Posts Tagged healthy meals

Farmers’ Market Cooking: Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart

Veg Tart 1

My recipe for health. For lunch.

Food Inc. must have gotten to me, because I actually made it down to the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. I decided to do a little experiment and see what it was like to do my weekly grocery shopping at the Farmers’ Market, rather than the Giant. Granted, there were a couple items that I couldn’t get there, like olive oil, savory thins (the world’s best cracker), and tupperware, but I scored some lovely produce and a beautiful hunk of goat cheese.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market 1

The Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market, on Saturday morning.

For my first foray into farmers’ market cooking, I decided to try one of The New York Times “Recipes for Health,” by Martha Rose Shulman. Last week focused on Mediterranean vegetable pies that were heavy on the vegetables, and light on the fat. Given that I had randomly picked up Swiss chard and zucchini with my farmers’ market haul, I decided to try the Provencal tart, which features both ingredients.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market 3

Zucchini (in the back), pre-tart.

I was intrigued with the yeasted bread crust that Shulman uses for the tart – I had never had a tart with a yeast crust before. The recipe calls for half whole wheat and half white flour, and uses olive oil for the fat. I loved making the crust, because there’s just something magical about yeast for me, and, as Shulman notes, it was incredibly easy to roll out. But after tasting the finished tart, I don’t know if I’m sold on yeast crusts, even they are better for me than the classic butter version. I didn’t roll out the dough thin enough, because it was definitely too bready and chewy on the sides. I also missed the crisp flakiness of the butter crust.

The filling was okay, although I wonder if it was the best use of my farmers’ market haul. The onions added a sweet flavor to the filling, which I’m not sure if I liked. I liked that I could really taste the chard and zucchini, and the thyme and garlic brought out their flavors. I substituted goat cheese (not the good stuff I got from the farmers’ market, but some left over from last week) for the Gruyere that the recipe originally calls for, but I couldn’t really taste it.

All in all, this tasted a little too much like a recipe for health for me, and the payoff wasn’t big enough given the substantial amount of work it took to make. But as vegetable-based dishes go it’s not bad, and I’m actually looking forward to having it for lunch this week. Maybe with a couple of tweaks (ditch the onion, up the cheese, maybe up the garlic). I’d even make it again.

Veg tart 3

This tart looks so . . . healthy . . .

You can find the crust recipe on The New York Times web site. The recipe for Provençal zucchini and swiss chard tart is here. If you want, you can substitute the goat cheese for Gruyere, like I did, although I might suggest that you up the cheese amount by 1/4 cup, no matter which type you use. I mean, it’s a recipe for health, but you only live once, right?


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Why Eggs Are The Perfect Weeknight Meal

Eggs in the Carton

Unassuming eggs are key to an easy and perfect weeknight supper

Eggs are not usually an item on our weekly dinner menu, but I was recently inspired by the New York Times series of “recipes for health” featuring egg dishes. After several weeks of doing a weekly egg dish, I don’t know why I didn’t start it sooner. Eggs are cheap, quick to prepare, filling without being heavy, and lend themselves to a variety of flavors. They are, in a nutshell, the perfect weeknight meal.

When I first started reading the series, I was especially struck by the frittata recipes. While the definitions of frittata vary, I have always understood it to be a type of omelet that is started on the stove, finished in the oven, and served in large, satisfying wedges.

I had seen countless frittatas cooked on the FoodNetwork, but I had never actually cooked one myself. But after looking up frittata recipes on Epicurious and seeing the alluring combination of ingredients—ricotta, parmesan, eggs, basil—I couldn’t resist. After I had cooked my first frittata, my second and third quickly followed. I was in frittata heaven.

Here is my variation on this fritatta recipe, which I found on Epicurious and was taken from True Tuscan. And by the way, I don’t make it with the high-quality ricotta cheese the recipe describes—I just make it with the ordinary stuff you buy at the grocery store. I like to serve it with a green salad and a fresh baguette.

Weeknight Frittata With Shallots, Mushrooms, and Basil

Weeknight Frittata With Shallots, Mushrooms, and Basil

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Restorative Salmon Salad

As some of you know, I just spent last week at a convention for work, living off hotel food and working twelve hours a day. As often happens at a convention, you sort of turn to food to manage the fact that you’re incredibly stressed out and exhausted—and my goodness if they don’t provide you with an abundance of things to eat, and eat, and eat. I knew it was bad when I had a huge plate of food for lunch on Friday, followed by dessert, followed by two enormous cookies for an afternoon “snack.”

Needless to say, when I finally got back to DC, I was ready to make a light, restorative, vegetable-filled dish that would make me feel like less of a human balloon. And after days of room service, I desperately wanted to make something on my own and get back into the kitchen. So I created this salad out of what we had in the fridge and a couple things I picked up at the grocery store (namely, the salmon and asparagus).

I chose the salmon and almonds for the salad because they’re both sources of good fat, and the mixture of vegetables is satisfying without being heavy. This sounds like a finicky recipe because you have to cook three separate elements (the asparagus, the corn, and the salmon), but I actually found it very east to cook, as each thing only takes a few minutes.

I offer up this recipe to anyone in need of a restorative meal. I only hope that you need recovery from something more fun that work-related travel.

Recipe for Restorative Salmon Salad

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