Food, Review

Tomato Tart

This is a wonderful, easy, French-inspired summer tart — and it will be better when tomatoes are actually in season, but I couldn’t wait to start making it. It’s adapted from the Spring Hill Community Farm Cookbook, courtesy of a friend’s housemate who offered to sell it to us after I told him I was sort of obsessed with it. It’s full of community recipes, farm wisdom, seasonal stories, a few songs and poems, and general food happiness.

Tomato Tart

1 frozen roughly 8×10-inch puff pastry sheet OR 9-inch pie crust (puff pastry sheet is ideal, in this case I used pie crust and it was still delicious, but more thin crust pizza-like)

2 1/2 tablespoons either honey mustard or dijon mustard

1/2 cup either parmesan, gruyere, or gouda cheese, grated

3 medium tomatoes, sliced thin

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 tsp of all of the following: rosemary, thyme, oregano

pinch of salt, twist of ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Defrost puff pastry or crust according to the box. Unroll onto a pie dish or a normal cookie sheet (size doesn’t really matter here). Spread mustard over the surface. Layer cheese over that, followed by tomatoes (arranged so that the majority of them don’t overlap). Drizzle olive oil on top, followed by the spices. (Optional: sun-dried tomatoes also add a lot of flavor for this tart, either layered alongside fresh tomatoes or cut up and sprinkled on top.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes — it will be done when the tops of the tomatoes look slightly dried and the crust/pastry is browned.


Blackberry “cheesecake” smoothie

I’m not the biggest meat eater and I was a vegetarian for two years in high school, so I’m surprised it has taken me this long to really play around with tofu. I picked up tempeh for the first time this week and have instantly fallen in love– it is so, so good fried up with either ginger and a dash of curry or with smokier spices such as Cajun seasoning. Tempeh’s nutty flavor is delicious and it is an excellent protein source.

I’ve been putting sprouted tofu in my smoothies to great effect. It adds the creaminess I’ve been looking for! You can’t taste it at all but it lends a silken texture that enables one to keep the rest of the smoothie dairy free and relatively healthy. (I.e: you don’t have to rely on sweetened yogurt and can easily blend in lots of fruit and even spinach while maintaining the creaminess.)

The following smoothie is my new favorite: it tastes sort of like blackberry cheesecake in a drink.


blackberry “cheesecake” smoothie

1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen blackberries
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4-1/3 cup water (depending on how thick you like your drink)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla stevia
1/2 cup firm silken tofu
1 teaspoon malt powder

Blend in a blender – let blend for a bit longer than usual to ensure it whips up well. Drink!

Links, Musing

planning a week

For my “going away” treat to myself I did a whole week’s worth of grocery shopping at the Co-op near my house. I love co-ops — of course, the produce and special-diet selection are unbeatable — but given my measly income, it’s Trader Joe’s that has my heart when it comes to weekly shopping. I love both of them equally in different ways, though. Sometimes even organic date rolls can’t beat out TJ’s cat cookies and ginger ice cream.

Luckily enough, while I did have the go-ahead from myself to splurge, at the end of the day I like budgeting, checking out sales, etc. It makes me feel good to be creative within a limit when it comes to weekly food shopping. Two good rules for avoiding a complete grocery store breakdown (you know what I mean, the kind where you come home with organic chocolate bars and coconut ice cream and $6 eggplants but not a lot of, oh, the food you actually needed) are as follows:

1) Don’t go shopping hungry. Otherwise you’ll crave everything…EVERYTHING!!!

2) If you know you tend to be somewhat of an impulse buyer, take two things out of your cart at the very end, right before you check-out. I like this tip because it allows me to truly take a look at what I’m buying. Maybe I really don’t need two types of frozen broccoli. Maybe I already have breakfast so why am I getting these chocolate chip frozen waffles?

My final total for the above selection was $35, only $5 more than what I usually spend. (Already at home: brown rice, French lentils, and olive oil.) Not bad. There have been a few recipes floating around the internet that I can’t wait to try, so here’s how I hope to utilize these groceries this week:

Breakfast: buckwheat groats with nut milk, cocoa powder, dried apricots, roasted cashews

Lunch: a variation on this tempeh cabbage salad, or braised lentils & rainbow chard 

Dinner: Sweet potato, broccoli, and tofu stir fry with brown rice

Inevitable sweet cravings: blackberries (hopefully I can steal a banana from work and make a berry variation on this banana ice cream)

Most importantly, I tried to make it so that by the time the week is over and I move out of my house, all the food is gone!

Things I did not buy but ooh-wee was I eyeing them: the Co-op has “grind-it-yourself” nut butters and raw farm honey…man oh man…