Blueberry Goat Cheese Tart

Although it’s still technically summer, the cool nights and crisp mornings are telling us fall is well on its way. And I think this recipe is a perfect representation of that transition. A little bit summery, featuring the last of our 2019 blueberries, and a little bit autumnal with the comforting and filling oven warmed pastry, stuffed with a sweet & savoury filling. It’s the perfect recipe for impressing guests, while still allowing yourself time to enjoy your company since it’s so quick & easy. Paired with a hearty side salad — I’m thinking one with apples and nuts — it makes an easy and satisfying meal. Give it a try & let me know what you think!

Blueberry Tart.jpg

Ingredients

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 log goat cheese, softened

1.5 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 spring fresh thyme, leaves removed from stem (or ½ teaspoon dried)

Handful of fresh basil leaves, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Unroll the sheet of puff pastry onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Score a ½ inch border around the the edges, being careful to not cut all the way through. Next, prick all over the base with a fork. Pop in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.

  3. While the pastry bakes, prepare the blueberry filling.

  4. Add blueberries, water, vinegar, maple syrup, and thyme to a small pot and place on the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring consistently, for 10 minutes or so. The blueberries should break down and the mixture should be bubbly and thickened.

  5. Remove the pastry from the oven, and gently press down the centre of the tart.

  6. Carefully and evenly spread the softened goat cheese out across the pastry, leaving that ½ inch border uncovered.

  7. Add the blueberry filling to the tart, on top of the goat cheese and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

  8. While the tart finishes baking, roughly chop the fresh basil. After removing from the oven, sprinkle this herb on top, along with a few fresh blueberries for serving.

  9. Slice into rectangles and enjoy!

Recipe developed & photographed by Alex Chesney, RD

Soft Pretzel Twists & Garlic Scape Mustard Dipping Sauce

Superbowl Sunday is fast approaching, and that calls for just one thing - snacks! I’ve always enjoyed the Superbowl, but not really for the football. Instead, my priority has always been the food, and this year will be no different. I’ll be whipping up a batch of these delicious soft pretzels for guests to dunk into our delicious Garlic Scape Mustards. Check out the recipe below and try it for yourself! Serve alongside some fresh veggie sticks to balance it out. Have a great weekend!

Pretzels & Mustard.jpg

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 8 minutes

Makes: 8 soft pretzels

Ingredients:

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 standard packet)

1 cup warm water

1 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3 cups all-purpose flour + up to 3/4 cup more if needed

2 cups water

4 tbs baking soda

1 tbs coarse salt, for sprinkling on top

3 tbs salted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475⁰D and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.

  2. Combine yeast, warm water, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Let sit for approximately 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes "frothy". Stir in the salt and 1 tbs of melted butter.

  3. Next, add flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms and is no longer sticky. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead. Knead dough for 5 more minutes until smooth and pliable. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl to rest for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare baking soda bath.

  4. In a small pot, combine 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of baking soda and bring to a boil. Once the baking soda is mostly dissolved, take mixture off heat and allow it to come down to a lukewarm temperature. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish once cooled down.

  5. By now, the 15 minutes of dough resting time should be up. Take dough out of the bowl and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long rope, about 19-20 inches long.

  6. Shape dough as desired; into a traditional pretzel shape, twists, pretzel sticks, or pretzel bites. Place prepared pretzel shapes in the baking soda bath for 2 minutes. If the whole pretzel isn't covered by the water, spoon it on top of the areas is doesn't reach. Once the 2 minutes is up, carefully pick pretzel up either by your hand or with the help of a fork and place on prepared baking sheet. You may have to re-shape slightly. Sprinkle the pretzel with coarse salt while still wet (optional). Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheet(s).

  7. Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the remaining melted butter.

  8. These homemade soft pretzels are best served hot and fresh out of the oven but will keep for about 2 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave and they're good as new!

Recipe adapted from sprinklesomesugar.com by Alex Chesney, RD

Oven-Baked Onion Rings

Onion rings make the perfect addition to a summertime burger & beer on the patio, especially on a long weekend! Although the deep-fried version is super delicious, its high fat content makes it something to be enjoyed just once in a while. Fortunately, I created this tasty oven-baked version that is virtually fat-free, while still giving you that crunch & taste you may be craving. Try them at home today!

*Makes approximately 18 onion rings

Ingredients:
1 fresh sweet onion
¼ cup flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 F.

To prepare the onion, remove the greens and the root. Place the onion on its side, and then carefully slice into ¼ inch slices. Separate the slices into individual rings and set aside.

Set up an onion ring prep assembly-line using 3 bowls. Work from left to right: in the first bowl, place the flour, in the second, whisk together the eggs & milk, and in the third, mix together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt.

Begin to assemble the onion rings. One at a time, dip the onion rings into the flour and coat evenly. Next, drop the onion slices into the egg mixture and again, coat evenly. Finally, place the onion rings in the panko mixture and coat evenly once again. Repeat this process for each individual onion ring.

Place coated onion rings on the baking sheet. Once all onion rings are prepped, place in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The coating on the onion rings should be nicely browned. Remove from oven and enjoy!

*Tip: The panko mixture can get quite gummed up from the egg & milk mixture. To ensure the final stage of coating is successful, it helps to only put a little panko at a time into the third bowl, and refresh every 3 rings or so.

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Asparagus & Green Garlic Flatbread

This flatbread recipe may look a bit lengthy, but it's oh-so-easy & delicious. If you're running short on time, feel free to use a store bought dough. The toppings are really flexible as well! Try swapping out the veggies for whatever you have on hand, or add some leftover roasted chicken or even a sunny-side-up egg for a boost of protein.

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
2 tbsp oil (canola, olive, or something similar)

Toppings:
½ lb asparagus
3 stalks green garlic
2 tbsp oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup softened goat cheese
Parmesan cheese to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional, if you want some heat!)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly stir in milk and oil until a soft dough is formed. Once mixed, knead dough together approximately 10 times. Shape dough into a ball and let rest while toppings are prepped.

  • Wash and trim the asparagus. Next, wash and trim green garlic (remove long green leaves and roots), then slice the remaining white portion of the garlic in half, lengthwise. Place prepped asparagus and green garlic in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour oil over the vegetables and rub until completely covered. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and, if desired, the red pepper flakes.

  • Next, flatten the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Stretch dough into desired shape (round, rectangular, abstract – it’s up to you!), about ¼ inch thick. Poke holes in the dough.

  • Place both the prepped vegetables and the dough into the oven. This will allow the veggies to gently roast, and the dough to pre-bake a little before adding the toppings.

  • After 10 minutes, remove the veggies and the dough from the oven.

  • Carefully spread the goat cheese evenly across the dough using a spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange the roasted veggies on top of the goat cheese and finish by sprinkling with parmesan cheese.

  • Return the flatbread to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, until the parmesan cheese is melted.

  • Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and slice for serving. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD 

Asparagus & Prosciutto Bundles

This is one of our favourite ways to enjoy asparagus! 

*Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
36 thin spears fresh Ontario Asparagus (about 1 bunch)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto

Preparation:
Wash and break asparagus stalks where they snap easily; discard ends. Dry and toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bundle 3 spears together; wrap 1 piece of prosciutto around asparagus. Place bundles on greased grill over medium to medium-high heat; grill, turning occasionally, until asparagus is bright green and tender and prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Drizzle bundles with olive oil.