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RECIPES AND DRINK RECOMMENDATIONS

Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust

Adapted from www.101cookbooks.com.

An unfortunate attribute of many tomato tarts is a soggy, tomato-juice-laden crust, but in-season tomatoes are so full of flavor they deserve better! This recipe solves the mushy crust dilemma. A tart dough made with lots of hard cheese is parbaked and sliced tomatoes are lightly salted to remove excess water and are then arranged in the tart shell just before serving. The uncooked tomatoes retain their vibrant summer flavor, and the tart shell retains its structure. Served with a leafy green salad (and a glass of wine), this tart makes a very special and unfussy meal.

6 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced into rounds 1/6-inch thick

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. butter, unsalted, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4 oz. good Parmesan, finely grated (about 2 cups)

2 Tbs. ice water

2 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 c. finely shredded fresh basil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on a clean dish towel or layers of paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with the salt, and gently press another dish towel or paper towels on top of the tomatoes. Let sit like this until you’re ready assemble the tart.

Combine the flours, butter, and Parmesan (except for a tablespoon or so—set that aside to use later) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 20-30 times, until the mixture is sandy and the butter is pea-sized. With the motor running, drizzle in the ice water and blend just until combined. When you press some of the dough between your fingers, it should stick together. 

Turn the dough into a 9” or 10-inch tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough into the pan, pressing it into an even layer across the bottom of the pan and up the sides, forming a rim. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Poke the bottom of the crust in several places with the tines of a fork. Cover the tart with a round of parchment, then fill it with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake 15 minutes. Remove fromoven and gently remove the parchment and pie weights. Return the tart shell to the oven and continue to bake for another 10 minutes, until deep golden brown. Sprinkle the tart shell with the remaining tablespoon of grated Parmesan. Let sit and allow to cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, arrange the tomatoes in the tart shell. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle evenly with the basil. Slice and serve at room temperature. Makes one 9 or 10-inch tart.

 

Star Recommends: Bisceglia “Terra di Vulcano’” Aglianico del Vulture: Here’s a young Aglianico that opens with aromas of blue flower, earth, plum and spice. The simple but savory palate delivers ripe blackberry, raspberry and black licorice alongside firm tannins.


Flank Steak Sandwich with Heirloom Tomatoes and Chimichurri Mayo

Adapted from www.food52.com.

These over-the-top sandwiches are great for a crowd. Herb-marinated steak is piled onto buttery Texas toast and topped with juicy tomatoes and Chimichurri mayonnaise. Mince the herbs, arugula and garlic by hand or whiz in a food processor.

1 flank steak, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

1 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, large stems removed, finely minced

1/2 c. arugula, finely minced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 c. olive oil plus 2 tablespoons

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

salt

pepper

1/4 c. mayonnaise

1 loaf ciabatta, brioche or other bread with a soft crumb, sliced 1-inch thick

1 large heirloom tomato, sliced

butter

Directions: Place the parsley, arugula, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar in a bowl and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place the steak in a shallow dish and cover with all but 2 tablespoons of the Chimichurri sauce. Flip the steak over to coat both sides in sauce, then cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate the remaining Chimichurri. 45 minutes before cooking the flank steak, remove it from the fridge. Spoon off some of the chimichurri, and salt the steak. Let rest about 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir the mayonnaise and the reserved 2 tablespoons Chimichurri sauce. Set aside. Pat the steak to remove excess moisture. Heat a skillet over very high heat. Set the steak in the pan and sear 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from skillet and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle the steak with pepper, and let rest 5-10 minutes. 

Heat a frying pan. Butter both sides of the sliced bread, and toast in the pan about 1 minute per side, until golden and crispy. Thinly slice the flank steak across the grain. Assemble the sandwiches on the toast with a smear of Chimichurri mayonnaise, some sliced steak and heirloom tomatoes. Serves 4.

 

Star Recommends: Cuma Organic Malbec: A great dry and medium bodied Malbec with exuberant blueberry and plum flavors. The Cuma Malbec is mouth filling with a minty and spicy character full of tarragon, eucalyptus and rosemary. The distinct and fresh plum aromas are typical of this grape.

Thai Pork Omelet with Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

Adapted from www.recipes.farmhousedelivery.com.

This is simple and elegant meal, and the flavors of the varied ingredients remain bright and distinct. It’s a nice way to highlight very fresh herbs and a perfect summer tomato.

