Home Cooking: Dinner al fresco before the concert
As soon as Tara stepped into the kitchen, we were laughing as she sliced a loaf of rustic bread that was freshly baked by her uber-talented daughter-in-law, who also owns the renowned pizza shop Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage in Boulder. I spread my homemade hummus on each slice and then topped it with slices of juicy heirloom tomatoes. We were laughing at the joy of seeing each other for the first time in a year and the fact that our first act was to come into the kitchen and begin cooking, something we both love.
Yes, Tara Baroody is the friend who has written two guest columns here, sharing her vegan take on comfort food. On Saturday, we alternated between bites of bread and unpacking the latest bag of vegetables from my High Country Conservation Center community-supported agriculture subscription. We discussed not what we’d been up to, but what we would make for dinner that evening.
Joyce and Ted had invited us to join them for a Breckenridge Music concert that evening, and in turn, we’d invited them to join us for an al fresco dinner before the concert. When Susan and Lee, my neighbors, arrived from Denver, we invited them to join us for wine and a delicious summer vegetable and goat cheese tart.
Tara prepared a vegan-friendly main course of pasta with greens, using the bounty of the vegetable basket, while I prepared a strawberry and rhubarb crumble for dessert.
While our glorious summer weather holds, I hope you’ll be inspired to host your own dinner on the deck, invite friends and share the summer’s vegetable bounty. Impromptu dinners are the most fun!
Hummus and heirloom tomatoes on sourdough bread
- 1 14-ounce can of chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon of Tahini (don’t worry if you don’t have it)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor. Turn on food processor and begin to drizzle in olive oil until a smooth paste is formed. Taste and adjust seasonings of salt and lemon juice.
Spread slices of rustic bread with the hummus. Top with slices of heirloom tomatoes.
Summer vegetables and goat cheese tart
- 2 zucchini, sliced thin
- 1/2 heirloom tomato, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 4-ounce goat cheese log
- 1 package refrigerated puff pastry
Heat oven to 400 F. Roll out puff pastry onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick pastry all over with the tines of a fork. Draw a half-inch border along the outside of the pastry with a knife but don’t go all the way through the dough. Now, do a “blind bake.” This is pre-baking the crust for 10 minutes, so that you don’t end up with a soggy bottom when you top the pastry with the other ingredients.
While the pastry is baking, place the slices of zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with salt to draw out water for 10 minutes. Lightly pat the tomato slices. Whip the goat cheese with a tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor to soften it.
When the pastry comes out of the oven, allow it to cool. Then spread the goat cheese within the borders of the puff pastry. Top with slices of zucchini, tomato and onions. Sprinkle with Italian herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until vegetables are softened.
Tara’s pasta and greens
- 2 bunches of greens, chopped with ribs/stalks removed
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic
- Salt to taste
- Red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound pasta of your choice, we used elbows
Steam the greens. Turn the heat up, and turn it off as soon as it boils. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drain. Put back on stovetop, turn heat to medium, add garlic, olive oil, salt and peppers. Cook through. Serve on pasta, rice or by itself.
Some options: Steamed garlic scapes and fresh herbs. Fine chop herbs (we used the lovage and chives) and sprinkle in the greens as they are sautéing.
Rhubarb and strawberry crumble
- 4 cups strawberries, tops cut off and halved
- 4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Crumble topping
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats, not instant
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons cold butter
- Pinch salt
Toss the filling ingredients together in a 9-inch pie pan. In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients. The butter (or coconut butter) should be pea sized. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream, heavy cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at email@example.com.
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