Crostada is the Italian name for a free-form pie. Crostada, or Galette, the French name for the same. A rustic, pie pan not necessary dessert that’s perfect for summer since it means less time in a hot kitchen when you don’t want to worry about forming a perfect pie crust.
It was late July, the cherries were organic, perfectly ripe–delicious and when I washed them under a little running water, they didn’t leave a slight transparent film on my hands. The lowest price on organic produce reaches us when fruits and vegetables are at their seasonal peak, which works out well since seasonally ripe fruit tastes the best.
Take Bing cherries, plump, cabernet-colored cherries, and soak them overnight with a cherry-infused liquor (Kirsch), vanilla, lemon, and a handful of unprocessed sugar. A summer pie that is nice to enjoy with a spoonful of organic whipped cream or your favorite non dairy topping.
Whole Spelt Crostada with Kirsch-Soaked Bing Cherries
A fruit tart with either a vegan or a half butter – half plant oil pie crust. If using butter, I like to cut back on quantities. Typically this means a slighty crispier, yet still flaky, texture.
2 1/2 Bing Cherries
1/3 cup sugar in the raw
1/4 cup Gin or Kirsch liquor
1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
Combine all the ingredients with the fruit and allow the fruit to soak up the flavors, letting it sit in your refrigerator while you assemble the pie crust. Reserve 1/2 the amount of liquid to include in your tart.
Will make one and a half the amount of dough…
1 1/2 cup Whole Spelt Flour
1 1/2 cup Unbleached Spelt Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 of a stick of butter
1/3 cup canola oil
10 tablespoons of ice water
I’m adding my favorite vegan pie crust recipe but make sure to make one and a half times the recipe for extra dough.
- 1/2 cup unbleached spelt
- 7tablespoons whole Spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar in the raw
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
When making a Crostada, you need more dough than for a regular pie. This means one and a half times the recipe of pie dough! I find that it’s nice to have extra dough to work with, so you’re sure to have enough fold over your fruit without piercing the bottom.
For a good pie crust, make sure all your ingredients are chilled; cold butter and chilled oil, ice water … Combine all your ingredients in a bowl, adding the butter last. If making a vegan pie crust, chill the canola oil, adding it last.
Cut small cubes of butter into the flour. Once it’s incorporated and in a small ball, store and let rest in your refrigerator for at least a half hour. Roll out into about 14 inches, cover with plastic wrap and then store it in your refrigerator for another half hour. Take out and spoon your fruit in the center, fold over.
I have a favorite artichoke dip that I order religiously at “The Farm” on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn. It’s probably unfortunate that I like it so well, considering how very cheesy it is. However, the reason their artichoke dip is good isn’t so much because of the cheese surrounding the vegetable, but because of the multiple, generous, layers of artichoke hearts brightened by lemon and a jalapeno kick for a lingering burst of flavor and heat.
There’s a line that forms outside a pizzaria in the West Village with the name “Artichoke.” People will line up outside, patiently waiting, in the wee hours of the morning. Clearly seeing this pizza as a supreme cheese indulgence — it seems there must be a pound of cheese per slice to go along with a bit of artichoke — I carefully choose to stay away.
Once, after a long night of working, I bought a slice and, wouldn’t you know it, the cheesy sauce was so ooey and gooey that it dripped down and landed on my shoe. I have to admit; it was good. But the vegetable was lost and didn’t need such a heavy handed portion of cheese.
This pizza is one I brought to the park to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The best of both worlds – all the flavor of the dip I love with less (dairy) fat, yet still using some organic, sharp white Cheddar and Parmesan Reggiano. Substituting olive oil, a vegetable fat, for the dairy fat above, and then artichoke hearts combined with lemon zest and jalapeno gave it a full flavor. Lastly, adding baby spinach greens over the top.
- 1 large jalapeño
- 1 9-ounce boxe frozen artichokes—thawed, drained and chopped length wise
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
- 1/4 cup freshly grated organic sharp white cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 500°. Roast the jalapeño directly over a gas flame, turning, until charred all over. Let cool, then peel and seed the jalapeño and cut it into 1/4-inch dice.
In a large bowl, mix the artichokes with the jalapeño, Parmigiano, organic sharp cheddar, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and Tabasco. This mixture makes enough for one generous artichoke pie, or divide equally and use on a second pizza.
Stretch out your pizza dough on to a large cookie sheet or pizza stone. Lightly drizzle the dough with olive oil and then coat the dough with your hands so the olive oil is evenly distributed.
Dot and decorate the artichoke mixture onto your pizza.
Dress the spinach by very lightly spraying or coating the spinach with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle of sea salt. Toss together and then add as the last layer on your pizza.
Bake on a pizza stone or cookie sheet at 500 depgrees until golden brown.
Two winter storms have come and gone, leaving only the wind. Despite every last button fastened, the January cold finds us while the wind brushes the ice off the tall banks of accumulated snow. On almost any late morning in winter, we might see the same sky: translucent and dimly lit, dirty and grey.
I spoon another copious bite of baked Oatmeal from my bowl: familiar food in new form. Have you ever eaten something both because you like the way it tastes, but crave it because of its texture? Baked oatmeal feels dry, yet chewy, and when you put your spoon through the center, the hearty oats break apart through the mantle of almonds and goo as you mine for pieces of fruit and nuts in between the rolled oats. I come up with a red cranberry, sour like a cherry, bitingly tart unlike other berries. It’s a c-r-a-n-berry, a berry that only makes you salivate if it’s paired with a little sweetness. Bake them with oatmeal in a small size muffin pan and they’re like small cakes, easy to re-heat , a warm comforting morning meal.
Baked Oatmeal with Cranberries and Almonds
- 1 cup organic thick cut rolled oats
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar in the raw
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 sea or kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup melted butter or canola oil
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine all wet ingredients together and whisk. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Prepare a six muffin pan with oil (I used an olive oil spray), then fill each individual muffin well with the prepared oat mixture until it’s almost, but not quite, overflowing. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, approximately 40 mins. If your goal is to have perfectly formed cake mounds, allow the oatmeal to rest in the muffin tins for about an hour before serving. This is step is not necessary if you use eggs, add 2 eggs if using. I’ve made this recipe with and without eggs. I decided to leave them out of the recipe since I didn’t feel that it was necessary for a good result. Serve plain, or with your favorite yogurt.
Flavoring plain yogurt with fresh fruit juice, such as a lemon with zest, in combination with honey or maple syrup is surprising in it’s simplicity and delicious.
Plain Yogurt with Drizzled Honey and Lemon Zest
- 1/2 cup Face or your favorite organic yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a breakfast bowl. Top the yogurt with the Baked Oatmeal. Drizzle the dish with honey, molasses or maple syrup.