The Routine of Summer
Now that we’ve passed the midsummer point, we’re definitely into our summer routine. Typically, we work hard all week, then Friday evening, we travel to Maine, where we spend two days doing not much of anything. Despite sometimes being tired for the drive, it’s worth it to be able to wake up Saturday morning and be where we want to be.
We usually have no agenda. Typical highlights are: sleeping late (for me), eating relaxed meals with fresh local ingredients, reading on the dock, swimming when it gets hot, canoeing or kayaking around the lake for a change, doing some garden work if we’re feeling inclined.
The past few weekends, the blueberries have been ready for picking. We have a huge bush next to the dock and other bushes scattered in the woods. We’ve already picked a couple of quarts. These are not the lowbush blueberries that have tiny blueberries that people think of as “wild Maine blueberries”. These are highbush, but also wild. The berries aren’t as big as Jersey blueberries, but they are sweet and tasty. Mostly I’ve been eating them straight or mixed into thick Greek yogurt. I think a batch of blueberry scones is somewhere in my future.
The local farmstand has started to sell freshly picked corn. I like, but don’t love, corn. On the other hand, Howard LOVES corn. He’s eating at least two ears a day now, and that should keep up for another month or so.
The local farmstand also has tasty, ripe tomatoes. For lunch on Saturday, I made a tomato and goat cheese tart. It was yummy and very elegant looking. The tart dough was rather soft, so next time, instead of trying to roll it, I think I’ll just press it into the pan with my fingers. Even though the dough was soft, it baked up to be quite crisp. We ate half, the but leftovers held up for another day quite well.
French Tomato Tart
Adapted from David Lebovitz
One unbaked tart shell (see recipe below)
2-3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 generous tablespoons fresh thyme
4 ounces (250 g) fresh goat cheese, sliced into rounds (I used Vermont Creamery)
1½ cups flour
4½ oz (9 Tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
2 Tbsp ice water
Preheat the oven to 425F.
To make the dough, whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
Whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add another tablespoon of ice water.
Gather the dough into a ball and, with well-floured hands, press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, covering the bottom and sides of the pan.
Spread the mustard evenly, covering the bottom of the tart dough. Let it sit a few minutes to dry out.
Slice the tomatoes into ½-inch slices and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with about half the chopped thyme. Arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add the remaining fresh herbs.
Bake the tart for 15 minutes, then check to make sure it isn’t burning. Turn the heat down to 350F and bake another 5-10 minutes until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned.
Serve hot or at room temperature. (The crust held up to microwaving, when eating the leftovers.)