Recipes to help you make the most of Farmer’s Markets

 Heirloom Tomato and Summer Squash Torte

Is it a cake, a pie, or a wrongdoing? A torte — not to be confused with a legal tort — is a sweet, rich cream cake covered with nuts or fruits that originated in Austria. Our savory version resembles a vegetable pie. We use the best of summer’s bounty, layer it with fresh mozzarella and enclose it in pastry. The flavorful roasted red pepper sauce adds a touch of sweetness and color.

For this recipe, use fresh, high-moisture cow’s milk mozzarella that contains more than 52 percent moisture, or Capriella (half goat’s milk, half cow’s milk mozzarella) from the Mozzarella Company in Dallas, Texas. Paula Lambert founded the business in 1982, using the same exactingmethods for handcrafting fresh mozzarella that she witnessed while living in Italy.


double recipe savory tart dough

2 medium yellow onions, cut in half and

1 tablespoon olive oil thinly sliced

3 to 4 large heirloom tomatoes, such as

Brandywine, Green Zebra or Yellow Taxi

2 small green zucchini

2 small yellow squash

1 cup fresh basil leaves, approximately 1 ounce

½ pound fresh mozzarella, high moisture if available

kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


4 red peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 cup white wine

4 cups vegetable stock or water

kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

TO PREPARE THE TORTE SHELL: Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly flour a table or cutting board and a rolling pin. Cut the dough in half and place it on the board. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough out from the center until it forms a circle about ?-inch thick and 12-inches in diameter. Prick the entire surface of the dough with a fork. Press one dough circle into a 12-inch tart pan and trim off the excess pastry. Place the remaining circle on parchment paper on a baking pan and refrigerate both for 30 minutes.

Blind bake the tart shell by placing the tart pan on a baking sheet. Line the dough with foil or parchment and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans and bake 10 minutes or until the bottom is a light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool tart shell on a rack for 30 minutes before filling.

TO PREPARE THE FILLING: In a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until tender but not colored, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove onions and allow them to cool completely.

Remove the core from the tomatoes and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Cut the ends off of the zucchini and squash and cut lengthwise into .-inch thick slices. Cut the mozzarella balls into ¼ inch slices.

Brush the bottom of the pre-baked shell with mustard. Line the bottom with the cooled onions. Arrange half of the tomato slices in a spiral pattern on top of the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the zucchini and squash slices on top of the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the basil leaves and the remaining half of the tomatoes on top of the squash.

Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the sliced mozzarella on top of tomatoes. Lay the other circle of dough on top of the torte shell and crimp the edges to seal. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the top of the torte with olive oil. Cut two small vent holes in the top crust to let steam escape.

Place torte on a baking sheet. Bake in 375°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and vegetable filling is soft. To test for doneness, insert a skewer into the center of the torte. If it encounters no resistance, the torte is done cooking. Remove torte from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.


Place peppers on a baking sheet and place in oven. Roast 15 minutes, turning once or twice, or until the skin of the peppers are slightly charred. Place peppers in a paper bag, seal the top and allow them to steam 10 to 15 minutes. When peppers are cool, remove the skin, stems and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers.

In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the peppers, onions, celery, carrot, salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are soft but not colored. Add paprika and wine, and simmer until the volume is reduced by half. Add the vegetable stock or water and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Using a blender, purée until sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.

TO SERVE: Remove torte from pan. Cut torte into 4 to 6 wedges and serve with red pepper sauce.

ADVANCE PREPARATION: The torte can be made a day ahead, refrigerated and reheated in a 250°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until warm.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND OPTIONS: You can substitute puff pastry, usually available in the freezer section of your market, for the tart dough. Allow the frozen puff pastry to come to room temperature, prick the pastry, roll it out and bake per the tart dough instructions.

WINE NOTES: A Sangiovese-based red wine with a long, spicy, herbal finish will work perfectly with the tomatoes and peppers in this dish. Recommended: 2000 Atlas Peak, Sangiovese, Napa Valley, California; or 2000 Podere La Brancaia, Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy.

Summer Vegetable Slaw

This dish has become a July Fourth tradition at the Peerless. It’s a perfect side dish for summer picnics since it’s an ideal accompaniment to grilled meats. The slightly acidic mustard dressing is a refreshing contrast to crunchy, colorful vegetables like red and yellow peppers, radishes, fennel, onion and cabbage.

