“Seasonizing”… a new(ish) term for “seasoning according to season,” which includes farm-to-table nutrition, local economy support, and satisfying your body’s need for specific nutrients at different times of the year. The theory was “made up” by Jordan Zucker, the youngest member of the Zucker family. “We are a food family. We live to eat, in spite of the scientific evidence that we do the reverse, eat to live,” she declares.

“One Dish, Four Seasons” was published in 2019. This is her first cookbook. I was introduced to it by Michelle Itzkowitz, owner of Innerglow Yoga. Michelle has joined our team of culinary instructors at Highfield Hall & Gardens, and during our recent “Cook the Book” series, she chose this one to share. In it, the author takes 20 everyday base recipes and churns out a winter, spring, summer and fall version of each.

Think of your basic spinach salad. Baby spinach, some chopped hard-cooked egg, maybe a little bacon, and a simple vinaigrette. Now think about the seasons. In the winter, you might add a shallot and a leek, some string beans, a couple of Persian cucumbers, a handful of peanuts, an apple, some shredded cheddar cheese to—of course—a bag of spinach.

How about in the spring? Red onion, string beans, baby peas, hazelnuts, sliced strawberries, and some crumbled blue cheese. Summer brings you red onion again, snow peas, Persian cucumbers, cashews, nectarines, goat cheese crumbles, and some purslane leaves—don’t forget the spinach. For the fall, your basic onion and cucumbers, this time with some pepitas, a couple of sliced persimmons, and some grated pecorino cheese—all tossed with the spinach.

The dressing remains the same: freshly squeezed orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. The only change there is the winter recipe, where the juice needs to be blood orange juice—but I think the intent here is casual enough that you don’t need to go to the market for one special ingredient, if you don’t have to.

Throughout the book, Zucker (a writer, actor, host, cook and entertainer) is joined by “her expert cook mom, Betti” and her ex-sommelier dad, Jim. The book can be set on the coffee table (its gorgeous full-color photos, illustrations, and easy-to-follow recipes make for terrific reading), or it can live in the kitchen, where you can choose from any of the 80 (20 basic recipes times four seasons) recipes to prepare.

Michelle said she chose the book because Zucker is a good friend of her brother, and she loves how personal the book is. “The anecdotes, family stories and influences make for really interesting reading,” she told me. “And the suggestions for music and drinks are an unexpected twist in a standard cookbook—that attracted me as well. There is so much to read and discover each time I pick it up. I think the recipes are spot-on and very well thought-out.”

For the Highfield class, Michelle chose the tomato tart recipe, although I believe the variations on the Dutch baby was in contention as another favorite. For publication here, I am including the tomato tart, as I we are rapidly approaching tomato season here in New England.

The family collaboration adds humor and personality to this book. Should you need more ideas, there are wine and music pairings for each dish. “One Dish—Four Seasons: Food, Wine and Sound—All Year Round” is far from your average cookbook. It really is a seasonal journey. Best of all, I think the recipes are uncomplicated and definitely showcase those ingredients that are fresh and available in the current season.

There are appetizers, including guacamole and a soup, grilled fruit salads (along with the afore-mentioned spinach salad), entrées of steak with various seasonal sauces, meatballs, pasta, and quinoa. A variety of vegetable preparations includes a number of different ways to present greens and grains, some interesting pestos and, of course, four different tomato sauces. Desserts, too—the strawberry, rhubarb and coconut crisp is superb—as are the cookie recipes that follow that section.

