Tag Archives: meatless monday recipe

Tomato-Cheddar Cornmeal Crust Tart & Hurricane Pie

27 Aug

Q: What happens when you visit the in-laws for vacation but the East Coast shuts down because of Irene*?

A: You come home with four kids and a hairy beast and a soggy husband and scrounge.  The shelves look like Soviet markets circa 1982 or my older brother’s fridge that first year out of college (hint: mustard is not a food group).  We let the kids entertain themselves on the long car trip back by reading, taking turns kicking each other’s seat and/or annoying each other by chewing gum loudly or humming, and making up new lyrics for songs.  Now, you might be thinking, “Gee, I wish my kids were creative enough to a) know b-sides of Beatles’ songs well enough to change the words.”  If so, you were NOT in the car with us and thus didn’t get to hear the 9 year old and 12 year old compete for who could be grosser-slash-less appropriate (Dear Poo-dence was only the first step). But all four of them got along well and laughed and the rain was thick and my husband’s hand was on my arm.

I thought about posting the lyrics, but decided I’d post the recipe for Hurricane Pie.  I made two – one to cover tonight’s shitstorm and one for tomorrow’s.

Tomato-Cheddar Cornmeal Crust Tart (aka Hurricane Pie)

Our CSA gave (read: unloaded) about seventeen pounds of tomatoes in the past couple of weeks. I’ve canned sauce and frozen sauce.  I’ve dried tiny tomatoes and soaked others in garlic and oil for the jar I keep in the fridge.  I happened to have yellow tomatoes and red, but feel free to use whatever you like.

1-2 lbs tomatoes, cored and sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup grated cheddar (sharp is best)
3/4 cup other (try Gruyere or Pecorino)
for the crust:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup very cold water
Oven to 375.  Salt the tomatoes and let drain while you make the crust. Mix flours and meal.  Add salt.  Cut the butter and coconut oil into the mixture.  Add the water bit by bit until dough starts to form.  Work into a ball and let rest in the fridge for about ten minutes.  Roll onto floured surface (this yields two crust bottoms or one full pie – up to you) and fit into tart pan.  Mix Greek yogurt, mustard, and lemon juice.  Using kitchen towel, pat tomatoes as dry as you can.  Fill the tart crust(s)with tomatoes and slather with yogurt mixture. Top with both cheeses.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes until crust is browning and cheese is bubbling.  Serve with garlic green beans or simple mache salad.
*Yes, I am am aware that hurricanes Emily and Franklin both graced us this year.

Black Olive and Caper Tapenade & Proportional Happiness

25 Jul

When I go to Mexico to visit my old friend, Cristina, I like to help her milk goats, eat the cheese she makes from those goats, and wander into the market to buy hand-made blue gorditas and cactus for salad.  But what I really love is buying spoons.  They are made locally, don’t cost much, and are easy to travel with.  I use them for stirring risotto, scraping coconut oil from the jar, tasting jam as it boils.

Sometimes, I just look at my spoons.

These spoons provide a lot more happiness than they should.

This gets me thinking about proportional happiness – that is, what makes you happier than it should for the cost or effort.

Another example: Thursday afternoons I am in great spirits.  I go to pick up my farm share.  The reality is, I already paid for it, I could get vegetables at the market near me, and it’s not the most convenient time.  And yet.  I go, I stand in line, weigh my beet greens or pluck my bunch of kale or slide fresh ears of corn into my bag and all the while I have a huge grin on my face.  Why?  I guess I feel like part of a community, that I’m part of a farming cycle that I respect and value.  And I’m getting organic, local food for my family which makes me feel good about being a provider.  I also get  a burst of creativity – where I had no idea what to make before, and began to dread dinner, I always get ideas.  What will I do with this giant bag of baby spinach?  I flash to the olive in the fridge, the half-full jar of capers.  Dinner.  Tomatoes and sweet onions and we’ll make soup for tomorrow, serve it in glasses to avoid spoons.

Oh, spoons.  I do like my wooden friends.  I collect them wherever I go – I have spoons from four continents.  Some have cracked from years of use.  Another chipped when the kids formed a band and the spoons were the drumsticks.  It happens.

What are the things that make you happy?  Not the first class all-expenses paid trip.  I mean the 6$ beaded shoes I got in Brooklyn with my best friend that make me ridiculously happy – they make me think of her and how we switched shoes because I had a blister and about the lovely beading that sparkles.  I mean the pasta that is so tiny I hate to eat it but I do and it’s delicious.  I mean the way my mom smells and how, even as a grown woman, I like to hug her and sniff her neck and, when she was far away from me in college I would go into the perfume section of Bloomingdale’s in NYC and pretend to be interested just so they’d let me smell the bottle.  Just a smell, nothing more. And a smile that lasted all day.  I mean the feel of getting into bed at night, with y body sore from being outside and working hard in yoga, and sliding my feet on the clean sheets and finding the person I love next to me.

Ironed tea towels.  There.  I’ve admitted it in writing.  I really, really like how they look all stacked up, how I can fit more in the drawer, how soothing it is to iron something easy.

Wearing my oldest son’s clothes when I can’t be bothered to grab mine – his jackets fit me now, his shoes are too big but fine for walking the dog. Way more happiness than the Land’s End kid fleece warrants.

I could go on.  I think it’s important that we notice small moments, small items that bring us joy, music or mint leaves or brand new thumb tacks.

The best?  Well, probably how my kids sigh in their sleep, and sort of fling their arms around me or how their small chests dip and rise as though just being checked on brings them tons of joy.

That, and spoons.

Black Olive and Caper Tapenade

1 cup black olives, pitted

2 tbsp capers

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic

big pinch salt

*if you are not a vegetarian, I suggest adding an anchovy or two or some anchovy paste

Put olives and capers in blender (mini one is fine) and pulse, adding olive oil bit by bit.  Add garlic and salt and pulse until blended well.  Adjust for seasoning.  Serve on crusty bread or on pasta.  The above photo is with baby spinach, peppers, and shredded cheese, a family favorite.  Use your favorite spoon to dish it out.

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