Enjoy these recipes from The Heart of the Plate, the cookbook of plant food pioneer, Mollie Katzen.
Pear Tart with Olive Oil–Cornmeal–Pine Nut Crust
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Baking lemon-laced pears in a sturdy, slightly crunchy cornmeal–pine nut crust, crowned with a beautiful lattice top, might well become your new tradition. The loving care you invest in this preparation will reward you with a tart that will feed many and can freeze and defrost seamlessly—so you can feed many at a later time. This freezes well for up to 3 weeks, if wrapped very tightly. Defrost completely before serving.
¾ cup fine cornmeal
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
Up to ? cup water
? cup pine nuts
2½–3 pounds ripe pears, such as Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou (not Bosc or Asian, which are too grainy)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
? teaspoon salt
- Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Pour in the olive oil and run the machine in a few long pulses, until the oil is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the beaten egg and pulse a few more times, just until incorporated; then buzz in enough water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to bring the dough together.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and gather it together, kneading it briefly into a ball and folding/poking in the pine nuts as you go. Break the dough into two uneven pieces, one about twice as big as the other. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten each into a thick disk.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the larger piece of dough into a 13-inch circle about ? inch thick. Carefully lift the circle, and ease it into an ungreased 10- to 11-inch tart pan with a removable rim, gently guiding it into the corners and letting it climb the sides. Patch any breaks or holes by pressing the dough back together (with a touch of water if needed) and trim the edges flush with the top of the rim.
- Scrape clean and lightly reflour the work surface, then roll out the smaller piece of dough into a smaller circle ? inch thick. Cut it into strips about ½ inch wide.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, with a rack in the lower third position, while you make the filling.
- Peel and core the pears and cut them into thin slices. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice and maple syrup.
- Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then sprinkle this onto the pears and toss to coat.
- Place the fruit in the crust, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Arrange the strips of dough on top in a crisscross pattern, then push the ends of the strips onto the edges of the bottom crust to hold them in place. (Use dabs of water, as needed, to make them stick.)
- Place the filled tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on the top and around the edges.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the rim of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Optional Enhancements
- Vanilla and/or salted caramel ice cream
- Vanilla or fruit-infused frozen yogurt
- If you want to make this with walnuts instead of pine nuts, add ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts to the cornmeal and flour in the food processor in step 1.
By Mollie Katzen
Kale–Angel Hair Tangle with Orange-Chili Oil and Toasted Almonds
Makes 4 modest main-dish servings
Strips of fresh lacinato kale cook on contact with hot noodles, then they marinate together in orange-garlic-chili oil. Fresh orange sections and almonds are introduced at serving time. This salad tastes so exotic that you’ll forget just how straightforward it was to prepare. Even the most labor-intensive preparations (cutting the kale, zesting and removing the orange sections from their membranes) are not difficult and can be done in advance. I use Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce, which is widely available. That said, if you have your own favorite brand on hand, go ahead and use it. The range of orange zest allows you to customize both the labor and the flavor. However much you decide to use, you will be all the happier for remembering to zest the oranges before you peel and section them. Remove the orange sections from their membranes by first peeling the fruit completely with a serrated knife, and, holding each orange over a bowl, sawing in and out of the membranes with the same knife to release the sections. Squeeze in the juice and discard the membrane left behind. This is a wet, yet worthwhile, procedure. (Just keep a few damp kitchen towels handy.) This tastes best within 2 hours of being made. It does not need to be all-the-way chilled, and in fact, tastes best at cool room temperature.
2 tablespoons Chinese chili sauce
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
Up to 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons agave nectar or sugar
¼ heaping teaspoon salt, or more to taste
2 teaspoons cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
½ teaspoon soy sauce, or more to taste
¼ cup grapeseed or peanut oil
2 large or 4 small bunches very fresh lacinato kale (1 pound total)
6 ounces angel hair pasta
2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and sections removed from membranes (see note)
½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- Put on a large pot of water to boil.
- Combine the chili sauce, garlic, zest, agave or sugar, salt, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of the soy sauce in a large bowl. Whisk to blend, then keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil until it is completely incorporated. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Slice off and discard the larger kale stems, then make a uniform pile of the leaves and roll them tightly into a kale cigar. Make thin slices crosswise with an extremely sharp knife. Transfer to a large colander in the sink. Rinse and drain the kale, then leave the whole setup in the sink to await the hot noodles.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water, keeping the heat high. Cook for the amount of time recommended on the package, tasting the pasta toward the end of the suggested time to be sure it is not getting overcooked. When it is just tender enough to bite into comfortably, but not yet mushy (better to err on the al dente side), dump the pasta plus all its water into the kale in the colander. Shake hard a few times to drain, then transfer the pasta and kale, still hot, directly into the bowl of dressing.
- Use a fork or tongs to mix all the ingredients, lifting from the bottom of the bowl to distribute the dressing evenly. Let cool to room temperature and then taste to adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
- If not serving immediately, cover tightly and let stand at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your kitchen is too hot and/or you prefer your salad chilled. Serve within 2 hours, ideally in individual bowls, gently mixing in the orange sections and most of the almonds and sprinkling the remaining almonds over the top.
By Mollie Katzen