I think that people who like to entertain would particularly like this book, as it includes both cocktail and wine suggestions. The music recommendations are fun as well. I hadn’t known about this book before Michelle featured it in her class, and now I am very glad she did. Here are four different ways to present a tomato tart, including an unassuming (four) ingredient crust that will have you saying to yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Tomato Veggie Tart—4 Ways

Note: this crust is used with all four recipes

Crust:

2 cups AP flour

½ cup olive oil, chilled in the freezer for about 1 hour (it should be thick but pourable and still loose enough to stir)

6 TBSP ice water

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor; add the semi-frozen olive oil and pulse to blend. Add the ice water, a TBSP at a time, with the motor running, until a dough has formed. The dough should hold together but not be sticky. Remove from bowl and shape into a large disc; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Winter Potato, Cheddar, And Fennel Tart

Filling:

2 TBSP olive oil

3 yellow onions, sliced into ¼-inch inch discs

2 fennel bulbs, sliced into ¼-inch discs

1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

4 medium russet potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch discs

1 garlic clove, minced (about 1½ tsp)

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

2 tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch discs and lightly salted

To make the tart:

Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and fennel and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar and rosemary and season with salt and pepper and stir well. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Heat the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil on medium high heat in the same skillet. Add the potatoes and season with salt. Cook for 10 minutes, flip the potatoes and add the garlic; cook another 10 minutes and then remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place in seasoned pan. Using your fingers, push the dough around and up to the edge until it covers the entire pan evenly. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the bottom of the tart crust and add the onions and fennel. Layer the potatoes and garlic on top to form a full layer; arrange the tomatoes on top in a design of choice and bake for 30 minutes. Cool, slice and serve, warm or at room temperature.

Spring Zucchini, Ricotta and Tarragon Tart

Filling:

2 TBSP olive oil

3 yellow onions, sliced into ½-inch inch discs

1 TBSP champagne vinegar

2 medium zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch discs

½ cup ricotta cheese

3 green tomatoes, sliced into ½-inch discs and lightly salted

½ tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon

To make the tart:

Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat; add the yellow onions and cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add the champagne vinegar, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil on medium high heat in the same skillet; add the zucchini and season with salt. Cook for about 10 minutes., then remove from the heat and set aside. Remove the dough from the fridge and place in seasoned pan; using your fingers, push the dough around and up to the edge until it covers the entire pan evenly. Spread the ricotta on the bottom of the tart crust, then add the onions in an even layer. Layer the zucchini on top, slightly overlapping the slices and arrange the green tomatoes in any fashion that you would like. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes. Remove, cool, garnish with chopped tarragon, and slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Summer Eggplant, Feta and Basil Tart

Filling:

2 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch discs

SWOOPS=“season with olive oil, pepper and salt”

1 TBSP olive oil

3 red onions, sliced into ½-inch discs

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

½ cup feta cheese

3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch disks and lightly salted

½ tsp finely chopped fresh basil

To make the tart:

Preheat the oven to 375°F; line a baking sheet with foil. Place the eggplant on the sheet and “SWOOPS” liberally. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant begins to brown; remove and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat; add the red onions and cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Remove from the heat and set aside. Spray a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Remove the dough from the fridge and place in seasoned pan. Using your fingers, push the dough around and up to the edge until it covers the entire pan evenly. Distribute the feta evenly on the bottom of the tart crust, then add the red onions in an even layer. Layer the eggplant on top, slightly overlapping the slices, then arrange the tomatoes on top. Remove, cool, garnish with chopped basil, slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Fall Mushroom, Goat Cheese, And Thyme Tart

Filling:

2 TBSP olive oil

4 medium shallots, sliced into ½-inch discs

1 TBSP red wine vinegar

½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

1 lb mixed mushrooms

SWOOPS= “season with olive oil, pepper and salt”

4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch discs and lightly salted

To make the tart:

Preheat the oven to 375°F; spray a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and thyme, season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil on medium-high heat in the same skillet and add the mushrooms. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until they’ve absorbed the oil and released their juices; SWOOPS the mushrooms and set them aside. Remove the dough from the fridge and place in seasoned pan. Using your fingers, push the dough around and up to the edge until it covers the entire pan evenly. Distribute the goat cheese evenly on the bottom of the tart crust, then add shallots in an even layer. Top with mushrooms in an even layer and arrange the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 30 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

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