Puff pastry is spread with layers of Boursin cheese and pesto to create a canvas for whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

There are certain things I really like to eat and pesto is one of them. Creating different types of pesto then freezing it in ice cube trays is a summertime kitchen activity for me. These little cubes of garden freshness can subsequently be stored in freezer bags then pulled out at a moment’s notice when needed throughout the year.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundys Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

This veggie tart recipe features pesto and another favorite, Boursin cheese. This light entrée is fabulous for lunch or a quick dinner when paired with a big, healthy salad. Use your favorite vegetables to decorate the tart and think as a minimalist or your pastry will be soggy in the middle. It really is OK to never make it the same way twice.

In keeping with a healthy lifestyle, I’ve been searching out more creative salad offerings. This cauliflower and greens bowl is a winner and has everything in it but the kitchen sink. I make this up for lunch about once a week, storing the second portion in a Mason jar to enjoy the following day. This combination has big flavor as is, but again, feel free to experiment with the vegetables, herbs and greens you like best. This bowl full of veggies can also be wrapped in romaine leaves or wraps for serving.

These past few months, I’ve had non-stop entertainment courtesy of the hummingbirds visiting the feeders hung from my deck. Watching these little fluffs of energy never gets old. On one recent morning, they made me remember I hadn’t shared my recipe for Hummingbird Bake, a treat I had for the first time at a Seattle café that brought me remembrances of my grandmother’s kitchen. This is a tasty, tender cake to make when you have bananas to use up and is a touch more glamourous than plain banana bread.

If you want to go the extra mile, top the cake with vanilla glaze or slice it through lengthwise and spread it with a thick layer of buttercream or cream cheese frosting. I certainly would never stop you!

Veggie Tart

1 sheet frozen pastry, thawed
1/4 cup pesto
1/3 cup Boursin cheese
4 portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut into sticks
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Fresh thyme springs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gently unfold pastry on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a flour-covered rolling pin, roll out the pastry to expand it about a half inch on all sides. Using a fork, prick the pastry all over except for a half inch from the edges.

Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a half-inch edge. Crumble the cheese evenly over the pesto. Arrange the vegetables, mushrooms and thyme on the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the edges are puffed up. Yield: 2 servings

Cauliflower & Greens Bowl

1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
2 pitted dates
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
3/4 cup asparagus, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Atlantic dulse flakes
Juice from 3 oranges, divided
8 cups leafy greens

Place the cauliflower in a food processor along with the dates and pulse until the mixture resembles rice. Place in a large bowl and stir in scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, asparagus, herbs and spices, and dulse flakes, along with the juice from two of the oranges.

Divide the greens between two serving bowls and sprinkle with the juice of the third orange. Top with cauliflower mixture. Yield: 2 servings

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups mashed bananas
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add banana, pineapple, eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined, then beat on high speed for 1 minute. Fold in nuts and spoon into Bundt pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove cake from pan and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake before serving. Yield: 12 servings

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