FEBRUARY 22, 2019

Cookbook Review: Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard

There’s one recipe that shows up in the ‘Mostly Meatless Meals’ section of Tieghan Gerard’s exceptionally produced Half Baked Harvest (Clarkson Potter 2017) titled “15-Minute Thin-Crust Zucchini and Roasted Corn Pizza,” that goes a long way in introducing readers to some of the features that make up her uniquely rustic, practical-gourmet approach to cooking.

“This pizza was born on a July day out of hunger and the existing contents of my fridge. Typically, toward the end of the week, I have random veggies, hunks of cheese, and sauces left over from photo shoots, and that is how this came to be.” The quality of the corn pizza photograph on the opposite page is part of the tempting beauty of the recipe for sure – the pizza is pictured as very elemental in its structure, and glazed over by a golden homemade chipotle honey.

Over on the other page, Tieghan tells us that when she first made this she didn’t have her usual pizza dough available that night so went ahead and used 8-inch flour tortillas instead, nestling those on a skillet first for crisping, then adding her toppings of zucchini, corn, shredded provolone, Brie, and whole basil leaves. The pan then sits in the oven to broil to desired doneness. The result is something that is creative, convenient, quick, flavorful and filling – true keys to success for great weeknight cooking.  

Tieghan found this ability to improvise semi-gourmet very early on. As a fifteen-year old daughter in a family of seven, she decided to take it upon herself to help her dad finish the nightly cooking duties a bit earlier than when they had been eating, at eight or nine at night.

Her early experience in the kitchen, along with the built-in ambiance of Tieghan’s ‘barn-turned-test kitchen’ located up in the picturesque Colorado mountains, plus some great photography skills, eventually earned her the 2016 Saveur Blog Award winner for Most inspired Weeknight Dinners.

Other recipes like ‘Farmhouse Cheddar and Angel Hair Frittata,’ “one of the best quick dinners in all the land,” ‘Chipotle Tuna and Avocado Salad Pita,’ and ‘The New Margherita Pizza, an heirloom tomato-focused flat with sprinkled pine nuts and plenty of pepper flakes, are just a few we have tried here at home and agree with her that these are as good as it gets in all the land.