Posts Tagged ‘garden’

A Perfect Recipe for the Tomato Garden’s Peak

July 8, 2009

Slice of rustic tomato tart, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

Even in a tiny driveway garden like ours, the week comes when there are way, way more tomatoes than two people can eat (especially if only one of us likes gazpacho; ahem). This is a great recipe for the days of unlimited tomatoes–I’ve been baking it for years, just baked it last night. SO delicious, very easy (really), and adaptable (we added onions last night, because we had some to use up; and we used a lot of fresh oregano for the herbs last night, because that’s also in peak supply right now in our garden).

“Rustic Herbed Tomato Tart with Parmesan Crust”
From LA Times Magazine, 7 June 1998, but adapted by Penny

1 cup, white flour
half a cup, whole wheat flour
1 stick (half-cup) cold butter, cut into five pieces
half a teaspoon salt
half a cup, Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
zest from half a lemon
a quarter cup of ice water

2 tbsps Dijon mustard
2 tbsps Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsps fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6-8 ripe tomatoes (about a pound and a quarter), cut into quarter-inch thick slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water

To prepare pastry:
In food processor fitted with metal blade, combine flour, butter, salt and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running, add lemon zest and pour water through feeder tube in steady stream. Process until dough begins to bind. Remove dough and shape into 12 inch disk. (The dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. When ready to use, remove from refrigerator and let soften to room temp, about half an hour.)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12-inch circle. Transfer to lightly oiled baking sheet. Using pastry brush, paint pastry with mustard, leaving a generous inch or so border all around. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over mustard.

In a small bowl, combine basil, thyme, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange half of the tomato slices over mustard-cheese layer on pastry. Now sprinkle herb mixture over tomatoes. Cover with remaining tomatoes.

Fold pastry border over tomatoes to enclose sides of tart, gently draping pastry over tomatoes and folding it into soft pleats every few inches. Pinch any cracks to seal pastry and prevent tomato juices from running out during baking. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. Using pastry brush, paint dough with egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until dough is golden brown (not always very easy to tell with whole wheat, but there’s a lot of leeway here). Remove tart and let it cool for about ten minutes, serve warm.



Busy weekend

July 7, 2008

Outdoor floor, Getty Villa, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

It’s fun having relatives visit–because we hit the Los Angeles attractions we never quite get around to seeing on our own. This weekend, we went up to the newly restored Griffith Observatory on the 4th of July, and yesterday to the (also newly restored) Getty Villa in Malibu. The floor above is in one of the smaller outdoor courtyards at the Villa. We went to Pompeii last year, so I think Nell understood the idea, that this was a lavish recreation (with many original items) of a Roman villa like those buried under the ash of Vesuvius.

Because it was Sunday, there were children’s activities in the covered walkway of the Outer Peristyle, so Nell and I made elaborate paper helmets with various Roman motifs. Mine is very, uh, collagy; Nell did more marker drawings on hers. We both chose Owl medallions for the forehead piece. And we wore them around the museum for the rest of the day.

We also enjoyed the Villa’s herb garden. We went on a brief children’s tour, and they let the kids pick herbs for a bouquet garni (gave out strings for tying). We got some marjoram and basil, some tarragon and bay leaves, some chamomile and mint, and some costmary. What’s costmary? I wondered too. It’s got a lovely scent!

The Observatory and the Getty Villa both have free admission.  If you come to Los Angeles with kids, instead of blowing their college fund on Disney and the other theme parks, try these (and the California Science Center, for a third free place that’s great for the whole family).

Our first cherry tomatoes

July 2, 2008

Our first cherry tomatoes, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

Nell planted tomato seeds at a Brownie meeting in the spring. She brought them home in a cup, but we soon moved them to a pot in the window box, then to a bigger pot outside, as they got bigger. Now the first cherry tomatoes are ready to harvest!

Too bad she won’t actually eat tomatoes… but her parents and grandparents will, and maybe someday she’ll warm to the idea.