Change the vegetables based on the season, keeping in mind that it is best to have a variety of colors, textures and flavors. Avoid any vegetable that will bleed, such as red beets, or that will overpower the other flavors in this dish. The key is to cut the vegetables in roughly the same size and shape.


(You will need approximately 1 pound of any combination of the following vegetables.)

1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and julienned

1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and julienned

1 head radicchio, core removed and cut into chiffonade

½ small head Napa cabbage, core removed and cut into chiffonade

1 green zucchini, cut in half, seeds removed and julienned

1 yellow squash, cut in half, seeds removed and julienned

1 bulb fennel, core removed and julienned

½ daikon radish, julienned

1 large red onion, cut into half moons

1 bunch green onions, cut on a bias about 1 inch long

¼ cup mint leaves, cut into chiffonade

¼ cup basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped

mustard dressing

kosher salt and white pepper, to taste


Makes 2 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

TO PREPARE THE SLAW: In a large stainless steel bowl, combine vegetables, herbs and enough mustard dressing to lightly coat the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Taste and adjust seasoning.

TO PREPARE THE DRESSING: Place mustard, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small stainless steel bowl. Slowly drizzle in both oils, whisking constantly, until ingredients are combined. Taste and adjust seasoning.

TO SERVE: When ready to serve, drain any excess liquid from the vegetables and place on serving dish.

ADVANCE PREPARATION: Make the slaw and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours before serving. The vegetables will wilt and become soggy if allowed to marinate in the dressing for longer than 6 hours.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND OPTIONS: To infuse a touch of heat to this dish, add chili oil or a julienned fresh hot chili to your taste.

WINE NOTES: This dish needs a crisp, herbal Chenin blend with a touch of sweetness to hold up to the acid in the dressing and the mixture of savory bright herbs. Chenin Blanc is the forgotten grape; it’s summer in a glass. Recommended: 2002 Andrew Rich, “Tabula Rasa,” Chenin Blanc, Oregon; or 2001 Vinum, CNW Cuvée, Chenin Blanc, California.

Makes approximately 8 cups

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Avocado-Tomato Salsa

One bright August morning Steve Florin of Dancing Bear Farm dropped off the season’s first heirloom tomatoes. As brilliant in color as sunshine, not only were these tomatoes exploding with true tomato flavor, they inspired a welcome diversion when the thermometer outside was pushing 100°F. How fast can a chef think “cold soup?”

Traditional gazpacho is a Spanish chilled soup from Andalusia using red tomatoes and soaked bread. Our version uses Yellow Taxi tomatoes and omits the bread. A Yellow Taxi tomato is a low-acid, meaty, sweet heirloom slicing tomato, with a lemon-yellow skin. It is fairly easy to grow in cooler climates.


6 Yellow Taxi tomatoes or other yellow heirloom tomatoes, ripe

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 English or regular waxy cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces

1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces

1 red onion, cut into large pieces

½ small hot red chili, seeded, cut into large pieces or to taste

¾ cup red wine vinegar

3 ounces extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

4 each red and yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish


2 avocados, preferably Haas, flesh cut into small dice

1 small hot red chili, seeded, cut into small dice

1 small red onion, cut into small dice

1 red heirloom slicing tomato, peeled, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

 juice of one lime

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

TO PREPARE THE SOUP: Working in batches, purée all ingredients, except for the cherry tomatoes, in a blender until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl by pressing the solids with a wooden spoon in order to extract as much liquid as possible. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate two hours or overnight.

Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning.

TO PREPARE THE SALSA: Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and refrigerate at least ?? minutes.

TO SERVE: Place salsa in the center of chilled soup bowls. Ladle soup around the salsa and garnish with red and yellow cherry tomatoes halves.

ADVANCE PREPARATION: We recommend making this soup a day ahead. The flavors are better and more complex given a day of rest in the refrigerator.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND OPTIONS: This soup can be made with either red or yellow tomatoes as long as they are ripe. The flavor of the soup depends entirely on the taste of the tomatoes. Ripe tomatillos can be substituted for the heirloom tomatoes in the salsa. They will add a citrus flavor element that will balance the richness of the avocado.

WINE NOTES: Because we recommend using low-acid tomatoes, this soup is very wine-friendly. Try a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Austrian-style Riesling with a hint of fruit and enough acid to hold up to the tomatoes. Recommended: 2002 Voss, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California; or 2000 Chateau St.Michelle-Dr. Loosen, Eroica, Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington.

Makes 4 appetizer servings, approximately 3 cups

Categories: KUSI