1/4 c. fish sauce

1/2 lime, juiced

3 Tbs. cold water

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

pinch of sugar

1 Tbs. grapeseed oil

1 hot pepper, seeded if desired, diced

1 bunch scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1” piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1/3 lb. ground pork

3 eggs, lightly beaten

pinch of salt

1 medium heirloom tomato, cored and diced

1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil leaves, plus 1/4 cup more 

1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1/4 cup more

1/4 c. fresh mint leaves

1 small head of butter lettuce, leaves separated from core, washed, dried

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, cold water, crushed red pepper flakes and sugar. Set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the hot pepper, scallions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for 45 seconds or so. Stir in the ground pork and continue to stir fry until cooked through. Use the back of a wooden spoon to distribute the contents of the skillet into an even layer. Pour in the beaten eggs and tilt the skillet so the eggs are evenly coating the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Scatter the chopped tomato over the omelet, and top with the tablespoon of chopped basil and the tablespoon of chopped cilantro. Use a spoon to gently push the edges of the omelets up towards the center of the pan so the uncooked egg can run underneath. When almost cooked, use a spatula to flip the omelets over. Cook another minute until the other side is set and golden brown.

Divide the omelets between two plates. Serve with the remaining basil, cilantro and mint, wrapped in the butter lettuce leaves, and dip in the prepared dipping sauce. Serves 2. 

 

Star Recommends: Glatzer Blaufrankisch: A classic Blaufrankisch, with dense structure and bright acidity. This wine displays cherry fruit and spicy flavors and has soft tannins.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

Adapted from www.thecafesucrefarine.com.

This summery salad is packed with herbs, spinach and heirloom tomatoes. It travels well and is great at room temperature, so it’s perfect for a picnic or packed lunches. Use a combination of red, yellow, green and orange tomatoes if you can. 

6 c. packed arugula

1 c. packed fresh basil

2 c. pearl couscous

1/2 c. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/4 c. pine nuts

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

6 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 large cucumber, peeled, diced

1 small white onion, finely diced

Directions: Blanch the arugula in a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Dunk the basil in the pot too, then use tongs to immediately transfer the arugula-basil mixture to a colander. Rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking, until no longer warm to the touch. Set aside to drain.

Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain, then spread out the couscous on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and toss to coat. Let cool to room temperature. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Squeeze remaining water from the arugula-basil mixture. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pulse until smooth, adding a little water a bit at a time if the consistency is too thick. Taste, and adjust with more salt and pepper if needed.

Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl. Add some of the pesto (you may have some left over) and stir to coat. Fold in the tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Serve. Serves 8.

 

Star Recommends: Domaine Tinel-Blondelet Génetin (Pouilly-Fumé): Named after a former name for the Sauvignon Blanc grape, this wine is well balanced between ripe fruit and crisper herbal flavors. A strong minerality gives the wine its youthful texture. Crisp at the end, it is still full and concentrated.

Yellow Watermelon and Mint Pops

Adapted from www.epicurious.com.

While mint is probably the most kid-friendly, you can try using basil or tarragon instead. When the pops are frozen, they will seem less sweet than when you’re preparing the puree, so keep that in mind when you’re adding sugar to the mixture. 

3/4 c. sugar

6 large sprigs of fresh mint, plus 2 teaspoons very thinly sliced fresh mint

1 quart peeled, seeded, chopped yellow watermelon

2 Tbs. lemon juice

Directions: In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer about 5 minutes, until a slightly thick syrup has formed. Remove from heat. Stir in the large sprigs of mint, and let stand uncovered until the syrup is completely cool. Pour the syrup through a mesh sieve over a bowl and squeeze the mint to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the mint.

Place the watermelon in a blender or food processor and purée. Pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon juice. Stir in enough mint syrup to create a very sweet fruit purée. Fold in the sliced mint, then transfer the purée into ice pop molds, leaving some room at the top for them to expand. Cover and freeze until solid, about 4 hours. Hold the molds under lukewarm running water for a few seconds to unmold them, if needed. Makes eight 1/2-cup ice pops.

Star Recommends: Soter Brut Rosé: Subtle rose hue, bordering on salmon in color, the 2011 Brut Rosé displays brilliant clarity, evidence of its three years spent in the bottle prior to disgorgement. The wine is, as always, intensely and immediately seductive, showing notes of cranberries, early cherries and toast. A forward, beautifully fruit-driven nose is complemented by an array of secondary flavors.

 

Grilled Watermelon with Lime and Red Pepper

Adapted from www.thekitchn.com.

The combination of lime zest and crushed red pepper flakes on watermelon is really lovely, but you can try other flavor combinations like brown sugar, lime and cumin, or nothing at all.  Be sure to slice the watermelon into wedges - large round steaks will likely fall apart when you try to flip them.

1 small watermelon, 3-5 lbs.

1/4 c. sugar

1 Tbs. lime zest

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions: Prepare a charcoal grill for direct heat grilling, or heat a gas grill to high. Slice the ends off the watermelon, then stand it on one end. Cut it in half, then slice each half in half once more. Slice the quarters into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, lime zest and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of the watermelon wedges, and rub it in evenly. Set the watermelon on the grill, and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until grill marks appear. Serve with the lime wedges. Serves 6.

 

Star Recommends: Berger Gruner Veltliner: This light, refreshing white makes an excellent introduction to Gruner Veltliner. An excellent value that’s an easy pairing for a wide array of foods, Berger Gruner Veltliner has a pleasant acidity, a delicious palate of citrus and stone fruits, and a hint of minerality.

