Friday, May 18, 2012

Cherry Pickin' 101

Last year my sister-in-law and I had grand adventures picking cherries from her small orchard. Cherries so thick that the trees looked red as you looked out her kitchen window. We picked and picked and boy did we freeze some beautiful cherries! The highlight of one afternoon ended when Miss Amy missed a rung on the ladder coming down out of the tree and tumbled down ... Cherries, pail and all! I had my head high in the tree top so all I heard was a soft thumped and turned around to see her sprawled (thankfully in the soft grass), face down. "oh my god! Are you ok?" a moment of silence ensue followed by a giggle that soon erupted into pure belly laughter. We laughed so hard I almost fell off the ladder as well!!!! Well we are at it again! Off to pick some cherries! Along with wonderfully warm-tart fruit, I will have some good recipes and a tale or two!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Morning Sunshine

Nothing says good morning better than a hearty bowl of oatmeal!  This recipe is low in calories and high in flavor!  So get those spoons ready to...dig in!
1 cup water
pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons Oatmeal of Alford
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon half and half
3 strawberries, chopped
spring of lemon verbena

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan.  Add pinch of salt, 1/2 vanilla bean and oatmeal.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes covered.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter, agave syrup and half / half.  Sprinkle with strawberries. Garnish with lemon verbena.  The lemon verbena will perfume the oatmeal if added while oatmeal is yummy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hanover Tomato Tart

So many wonderful things to do with the abundance of Hanover Tomatoes!!  On top of that, I had the good fortune of visiting the Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market last week and found some wonderful heirloom tomatoes including Cherokee Purple, German Johnson, Golden Girl and Pink!  My dearest friend, Lisa Bendt, celebrated her 29th birthday (again...hee hee) on the 19th of July and if you know me very well, that is all it took for me to head on down to Kernersville, NC for a visit!

I used my Hanover Tomatoes for the following tart recipe as they were threatening to overripe on me.  If you don't want to make your own Pate Brisee, you can substitute a premade pie crust.

Start with your Pate Brisee. Make sure it is nice and chilled!

Rub all that garlicky goodness on your chilled pastry!

Top with Le Gruyere...
Layer with slices of tomatoes...different varieties make for a colorful tart!

Let the tart cool for approximately 20 minutes.

Unmold and use a serrated knife to cut yourself a piece of this melt in your mouth goodness!!

Hanover Tomato Tart

Pate Brisee
Makes 2 9" tarts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup ice water

Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor fitted with the dough blade.  Add cold butter until the mixture looks like cornmeal.  With processor on, add the ice water in a steady stream. (May not need all the ice water)  Dough will come together in a ball.  Stop processor and remove dough. Divide into 2 balls. Flatten and wrap in plastic.  Store in refrigerator for 30 or until ready to use.  After 30 minutes, you can roll out and fill tart pan and put back into refrigerator if desired.


1 head of garlic
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 Pate Brisee tart shell
1/2 cup Gruyere, grated
1/2 cup Italian Fontina, grated
4 medium Hanover Tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4"
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

Cut a little bit off the top of the head of garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a small ovenproof dish at 350 for approximately 40 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Squeeze garlic cloves into another dish and mash with a fork.  You can even add a bit of olive oil to make it more spreadable if desired.
Spread garlic in the bottom of chilled tart shell.  Sprinkle Gruyere on shell. Layer tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with Fontina.  Bake at 400 until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.  Remove and let rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes as this make it easier to slice and serve.  This tart is just as good the next day cold from the refrigerator.
Try substituting your favorite cheese(s)!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And away we go...

"Bake bread en famille.  Break bread en famille.  Cook by hand, from scratch.  Use all of your senses when  you cook.  Become familiar with the basic beauty of flour, water, eggs, sugar and salt.  Be religious about family dinners.  Turn off the tv.  Don't answer the phone.  Talk about what you're eating.  Converse.  Ask questions.  Put your utensils down while you eat.  Savor."

It is only appropriate that I start with this quote as it sums up in a few basic lines how I feel about food and my relationship to it!  I have such a passion for taking something as simple and pure as a freshly picked tomato still warm from the afternoon sun and creating mouthfuls of satisfaction that leaves our tastebuds begging for more.  I have a kitchen full of Hanover tomatoes from my father-in-law's garden so over the next few days I will turnout some of the summer's most sought after recipes!