Summer recipes: roasted beets, gluten free tart, and a seafood pasta

Summer in the city is how I always remember it to be. The days are long, hot, sticky with humidity, and constantly buzzing with life. For all of its unbearable qualities, there is an atmosphere that is inescapable in its ability to make us want to linger outside at night, together, for just a bit longer, over drink and food, reveling in this new found freedom that summer always brings. My garden is full of mosquitos at night, and sunshine in the morning. Late night train rides feature happy, drunk passengers, and the evenings more often than not bless us with a pink or red sunset that engulfs the city and hides all of its imperfections that normally dictate our everyday life. This is the natural relationship with New York City that I think most people who inhabit this complex place experience; the back and forth of being completely overwhelmed and beaten down by the things that make us deeply hate this strangle cluster of islands, and then occasionally we are shown it's potential for physical beauty and for beautiful interaction, as we congregate together in the streets at night illuminated by the lights of restaurants, apartments, bars, or in the backyards of our favorite people enjoying a barbecue, some wine, a cold beer, a freshly baked pie. My time here is short and slowly dwindling, as I get closer and closer to the day I move for the first time out of my parents home and away from this city I have lived in for nearly 10 years. Although I am overwhelmed with excitement for this new change in my life, this short time I have had here, at home, has reminded me of the reasons why I have called this place home for so long, aloud and in my heart, despite the push and pull I feel when I think of my place here now. Below I have a few summer recipes of some of the food I have eaten over the past two weeks, all of which to me feel like they feature essential summer elements in their ingredients. 

Honey-Balsamic Roasted Beet's with Thyme

what you'll need

roasting pot or tray
small jar or jug to mix dressing

5 small beets
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of honey
plug of olive oil
salt & pepper
two sprigs of fresh thyme

what to do

first, preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C. then slice the beets into about 1/4 inch think pieces, place them in the roasting pot, and toss them in the olive oil. then salt and pepper them. 

second, in the small jar or jug, combine the vinegar and honey. cover the beets in your dressing them place them in the preheated oven. 

lastly, roast them until you can poke a fork in them with minimal resistance, about 20-30 minutes. I put them on whole wheat toast with humus and Parrano cheese, but they would also be good in a salad. Serves 4

Lemon Tart with Summer Berries (GF/Refined-Sugar Free)

what you'll need

one 9 inch tart tin
one heat proof bowl
small pot or pan
food processor

for the crust (by

3/4 cup (105g) superfine brown rice flour
1/3 cup (45g) amaranth flour
1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoon cold unsalted butter; cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
5-7 tablespoons of ice water

for the filling & top

5 fl. ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, at room temp.
1 large egg yolk, at room temp.
3/4 cup organic honey
pinch of salt
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1 small white peach
1 large handfull of raspberries & 1 of blackberries

for the fruit glaze

2 teaspoons gelatin
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

what to do

first, preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C. in a food processor add all of the dry ingredients for the crust, and pulse a few times to mix. then add the cold butter in cubes, and pulse about 10 times until the butter is in fine pea sized crumbs. whisk the egg yolk with 5 tablespoons of ice water. add this to the dry ingredients and pulse a few time until it starts to come together in a ball. add the last two tablespoons of water if the mixture is too dry and isn't coming together. dump the dough onto a brown rice floured work surface and knead a few times until it comes together in a flat disk. wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 1 hr. once chilled roll it out onto and floured work surface and line your tart tin. line it with baking paper and fill the bottom with baking weights. bake for about 20 mins, turning halfway through. then take it out and brush with a mixture of egg white and a splash of water. then put back in the oven without the pie weights for 10-15 more minutes, until just olden brown. 

second, in the heat proof bowl mix the lemon juice, honey, and salt. then fill your small pot with about 2 inches of water, no more, and put on to simmer. once the water is hot whisk in the eggs and egg yolk into the lemon juice mixture. then rest this bowl over the small pan over hot water, but make sure that the bowl isn't touching the water. continuously whisk this mixture, to prevent the eggs from scrambling, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your water is. let the curd cool to room temperature before folding in the creme fraiche. then spoon this mixture into the cooled tart shell, level it out, and place in the fridge for at least 1 hr to set. 

lastly, for the glaze, over low heat simmer the 1 cup water, and 1/2 sugar until the sugar dissolves. then sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tbsp of water to bloom. once bloomed, add to the sugar/water mixture, and bring to boil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. then take off the heat, let stand for a minute just too cool slightly, then with a pastry brush, brush all the fruit with the glaze. place bake in the fridge to set again, 1 hr at least. then slice the tart up and enjoy! Serves 6-8 

Pasta with Calamari, Garbanzo Beans, and Cilantro

This is one of my mom's favorite summer pasta recipes. She is frequently inspired by the Franny's cook book, and experiments with new and simple meat-free dishes for my recently self declared vegetarian sister, hence this dish. 

what you'll need

one large sauté pan
one large pot for boiling pasta

for the pasta

1 lb - 1 1/2 lb fresh squid, both bodies and tentacles, cleaned, with the bodies chopped into about 1/2" rings
one medium red onion diced small
3-4 large garlic cloves mashed
a hefty cup of cherry or campari tomatoes or 2/3 ripe medium vine tomatoes diced
a hefty cup of organic garbanzo beans
a handful of roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb good pasta, we used rigatoni here but you could use linguini
Kosher salt while cooking, Maldon salt to finish
freshly cracked pepper
olive oil
lemon for zest and juice to finish

what to do

first, turn the heat on to a large heavy bottom pan (big enough to add you pasta at the end). add a good guzzle of olive oil and the onions, and sauté to medium soft on a medium heat. just before it starts to brown, add in the garlic, you don't want to burn the garlic so turn the heat down a wee bit if you need to. sauté for about 5 mins, then turn the heat up high, and add the squid and sauté. keep it on high and with a flat bottom wooden spoon ensure that you keep things moving in the pan. after about 7-8 mins turn heat down to medium. there may be some liquid from the squid, which you want so don't loose it.

second, put your pasta water in to boil. add the tomatoes to the squid and continue to sauté, then add some kosher salt and cracked pepper. once the tomatoes have softened and become incorporated, turn the heat down to simmer. if there isn't a lot of liquid I sometimes add a wee bit white wine, or a wee bit stock. then add the garbanzo beans and stir to incorporate.

third, once the pasta water is ready, add your pasta ensuring that you have heavily salted the water. cook until al dente. once you've gotten your pasta to almost al dente, add it to the squid and incorporate over a low heat for about 1-2 mins. check the pasta to see how al dente it is and how you want it. if you think it's too dry, I add a wee bit of the pasta water but it shouldn't be too dry. 

lastly, take off the heat, add the chopped cilantro thoroughly incorporating it all. to finish it off, I add some Maldon salt, cracked pepper, lemon juice and zest ( to your liking and taste) and sometimes I finish with a wee guzzle of good olive oil. plate it up and enjoy!