Watermelon and Prosciutto with Mint and Toasted Almonds

Adapted from www.bonappetit.com.

This salad is an unlikely mix of salty and sweet, and could end up a frequent addition to your summer table.

2 Tbs. chopped almonds

1/2 c. chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

2 Tbs. orange juice

1 Tbs. olive oil

salt

3 lb. seedless watermelon, rind removed, diced into 1-inch cubes

2 Tbs. white wine vinegar

2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto

Directions: Toast the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the almonds, mint, orange zest, orange juice and oil. Season with salt.

Place the cubed watermelon in a large serving bowl and toss with the vinegar. Season with salt and arrange the prosciutto on top. Drizzle with the almond-orange dressing and serve. Serves 4.

 

Star Recommends: Castello di Ama Rosato: This delicious rosé, introduced in the early 1980s, is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, with proportions varying from year to year, for a wine closer in character to a young red than to a white, since it is made with juices drawn off by the saignée method from lots than then become Chianti Classico.

Roasted Green Pepper Butter

Adapted from www.saveur.com.

If you’re in the mood for something different to spread on corn on the cob, this easy, smoky butter will do the trick. Similar to a compound butter but with roasted green peppers instead of herbs, there’s no need to chill it before eating—it’s nice at room temperature.

1 green pepper

1/2 lb. softened butter

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 pinch of cayenne

salt

Directions: Turn on a gas burner on your stove to high.  Set the pepper directly on the grate, and use tongs to turn the pepper occasionally until charred all over, no more than 5 minutes. Wrap in a clean dishtowel, then place the wrapped pepper in a large plastic bag to steam. Remove from the bag, and when cool enough to handle, peel and chop the pepper. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the butter, garlic, cayenne and salt. Mix until incorporated. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Makes 1 cup.

 

Star Recommends: Joan d’Anguera Altaroses: The Altaroses is Joan d’Anguera’s first certified biodynamic and organic wine. Fresh wild strawberries, garrigue and warm spices on the nose. Very expressive. Medium weight, with mouth-watering acidity and soft warm fruit. Soft tannins and well-balanced structure between acidity, tannin, fruit and alcohol make this extremely gulpable.

Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Green Peppers

Adapted from www.thedomesticman.com.

1/2 head green cabbage, cored and shredded

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp. olive oil

1/4 c. avocado oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbs. lime juice

1 Tbs. fish sauce

1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

2 green bell peppers, cored and julienned

1 spicy red chile pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced

1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. mint leaves, chopped

Directions: Place the cabbage in a large bowl. Cover with cool water and stir in a pinch of salt. Set aside for 20 minutes, then strain well and set in a large bowl. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set on a hot grill and cook until charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the bowl of ice water, and set aside for at least 5 minutes to cool. When cool, remove from water and use two forks to shred the chicken. Transfer the shredded chicken to the bowl of cabbage, and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the avocado oil. When hot, add the shallot and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Stir in the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes, until golden. Strain the garlic and shallots into a fine mesh strainer, collecting the avocado oil in a bowl underneath. Set the oil aside to cool, about 5 minutes. Reserve the shallots and garlic. When the oil is cool, whisk in the lime juice, fish sauce, salt, pepper, honey and apple cider vinegar. Taste the dressing and add more salt if needed. Add the julienned green pepper, chile pepper, cilantro and mint to the bowl of chicken and cabbage. Cover with the dressing, and toss to combine. Taste and add salt to taste.  Serve topped with the fried shallots and garlic. Serves 4.

 

Star Recommends: Avinyo Petillant: Petillant is a vi d’agulla, the Catalan name for prickly wine. This vibrant and refreshing wine is the traditional summertime quaffer of the Penedès region of Catalonia, and it’s perfect for drinking out of a porron. Bright honeysuckle and almond on the nose. Bracingly dry on the palate, with flavors of lemon peel and a faint brininess.

Gazpacho

 

This chilled soup is fairly straightforward to make but it does need one or two hours in the fridge, so plan ahead if you want this for dinner.

1 lb. tomatoes, with an “x” sliced into the bottom of each one

2 c. cubed bread 

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/4 c. fresh basil

1/2 Tbs. fennel seeds

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 c. diced green pepper

1/4 c. diced onion

1/2 c. diced peeled cucumber

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes

salt

pepper

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 4 minutes and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a cutting board to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins and scoop out the seeds. Set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the bread, olive oil, garlic, basil, fennel, paprika, half of the green peppers, half of the onion, and half of the cucumber. Add the tomatoes. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining green peppers, onion, cucumber, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and cherry tomatoes. Pulse to achieve your desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Serves 2.

 

Star Recommends: Vina Sastre Flavus Blanco: Bright yellow. Sexy, expansive aromas of dried orchard fruits, white flowers and lemon curd, with a bright mineral overtone. Densely packed pear and tangerine flavors show unlikely vivacity and pick up a minerally nuance with air. Closes on an emphatic floral note, with excellent clarity and persistence.  

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