
  • Ice 

Directions: 

  1. Cut the 8 thin slices of cucumber for garnish. Use a grater to grate the rest of the cucumber into a small mixing bowl. 
  2. Mix the cucumber pulp, gin, lemonade, and club soda in a large pitcher. Stir well to combine. 
  3. Fill 8 high ball glasses with ice. Add the gin fizz mix to each of the glasses. Serve immediately with a cucumber slice for garnish.